Time to finish this build even though I didn’t make the 17 August deadline. Finishing took more time as usual because of various unforeseen disasters that needed to be addressed. Anyway, the decals I’m using comes from Caracal Models. They were printed by Cartograf so quality looks very good.
Over the usual gloss coat, the decals went on very easily and are as thin as they come. They also reacted well with both Mark Setter and Mark Softer. A pleasant surprise is the general lack of stencils compared to NATO aircraft.
While waiting for the decals to cure, I realized while looking at reference photos that I’ve missed out on painting some of the details. The white boxes on the nose was (carefully) masked and sprayed XF-2 Flat White. There are two spots on each LERX that were painted Model Color Dark Seagreen (AKA Gunship Gray).
The tail also had details that required some handpainting. I used Model Air Insignia White for this.
It was finally time to check my work on the exhausts. Unfortunately, the first disaster hit. I’m not sure what went wrong but seems quite likely that it was paint bleeding onto the port exhaust.
I thought of what I could do short of stripping the paint and redoing but nothing really came to mind so it was elbow grease time. I first masked off the areas that were still OK. Then I carefully sanded down the paint bleed. With the tailfin in the way though, I couldn’t reach some of them so I left them as is.
I then resprayed Vallejo Metal Color Exhaust Manifold. The small square panels were handpainted with Vallejo Metal Color Jet Exhaust. Quite lucky that these Vallejo metal paints can be handpainted. The repair isn’t great but I’ll try to hide them during the weathering stage. Anyway, moving on for now. It was time for weathering so I first sprayed a satin coat.
I normally use a very dark brown wash (like Raw Umber) for my panel lines but I decided to try a dark gray one this time with Abteilung Starship Filth.
Starship Filth has a bluish effect and I’m liking it.
The panel wash went quite smoothly. I have to give Trumpeter props. The details are just deep enough to really pop.
But then, something else happened. The odorless thinner for the oil paint seems to have eaten into some of the painted surfaces. This looks to only affect the Mig AMMO Light Compass Ghost Grey paint. Places like the starboard intake:
The area around the gun port:
And worse of all on the nose, which cut across a decal. The picture below was partway through me fixing the problem by sanding and buffing down the problem area.
I then carefully resprayed the Mig AMMO Light Compass Ghost Grey. The two spots that cut too close to the decal were handpainted instead. I managed to get some overspray on the decal which I cleaned with a thinner soaked cotton bud.
To hide the ‘work’, I decided to go with heavier staining on the area. The stain was done with Burnt Umber oil paint.
I repainted the gun port area and also added staining based on the reference photos.
From photos, the Su-30s are kept quite clean by the TNI-AU with only the tailfins and the areas around the exhausts getting stained.
I used both Burnt Umber and Starship Filth oil paints for these areas.
I decided not to push my luck by spraying another satin coat to seal everything so I moved on to finishing the kit by first installing the landing gear. Unlike the tailfins, these have very good connectors and tabs to ensure a strong fit.
Then it was systematic attachment of the missiles going inside out starting with the KH-31Ps.
I then removed the canopy masking and *bad word*, more paint bleeding!
I carefully removed the bleeding with both scraping with a toothpick and AK Interactive Airbrush Cleaner. I then brushed more Future to bring the shine back up to the canopy. Note there’s a very small step between the front and main canopies. I could have tried to fix that but decided not to tempt fate and left them alone.
Once the Future cured, the end was finally in sight. The antennas were now attached and painted Mig AMMO Metal Matt Aluminium.
The nose pitot is last on, painted and I can finally call this done.