Time to sling paint on this thing by beginning with something different this time: I primered in gray and didn’t bother with mottling or preshading.
The markings came from TwoBobs 48-018 Top Gun TInker Toys!! sheet and the color callouts were FS20400 (light brown), FS30117 (medium brown) and FS34079 (medium green). Going from lightest to darkest, the first color was the light brown. TwoBobs recommended Mr Hobby H27 Tan but the result looked very different from the decals.
I wasn’t happy with the result so I decided to custom mix a closer match to the decals.
I got fairly close on the fifth try by mixing Mr Hobby H319 Light Brown, H27 Tan and H19 Pink.
The light brown is a lot warmer now compared to the original callout.
For the demarcation lines I use rolled up blutack.
For FS30117, a medium brown color, I used straight Tamiya XF-54 Red Brown.
For the last color FS34079, which is a dark green color, I used Mr Hobby H309 Green FS34079.
I then went back in and finetuned the camouflage.
Note how differently Tamiya and Mr Hobby dried: the former is very flat while the latter is slightly glossy even though it’s labeled as a flat paint.
Next, to add some tonal variations, I thinned each color by about 30% with white and painted the middle of each panel.
Painting was quite trouble-free and I was done in no time. To prep for decals, I decided not to gloss coat as it would likely have darkened the whole color scheme so I simply buffed the sections where there would be decals till they were smooth.
And… look what happened. The demarcations don’t match up.
Compared to photos, the decals looked oversized and I also realized I had placed the intake markings wrongly: they shouldn’t be right up the intake lip.
So I decided to stop using the TwoBobs decals and use TOPGUN 55’s markings from Fightertown Decals’ 48092 Extremely Adversarial instead. Some of the demarcations didn’t line up with the decals (eg. the rescue marking) but it was too late to correct them so I left them alone.
The decals were sealed off with a satin coat and I painted the details like wingtip lights, nose, antennas and the red on edges of the gear doors.
The panel wash was done with Flory Models Dark Dirt Wash. The result looks a bit too subtle but I wanted to quickly finish it.
For once, final assembly was trouble-free with no last minute disasters to deal with.
So, a smooth beginning that was delayed by some decal problems. Nonetheless, this was still a more trouble-free build than many others.