I’m building a French Air Force Rafale so the color scheme is a uniform medium gray which can look somewhat monotonous.
To add some variations to the finish I first added a mottling coat with white color over a base of black.
There are usually staining on the hind quarters. To help the eventual oil paint staining along I added some pre-staining at this stage with a medium brown color.
Painting is done with very thinned gray paint so the mottling still shows.
Hobbyboss calls for FS16440 for the gray but it’s clearly too light. Discussions online can’t decide on whether the gray is FS36270 or FS36231. I decided to go with FS36270 using Mr Hobby Aqueous H306.
The key is light coats to slowly build up the opacity.
Comparing to the reference photos though, the gray was too blue so I decided to test out FS36231 instead. In this case the paint is from the AK Real Color line. This shade looks more accurate.
A much better result.
Because I was basically overcoating with another layer or two of paint I had to go easy and try not to cover up too much of the mottling.
The nose is actually a different shade of gray and I went with Mr Hobby Aqueous H306.
The Hobbyboss instructions miss out on a lot of the small details for which I had to refer to the Prime Portal walkround for. These small details were all handpainted. Note that I painted the sensor windows on the intakes not realizing that the decal sheet will actually address them.
There are some handpainted details on the wingtip pylons too.
The APU outlet area was masked and sprayed with Vallejo Metal Color Jet Exhaust.
The tailfin also has details handpainted and the Rafale now looks like a (very) slightly lesser slab of gray.
A lot of colors are needed to paint up missiles but I have found that painting them is easier than using decals for the various bands.
After a gloss coat, it was time for decals. In this case, they are from DXM Decal’s Rafale 11-7144 sheet for 113-GE which is the same bird as my primary reference from Prime Portal.
The decals were nice and thin and went on without any problems. I appreciated the inclusion of the formation lights which, being capsule shaped, would have been a pain to mask and spray. I was especially happy with the inclusion of the diagonal ones on the nose.
It seems like the French don’t really bother with many stencils on their aircraft. Nice.
I was finished in no time and well… I stopped. I simply lost the mojo to continue and the kit remained in this state for many months.