Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Operation Thunderbolt - Build Log Part Three

Hi folks, after the giddy diversion of turning five and four hundred posts it is back to the business at hand. Namely, the Thunderbolts, when last we left them I had got the yellow on (finally) and the first greys. Now we're ready to start the real fun:

Following the guide that came with the transfers (you can just see it to the left) I laid out the pattern for the hard edged "top-down" camo. The masking tape is the Tamiya stuff and is awesome. Very low tack and fairly conformable, note I've added the canopy so as to have a consistent pattern, it comes off again to reinsert the cockpit later.

I found the Basalt Grey to be far, far too close to the Dark Bluegrey in order to work. I added a fair whack of German Grey to the paint and used that instead. Either the RLM colours are different to the Vallejo or the colours used in reproduced pictures are very different. Either way, the new colour works nicely and after all, these are Imperial Navy, not Luftwaffe.

When you remove the tape you are left with gorgeous clean, straight lines to the camo. There really is not any better way to get this sharp effect.Next I needed to get the underside camo sorted. For this I masked around the edge of each of the wings and on any other area that met the underside:

With this done, I sprayed the Pale Grey-blue onto the underside and left it to dry. Again, I think this colour is a little lighter than I was expecting but it seems to work. The idea was to prevent the plane being spotted from below by blending it with the clouds and bright sky above. This done, I stripped off almost all the masking tape.

you can see a tiny patch on the right there where the masking failed but for the most part, perfect.

Nice clean yellow nose emerges, the top-side camo is safe while the blue-white base is neat and tidy. Lovely. Now to move on to the complex lateral camouflage.

The representation of this camo varies, smaller depictions generally just use fuzzy blobs but the actual camo is a series of elegant, almost flame-like patterns blending the pale lower hull and the dark two-tone upper hull. The first stage (2) is to add the Pale Grey-Blue on to the tail and sides. Next (3) is to cut back in with the Dark Bluegrey in order to neaten the pale colours. Finally (4) the German Grey (ish) darker tones are added to finish the disruptive effect. Tricky, but nifty.

At last we can remove the masking tape covering the recognition flash on the fuselage. Unfortunately, all the various layers of paint and the fact that these were the first bits of tape applied meant that there was some bleed-under:

The reason for this was the deep panel lines (far, far deeper than an equivalent 1:48 kit would be) and other areas where the tape couldn't quite mash down. I was initially irritated as it was an evident failure, but it's growing on me, could be re-worked as weathering. Hastily applied recognition flash with cheap paint flaking off.

And there we are. Quite a jump in progress there from last time. Next will either be the cockpits or the metalwork and other details. I'll keep you informed.



  1. I think that is a happy mistake. It looks far more realistic as is, then if it was perfectly clean!

    1. I am inclined to agree, I'll do the edge highlighting that will make it look intended :)

  2. Yeah, I concur. Looks great.

  3. looks like weathering and paint chipping is already started for you! only worry you will have now is trying to recreate the same effect again another time :-)

  4. When I saw the picture, and before I read the text, my first thought was "that's really nice weathering".