Super Sabers and more

I started preparing planes to paint while I worked through deadline week, and waited for my Aztec order from Eureka Miniatures USA.  As I stated in my last post, I am adding planes to my collection that could have participated in air action during the Cuban Missile Crisis. I have twenty planes altogether, including Navy fighters and attack planes, as well as Soviet piloted MiG-21’s.

I’m beginning with some F-100’s by Scotia Collectair.  They have a nice shape, but nothing special.  Very clean but not much scribing to work with so I have to paint in a lot of the detail.  I wouldn’t mind trying a couple of the Raiden minis, just by way of comparison. These are pretty easy work, with a base silver by Formula P-3.  The blue is Vallejo Prussian blue.  The paint scheme is loosely modeled on the 366th Tactical Fighter squadron from England Air Force Base in Louisiana.  However, by 1962, many of the USAF units are beginning to lose their fancy squadron insignia, according to my Squadron/Signal book on F-100’s.

f-100s

Collectair F-100’s awaiting their full complement of decals. Fun, and relatively easy to paint. 

By 1962 there are still a fair number of Super Sabers in service, mostly as tactical fighters, i.e. fighter bombers, though that role is mostly being taken over by F-105B’s.  There was an incident over Cuba in November 1962, just after the missile crisis, in which F-104’s overflying the island were intercepted by MiG 21’s and were fired on, but no blood, no foul. So, the F-100’s have a role, but air superiority is clearly one they’ve passed on to other planes.

ready-to-paint

Oh look, a dozen U.S. Navy planes to finish by next weekend. Four each of F-8 Crusaders, F3H Demons, and A-4C Skyhawks.  Not difficult to paint, but lots of them. They’ve gotten their top coat of Light Gull Grey by Testors acrylic. 

This morning, Saturday, I saw Dave’s post that he has a plan for our Museum of Flight scenario for Sunday, November 6th. Yep that’s a week from tomorrow and it includes a fair number of planes I don’t currently have in my arsenal, so the Smyth aircraft production line is underway.  Thankfully there aren’t any evening school commitments for this week . I could have a busy day tomorrow (Sunday) but I think I can squeeze in a couple hours here and there for painting and plunking decals on the F-100s.  I’ve got 20 planes I’d like to have completed for the Museum game, including four MiG -21’s, so I’ll have to give it my best shot.  Will keep you posted.

Smyth Aircraft WIP pt. 2

So I’ve tucked in a couple of pictures of Bettys and Spitfires under construction.  As you can see, they are a bit further along.

The Spitfires are in their late 1941 camo, with medium gray and military green both by Vallejo.  I paint their cockpits a Ceramcoat Light Gray.  The next step is a bit tricky.

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Spitfires after they’ve been scrubbed and detailed.  Hopefully you can see how the camo has been lightened a bit.  I’ll add a bit of hue to the super light areas.  Before the canopies have been detailed.

The best airplane painter of all time, period, the end is Paul Hannah. Some of you may know him from his work with DBA and breathing fun into a set of rules that on their face are not.  Paul was a stickler for a couple of things around painting wee planes.  He is the first who raised the issue of scale and brightness of color.  The smaller the scale of the plane, the lighter the color should be, lest the detail  or the subtlety of the color scheme be lost entirely. (Paul also used to beautifully hand paint all his markings, but ’nuff said about that-because that’s just crazy talk.)

That being the case, I decided not to actually lighten my color, feeling that to reproduced the tinted colors over and over again would be impossible I “scrubbed” both the Betty bombers and the Spits.  It’s sort of an intense version of dry brushing with less paint on the brush.  I use it with a very ratty Army Painter dry brush.  A little bit of white paint on the end and then scrub away. It’s super important that almost all the paint is off the brush, or you end up in repaint mode.  It has two effects: it definitely lightens whatever the paint is, and it also offers a bit of a “weathered” effect.

DSCN1410

Betty bombers after they’ve been “scrubbed.” It really lightens up the dark IJN navy green.   Some planes have received their canopy work. The wing details on these Scotia models is not quite so busy as the Raiden Spitfires.

Then it is on to detailing. I always paint charcoal gray or black in the wing panels and the creases caused by control surfaces.  It just adds a bit more to the miniature.  I also do my best to paint the framing for the canopy or other plexiglas surfaces.  Just adds a bit more to the complexity of the miniature. Yes I use a small brush.  I have a 5/0 from Dick Blick I use only for this purpose, but I also have an Army Painter “insane detail” brush that is less expensive and will also make due.

I’ll be moving on to the light undersides and the yellow forward edge markings  next.  I’ll show off again when the planes are completed less their edge markings.

Music to Paint By. Story.  My only brush with rock royalty was in 1999 when my son Patrick, age 19, played with his high school band at the Ballard Firehouse.  His was one of two bands who opened for rock great Robin Trower. I was able to say hello to Trower, though I don’t think he ever actually acknowledged me. He impressed me as a small, very out of place Englishman who didn’t really fit in with his Ballard surroundings.

I don’t want to say I’m big fan of Robin Trower.  I do want to say that some of his music is absolutely unbelievable.  The sound he gets out of his guitar, the textures of sound he’s able to create are absolutely incredible–on Bridge of Sighs, his best known and, critically, best received work. I haven’t listened to a lot of his other records.  In City Dreams is quite good, and For Earth Below is okay.

Truce

When Pat and I were up at Georgetown records the other day, we were thumbing through the magical $3.00 bin and I spied Truce, a 1981 collaboration between Trower and former Cream bassist and vocalist Jack Bruce. I thought it might be an interesting combination of musical talents. Unfortunately, I couldn’t grab it, because, under the rules of the game we were playing it couldn’t be a band I knew or had in my collection and I had some Trower.

But on Friday, I zipped into Tacoma to pick up some record sleeves at High Voltage and dipped in to see if there was anything “I had to have.” We know this term in gaming don’t we? It so happened they had a copy of Truce and I had a 20% off coupon, so we were made for each other.

I took the record home and threw it on the turntable as I was painting Bettys.  I can’t call this a brilliant record or give it five stars, but it is really good.  It’s pretty stripped down blues based rock.  Trower gets to show off his chops as a great guitarist and Bruce fits right in, with some of his best work since Cream. It’s hard rock, not for the faint of heart, but it’s melodic and accessible, and a pleasure to listen.  There is no single track that stands out, but likewise, there is nothing trashy either.  The perfect record to paint your basic Tiger IE, or Grenadiers of the Imperial Guard.

Trower and Baker have one more collaboration with drummer Bill Lordan called BLT (oh how cute)  that has joined by wantlist, so one more record to look out for.