Tamiya's 1/32 Zero

Model, Text and Photos by: Steve Jantscher

Part 2

Day 13- Yesterday the motor went together like a little watch. Today I added the final touch of detail, the 11 exhaust stacks. I was a little concerned about the exhaust stacks positioning, but after my first test fit, I saw how the engine was molded, and the stacks went together just as easily as the rest of the kit. As you can see from the photos, with only 31 pieces, the plastic power egg can be made to look convincing.

I painted the prop and spinner Aeromaster A/N Brown Primer. Since I had no interest in showing the model without the spinner on the prop, I didn't bother building or painting any of the prop hub detail as it is not visible once the spinner is in place. (Slacker! - editor's note) I used the kit decals, and haven't found any problems with their use. I used the standard microscale set/sol system.

After a couple of days letting the paint dry thoroughly, I'll apply a little Model Wax to the spinner and prop blades. I find that the slight sheen replicates the polishing effect the prototype prop undergoes every time the engine is started.

I also finally got around to finishing up the landing gear. As you may have heard, they're spring loaded, so that when the weight goes off the wheels, they extend a bit. One of mine is a bit sticky. Perhaps I should have put more Tamiya supplied lubricant (looks like vasaline) on the parts. As you can see from the photos, the kit supplies rubber brake lines really add a nice touch to the gear.

Question and Answer:

John Hoey asks: If you would be so kind, please give me some more details on how you went about weathering the cockpit on your Zero using the raw umber wash.

Steve replies: John, I first try to build  up as much of the kit in final, or subassembly form, that will be painted the same color, in this case a water based Mitsubishi Interior/Cockpit Green. Since I like to use diluted oil paints (diluted with turpintine/brush cleaner) for my washes, I have to make sure that my base coat will not desolve by painting on a turpentine wash. Normally an acrylic paint won't need protection from a solvent of enamels (remember, the Aeromaster interior green is an acrylic paint), but another reason I had to lay down a protective gloss coat is to smooth out the flat paint. If I were to put a wash onto a piece covered with flat paint without a covering gloss coat, the wash will blossom out from the initial point of contact, and not do as I would like, hugging the recessed detail and panel lines, corners and edges. The idea after all is to place "scale" dirt into those places that would normally be missed by a mechanic cleaning a cockpit. While I don't remember exactly which water based gloss coat I used, I believe it was a Polly Scale gloss coat, but Future would work just as well.

After giving the base color and protective coated parts sufficient time to dry, I go onto the wash stage. I have a number of small and medium sized tubes of Winsor & Newton oil paints. Their main function (for me) is figure painting, so I have a bunch of colors; however they also provide just the ticket when it comes to washes. This brand's paints are among the best made (having very well ground pigment and an ease in mixing), and for a very little amount of money, you'll have enough paint to wash a hundred planes.

While I used raw umber (I believe), other suitable colors (to taste) might be Raw Sienna, Payne's Gray, Yellow Ochre or Burnt Sienna. Depends upon your color of dirt and dust. Some guys I know like black washes on metal finish panel lines, but I don't care for as much contrast as black gives, and the subtle colors of those mentioned give an "earthy" tone to the models that black just doesn't.

Whatever oil paint I choose to go with, I will squirt out a very little dab, (about a eight inch or less) onto my pallet (usually an upside-down paint tin). Then I select a fairly nice brush and dip it in my jar of paint brush cleaner/thinner (turpentine in my case). I then pull out a smidgen of the oil paint from it's pile, and keep dipping the brush back into the thinner bottle and transferring it to the pallet until I have a small puddle that is a very diluted oil and thinner mix. Next dab the parts to be washed along panel lines, recessed detail areas, or run it along raised detail. You'll find that the wash will tend to run along these surfaces, and stay in the corners and recessed detail areas. If the brush dries up too much, or the thinner/paint mix doesn't want to run, then dip the brush back into the thinner bottle to wet the surface of the model. Some guys will "paint" the whole area with the wash mix, and after it has dried somewhat, go back in with a cloth or Q-tip and rub off all the wash mix he can reach. What's left is what you want to be there. You can also remove extra wash with a thinner wet brush.  I prefer to place my was where I want it. I also washed/painted the seat belts the raw umber , and then gave them a flat coat.

After the wash was dry, I did pull out the Berol Prismacolor silver colored pencil and carefully run it along some edges where a pilot's feet might wear away the paint. Being very subtle with this technique, I also "wore out" some of the deck paint right behind the rudder pedals.

Sometimes I will also introduce some pastel dust into a cockpit, but I  didn't do that this time.

That's all there is to it. I could show you in half the time it takes to read this, and you'd pick up the technique in an instant. I hope I filled you in on my Zero cockpit.

Steve Jantscher

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