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Project Completed: 1/48 HobbyBoss US Navy F3H-2 Demon

I finally finished my latest workbench project; the F3H-2 Demon in 1/48. If you would like to hear more about my build experience please take a look at my recent build article posted last week, or, on my blog.

I had not built a high-visibility Navy fighter in several years so I really enjoyed the opportunity to finish this older, cold-war fighter in her bright grey, white, and red-tailed scheme. I also enjoyed the opportunity to weather and wear this finish so it resembled a carrier born, hard worked, fleet fighter toward the end of a long, challenging, deployment.

I will quickly summarize the final steps of the build. The pictures towards the end of the collection will show some of the late stage build steps and progress. At the end of the last build article she was being primed, then finished in acrylic light gull grey FS36440 on the top surfaces, and acrylic Insignia White on the bottom surfaces, and all control surfaces, except rudder and fin, which is also gull grey. As stated in previous article I built up these colors using various tones, and subtle variations of like colors. The model was also pre-shaded with the primer grey again over the panel lines to restore some of the previous panel line pre-shading. The final blending coats/layers were applied in very thin, transparent layers, maybe a 1:10 paint/thinner ratio. This allows you to control the opacity of the final coat of paint controlling how much of the pre-shade will show. It’s important to keep this last blending layer very thin if you want really good control of the final look and finish. This manner is much more time consuming but worth the extra effort, and less stressful.

Following completion of the base painting and blending coat it was time to provide some sealing of the paint to prepare for decals and weathering. I always get a bit nervous at this stage b/c I have been having some trouble with my gloss coats while experimenting with different mediums. It seems that in order to get a really gloss finish I have had to apply many coats which threatens to obscure fine surface detail, but when I go to light I get a more rough, semi-gloss appearance which does not help the weathering process and/or decals. In this last attempt I went with my old standard which was Future Floor Wax applied neat. For the most part I achieved a satisfactory finish but it was not perfect.

At this later stage I masked off the wings and used Vallejo steel to paint the wings leading edges, as well as, the horizontal stabs LE. I also masked and painted the Air Brakes housing and back side of air-brakes acrylic red. Assembly warning: It is easy to install the air-brake housing incorrectly as I did. There is no method in the molding to prevent this so use caution on this stage prior to closing the two fuselage halves. One was installed backwards and once sealed between the fuselage there was no way to correct this. I wanted to close the air-brakes to hide this but they would not close flush with the fuselage sides and looked just awful. I decided it would not really show unless you examined it closely. Please dont look closely…LOL.

Once I allowed the clear coat to dry and cure for 48 hours I applied the decals to the whole aircraft. I only had a few minor tears, and a few wanted to roll over on itself…not sure why? Use a little extra caution with them to avoid this. Overall the decals were very high quality and conformed really well using decal solutions and softeners. Actually I feel this was the most success I ever had with large decals; they adhered and conformed so well that they looked like paint and took really well to the panel line washes. Once the decals dried I coated them with Vallejo semi-gloss varnish then lightly sanded the whole plane to help blend the finish. The kit does not include any decal stencils. Another nice feature is that the decals are pre-cut to conform to the wing fences and open dive brakes.

The final stage of assembly included attachment of the various parts left off during the painting stage, and then weathering. To began weathering I spayed a tight light mist of flat black along some of the panel lines as viewed in many pictures of actual aircraft. I did not need to apply a precision pin-wash to the surface detail as this was accomplished using an entire aircraft wash as shown in some of the attached pictures. I used AK and Mig/Ammo enamel washes to accomplish this. The wash was applied right out of the bottle. Blown dry with a hair dryer. Then wiped clean using a “dry” paper napkin, yes it was dry with no thinner. Using a dry napkin helps preserve the delicate finish below the wash, prevents harm to the layers, and helps the wash stay in the surface detail and panel lines. This will only work if applied on a gloss surface. I used cotton swabs to get at the tough spots as well as a small amount of thinner to help with those stubborn spots. I finally used some of my oils to apply specific stains and streaks as needed based on actual aircraft photos. I use very small spots of oil, no thinner, and a dry brush to sweep the stains and control the look.

Finally I removed the canopy masks, and touched up as needed. I was very happy with the overall project and it was a very enjoyable build. As stated in my earlier build article this model had great detail and engineering with excellent fit. I did not experience any of the short-comings discussed in some other reviews regarding parts-fit. Zero filler was used. Surface detail was awesome. I hope you enjoy the pictures as much as I enjoyed building this model. Now I am ready for a new US Navy high-visibility F-4 Phantom II. It is the perfect follow-up to this build due to the Demon being an older cousin to the F-4. I will build either the 1/48 Academy F-4 which I have in the stash, or the new ZM kit.

53 additional images. Click to enlarge.


25 responses to Project Completed: 1/48 HobbyBoss US Navy F3H-2 Demon

  1. Congratulations!!!! This is a winner!!!! I have always liked the shape of the Demon. Your model will serve as a nice reference when mine reaches the bench. The Furball decal sheet has some very colorful Demons. Thanks for sharing this detailed build and clear photos.

  2. Real nice Demon! Felix rules! You’ve got the weathering down to perfection.

  3. I have to agree with Morne statement, it is a real winner! The Demon is a very handsome aircraft, with gracious lines and your build did it full justice.
    Judging by the photos and by your own build account this kit seems to be very good overall, so even more it is a very welcome WIP. Congrats Paul!

  4. Paul I have this kit, and seeing this outstanding Demon, it just made it to the build list for 2019. Though I wish you would put your complete WIP in the WIP section of this site. So you get can get into more detail on your project. Here we just get a smidge of what you encountered like the air brake boo boo. However this is very inspirational and really incredible model. Thanks for sharing.

    • Thanx Chuck. Funny when I noticed the air break housing looked different from each other I thought I had left out some pieces on one of them but it was b/c they were backwards and after looking and looking at this it still did not come to me…..LOL.

  5. Terrific Work, Paul…..!! Turned out extremely well. Love it!

  6. Outstanding work, Paul! I especially like the weathering – very realistic.

  7. Nice work. Was it difficult setting the wings to the proper anhedral? I’ve heard this kit’s wings need help achieving this when joined to the fuselage.

    • Thats a good question. I say this b/c I have heard different statements about the angle and what is suppose to be correct. I dont think my kit has much of an anhedral and most likely it is “0”. I went by the drawings available to me and matched those drawings with minimal to no down angle. If there is suppose to be a greater anhedral then I would say “yes” there is a problem with the kit in this respect. But to build it as I did was easy and no special care was needed.

  8. That is one beautiful Demon Paul. Like the way she turned out, good job.

  9. Some strong work on the Demon. My only niggle and it has nothing to do with your work Paul…Hobby Boss made the canopy a tad narrow for when it is slid back and opened. Which is picky,picky and picky. This build is a good candidate for model of the month and with the work in progress…teach a man how to catch fish scenario it adds more frosting on the cake. Two thumbs up. Looking forward to reading and viewing your next article.

    • I did not mention this b/c it is just my opinion but I think there is more error related to the canopy being pulled back. It is hard to explain but overall I think HobbyBoss built the canopy decking behind the seat wrong and if you build it as is it should not be open. Basically the deck behind the seat is flat and bare with all the detail loaded and attached to inside the canopy according to the directions. I actually think that the supplied deck should be attached, not to the canopy, but to the turtle deck behind the seat. There is another piece that you are directed to attach to this deck which I think should be separate and only attached to the canopy. Not sure if you understand this but no detail is clear enough in any pictures for me to support either way. I have noticed that modelers have built it both ways. I am not sure about error you mention but good to know.

    • It would be great to win model of the month and I am happy u have that confidence in my build. I see some strong competition out there and my photography is not strong. Month is not over so we will see. Great Feedback!!!

      • Being a Renaissance man …modeling used to be about the model, Now you have to be a photographer,writer and computer literate. Things now are a little more complex. However, Paul in looking at your photos and your techniques its easy to see that a lot of thought and work went into the building of this model and anyone with a modicum of experience in modeling who can think on their own two feet will know that your model has the right stuff.

  10. As Stephen says, strong work. Precise, beautifully painted with a real fusion of artistry and realism. I think this is a great piece of work.

    • I like the way you describe my work as a”real fusion of artistry and realism”. I struggle with how to describe what I do b/c I am not a rivet counter but do enjoy realism to a degree. I like to create an impression of realism sort of creating the “spirit” of a subject more then a historical document or object. Sort of how an impressionist painter creates a clear image only using dots, shades, shapes of color. It is the impression of the picture but when broken down into detail not always an accurate as a photo. I never use to publish my work b/c I always felt it would be judged on just pure accuracy or picked apart but recently I realize it is OK to do what I do and people appreciate it.

  11. I’m entirely with you there, Paul. If you spend time, effort, and engergy on a build and do the research it does develop a ‘look’ and a ‘feel’. Throw in some artistic talent and you have something special. Without the artistry a model can look great but there’s an element missing for me that somehow connects all the variables and binds them together.

    • “If you spend time, effort, and energy on a build and do the research it does develop a ‘look’ and a ‘feel’. Throw in some artistic talent and you have something special.”

      I call it portraiture or capturing the “Character” of a subject matter …in this case were looking at a Demon. With the right amount of paint and grime. Giving the look and feel and the illusion of a Demon. Photography often with a force perspective or if your pose the subject to create that momentary suspension of belief that your looking at an aircraft … that is one of the elements of what makes this hobby special.

  12. A beauty of a Demon! Love all the weathering and detail work you put into it. Just looks fantastic.

  13. Paul, You have a real beauty on your hands here. Well done !

  14. A great looking model Paul. Your paint & weathering techniques are very helpful & have given me some new ideas. You’re never too old to learn! A first class build in my book.

  15. Hello Paul,
    Excellent model. Let me not forget to mention, that the photography is also very pleasing for the eyes. Regards, Dirk / The Netherlands.

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