Mach2 1/72 AJ-2 Savage
Our club started a cold war build last summer, to be revealed at our December meeting, and this is the subject I selected. It was only a few years ago I became aware of the Savage - the first carrier-born bomber capable of nuclear delivery. The Savage also contained a jet engine, which you wouldn't know from many angles!
The Mach2 kit was a trial! Panel lines are very roughly etched, and in some places filled with crud. So much flash I almost had to use a fan to clean off the filings and find the parts I had been working on. Part shape, kit design, just about every horror imaginable! I had purchased aftermarket decals, and after seeing the shape of the kit, I decided that going with the blue scheme would hide the weaknesses better than the grey/white scheme. This was also my first attempt using an airbrush, so thought a one-color scheme would be a better start. 🙂
I did do some modifications to the cockpit, but not much, since I knew that very little would be visible due to the thickness of the canopy chunk. Added pilots, but no navigator, as there wasn't room to place him the way they had the cockpit laid out!
I should have sanded off the canopy frame lines and masked according to references, as the framing was too thick for scale, but - well - I had masked before I realized it, and didn't want to start over!
I did sand off the engine nacelle exhaust details and added exhausts using two sizes of styrene tubing - same for small vents at the tail end of the nacelles. There was nothing but a hole for the jet exhaust, so I modified an exhaust from the spares box to provide a bit more detail, though it's not seen unless you look up into the end of the fuselage.
The hump that arises from the back of the fuselage was pretty much missing on the starboard part, so once together, several applications of auto putty and lots of sanding/filing were required to add it back. Lots of other filling and sanding in general...
I used Tamiya paint, and it took me awhile to figure out how to get coverage in "hard to get to" areas, such as around the nacelles. There will be a learning curve...
Decals were a trial. Even though I laid down several coats of Testors Glosscoat (rattle can), I started with the wing-walk decals, and it was a slivering mess. Nothing I could do to solve it, so I ripped/sanded the decals back off, repainted the top of the wing, laid down some dull coat, then painted the walkways. I had accidentally purchases two sets of the decals, so I used the second set, cut from the decal sheet, as a pattern to mask around. Unfortunately, they weren't quite accurate, and there is a little unevenness in the layout, but unless being judged for a contest, it's not noticeable at a glance...
Once I got these painted on, I went back with several more coats of gloss, concentrating on some areas where the paint didn't seem to go down as smooth (joint areas around tail and nacelles, etc.). Use a bit of microfiber polishing to help.
There weren't any of the smaller stencils that my reference photos indicated, other than the walkway markings, and I couldn't find any white ones in my decal spares box, so I found a set of Verlinden dry transfers for 1/72 on eBay, and use those for all the stenciling on the lower parts of the airframe and on the nacelles. I LOVED using dry transfers - and am so glad I found a set for my Japanese Phantom. I was a little skittish about using them, but no longer!
I decided to use a panel line wash, though I'm not sure you can even see it. I also experimented with pastel panel line post shading (beneath the tailplanes), but decided it wasn't worth it, so didn't carry that over the entire model. I did use a highly thinned oil wash to tone down the white decals just a smidge, and to provide just a bit of walk-wear on the upper wing.
There you have it! I loved the big, bulky Savage when I first ran across it, and I'm please with the outcome, especially with a short-run kit. The Savage was replace in the late 50's by another aircraft that seemed awful big for carrier ops - the Skywarrior.
14 additional images. Click to enlarge.