24-hour build: Airfix 1/72 Wildcat
On one of the other modelling forums I frequent, there’s an annual Group Build in which participants build an unstarted kit of their choice in a 24-hour period. Frequent updates have to be posted, with progress photos taken including a timepiece to ensure no cheating… It’s actually a lot of fun and requires careful planning (check stocks of paint, make sure the airbrush is clean, ensure one’s better half is onboard). It also inevitably means some compromises in quality, so being able to accept that up-front is essential. Choice of kit is key, too, and the later 1/72 single-engine Airfix subjects are ideal.
I settled on this Airfix F4F-4, and having studied the instructions decided I could cut some time by building the complex undercarriage retracted, although it meant painting a pilot figure (not my strong suit) and making a simple base to pose the aircraft in flight.
The model went together surprisingly quickly leaving me more time than anticipated for painting and weathering. Paints used were all Tamiya acrylics thinned with Gunze self-levelling thinner, and the panel line wash was heavily-thinned oils. A hair-dryer was used to accelerate drying times. Aerial wire was a length of Uschi van der Rosten thread.
I had a wooden base from a previous project so it was sprayed flat black, the model mounted on a short metal rod and a simple ink-jet printed label added. The prop was left loose, and the hairdryer pressed into service again to spin it while the photos were taken. I scraped across the finish line with about 20 minutes to spare.
Although the finished model is far from perfect (the fit of the canopy continues to bug me), completing a 24-hour build always makes me question why – if I can build a model in a day – do I not complete more kits in a year?
4 additional images. Click to enlarge.