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Scott Nelson
103 articles

It was going to be literally out of the box

A while back on another site someone started a thread about building a kit without painting any of it. Just a pure build to see how well you could do without hiding flaws with paint. Most everyone said “no way.” But I kinda liked the idea and so I looked through my stash to find a kit that would fit the bill. Having done the once before and remembering it to be a hassle free project, I decided to give it a go without any paint.

Once I got going on the build I kept going back and forth as to whether or not I should paint it. I knew I would be able to delay the decision until I had to glue on the engine nacelles and canopies. It was extremely weird to not paint the thing. However, I was able to get everything together (including aircrew, but not the props) without A drop of paint because of the great fit of the nacelles. They stayed in place without cement. Additionally, I used the old home brew putty made of bits of kit sprue and liquid cement so even when the small gaps were filled, everything was identical in color.

Once it was all together, it looked boring as Hell. I just couldn’t stand it so I carefully painted the engines, cockpit and gunner’s station, and the wheel wells with an airbrush, touching up details with a fine point brush. The rest was close to normal.

Another unusual thing I did on this one was to skip the gloss coat before decaling. I did use Microsol and carefully pressed the decals on with a cotton swab. Then I sealed the decals with a coat of clear flat. But I only covered the decals, not the entire model. Amazingly enough, I got no slivering.

So there you have it.

12 additional images. Click to enlarge.

20 responses

  1. Good stuff and nice job painting a completed model. I could never build one unpainted either. Long ago I saw a magazine article where the guy painted the model to look like a black & white photo, nothing but shades of grey paint. That would be something I would like to try

    • Thanks, George. A black and white version in gray would be a worthwhile project. I’ve painted some of my figures, particularly flats, in grayscale. They look pretty cool that way. In fact, it’s always difficult to cover that grayscale up with the color glazes.

  2. Ho Scott. I like your design philosophy !
    I am new at this Since I was young...but I feel that for some models or scales or Vintages of models it’s actually easier to do . Beating a dead horse is cruel on some of those heritage model kits In overachieving something that is Was not there Your post is timely in dispelling my frustrations on how to.
    Your Beau, look beautiful.
    Thanks for showing off.

  3. Nice result. The Airfix Beaufighter is a real champion.

    You were able to get away with doing the decals as you did due to the quality of new Airfix decals and the fact you paid attention and squeezed them down at the end. I'd still recommend that things are always more certain done the "tried and trusted" method, but if the decals are good enough, you can get away with such a trick.

    • Thanks, Tom. I will stick with my usual decaling method of using a gloss coat. In my experience decals are too fickle to trust without one. Honestly, I was pretty surprised I didn’t have any silvering.

  4. Nice end result, Scott.
    In principle I like the idea of building without paint, but am happy to see you decided to give it this great looking scheme.
    It gives this plane a much better look.
    On my recent Airfix builds I used the same method on applying the decals and can confirm that it works well.
    Next time I will give the gloss coat approach a try.

  5. Great final result after a "different" road, Scott!
    I love it!

  6. Although your approach was unconventional, you wouldn't know it from the outcome! It came out looking great! Nicely done.

    • Thanks, Greg. You know, as I looked at the finished kit, I was thinking along the same lines, as in, “Do I really need to do all that shading and weathering on the cockpit as usual? You can hardly tell the difference vs. this one.”

  7. Nicely done! How do you do the home brew puddy method?

    • If I remember correctly, it’s a trick I learned from an old Kalmbach tips book. 101 modeling tips or something like that. Anyway, you chop up a bunch of sprue into little bits and put them in a jar of liquid cement. I used about two parts plastic to one part cement by volume. But you can adjust the ratio to make it thicker or thinner. And if it begins to dry out, you can always add more thinner.

      I’d say it’s been superseded by more modern putties but, it still has its uses now and then. Thin layers on tissue paper can make very effective clothing, bed rolls and the like.

  8. Looks great, Scott (@guitarhack5). Did you use the kit decals?

  9. Great work Scott! I'm intrigued by the absence of gloss coating (I thought there was a law against that). I don't know how many kits I painted with dead flat paints only to cover them with gloss. Nice to hear that it is possible to skip that step. I'll have to try it. Did you apply panel liner?

    • Thanks, Dennis! I don’t know if I would do the decaling without a gloss coat very often. It’s obviously a risk. No panel liner on this one either. I didn’t trust the liner to stay in the grooves without a gloss coat! Lol. But I think that’s one of the good things about the deeper panel lines on new Airfix kits. They stand out even without shading.

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