1/48 Bristol Beaufighter Mk VIF – Malta 1942
My first attempt at an article or work in progress on this site, please bear with me! Recently purchased (more like invested) in a Harder-Steenbeck Infinity airbrush and decided to try this out on a new kit build; this Tamiya classic became my first victim! This is OOB, no frills; the only thing additional is the paint mask by Eduard.
Cockpit is relatively basic, but fit is firm, tight, and the detail is sufficient for OOB. Tamiya provides decals for the crew station intruments, which I struggled to get on as they basically fell apart on me during application. Once the cockpit was finished the rest of the kit went together rather rapidly due to really good, crisp sprues, virtually no flash, and good engineering design of the moulds. I take my time with such things, so while it took me several weeks to do, in reality probably a few hours' time in total; airframe assembly to the final shape in Picture 2 probably took about two hours.
The rockets, wheels, engines, landing gear, props, antennas and wheel well doors I did separately as they'll go on later towards the end.
Once assembled, I primered the airframe and touched up with putty and reprimered again, then began the undershading or filtering for the final camouflage coats. First on was a deep red-brown on fabric-covered control surfaces (or what I assumed were anyway), and then a dusting of Pale Brown - I put a heavier application of pale brown on the engine strutures in the wings to offer a subtle difference for engine fluid stain, metal, etc. then added a filter of camouflage gray across the top of the wings and fuselage to simulate sun fading in the mediterranean climate before tracing the panel lines. This is pretty tedious as I tend to hit EVERY panel line! Here is where I acquainted myself with my new toy - an Infinity CR+ with a 0.2mm needle... Flat black thinned out at about a 1:2 or 1:2.5 ratio (very thin for me) and I used the trigger stop feature and was truly impressed with the results. hinged panels and really grimy areas will get this, but I'm going to chase the rest of the panels elsewhere with a combination of browns. More to come, hopefully today...
I've finished undershading all the panel lines on the topside of the airframe today in a cocoa brown that I think will complement the middlestone/dark earth camouflage to come later. About 65% done, next step will be to flip the Beaufighter over and put a filter on the underside (I'm thinking of Oxide Green frankly) before I undershade the panel lines a medium grey ahead of the final coat of Azure Blue.
Its been a few days since I was out here on this article, I haven't forgot - just been very busy both with work and the Beaufighter (when I've had the headspace for it anyway)... so I'll carry on and pick up where I left off:
6 Sep 21: [Pic11] I started shading in the individual panel lines on the underside of the Beaufighter, I feel I got a real good effect going with the GS Oxide Green, taking care to keep a little distance from the panel lines themselves.
11 Sep 21: [Pic13] I put a GS intermediate blue around all the panels - really struggled to keep a consistent flow through my H&S, then discovered a recent trip to my local hobby shop that GS Aqueous really shouldn't be mixed with Mr Color thinner! Food for thought next time, even though it seemed to work just fine with GS Cocoa Brown, GS Oxide Green and GS Flat Black... needless to say I think the oxide green accent was a waste of time; I should've just shot the whole thing GS oxide green then did the panel lines afterwards.
12 Sep 21: [Pic14] Next comes the camouflage. One of the truly great things I love about this kit from the moment I opened the box was the giant, to-scale planform of the Beaufighter's camouflage patterns! Yay! Harking back to my days as a penniless youth, I wanted a soft edge on my paint, and I had a handy supply of cardstock 😁👍...
17 Sep 21: [Pic18] I spent the next several days marrying up the various pieces of the camouflage areas in order to get the correct shape around the bends and corners... These all needed to be done before I put the first coat of paint down over the undershading.
20 Sep 21: [Pic21] I taped up my beaufighter, deciding it was best to start from the belly up. As a reward for their sage advice at my local hobby shop, I decided to invest in a few of the AK Interactive paints - live very dangerously and try my hand at them while putting on a finish coat with them. I bout the Azure Blue, Dark Earth, and Middlestone. Along with a supply of AK thinner to accompany. I couldn't find anywhere a set mix ratio of thinner to paint for the AK line, and all the commentary I was reading on it was as diverse and contradictory as it was confusing, so I chose to go with what I knew: Dave Whalen once said if you can get paint bubbles to 'roll' across the surface you've got a good mix - so that's what I did. I always tend to go a little too thin than too thick, so with the Azure Blue it was more like a 1:2.5 mix of paint to thinner. I got the dancing paint bubbles, so tested it out on a scrap piece of cardboard with my H&S and then off to work.
The jury is still out for me on the AK Interactive range of paints after my first experience. I'm a little worried I won't have enough 'room' shading-wise or coat-wise to be able to pull out the dark panels from underneath both a coat of Middlestone AND a coat of Dark Earth on top of that, knowing what I know now, but hey, that's part of the fun, isn't it?
20 additional images. Click to enlarge.