Scale Models:The Warbirds Project

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ArcticFox
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Scale Models:The Warbirds Project

Postby ArcticFox » Wed Aug 19, 2015 2:55 pm

So this is where I'll share a few pics of my 1:48 scale project of building WWII aircraft, specifically fighters but other types may strike my fancy. All aircraft will be built with pilots in them in an in-flight configuration.

I've already done 3, but I need to take some more pics of them. For now, here's what I have.

This one is a P-40 with Flying Tigers markings. The model is a Revell/Monogram P-40 with a few slight modifications. I wanted reasonable historical accuracy without getting too fanatical about it.

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The Flying Tigers used P-40s that were built by the U.S. but were provided by the United Kingdom, so they are sporting UK camouflage colors and the sharp transition between colors. The camo is deliberately a bit sloppy to give the impression of being maintained under field conditions. I added the antenna wire from each wingtip to the tail. The markings on the wings are the Chinese roundel from before the Communist takeover that happened later.

I know it's a horrible picture, but I'll put up some better ones.

Next, I did a Supermarine Spitfire MKI, as used by the United Kingdom in the Battle of Britain. This image is NOT the completed model. The kit is the Airfix Spitfire MkI.

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The messy part around the UK roundel on the wing is from decal medium, which I absolutely recommend you use on your own models. It softens the decal, making it fit snugly over surface details like rivets and panel lines. Then, after all is dry, you h it it with a coat of matte finish and it looks like the decal was painted on. Again, British plane, British colors and sloppy, like a plane that has had the paint touched up a few times.

The third was Accurate Miniatures' Yak-1 fighter, as flown by Lilia Litvyak.

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The Soviet camo had the softer edges so I used an airbrush to do the pattern. First the plane was painted all green then the black was airbrushed on. The canopy is masked using simple white glue brushed on and after the paint dried it was removed, and I think worked out decently well. This kit didn't come with a pilot so I went on eBay and got a resin 1:48 scale Soviet Yak-3 pilot. The only difference was that the seat was wrong for a Yak-1, so I cut it off and attached the seat that came with the kit. Then I tried a little sanding to make the pilot's face look more feminine (results... meh.) to represent the "White Rose of Stalingrad."

I'll take pics of the completed fighters and add those later.
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Re: Scale Models:The Warbirds Project

Postby ccgr » Thu Aug 20, 2015 3:55 am

the yak1 is my favorite, nice airbrushing!

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Re: Scale Models:The Warbirds Project

Postby ArcticFox » Thu Aug 20, 2015 1:05 pm

Thanks! Will try and get pics of the completed model up today.
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Re: Scale Models:The Warbirds Project

Postby ArcticFox » Thu Aug 20, 2015 2:16 pm

Ok so here's a few shots of the completed P-40.

Here's another shot of the right front quarter. I chose the Revell model, even though it's a relatively lower quality, because reviews I looked up actually said it was the most accurately scaled P-40 available. It did mean I had to do some custom work, but it wasn't a problem.

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Note the China roundels on the wings. These fighters were American built P-40s with volunteer American pilots flying aircraft provided by the United Kingdom defending China. Talk about teamwork!

Here's the cockpit. I painted the framework around the canopy windows with a fine brush using a layer of primer first then the paint. It doesn't look as clean as I had hoped. Note the 5 Japanese flags, representing 5 air to air victories. That makes this pilot an ace. Also note the winged tiger emblem. That character was actually designed by Walt Disney himself!

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Pilots in the Flying Tigers were men who had resigned from the U.S. Army Air Corps to go volunteer to defend China. When the U.S. entered the war, these pilots were absorbed back into the Army. They had gotten used to the excellent pay and personal freedom, and chafed at the sudden military discipline imposed on them. Several wanted to resign, but were warned that if they did, they'd be drafted right back into the Army to serve as infantrymen!

I wanted to do an accurate antenna wire and field repaired P-40s had several different types. The kit didn't come with any way of wiring it so I fabricated the brackets and ran thread through them to represent the antenna wire.

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Communication between aircraft was critical under any circumstances, but especially with the Flying Tigers. Their P-40s were generally no match for the Japanese Zeros they often fought against, and needed to use coordinated tactics and leverage the strengths of their own planes against the weaknesses of the Zeros. This approach was highly successful, and the Flying Tigers quickly earned a reputation for being excellent combat pilots.

And the underside.

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WWII fighters generally had the front wheels at least partially exposed when retracted. I don't know why but I plan to find out! Not all fighters retracted the rear wheel, but the P-40 is one that did.

The P-40 was regarded as an obsolete fighter when WWII broke out, as it frequently had to battle against more advanced and superior aircraft. It was still able to account well for itself with smart combat tactics and a skilled pilot. The P-40 had impressive armor and great flight characteristics in a dive, where it had a major advantage over its most common adversary. P-40s were mostly used in the Pacific theater of war.
"He who takes offense when no offense is intended is a fool, and he who takes offense when offense is intended is a greater fool."
—Brigham Young

"Don't take refuge in the false security of consensus."
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Re: Scale Models:The Warbirds Project

Postby ArcticFox » Thu Aug 20, 2015 2:57 pm

The next subject was the Supermarine Spitfire MkI. This was a British plane and saw most of its combat action in the skies over England.

Here's a left side view. Note how much cleaner the roundel on the wing looks after a coat of matte clearcoat. This Airfix model was much higher quality, with more parts (greater challenge) and better quality decals. It also has recessed panel lines which are much more realistic looking.

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Spitfires weren't the only fighter in the air defending Britain, and in fact wasn't even in the majority. Nevertheless, it's the fighter most people think of when we talk about the Battle of Britain.

Here's a closeup of the cockpit. Like with the P-40, I brush painted the canopy frame and it's sloppier than it should be. The kit included a pilot, which I used.

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It is commonly believed that the British air force was horribly outnumbered by the German Luftwaffe, but in fact that isn't true. The Germans underestimated the strength of the British, and the British overestimated German strength. This mistake worked in favor of the British, and cost the Luftwaffe severely!

Here's a closeup of the fuselage markings. Notice the way the decals have settled into the recessed panel lines. This is what the decal medium does. Between that and the clear coat, it makes the decals look painted on, which is much more realistic.

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There were MANY variants of the Spitfire as it received continuous upgrades and modifications over the course of the war. Different armaments, engines, canopy shapes and construction materials meant a variety of performance characteristics and mission profiles for Spitfires.

And the bottom view. The landing wheels are partly covered when retracted, but are still visible.

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While the Spitfire was primarily fielded by the British, it was also operated by other countries, during and after WWII. Most Spitfires fought in the European theater.
"He who takes offense when no offense is intended is a fool, and he who takes offense when offense is intended is a greater fool."
—Brigham Young

"Don't take refuge in the false security of consensus."
—Christopher Hitchens

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Re: Scale Models:The Warbirds Project

Postby ccgr » Thu Aug 20, 2015 3:21 pm

Wow very informative and well done! Thanks for sharing, as always! :)

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Re: Scale Models:The Warbirds Project

Postby ArcticFox » Thu Aug 20, 2015 3:23 pm

Ok so h ere's the last of the 3 I had done before starting this thread. It's a Yak-1, operated by the USSR. This particular plane was flown by Lilia Litvyak, one of many female combat pilots who fought for the Soviet Union in WWII.

First, a cockpit view. The kit is done by Accurate Miniatures and it was a pretty decent kit, but doesn't come with a pilot! It figures... Oh well. I was able to get a resin Yak-3 pilot on eBay and modify the seat to make it correct for the Yak-1. I also softened the facial features a bit to make the pilot look feminine. The results were... mixed. Resin isn't an easy material to work with.

For the cockpit this time, I masked the clear part with Elmer's glue and painted over it. It peeled off very nicely and successfully produced a much cleaner canopy frame. I've read that other experienced modelers hate to use it because it's so difficult to peel, but I found that if you paint the glue on nice and thick, it'll peel off fine. You can see the painted canopy with the glue on it in the first post in this thread.

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The Soviet Union featured many female combat pilots, who did very well. In one incident, a captured German ace who had been shot down by Lilia Litvyak asked to meet the pilot who had defeated him. When he saw Ms. Litvyak, he didn't believe he'd been shot down by a teenage girl... That is, until she described in detail how the dogfight had gone and how she got him. He was so impressed, he offered her his wristwatch as a gift. She refused, saying "I do not accept gifts from my enemies." Hardcore.

A view of the left side. I wired up the antenna from the mast to the tip of the tail, but it's too slack. I may go back and redo it.

Image

Those clear disc shaped windows on the wings are actually the fuel gauges! The pilot would look out onto the wing to see how much fuel was left. There was one on each side.

Here's the right side. The camo pattern was done with an airbrush. I haven't used an airbrush in MANY years, but I think it turned out okay.

Image

As with the other fighters I've built so far, the Yak-1 was equipped with a V-type engine, not unlike a car. The exhaust pipes sticking out of the sides of the nose are a characteristic of aircraft equipped with these engines.

And the bottom view.

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As always, the landing gear are partly visible when retracted. The tail wheel is also visible when retracted on this type of fighter. It's kinda funny to me that there would be red stars on the underside but not the top of the wings.
"He who takes offense when no offense is intended is a fool, and he who takes offense when offense is intended is a greater fool."
—Brigham Young

"Don't take refuge in the false security of consensus."
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Re: Scale Models:The Warbirds Project

Postby ArcticFox » Thu Aug 20, 2015 3:25 pm

Wow very informative and well done! Thanks for sharing, as always! :)
Thanks! Currently I'm working on a Soviet IL-2. I seem to have lost the instrument panel, so I'm going to have to fabricate anew one. Bah.
"He who takes offense when no offense is intended is a fool, and he who takes offense when offense is intended is a greater fool."
—Brigham Young

"Don't take refuge in the false security of consensus."
—Christopher Hitchens

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Re: Scale Models:The Warbirds Project

Postby ccgr » Thu Aug 20, 2015 3:33 pm

sounds challenging

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Re: Scale Models:The Warbirds Project

Postby xbox650 » Sat Aug 22, 2015 6:00 am

Wow seeing them plane models takes me way back.
Fantastic job!
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Nothing shall forestall my return."

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Re: Scale Models:The Warbirds Project

Postby ArcticFox » Mon Aug 24, 2015 1:56 pm

Thanks!

I'm on a sort of pause with this project until I finish the Enterprise-A for the Starfleet project, but when I get back to it I'll post pics of my IL-2 progress.
"He who takes offense when no offense is intended is a fool, and he who takes offense when offense is intended is a greater fool."
—Brigham Young

"Don't take refuge in the false security of consensus."
—Christopher Hitchens

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Re: Scale Models:The Warbirds Project

Postby ArcticFox » Fri Aug 28, 2015 5:54 pm

This is the assembled cockpit with the aftermarket resin pilot

Image

He fits in there pretty well. His feet don't go into the rudder pedals but you wouldn't be able to see them once it's in the plane anyway so I'm not sweating it. I still have to make a new instrument panel and finish painting this part, but I think the pilot will do nicely.
"He who takes offense when no offense is intended is a fool, and he who takes offense when offense is intended is a greater fool."
—Brigham Young

"Don't take refuge in the false security of consensus."
—Christopher Hitchens

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Re: Scale Models:The Warbirds Project

Postby ccgr » Sat Aug 29, 2015 12:21 am

seems to work well enough :)

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Re: Scale Models:The Warbirds Project

Postby Chozon1 » Sat Aug 29, 2015 6:17 am

Look's like a great fit. ^_^
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