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  1. #1
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    More V-2 Maxi Brute Fun: White Sands Round #43

    Some of you may have followed the construction of a 1/16.7 scale Bumper WAC in my earlier build thread, "Revisiting the Estes Maxi Brute V-2." Some may have noticed that I actually built two V-2 kits during that thread, and that one of the kits was destined for a spiffy paint job at some point in the future. Now that my post-summer "no more rockets for a while" funk has worn off, it is time to start painting that second model.

    Following the end of World War II more than 60 captured V-2 rockets were flown at the White Sands Proving Ground in southern New Mexico, along with a couple more that launched from the brand new Atlantic Test Range at Cape Canaveral. Perhaps none of those carried quite as colorful and unusual a paint scheme as White Sands Round #43, which carried instruments to measure cosmic and solar radiation as well as a spectroscopy package. Here are a pair of photos which show the variety of colors. Note that the V-shaped chevron details on this round alternate between fluorescent red-orange and yellow, which is a departure from the simple black stripes on most US-launched V-2s.

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    This first photo has been floating around on the web for years, but really didn't offer enough detail to document the full paint job. A couple of years ago I was doing some research on a separate project, and used a few spare moments to poke around for additional Bumper WAC resources. One of the boxes brought out by the archivist contained materials that Michael Neufeld had compiled for his excellent biography of Werner von Braun, which, sadly, yielded no new Bumper stuff. It did, however, contain a few original 35mm slides of Round #43, which allowed an accurate documentation of the complete paint scheme. I arranged for the slides to be scanned, and shared the images with Peter Alway. Peter used these pictures to put together a new drawing for the round which should ideally appear in his forthcoming 5th edition of his "Rockets of the World."

    We'll get started in a bit.

    James

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    www.spacemonkeymodels.com

  2. #2
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    18th January 2009
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    Cool, don't remember seeing that one before.

    Dick Stafford
    The member formerly known as the Pointy-Haired Moderator.
    The Original Rocket Dungeon
    Volunteer compiler of product news for ROCKETS Magazine

  3. #3
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    We're going to work our way down the model from the top, masking and painting the features one at a time. Out first task will be to paint the nose cap. Peter's drawing has it tagged as orange, but I get more of a reddish vibe from the photo:

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    So, how to mask the line accurately? A bit of photo-interpretation indicates that the line at the base of the red nose cap is 12.8% of the total length of the rocket. Our model is 845mm tall, which means that the mask line needs to be about 108mm down from the tip. I tested the fit of a few sections of body tube over the tip to see if any of them would come close to that 108mm mark, and a scrap section of BT-70 was almost perfect at 107mm. I glued a 70-to-50 centering ring inside the scrap BT-70 tube to center it properly on the nose cone, and masked just below the line where the tube touched the cone. This gives us a nice, clean accurate mask line.

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    ____________________

    James Duffy
    www.spacemonkeymodels.com

  4. #4
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    The nose cap has been completely masked, and we're ready to paint with Tamiya bright red spray lacquer.

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    The first color coats are sprayed on...

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    ...and the masking is removed.

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    More later,
    James
    ____________________

    James Duffy
    www.spacemonkeymodels.com

  5. #5
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    Our next task is locate and mask the top circumferential black stripe on the model. According to a bit of photo interpretation we can see that the top of the stripe is 25.2% of the length of the rocket down from the tip. Using the 845mm length of our model, that means that the stripe starts at 213mm from the top of the cone. Intriguingly, there is a mold line on the Estes cone that is in exactly the right spot (two lines, actually). I suspect that these lines were machined into the mold to represent the joint between the forward fuel tank and the guidance section on the V-2. In fact, the original finishing guide supplied with the kit points out this detail. It is entirely reasonable to assume that White Sands engineers and technicians would use existing joint lines and other "landmarks" on the prototype as guides to assist in painting the rockets.

    I'm going to use 10mm Tamiya masking tape to define the line, then mask on either side of the stripe location with 6mm tape. With the masking tapes in place we'll remove the first strip that was used to define the location.

    First, the 10mm tape is placed exactly where we want the finished stripe:

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    Lengths of 6mm tape are then applied on either side of this strip.

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    Finally, the 10mm strip we used to define the stripe is removed, exposing the area where we need to apply the black stripe. After we add some drape masks to protect the rest of the cone surfaces we'll be ready to paint.

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    The lower airframe has a similar circumferential stripe just above the forward end of the fin roots, so we'll go ahead and mask and prep that so it can be painted at the same time. The masking procedure here was very similar.

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    More later,
    James
    ____________________

    James Duffy
    www.spacemonkeymodels.com

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by James Duffy View Post
    The nose cap has been completely masked, and we're ready to paint with Tamiya bright red spray lacquer.
    James,

    Where did you source the patterns for making perfectly circular masking edges for the nose cone?
    I assume you used something other than paper to set the sharp edge and avoid paint bleed?

    a

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by afadeev View Post
    Where did you source the patterns for making perfectly circular masking edges for the nose cone?
    I assume you used something other than paper to set the sharp edge and avoid paint bleed?
    A great question! Here's a tip I have not yet shared...

    As anyone who has tried can tell you, it is pretty tough to mask a straight line on a conical surface. The first trick is to know exactly where the line needs to go, and the body tube trick shown in post #3 shows how to do that. Once you know where to mask, the challenge then becomes the actual mask job. I do that by creating a thin, curved piece of masking tape using a French curve to guide a knife blade. Start by sticking a piece of masking tape on a cutting mat, then laying a French curve over the tape. Wiggle the curve around until you find a spot where the positioning over the tape seems to make sense. You may have to do this a few times before you find a curvature that works right for your particular masking task.

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    Cut along the French curve.

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    Move the curve a few millimeters so that the final product will be the width you desire, then cut again. You'll end up with a curved piece of masking material that will follow a straight path around a cone much, much easier than a straight piece of tape.

    One more tip: for a smaller cone, use the tighter part of the French curve.

    James

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    ____________________

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  8. #8
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    The circumferential stripes have been painted using Tamiya semi-gloss black applied with an airbrush.

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    Here's how things look once the masking materials have been removed.

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    More later,
    James
    ____________________

    James Duffy
    www.spacemonkeymodels.com

  9. #9
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    The chevron stripes will be painted next. Zooming in on a couple of photos of round #43 we can pick out some differences between the upper and lower ends of the stripes. Let's take a look at this photo taken of the spent airframe crashed in the desert at White Sands:

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    Note that the stripes clearly overlap where they come together just below the black upper circumferential band. That's easy to mask.

    Now, let's look at the lower chevron stripe junction:

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    The stripes come together, but do not overlap. Also, the stripes end just above the airframe joint. This will be a little trickier to mask, but not impossible.

    More in a bit,
    James
    ____________________

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    www.spacemonkeymodels.com

  10. #10
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    These stripes will be completed in two phases. All of the stripes slanting to the left will be masked and painted first, unmasked, then we'll do the whole process again with the stripes slanting the opposite way.

    The first task is to lock the nose cone in place, as the chevron stripes will cross the airframe/cone border. Any shift in this alignment would be disastrous, so four small squares of cheap blue tape hold the nose cone in place. They'll stay there until all of the stripes are complete.

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    Next, the apex point of each chevron is located and marked with a pencil mark on a small piece of tape at four locations on the nose cone. These points are located between each pair of fins

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    A strip of 10mm Tamiya tape is positioned exactly where the first strip should be painted, taking into account the appropriate positioning from the scale reference photos in the last post.

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    Additional strips of 10mm tape are carefully placed on either side of the locator tape.

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    The center strip of tape is removed, revealing the area that will be painted. The process is completed three more times.

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    Additional cheap blue tape is used to fill in the gaps to prevent overspray, and bags are used to cover up the nose cone and fin can.

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    Tamiya orange and flat yellow acrylic paint is then airbrushed onto the exposed areas as appropriate.

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    The masking material is removed, revealing our stripes! We'll let the paint cure overnight before we paint the next set of four. Note that the squares of blue tape that were placed to lock the nose cone into position are still there, and will not be removed until the chevrons are complete.

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    More later,
    James
    ____________________

    James Duffy
    www.spacemonkeymodels.com

  11. #11
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    A quick update: the remaining chevron stripes have been masked, airbrushed, and unmasked, and here are the results:

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    As soon as the four tape squares holding the nose cone in alignment with the airframe tube were removed small tick marks were placed on the cone shoulder and the inside of the tube. This will allow us to quickly realign the cone and tube in the correct position.

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    More later,
    James
    ____________________

    James Duffy
    www.spacemonkeymodels.com

  12. #12
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    Time to start on the fins! As seen in this photo of the Round #43 fin can, there are two opposing fins that are entirely yellow and orange. We're going to start there.

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    These fins will be painted in two stages. After masking off the rest of the fin can, we will spray the yellow parts first, then add another layer of masking and add the slightly darker orange bits. The fin with the yellow portion outboard, or closer to the fin tip, gets painted first.

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    Next the fin with yellow at the fin root is painted.

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    The masking will stay in place, and after the paint dries overnight we'll add some more masking and paint the orange portions.

    More later,
    James
    ____________________

    James Duffy
    www.spacemonkeymodels.com

  13. #13
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    The orange panels on the fins will be done next. With the masking from the previous step still in place we just need to add a bit more tape.

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    With the final bit of masking in place we can start spraying the orange coat. Both the orange and yellow are Tamiya acrylics applied with an airbrush.

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    After the paint has a few minutes to settle down both layers of masking can be removed, revealing the fins.

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    More later,
    James
    ____________________

    James Duffy
    www.spacemonkeymodels.com

  14. #14
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    The other two fins have different patterns consisting largely of white and black, not unlike other White Sands V-2. There's a bit of yellow and orange thrown into the mix, though. As these two fins differ significantly we will paint them separately.

    The first task is to paint the small orange details as seen in this photo:

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    The orange area is masked off, and the two orange squares are airbrushed with Tamiya orange acrylic. The masking is then removed, revealing the orange bits.

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    The next task will be to mask over these areas and paint the upper portion of this fin black. We'll need to let the paint stabilize for a day or so before we do that, though.

    More later,
    James
    ____________________

    James Duffy
    www.spacemonkeymodels.com

  15. #15
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    Next, the black upper portion of this fin will be masked and painted. The first step is to carefully cut a couple of masks to cover the orange squares painted in the previous step. I neglected to get a photo of this, but I trust that you all are smart enough to figure out that little detail. The area to be painted black is then masked with Tamiya tape and draped with plastic. The airbrush is loaded up with semi-gloss black acrylic and the fin is painted.

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    After the paint dries for a few minutes (acrylics dry very quickly) the masking is removed and the upper fin portion revealed.

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    More later,
    James

    P.S. I have no idea why the crummy forum software inverted my photos. Again, you guys are bright enough to figure out the general idea.
    ____________________

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  16. #16
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    The next yellow section of this fin will be painted next. As before, we begin with an unreasonably unpleasant masking job:

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    Next, the fin is airbrushed with yellow acrylic, allowed to dry for a few minutes, then unmasked.
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    More later,
    James
    ____________________

    James Duffy
    www.spacemonkeymodels.com

  17. #17
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    Those dudes at White Sands must have been pretty bored.

    kj

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by kjohnson View Post
    Those dudes at White Sands must have been pretty bored.
    Agreed. The only reasons for this freaky paint job I can think of are: 1) "here's some random paint we found," and 2) "here are some random mushrooms we found."
    ____________________

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  19. #19
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    Has anyone looked at feeding a stack of hi res b&w photos through a semi-automatic colorizing workflow?

  20. #20
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    Time to finish up the paint on the #3 fin. The masking is put in place for the black field on the opposite side of the fin we've been painting for the past few steps:

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    The fin section is then painted, allowed to dry a bit, and unmasked.

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    This was intended to be a relatively simple, low-impact alternative to the stuff I normally do, so I didn't get too obsessive about the air bubbles in the fin root fillets. If I had known how cool this was going to turn out I might have spent more time fixing that little oversight...

    More later,
    James
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  21. #21
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    Let's move on to our final fin. Both sides of this fin are exactly the same, so the masking and painting should go quickly. Here's the photo of the overall rocket that was posted earlier in the thread. Note the yellow stripe, which Peter Alway documents as appearing on both sides of the fin.

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    Our first task will be to mask the entire fin. After that, we'll spray some yellow Tamiya acrylic with the airbrush on both sides of the fin in the general location of the stripe, then allow that to dry for a few hours. All of the masking will stay in place.

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    More later,
    James
    ____________________

    James Duffy
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  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by James Duffy View Post
    Agreed. The only reasons for this freaky paint job I can think of are: 1) "here's some random paint we found," and 2) "here are some random mushrooms we found."
    Now, that's funny!

    John S. ---- NAR #96911 ---- TRA #15253 ---- MDRA #067 ---- BARC #028
    L1, 3/15/14: Aerotech Sumo, CTI H133BS
    L2, 6/21/14: Giant Leap Vertical Assault, CTI J240RL
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    Altitude: 13,028', L3 flight; Speed: Mach ???, L3 flight

  23. #23
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    With the yellow area roughly painted and dry, we can now mask off the area we want to protect from the black overcoat. The yellow masking tape is a little tough to make out in the midst of all the yellow paint, but it is there.

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    Next, the semi-gloss black acrylic paint is airbrushed onto the fin.

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    Finally, the masking materials are removed, exposing the black fin and yellow stripe.

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    More later,
    James
    ____________________

    James Duffy
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  24. #24
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    Time for our last little painting task! There are dielectric antenna panels at the base of each V-2 fin, and they need to be painted black. One pair of of the panels are already black due to the last painting operation, so we only need to mask and paint three of the little boogers. When working on the Bumper WAC project a few months ago I neglected to get a view of this particular masking operation, so I made a point to snap a photo.

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    With our masking in place we can airbrush the panels with semi-gloss black acrylic.

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    The masking can now be removed, revealing the panels.

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    We're in the home stretch on this project now, with only a few simple steps left:

    * Install the round numbers to two of the fins.
    * Install the simulated exhaust vanes.
    * Fabricate and install the antenna details into the holes on the trailing edge of the fins.
    * Simulate some of the tape details that appear in the prototype photos with bits of colored decal film.
    * Draw out the airframe joint detail with a mild dirty wash.
    * Spray on a clear matte overcoat.

    More later,
    James
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    www.spacemonkeymodels.com

  25. #25
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    The airframe joint at the forward end of the Estes V-2 tail cone is a pretty good representation of the actual part on a prototypical V-2, so we're going to highlight some of that detail with a mild dirty wash. This is a simple weathering technique stolen from the plastic modeling world that has the potential to work well on model rockets in the right situation. This is a really simple technique, but you should probably try it first on a spare piece from an old kit.

    We'll need four things on hand to do this:
    1) burnt umber oil paint (some people prefer black)
    2) Turpenoid thinner
    3) a mixing container (I have a crusty, old, dirty one dedicated to this task. The additional funk just adds more character.)
    4) a fine point paint brush that you dedicate to this task only (you can reuse it for this task in the future, but using it for other stuff is probably a bad idea)

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Start by placing a pea-sized bit of the burnt umber oil paint in the container. Pour a bit of the Turpenoid over the top. (I use about ten parts Turpenoid to one part oil paint.) Mix it up with the paint brush, until a thin, dirty consistency is achieved.

    Load the brush with a tiny bit of the wash, and touch the brush to the lowest point of the joint. Capillary action will draw the wash through the peaks and valleys of the plastic joint. Repeat until the entire joint has been "dirtied." For best results, use as little of the wash as possible, as you can always add more. If you get any of the wash in an area where you don't want it, just wipe it off with a soft cloth or tissue.

    Here's a shot of the joint with the wash applied to the upper section, but with the lower section still clean.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    ...and here's what the joint looks like when it is complete. This is really easy way to add to the realism of the model, and the whole process took less than five minutes.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    More later,
    James
    ____________________

    James Duffy
    www.spacemonkeymodels.com

  26. #26
    Join Date
    19th January 2009
    Location
    Georgetown, Texas
    Posts
    541
    Just a few more tasks and we'll be all done. First, the dry transfers are placed where they belong. To learn more about how these are created and applied, read this post in the Bumper WAC thread.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Click image for larger version. 

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    There's are some neat little tape details that show up in the prototype photos that we can recreate easily with pieces of black decal film. The little black dots were punched out with a special micro hole punch that I borrowed from my wife's scrapbooking tools. Note that the four tape stripes are supposed to ragged and funky looking, as you can see in the prototype photo in Post #1 of this thread.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Finally, we attach the simulated exhaust vanes and the trailing antennas. You can learn more about the exhaust vanes here and the trailing antennas here.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Tomorrow we'll hit the finished model with a Krylon matte acrylic spray overcoat.

    More later,
    James
    ____________________

    James Duffy
    www.spacemonkeymodels.com

  27. #27
    Join Date
    5th December 2013
    Location
    MD
    Posts
    6,813
    That's going to be an amazing model when you are done.

    John S. ---- NAR #96911 ---- TRA #15253 ---- MDRA #067 ---- BARC #028
    L1, 3/15/14: Aerotech Sumo, CTI H133BS
    L2, 6/21/14: Giant Leap Vertical Assault, CTI J240RL
    L3, 3/12/16: MAC Performance Radial Flyer, CTI M1101WH
    Altitude: 13,028', L3 flight; Speed: Mach ???, L3 flight

  28. #28
    Join Date
    18th January 2009
    Location
    Maryland
    Posts
    11,603
    Quote Originally Posted by James Duffy View Post
    Just a few more tasks and we'll be all done. First, the dry transfers are placed where they belong. To learn more about how these are created and applied, read this post in the Bumper WAC thread.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Click image for larger version. 

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    There's are some neat little tape details that show up in the prototype photos that we can recreate easily with pieces of black decal film. The little black dots were punched out with a special micro hole punch that I borrowed from my wife's scrapbooking tools. Note that the four tape stripes are supposed to ragged and funky looking, as you can see in the prototype photo in Post #1 of this thread.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Finally, we attach the simulated exhaust vanes and the trailing antennas. You can learn more about the exhaust vanes here and the trailing antennas here.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Tomorrow we'll hit the finished model with a Krylon matte acrylic spray overcoat.

    More later,
    James
    I bow to your finishing skills. In an earlier thread, someone pondered why this pattern was chosen and then a few possible answers were offered. I would have picked: Lets paint it this way. In 50+ years scale modelers will be going nuts!
    Dick Stafford
    The member formerly known as the Pointy-Haired Moderator.
    The Original Rocket Dungeon
    Volunteer compiler of product news for ROCKETS Magazine

  29. #29
    Join Date
    24th January 2009
    Location
    Littleton, Colorado
    Posts
    3,998
    Very purdy paint job!

  30. #30
    Join Date
    19th January 2009
    Location
    Georgetown, Texas
    Posts
    541
    Quote Originally Posted by rstaff3 View Post
    I bow to your finishing skills.
    Thanks, but there really is nothing difficult going on here. What makes this project different is the fact that there are a whole bunch of simple steps taking place in a logical sequence. Anyone who has successfully masked off a fin on an Alpha could do this, too!

    James

    ____________________

    James Duffy
    www.spacemonkeymodels.com

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