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  1. #1
    Join Date
    19th January 2009
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    Georgetown, Texas
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    521

    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

    ____________________

    James Duffy
    www.spacemonkeymodels.com

  2. #2
    Join Date
    18th January 2009
    Location
    Maryland
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    11,452
    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
    Join Date
    19th January 2009
    Location
    Georgetown, Texas
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    521
    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
    Join Date
    19th January 2009
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    Georgetown, Texas
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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
    Join Date
    19th January 2009
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    Georgetown, Texas
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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
    Join Date
    21st September 2017
    Location
    NY/NJ
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    60
    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
    Join Date
    19th January 2009
    Location
    Georgetown, Texas
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    521
    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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    ____________________

    James Duffy
    www.spacemonkeymodels.com

  8. #8
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    19th January 2009
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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
    Join Date
    19th January 2009
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    Georgetown, Texas
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    521
    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
    ____________________

    James Duffy
    www.spacemonkeymodels.com

  10. #10
    Join Date
    19th January 2009
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    Georgetown, Texas
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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
    Join Date
    19th January 2009
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    Georgetown, Texas
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    521
    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

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