D-Day themed Der Big Red Max builds...

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James Duffy

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A pair of the Der Big Red Max kits hit the workbench in this dojo several weeks ago, an arrival I documented in this unboxing video:

With basic construction completed on both of these kits, the focus has now turned to finishing. As noted in the unboxing video, the German theme strikes me as played out, so I decided to go in a different direction. D-Day invasion stripes have always intrigued me, and masking and painting the little boogers is a good test of my masking and painting skills. With that concept in mind, construction has commenced on two converted Der Big Red Max models.

Model #1 will build on the two-stage Der Bumper Max built and flown years ago, This was a play on the V-2 based Bumper WAC rockets flown 70+ years ago, albeit in a chunky Red Max vibe, and built with the 4" Mega kit. Here's a video:

It used a standard BT-60 Red Max as the sustainer, ignited via a PerfectFlite MiniTimer4 in the nose. Our new D-Day themed two stager will use a similar setup, but the booster will be painted like a C-47 transport. A smaller Red Max-based sustainer will be finished with a CG-4A assault glider vibe.

C-47 and CG-4A.jpg
The second DBRM will be finished in a P-51 scheme, also sporting invasion stripes. Here's the paint job chosen as an inspiration.
P-51 Six Shooter.jpg
There's a lot going on here: invasion stripes, natural aluminum, sky blue, bright yellow...should be fun!

We'll get started in a moment.

James
 

James Duffy

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Our first step is to build the kits. This occurred off-camera and was done just like the directions specified, with one significant departure. I've never done clad fins on a sport model, and I wanted to give it a try. The fins on the single-stage P-51 version were covered with .010" thick styrene attached with 3M Hi-Strength 90 spray contact adhesive. The two-stage P-51 version was treated to 1/64" ply sheeting, attached with Titebond II.
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This was done for cosmetic purposes, not strength, as I prefer my models to be as light as possible. The stock card centering rings were used. The assembly will be more than adequate for the recommended motors.

Construction of the Midi Red Max/CG-4A sustainer was next. This used the BT-55 nose cone and airframe tube from a Goblin kit, with the tube cut down to 175mm/6 7/8", or about 81% of the standard Red Max dimensions.
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After priming the assembled Midi Red Max, fin slots were cut into the nose of the C-47 model, and the fit was checked.

Here's the state of play at this point, with both models ready for primer and paint.
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Rustoleum Automotive primer was applied to everything at this point and allowed to cure for several days.

More later,
James
 

James Duffy

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Next, the CG-4A Midi Max was painted. The whole assembly was first sprayed with Tamiya TS-26 pure white spray lacquer, then the areas for the invasion stripes were masked on the airframe and two of the fins.
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Next, the "belly" of the CG-4A was airbrushed with Tamiya XF-66 light grey acrylic (which is more of a medium grey). After that cured for a few moments the topside was sprayed with XF-62 olive drab. The demarcation between the two colors was sprayed freehand, with no masking.
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At this point the masking over the invasion stripe area could be removed, exposing the white beneath.
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More in a bit,
James
 

James Duffy

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The masking tape comes out again as we prep for the black section of the invasion stripes.
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With the masking in place the black stripes are airbrushed with Tamiya X-18 semi-gloss black acrylic.
IMG_5052D.JPG

More later,
James
 

James Duffy

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An old Italieri 1/72 scale CG-4A Hadrian kit was purchased off of eBay so I could scavenge the decals.
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With the decals applied we can set this bit to the side until the rest of the project is complete. Just as an FYI the CG-4A Midi Max was built with a 13mm motor mount, which makes it a Goony Max, right?
IMG_5067D.JPG

More later,
James
 

Scott_650

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It’s surprising how different a model can look with just a change in the paint scheme - very nifty!
 

James Duffy

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Our next step is to mask the invasion stripes on the C-47 and P-51 themed Max rockets. First step was to paint white areas on the primed models as a base for the stripes. Next, a 90mm-wide template was used to define the outer boundaries of the stripe location. Next, 18mm Tamiya tape was used to do the actual masking. (5 stripes x 18mm = 90mm). Finally, the overspray areas were masked off with plastic bags and paper. (Sorry, I should have taken more photos of this step.)
IMG_5068D.JPG
More in a bit,
James
 

James Duffy

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With our masking in place we can start shooting the black sections of the invasion stripes. These were airbrushed with Tamiya X-18 semi gloss black acrylic.
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More later,
James
 
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Scott_650

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Construction of the Midi Red Max/CG-4A sustainer was next. This used the BT-55 nose cone and airframe tube from a Goblin kit, with the tube cut down to 175mm/6 7/8", or about 81% of the standard Red Max dimensions.

More later,
James
Hopefully you won’t have a mob of outraged Goblinistas with torches and pitchforks outside your door tonight!!o_O
 

James Duffy

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Hopefully you won’t have a mob of outraged Goblinistas with torches and pitchforks outside your door tonight!!
Perhaps I should begin planning a two-stage Goblin project in an attempt to soothe jangled sensibilities? <G>

After spraying the black acrylic, the bulk of the masking materials are then removed. The outer masking stripes will remain in place until the final color coats are sprayed, though. You can still get the flavor of what we're going for with the center stripes.
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Next steps will include remasking the overall invasion stripe area, then starting on the color coats. The story behind the invasion stripes is pretty interesting, as crews were not directed to paint them onto aircraft until a couple of days before D-Day. As a result, most of them were done quickly and crudely, very different than the precise application seen on warbirds still flying today.


This brings the last few weeks worth of work up to real time, so future posts will be a bit slower.

More later,
James
 
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James Duffy

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With our invasion stripes done our next step (ironically) is to cover them so we can paint the rest of the model. Strips of paper were attached to the existing edges of the stripe masking.
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Allow me to offer a couple of comments on the masking tapes being used. For anything that touches the model, I use Tamiya tape. It has a sharp edge, will not damage surfaces, is available in multiple widths, and is readily available from both hobby shops and online. On the other hand, Tamiya tape is expensive. So, for attaching overspray masks (like in the above photo) I use either blue painter's tape or the orange Stewmac tape seen above. Stewart-MacDonald is kinda the Apogee Components of the lutherie trade, and in addition to tape they offer a neat tape dispenser that I heartily recommend. Their sanding paper sampler is also a great way to stock up on a wide variety of stuff at a reasonable price.

The C-47 themed DBRM now gets several coats of Tamiya AS-7 USAAF neutral grey spray lacquer on its "belly." Be aware that the AS range of aircraft lacquers from Tamiya are pretty rare, and you'll find them only at the most progressive of hobby shops. I ended up ordering them from Hobbylinc.
IMG_5073D.JPG

More later,
James
 
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James Duffy

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We've allowed our grey belly paint to cure overnight, so our next step is to mask and spray the green topsides.

First, a squiggly line was drawn in Illustrator, then printed out on legal paper. This will represent the demarcation between the grey belly and green upper, kind of like a shallow sine wave. Next, we need wider masking tape than the Tamiya stuff, so I popped out to the auto parts store for a couple rolls of the good 3M auto masking tape. After a few tests I chose the lowest tack yellow stuff, which 3M calls "388N Automotive Refinish Masking Tape." A few short strips of this were slapped onto the window of my workshop, and the squiggly lines positioned over that.
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A blade was then drawn along the line, separating the tape into two sections. The tape is then reapplied and removed from the glass several times to reduce the adhesion. (And yes, I do need to clean the window.)
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Some additional squiggly lines are drawn up and printed for the section up at the nose.
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These contoured masking bits are next trimmed and shaped to fit along the imaginary belly of our C-47 Max, and some paper overspray masks are cut and fit to protect vulnerable areas.
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We're ready to paint the topsides with Tamiya AS-14 olive green USAF spray lacquer. This particular shade is not strictly period correct, but I prefer the more weathered appearance of this shade to the other OD shades that Tamiya offers.
IMG_5078.JPG
After this settles down for an hour or so we can remove the masking materials.

More later,
James
 
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James Duffy

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The paint has had a bit of time to cure, so we can go ahead and remove the masking from the C-47 Max (Normandy Max? Dakota Max?).

The overspray masks are first removed from between the fins and the fin tips.
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Next up is the belly.
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The lone bit of tape you see here was put into place before masking in order to hold the airframe and nose cone in the proper position relative to each other during the painting process.
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...and here's the model with all masking removed. There are a couple of minor hickeys on the mid-airframe invasion stripes, but a few minutes with the airbrush will fix that quickly. The contrast between the greens used for the C-47 and CG-4A portions is cool, and helps break things up a bit.
IMG_5083D.JPG
After this cures overnight we can install the markings, then pick up work on the P-51 Max (Mustang Max?). We'll install the staging electronics and piston assembly when the laser-cut parts arrive, hopefully this week.

More later,
James
 

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It is time to put the markings on the C-47 Max! A specific example of the Dakota has been chosen, a C-47 owned, restored, and operated by a nearby chapter of the Commemorative Air Force. Bearing nose art that states "That's All Brother" this aircraft took was one of the first to cross the English Channel on June 6, 1944, carrying pathfinder paratroops and special gear designed to track the radar system designed to guide other aircraft. You can learn more about it here.

Our first step today was to mask and fix the minor scratches in the invasion stripes with our airbrush.
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The vinyl markings were sourced from a firm called Callie Graphics, a firm that serves the RC aircraft hobby. Simple templates were drawn up in Illustrator to guide the installation of the wing roundels.
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Next, the forward graphics are installed. Bits of tape were positioned with index marks as a guide.
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More later,
James
 

Scott_650

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James - not to push you to jump ahead or steal any thunder but have you picked parachutes for all these various Maxes?
 

rklapp

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There's not a lot of painting videos on YouTube but lots of build videos, relatively. Could you put together a paint video from this?
 

James Duffy

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There's not a lot of painting videos on YouTube but lots of build videos, relatively. Could you put together a paint video from this?
It's a little late to do a painting video from these projects, but there are a couple of things on the horizon. The first is my NARCON presentation, which should be posted on the NAR YouTube channel in the very near future. It features a great deal of airbrush usage. Also, I'll be doing an extensive airbrush tutorial video as part of a project underway right now.

So...stay tuned?

James
 

James Duffy

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...have you picked parachutes for all these various Maxes?
I'll probably use a 24" nylon chute on each of these DBRM models. The BT-55 sustainer on the Dak Max (that's the new name, BTW) will just get a streamer, as it weighs very little.

James
 

James Duffy

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First, I've come up with a name for the C-47 inspired DBRM model. It will be called the "Dak Max." The British name for the C-47 was the Dakota, which British forces quickly truncated into "Dak."

So, behold the almost-complete Dak Max, complete with Hadrian Max sustainer!
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What's left to do on this beastie? Well, the engine retainer and shock cord have already been installed. The rocket needs a pair of rail buttons, and a 24" nylon parachute will be used for recovery on the booster. Another missing piece is the mount for the staging electronics and piston. Those are being laser cut by Mike Nowak at Galactic Manufacturing, and should be here soon. I'll cover the construction, mounting, and use of those elements in a future post. I already have some E16-4 motors on hand for flight.

We'll move on to the painting of the P-51 Mustang Max in the next couple of days as soon as the weather allows more painting.

James
 

DigBaddy

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Really, really great stuff so far. Looking forward to the P-51 theme! Sorry I have nothing useful to add; just enjoying the thread :)
 

James Duffy

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Just a quick update on the P-51 Mustang Max. Two of the fin tips have already been painted blue, so masks were put in place to protect them. Corners from a plastic shopping bag were great for this task.
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The overall airframe was next painted with Tamiya TS-17 gloss aluminum spray lacquer. Note that the masks covering the invasion stripes on the fins and airframe are still in place.
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I realized after the fact that I really didn't need to waste any aluminum paint on the nose cone, as it will end up yellow at some point.

More later,
James
 

James Duffy

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Masking and painting on the P-51 Mustang Max continued today. A piece of 3" airframe tube* was used to hold the nose cone as it was repainted with Tamiya TS-16 yellow.
IMG_5098D.JPG
Next one fin and a portion of the airframe aft of the invasion stripes were painted with Tamiya TS-10 French blue.
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A bit of the airframe forward of the invasion stripes was then painted with Tamiya TS-14 black, echoing the glare shield of the particular P-51 upon which the model is based.
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After everything settled down a bit the forest of masking materials were removed, a task that took at least a half hour to complete.

After the parts cure overnight we can add the vinyl markings.
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More later,
James

*That 3" airframe tube I stumbled across will soon be pressed into service with another DBRM kit, which I intend to kitbash into an upscaled Citation Patriot. I'll need to decide between between a Mexican themed "Patriota" or a Canadian themed "Patriot, Eh."
 

James Duffy

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Now that the paint on our Mustang Max has been able to cure overnight we can go ahead and install the markings. The vinyl bits are easy to install, much simpler than waterslide decals, but a bit of planning will help make sure that they end up in the right spots. I used bits of tape to mark the borders of several of the installations.
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The USAAF roundels are juuusssstt a bit on the large side. If I were to do this project again I would order the markings in a slightly smaller scale.
IMG_5101.JPG IMG_5102.JPG
Yosemite Sam is a nice touch. (Fun fact: Sam's full name is Samuel Michaelangelo Rosenbaum.)
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Callie Graphics also offers a set of what they call "nomenclature" decals, or data plates. They're a neat addition, and I only used a fraction of what was included on the sheet. The remainder will go into my decal binder, and will come in handy on future projects. I'm especially pleased with how the fuel filler markings worked around the rail buttons.
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More data plates...
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...and victory marks, because this is a relative of the Red Max.
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I'll set up for some beauty shots of both models later today.

More later,
James
 

James Duffy

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Here are the promised photos of the completed builds. First, the P-51 Mustang Max:
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And here are the beauty shots of the previously seen C-47 Dakota Max, or "Dak Max."
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If the weather holds the plan is to fly the Mustang Max at the Austin Area Rocketry Group launch this Saturday. The Dak Max will need to wait until the laser-cut staging piston parts arrive, a step that we'll be sure to document here.

James
 
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