How to build a plastic model (5)
In this part of tutorial, we will attach the remaining parts and we will paint the model. Proper painting of model is probably one of the most difficult tasks when you build a plastic model, but it is also one of the most important. You can have well built model, but if you do not know the proper techniques of painting then your final result won't be good enough.
Painting with a brush or with an airbrush?
Most modelers prefer airbrush, because the result is much better than painting with a standard brush. We use more paint and make thicker layers to cover up plastic surface properly when painting with a brush. However, too thick layer of paint does not look very well.
We will achieve noticeably better results when using a spray gun. Paint is applied in small layers and it is spread out much more uniformly. The disadvantage of airbrushing is that price of airbrush is quite high, and we also need a compressor, which also costs something. If you are a beginner then I recommend you painting model with standard brush to acquire the skill and precision in painting.
Attaching the remaining parts
We have built the fuselage and wings, but still we have a few other parts left. At this point, my approach might differ from yours. It depends on whether you paint with a brush or an airbrush. If you are using an airbrush then it is recommended to attach small parts such as propellers and landing gear after spraying the model. If you're a beginner and you paint model with brush, you can attach the remaining parts before painting. Pay attention to proper positioning and geometry of landing gear to achieve symmetrical appearance.
Shaken and stirred (once more)I posted instructions on painting in one of the previous parts of this tutorial (starting model construction), but I would rather repeat the procedure once more. Shake the closed paint can several times. Then open it and stir the paint with a stick. Pick up small amount of paint with a stick and put it somewhere else, e.g. yogurt plastic cup or bottle cap. If you consider the paint too dense, you can gently dilute it. Dilute only the quantity that you need for immediate painting.
Painting with a brush
Use a pencil to draw the outline of the model camouflage. It makes it easier to work with. It is advised to use a flat brush for painting larger areas. Try to apply more layers and spread out the paint properly.
I have chosen the camouflage version of Spitfire Mk I, where the lower half of plane is painted in white color. There are often difficulties with brush painting white colors, because the paint usually doesn't cover as well as other colors. If you paint some parts with white color then try to apply at least 3 thin layers.
Spraying with an airbrush
This is my favorite stage of building a plastic model. The pressure in the gun should be about 2 to 2.5 atmospheres. Stir the paint and dilute it properly with thinner 6001. Suitable proportion of solvent and paint can be variable. It depends much on the density of paint. My best ratio is 1 part of paint to 3 parts of thinner. I prefer to try spraying on a piece of paper first, and then I can dilute the paint if needed.
First of all, we are going to paint undercarriage shaft and outlines of individual parts. Paint uncovers irregularities and cracks, which can be filled with putty and sanded. You should cover the parts that you do not want to be painted. Use masking tape for this purpose.
Preshading is a specific painting technique, which can be done with an airbrush. It emphasizes panel outlines on the model surface. The procedure is very simple. Spray panel outlines with dark or black paint before painting camouflage. This way you can see darker outlines after the camouflage is painted, and the surface does not look so dull.
What comes next
Next time I will tell you how to apply decals on your plastic model.