I always love doing the upper surface colors, even when its as simple as all Olive Drab. So a little bit of prep, and then the main event.
First thing to mention, while looking at a photo of my subject aircraft I noticed two details I needed to change. First, I had painted and prepped the unshrouded exhausts. This seems most common, I’ll guess most ground crews just left the shrouds off the first time they had to get behind them. But I did notice in a photo that “Tommy’s Dad” clearly still had the shrouds in place late in its career. So this was a good time to catch the mistake! I would just paint the shrouds while doing the main colors. Second was kind of a bigger thing and I was actually looking for it. Most aircraft operating in China had a DF Loop Antenna on the rear fuselage, and indeed one was present on this aircraft. But this antenna is not included in this kit, so I had to go rooting through my spares pile. The loop I found was from an old Monogram Do335 kit, but it looks exactly right to me. Boring out a mounting hole and gluing the antenna in place was a very easy last minute modification; well, apart from the 30 minutes spent looking for one…
So getting everything masked was the big expected task for today. It doesn’t really take long for this particular build, but I do want to be sure I won’t be getting any overspray on the lower surface grey. I masked a hard line with tape on the rear, since the rudder is apparently Olive Drab all the way around. But then as I work forward I used poster putty (Blue Tac) rolled into snakes. On the full size plane this demarkation was soft, it was probably free handed by a worker with a spray brush (bigger version the tool I’m using!). But in scale terms this would make a very narrow “soft” area. The putty mask is more irregular than tape would have been, but it still provides good protection for the line I don’t want to spray past.
I suppose this is a good place to say a little about overall painting. There are a couple rules to keep in mind that sometimes contradict each other. The first is to try to paint things in the order and way they were actually painted. This particularly matters if one color or marking is clearly meant to overlay another; like if you want the under color to bleed through. But it is also helpful to paint from lighter colors to darker ones. White, Yellow, Red and Black are particularly interesting parts in a markings puzzle. This build only has two main colors, and both colors will cover each other pretty well, so it is not terribly difficult. But more complicated paint schemes can be a fascinating, exciting and frustrating project.
Now two things have been changed. First I sprayed some more faded Olive Drab in places. I mean more than just the scale lightened I already did. This lighter color went in the middle of upper surface panels. Some modelers use a technique known as “pre-shading” where they outline panels with black (or other very dark color) and then use a fairly light coat over the whole surface that lets the pre-shading show through. I prefer “post-shading” as seen here. I don’t know why, but I’ve always been happier both with the experience and the results doing it this way.
The shading shows up better here. Some modelers will do multiple degrees of this, possibly even in addition to pre-shading. I could say I like things a little more subtle, but I’m also a little more lazy. I think additional treatments yield diminishing returns, and I’m completely satisfied with this look. Also notice I’ve attached the shrouded exhausts and assembled propeller.
Now everything needs to sit for 24 hours before the next step.