In part 1, I wrapped up with what I thought was projecting a very obtainable goal of getting the interior painted and weathered, and the fuselage together, on MPM’s frustrating but fun 1/72 A-20B/C Havoc.
Due to some self inflicted wounds, and a kit that can only be described as more sculpture than plastic model, I missed that goal. Progress has been proportional to the various, sundry, and sometimes novel expletives, I have hurled from my bench.
12 – 19 August 2020:
- I began the week by getting the bombardier’s seat and Norden bomb sight cleaned up and situated. It looked pretty good for this diminutive scale, until I tried to test fit the clear greenhouse nose. There was a 1/4″ gap where the bombers floor and sight were keeping the glazing from sitting properly. I broke out some sanding sticks and about an hour later had sanded the bottom, front, and sides of the floor down to where the glass was almost in the correct position. The plastic was getting so thin I was hesitant to sand any more away. It dawned on me that the bombsight was sticking out too far. I cut it and its mount off and moved it back in the floor. Problem solved. I’ve had less issue with fitting notoriously bad Aires products into kits.
- Next, having looked through some of Paul Budzik’s references for his A-20 build, I decided that the rear gunner’s deck in this kit was way too simple. Being that I had decided I wanted to put the “Ma-Deuce” (M2 .50 caliber) in the stowed position, I went to work trying to busy up the area. In reality what is shown as a solid deck in this kit, would simply be the sidewalls and a U-shaped rail that the Ma-Deuce would ride on.
- My solution was just to cut away some plastic to give the suggestion of the rail and various internal structure. Using some circle templates I sketched out a pattern on the piece and went to work with the Dremel. As with all things, be careful what you ask for, because you just might get it. I’m not terribly taken with my effort here, but it is better than what the kit provided and good enough for what I had hoped to be a simple build.
- Continuing on with this area, I turned my attention to the Browning. In the stowed position the gun slides down and aft so after some clean up I attached the kit part in this position. I noted that even though only the back end will be readily seen the kit part is lacking a great deal of detail. I found some PE that generally look like the weapon’s handles, scrounged a tiny section of belt fed ammunition, and used some of the smallest plastic rod I had for a charging handle.
- Everything seems to be back on track at this point and I laid down some black primer (my go-to of Mr. Finishing Surfacer 1500 cut in half with Mr. Leveling Thinner). After a quick inspection it was time for Ammo by Mig’s U.S. Interior Green.
- Now comes one of my favorite parts of a build, the detail painting. Being that the scale is so small progress was relatively quick . I used vallejo acrylics thinned with some water to hit the black panels, leather brown for seat pads in the bombardier and gunner’s station, white for the first aid kit (and a spare red cross decal for an extra touch), and some khaki in a few spots. I followed this with a light dry brush over the interior green with Tamiya’s yellow-green (a good approximation of yellow zinc chromate) and over the black and brown with Vallejo’s light grey. Then, it was time to apply Eduard’s color PE cockpit set, including seat belts (alas, the set I bought was for the G model and did not come with belts for the bombardier). It’s beginning to pop.
- I was on schedule, ready to start some weathering and thinking about closing up the fuselage. Before I went further, I wanted to address the oval waist windows that fit from the inside. With only cursory fiddling, these clear parts fit reasonably well but sat a little recessed from the outer surface. No worries, as I have done before I will fill that space with some gap filling super glue, sand and polish back to clarity and move on. This is where the wheels came off. I was using a new super glue that I had not used before and as it cured it became foggy, almost appearing frothy. As this was a problem that would be undoubtedly easier to deal with before the fuselage is closed, I sanded down the windows shaping them into place. The fogging was still there. Insert a series of expletives here.
- After some thought, my solution was to cut the windows out in a shape I could repeat (using a template) and shaping a piece of clear styrene or acrylic to fit in that hole, and sand it flush. I had to order some clear acrylic and that paused the idea of getting the fuselage together this week. Assuming I can get the acrylic into place, sanded and polished smooth, I will just mask off the correct sized window and hopefully move along.
- Even though I created a problem and a delay, there is still work to do before I can worry about getting the fuselage together so I moved along with a gloss clear coat and weathering. I first did a subtle pin wash with a lamp black to accentuate the relief. I then added the hint of some dirt and grime appearance with a light application of a dark mud Oilbrusher where these effects would show.
- That about wraps up my effort for this week. Maybe next week I can finally hit my goal of having everything buttoned up. First comes the attempt at creating the side windows with acrylic sheet, and I’ve learned to not make any projections with this kit.