Sunday, 9 December 2012

Build Review - Classic Airframes 1/48 Avro Anson Mk.I

In this world of modelling the sleek and sexy lines of Spitfires and Phantoms, it is very rewarding every now and then to get to grips with something a little more traditional. The Avro Anson is a pre war design that wins no beauty contests, but was a spectacularly successful aircraft in its class. More were built over its lifetime than were Lancasters. It also oozes charm as a model. So it was with some excitement that I accepted a commission to build one.

To build one in 1/48 scale, there is only one choice, the Classic Airframes kit. I have had a love/hate relationship with C.A. for many years. They are very often the only choice for specific aircraft but the kits are for experienced modellers only. This one is no exception. The large pieces are moulded in "limited run" style soft plastic and all other components are in resin. I am not a great fan of resin used in this way. It is always good for detailing kits with cockpits, seats and such as an "add on" but the majority of the resin parts in this kit could have been perfectly well moulded in plastic with no loss of detail. Also without the hassle of detaching them from mould plugs and their incredibly brittle nature (which would haunt me in this build). But that aside. the plastic exhibits a good level of detail on the fuselage and wings and dry fitting showed that the fit would be pretty good.

So I started with the cockpit which in this aircraft is quite an undertaking. The internal details are quite extensive and will be very visible so need taking time over. The plastic floor piece was sprayed interior green and I proceeded to add the side walls, seats, tables, and other details. The instrument panels are provided as photo etch parts over film dials which work very well. However the instructions are very vague and a bit of educated guesswork and trial and error is needed to get everything together correctly. A number of the spars (which are provided as resin) promptly broke when being detached from their plugs and had to be replaced with styrene rods (which they should have been in the first place IMHO). Seat belts are also provided as etch pieces which is a nice (and often overlooked) touch. A bit of dry brushing and an oil wash brought out the details nicely.

The framework around the interior (which is a very important part of the look of this plane) is provided as a highly delicate resin structure. I managed to detach the side pieces successfully without breakage and clean them up but the top structure was missing from the kit altogether. This has not happened to be since the old Airfix days! I rebuilt it using styrene rods which was probably a good thing.

The whole structure fitted rather well into the fuselage although I had to shave the front part of the floor on both sides to get the fuselage to close up correctly. After a few more etch and resin panels the fuselage went together. There are some locating pins but they are very primitive and almost useless so I added some lugs to help ensure a clean fit. Eventually everything lines up and the fuselage went together, and I taped it up securely and left it to dry thoroughly. A fair bit of filler was needed to get things smooth.

While drying, I masked up the extensive canopy sections using the Eduard mask set. This is not the sort of model that you want to have to mask up without some assistance so I do not apologise for that. The canopy sections then fitted to the fuselage remarkably well with just a smear of filler to blend them in. At this stage I also attached the tail pieces. These took some care as there is no locating slot or lug, just the parts butting up against the fuselage. The final fuselage section is the turret base, which has an optional blank version, but the customer definitely wanted the turret so the details therein were painted and installed.

Next I put the wings together. The top and bottom halves of the wings do not line up perfectly, and a lot of sanding was needed to get seamless leading and trailing edges. Also, the instructions are very vague as to the lining up of the interior of the wheel bays, and a lot of trial fitting was needed to get it right. But eventually I had a pair of nicely finished wings. But fitting them to the fuselage was problematic. The fit is actually very good, but as with the tail there is no location engineering, just the edges of the wing parts against a flat area of the fuselage. This requires some gymnastics in gluing and setting. Also, I found that the starboard wing ended up at completely the wrong angle. The dihedral of the Anson is almost flat (only a couple of degrees) but the starboard wing was raised by about ten degrees which as a) wrong and b) completely out of kilter with the other wing. So I padded the top half of the wing with some strips of styrene sheet which gave the correct dihedral but needed some extensive filling afterwards. This is a shame because the "default" fit was actually spot on.

The engines are provided in resin, and are nice representations of the rotaries which turned out nicely with a little dry brushing. The engine shrouds are also resin. This gives them a nice realistic thin edge but it took a long time and not a few shredded nerves in getting them detached from their plugs and cleaned up. And in fact one of them did crack but fortunately it did not need a repair as the crack was invisible under paint. They were also tricky to install over the engines, which had to have their cylinder tops trimmed to get them on, although fortunately the trimming is not visible under the shroud.

I started the painting by spraying the masked cockpit and glass areas with interior green. This was followed by an overall coat of primer. I am not usually a big fan of pre-shading, but I did so on this plane because it has that distinctive lattice structure on the wings that would need to be highlighted. I started then by spraying the underside with Alclad aluminium to represent the silver painted underside of all early Ansons. I masked off and picked out the metal panels with dark aluminium to provide some contrast. I also applied a little weathering at this stage rather than later as I find this works better on Alclad. A little black oil was used to accentuate the lattice and ribs and give some streaks.

The underside was masked off and the whole upper surface sprayed with my own mix of Tamiya acrylics to represent RAF dark earth. This is a notoriously difficult colour to get right. The only paint I know that gets it completely correct is Humbrol 29, but I really don't get on with Humbrol Acrylics and I am not about to start converting to enamels at this stage. I then Blu Tack masked the camouflage pattern and sprayed over the RAF green. The whole plane got a couple of coats of Klear ready for decaling.

The customer has asked for a specific plane, MW-F from 321 (Dutch) squadron. No suitable decal set is available for this one so I made my own for the lettering and orange triangle, although I used the kit decals for insignia as far as is possible. The kit provides no stencils, but the Anson had very few anyway so I forgave it that one.

After more varnish, I then gave the whole plane an oil wash to bring out the few panel lines that exist, and manually applied subtle oil streaks elsewhere. After a couple of matt varnish coats I then applied a little panel bleaching using light grey to further highlight the lattice work and main panels. After removing the masks on the canopy and turret a little cleaning up was required where some primer had bled under the masks. This was partly my fault for not sealing the masks properly but in my defence, this is very tricky on curved canopy surfaces!

I was worried that fixing the undercarriage would be tricky since there are no real positive locators for the legs and there is a lot of weight to support. However to be fair the parts went into place very well but I made sure plenty of glue and drying time was applied and it all held up well.

With some more weathering, the final addition of the aerials, exhausts and a few other superstructure bits she was all done.

So in conclusion, this is a tough kit to build. It is quite capable of producing a stunning result, but is not for the faint hearted or anyone who is not used to working with resin. I am extremely pleased with the finished model, as is the customer (which is what matters, after all!) but it was not all smooth sailing. Unfortunately, the kit attempts to substitute plastic components for resin where it is just not necessary or practical, and this does cause some grief. But the end result is what matters, and an Anson in 1/48 scale is hard to beat as a showcase model.

Monday, 3 December 2012

Build Review - AeroClub 1/144 DeHavilland Mosquito

If you want to build a Mosquito in 1/144 scale, this is currently your only option. And it's hard to track down, having been out of production for some years. But they do crop up on the second hand market from time to time, so I was lucky to get my hands on one when a customer asked me for a replica of Guy Gibson's famous mount, in which he tragically lost his life in 1944 over the Netherlands.

Gibson's plane was an BXX, and this kit represents a B35, although after extensive research I could not find any visible difference except the engines used, which is not of great concern in this project! So what have I got myself into this time?

Emptying the box out on to the workbench does not create a particularly favourable impression. A single injection moulded sprue accompanied by a fair number of white metal parts, and duplicated vacuform canopies and bomb windows. The metal parts look perfectly passable, but the plastic is horrifying. It's moulded without any significant detail and is only just identifiable as the main pieces of a Mosquito with a fair bit of imagination. The plastic itself is incredibly thick and brittle, reminding me somewhat of bacolite. Interestingly, a pair of finely moulded metal pilots and seats is included which look pretty good all things considered, but the instructions point out that if you want to install them, you will need to dig some plastic out of the fuselage sides. Oh well, this is going to be a fun build. Not.

Measuring up the pilots against the fuselage proved the instructions right, some plastic was going to have to come out. So I scraped and ground away at the sidewall (such as it is in the scale) praying that the fuselage would not shatter into tiny pieces, it was that brittle. Fortunately I got away with it and finally managed to get the fit right. So I proceeded to paint up the seats and pilots. Ever tried painting a 1/144 scale pilot figure? It's certainly a challenge.

After much trial and error I finally got the fuselage halves together with the seats and pilots inside. Of course, the two fuselage halves are different lengths, just to add to the fun, and I needed to do a lot of shaving and sanding to get everything together right.

The next stage is to attach the engine nacelles to the wing parts. The appalling quality of the moulding means that this took much effort to get anything resembling a good fit but I got there eventually. The exhausts are provided as a one piece metal moulding that is supposed to slide in to the slot in the nacelles at a later stage. I know this was going to be problematic but decided to cross that bridge later.

Next on went the wings and tail to the fuselage, and suffice to say that the again the fit is absolutely dreadful and some surgery was needed to get flush fitting parts, essential to provide strength in these areas. I then had a lot of filling to do, and I am convinced that the end result contained more filler than plastic. But at least she was now starting to look like a Mosquito!

And now for the main painting. With all that filler, priming was essential. This was followed by light sea grey on the underside. This was masked off and the topside sprayed with dark sea grey. Then the old favourite Blu Tack masking technique gave me the camouflage pattern. It's very hard to get this convincing in 1/144 as however thin you roll it, Blu Tack seems to have a minimum bend angle that works great in larger scales, but makes it tricky to get a convincing pattern in the small scale. But I think it turned out OK. A coat of gloss later and she was set aside to dry.

To turn this into Guy Gibson's plane, I would need to print my own decals. Decals for military planes in this scale are like hens teeth and there was no hope of getting any in. So I designed up the necessary AZ-E scheme. Fortunately, I was able to use roundels from an existing sheet but the lettering and codes had to be scratch printed. I also generated my own "keep off" boxes for the top front of the wings as the ones on the kit sheet were ridiculously thick and bright. Decals done, another coat of gloss sealed them in.

While that was drying, I painted up the remaining metal parts which basically represented the exhausts, undercarriage, props and tail wheel. I also could not face the prospect of masking up a 1/144 vacuform Mosquito canopy and so printed off some decals strips and used these to represent the frames.

Once the gloss was dry, I scribed some panel detail on to the body of the plane (fortunately the "Mossie" has very little) and used black oil paint to highlight them. A final coat of matt varnish followed.

It only remained to attach the metal parts, which generally fit very well, unlike the majority of the rest of the kit. The undercarriage slotted in perfectly. But as anticipated, fitting the one piece metal exhaust stacks by sliding them through the engine nacelles proved impossible. So in the end I cut them in half and did it the "old fashioned" way as two pieces.

The last task was to put the vacuform items in place. I have to confess that I do not like vacuform canopies one bit. Sure, they are usually a better scale representation of the canopy, but they are a nightmare to cut out of their sheet and to sand/trim to shape to get them fitting snugly. And there is no positive surface to glue either! I did my best.

So, this kit is a perfect representation of how you can get away with murder if you are the only choice. A strategy adopted with relish by the likes of Fonderie Miniature (1/48 Halifax, anyone?) but for an ever popular plane like the Mossie it is high time that a mainstream manufacturer came to our aid, especially now that this scale is increasing in popularity. The metal parts are actually quite good - after all, this is what AeroClub are best known for, but the plastic is awful. Despite all the issues, however, I have to say that there is an immense satisfaction to be had from creating a respectable model from such an unpromising start.

Now the customer wants another one, so I guess at least I know what I am in for!

Monday, 12 November 2012

Build Review - Ocidental 1/48 Fiat G-91 R-3

One of my regular customers had a hankering for a "Gina" in 1/48. Options are limited, it's either this or the Heller version which is the same plastic. The Italeri version is not worth bothering with so I have tracked down one of these. I also have obtained the Neomega cockpit resin to dress things up a bit. The customer wants it in Luftwaffe markings, which are included in the kit but are of dubious quality, so the spares drawer will be raided on this one.

And so to the kit. Well, the mould is old. Very old. The parts are reasonably moulded, but they are very soft in outline which may present some problems. There is a lot of flash and the panel lines are deep and heavy but at least they are recessed. The kit brings to mind the golden age of plastic modelling, before we cared too much. So a challenge lies ahead. The shape is basically accurate, although I suspect that the nose may be a little long but nothing to worry about too much.

Having opted for the (frankly excellent) Neomega cockpit enhancements we start there and these painted up really well. Neomega are surely the kings of resin, often imitated but never equalled. The seat itself is a pure masterpiece and the belts are exquisitely represented - but that is for later. The tub replaces the kit parts very neatly without much argument. The only challenge is replacing the HUD section which requires a chunk of the kit plastic to be cut away. The plastic is thick and brittle and there is no way on earth that an accurate cut can be made, so I hacked away with impunity praying that the gaps could be neatly filled in later.

But before the fuselage can be closed up it is also necessary to install the undercarriage bays and this led me to my first experience of the kit engineering. Not good - the locating bars in the fuselage match the bay parts well but the actual bays are then way out of position. So some inventiveness was needed to secure them in the correct position and it was plain that some filling would be needed later. The bays themselves do incorporate some decent detail moulding inside them, if a little shallow, but at least they made some effort here.

And now to close up the fuselage halves. These fitted pretty well, the only problem being that I needed to shave the resin parts a little to get everything together - so I cannot really blame Ocidental for that. But it went together in the end and after much taping up I left it to set overnight to be sure. Once dry, I filled in the gaps around the HUD and smoothed over with filler. Next on went the wings and tail parts. These presented no real fit problems, although the port wing was rather warped and needed some heat treatment. They also needed a lot of sanding to remove the seams on the edge. The root gaps were not that bad, but they got well filled anyway.

The nose cone goes on next, and the instructions indicate that 10g of weight needs to be added to it. I would defy anyone outside of the particle physics field to get 10g of anything into that space, but I filled it with lead shot anyway. But after testing, it was clear that the additional weight of the resin cockpit as well meant that we were all OK and the tail would not sit down. The nose did, however, need a fair bit of filler and sanding to get the join seamless.

After masking the canopy and spraying it black, I gave the whole model a good coat of primer since with all that filler around the surface needed to be smoothed out well. This also revealed a few outstanding gaps and holes which I had to deal with. The underside was then sprayed light grey and masked out. I started the top side with the Lufwaffe grey and after a Blu Tack masking exercise added the dark green. I removed the masks and then proceeded to mask off the orange areas on the tail, wings and nose, which was actually a very time consuming job because of the placement of the orange panels. I mixed my own brand of dark orange to match reference photos as best as possible and applied these. Finally the tip of the tail and intake surround got an Alclad aluminium finish.

After two coats of Klear it was time for decals. This is a good time to point out how appallingly bad the kit instructions are. They just about get you through the build, but as far as the markings guide is concerned they are absolutely useless. Only a small fraction of the decals provided are even referred to and there is no positive placement indicated either. So I had to fall back on Mr Google to help me out here, along with a little educated guesswork and artistic licence. The customer wanted a Luftwaffe scheme but was not particularly fussed which one. The kit includes such a scheme but my sixth sense told me that the decals were going to be trouble, and I also did not like the German crosses which were far too fat and with a horrendously thick white border. So I raided my spares draw and fortunately managed to make up an almost complete scheme from there, but would have to fall back on the kit decals for a few of the stencils. And sure enough, when I applied them, they are very thick and glossy and refuse to submit to any amount of setting solution. Fortunately I only needed to use a few small ones.

Once done, I sealed the decals in with another coat of Klear and applied a black oil wash to the panels. After a subsequent matt coat I then applied a random mottled filter sprayed all over and also bleached out some of the panels to give a nice worn effect.

The next stage was to add the undercarriage. The kit wheels are fine, but the legs are very primitive and flashy. But I had no option but to use them so cleaned them up as best I could and after spraying, dry brushing and a little dirtying up they looked OK. The legs went on with very little trouble, but the undercarriage door arrangement (which is a little weird on the G91) was more tricky to get placed correctly. What I ended up with is not 100% accurate as the kit parts are shaped incorrectly but it's pretty close.

The final finishing touch was to paint and install the Neomega resin seat. The seat is so good that it did not need too much effort to come up looking perfect. I picked out the cushions, belts and a few other details on top of a black base and in no time it was looking excellent. I added ejection handles from my etch spares (they are not included in the Neomega set - the only black mark against it) and dropped the seat into place. This cockpit set really does turn what would otherwise be a very primitive model into something a little special.

And so she was finished. I am pretty pleased with the result, considering what one has to work with. But I have to say that one of the greatest joys of this craft is to get a decent result from a poor base, and in that sense this was a great build. But not for the faint hearted.

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Build Review - Wingnut Wings 1/32 Pfalz D.IIIa

I've only re-discovered First World War aviation relatively recently. For many years, I avoided biplanes like the plague - too many memories of problems fitting the wings and the mind numbing process of rigging. But there are some attractions. These planes are spectacularly beautiful, and in the days before anyone worried about camouflage too much, there are some really bright and interesting colour schemes to be worked with. And then along come Wingnut Wings - a New Zealand based kit manufacturer dedicated to WWI aircraft and exclusively in 1/32 scale, which is arguably the best scale for these machines. They have quickly gained a reputation for producing kits of the highest quality and build-ability and when a customer came to me looking for a Pfalz I thought I'd check them out.

Sure enough, when the kit arrived (they have to be ordered direct from NZ), it oozed quality. The mouldings are superb, crisp and detailed like they should be. The decals are gorgeous, including lozenge patterns for the wings, and the instruction book (it seems crass to call it a "sheet") would not look out of place in a reference library. WW have really done their homework, including a myriad of reference photos and additional information that would more than satisfy any plane enthusiast, let alone a modeller. So how does it build?

Well we start, as ever, with the cockpit and this is based on a ribbed structure that will be enclosed within the fuselage. This kit has been designed by someone who loves the subject, and it shows. The parts are extremely well engineered and fit together very logically, with detailed painting call outs and helpful tips along the way. A number of decals representing dials for the interior and instrument panel add a really nice touch to what has to be one of the most rewarding cockpit constructions I have done. The only extra I added was a cushion for the seat made from rolled up tape, everything else you could possibly need comes out of the box, including some nice etched seat belts.

Next the engine mounts and engine bay are added to the cockpit assembly which build just as easily, which leads us on to the engine itself. This is a simply spectacular rendition of the Daimler Mercedes 180PS power plant made up from some 20 or more parts in its own right. To do this justice, I used a combination of Alclad and semi gloss black and picked out the brass and steel sections carefully with a fine brush. Interestingly, despite the sublime engineering of the kit engine, there is no representation of the spark plugs and leads which is a bit of shame since these are fairly prominent on the real thing. So I simulated some plugs from short cuts of polystyrene rod and added leads made from steel wire, which came up really well. A kit supplied decal for the engine plate on the case finished off a truly excellent looking engine. Unfortunately, as is so often the case, much will be hidden on the final model.

With the engined dropped into its bay, it was time to close up the fuselage. This is one of the few areas in which I had a little trouble. The fuselage halves would simply not close properly around the cockpit and engine and it took some judicious trimming of the spars to get everything together. Even then there was a small gap in front of the cockpit opening that needed careful filling. I also constructed the machine guns at this stage, although I left them off the model until later in the build. WW provide an option for either "basic" solid moulded guns or detailed ones using photo etch shrouds and sights. Of course, I chose the latter which while fiddly, looked fantastic once put together and painted.

I next added the tail elevator, rudder and lower wing section. A small amount of filling was necessary for the wing part but nothing more than one tends to find in most kits. I also added the undercarriage struts at this stage, but left off the wheels. I assembled the top wing section but that was going to stay separate until after painting.

So after "plugging the holes" to mask them she was ready for painting. I started with an overall coat of Tamiya grey primer, important because my chosen scheme was part pure white, which always benefits from a good primer. The chosen scheme (Hans Muller, Jasta 18) consists of a red front half and white rear half of the aircraft. So I started by spraying the rear half white, albeit a slightly "dulled" white incorporating a few drops of dark grey and dark yellow. Pure white never looks realistic! I then masked this off and moved on to the red front half (which includes the wings). I will lay a little rare criticism at the feet of Wingnut here, their paint references are a bit hit and miss, particularly with regard to the fuselage colours. They suggested Tamiya X-7 for the red. This is a pure, bright, primary red and would never have been seen on any WWI German aircraft. They tended to use what they called "carmine" which is red but with a more brown/purple hue. To be fair, the printed representation of the scheme looks about right to me, just ignore the call out. So I mixed up my own version of this, which was actually based on Tamiya Hull Red (XF-9) but brightened up a bit with some pure red and a few drops of yellow. I used this to coat the front of the aircraft and the upper wing section.

After a couple of coats of Klear, I was ready for decaling. I started with the lozenge pattern which goes on the underside of both sets of wings. WW provide a whole decal sheet containing this pattern (mercifully) - I would defy any modeller to enjoy taking on the task of doing it manually. These need to be cut into strips to place on the wing section and with a liberal coat of Micro Sol they settled down pretty well. Trimming them off around the wing shape was a little tricky and not done as cleanly as I would like, but if you look at reference photos one finds that it was far from clean on the real aircraft! Also provided are 1mm thick strips of lozenge pattern for use as wing rib tapes, which is a nice touch. I let these all dry thoroughly before moving on.

The marking decals look very thick and glossy on the sheet, but are actually quite thin once detached, and remarkably they appear to have no discernible excess carrier film either, which is a first. They are printed by Cartograf, as are all decent decal sheets, who really seem to have perfected the art these days. But be warned, the thin nature of the decals combined with their size (particularly the iron crosses for the wings) does make it tricky to eliminate every last wrinkle. At this stage I was glad I was not working on the Jasta 16b example which contains all-round body decals. But they settled on without too much trouble, and once finished all was sealed in with more Klear.

There is not really any panel detail to speak of, so my usual all over wash approach was not going to give me much return. So I pin washed the few recesses that exist on the body and wings before coating with satin varnish to give me the final finish. I then proceeded to apply some subtle variation by spraying a light grey filter in a random pattern over the red areas (no point applying it to the white). Next, I dry brushed dark grey and a little steel over the raised details which gives a satisfying "used" look, followed by some judicious leak staining and scuffing.

Finally came the point all biplane modellers dread, attaching the upper wing section. I had been preparing myself for this for hours, having had some extremely bitter experiences in the past doing this. The problem is that the struts and upper wings almost never line up in any dimension, and when you get one end seated the other pops out and/or the struts collapse, and once everything is finally in place you find the top wing wildly misaligned from the rest of the plane - if you've ever tried it you'll know what I am on about. So with some trepidation I lay the top wing section upside down on the bench, placed a drop of glue in each of the strut locator holes, offered up the plane body and prayed.

Well, what do you know? All the struts clicked into their holes without any complaint and when I turned the whole plane back over everything lined up perfectly. What I had expected to take me an hour took two minutes. As of now, this is the true benchmark of an outstanding biplane kit - and this is such a kit. I was completely stunned, in a very good way. Top marks to Wingnut Wings - you have truly overcome one of the most challenging aspects of an aviation modellers work.

Next, on went the wheels and tail skid. The only other part to install was the huge wooden propeller. Now, there are a hundred and one "open secrets" out there on line from all sorts of experts on how to get a really good wood grain effect on a plastic propeller (or any other part for that matter). Most involving primers, oil paints, hours (if not days) of drying time, sponges, flat brushes, leaves from the garden and a multitude of other family recipes. But let me tell you, with a bit of practice and nothing more than a bog standard medium brush and acrylic paints you can get a superb result. I used three colours, a mid brown/orange mix, dark yellow and dark brown. First I coated the prop with the medium hue, then "damp brushed" the lightest colour down the grain using just enough residual paint to leave streaks without covering. I gave the brush a little wiggle as I went to create a slightly varied grain pattern. Next, I did the same with the dark hue but more sparingly, following the same contours. Looked pretty good to me, but the final touch is gloss varnish, which brings out the grain as if it were the real thing. All done in ten minutes. Judge for yourself from the photos, but it looks pretty convincing to me!

And so this left the one remaining item of fear for any modeller - rigging. Although no rigging material is provided in the kit, Wingnut have thoughtfully pre-drilled anchor holes in all the right places which saved some effort. As with wood effect, there is plenty of advice out there as to the best way to do this, and let me tell you, there is no magic bullet that will avoid the fact that it will be a mind numbing and frustrating process. I have used several methods in the past, but the one that I have found gives the best compromise between the time it takes and the overall effect is steel guitar strings. There are other methods out there that may result in better overall detail, but they will take you considerably longer and probably drive you crazy. Also, this is a commission and so I want to give my customer the best value for money.

With my guitar string method, it is important to pre-stretch the string to make it as straight as possible, best way to do this is to put it on a guitar for a day and keep tuning it! Then it is a matter of trimming sections to the right length, and there is no substitute for trial and error here, to get it sitting perfectly in place without bowing. Once established, a small drop of cyano glue on each anchor point holds everything together. It is still a very time consuming and at times frustrating process but I got there in the end, finishing things off with a stroke of matt black paint down each wire.

And so she was all finished. I have to say this is up there with the best kits I have ever built, although being a slightly unusual subject compared with many of my recent projects it is perhaps a little hard to compare fairly. But there is no doubting that Wingnut Wings have hit a winning formula here, producing exquisite kits of the planes of this era that are awesome in their detail but also, and most importantly, extremely enjoyable to build. I very much look forward to my next one!