Having finally realized that I’d forgotten to paint the outside of the landing gear doors, I took care of that as well as doing the underside of the drop tanks and add detail paint to the stores pylons:
The front of the stores pylons were painted to match the camouflage paint of the wing above it so I did the same:
Setting those aside, it was time to get after something I was pretty sure was going to be annoying (and I was correct), painting the bombs. The first step was painting the arming propellers “steel” using Humbrol #27003:
There are decals for the stripes around the noses of the bombs. Two problems with that. The first is that the color of the decals was too orange. The second being that getting those decals on properly could consume far too many hours. So even realizing that painting and masking these stripes would be annoying, it wasn’t the greatest annoyance possible.
Step one of the stripes was spraying the color (Tamiya XF-3 Flat Yellow with about 10% Tamiya XF-2 Flat White):
The annoying part is trying to mask off a SMALL compound curve. The least bothersome way I’ve found is thin strips of masking tape to define the edges and then fill the middle with more tape (the prepainted “steel” was encapsulated by tape):
Then the bombs were painted with OD Green (Tamiya XF-62 Olive Drab with 25% Tamiya XF-2 Flat White). Though annoying, the result was worth it (AND the correct color):
The last thing to paint before shooting clear gloss was the filler caps of the wing and drop tanks. I used the punch and die set to knock out holes of the appropriate diameter from strips of tape to mask them before shooting Tamiya XF-7 Red. Once painted, I used my smallest brush to paint the locking levers white (would that my old hands were more steady, perhaps I would have done a neater job):
Then I shot everything with Tamiya clear gloss to create a smooth surface for decals to adhere to without silvering (and this time I remembered the sodding landing gear doors). Once again I encountered the problem of what to hold while painting, only this time it was on the model itself. The only solution was to paint the top half, let it set up, and then do the bottom half:
Trumpeter’s decals are “interesting.” They aren’t really all that interested in leaving the backing paper until they’re VERY interested in leaving the backing paper and have to be fished out of the water. Lots of fun doing that without having the damned things fold onto themselves until I figured out that a 30-second soak followed by another 30-45 seconds of the decal out of the water and letting the paper soak worked better. Once off the paper and onto the model, they did snug down nicely. I tried some Solvaset on them and the results were amazing. The carrier film of the decals just about disappeared.
With just the water:
With a puddle of decal solvent over it:
And after the solvent evaporated:
After two painstaking days, all the decals are on. A word about references (again). Check them. Often. The decal call-out sheet wasn’t a hundred percent accurate. One decal (the inverted triangle for the ejection seat warning) was correctly shown on the left side but the right side also got the same type…and that wasn’t on the call-out sheet yet it was on the decal sheet. The decal for the gun’s information was shown on the left side but it should have been (and now is) on the right side:
I’m going to let things sit overnight before coating everything with clear flat.