With the paint and decals stripped off and the canopies remasked, everything got hit with Tamiya’s XF-1 Flat Black:
I think even Minnie Mouse would look sinister painted flat black.
Then things were prepped for Tamiya’s X-22 Clear Gloss, which was then put down:
And here’s where I decided that maybe some paint testing would be in order. I am not going to strip this again. If I keep stripping it, eventually I’ll sand completely through the plastic (which is something I did many years ago with an F-104 I did) (my, wasn’t I surprised), and at 700+ hours, uhm…no. I have another Blackbird kit (actually a mislabeled A-12) that I can use as a paint mule. I grabbed one of the engine nacelles and threw rattlecan black at it:
Then I ordered about every matte and semi-gloss clear I could find.
Those who know me understand that leaving me unsupervised for any length of time is tactically ill-advised. This time that manifested as me trying to figure out exactly how I wanted to treat the panels. #972, as it’s displayed at the Smithsonian, shows very subtle shading where panel lines meet. Perhaps there are those who are proficient enough with an airbrush to be able to paint those subtleties. That ain’t me. And the way I’ve been going of late, I’d probably totally bitch it up. (Have I mentioned that I am not going to strip this again?)
I resorted to using pastels:
I like using pastels. I can get a degree of subtlety I struggle to achieve with an airbrush AND if I bitch it up, I don’t have to strip this thing. Again. Then I learned that my method of not sealing pastel effects with a clear coat was a good, albeit lucky, decision. Once the clear flat coat went down (rattlecan), the pastel effects vanished. Okay. Gotcha.
Then I sat around until the paints arrived:
Since I was going to be doing referenced testing, I didn’t want to go with water, isopropyl alcohol, or anything else not specifically intended as a thinner…and the Model Master thinner was back-ordered, so I had to wait for that to show up.
I worked with what I had on hand while I was waiting. Since my memory makes a sieve look vacuum-tight, I delineated zones with a white pencil and labeled what paint was in that zone:
Nothing left to do but paint it:
As a sidenote, I find it to be a good idea to have the things on hand that can stop a project cold. Things like a little Teflon ring that seals the tip of an airbrush. I dropped mine while cleaning it, rolled my chair back to find it, and evidently rolled right over it, rendering it garbage. Glad I had a spare:
And the results are in. I decided to go with Tamiya’s XF-86. It’s matte enough (I thought) and the manufacturer of the clear and flat are the same, so I figured they’d play well together. Though I liked MIG’s effect, the manufacturer calls for a 1.5 bar spray pressure (or about 17 psi). I discovered it’s VERY EASY to puddle paint at that pressure:
When the thinner for the Model Master paint arrived, I noticed this on the label:
Clearly, I misunderstood the definition of the word “universal.” That’s what I like about building models…I learn shit.
I also learned that I would probably need a spectrometer to see the difference between Model Master’s semi-gloss and matte because IF there’s a difference, I certainly couldn’t see it.
With that decision made, the mule was shot with clear gloss and the decals (I have extras, now) laid down (the snake graphic in the second photo is on there to do a decal solvent test):
I waited overnight for the decals to dry thoroughly (yeah…just a bit gunshy at this point) and then whipped out the XF-86 at got this:
The edges of the decals are clearly visible.
And this is where I sit now…all of that and the edges of the decals are clearly visible. I have no FORNICATING IDEA of where to go from here. I mean, this is the process! I’ve done this before. What…suddenly I have to sacrifice a virgin to achieve the results I’ve been getting for far more years than I care to think about?!
Well, so much for those plans… Time to set this aside for a bit, CALM THE FUCK DOWN…er…regain my center, and decide what to do next or if there’s anything to do next. I may have to accept that this is the best I’m going to get. (I compromise SO well.) (spits)
After all this time, I am not going to start again, I am not going to strip this again, and I am not going to leave it unfinished. It may be that I’m just going to have to put my titties back into my training bra and cope (thank you, whatever screenwriter put those words into Margo from The Magicians mouth).
PS- At this point, I don’t know if I’m the mouse or the man.