In my last post, I finished detailing the interior of the crew compartment. This time, I’m moving on to some of the other details.
I bought a white-metal undercarriage set from Scale Aircraft Conversions for this model, but I’m not sure if there was any point—the metal parts don’t really improve on the kit parts:
Both the kit and the metal parts show the brake lines running tightly over the compressed oleos, which would be a bit of a disaster when the undercarriage was unweighted. So I carved off the sections crossing the oleos and used some stretched sprue to add a loop of flexible slack instead:
From my reference diagram, it seems there was a length of flexible brake line running down the inside of the wheel cover, which I made a mental note to add once I got to the stage of adding the gear covers.
Before I got to that stage, however, I had a bit of a puzzle to solve. Reference photographs of these aircraft usually show that each wheel cover was painted with a section of the large Balkan cross that marked the underside of each wing. For this aircraft, I have one photograph that seems to show this marking, and one that doesn’t:
After a bit of deliberation, I decided to add it, despite the fact the kit doesn’t provide the necessary decal, just the two crosses with circular holes for the wheel wells:
So in my ancient graphics program, I used each cross as a mask for its opposite number, like this:
And ended up with the pattern for a couple of decals I could print on white Experts-Choice decal film:
I found that I couldn’t reproduce the appearance of the real aircraft using Eduard’s photoetch gear covers unless I slightly trimmed the lower cover for the oleo scissor links. Here’s the final result, with the decals in place and a little light weathering applied:
I also started detailing up the bomb racks, using Eduard’s parts:
But I belatedly realized that the appearance isn’t a good match for the real thing:
I was going to have to snip off and rotate the eight little brackets moulded into the kit parts into the “stowed” position of the empty rack; and then I was going to need to reverse the orientation of the kit parts, front for back, to produce the correct final appearance. Sigh.
I attended to some other details at this point. The rear gun was mounted in a swivelling frame in the real aircraft, like this:
Eduard provide photoetch gunsights for the rear and upper gun, but they’re in a single, short part, like the sight on the upper gun pictured here:
So I’ll use the Eduard part as provided for the upper gun, but did some surgery on it to reproduce the photographic appearance of the lower gun:
Another small detail I wanted to add was the frame of a punch-out panel in front of the pilot, which you can see in this photograph:
I was a little puzzled as to how I might reproduce the smooth shape of the original, but eventually came up with this:
I’ve knotted and glued a length of fine wire around a couple of pieces of styrene rod of appropriate diameters. Here’s the result, held in its approximate final position on the canopy frame:
The upper and lower wing halves were such a snug fit, I decided I’d paint them separately before assembly, thus avoiding one stage of masking. At this stage I also dealt with a moulded bulge on the underside of the crew compartment, which represents the aircraft’s Direction Finding gear—actually a clear dome lined with metal strips, but I contented myself with painting it gloss black and adding narrow strips of Bare-Metal Foil:
I started masking the exterior of the crew gondola, with the upper hatches held temporarily in place with Micro Kristal Klear, but I didn’t mask much of the upper transparency at this point, because I wanted to be able to see what was going on inside as I settled it into place:
The underside transparency got a coat of light grey undercoat, to prevent the interior paint from darkening the pale blue underside.
You may also be able to pick out a small hole drilled in the underside canopy frame. This is my revised approach to the vexatious pilot’s gunsight mentioned in the previous post—a vertical rod that runs from the floor between the pilot’s feet to the roof over his head. Eduard provide a photoetch part for this, but it wasn’t clear to me how I was going to ensure it was correctly positioned after I’d closed the top and bottom halves of the canopy. So I’ve now come up with a revised plan, involving a length of fine wire running through holes in the upper and lower canopy, which can be snugged into place and fixed with CA glue after the canopy is closed. A few blobs of CA provide an imperfect appearance of the short crossbars in the real thing, but I figured it would look good enough when seen vaguely through the closed canopy:
With the lower canopy in position, I dropped the detailed crew compartment into place:
Then I threaded through my gunsight wire, and closed the upper canopy:
There’s a little bit of filling and tidying to do at the wing root, you’ll see, but otherwise it came together nicely.
Next time, camouflage and decals.