SAVE That TIGER(s)!
Posted by Matty on December 3, 2011, 19:36:56, in reply to "Phil's BoneYard Planes Bonanza"
Message modified by board administrator December 4, 2011, 11:33:34
Phil's Monogram 48-scale P-40b "TigerShark" was received in the condition typical of most of his batch of models: |
Click on Image to EnlargeAlthough at first looking busted to pieces (left), a closer look revealed most parts simply detached cleanly, the glue apparently just crumbling to dust over the last 40 years. Remaining decals and the paint job - both expertly applied, originally - likewise showed 4 decades'-worth of drying-out, though the paint remained secure, as did decals for one wing roundel, fuselage caudal (yellow) stripe and shark's-mouth (top-right). Note no filling or correction of parts-misfit, as clearly visible under the shark's-mouth decal (top-right), was originally done. However, with such nice surviving paint and substantial decals, above, I resolved not to do any joint-puttying/correction, nor the (major) repainting that would entail. At the same time, decal aircraft numbers, fuselage art and underwing roundels all appeared to have long gone, with the portside-top roundel even now coming off. Thus, saving this roundel assumed equal priority with the obvious Job One: securing the entire wing-root joint system, the most critical to have failed.
Both of which were done with extensive use of "white" glues:
Click on Image to EnlargeStarting with the roundel restoration, I was able to both clean and begin reviving the decal film by brushing on "halfway"-thinned Elmer's glue (left): thicker than "milky", but not so thick that you would call it "syrupy". This was miraculous for the purpose - and also laid well into the wing-root (far left) - however the dry paint- and plastic just sucked it all up, so I then graduated to using WeldBond - a water-soluble aliphatic resin (basically a "super"-white glue), again about "halfway"-thinned - which would seal better. The combination of the two was pretty well miraculous for all the decals (center), but especially for the damaged roundel (center-bottom), whose chipped "white" areas - yellowed from age and additionally translucent over the yellowish (brown) camo - were then perfectly color-matched by a mix of Testors Flat White (1285) with a touch of (Testors) ModelMaster Afrika Mustard (FS30266) (center, middle-left).
The WeldBond also filled the wing root joints (right) even better than Elmers, but the insatiably parched paint continued to suck it all in (upper-middle) - until finally I simply sprayed the entire model with it (lower-middle), which naturally feathered out the wing-root fillet even more (bottom). After allowing to dry overnight, I repeated the overspray, leaving both paint and decals looking 1000% happier. Finally, just as for a "normal" model aircraft, I sprayed it overall with Future wax, preparatory to adding-back the decals that had gone missing.
It was somewhere around this point that I also took in hand for restoration another of Phil's planes - a natural companion for this Tiger:
Click on Image to EnlargeOf the two Monogram 1/48 Hawker Hurricanes (left) which Phil gave to me, one (foreground) had been painted in exactly the same topside camouflage as Phil's P-40b Flying Tiger - alongside which such Hurricanes had operated, in Burma during 1942. Although this Hurricane's entire wing-root attachment had failed, again it was a completely clean separation - very easily restored, exactly as above - with all its decals surviving, in just excellent shape (right, top and middle).
It was also at about this point that I "crossed the line" (you KNEW I would ) between straight restoration and adding/correcting details. I pried off the canopy (top), to install a scratchbuilt pilot's seat (not shown) which had been missing, and also a quick-and-dirty semblance of a reflector gunsight (see below). Likewise, some fuselage artwork (bottom) came from my decal spares: the (fictional) pilot's girlfriend, "Snooks" (the picture actually USAAF P-38 pilot Ira Bong's portrait of his wife, "Marge"), plus two kill flags.
Likewise, the P-40 got more than just the missing decals replaced:
Click on Image to EnlargeNote how well the yellow caudal stripe (left, top) - a decal of the original build - looks, after the WeldBond-Future treatment. My own spare Monogram P-40 decals, only 20 years old had long ago begun chipping and peeling, so could only provide a pair of Flying Tigers (top-right and inset) and underwing roundels (not shown). Other spares provided the seven kill flags, aircraft number, and "Hell's Angel" nose art - meant to go over lighter background, but particularly appropriate as there really was a Flying Tigers "Hell's Angels" group - and anyway less obtrusive than the typical, big naked chick (which, believe me, I've got lots of those, too ).
Of course, I had repaired the broken propeller blade and re-attached the landing gear, anchoring each with a thin steel peg, but then went on to drill out exhaust stacks (left and center) - a tremendous improvement over the original "Lincoln Log" modlings (center at bottom) - and likewise for the machine-guns (center, top and middle). With paintbrush out to touch these up, I took a few quick dabs and strokes in the monochrome green cockpit - and, by some miracle - in seconds drybrushed the best instrument panel (left, at bottom) yet! The Hurricane (right) likewise got hollowed-out exhaust and restored landing gear brace (right, top-left), scratch-bashed from spares. But also - to depict a Burma contemporary of the Tigers - I added transferred the Stokes tropical air-filter scoop from Phil's other Hurricane, painting it to match (pretty well) with a mix of (Testors) ModelMaster Grabber Green (1970_3658-z) and again the Flat White and Afrika Mustard.
That COULD have been the end of the added work - but it wasn't:
Click on Image to EnlargeIn addition to adding the rough gunsight (left, upper), I felt compelled to endow Revell's featureless wing leading edges with the 12 MGs and landing lights (left, lower) accurate for this bird - clear plastic windows for the latter coming from (among several sizes of) corrugations in a deli muffin container (right). Still being worked (and although the gunports are oversized) these features will look much better when complete.
The P-40 is now completely finished:
Click on Image to EnlargeFinal pics of the Hurricane - and a whole lot more, of both planes - coming soon.
This has been a helluva lot of fun - and I expect will be even more so, to present to Phil and/or his son, Matt!