Progress shots

45011810_2347598541978818_1859510205381869568_oFor a so much praised kit, I was surprised to find a huge number of pin marks in visible parts. While I’m not sure, these will actually be seen, burried deep in engine intakes.

45167886_2347598405312165_3010676704747192320_oCockpit sidewalls are bare in the kit. It’s true, only the most curious eyes will look that deep in the cockpit, but I just had to add some canvas wiring covers and the prominent circuit breaker boards in the RIO’s pit.

45013065_2347598418645497_720053762550398976_oUsing just some careful painting, the cockpit is looking more and more alive. No aftermarket parts are available for this kit, so I have to work with what I’ve got.


Cockpit mostly finished

45549383_2366340370104635_2339094796343181312_oIntakes painted up; one showing the one piece affair and the other one with rear part insert.

45502668_2366340433437962_7547718875924660224_oFront view of the intake insert. Stator at the front with a cone was painted Aluminum while the rear one with darker Magnesium, giving a nice sense of depth. Notice the reflections in the intake.

45636863_2366340350104637_5349215637832990720_oCockpit was finally fitted in the fuselage halves and instrument panel shrouds installed. Turtle back behind the rear seat was bare of details so I added a horizontal beam and rivets per reference photos.

45640732_2366340356771303_3673334628887822336_oNeOmega seats arrived yesterday and they proved to be of identical dimensions as FineMolds ones but of course much better detailed. RIO’s IP shroud received circular cooling vents at the sides and the wire that runs from the top handle to the side.

46440215_2381906518548020_4839237650671992832_oInstructions mistake! Do this only if you’re planning on closing the canopy!

46257195_2381906325214706_6670388887078043648_oPainting the exhausts… First white then progressively darker thin layers of brownish colours and some dark brown, black and grey pigments at the end.

46444404_2381906218548050_414204507132526592_oJet intakes finished – the lower rear ramp at the top of the intake is clearly visible including the actuator that opens it.

46286134_2381906198548052_1489469068837650432_oInteresting design of the rear fuselage – you have to attach the rear fuselage sides to the jet exhaust piping.

46315227_2381906248548047_5176217894203162624_oThe whole assembly is then attached to the upper fuselage half.

46379395_2381906385214700_3515470571892637696_oThe join runs by the panel line and is virtually invisible. The only area needing some filler will be right of the airbrake – nothing a swipe of PPP couldn’t solve in few seconds.

46447553_2381906311881374_586051830887219200_oAttaching the lower fuselage was a breeze – fit is just perfect and we finally have something resembling a Tomcat fuselage.

46339256_2381906428548029_8329139874229649408_oView of the lower fuselage – again no filler needed!

46372511_2381906458548026_7181049005239959552_oOh and for those who didn’t know – take a look at Tomcat’s fuselage, bring those intakes closer together and voila! A-wing fighter from Star Wars E:VI Return of the Jedi!

46519073_2397832673622071_2660443880062713856_o46518658_2397832716955400_4027447119005614080_o46507836_2397832886955383_6270812501684781056_oExcellent Reedoak figure painted with Mr.Paint acyrilic paint for figures. I am no figure painter, but I really like the result!

46714334_2397832576955414_3920111110274940928_oAll the edges and ribs were riveted first then painted.

46507743_2397832583622080_3412334362572619776_oSlowly coming together.

47502935_2418377984900873_6759346073619136512_oDryfitted the wings and tailerons and attached the fins – Tomcat, baby!

47246601_2418377978234207_1171160061754474496_oWas playing with different shades of metallic colours, picking out single petals, and attacking those with washes. I’ll further putt a matt coat on them as they’re too shiny now and probably add a little more staining.

47096288_2418377994900872_587218266695401472_oAnd dryfit of the nozzles – They look really nice attached to the fuselage. Had to bypass instructions a bit so I can remove and install them later in the build.

48423064_2459961207409217_3364912546325725184_oAfter a coat of AMMO One Shot primer I’ve put a marbled coat of Lt. Ghost Grey on.

48935174_2459961304075874_2352264467447808000_oMarbling was first done coarser and will be made finer later.

48392118_2459961187409219_5253913500400484352_o49380407_2459961307409207_2884616781794639872_oBefore final painitng I added brown marbling on the areas of higher wear and tear.

48424133_2459961294075875_3471702965360787456_o48427169_2459961194075885_76141218878193664_oAnd the final subtle effect. But the painting is not done yet.

49035881_2472613102810694_2910514219113775104_oDid further weathering of the overpainted panels and added grime and dirt on the most often used panels.

48429878_2472613082810696_5428557612369051648_o49662988_2472613089477362_9066619435791417344_oAdded antiglare panel, over-intake walkways and painted the canvas bags and airbrake interior.

50072487_2506019229470081_3896100696902074368_oThe interior compartments were give a coat of White paint.

49899504_2506019302803407_2334117543427440640_oAfterwards the details were painted and a wash was applied to enhance the shadows.

50008828_2506019212803416_7426564020372504576_oThe right hand side was given the same treatment.

49276794_2506019222803415_8986118292531838976_oWith all the details painted and wings and pylons attached, it’s time to gloss it up and finally start the decalling process!

51589922_2566222463449757_4708176569015730176_o51612536_2566222623449741_3379306424843632640_o51638082_2566222473449756_1775639587264135168_o51895212_2566222633449740_6642123213381828608_oDecals applied – mix of Airfix, Microscale and Fujimi.

53357824_2617996631605673_7230556779728338944_oLanding gear was improved by the use of Albion Alloys brass tubing and Plusmodel lead wire.

53711519_2617996668272336_7691448418887008256_oLanding gear painted up and weathered.

53384250_2617996761605660_3509195079212335104_o53110634_2617996724938997_5370126459207680000_o53270798_2617996544939015_6814240084989050880_oTomcat after light washes.

53336685_2617996534939016_7897887310459437056_o53236127_2617996731605663_8820429518087913472_o53384250_2617996761605660_3509195079212335104_oFinal look after specific panels were further weathered and certain panel lines over painted.

58733009_2725735400831795_8573317857453015040_oOn her legs now!

58442055_2725735407498461_2978622148341399552_oHorizontal stabs, engine exhausts, weapon pylons, landing gear, airbrakes,… were added and she’s slowly coming together.

59350550_2751246404947361_1148879734222880768_o59398481_2751246398280695_7413252838685409280_oA bunch of bits and pieces attached, matt coated and unmasked… The end is in sight at last!