Even though I made an effort to isolate my new workplace, it can still become (at least) a degree colder than the comfortable living room, which kept my away for the last few weeks.
However spring is upon us, and I find myself back at the workplace daily!
A goal I set for myself in the last blog was to finish the I-16 cockpit. And I have! High time to write about it.
But first.. I already considered purchasing a new airbrush at the time I was writing my last blog, and once the thought of buying new stuff sets it never seems to take long before I actually do!
This time I didn’t drive straight to my main hobbyshop to splash the cash. I like Hobbycar and I have most of my stuff from that place, but although I started my search there, I really took my time to see what is what in the world of airbrushes and get the best deal out there. Especially now I have lost my 10% IPMS discount, there might be better alternatives around.
My current airbrush is a Fengda BD-135. It did a good job, and it gave me a good idea of what works and doesn’t work. Unfortunately, it broke fairly quickly: although it still functioned, the black cap at the end had come off, probably because the screw-thread had come off. Nothing more but a minor nuisance, but I do like the cap to be on so I don’t accidentally poke my eye out. A bigger problem was the persistent clogging I have experienced with this airbrush, basically from day one. I have gained a lot of experience especially with thinning my paint, and it has gotten better, but still a lot of the trouble was down to using a 0,2mm nozzle and needle for all my airbrush jobs.
With this experience in mind I had an idea of what I wanted in a new airbrush
- Perhaps pay a bit more if the results will be better.
- Something easier to clean.
- A bigger paint container, preferably one I can close off while using the airbrush.
- The possibility to use larger nozzles.
I realize that a higher price doesn’t always represent a better result, but my first Fengda already cracked after a few months of (fairly extensive) use. I started my search for the names I have seen in many discussions about airbrush.. but even though I have my own experience of my 20 euro airbrush failing so quickly, I still couldn’t find a lot of good arguments to go straight for the high-end airbrushes.
As I’m sure you recognize if you have been involved in any online modeling community, the argument to use a particular brand of airbrush is usually something like ‘I use Brand X is so it is great, I don’t use Brand Y is so it is shit, hurdur’.
For me this just isn’t a good enough reason to spend more money. Although I hope another low-end airbrush will not break again so soon, I ended up looking at the Fengda alternatives.
Taking into account my other wishes, I ended up with the FE-130:
This particular set has a three nozzles and needles included: 0,2; 0,3 and 0,5!
So far I have used only the 0,3 nozzle, and I have to say that for the things I am doing this has probably been the size I have been waiting for. I like to airbrush basically every part because I just like the end result a lot better. I imagine myself using the 0,2 size for finer detail and 0,5 for larger areas or primer jobs.
Although I first aimed to spend somewhere around 100 euros on something not-Fengda, I ended up with this 35 euro Fengda set.. Ofcourse I can only hope the quality will be better than the BD-135, but for 35 euro I can’t complain even if it only survives one year.
In the last blog I considered ripping apart one of the first assembled and painted sub-components.
I ended up doing that, and to be honest I don’t see a difference with what it was before, and I still don’t really like the end result. The good thing about the cockpit on this model though: you can really spend time on the details if you want to, but even if you look down into it once it is finished you won’t see a lot.
The black parts on the chair are my own interpretation, and it looks a bit shabby. Next time I’ll make sure to not limit myself in terms of reference material. The back of the seat is based on how things look in IL-2, but later on in the cockpit build I actually started using anything I could find.
The bottom plate of the cockpit should be light gray according to the instruction booklet, but most reference show a green metal color. I changed this later on.
I quite like the instrument panel on this kit! It actually has a back plate which you need to paint black, then place a decal on top of it, and after that you place a clear part on top of that. The instruction booklet actually seems to indicate this clear parts needs to be painted black as well, that doesn’t make a lot of sense and obviously I didn’t. I did paint the sides of the clear panelfront.
The end result of the instrument panel.
Before closing off the cockpit I had seen so much reference photo’s with the green steel parts that I did a last-minute change of the bottom plate as well as the control. After applying a clear gloss coat I did some weathering, including a bit of a dirt wash.
The almost-end result, but this is before applying the wash.
Like I said the end result doesn’t show much of the cockpit anyway, especially if you decide to close the ‘canopy’ (it is basically two doors) you won’t be seeing much of the interior.
The result so far. The cockpit is finished, and now it is on for the engine!
I like this kit a lot so far. Things fit together perfectly overall, and on the parts where it doesn’t I don’t mind too much: a WW2 aircraft to me doesn’t have to fit a 100% perfect, as long as it doesn’t have enormous gaps between.
One of the things I am less enthusiastic about is probably the instruction booklet. I especially feel the range of colours has been simplified to not force a builder to spend a lot of money on paint. However, there are a lot of reference pictures available and I actually enjoyed the search to find a plausible set of colours. After a few months of building I have collected a respectable amount of paint too, so I can deviate from the booklet and go for what I think makes more sense.
Next up on this kit: the engine!