Author Topic: TEST BED: Roden 1/72 Bristol F2.b Fighter  (Read 559 times)

Online PJ Fisher

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TEST BED: Roden 1/72 Bristol F2.b Fighter
« on: September 20, 2022, 01:04:33 AM »
I am out of practice.

Hadn't snipped a single sprue since 2011, until I caught the bug for British two-seaters again this spring.  In July I began anew with some basic hobby tools and this familiar fighter, which I figured would be accurate enough scale-wise so that I could get back into it without much tinkering.  Quickly I discovered (at least for me) it's not like riding a bicycle... I need to relearn whatever skills I had (particularly painting) plus explore the many new techniques and accessories out there:   



Customizing and scratch building are my favorite aspects of modelling, so I immediately started scraping the inner fuselage manually (using a flat blade as a draw knife) to the point of translucency in preparation of fitting a proper interior.  Though I effectively accomplished this (note the shadow of the faintly molded footstep ring showing through in the second image below), I made the first of many mishaps by breaking off part of the top scarff-ring decking on one side of the fuselage:



My second blunder soon followed.  After some progress correcting casting flaws on the wings and thinning their trailing edges, I attempted to prime the surfaces with both an airbrush and paint that I'd never used before.  I live in Manhattan where independent hobby shops are largely extinct.  So, when I need supplies I trek to the old Red Caboose, which has operated out of a mid-town basement since the close of WWII.  Here I discovered no one sells enamels anymore (Model Master was my former go-to). Their paint inventory was sparse.  With few options I bought a jar of Tamiya X-21 Acrylic Flat Base, then unwittingly went to town 'priming' the Brisfit with this stuff (see image).  Powder everywhere.  It was literally like blowing flour with a fan.  Thinking it was the airbrush, I kept at it until a solid base coat finally formed.   

.

Two major mistakes and I hadn't even glued anything together yet...
« Last Edit: September 23, 2022, 01:49:28 PM by PJ Fisher »

Online Tim Mixon

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Re: TEST BED: Roden 1/72 Bristol F2.b Fighter
« Reply #1 on: September 20, 2022, 01:38:38 AM »
Welcome back to the modeling bench PJ.  Looking forward to following your build.  The Brisfit is one of my favorites. 

Offline DaddyO

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Re: TEST BED: Roden 1/72 Bristol F2.b Fighter
« Reply #2 on: September 20, 2022, 03:06:33 AM »
Welcome back PJ  :D

As a recent born again modeller I understand exactly where you are (Lovely choice of model by the way; I've been given one for the stash so I'll look forward to you showing me how it's done) ;)

Acrylics are something I've got used to brush painting, but learning to airbrush them . . . well that's a whole new can of worms. For what it's worth I use mainly Vallejo and I thin with distilled water or their own Vallejo thinner and I add a drop of flow enhancer or glaze medium which slows the drying down slightly so the paint isn't drying before it hits the model. (That's what it sounds like is happening to you although I'm no expert) Air pressure is about 20lbs and the airbrush is about 8 -10" away. Tamiya I think sprays best using it's own brand of thinners.

Stick with it and you'll get there
Paul
There cannot be a crisis today, my schedule is full

Offline KiwiZac

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Re: TEST BED: Roden 1/72 Bristol F2.b Fighter
« Reply #3 on: September 20, 2022, 07:29:40 AM »
As informative and entertaining as your newspaper clippings have been, PJ, I'm very pleased to see this pop up! And remember: any progress is good progress!

Online PJ Fisher

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Re: TEST BED: Roden 1/72 Bristol F2.b Fighter
« Reply #4 on: September 20, 2022, 11:43:26 AM »

For what it's worth I use mainly Vallejo and I thin with distilled water or their own Vallejo thinner and I add a drop of flow enhancer or glaze medium which slows the drying down slightly so the paint isn't drying before it hits the model. (That's what it sounds like is happening to you although I'm no expert) Air pressure is about 20lbs and the airbrush is about 8 -10" away. Tamiya I think sprays best using it's own brand of thinners.

Thanks for the advice! I'll try the flow enhancer for sure.  I need to practice with the airbrush more but I'm probably too close and to heavy with the spray.

Offline PrzemoL

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Re: TEST BED: Roden 1/72 Bristol F2.b Fighter
« Reply #5 on: September 20, 2022, 05:43:50 PM »
You have chosen a rather ambitious kit. Well, yes it does build to a lovelive accurate model. Good luck and do not be discouraged. I remember that when I was thinning the walls in my Roden's Biff I cut the skin so much that it broke. But it is repairable. ;)
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Offline lone modeller

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Re: TEST BED: Roden 1/72 Bristol F2.b Fighter
« Reply #6 on: September 21, 2022, 03:42:42 AM »
Never mind the break from modelling - skills and techniques will come back with practice. I had a break of 30+ years and like you enjoyed conversions, but my first couple of efforts after picking up the hobby again were not much to write home about. Keep at it and make all the mistakes you need to - it will just mean that you will make fewer in future!

Good start and never mind the odd repair - all good practice.

Stephen.

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Re: TEST BED: Roden 1/72 Bristol F2.b Fighter
« Reply #7 on: September 21, 2022, 05:53:08 AM »
Wow that scraping out of the fuselage to vac thinness is making me wonder why. shall be following along.

Online PJ Fisher

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Re: TEST BED: Roden 1/72 Bristol F2.b Fighter
« Reply #8 on: September 21, 2022, 10:37:40 AM »
Wow that scraping out of the fuselage to vac thinness is making me wonder why. shall be following along.

It seems labor intensive but it goes rather quick and is easy to maintain consistent thinness inside a cramped 1/72 fuselage.  I ultimately ground a simple curve to one edge of the blade to account for the concave canopy and to keep from accidentally scoring the plastic.  This idea worked well.  I also tidied a few spots with a low-power roto-tool the wouldn't melt the plastic:

« Last Edit: September 21, 2022, 10:42:04 AM by PJ Fisher »

Online PJ Fisher

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Re: TEST BED: Roden 1/72 Bristol F2.b Fighter
« Reply #9 on: September 21, 2022, 11:20:51 AM »
Thanks for the feedback and advice everyone.  Much appreciated.

Not realizing yet I was setting myself up for trouble with my 'primer' coat I tended further to the wings.  I first freed each aileron end with a micro-blade saw, and scored the hinge creases to make them positionable without having to detach them (economy of labor experiment).  Then I sprayed everything with Tamiya's XF78 'Deck Tan', which is really too dark to use as clear-doped linen, despite my initial hopes.  Roden rather subtly rendered the Brisfit's upper-wing surfaces, but their lower surfaces are disappointingly sub par - with recessed crevices where the ribs lines should be slightly raised.  This needed fixing... and I had a solution.

Because my reference books are stuck in storage, I downloaded a random scale 3-view I found online.  Next, the plan's printed rib lines were extended in pencil and the plastic wings were taped to the paper.  This enabled me to simply plot where the ribs should be using a flexible straight edge and pencilling directly onto the wing. 



Here's where my next mishap occurred.  The lines drawn from the plan onto the lower wing surfaces didn't come close to aligning with Roden's molded lines on the upper surfaces.  Even worse, the ailerons I had just sawn were too short compared to the plan (shown in image).  After scolding myself for poor preparation I elected to go with Roden's interpretation and set about removing all the lines I had just drawn.  It was during this minor moment of frustration, while literally rubbing with an eraser, I learned that the 'X-21 Acrylic Flat Base' I primed the wings with is no primer.  It's simply (and obviously in retrospect) just an additive used to give other colored paints a matte effect.  And so the pressure from the eraser caused the wing paint to shed in large flaking patches like crusty eggs from a skillet!

One step forward... three steps back.
« Last Edit: September 23, 2022, 02:30:05 PM by PJ Fisher »

Offline RAGIII

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Re: TEST BED: Roden 1/72 Bristol F2.b Fighter
« Reply #10 on: September 23, 2022, 05:05:51 AM »
I am enjoying your comeback build greatly! Although not quite as drastic I have recently changed my building Venue and find a lot of techniques have gone astray after 25 years of building WW1 models exclusively! I think you are certainly making good progress and will persevere!
RAGIII
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Re: TEST BED: Roden 1/72 Bristol F2.b Fighter
« Reply #11 on: September 23, 2022, 08:25:34 AM »
Wow that scraping out of the fuselage to vac thinness is making me wonder why. shall be following along.

It seems labor intensive but it goes rather quick and is easy to maintain consistent thinness inside a cramped 1/72 fuselage.  I ultimately ground a simple curve to one edge of the blade to account for the concave canopy and to keep from accidentally scoring the plastic.  This idea worked well.  I also tidied a few spots with a low-power roto-tool the wouldn't melt the plastic:



Thank you.do you intend to detail the whole fuselage?

Online PJ Fisher

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Re: TEST BED: Roden 1/72 Bristol F2.b Fighter
« Reply #12 on: September 23, 2022, 11:47:02 AM »
Thank you.do you intend to detail the whole fuselage?

Hey T -  I've already started on framing the visible areas of the cockpit (will share pix), and aim to replicate all the interior details including the instrument panel.  I've also recently chosen the exact plane I want to model, which was fitted with a Hispano-Suiza rather than the standard Rolls Royce Falcon III, so I'll be lopping off the front end at some point for this conversion. Haven't decided yet if the full engine will be visible but I do have a photo of what it looks like uncowled so I might.  But at the moment I'm really using this build as a re-entry testbed to get up to speed before I tackle more complicated builds.  Happy to have any input you may want to share!
« Last Edit: September 23, 2022, 02:31:20 PM by PJ Fisher »

Online PJ Fisher

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Re: TEST BED: Roden 1/72 Bristol F2.b Fighter
« Reply #13 on: September 23, 2022, 12:53:39 PM »
Hi again all,

Having frustrated myself for blundering the Brisfit's wings from the outset, I set them aside and focused on the interior fuselage.  Since Irish linen covered most WWI British planes I searched online for images of raw, unbleached, and undoped samples on which i could mix a custom base paint color (recognizing the variables involved):

...

After some testing I settled on a hue that felt right, mixed a large volume (for ongoing use), then sprayed both fuselage halves.  Next, still relying on the same random 3-view plan I cribbed online, I went about framing the interior by lightly tracing the linen-paint where the various wooden elements should go (measured with calipers).  To replicate the woodwork I relied on good ol' Evergreen strips that I pre-sprayed with a wood-looking Tamiya followed by a clear orange coat to simulate varnish. After some progress I noticed the 'lumber' I was using seemed too large compared to the printed plans (first image below).  This reminded me of my earlier rib-alignment trouble and how these same plans didn't match Roden's molds.  To rectify this I opted to fit the opposing fuselage half with dimensionally smaller lumber then compare the two (second image below). Clearly the smaller framing was truer to scale.  "Measure twice, cut once", my old man use to say!  In another moment of self-reflection I recognized that, even though this build is just a 'warmup' test bed, my entire approach has been clouded by an element of laziness and impatience.  So I stepped away for a bit then went back and ripped out the interior framing I had glued into the first fuselage half.  This proved easy because it was all resting atop the same bloody useless non-stick 'primer coat' I had ignorantly applied to the wings! 

 ..

One reassuring takeaway from this session: because I no longer trusted my poorly sourced 3-view I motivated myself to consult the Imperial War Museum archive and download the actual side-elevation blueprint of the original F2b (file# Q 68352, if anyone wants a copy).  Then for fun I casually overlaid a snapshot of my revised work on the blueprint (third image above).  Thankfully they match well enough; however, I really should have taken the time to prep properly from the start before executing anything.  In retrospect, I should have skinned the fuselage plastic even thinner, particularly the bottom, and excised entirely the decking for the Lewis gun.  Measure twice, cut once!
 
« Last Edit: September 23, 2022, 11:56:59 PM by PJ Fisher »

Offline Rookie

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Re: TEST BED: Roden 1/72 Bristol F2.b Fighter
« Reply #14 on: September 23, 2022, 06:00:59 PM »
Testbed or not, I think you're doing a terrific job here Paul.

Thanks for sharing your insights and experiences.

Willem