Remembering the Airfix kits of long ago, I became interested in what I was reading about the new Airfix kits of today. (I know it is fun to kind of trash these old kits. When I was a kid, they looked pretty darn good, and we happily handed over 50 cents at the corner store to get our hands on the latest release.)
Generally I do not build in 1/72nd scale. However, Airfix is producing so many interesting subjects that I have added a few to my stash in 1/72nd and 1/48th scales. Having finished the abovementioned Bf109, I was looking for a project when I saw this one in the closet. My original thought was to brush paint it as reproducing the sharp-edged camouflage in this small scale was too challenging for me right now. I sprayed the entire model with grey Vallejo Surface primer (as I do with all my models now). I find this primer provides an excellent base for color coats, particularly acrylics. I can mask the color coats with Tamiya or Frog tape, and there is no danger of lifting the paint underneath when I remove the tape. It is great stuff.
Anyway, I decided to simply free-hand with the airbrush, and I can live with the results. I used RAF Dark Brown and RAF Dark Green, both from the Model Master Acrylic lineup. They may not be the most accurate, but they were the closest I had. I left the lower surfaces in the light gray Vallejo Surface Primer, and that color seemed appropriate. (Obviously from the picture below, the brown color was lighter, but how much of this was sun fading? Hangars were generally not in use on these WWII operational airfields.)
The Airfix decals went on very well, but I had to deviate from my usual application method. Normally, I brush some Super Microsol on the model, and then I slide the decal on and position it. After that I smooth it down with a brush and more Microsol. The final step is to put some Microset on top of the decal and wait for the solutions to do their magic.
I found that by applying the Microsol to the model before I positioned the decal that the decal stuck fast to the model as soon as it touched the model. Getting it loose again was very difficult. I found that the best way to deal with the Airfix decals was to position the decal on the model with plain water, and once it was in the final potion, to simply dab on some Microsol with a brush and let it dry. If it was not completely snugged down, gently prodding it with a brush soaked in Microsol would loosen the decal and let it snug down perfectly. Problem solved!
The decals are very well printed and in register. (This kit only gives you one choice, but most Airfix kits give you two.) I have my doubts about the very light blue color on the Chinese nationalist insignias, but I really do not know what the correct color was. Sky blue? Maybe.
The parts fit well with only a little Perfect Putty needed at the wing root.For me this was a nice change-of-pace build, and I know I will build some more. The current crop of 1/72nd scale kits is certainly inviting. And, maybe I will not run out of shelf room as quickly.
The markings for this kit were of the Hawk flown by Lt. Charles H. Older of the 3rd Squadron, American Volunteer Group, Kunming, China in 1942. Lt. Older left the military after the war, obtained a law degree, and served as the presiding justice in the Charles Manson Trial in 1971. He passed away in 2011.