Page 1

Round out a Zero with PE & weathering > p. 19

March 2019

Build this Navy beauty! Learn how to improve a Skyhawk + Navy ID markings, part 3

Build, paint a Chinese Romeo submarine p. 48 Improve a Trumpeter Type 033G

Darren Roberts upgrades the HobbyBoss A-4E – p. 24

Superdetail a 1/72 M113 interior p. 40

Paint & Play: Detail a 23mm spellcaster p. 16

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March 2019 /// Vol 37 /// No 3

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16 Paint & Play 58 Bronco Models M19A1

Detailing a gnome arcanist spellcaster NOEL MEYER

60 Ryefield Sturmtiger

19 Round out a Zero Enhance with PE, subtle weathering JOHN C. BACKENSTROSS


24 Improve HobbyBoss' Skyhawk

61 Takom M60A1 w/ERA 62 Roden M43 ambulance

Monogram flaps/slats to the rescue DARREN ROBERTS

63 Takom SMK Soviet heavy tank

28 U.S. Navy aircraft ID markings — a history Part 3: Korea, Vietnam, and Cold War DARREN ROBERTS


34 Show Gallery

IN EVERY ISSUE 5 Editor’s Page

Fine figures from MMSI 2018

7 Scale Talk/Reader Tips/Q&A

40 Inside an M113 Superdetail a 1/72 scale ACAV BART CUSUMANO

44 A model stroke recovery How modeling helped me recover WILLIAM MITCHELL

10 New Products


52 Reader Gallery 64 Classified Marketplace

48 Improve a Type 033G sub Build and paint a Chinese Romeo ALFONSO BERLANA

65 Hobby Shop Directory 65 Advertiser Index

56 Airbrushing & Finishing Create decals for a ‘paper’ panzer TOMASZ MENERT


66 Final Details

FineScale Modeler (ISSN 0277-979X, USPS No. 679-590) is published monthly (except for June & August) by Kalmbach Media Co., 21027 Crossroads Circle, P.O. Box 1612, Waukesha, WI 53187. Periodicals Postage is paid at Waukesha, WI and additional offices. Postmaster: Send address changes to FineScale Modeler, PO Box 8520, Big Sandy, TX 75755. Canada Post Publication Mail Agreement #40010760.



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March 2018

From start to finish, each issue includes clear instructions and step-bystep photos that show you how to better assemble, paint, and finish kits. You’ll also find: • How-to articles by experts. • Galleries from shows and readers. • Unbiased kit reviews and • Exclusive online content and product news. helpful tips. • Valuable tips for every skill level. • And much more!

MAKE AN ABRAMS POP USE FILTERS, OILS, SALT, AND PHOTOETCH p. 20 Karel Sutt builds a distinctive M1A2 – p. 20


Create sails for plastic ships p. 30 Detail a tired garage-sale triplane p. 45 Fill gaps with super glue p. 52 Apply disc camo to a Jagdpanzer p. 40


+ 7 KIT REVIEWS p. 56


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EDITOR’S PAGE By Aaron Skinner

Gratitude in modeling goes both ways


s a modeler, I generally enjoy (not one of my favorite things to the journey more than the desti- work with) and the kit’s chunky guns nation. Once a model is done, I’m with parts from Trumpeter’s ready to move on to the next one USS Texas. Nor is it unique because I right away. Chances are, my mind finished it as the USS Lubbock. was on that build before finishing the No. What made this model special first. was who I built it for. Albert Exner, Recently, I completed a model that 93, served on the Lubbock during the gave me a sense of accomlast year of World War II. plishment in its compleThe ship took part in the ... all of my tion stronger than landings at Iwo Jima and anything I’ve done Okinawa. struggles recently. Oddly, it — The first time I met Al with PE, Revell’s box-scale USS was when he came by the paint, and Randall Attack FineScale Modeler offices to the base Transport — wasn’t a pick up the model. The smile evaporated subject I knew about on his face and the twinkle in beforehand or would his eyes told me everything I have sought out. In fact, until I was needed to know and all of my strugasked about it, I didn’t even know the gles with PE, paint, and the base kit existed. evaporated. He loved seeing his ship And, honestly, the finished thing as he remembered it. In between tellisn’t my best work. It isn’t special ing me stories about his time aboard because I replaced the solid-molded the Lubbock, Al thanked me for takrailings with 1/350 scale photo-etch ing the time to build the model.

I thanked him, not only for his gratitude but for his service as a young man 75 years ago. I also thanked him for asking for the build. Navy vet Al Exner (left) Through my and Aaron Skinner. work on the project, I learned a lot about attack transports and the important role these modified cargo ships played in Allied victories in Europe and the Pacific. Meeting a member of the Greatest Generation is always humbling. The chance to say thank you with a model is priceless. I know many readers have similarly rewarding modeling experiences. Let us know about them by emailing the

Off the sprue: What do you like/dislike about winter? FSM’s home is Wisconsin, which may not have the worst winters on Earth, but they do seem to linger for months. Good news? More time at the workbench!

Editor Mark Savage

Senior Editor Aaron Skinner

Digital Editor Elizabeth Nash

Editorial Associate Monica Freitag

I like NOT having to cut the grass for five or six months, but I’m old and cold, so anything below 10 degrees seems extreme now. Personally I’d like winter to be 2 months shorter, too!

After growing up in the subtropics, I still find the idea of four distinct seasons a novelty. So, I enjoy looking at snow, photographing snow, staring at snow while drinking hot buttered rum, and modeling while snow falls outside. On the other hand, shoveling snow got old after the third big storm.

I’m a weirdo who genuinely enjoys the colder months of the year. So my list of favorites include: richer recipes, comfier clothes, and fresher air. Least favorite part: cold fingers!

Snow. It can be pretty when it’s fresh, especially when it sticks to the trees and there’s always the possibility of a “snow day” if the roads are bad. Plus, there are good TV shows in winter. I don’t like that it’s too cold, snow gets dirty after the plows pass and the piles get so high you can’t see around them when driving, and driving in general on ice.


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Future titles may become available if there is sufficient demand.

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Paul Boyer, Federico Collada, Andy Cooper, Raúl Corral, Frank Cuden, Phillip Gore, James Green, Joe Hudson, Rick Lawler, Karl Logan, Harvey Low, Rato Marczak, Chris Mrosko, Bill Plunk, Darren Roberts, Chuck Sawyer, Cookie Sewell, Bob Steinbrunn, Cristóbal Vergara, Jim Wechsler, Adam Wilder


The most generally helpful articles were published in a series of booklets. To keep this important resource available for hobbyists, ARA Press has revived publication of the ([WUHPH5RFNHWU\ booklets.

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EDITORIAL Senior Editor Aaron Skinner Digital Editor Elizabeth Nash Editorial Associate Monica Freitag Senior Graphic Designer Scott Krall Senior Graphic Designer Drew Halverson Illustrator Kellie Jaeger Photographer William Zuback Production Coordinator Cindy Barder

photos and diagrams

A projectoriented guide to the rocket hobby, primarily for people interested in rockets in the A to G motor range. There are tips for hobbyists of every skill level so that it will continue to prove useful as the reader gains experience in the hobby.

Editor Mark Savage Art Director Tom Danneman

SPECIAL EMAIL & WEB ADDRESSES Ad Sales Letters to the Editor New Products Reader Gallery Reader Questions Reader Tips




©2019, Kalmbach Media Co., all rights reserved. This publication may not be reproduced in any form without permission. Printed in the U.S.A. Allow 6 to 8 weeks for new subscriptions and address changes. Subscription rate: single copy $6.99; U.S. 1 year (10 issues), $39.95; 2 years (20 issues), $74.95; 3 years (30 issues), $94.95. Canadian: Add $8.00 postage per year. Canadian price includes GST, payable in U.S. funds. All other international subscriptions: Add $12 postage per year, payable in U.S. funds, drawn on a U.S. bank. BN 12271 3209 RT. Not responsible for unsolicited materials.


Your voice in FSM

My bench was salvaged from a machine shop. My dad and I built a 12-foot by 4-foot display cabinet and mounted it to the wall. I added multiple 6,500-watt daylight bulbs above, so at night the neighbors really know I’m in there. I use HobbyZone organizers and Squadron cutting mats, with black carpet down below to fight off the part-eating monster, plus all kinds of cans and things to hold supplies. I am constantly tinkering and reorganizing it to get it just right. That’s part of the fun. There’s a 46-inch TV during football season and an old stereo to just chill out with music. I am a big hit with people walking by — they love to look inside. The garage is my favorite part of the house and my wife’s most frequent comment is, “Are you still in there?” Keep up the great work!

Here’s Dave’s photo of the real RAF Jet Provost and the review model that stirred his interest.

– Steve Berktold, Covina, Calif.

Hey, I flew that bird!

Rehab creates a work space Your “Setting up your workbench” article in the December 2018 issue brought back memories of building models on a card table in my bedroom when I was a kid. Now that I’ve retired and am getting back to the hobby 30+ years later, the wife and I decided to make our space perfect. So here’s a picture of my side of our backyard “she shed” studio, finished

In the Navy! instructor preparing to leave the student pilot on his own. The airman is placing the top safety pin in the ejection seat prior to the instructor leaving. This took place at nearby RAF Topcliffe where the course was temporarily positioned for the early solo phase, away from busy Leeming. The JP paint scheme was the new generic red and white but the different schools marked their fleet numbers somewhat differently. This explains why this photo and the depicted model differ slightly. Apparently XM461 had been with 1 FTS and 3 FTS at different times in its life. – Dave Osborne Orangeville, Ontario, Canada

ED: Thanks for the history lesson Dave, and how cool is it that you actually flew one of the pictured planes?

inside with used cabinets that we bought at a Habitat for Humanity Re-Store. We bought and refinished a dozen kitchen cabinets for the price of one new cabinet. A DIY Formica countertop makes an easily cleaned worksurface. – Bob Hampton, Elephant Butte, New Mexico

More on workbenches I just loved Elizabeth Nash’s article on workbenches and workspaces. All modelers can relate to the ideas. My wife told me I could do anything I wanted to do in the garage, as long as I promised to get everything out of the house, and I did!

In January’s Reader Gallery (p. 56), you incorrectly identified a beautifully built 1/48 scale Dassault Super Etendard, built by Jeremias Luchina, as an Argentine air force aircraft. In fact, the Super Etendard is a carrier-borne aircraft ordered by the Argentine navy and received early in 1982. Even if acquired for use from the Argentine aircraft carrier, 25 de Mayo, the five aircraft that had been delivered before April 1982 were used by the Argentine navy from shore bases, in effective attacks against the British forces sent to retake the Falklands. – José Higuera, via email

Flashback to Star Trek TV show The December issue was fantastic! First I read a letter praising Aaron Skinner’s DVD. I then went on to his Wonder Woman article — > tremendous! The section where Aaron is painting her face (p. 31), reminded me of an old Star Trek episode: “What Blas t an Atom Annieic Little Girls are e ’r ey Th e! aliv Made Of.” In it, Dr. Corby is assembling beautiful cyborgs in an underground abyss. Ted Cassidy, Lurch (of TV’s the Addams Family), is in that episode, too. All the other articles and pictures were outstanding and have inspired me to get back to modeling. Sometimes I get a lazy spell and drift off and become a collector Foiled again: Build a bare-metal B-29

In a previous life I was a student pilot in the Royal Air Force flying the Jet Provost Mk.3 and Mk.5 from the summer of 1970 to the summer of 1971. As soon as I saw the Airfix JPs in the January 2019 Workbench Reviews, I had to look up the serial numbers (aft fuselage) to see if I had flown them. As is usually the case in this scenario, I would miss by just one number. Sure enough, I had flown XM412, but not the shown XM413. Then I went looking for XM461 and discovered I had flown XN461. I had missed by an even 1,000 on the very first entry in my logbook. My eye didn’t have to go far though to find gold — I did fly XM461 about three weeks later. It wasn’t my first solo but rather two days later as my first fulllength solo flight in the JP Mk.3. There were three RAF basic jet bases back then and I was at RAF Leeming in Yorkshire at 3 FTS. The photo shows an


December 2018

MODEL A WONDROUS SUPERHERO Perfect your modeling lair

Moebius’ Wonder Woman makes working with resin easy – p. 27

– p. 18

– p.52

st Wonderfe osed Fully Exp – p. 34


SCALE TALK instead of a constructor. I’m an ultra-happy subscriber.

Now at

– Mark Korda via email

Final Details strikes a chord Henry Singer’s article ( Jan. 2019, p. 66) struck a real chord. Buying, opening, and building models are some of my great joys. I am mostly a model railroader, but hyperaccuracy destroys much of the sheer joy. That is why I have reverted to building 1/700 scale ship models. If there is too much detail and I can’t even see it, I leave it off. There is a lot to be said for building models for fun. I don’t build glue bombs, but I don’t take the rivet-counter care that I once did. Have fun with plastic models and rediscover the joy! Thanks, Henry! – Sam Clark, Fayetteville, N.C.

Correction The manufacturer of John Carr’s German trench raider on p. 49 in Great War Scale Modeling was incorrect. The 90mm figure is from Andrea Miniatures.

Don’t make us call the wah-mbulance! Chris Cortez wasn’t crying after he finished this Roden M43 ambulance because it created a handsome build. See his review on p. 62, and download this desktop wallpaper for free. New Product Rundown Want to know about a new kit on the market? Aaron Skinner and Elizabeth Nash host a twice-monthly video review of the newest models and show what’s inside the boxes.

Old reviews are new again Well, sort of, in that you can go online now and see model kit reviews from a year ago and older, for free. That’s right, hundreds of online reviews are just a click away!

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Reader tips

Bronco yields a tips twofer While building the nice Kitty Hawk 1/32 scale OV-10A Bronco as a gift for my father, (he considers himself a very satisfied customer of the close air support provided by the Navy’s “Black Ponies” during the Vietnam War), I came up with a couple of ideas that may help other readers. First, the Bronco had five refueling ports atop the wing. The kit only has four, omitting the center port. Instead of scribing the panel lines, I made a

decal. First, I finished the other four ports, and added a pinwash. Then, I measured the lines on the other fueling ports and made a “drawing” in PowerPoint on my computer. By playing around with the thickness, and color of the lines in my drawing I was able to match the other ports. I printed out the decal on clear decal film, sprayed a couple of coats of Testors spray gloss, and applied it to the model. The second idea came from my lack of experience building 1/32 scale aircraft. At first, I could not figure out how to hold the outer wing panels in place while the glue dried. The outer wings, including the engines, butt-join into a wing stub that is attached to the fuselage. I finally glued two sanding sticks together and glued one end into the wing stub attached to the fuselage. When I dry-fitted the outer wing over the sanding sticks I found that the stick’s rough texture made for a very strong joint even without glue. When I glued the outer wing panels in place I did not need to use either tape of clamps. If you didn’t apply glue, you would have a model that would be easily dis-

assembled for transport too, and then it could be quickly, and solidly, reassembled as needed. – Micah Kerr Greenwood, Ind.

Another pitot tube idea This is a followup to a tip in the January 2019 issue. While I have never encountered the circuit board pins mentioned in that tip, I’ve found that I can use hypodermic needles of various sizes for pitot tubes. A pitot tube would consist of an insulin needle or a dentist needle (both are very fine) inserted into a needle used by a doctor. Most doctors will give you one or more if you ask and explain your use. Cut the tip off immediately. You can burn the plastic off the other end with a candle. I use a votive candle. Other sizes (diameters) can be used for wing mounted guns. Cut to size using a 6-inch half round hobby file, which also will finish the cut end. This process can be bit fiddly, but the little holes in the needles’ ends make it worthwhile. – James Montgomery, Georgetown, Ontario, Canada



Scaling for display space


I usually build airliners in 1/144 scale, but I’m running out of display room. How do I convert scales to inches to know how many more models I can fit in, if I switch to a smaller scale such as 1/200? – Dutch Lepska Melbourne, Fla.


The easy way to think about conversions is as a ratio so that 1 (the top number) inch on the model would be 144 inches on the real thing. Going smaller means that 1 inch equals 200 inches. So, a 1/144 scale 747-400 is 19.3 inches long. A 1/200 scale version would be 13.9 inches. That’ll take up less room! – Aaron Skinner

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NEW PRODUCTS Compiled by Monica Freitag & Aaron Skinner


1/72 SCALE

1/32 SCALE

Fairey Albacore Torpedo Bomber from Trumpeter, No. 02880, $62.95. WBR

MiG-21MF fighter-bomber from Eduard, No. 70142, $33.95. WBR

F-5F Tiger II from Kitty Hawk, No. KH32019, $129.99.

MiG-25 RB/RBT Foxbat from Kitty Hawk, No. KH80113, $TBA.

Avro Lancaster B Mk.I from HK Models,

Sukhoi Su-27UB Flanker-C Russian combat trainer from Zvezda, No. 7294, $38.99.

No. 01E010, $360. WBR


1/48 SCALE

1/35 SCALE Russian Yak-130 from Kitty Hawk, No. KH80157, $69.99. WBR

Supermarine Spitfire Mk.I from Tamiya America, No. 61119, $46. WBR

Panzerkampfwagen VI(P)/Bergepanzer Tiger (P) 2 in 1 from Dragon, No. 6869, $79.99. Bristol Beaufighter TF.X from Revell, No. 03943, $34.95. WBR

Dassault Rafale C from Revell, No. 03901,

More at


Damaged Spring 2019 The editors of FineScale Modeler are excited to bring you the second installment of Damaged—a special issue showcasing the best and latest builds from Europe’s top modelers. Damaged will be published quarterly as a special issue from FineScale Modeler. Check out all issues of Damaged here. Check out:

10 FineScale Modeler March 2019

M4A3(75)W ETO (with Magic Tracks) from

Soviet ball tank Sharotank from MiniArt,

Dragon, No. 6534, $69.99.

No. 40001, $54.99. WBR

Sd.Kfz.165 Hummel Early/Late Production (2 in 1) - Smart Kit from Dragon,

Fries Kran 16-ton Strabokran from Takom,

No. 6935, $74.99.

No. 2109, $61.95. WBR

SdKfz 7 8-ton halftrack (Early Production) with Riders ~ Smart Kit from Dragon, No. 6545, $72.99. Reissue. New tooled 6 realistic 1/35 scale figures are produced. Newly tooled side panel produced to scale thickness.

Flakpanzer IV “Ostwind” - Smart Kit from Dragon, No. 6550, $79.99. Reissue. Newly tooled 2-directional slide-molded turret for Ostwind. Newly tooled photo-etched parts on turret detail on newly tooled hull rear, newly tooled spare barrel case included.

M8 Armored Gun System from Panda Models, No. PH-35039, $69.99. WBR

Panther Ausf G early/late production from Rye Field Model, No. 5018, $65.

Sd.Kfz.10/5 für 2cm Flak 38 ~ Smart Kit from Dragon, No. 6676, $69.99. Reissue. Newly tooled engine represented by multiple parts.

1/72 SCALE

M551 Sheridan Vietnam War from Tamiya, No. 35365, $62. WBR

More at Check out New Product Rundown, the twicemonthly video series where FSM opens the lids on kits: new-product-rundown

Panzerjäger I 4.7cm PaK(t) Early Production ~ Smart Kit from Dragon, No. 6258, $69.99. Reissue. Newly tooled multi-piece upper hull and engine deck for authentic details. Newly tooled one-piece fighting-compartment armor made by 3-directional slidemolds.

M1070 & M1000 70-ton tank transporter with D9R bulldozer from Takom, No. 5002, $84.95. WBR



T-35 Soviet heavy tank from Zvezda,

’60 Chevrolet from AMT, No. AMT1063M/12, $31.99. Includes pickup truck and go kart.

No. 5061, $26.99.

1/100 SCALE

’70 Chevy Chevelle SS from AMT, No. AMT1143/M12, $31.95.

Chevy police van (NYPD) from AMT, No. AMT1123/12, $28.99.

Chevy Nova SS Pro Stocker from AMT, No. AMT1142/12, $31.95.

Soviet self-propelled gun SU-76M from Zvezda, No. 6239, $5.99.


FIGURES 1/32 SCALE F4U Corsair pilot from

1/24 SCALE

Plus Model, No. AL3002, $23.90.

’55 Chevy Bel Air Sedan from AMT, No. AMT1119M/12, $31.95.

Nissan 370Z Heritage Edition (Fairlady Z)

1/48 SCALE

from Tamiya, No. 24348, $53.

Mirage 2000 pilot from Plus Model, No. AL4080, $12.70.

’65 Riviera from AMT, No. AMT1121/12, $32.95.

Workbench Review Ford GT Le Mans 2017 from Revell, No. 07041, $45.

12 FineScale Modeler March 2019

Look for a detailed review WBR in an upcoming issue of FineScale Modeler.


Build the world's largest operational fighter from Trumpeter


o counter the threat of U.S. nuclear-armed bombers crossing the Arctic, the Soviet Union needed a long-range, all-weather, supersonic interceptor. Nearly 200 of the resulting Tu-128s, referred to by NATO as the Fiddler, were built from 195870. The 47-ton fighter carried four R-4 air-to-air missiles. The Fiddler hasn’t been seen in plastic kit form very often, and Trumpeter’s offering is the first injectionmolded Tu-128 since Amodel released one in the early 2000s. Molded in Trumpeter’s typical medium gray plastic the major parts show fine recessed panel lines and petite

rivets. The long fuselage comprises several pieces including forward fuselage halves and rear fuselage halves with a separate upper rear insert. The belly is molded with lower halves of the wings and establishes the Fiddler's slight anhedral. All of the control surfaces, except the elevators, are separate. Optional engine nozzles are provided, although there’s no indication of which to use for a particular version. Detail in the tandem cockpit includes a tub and panels with molded instrument and controls, two ejection seats, and control sticks. The canopy sections above the pilot and navigator appear to be pos-

able. Framing on all of the clear parts is distinctive, which should make masking easy. I was impressed by the one-piece main wheels (oddly, the smaller nose wheels are molded in halves) and the gorgeous one-piece R-4 missiles with ultra-thin fins. They really only need the rear ends of

each to be drilled out for added realism. A small photo-etched brass fret provides antennas, engine details, and large wing fences. Decals and color diagrams show markings for two natural-metal Fiddlers as well as instrument panels details and stencils for the airframe and weapons.

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1/16 SCALE

1/48 SCALE

Viking (IX Century) from ICM, No. 16301, $44.99.

1/350 SCALE


Blue Giant pallet truck from Plus Model, No. 4053, $18.80.

1/72 SCALE


K'Tinga photo-etch set from ParaGrafix,

Plus Model, No. AL7023, $16.10.

No. PGX218, $24.95. For the Polar Lights K'tinga-class Battle Cruiser. Includes two options and styles of impulse engine grills, bridge, officers lounge and landing bar, control room window frames, torpedo tube masks.



1/35 SCALE

1/35 SCALE

Propeller Hamilton for Lockheed Constellation (EC-121, L749, L1049) from

Garden pump from

Gas bottles from Plus Model, No. EL060,

Plus Model, No. 532, $19.70. 8 resin parts.


US 300 gallon fuel tank from Plus Model, No. 533, $22.40. 16 resin parts and decals.

U.S. MCI cartons (Vietnam War) from M551 Sheridan photo-etched parts and metal gun barrel set from Tamiya, No. 12687,

Tamiya, No. 12685, $4.40.


More at Check out New Product Rundown, the twicemonthly video series where FSM opens the lids on kits: new-product-rundown

14 FineScale Modeler March 2019


Heroes of Telemark — Sabotaging Hitler's atomic bomb, Norway 1942-44, $20, by

Air Combat — Dogfights of World War II, $35, by Tony

Diorama Project 1.1 AFV at War, $21.15, soft cover, 120 pages, all color photos, ISBN: 978-84-948841-1-5. From Accion Press.

David Greentree, soft cover, 80 pages, B/W photos, ISBN: 978-14728-2767-8. From Osprey Publishing.

Holmes, hard cover, 320 pages, color photos and renderings, mostly B/W photos, ISBN: 978-1-472-36762. From Osprey Publishing.

USN Fleet Destroyer vs IJN Fleet Submarine — The Pacific 1941-43, $20, by Mark Stille, soft cover, 80 pages, color photos and renderings mostly B/W photos, ISBN: 978-1-472-2063-1. From Osprey Publishing.

Ardennes 1944 — The Battle of the Bulge, $24.95, by Mark Stille, soft cover, 128 pages, 24 profiles, 3 maps color photos, 108 B/W photos, ISBN: 978-1-472-0669-7. From Casemate Publishers.

The editors of FineScale Modeler are excited to bring you the second installment of Damaged —a special issue showcasing the best and latest builds from Europe’s top modelers. Inside the Spring 2019 edition you’ll find:

German Armor in Normandy, $24.95,

• GINN Type Insurgent — Weathering a Gundam fighting suit.

by Yves Buffetaut, soft cover, 128 pages, color profiles and maps, B/W photos, ISBN: 978-1-472-06437. From Casemate Publishers.

• Mouse Trouble — A scratchbuilt diorama features graffiti. • Sea & Ships — Making a seascape for a 1/350 scale corvette. • Walking Death — A zombie vignette offers a figure painting tutorial.

Tsushima 1905 — Death of a Russian fleet, $24, by Mark


Lardas, illustrated by Peter Dennis, soft cover, 96 pages, few color maps color photos, B/W photos, ISBN: 978-1-47282683-1. From Osprey Publishing.

• And more!

Damaged Winter 2018


Order the Spring 2019 Issue at Free standard shipping to U.S. addresses only.


PAINT & PLAY By Noel Meyer

Detailing a

gnome arcanist 23mm looks mysteriously big with light sourcing trickery

At only 23mm tall, this gnome spellcaster packs a lot of punch. A rough base coat followed by many layers, delicately blended, gave her presence.

In the next issue Dress blues done right — Form & Figure’s Joe Hudson mixes multiple shades of blue for ICM’s 1/16 scale U.S. Marine. Pick up the April issue on sale March 5.

16 FineScale Modeler March 2019


he Gnome Arcanist spellcaster (No. 60178) from Reaper Miniatures’ Pathfinder line is a great little (and I mean little!) sculpture by Bobby Jackson. Detail abounds, even at 23mm tall. She’s been sitting on my workbench saying, “Paint me! Paint me!” for a couple of years now. I plopped her down on a square base that fits standard roleplaying game maps. Basic prep included cleaning mold lines and priming. Once the base coats were down, I added subtle layer after layer using Reaper’s Master Series Paints mostly, as well as a few Secret Weapon (SW) acrylics.

1 After prepping, I lit the figure from multiple angles, studying and photographing where highlights and shadows fell. It’s important to note how shadows gradually appear in places.

4 … Cloak: walnut brown. Knowing the freehand gold pattern might not work the first try, I brushed Dullcote over the base so I could easily remove mistakes. Gold: blonde shadow.

7 Referring to the lighting photos, I roughly applied highlights of walnut brown/blonde highlight mix, as well as quick washes of nightshade purple in the shadowed areas.

10 That wasn’t deep enough, so I went bold, mixing brown, red liner, green liner, and purple all together. The golden design was highlighted with harvest brown/blonde shadow.

2 For a desert theme, I mixed sand and snow granules (above) for a gritty texture. Then I covered the base with a thin layer of epoxy and pressed the mix into the putty before it set.

5 This summoner needs friends! Thin rolls of epoxy putty created three loyal snakes. However, the brittle heads broke off and were replaced with molded Green Stuff, which bends better.

8 Another wash of purple mixed with rust red went in shadows on red clothing. These crude highlights and shadows served as a guide and would be smoothed out in layers to come.

11 Here is my pallet at the end of the day, filled with both watery and thicker mixes of paints. Find the complete list of paints I used by typing “gnome arcanist paints” at

3 Base coats followed. Dress: cinnamon/SW red rust mix. Ropes, petticoat, and leather: SW orange rust. Sand and flesh: armadillo tusk (discontinued) with jungle camo wash over flesh …

6 I spread a mix of white glue, water, and the fine granules of snow over the groundwork, making sure to brush some up against the snakes. When dry, it looked more like dusty sand.

9 The cloak’s purple washes looked flat, so I added another layer of green liner to the shadows. Even the gold design was covered for a patina look.

12 Cinnamon highlighted red areas. I changed the orange leather ribbon across the chest into a gold one with the harvest brown/blonde shadow mix to make the overall look cohesive.


13 For the face, I mixed armadillo tusk, purple, and red rust to cover the once green tone. Light glazes of the red and purple accentuated the shadows.

16 The intensity of highlights reveals the surface texture; highlights on cloth are soft, so for an indistinct brightness over the cloak I alternated washing warm walnut brown/blonde shadow …

14 Creating the illusion of a turned head, I used a brighter reddish mix for her right and a darker purplish mix for her left. Heavy lining and a golden forehead piece made her large eyes pop.


A final wash of armadillo tusk smoothed out the entire sandy base. I applied patterns of little triangles to the tops of the red snakes and decided their undersides should be black (easily done considering their visible bottoms were already hidden in dark shadows!).

To focus more attention on the eyes, I darkened the lower part of her face with more purple washes. Now the arcanist is clearly looking to the side and down slightly.


… and cool walnut brown/blonde highlight mixes on the tops of folds. I then sharpened the gleam on gold bits to convey their hard, smooth finish.


18 FineScale Modeler March 2019


I refined the base with a dry-brushing of blonde highlight. Edges of shadows were darkened with red rust washes and walnut neutralized the blue tone that developed accidentally.

20 After taking a break, I saw that more focus needed to be directed to her face. Thin gold trim around the hood accomplished this quickly. Pouches were also toned down with glazes of red liner. A spray of Dullcote and she’s ready for her table debut. FSM

Enhance a


Add photo-etched parts and a smidge of subtle weathering for a well rounded Zero BY JOHN C. BACKENSTROSS

John’s painting techniques really give this 1/32 scale Zero a realistic appearance.


uring the 1941 raid on Pearl Harbor, Japan’s Zero proved itself to be a versatile and deadly adversary. Few of the early Allied fighter planes could match the combat performance of Mitsubishi’s A6M. For my build I chose Tamiya’s 1/32 scale Mitsubishi A6M2b Model 21 (No. 60317). While a nice kit, I knew I could improve it with a variety of photo-etched (PE) parts to add detail, and then a moderate amount of weathering to give it a modestly used appearance.


1 Although the kit provides nicely molded detail, Eduard offers attractive PE updates (No. 32585) that push interior detail to the next level.

3 The cockpit bulkhead, sidewalls, floor, and front console received an array of PE parts to spiff up the detail.

5 To replicate the aotake preservative on the fuselage’s interior, I airbrushed a mix of three parts Tamiya metallic blue (X-13) and one part Tamiya clear green (X-25). After it dried, I masked off the appropriate areas and airbrushed Tamiya (IJN) cockpit green (XF-71). Next, I attached the oxygen bottles, hydraulic pressure tank, and arresting hook bay.

20 FineScale Modeler March 2019

2 Beginning with the fuselage halves, I filled ejector-pin marks with white putty, then added PE assemblies in appropriate areas.

4 After a coat of rattle-can gray primer, I airbrushed the subassemblies with Tamiya (IJN) cockpit green (XF-71) thinned 1:1. Then I brushpainted components with a 5/0 brush, applying a pinwash of burnt umber artist’s oils to the cockpit floor. A silver pencil replicated chipped paint. Lastly, I added pre-painted PE gauges to the console followed by 2-3 drops of Pledge Floor Gloss (PFG).

6 To improve the scale appearance of the 20mm cannons, I hollowed the barrel with a .035-inch micro bit chucked in a pin vise.

7 The wheel wells needed scratchbuilt improvements for accuracy. I fashioned new landing gear cover actuator components using spare PE. References led me to replace missing detail with .010-inch and .030-inch Evergreen strip styrene and thin strips of scrap PE sheet.

9 On the flaps, more ejector-pin marks are filled with white putty to remove depressions that did not exist on the actual aircraft.

11 Next, I began detailing the Zero’s engine. Eduard’s engine detail set (No. 32161) has many small parts that were a challenge, but it helped bring the engine to life, visually.

13 After airbrushing a 1:1 mix of Tamiya Japanese navy gray (XF-12) and light blue (XF-23) to the front and rear engine cylinder harness, I brushed on Micro-Mark Mask-It Easy (liquid masking film No. 80923), which is an easier alternative than masking tape in hard-to-reach areas.

8 When exposed to air, the aotake appears more green than blue. I airbrushed LifeColor Japan blue aotake (UA136) thinned 1:1 to match this; LifeColor aotake is slightly different than Tamiya’s. Next, I added hydraulic lines using .013-inch and .007-inch wire. I made retraction springs by winding .007-inch wire around a .012-inch micro bit.

10 On the landing gear struts I opened the scissor link parts with a .015inch bit and inserted .013-inch wire. I applied a drop of mediumviscosity super glue to the wire then cut the excess off flush.

12 Patience, a steady hand, and an OptiVisor, are required for complex PE work. An PE bending tool is helpful. Using medium super glue, I attached PE to various engine components. PE should be attached to bare plastic (before primer and paint) unless otherwise directed.

14 I allowed 24 hours for the liquid mask to set up then airbrushed the cylinders with Tamiya flat black (XF-1). I dry-brushed Tamiya flat aluminum (XF-16) to bring out raised detail. Care was taken removing the liquid mask to protect the previously applied paint.


15 After hours of adding PE, paint, and construction, the Sakae 12 engine yields convincing results.

17 Now it was time to airbrush the air frame with Tamiya liquid surface primer (No. 87075).

19 For the base color, I mixed three parts Tamiya gray green (IJN) (XF-76) to one part flat white (XF-2) thinned 1:1. I airbrushed light coats until satisfied. I think pre-shading should be noticed, not seen. Next, I randomly painted panels with Tamiya Japanese navy gray (XF-12) to suggest repair. I painted control surfaces the same as they differ from the base.

21 I made a mix of one part Tamiya dark gray (XF-24) to three parts thinner (X-20A), dialing in at 15 psi on the airbrush and then lightly airbrushing the painters tape, allowing the overspray to achieve the effect. The contrast should be subtle, not stark. 22 FineScale Modeler March 2019

16 I opened the lightening holes on the inside of the wing folds using a .032-inch bit as a pilot, then adjusted the bit size as necessary.

18 Next, I sanded the primed coat with a medium grit Scotch-Brite pad to smooth the surface. A very thinned mix of Vallejo burnt umber (70.941) enabled me to pre-shade panel and fastener detail at 15 psi.

20 During my online research, I discovered a painting technique for fabric control surfaces. This is a time-consuming masking process that requires thin strips of painter’s tape, but will be worth it in the end.

22 Next, I airbrushed the cowling using 70% Tamiya gloss black (X-1) to 30% royal blue (X-3). I applied a gray wash instead of black to lighten contrast, then a mix of equal parts Winsor & Newton black and white artist’s oils with mineral spirits using a Ÿ-inch angular brush.



Instead of waiting 15-20 minutes to wipe the wash, I used a blow dryer, set on warm, to speed the process. It takes about one minute of warm air before I can start wiping in the direction of airflow. The excess is completely removed leaving recessed detail noticeable. Again, subtlety is the key.


Finishing, I airbrushed PFG and applied decals. I set them with Microscale Micro Sol. Once dry, I airbrushed more PFG to seal them. It’s possible that Zeros’ light olive color was due to a lacquer preservative applied over the paint. To replicate this, I added one drop of Tamiya clear yellow (X-24) to my color cup, then one part Model Master semi-gloss clear lacquer to one part Testors lacquer thinner. I airbrushed the entire aircraft to seal everything.

Lastly, I added the landing gear, ailerons, engine, wing tips, drop tank, canopy, and antenna wire. My little third-hand tool held the wire taut while the super glue set.

Zeros were in pristine condition before any campaign. Paint chipping would be extremely minimal (on the wing walk areas, if at all) and little or no gun burns. On my Zero, I gave a touch of smoke stain aft of the gun and engine exhaust areas using black pastels. Then it was time to take this bird to the next level — the display shelf. FSM

Sources Eduard – Model Accessories Evergreen Scale Model

References A6M Zero in action No. 1059 Squadron/Signal Publications

Modeling the Mitsubishi A6M Zero Brian Criner/Osprey Publishing


Improving HobbyBoss’

The Skyhawk was the most fun aircraft I ever flew — simple yet extremely quick and agile. — John Cheshire,


Monogram flaps and slats properly ground an A-4E BY DARREN ROBERTS


f ever there was an example of an aircraft design that perfectly fit its role, Douglas’ A-4 Skyhawk would invariably be considered for the top of the list. Designed by the master himself, Ed Heinemann, the Skyhawk was a compact light-attack aircraft that met or surpassed every criterion the Navy asked for. It was so small that it didn’t require folding wings, which saved considerable weight. Yet it could carry more than 10,000 pounds of ordnance, delivering a mighty wallop from as many as five hard points on later models. 24 FineScale Modeler March 2019

The A-4 is a favorite among modelers and it shows. It has been released in a wide range of scales by every major model manufacturer. The latest to hit the market is the 1/48 scale offering from HobbyBoss. There was some buzz about this kit when it was first announced and it was surmised that it would be similar to its big brother, Trumpeter’s 1/32 scale kit, which would make it an attractive option. I picked one up as soon as it was released and started working. It is a nice kit overall, but there

are a couple of areas that need improvement. The most obvious fix is the wing: When parked, A-4 leading-edge slats drop — they actually retract on their own when the aircraft hits a certain airspeed. The flaps also drop when parked. The HobbyBoss kit comes with both of these control surfaces molded to the wing, which is not necessarily a bad thing if you like to build in-flight models. However, I wanted mine parked, which meant some surgery was at hand.

1 It started with the slats. Drawing a scriber repeatedly along the scribed outline thinned the plastic …

3 I did the same for the underwing flaps.

5 … and tracks from the wings. These parts will be grafted onto the HobbyBoss wings.

7 Removing the flaps left two large rectangular voids in the upper wing. I carefully measured the areas and filled them with sheet styrene to complete the wing.

2 … I separated the slats from the wings. I set them aside to be reattached later in the build.

4 Pulling an old Monogram Skyhawk out of my stash, I cut the slat wells …

6 The Monogram parts fit with a small shim of styrene. When I installed the slat well, I blended the top of the well into the wing. This detail is missed on most Skyhawk models: The trailing edge of the slat actually sits on top of the wing, there is no step between the wing and slat well.

8 The underside of the sheet styrene looked pretty vanilla, so I spiced it up with some photo-etched (PE) metal from Eduard. Although it was meant for the Hasegawa Skyhawk, it fit nicely.


9 I used the flaps from the Monogram kit, but they didn’t have much detail either. Eduard’s set came to the rescue again.

11 The kit fits nicely and there were no major hiccups. I added fishing weights to the nose to keep the nose gear on the ground.

13 … and glued in the resin replacement. It was a definite improvement.

15 Using Tamiya tape, I masked these areas in preparation for the camouflage. I sprayed Alclad white primer on the underside and on all the movable flying surfaces, then Mr. Color light gull gray topside. 26 FineScale Modeler March 2019

10 After attaching the PE parts, I glued the flaps in place. I continued the build following the kit instructions.

12 The detail on the wheels was a bit soft and the front wheel was molded to the fork. Eduard Brassin makes resin wheels that include a separate resin fork. I cut away the wheel …

14 Before spraying the main colors — light gull gray and white — I sprayed Mr. Color insignia red in the slat wells and flaps.

16 When the paint was dry, I applied a wash of lamp black and burnt umber to highlight surface detail. The paint applied to Navy aircraft during this time was durable and showed little dirt and grime.

17 With construction, painting, and decaling complete, I took care of the last house-keeping items. The seat doesn’t include an ejectionpull ring above the head rest or the safety “head-knocker” lever between the head cushions. I replicated these with plastic.

18 The HobbyBoss kit doesn’t include clear parts for the wingtip lights, carrier landing lights in the wing root, anti-collision lights, or landing lights. I used a Molatow chrome silver paint pen to simulate the glass. With that, my colorful Skyhawk took its place on the shelf next to all of my other Navy models.

This side view demonstrates the squadron markings for VA-192 Golden Dragons. The first two digits of the squadron designation show that they are attached to Carrier Air Wing 19 (tail code NM) while the third digit shows they are the second squadron in the air wing with a 2XX series modex and yellow trim. The colorful stripes on the tail and on the fuselage represent each of the trim colors in the air wing. The commander of the air wing, or CAG, has his name on the aircraft. Another identifying feature to show this is the CAG’s aircraft is the double zeros or the double nuts as they’re affectionately called. I mean the kind in the hardware store. What were you thinking? FSM


U.S. Navy aircraft

identification markings — a history Part 3 of 4: From blue to gray in Korea, Vietnam, and the Cold War BY DARREN ROBERTS Flying past USS Kearsarge, a pair of A-4C Skyhawks show typical markings of the mid1960s. They are the fourth (604) and sixth (606) aircraft of VA-164 from CVG-16 — tail code NK — and were deployed on the USS Constellation in August 1964. Official U.S. Navy Photo.

Hobbycraft’s 1/48 scale Grumman F8F-2 Bearcat shows markings applied briefly around the end of the war, including the return of the prewar-style fuselage code that indicate this is the fourth airplane in VF-3.


olor and experimentation characterized naval aircraft identification systems in the two decades before World War II. During the war, much of the color disappeared, but the Navy still sought easy ways for pilots and crew to recognize squadron mates. That culminated in striking geometric patterns applied to tails and wings in the last year of hostilities. As we will see, the next 35 years saw the re-emergence of color and more experimentation as more attempts at standardization were made. Right before the end of WWII, fuselage codes like those used before the war, reappeared. The air-group letter code introduced to replace the geometric patterns was also removed and replaced with the airplane number. But the Navy was not satisfied and continued to search for an easier way to identify the different aircraft in service. To this end, a new set of identification codes was introduced in late 1946 (see Table 1). Following from another late-war practice, these codes replaced the fuselage codes with a new single or double letter code that indicated the carrier to which the air group was assigned. Also introduced at this time was a numbering system (sometimes referred to as modex). It used blocks of 100s that followed the carrier letter on the fuselage. Just a month later, the Navy issued another directive that introduced the beginnings of the system that is used today. The amended system retained the letter designations but moved them from the fuselage to the tail. These designations reflected the

Table 1: Carrier Indentification Letters Carrier Essex Yorktown Ticonderoga Lexington Wasp Hancock Bennington Bon Homme Richard Midway F.D. Roosevelt Coral Sea


1946 --------M F C

Carrier Randolph Boxer Leyte Kearsarge Oriskany Antietam Princeton Shangri-La Tarawa Valley Forge Philippine Sea

1945 L ZZ ---W -Z J ---

1946 R B L K RI A P S T V PS

Table 2: Carrier Air Group/Wing (CVG /CVW) Tail Codes CVG/CVW 1 2 3 4 5 6

1947 T M K F S C

7 8 9 10


1957 AB NE AC AD NF AF (Later changed to AE) AG AJ NG AK (Re-established as NM in the 1980s)

air group itself rather than the carrier assignment (Table 3). In addition, the air group letter and aircraft number were repeated on top of the starboard wing and sometimes beneath the port wing. The air

CVG/CVW 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 19 21 20 30

1947 1957 V NH D NJ AE (Later changed to AK) A NK H NL -AH R AL (Later changed to AA) B NM G NP -AF -ND

group could now be transferred among several carriers, but the tail letter remained the same. Also, in 1946, the Navy changed the airgroup designations to reflect the type of


Table 3: Air Task Group (ATG) Tail Codes ATG 1 2 3 4

1947 U W Y Z

1957 NA NB NC ND

ATG 181 182 201 202

1947 I O J X

1957 AM AN AP AQ

Table 4: Modex Numbers and Trim Colors (on Gloss Blue) 1XX series – Insignia Red 2XX series – Insignia White 3XX series – Light Blue

4XX series – Light Yellow 5XX series – Light Green 6XX – 9XX series – Black outlined in white

carrier to which the air group was assigned. Under this new system, there were four major carrier types: CVB (Battle Carrier), CVA (Attack Carrier), CVL (Light Carrier), and CVE (Escort Carrier). To coincide with this change, all squadron designations also changed. With the new system, the first fighter or attack squadron would be designated by what air group they were assigned to. The second squadron of the same type was designated by the next higher number. For example, VF-5A would be the first fighter squadron of Attack Air Group 5 (CVAG5). The second fighter squadron would be

Table 5: Air Carrier Group and Squadron Designations 1945 VF-4 VBF-4 -VB-4 VT-4

1946 F-1A VF-2A -VA-1A VA-2A

1948 on VF-11 VF-12 VF-13 VA-14 VA-15

CVBG-74 VF-74 VBF-74 -VB-74 VT-74


CVG-2 VF-21 VF-22 VF-23 VA-24 VA-25

CVG-3 VF-3 VBF-3 -VB-3 VT-3


VG-3 VF-31 VF-32 VF-33 VA-34 VA-35

CVG-75 VF-75 VBF-75 -VB-75 VT-75


CVG-4 VF-41 VF-42 VF-43 VA-44 VA-45

CVG-5 VF-5 VBF-5 -VB-5 VT-5


CVG-5 VF-51 VF-52 VF-53 VA-54 VA-55

CVG-17 VF-17 VBF-17 -VB-17 VT-17


CVG-6 VF-61 VF-62 VF-63 VA-64 VA-65

CVG-18 VF-18 VBF-18


CVG-7 VF-71 VF-72

30 FineScale Modeler March 2019

1945 -VB-18 VT-18

1946 -VA-7A VA-8A

1948 on VF-73 VA-74 VA-75

(Established in 1951) VF-81 VF-82 VF-83 VA-84 VA-85


CVG-20 VF-20 VBF-20 -VB-20 VT-20

CVG-9 VF-91 VF-92 VF-93 VA-94 VA-95

CVAG-9 VF-9A VF-10A -VA-9A VA-10A

(Established in 1952) VF-101 VF-102 VF-103 VA-104 VA-105


CVG-11 VF-11 VBF-11 ---VB-11 VT-11

CVG-11 VF-111 VF-112

CVAG-11 VF-11A VF-12A VF-113 VA-11A VA-12A

VA-114 VA-115

(Established in 1953) VF-121 VF-122 VF-123 VA-124 VA-125


CVG-81 VF-81 VBF-81 -VB-81

CVG-13 VF-131 VF-132 VF-133 VA-134

CVAG-13 VF-13A VF-14A -VA-13A

1945 VT-81

1946 VA-14A

1948 on VA-135

(Established in 1953) VF-141 VF-142 VF-143 VF-144 VA-145


CVG-15 VF-15 VBF-15 -VB-15 VT-15

CVG-15 VF-151 VF-152 VF-153 VA-154 VA-155

CVAG-15 VF-15A VF-16A -VA-15A VA-16A

(Established in 1960) VF-161 VF-162 VF-163 VA-164 VA-165


CVG-82 VF-82 VBF-82 -VB-82 VT-82

CVAG-17 VF-17A VF-18A -VA-17A VA-18A

CVG-17 VF-171 VF-172 VF-173 VA-174 VA-175

CVG-19 VF-19 VBF-19 -VB-19 VT-19

CVAG-19 VF-19A VF-20A -VA-19A VA-20A

CVG-19 VF-191 VF-192 VF-193 VA-194 VA-195

CVG-98 VF-98 VBF-98 -VB-98 VT-98

CVAG-21 VF-21A VF-22A -VA-21A VA-22A

CVG-21 VF-211 VF-212 VF-213 VA-214 VA-215

VF-6A. However, there was also a Battle Air Group 5 (CVBG-5) which had VF-5B and VF-6B assigned to it. The only thing that differed between the squadron designations was the A and B carrier suffix. Squadrons that had previously been separated into B for Bombing and T for Torpedo were now grouped under A for Attack. More changes followed in 1948 as the Navy sought to refine the identification system. First, specific trim colors were assigned to each of the squadron number series (Table 4). There was also a major reorganization of squadron numbering. The carrier suffix — A and B — was deleted and the squadrons were renumbered using the air-group number as the first digit (Table 5). For example, the first squadron in CVG-5 (formerly VF-5A) was re-designated VF-51, the second squadron (formerly VF-6A) became VF-52, the newly-formed third squadron was VF-53, the fourth squadron (VA-5A) became VA-54, and the last squadron (VA6A) became VA-55. Note: Some Air Groups were later assigned to another attack squadron. This squadron was designated with the CVG number and then 6. An example would be VA-216, which was assigned to CVG-21. Also, throughout the 1950s and ’60s, there were numerous squadrons that were either disestablished or re-designated, so the 1948 designation isn’t necessarily the same squadron as one with the same designation later. For instance, the original VF-102 was re-designated VA-36. But a short time later a new VF-102 was established, which still exists today as VFA-102.

The system that is essentially used today is demonstrated on Monogram’s 1/48 scale Grumman F9F-5 Panther: The air-group letter has reappeared and the squadrons have been numbered according to what air group they are in. The block numbering system is also evident, with the 400 series being trimmed in yellow.

Table 6: Air Task Group (ATG) Tail Codes 1XX series – Insignia Red 2XX series – Insignia Yellow 3XX series – Light Blue 4XX series – International Orange 5XX series – Light Green

The aircraft numbering system reflected this change as well. The first number in the side number became the number of the squadron position in the air group, while the next two numbers showed which plane it was in the squadron. So, an airplane with an A tail code (Table 3) and side number 406 and yellow trim (Table 4) would be the sixth airplane from VF-144 assigned to CVG-14.

6XX series – Maroon* 7XX – 9XX series – Black *Maroon was later changed to Black for 6XX series squadrons.

In late 1955, the Navy replaced the overall glossy sea blue camouflage that its aircraft had worn since late WWII. The replacement scheme was flat light gull gray over gloss white. (In 1971, the light gull gray transitioned from flat to gloss.) The new scheme required a change in trim colors to provide more contrast (Table 6). For a short time, the single letter air group designations were retained.

The changeover to gull gray over white is evident on Collect Aire’s McDonnell F2H-3 Banshee but it retains the single letter air-group designator. Note that four digits of the six digit Bureau Number (BuNo) are painted on the tail. Also of interest is that the rudders were not originally painted white to match the other control surfaces.


Matchbox’s 1/48 scale North American FJ-4B Fury wears a two-letter air group code. Comparing this picture to the F9F-5 Panther (previous page) shows the changes to the trim color and air group codes. Both models depict the fourth squadron from CVG-14, but the A has been changed to NK and the yellow trim has been changed to orange.

Hasegawa’s 1/48 scale A-4C Skyhawk demonstrates that while the Navy’s system was in place, not all squadrons were able to follow it. The only thing that’s true to directives is that the squadron designation, VA-66, starts with a six as part of CVW-6. The next six in the designation should mean it’s the sixth squadron in the wing with a 600 series side number to match. But, it wears a 500 series side number. And the blue trim means it should have a 300-series number.

But in 1957, the air-group tail codes were expanded to a two letter system to differentiate between the Atlantic and Pacific Fleet squadrons. All Atlantic Fleet squadrons were assigned an A prefix and then a CVG letter. Pacific Fleet squadrons received an N prefix. By 1963, the Carrier Air Group (CVG) was changed to Carrier Air Wing (CVW) and Air Task Groups (ATG), air groups 32 FineScale Modeler March 2019

that used squadrons temporarily reassigned from their designated air group, had been phased out (Table 5). It became readily apparent that changing squadron designations to fit air group assignments was logistically impractical. Specific air groups were not able to have the same squadrons assigned to them for each deployment, so squadrons moved from air group to air group.

It was decided that squadrons should retain their designations and simply change tail codes when they were transferred from one air group to another. As time moved on, trim color didn’t always correspond to side number. Next month, I’ll wrap up the history of U.S. Navy identification with a look at the transition to low-viz schemes and current designations. FSM

WWII to 1970s U.S. Navy Model Paint Guide Akan 72742 72014 72000 78001 82006

AK-Interactive Ammo by Mig Jimenez Aqueous Color AK2234 A.MIG-227 54 AK2231 A.MIG-241 325 327 AK2052 A.MIG-047 11 —

Glossy Sea Blue Light Gull Gray Insignia Red Insignia White Insignia Blue Light Blue Light Yellow Light Green Black 78004 MC001 International Orange Maroon Dark Gull Gray 72064 Interior Green 611 72004 AK2303 Glossy Sea Blue Light Gull Gray Insignia Red Insignia White Insignia Blue Light Blue Light Yellow Light Green Black International Orange Maroon Dark Gull Gray Interior Green 611 Glossy Sea Blue Light Gull Gray Insignia Red Insignia White Insignia Blue Light Blue Light Yellow Light Green Black International Orange Maroon Dark Gull Gray Interior Green 611

Humbrol — 129 153 34 189

LifeColor MCW Colors UA047 MIL-2104 UA025 MIL-2120 MIL-2126 LC01 MIL-2110 LC35 — MIL-2125

99 A.MIG-046





MIL-2111 2000



317 58

140 151

UA033 UA004

MIL-2119 MIL-2105

Mission Models Mr. Paint MMP-065 MRP-041 MRP-134 MMP-101 MRP-299 MMP-104 MRP-135 MRP-300


MMP-064 MMP-059

Mr. Color 14 325 327 62

MRP-100 MRP-131

Vallejo Model Color 70.898 70.986 70.957 70.951

Hataka HTK-A/B/C001 HTK-A/B/C048

Revell 32350 —


32105 36350

HTK-A/B/C220 HTK-A/B/C222 HTK-A/B/C221 HTK-A/B/C041 HTK-A/B/C062 HTK-A/B/C044 HTK-A/B/C211

Tamiya XF-17 XF-55 XF-7 XF-2 X-3 XF-3

32364 32302




Testors MM Enamel 1717 1730 1705 1768 1719 2030 2023 2028 1749 2022

Testors MM Acrylic 4686 4763 4714 4769 4742

1740 1715

4755 4735

4684 4669 4768 4682

Vallejo Model Air White Ensign Xtracolor 71.087 121 71.045 71.279 71.091

70.952 70.950

71.006 71.057

70.991 70.833


AC RN 32 AC US 29 AC US 27

122 152 108 151 12 104

AR US 07


In contrast to the Skyhawk, Hasegawa’s 1/48 scale F-8J shows that some squadrons remained with their air wings for years. Everything is as it should be: VF-211 is assigned to CVW-21 (NP tail code) and is the first fighter squadron trimmed with red. The six-digit number on the tail is the Bureau Number (BuNo), which is like the VIN on a car. The squadron markings and side numbers change throughout an aircraft’s life, but the BuNo remains the same.



MMSI 2018

In late October, hundreds of the best figure modelers and painters gathered for the Military Miniature Society of Illinois annual Chicago show. The tables in the contest area were crowded with subjects as varied as ancient, medieval, and modern soldiers, stunning dioramas, and extraordinary fantasy characters. Here’s a sampling of the photos shot by FSM Senior Editor Aaron Skinner.


VIAREGGIO, LUCCA, ITALY Mato-tope (Four Bears) was an important Mandan chief in the early 19th century, but don’t look for this figure in stores. Riccardo scratchbuilt the figure and horse, painting both with acrylics.


GROSSE POINTE, MICHIGAN Jason built Robot Rocket’s 1/10 scale cybernetic samurai, K0-Hana, out of the box, then primed it with an airbrush. The finish was hand-painted with Ammo by Mig Jimenez, Vallejo, and Scale 75 acrylics, and Darkstar Miniatures Molten Metals. ◀ RION HALL

IRON RIDGE, WISCONSIN A member of the U.S. Junior Modeling Team, Rion painted a resin 1/8 scale red dragon bust with Vallejo acrylics.





To show a U.S. Marine at the 1944 Battle of Pelilu, Bill put Evolution’s 1/35 scale BAR gunner on a scratchbuilt base made from Celluclay with plaster bunker ruins. He painted the scene with layers of Reaper acrylics.

Modeling a cotton picker, Warren hand-sculpted the figure and topped it with a Historex head. The figure was painted with Vallejo and Art Deco acrylics. Washes enhanced shadows and glazes added the highlights.







To improve Jeffshiu’s 120mm Imperial German flamflower, Dave scratchbuilt a hose and harness for the flame unit and re-sculpted the tank, helmet, canteen, gas mask, and more. The World War I soldier was painted with Andrea acrylics.

James marked the face of Young Miniature’s 1/10 scale firefighter with soot to show him after a fire. The finish on the first responder is Vallejo and Scale 75 acrylics over Badger Stynylrez primer; Citadel and Vallejo washes weathered the turnout gear.


MEXICO CITY, MEXICO A perfect example of the art of painting flats is José’s Calliope. He painted the 90mm Jupiter Miniatura piece with Winsor & Newton artist’s oils.

36 FineScale Modeler March 2019


Carlota was the empress of Mexico from April 1864 to May 1867. Mike painted United Empire Miniatures’ 1/10 scale bust of the leader with various acrylics.


RACELAND, LOUISIANA James hand-sculpted a 75mm soldier from the 1st Louisiana Zouave Battalion, then painted him with artist’s oils. ◀


Showing the spoils of war, John painted Pegaso’s 90mm Templar sergeant with Winsor & Newton artist’s oils and Plaid acrylics. The banner at the feet of the 13th century crusader was made with two-part epoxy putty.







Matt finished Blackheart’s 1/6 scale Hannibal with Golden heavy-body acrylics using the Grisaille technique.

Lewis Carroll’s creation comes to life in front of him as Alice comes through the looking glass in Bob’s 54mm scene. He sculpted the face of a Phoenix figure to resemble Carroll, modified Andrea’s Alice to push through the mirror, and added the grin on the Cheshire cat. The diorama was painted with Andrea, Reaper, and Vallejo acrylics, and detailed with artist’s oils.


EAST PATCHOGUE, NEW YORK Staying old school, Jack painted Pegaso's 200mm Scottish gentleman with Winsor & Newton artist’s oils.

38 FineScale Modeler March 2019





After painting Romeo’s 54mm Mountain Man with acrylics, Pete put it on rocks made from pool putty with an Armati tree and other foliage. His vignette models a pioneer coming down from the mountains in spring to a rendezvous.

To finish Young Miniatures 1/10 scale bust of a 17th century Polish Winged Hussar, David used artist’s oils and GSI Creos metallic colors. Washes added depth.

MICHAEL R. STEVENS SPRING, TEXAS Michael painted Pegaso’s 54mm French Mamelouk officer with acrylics and the soldier’s fallen mount with artist’s oils.

Inside an


Superdetail the interior of Trumpeter’s 1/72 scale ACAV BY BART CUSUMANO

It’s amazing the amount of detail you can pack into the hull of a 1/72 scale Vietnam era M113 ACAV.


’ve been something of a ‘scale-snob’ for most of my modelmaking days, building only 1/48 scale aircraft and 1/35 scale armor. For me, 1/72 scale aircraft were just too small to detail and some engraved panel lines looked like World War I trenches. Small-scale armor kits meant just one thing to me: toy — at least until recently.

40 FineScale Modeler March 2019

A friend of mine introduced me to Dragon’s small-scale tanks. The petite parts, attention to detail, and scale fidelity just blew me away. These kits even include photo-etch (PE)! But being the detail-obsessed nut that I am, I just had to kick my next build up a notch. I ended up selecting Trumpeter’s

1 To hide ejector-pin marks, I covered the sponson tops, roof, portions of the interior walls for the front, and portions of the engine compartment with thin sheet styrene.

4 Driving levers, copper wire, a floor piece, and PE add-ons filled the driver’s compartment.


2 My punch-and-die set created small plugs that, when glued down, hid some molding marks perfectly.

5 The huge air filter in the engine compartment is made of scrap styrene and punched-out discs.


3 I slowly began filling the rather sparse fighting compartment with detailed PE bits.

6 The PE panel looked better once I replaced the “glass” dial with a piece of plastic from the PE packaging, fixed with Pledge Floor Gloss.


The driver’s seat complete with a scratchbuilt headrest and adjustment level.

This seat assembly attaches to a bracket in the roof that I also upgraded with sheet styrene. I dry-fitted the roof frequently to make sure the bracket lined up correctly.

Though they are difficult to see through the open hatch at the back, I think these extra details keep my modeling skills sharp and increase the wow factor.

1/72 scale U.S. M113 ACAV (No. 07237) and Eduard’s PE set (No. 22122). Let’s see how detailed we can get at this small size.

Preparation involved removing the enginedoor fasteners from the bulkheads to make room for PE. When too much of the door fasteners’ plastic was removed I replaced it with plastic strip, 4. PE details and copper wire followed. I found clear photos of the engine compartment on the internet and worked off of those to detail the area with micro-solder, plastic tubing and rods, and copper wire, 5. A PE instrument panel and seat would fill the driver’s compartment after the interior painting was complete. The instrument panel has a set of paper instrument dials, but I don’t think they look as good as

printed film does, 6. The seat looked good on its own, but I added a scratchbuilt plastic cap and a seat-height adjustment lever made of zinc coated brass wire, 7. Next came the main fighting compartment that I decorated with PE diamondtreadplate flooring. After attaching the side benches, I assembled the post for the commander’s seat in the forward center of the troop compartment, 8. The PE already in place in the fighting and driver’s compartment wasn’t enough for me, so I continued with more styrene, copper wire, and punched-out rivets, 9. The roof interior received various details

The many sordid details Rather than address each and every ejectorpin mark, I covered them in one fell swoop with .10-inch sheet styrene, 1. Even still, a few had to be handled individually. Some were pretty deep so I used my Waldron punch-and-die set to make plastic disks to fill and cover a few unsightly marks, 2. The interior is quite sparse — the perfect start for the Eduard PE to come, 3.


10 These PE hand grips were a great addition to the roof — I am still in wonder at how realistic they look on the finished build.


11 Once I added all the extra detail I could to the interior, I began test-fitting the various subcomponents …


12 … which went off without a hitch — no filler was needed.


A penny for your thoughts on the amount of detail here.

Styrene additions elevated the rear ramp hinges as well as the forward tow hook mounts (not pictured).

Even with the road wheels on, this detail is still visible, so it’s worth upgrading the bolts.

like radios, brackets and hand grips made of PE, copper wire, and sheet styrene, 10. With the various sub-compartments built and detailed to the max, I began testfitting everything, 11. All the pieces fit well without problems, 12. I took the components apart to paint them individually before final assembly, 13.

into the voids with gap-filling super glue. After some repeated sanding and filling, I had a nice flush surface.

paint mixed with Humbrol thinner was brushed over raised and recessed details. This added a smoothed, well-used gleam to the surfaces. I left this to dry for several days. Dry-brushing followed, which I accomplished by dipping a small, flat brush in Humbrol white, then wiping it almost dry on a paper towel before lightly brushing it across raised details. To finish, Humbrol panzer gray (67) applied with a fine brush added chips and scratches. More dry-brushing, this time with Humbrol dark earth (29), replicated rubbed-in dirt, 18. A spray of Dullcote sealed everything.

From the inside, out Before finishing the interior, I needed to address the major pain points on the hull’s exterior or risk fouling up my detailing with sanding dust, or worse, by breaking off something inside. First off, plastic rod and punched-out styrene discs enhanced hinge detail on the rear ramp and forward tow-hook mounts, 14. With the punch-and-die in hand, I also replaced the bolts on the trailing arms because the originals were quite faint, 15. This was a time-consuming process, but a necessary one considering how visible the trailing arms are even with the road wheels attached. Many of my U.S. Army photos from the Vietnam era show the M113 without the side skirts in place; so I left mine off, too, 16. Now I had two skirt mount holes in the hull’s side to fill. To plug these, I snipped off the skirt mounting lugs and stuck them 42 FineScale Modeler March 2019

Adding some color With this exterior work done, the interior components could now be painted. I laid down a dark brown base coat using a mix of Testors Model Master Italian dark brown (2111) with a touch of flat black (1749). I didn’t pay attention to ratios, instead mixing the two to a dark chocolate color. This dark base creates shadows and highlights flaws, which I could immediately correct before applying top coats. My hazy references for the interior color of M113s showed it either as white, light gray, or a combination of the two. Siding with light gray, I misted on a coat (2038), concentrating it in the middle of panels. This kind of contouring provides the illusion of depth and keeps the finish from looking flat. With a small brush in hand, I picked out the details with various browns, blacks, and metallics from Testors, Humbrol, and Vallejo, 17. A couple of coats of Dullcote then sealed and protected the paint. I left the M113 alone for a few days to dry thoroughly. Next, a pinwash of raw umber artist’s oil

More PE additions I assembled the inside and began adorning the hull with PE tools, 19. The kit-supplied jerry cans were replaced with ExtraTech resin and PE parts (EXB 72012). These were mounted using the Eduard PE hardware, 20. More PE details replaced the kit-supplied plastic, such as the hatch screens, gun shields, and .50 caliber guns, 21. With my M113 fully loaded with PE and scratchbuilt details, I felt confident proceeding with exterior painting, knowing that the real show is on the inside. FSM

16 The unused kit side skirts served as templates to drill out the open mount holes on the lower sides of the hull.

19 Not wanting the interior to have all the detailing fun, I mounted aftermarket jerry cans with PE straps to the rear of the APC.



The more colorful details stand out against the light gray, which is over a shadowy dark brown.


This M113 looks well-used thanks to stomped-in dirt and the expected scratches.


More PE tools and brackets litter the upper surface, sharpening the appearance of the finished build.

Before painting the exterior, final PE additions replaced the plastic gun shields and ammo hoppers and belts on the machine guns.

Airbrushed coats of Humbrol U.S. dark green (116), light green (117), and French artillery green (179) finished my M113.


STROKE THERAPY How building models helped my recovery Constructing an old kit helps build hand-eye coordination /// BY WILLIAM MITCHELL

While recovering from my stroke I took time checking all the parts and instructions before beginning assembly of an old truck kit. 44 FineScale Modeler March 2019


couple of months ago I was rushed to the hospital after suffering a hemorrhagic stroke. While there was considerable initial pain, the main result was significant visual impairment: the fact that I could not read was the biggest worry. When I looked at a printed page, all I could see was a jumble of letters; as I am an English teacher at our local community college, not being able to read could be a huge stumbling block. The doctors told me not to worry and that I should recover most of my reading abilities. Not one to wait, I took a proactive approach. My wife thought jumping back into modeling might help me build my eye coordination. I’ve enjoyed model building for more than 50 years. A few days out of the hospital, my wife took me to a hobby shop and picked out a snap-together fire truck for me to tackle. The instructions were mostly pictorial, but I still struggled to be sure parts went in the right places. I made a few mistakes, but as this was a snap kit, it wasn’t a big challenge to pop it apart and make corrections. I didn’t bother to paint anything as the goal was just to finish the model. The instruction sheet became a little easier to decipher as I progressed. The result now sits proudly on my paint cabinet. Along the way, I noticed that my hand-eye coordination improved; maybe model building is a good way to get better. My next project was a simple old kit, a 1/35 scale Dodge WC54 Signal Corps truck from Bilek Models, that I had in my stash. My plan was to throw it together. It turns out that the kit was not as straightforward as I had expected. I had picked up the model years before from a hobby store, and it was old at that time. Now, when I opened the worn and faded box, I saw the instruction sheets were poor photocopies with simple graphics. However, for all of the delicate parts in the box, the drawings were crude and would add to the challenge. I started with Step 1: chassis assembly.

I started by assembling the chassis. Here we see it after I straightened the frame by dipping it in a pan of hot water.

The first sign that there would be fit problems with the body was this obvious gap.

Significant problems There were two significant problems; I assembled the tie-rod for the front wheels incorrectly; the reason for this mistake could have been the poor instructions or my poor eyesight. Fortunately, I was able to fix the tie-rod problem before the glue dried. The other problem, the chassis was badly warped. This would be a challenge to keep all the wheels on the ground at the same time. So, I dipped the partially assembled chassis in a pan of hot water and twisted it

Here we see the major gap between the front and back halves of the ambulance body.


I was encouraged that I was able to repair the windshield frame opening by using sheet styrene.

Now the model was nearly ready for painting. I used Model Master enamels applied via airbrush.

until the frame rails were parallel. I was pleased that I was able to correct both problems. These fixes gave me confidence to continue. There were other challenges; the complex body assembly and the major gap between the top of the body’s front half and the rear “ambulance” portion. My kit was marketed as a Signal Corps truck, but it actually was based on an ambulance version, complete with stretchers for patients in the rear. The instructions had me build the body with the rear doors closed and add a castresin antenna mount to the driver’s side of the rear box. With provisions for a variety of rear bodies attached to the standard Dodge front portion, a noticeable gap appeared between the two sections on my kit. Again, this gap may have been exacerbated by my vision issues, or from the warped chassis, or maybe simply the kit’s design. I checked online and found pictures of this kit that show a notable bump at the point where I was having trouble. A simple fix was copious amounts of green putty, carefully sanded to hide imperfections. Fixing this problem required research online and resorting to hobby supplies not included in the kit. Again, this process helped build my confidence and demonstrated that I was able to work with what my poor vision would allow. My Dodge was beginning to look the way it was supposed to look. Another problem was a poorly molded hood/roof where the windshield frame fits in. Some white sheet styrene from the spare parts bin glued into the problem area and then reshaped allowed the windshield frame to fit perfectly. From this point, it was a matter of gluing on remaining bits before picking up my trusty old Binks Wren airbrush and spraying my truck with Model Master enamels. Decals were my last challenge. When I tried to apply the big white star on the truck’s hood, the decal shattered into tiny pieces; it was one last reminder that the kit was old. I went through my stash and pinched some decals from a Tamiya cargo truck to give my model some semblance of military officialdom. After applying Mig Productions pigments, my truck was complete; I thought it looked pretty good. The finished Dodge WC54 was now ready to move off of the workbench and into the display cabinet in the living room.

Did modeling help? To make sure the model sat flat on its wheels, I attached them for a test run before painting. 46 FineScale Modeler March 2019

Did model building help me recover from my stroke? The truth is that there is quite a bit of

room for improvement, but at a time when I had to confront major changes in my life, building a snap-kit and then struggling with a challenging older kit showed that not all is lost. In building these models, the process made me concentrate on hand-eye coordination and to connect what was in my hand with what I saw in print. These kits have been good therapy for me. People struggle with all sorts of impairments that get in the way of doing what they want, but I’m confident that undertaking hobby projects with appropriate levels of complexity can help each of us appreciate the joy of a challenge well met. Reading and writing? Writing about building these kits has been a slow process, but this article is finished. I still have a way to go with other writing projects and with reading. However, I hope to be back in the classroom next semester. Model building has been a great help for my frame of mind. I feel encouraged that I can deal with other aspects of recovery. Besides, there is that Tamiya cargo truck in my stash that I stole the decals from; I have great plans for it! FSM

My completed Dodge truck is ready to move off of the workbench and into the display case.

Now I was at the final step before painting the exterior olive drab. The interior is a light tan.

Meet William Mitchell William Mitchell is an English teacher at Bakersfield College, a community college in Bakersfield, Calif., and has returned to teaching online courses. He has been modeling for more than 50 years, now focusing on soft-sided vehicles, but he builds most everything.

Improve Trumpeter’s Type 033G sub Building and painting a 1/144 scale Chinese Romeo BY ALFONSO BERLANA

The Soviet-developed, Chinese-redesigned Type 033 Romeo makes for an unusual build.

he Russian-designed Romeo-class submarine has its pros and cons. On the plus side: The ability to launch acoustic homing torpedoes; accurate analog computers; complete radar and sonar technology; and lowprofile sail. On the other hand, shortly after the Soviets ordered 56 of these diesel-electric boats in the late 1950s, the design was already old-hat thanks to the growing presence of nuclear-powered subs. In the end, only 20 were delivered by 1961.


48 FineScale Modeler March 2019

Still, Romeos are not without merit, and many more were exported. The Chinese navy at one time operated more than 80 Romeos, which it designated the Type 033. Improved performance and weapons produced the Type 033G and a single boat, designated Type 033G1 was modified to launch six antiship missiles from tubes mounted in a casing on either side of the sail. Trumpeter’s 1/144 scale Type 033G kit (No. 05902) provides a solid starting point that builds into a weathered stunner with minor tweaks.

1 The missiles doors can be posed open or closed. The kit-supplied doors are too small, though, so extensions were made with strip styrene.

3 The small bow planes can be posed extended or retracted. At the stern, crude propellers required a lot of patient cleanup.

5 ‌ then finished the work with a cutting wheel in a motor tool. Scratchbuilt missile containers made with Evergreen tube will fill the space.

7 The Type 033 when all the gluing was said and done. I left the periscopes off until after painting to avoid breaking them.

2 I wanted the middle launchers open. To avoid being able to look into an empty chamber, I installed styrene sheet walls to keep visibility minimal.

4 While instructions call for opening a large hole in the hull for the launchers housing, a smaller one will work. I drilled pilot holes ‌

6 I glued the missile housing with the modified doors to the hull using clamps and string for a secure join. Then I did the same with the sail.

8 Working from coarse to fine, sandpaper smoothed the plastic. Now the surface was ready for paint.


9 All paints are Tamiya except where noted. I airbrushed the missile compartments and underwater portion of the hull bright red. This was easy.

11 When the white flotation line was dry, I carefully taped over it. The topside of the hull was then airbrushed sky blue.

13 Hand-painted Vallejo dark red finished the interior of the missile compartments. Then the YJ-8 missiles were installed.

15 Smudges of medium gray dirtied up the topside and dark red did the same to the underwater portion. 50 FineScale Modeler March 2019

10 The toughest part was masking off and airbrushing the white boot stripe, which had to be perfectly straight.

12 I masked off the sky blue and painted the walkway on the deck with dark green, reminiscent of the sub’s Soviet origin.

14 Using a small brush, I applied a diluted mix of brown over much of the hull, building it up in random areas.

16 Oil washes of Humbrol dark brown focused under limber holes added realistic wear. More washes in black and red added dirt where needed.



The kit decals ended up disintegrating with just a touch, so I rooted around in my spares box and, thankfully, came up with numerals from a 1/48 scale Aeromaster aircraft kit.

I attached the periscopes, snorkel, and handrails, along with the oldfashioned cable. Finally, I glued on the missile doors, which had been prepped and painted separately.

With that, I had a good-looking, well-worn, unique submarine from a widely available kit. FSM

Kit’s completed length: 20 inches



LEGNAGO, VERONA, ITALY Rolando built Trumpeter’s 1/350 scale USS Nimitz as it was in 1975. Wanting to model a fully operational carrier, he added extra aircraft from Trumpeter and Tamiya and busy crew members from Eduard. Each is performing routine activities. Photo-etch from Gold Medal Models and decals from Starfighter Decals and Yankee Modelworks added to the carrier’s impressive finish.

52 FineScale Modeler March 2019


NEW ALBANY, INDIANA Shawn says he had fun building Vintage Fighter Series’ 1/24 scale P-47D, despite a large hurdle — while the build process started smoothly enough, his compressor died midway through airbrushing the camouflage and he ended up hand-painting the top portion. When life gives you lemons …


MECHELEN, BELGIUM With a sense of humor, Luk tackled Revell’s 1/24 scale Citroën 2CV, painting it in the colors of his favorite soccer team, KV Mechelen. His inspiration came from the brightly painted fullsized 2CV permanently parked outside the team’s stadium. Acrylics from Tamiya brought the funky colors and the decals came partly from the kit box and partly from Luk’s stash. ◀ GEORGE HARPER

TOONGABBIE, NEW SOUTH WALES, AUSTRALIA This Australian soldier is dressed for the Vietnam War, circa 1966. The 1/6 scale resin model from Naked Army was painted with acrylics and washes from Tamiya. The figure took George two weeks to complete.




PITTSBURGH, PENNSYLVANIA Bill’s 1/72 scale Gloster Gladiator Mk.I from Airfix was awarded third place in its category at the 2018 IPMS/USA Nationals and we can see why! He added a resin engine and Yahu instrument panel, and drilled out the gun barrels. Bracing and rigging is steel wire and Uschi van der Rosten thread. The Battle of Britain decals are from Xtradecal. ▶ LUCIANO MINA

PIOSSASCO, TORINO, ITALY Luciano is a self-proclaimed lover of “strange” flying machines so he couldn’t resist Anigrand’s 1/72 scale Vought-RyanHiller V/STOL (vertical and/or short takeoff and landing) tilt wing XC-142A. Tamiya primer filled gaps in the resin kit before a mix of Vallejo and LifeColor acrylic paints finished the high-visibility scheme.

54 FineScale Modeler March 2019


CHARLES TOWN, WEST VIRGINIA Building Moebius’ 1/350 scale USS Franklin wasn’t enough for Douglas; he had to illuminate it with lights from TenaControls. For the gleam of shiny metal, he started with a base coat of Testors buffable metallizer. Weathering is a combination of Flory Model washes and pastels.


LAVOIE BAIE-SAINT-PAUL, QUEBEC, CANADA Thierry upgraded Revell’s 1/48 scale Rockwell B-1B Lancer with an Eduard photo-etch set. Wanting an even bigger impact, he lit up the cockpit and navigation lights with LEDs.



Decals for a “paper” panzer This is field-applied camouflage with a difference


ood camouflage translates into safety and protection on the battlefield. German armored forces during World War II developed innovative patterns for several theaters. They included desert sand, three-color and ambush schemes, and winter whitewash for snow. One unique example of winter camo used on a German tank is illustrated in PzKpfw IV Colour (Tank Power Series Vol. LXXX) by Janusz Ledwoch. A color profile in the book shows an overall dark gray PzKpfw IV Ausf F1 on the Eastern Front in December 1941, covered with newspaper pages as white camouflage. The reason why the crew used newspapers instead of paint is unknown, but I figure paint was in short supply. Newspapers and some kind of paste, maybe as simple as a mix of flour and water would have been readily available. Whatever the reason, I knew I had to build it. I started by building Dragon’s 1/35 scale PzKpfw IV Ausf F1(F) (kit No. 6315) out of the box with the turret hatches open to show the detailed interior. I painted the interior with Testors Model Master RLM 21 white (No. 2143) and the outside Tamiya spray-can German gray (TS-4). To prepare for decals, I airbrushed the model with a generous coat of Pledge Floor Gloss (PFG). Then, I added the kit’s Balkenkreuz national insignia to the hull sides and rear plate. I used decals for the camouflage. An online search turned up images of old Russian newspapers from which I copied and pasted about 10 different pages — both front and inside sections, as well as some with photos — into a Word document. Then I reduced them to 1/35 scale using the profile in the book as a reference. I duplicated the 10 pages several times until I had enough to cover the tank. I printed the pages onto Testors white decal paper using a laser printer. Next, I cut individual newspaper pages from the sheet leaving a thin white rim around each for margins and applied them to the model. For reality, I bent a few corners. Decal setting solution settled the thin decals into the detail. Based on the profile, the national insignia was partially visible through the newspaper, so I was happy that the Testors decal paper was slightly transparent and 56 FineScale Modeler March 2019

revealed the model’s crosses. After everything was said and done, I had applied more than 90 individual decals to the model. The book’s illustration didn’t show much weathering on the tank, but I thought it looked too clean for the Eastern Front. I started by airbrushing a layer of dust on the running gear, lower hull, and mudguards with thinned Tamiya buff (XF-57). Next, I mixed a paste with CMK sandy dust pigment (SD-03) and PFG and spread it around the suspension simulating dried mud. The tracks were weathered with a wash of raw umber Winsor & Newton water-soluble oil paint, then highlights added to track guides and sprockets with dry-brushed Model Master steel (No. 1780). After a coat of Testors Dullcote, I added stains with dark brown and gray washes. A final layer of mud was applied by mixing the CMK pigment with isopropyl alcohol. FSM

Weathering, including airbrushed dust, daubed on mud, and washes, blended the decal newspapers into the surface.

Under the fenders, you can see the mud I mixed from PFG and pigments. Above the fender, you can see how the Balkenkreuz remains visible under the newspaper.

The big sheet is one of several plain paper tests I did to check the size of the sheets before printing them on white decal paper. As I trimmed them from the sheet, I left a margin and bent corners on some.

Camoufleur: a person employed in camouaging or skilled in the techniques of camouage.

WORKBENCH REVIEWS FSM experts build and evaluate new kits

First M19A1 in plastic from Bronco


he concept of mounting a twin 40mm Bofors gun on an armored vehicle started during the later years of World War II. Originally designed to fit on a modified M5 Stewart chassis, the project was switched to the M24 Chaffee chassis when the M5 series was phased out. The M24 chassis was lengthened slightly and the engine and transmission were moved to the center of the vehicle with the Bofors turret mounted in back. Designated the M19, production started before the end of WWII, but it’s believed that none saw action in WWII. However, the M19 proved useful in the Korean conflict. The M19A1 differed slightly in that two bustles were added to the turret to house radios, and I believe the right-side exhaust pipe was removed from the fender with all exhaust routed to the left pipe. This made room for a generator on the right fender, allowing the turret to be operated without the main engine running. Bronco Models’ recent release of the M19A1 is the first plastic model of the vehicle in 1/35 scale. The parts show excellent detail and two sets of individual link track (T85E1 and T72) types are included. A small clear sprue includes headlight lenses, periscopes, and glass for the driver’s armored windscreen, while a small photo-etched sheet provides details. The kit’s large instruction booklet includes sharp line drawing assembly diagrams, but at times I wished I had a different view to see exactly where

58 FineScale Modeler March 2019

some parts went. Occasionally the locating arrows point to the wrong location, too. Decals mark four U.S. vehicles, three in OD and one in the MERDC color scheme. I started with hull assembly and found that the suspension arms were an extremely tight fit in their sockets, so I enlarged the sockets slightly with a No. 29 drill bit. While the suspension can be made to work I glued mine in a fixed position, shimming the hull on a piece of glass so all the road wheels would be at the same level. As I usually do, I left off the running gear until the hull was assembled and painted. I glued the upper hull in place before adding details. It’s also smart to paint the inner hull a dark color where the engine grate goes. Otherwise, you’ll be able to see the orange plastic through the grate. I also learned that despite the instructions’ notice to not glue the turret pivot pin to the upper hull, the only way it will stay in place is by gluing it. I then jumped ahead and built the ammo box ring for the turret. I found it easier to build the boxes onto the front pieces before adding them to the bottom ring rather than following the instructions. The ring was added to the hull along with the engine grate. Must admit it also took me several attempts at forming the PE outside exhaust screen before I got it right. A bending form would have been a big help. I did not add the generator to my model as it is believed to be a post-Korean War modification. Once most of the hull details were added I painted it Tamiya olive drab. Attachment points for the running gear are very delicate. I glued everything in place to add strength to the joints. While they wouldn’t turn I was still able to add the tracks with no problems. Both

sets of tracks are well molded with no sink or ejector-pin marks. The T72 links are single parts and snap together firmly, while the T85E1 links are multi-piece, with upper and lower link halves that trap connectors. I found them easy to assemble with tiny dots of Testors 8872 liquid cement on the center of the guide tooth half. I needed 79 links to get a nice tight track fit.

Gun tub assembly starts with building the gun. Early on the instructions have you fit the gun between the mounts, but there is nothing to hold this assembly together. I found it easier to build the gun parts and then glue the mounts to the tub. Finally, before the gun mounts dry fully, add the gun so it pivots in the mount. There also is a strange notation in step 33 telling the builder to cut the pins off the elevation cylinders if elevating. Don’t do it! The cylinders will fit fine in the mount and won’t interfere with the gun elevating at all. Despite a large number of parts in the gun tub, everything fit well. The back panel (D55) was my only fit issue. I had to glue one side and let it dry, then glue the other to achieve a good fit. Bronco’s decals are well printed and went on perfectly using Microscale solutions. The box art shows the “Little Beaver and Delores” slogan on the radio bustle, but

Kit: No. CB35148 Scale: 1/35 Mfg.: Bronco Models, Price: $75 Comments: Injectionmolded, 1,421 parts (51 PE, thread), decals Pros: Two styles of individual-link tracks; clear parts for headlights; periscopes; choice of PE or injection-molded headlight guards Cons: Tow cable string unravels; instructions confusing at times

the painting diagram shows it behind the bustle. I followed the painting diagram. Finally, I added the more delicate parts, such as the headlight and periscope guards, to the hull. I opted for the PE light guards as the plastic ones were a bit thick. Also, forms are provided for bending the main parts of the light guards, but the left guard was still a challenge to assemble. I spent 34 hours building my M19, not bad for a high-parts-count kit (the one color paint scheme helped). I found no visible molding flaws, only using filler on two small ejector-pin marks on the bottoms of the loader seats. I only did that because I wanted them in their folded position. The finished model matched perfectly the dimensions in David Doyle’s Standard Catalog of U.S. Military Vehicles (Krause, ISBN 978-0-87349-508-0). I was impressed with the kit’s fit and detail, but it will take some experience to figure out a workable assembly sequence and avoid the errors in the instructions as well as dealing with many tiny parts. – John Plzak



Ryefield Sturmtiger RM 61 L/5.4 38cm


unique vehicle, the Sturmmorser Tiger assault tank fired a 380mm rocket-propelled round. It was designed to provided infantry units with heavy fire support in urban and heavily fortified areas. The 18 built took part in several combat operations in the last year of World War II, notably the Warsaw Uprising and the battle for the bridge at Remagen. The main gun was adapted from a Kriegsmarine depth-charge thrower capable of launching a 15-inch shell. To compensate for the launcher’s limited range, rocket-assisted ammunition was developed and the fearsome weapon was capable of leveling buildings.

Ryefield’s kit includes the interior and comprises nearly 2,100 plastic parts on 19 sprues each packaged in resealable clear bags. Many of these sprues are common to Ryefield’s Tiger I kits so many of the parts are used here. The individual-link tracks have separate guides and pins. That makes four parts for each link, 96 links for each side, and a total of 768 parts for the tracks alone. Be sure

you have a magnifying glass and tweezers. The 28-page instruction booklet is well illustrated with accurate drawings that show fine details; you’ll need that. Pay attention for optional parts and spots to be assembled without glue. The small decal sheet provides balkenkreuz, although none are shown on the marking diagrams, as well as stencils for the 380mm shells. Two photo-etch (PE) frets supply engine grilles, latches, and framing for the floor. One of the more unusual parts is the PE sleeve for the gun’s rifling. The quality of the parts is excellent with no flash and the fit is right on. The interior includes the engine compartment with the power plant, cooling system, and fuel tanks, and the fighting compartment with ammunition, radios, transmission, floor, and the driver’s position. All the fits here are good. Installing the PE bore lining is a little tricky because it has to be rolled at an angle. I traced the outline of the part onto thin card stock and practiced rolling it so the ends meet evenly. Remember, the groves in the lining should spiral when it is in the barrel. I sanded the edges slightly for a precise fit. Rubber bushings allow the gun, including the breech, to elevate and traverse. The breech is posable — if you are careful, it can be left movable — but open all the way, the gun cannot elevate completely. In Step 20, the keepers for the jack (parts C48) were too thick to pass through the PE bracket. I replaced them with wire, an option given by the instructions.

The casemate roof is molded in clear plastic. If you wish to leave it that way to display the interior take care gluing on the ventilators and hatches to avoid marring the parts. A jig makes track assembly easier and saves time and aggravation. I inserted the pins four at a time after touching them with cement. But watch out: Pins N1 and N2 are different even though they look the same. I painted the camouflage with Testors and Tamiya colors. Color patterns show three camo schemes. I spent 55 hours building my Sturmtiger, most of it on the interior and tracks. I would recommend this kit to experienced modelers because of the many small parts. – Ted Horn

Kit: No. RM-5012 Scale: 1/35 Mfg.: Ryefield Models, Price: $109.99 Comments: Injection-molded, 2,188 parts (100 PE, 2 vinyl, metal wire), decals Pros: Good fits; movable gun; great tracks Cons: Tiny PE parts

Takom M60A1 with ERA


he latest release from Takom in its M60 line is an M60A1 with explosive reactive armor (ERA). The kit features one-piece tracks, photo-etch (PE) parts, clear plastic vision blocks, optional covers for the tank commander’s machine gun, and markings for four Desert Storm vehicles. I started by connecting the lower hull and suspension. After adding the swing arms, I checked for alignment with a straight edge. The road wheels have an unusual breakdown; the inner wheels are one piece but the outers are split into a tire and rim. This adds detail to the tire’s inner face. The drive sprockets are made of three pieces with lightening holes. I painted the lower hull with Tamiya buff before adding the wheels. The ends of the well-detailed vinyl tracks are joined with a metal pin. I painted the tracks and applied a wash of dust before adding them. The detailed fenders went together easily. I was impressed with the detail on the stowage boxes and air cleaners, including separate handles. Leave the boxes off until the fenders are attached to the hull so you can better see the attachment points. You have the option of installing a periscope in the driver’s hatch and the hatch can be slid open. I painted the back of each of the clear vision blocks gloss black and applied liquid mask to the fronts. The hull halves went together with no

issues and the seam was largely invisible. I painted the upper hull, then applied decals and sealed them with clear flat. The headlights were attached along with the guards. The asymmetrical turret creates problems when installing the bustle rack. The instructions aren’t clear so it’s easy to put the latter’s cross members on backward — pay close attention. I suggest building the rack and then marking the correct side for each cross member with a felt tip marker before gluing. Takom includes a mold for giving the PE bustle rack its curve, but I found it easier to bend it around a pen instead. Hatches can be posed opened or closed. I found the instructions confusing about how and where to attach the many ERA plates. Paints used were Tamiya buff, rubber, dark iron, and Testors flat clear with washes of AK-Interactive dust and brown. The markings chosen were Beirut Payback. I spent 36 hours building Takom’s M60 and the one-piece tracks were a big help in shortening building time. For those looking for a Desert Storm M60, this is a good one to add. – Tom Foti

Kit: No. 2113 Scale: 1/35 Mfg.: Takom, Price: $50 Comments: Injectionmolded, 394 parts (6 PE, 2 metal pins, string), PE form, decals Pros: Straightforward build; one-piece tracks; clear plastic vision blocks Cons: Ejector-pin marks on parts, shallow attachment points, instructions not clear for the reactive armor



Roden M43 ¾-ton ambulance


odge’s M43 ambulance saw service from 1950-70s in the Korean and Vietnam wars. The M43 was based on the M37, but with new parts to accommodate a new and larger medical support compartment. Roden’s new kit of the M43 ambulance, like the real thing, is based on Roden’s M37, which was released in 2016. Like that kit, some care will be needed handling the sprues here as the plastic is brittle and some smaller parts are easily broken. Instructions for this build start straightforward with the engine and then the frame, which is a single part. Mine had a bit of flash, but fair warning: you’ll need to be careful cleaning the frame as a few of the attachment points look like flash. The engine and cooling system also are built early on and were trouble free and were relatively simple. I think being able to pose the front wheels is a particularly nice touch here. After the frame and floor are in place, the build turns its attention to the driver’s compartment and the medical compartment in the back, where you have several build options. You can build it with the stretcher racks in place, or folded down

where medical personnel could sit. However, this is not shown in the instructions. Instead, reference photos are your friend for accurate construction. In fact, the kit’s instructions jump around a bit and I strongly suggest waiting to attach any of the parts to the frame until 62 FineScale Modeler March 2019

you have them all built separately. I followed the instructions and ended up with a sloppy-fitting model. If you attach all the main components at the same time you may be able to get some to fit together a little better, or at least have a bit more wiggle room to fix them. As I was finishing mine by gluing the doors to the main body I discovered the panel gap between the top and bottom of the doors was way too large. My solution was to pose the vehicle with the doors open to avoid calling attention to that gap. However, after a slightly frustrating build, I found the paint really helped this model. It started to pull the detail and the potential from the kit and looked quite nice. Yet I would suggest aftermarket decals, or masking off and painting the ambulance markings yourself. The decals in my kit were printed in a weird way making them look almost handpainted with thick and thin parts of the white on the crosses almost like there were runs. This wasn’t my only issue with the decals. I spent a fair amount of time making sure the decals were properly set with no silvering or visible edges. A combination of Microscale Micro Sol and heat helped settle the decals. A quick application of

Kit: No. 811 Scale: 1/35 Mfg.: Roden, Price: $49.99 Comments: Injection-molded, 271 parts (5 rubber), decals Pros: Nice molded detail Cons: Many ejector-pin marks; poor decal and fits; jumbled instructions

clear gloss helped blend them, but a final coat of semigloss clear made the decals silver in some spots again. I tried everything I could think of to fix the silvering but nothing helped. The final product is a good-looking truck with a few nice posing options. But this one was a frustrating build despite its low parts count. I would only suggest this for experienced model builders. I spent a little more than 38 hours building and painting the kit. – Chris Cortez

Takom SMK Soviet heavy tank


he SMK heavy tank was the last Soviet multi-turret tank design developed prior to the start of World War II. A single prototype was used in action during the RussoFinnish War of 1939. Though no further development was attempted, many of its design features were later incorporated in the KV-1 heavy tank. This kit has an impressive molding variation. The hull is a reverse bathtub design, as the top and sides are molded as one piece; a full bottom hull plate completes the assembly. The individual-link tracks are sharply molded with good detail, and they are easy to remove from the sprues and attach to one another. A minor ejector-pin mars the inside surface of each link but is difficult to see on the finished model. The road wheel pairs assemble from inner parts with good detail, and simply attach to the suspension arms. The arms themselves lock positively into position but, with a little work, could be altered to articulate the tracks. The turrets are well engineered and assembled without problems. Only the commander’s hatch on the large turret is separate and posable. I liked the inclusion of the external machine gun and mount as well as clear parts for periscopes. Extra features in the kit are limited to a wire for a tow cable and a small photoetched fret for the engine intake screen. I painted the kit with a combination of Tamiya and Ammo by Mig Jimenez Soviet tank colors.

Decals provided are limited to some fictional markings along with a generic red star. I used the star on my build and it went on nicely with some decal solution. Information on the SMK is a bit limited. I used as my primary reference the first issue of Armor in Profile 1 (Pelta, 1997). I completed my SMK in 30 hours. My experience in building this kit was most enjoyable. The engineering and molding were top-notch. If you are interested in Soviet armor this is a great kit to add to your collection. – Jim Zeske

Kit: No. 2112 Scale: 1/35 Mfg.: Takom, Price: $50 Comments: Injection-molded, 508 parts (1 PE, wire), decals Pros: Excellent attention to detail and accuracy Cons: None


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Thousands of model kits from old Aurora to new releases. Mon 4pm-7pm, Tues - Fri 11:30am-5pm. Sat 11:30am-4:00pm E-mail: 116 N. Washington Street

MICHIGAN • Ypsilanti-Metro Detroit

Your single stop model building shop. Michigan’s largest selection of new and vin-tage kits in all genres plus everything needed to build them. Wed - Fri 11-8 Sat 11-6, Sun 12-5 Visit us on Facebook.


We are a full line hobby shop. Huge model selection. Gundam, supplies, tool, educational, kit, parts, kite, game. Huge selection, paint, train & R/C items.


19332 60TH AVE W



Plastic Model Specialists. Largest selection of plastic models in NW! We have Aircraft, Armor, Auto, SCI-FI, and Gundam, along with great paint selection. Email us at or look us up at


12615 Renton Ave. S.


CANADA–ON • Toronto Large selection of new & out-of-production kits. Accessories & finishing products. Servicing the hobbies since 1986. We buy kit collections.


1880 Danforth Ave.

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Building a museum collection


In preparation for putting the World War II collection in cases, Chuck Davis (from left) Paul Johnston, Paul Boyer, and Andy Keyes look over the models spread across several tables in the Eagle Hangar.

Andy Keyes and Aaron Skinner place models into a display case.

EAA Museum Curator of Displays Zack Baughman builds shelves for the custom-built cases.

66 FineScale Modeler March 2019

t has long been my dream to produce a complete history of U.S. military aircraft in 1/72 scale; no other scale provides as wide a variety of a century of American air power in kit form. Despite the “small” scale, displaying as many models as I wanted would require a lot of space. I’m blessed with a lot of square-footage at home, but as time went by and the models accumulated, it became clear that I needed more. So, in 2015 I arranged with the Experimental Aircraft Association to donate my entire collection for display at the EAA Aviation Museum in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. Since the Museum can’t take hundreds of models at once, we set up plans for thematic displays to be set up in stages. The first display was my 30-model grouping of U.S. Air Force jet fighters, which went on display in 2016. Looking forward, I realized that my dream of a “complete” history required a lot of models built within an indeterminate, yet ever-shrinking, period of time. So, I formed a team of modelers to help. Most of them are members of the IPMS/Richard I. Bong Chapter in Milwaukee and many will be familiar names to FSM readers. The team includes Chris Cortez, Chuck Davis, Joe Hegedus, Paul Johnston, Andy Keyes, Mike Klessig, Jeff Neal, Aaron Skinner, and Matthew Walker. In two years, they finished about

half of 100 models representing the U.S. aircraft of World War II collection. With help from several team members as well as the museum’s Director Bob Campbell and Curator of Displays Zack Baughman, that collection went on display in the Museum’s Eagle Hangar alongside such full-size classics as the P-38, F4U-4 Corsair, J2F Duck, and Mosquito. Looking very much at home in that environment, the models are housed in seven custom wood and plastic bilevel display cases divided into categories such as U.S. Army Air Force fighters, Navy patrol and utility, and trainers. Labels describe the aircraft type and what its role was during the war. With that massive collection finished and on permanent display, what’s next for the team? Building 40 aircraft used by U.S. forces during the Korean War. Then there’s Vietnam. And Cold War bombers. And Navy jet fighters. Back to the workbench! FSM

I’m blessed with a lot of square-footage at home, but as time went by and the models accumulated, it became clear that I needed more.

Getting Started




Curated by Aaron Skinner of FineScale Modeler, the all-new Modeler’s Tool Boxes contain everything you’ll need to build a spectacular scale model, including Aaron’s how-to tips and techniques. Each box contains premium quality tools and materials from the hobby’s top brands, including Iwata, Airfix, Xuron, and more!

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Airbrushing Basics

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