With all the assembly completed, I was eager to paint the aircraft. Because the finish was natural metal, I primed the model with Krylon gloss black. I like this enamel paint because is resilient, has excellent coverage properties, makes good friends with Tamiya sanding sponges, and – most important – it’s available in my Island. As expected, the priming went good but shown me some imperfections that needed to be addressed, especially the join lines and some rough areas on the wings. I filled again the lines with Tamiya white putty and ironed out the wing surface roughness. The second coat proved acceptable, although I still had some trouble with the nose area.
For aluminum finish I chose Rust-oleum enamel.
With your permission, I will like to make a digression here. I developed over years an aversion to metallic paints. I used Testors, different acrylics, Krylon, Alclad and I can’t remember what more, but I know I kept trying. All of them are suffering, in my experience, of two main defects: either the flake is too big and looks horribly in scale, either the salty air from Caribbean attack them and the shine is gone in a matter of days, both Tamiya X-22 and Pledge being more or less powerless. Because of that I stopped buying them, restraining my palette to “must have”: silver, gold, copper.
Since last year I’m having a love affair with Rust-oleum enamels. After trying different shades and textures, I decided to buy some cans from their metaling range too. The first one I’ve tried (Aluminum) seemed to be a success: reasonably glossy, very resilient and with fine enough metallic flake. I grew confident and I sprayed it as under-coat for another build (Hobby Boss 1/48 IAR-80
). It gave me a slightly uneven pigment dispersion but after polishing with fine grit sandpaper it looked very appealing and answered very well to X-22. It proved to be the wrong conclusion!
Returning to our build: confident enough, I sprayed the model with Rust-oleum aluminum. But in 72nd scale, the “swirls” and “grains” that looked so appealing in 48th scale looked overdone and gave the model the dreaded toy-like look. All my subsequent polishing achieved nothing. I had no guts to strip the paint and I put all my hopes in X-22. I hoped the glare from the clear coat will attenuate the effect. In fact, it was the opposite: the clear coat worked like a magnifying glass, showing the granulation of the paint in even bigger proportions. Now, under the naked eye and under filtered light, the finish doesn’t looks all that bad but under white light and under camera lenses it looks rather unpleasant. Lesson learnt, I ordered right away Alclads, which I received since then. Undeterred, I laid already two more projects for NMF aircraft: a MiG-21 and a YAK Flora, both in 72nd scale!
A characteristic of Romanian aircraft is excellent maintenance. It’s very hard to find a heavily weathered Romanian aircraft, even in the combat zone WW2 pictures. Since the inception of Romanian Aeronautics, the numbers were scarce and the machines properly looked after. There is no coincidence that the aircraft I modeled here, Red 767, is featured as cover photo in Squadron walk-around book dedicated to MiG-15! Other examples (such as Red 757) are also shown in mint condition, although they had already 8 ears in service at the moment the pictures were taken!
The only weathering I could add to the model is related to different metallic shades panels (which it is not necessarily weathering proper) and some heat marks in the exhaust area. The “fuel stains” I replicated on the tanks are already a step too far! The darker panels were sprayed with the base color black and the “stains” were replicated with brown oil colors from van Gogh range.