Painting Betty

Her we will discuss some Allclad applications and the ability of Mr. Color thinner to make Tamiya paints go translucent. I will be painting the Tamiya Betty bomber in an early war two tone over aluminum scheme. Since I am not an aircraft fanatic but find myself falling into a lot of them this process allows for a relatively quick paint job that is a notch above one or two single tones that can be difficult to add variety to especially on larger aircraft were a since color wing will become very boring very fast, so the Betty should be a good study in the benefits of this process.

The First step in the process will be masking the canopy and blister glazing's. I use Tamiya tape and Mr. Masking Sol Neo. The Mr. Masking is applied with an old paint brush with the bristles removed and the ferrule filled down at an angle like a hypodermic needle. This allows the masking agent to be applied to the centers and the worked out to the edges. Next the model is primed with Mr. Surfaced 1200 through an air brush thinned 50/50 with Mr. Color thinner.

The grey primmer is very important for the application of the Allclad (or gloss black if using polished aluminum). The underside of the aircraft was sprayed with aluminum and then select panels were masked and then resprayed with Duralumin to add variance to the finish. Additional colors of aluminum could be used but I only have two but the more you use the better it will look.

Here we can see the effect of one run of duralumin. the whole is shiny as we would expect a bare metal surface to be. The surface preparation with Mr.Surfacer and applying the Allclad "wet" adds to this effect. By varying the areas of wet and dry application additional effects can be created, this works with both tones of aluminum. It is believed that most if not all Betties had bare aluminum undersides additionally it is believed that Betties depicting grey undersides are done so in error and that the color is a misinterpretation of BW photos that would be more appropriately described as oxidized aluminum. To attempt to replicate this after all of the bare metal was sprayed I randomly misted the underside with Tamiya white thinned with Mr. Color.

The effect is very subtle but it has brought more of a grey tone to the underside while still allowing the impression of bare metal to come through.

Next we mask of the control surfaces and internal srfaces that are exposed on the underside. Most control surfaces were fabric covered and the fabric was doped with and aluminum based paint of a grey primer type substance, the Japanese used the former and internal surfaces were untouched by paint but covered with sealant of protective layer the Japanese using a varnish that was dyed bluish/green to ensure even coverage. The varnish was called Aotake and the landing flap areas of our Betty will be covered in this. More on Aotake later.

After Masking I painted the contol surface undersides with a Medium grey from Vallejo Air and then filled the inside between the spars with a lighter grey also by Vallejo.

The entire airframe was covered in a loose application of Tamiya IJA Green. It is VERY important to paint areas of the air frame that will disrupt air flow from your air brush first such as the wing roots and to apply the Tamiya paint nearly wet to avoid any chance that the paint will end up hitting dry and giving you an unintended non slip surface!
The next step in the process is to fill from the center out in varying intensities each panel. This is done with the base color mixed approximately 50/50 with Tamiya flat White.

After the centers have been filled the base color is cut wit Mr. color thinner, in the cup and in the brush this looks like any other thinned paint. Even when first sprayed it appears as though you have just covered up the previous step but as the color dries you will see more of the previous steps effect show through so several passes with the "blend" coat will be needed until you get to the desired level of fade.

After the IJA green from Tamiya was finished I moved on to the brown, here we seperate from the described process because I did not use a Tamiya paint but a Lifecolor brown from their list of Japanese colors, not knowing if these paints would react with Mr. Color thinner the same way caused some apprehension.
Allright, so the same basic proceedure was used on the brown, straight brown thinned with Lifecolor thinner followed by 50/50 mix with Lifecolor flat white. The Lifecolor paint does not react well with Mr.Color thinner, it turns to a very thick, bubbly paste long before it thins so I just mixed stright brown with about 70% Lifecolor thinner and lightly coated the brown from about 5 inches until I had the coverage that I wanted. This is the second time I have used Lifecolor paints on an model and I like them alot, the flats come out to be very very flat much like Humbrol paints, they will take up a nice finger print when dry they are so flat.


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