Ju 87B-2 Stuka in 1/48

This is my first model since teenage years when I spent a great deal of time building scale models of all sorts. It does have a number of flaws both in historical correctness and technique but hey, there were so much changes in landscape of scale modeling I had to literally learn everything anew, and that was exciting! Making this model took an indecent one and a half years, although most of that time it just sat there waiting. Anyway, it’s ready now and here are some comments someone may find useful (or silly, depending on experience).

Please click on images to see their larger version.

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The kit is Italeri #2690. I’m not going to review it as I don’t have enough experience in modern kits. The kit provides a number of options in plane version, detailing and decaling, includes a welcome set of PE parts and overall is very pleasant to deal with.

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It’s painted mostly with Vallejo Model Air series of paints. I was trying to achieve maximum color accuracy, so after a plenty of research I’ve accustomed myself with RLM color palette and variety of model paint vendors. Vallejo paints are not the most popular among airplane modelers but they were just about only available RLM-“authentic” paints at that time within my reach.

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I went for it and I’m mostly happy with Vallejo. They do have their character though. As those are vinyl-based paints, they tend to keep some elasticity even when completely dry. The upside is added resilience to flexing while the downside is they can easily be scratched and are not very good for sanding. Dry sanding makes the surface mat in a way that resembles a micro-porous structure. Wet sanding is not an option as the paint lifts up and acquires orange-peel look in seconds. When it dries again it gets back looking fine though. It seemed to me that when airbrushing as is with no thinning, the layer can be rather thick when dried. This is subjective as I didn’t do measurements, but I’d say a lacquer-based paint lays thinner, so one should be careful when painting small details.

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Initially I was planning to do a decent amount of paint chipping, but I didn’t had the approach right. I painted a layer of metallic so that the chipping could be made natural, but after camouflage was ready I somehow wasn’t sure whether it’s the right point to do the chipping and decided to postpone. After that I added a couple of layers of Future while applying decals and then it was too late. I was afraid of doing chipping through that many layers. My options to repaint just in case were limited as decals were already in place. Although I’m among those who consider the painted-chipping method being inferior to “natural” chipping, I decided to go for the former.

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Here goes the scary story. I took a piece of sponge, some metallic paint and started to apply chipping here and there. In less than half an hour I was so carried away I almost covered the whole wing tops with silver! Man, what a horror… At that time I thought that was the end of this model as it’s been a year in the making and I hardly was up to cleaning it down and repainting from scratch. But, having nothing to loose I took a cloth and isopropyl alcohol and gave it a good scrubbing. To my surprise most of the silver came off cleanly. Underlying paint was not affected being protected by Future. I actually came to like the result, especially on starboard wing when the chipping pattern is not so apparent.

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When painting exhaust soot I’ve covered the silver areas with a layer of transparent gray/black which gave it a nice muted sheen. This is not at all apparent on photos where the silver looks like lumpy greasy massively overdone (which it is) mess. It’s a lame excuse, I know, but I’ve learnt my lesson.

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The tail swastika decals are not included with the kit. I used aftermarket Aeromaster decals.

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Earlier I said I was going for authentic colors. At much later point I came to conclusion this is mostly in vain. After filters and weathering done on a model, resulting look differs so much from the original color that it could well be off quite a decent bit with no noticeable impact. Add to that scale effect and one may be well off mixing their own paints while keeping the end result great.

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This is actually what me and my friend did in teenage years. We took oil paints, mixed them in zapon lacquer and obtained a high quality paint of any hue. I would think this still is a way to go. Definitely will give it a try. Oil paints have amazing amount of versatility in modeling indeed. Clearly, achieving exact match to an authentic colors while making home-made paints is next to impossible. But, as earlier noted it may actually not be necessary. Amount of leeway weathering gives easily compensates for reasonable inaccuracy.

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The antenna is stretched sprue plastic. I was aware of stretching sprue to get thin round plastic lengths but my approach was to heat up the middle of the sprue and then pull the ends in opposite directions. This gives good results but the stretched sprue stays rather thick. Recently I discovered this approach which yields unprecedentedly thin plastic fibers. The antenna was made using this method.

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One of the major challenges was painting the canopy. After some research I decided to do this the hard way and I actually glad I did. I masked windows edges with short and thin strips of masking tape and then masked off the middles. The approach I learned from Swanny’s website. This required quite a bit of work but result is very precise. One mistake I made during the process is using light-colored primer. It’s layer can easily be seen when looking at the canopy at an angle. Should’ve added color to the primer so that it wouldn’t be so apparent.

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The final coat is Future mixed with Tamiya Flat Base. Interesting to note is the fact that I made a decent amount of this mix, applied a coat even before chipping and it came out pleasingly satin. As I did that chipping experiment mostly on wings, after I cleaned the mess, I reapplied the satin mix to wings only. It was from the same bottle as the first coat but a couple of weeks later. I found that this second coat came out to be glossier. It probably can be seen on the photos, the wings are clearly glossier than engine cover which was coated only at first go. It might seem the Future/Flat Base mix changes its properties with time. This should be confirmed though.

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When adding silver to the wing walks I was trying to replicate the worn off look of the paint on this image. It’s a late Ju 87D, telling from the walking metal rails and not rubber lanes like the earlier versions had. It’s likely the paint wore off the way it did after the plane was shot down, but I thought it would be interesting to replicate not chipped but abraded paint. I don’t consider my result a success and am still wondering about a method such wear could be replicated.

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I was thinking I might be able to actually sand off a layer of paint down to underlying metallic, but as I said Vallejo paints turned out not to be very suitable for sanding. In addition to this property, I found it hard to avoid tearing off metallic layer along with the upper paint. This might’ve been fixed with a coat of Future atop of metallic, but I hadn’t one in place.

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The silver on top of the walks didn’t come out very good in the end, but it did yield an amount of experience for me :). I hope you enjoyed looking at the photos. Please come back again.

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