Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
trucolorpaint

Need help on F-4 SEA Camouflage Schemes

Recommended Posts

I need help on the best way to do the camouflage paint schemes on F-4C Phantoms in the Southeast Asia (SEA) colors. First let me say that I have not built a model for over 50+ years - and yes, I did not stutter, and I doubt any of those models were as complicated to paint as the ones I chose now.

 

The reasons I chose the F-4C was to show off our new U.S. Air Force paint product lines. Maybe this was a bad idea, but I have 3 planes already started and need your help to do the camouflage correctly.

 

Cockpit has been built up, painted and placed in the fuselage. Seams have been filed and filled with putty and sanded. Same with the wings. The underside of the wings and fuselage are a single color, so that is not a problem on the 2 SEA schemes I have planned to do. Wheels, rockets, struts, and other small pieces are already painted as well. It is the upper fuselage and top of wings where the camouflage seems daunting.

 

First question - after painting the undersides of the wings and fuselage, should I assemble the wings onto the fuselage before attempting the camouflage colors or do the camo colors on the separate pieces first, then assemble ? Instructions say to assemble first, but I'm reluctant to do that. Any help here ?

 

Purchased masks from Gator Studios, as suggested on this forum, but that is where I stopped.

 

Second question - since I have 3 aircraft to paint, can I reuse paint masks for all 3 models ? Should I trace the masks on plain paper and copy the design onto multiple pages of our masking paper (which can be printed on) and cut them out to use ?

 

Any help from modelers who have done camouflage schemes on aircraft would be very useful. None of the aircraft that I am building are going to win prizes, I just want to show off our new paint colors on a model. Thank you in advance for any replies to this thread.

 

Martin Cohen, PhD

Tru-Color Paint

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Martin,

 

If you were painting the whole model one, solid color, leaving the wings off wouldn't be a problem. When you start getting into camouflage schemes, if you don't have things completely assembled, you're going to run into problems with the patterns not quite lining up right...edges of straight areas having a little thicker paint on them than the straight areas of adjoining pieces, which results in slight variations in the perceived color of the paint along a very noticeable line...it just won't look like it was painted as a whole aircraft, no matter how hard you work. You've probably already done this, but I start by painting the entire, assembled model with the lightest color in the scheme. Then go to the next darkest color after masking the areas that get that color, then the next darkest color after masking off the previous 2 colors, and so on. That way you don't end up with these weird little lines of a different color that may end up showing up along the edges between colors. I've never really used paper masks of any kind for camo patterns, because the edges between colors end up being unnaturally sharp, and real camo schemes have a feathered appearance to them. To produce that, a lot of people like to use silly putty, and just lay down those irregular lines. I prefer to use Blue Tack instead of silly putty. It stays put quite a bit better, so its not as frustrating to use as silly putty which tends to slide off when you're painting sometimes. Since you spent the money on the paper masks, you could lay them onto the model and use them as a guide for where to put your Blue Tack. When you paint, since the Blue Tack won't be of uniform thickness along its edges, you'll get that natural, random, feathered look of a camo scheme on a real-world aircraft. Lots of other techniques out there, which I'm sure the other guys will add to the discussion. Just remember to give sufficient cure time for each color before doing any masking, and you should get a pretty good result. Don't worry too much about totally even coverage. Camo patterns on real-world aircraft always show a lot of bleed-through of the other colors and random patchiness on them.

 

Eagle

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Speaking for myself; I've done a few SEA patterns and I'm doing one now. I assemble everything except the landing gear, gear doors and ordinance, then I mask. I do use Silly Putty as I've not had the issue spoken of before. I start with the darkest color first, then the next lighter one, then the lightest. I know this doesn't help too much, but more of the Masters on here should be along to help out better.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks Eagle & Mark. Looks like I should assemble most of the plane, then do the painting. Never tried silly putty. Will give it a shot. The problem with the Gator Studio masks is that there only 1 set and I'm doing 3 aircraft. Not real smart on my part, but I'm learning as I go.

 

From the pictures I have seen on the camo colors, it appears the "accuracy" of the actual designs is not important then ? I was truly fretting that the camo would look way off from the actual aircraft designs, so that is 1 less concern.

 

Thanks for your advice and help. Now if it would only cool down enough in Phoenix to start painting again (100 degrees this weekend) !

 

Martin Cohen

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The good thing about the Silly Putty or the Blue Tack is that you can just peel it off, roll it into a ball, and re-use it on your next project. Don't worry too much about the accuracy of the camo pattern. It varied from aircraft to aircraft, and lots of random patching and touch-ups happen along the way which changes each scheme even more. Just as long as your colors are correct, and the distribution of those colors follows the basic SEA camo layout, it should look pretty good. I just got done laying down the base color for an F-16C I'm doing in the 1980s Nellis Test Range Euro 1 camo scheme. On to masking with the Blue Tack in a couple of days.

 

Hopefully some relief from the heat will come soon. We're supposed to get snow overnight here in Denver.

 

Eagle

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think I would welcome snow at this point. Am getting tired of the heat, but then I do not mind not shoveling snow or sliding on the ice (born and raised in Philly).

 

Thanks for advice. Will let everyone know how I make out when done with the models. Good luck on the F-16C. Send us some pictures when you get done.

 

Martin

Tru-Color Paint

email: tru.colorpaint1@yahoo.com

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Martin: I concur that in general, it's best to assemble the entire model (minus the fiddly parts) and get your seams done before any painting is done.

 

When it comes to painting multi-colored camo, it's generally best to paint the lightest colors first and then proceed with the others from lightest to darkest. The reason for this is simply that darker colors cover lighter colors easier. It'll take more light paint to cover a darker area and this can obscure surface detailing.

 

As for the masks, copying them is a good idea. You don't need to be exact or identical from model to model; but they would give you a good starting point for each one.

 

As to silly putty for masking, it is easy to work with and can be reused. However, what I haven't seen mentioned is you have to use great care in handling the model after it's applied. As you handle the model you'll tend to touch and move or deform the "snakes". That's why I prefer tape masks. It's a bit more tedious, but they handle better than the putty in my experience. The putty is most useful when masking over very irregular surfaces like tanks and ships have, as opposed to the generally smooth surfaces of a plane.

 

There's many ways to skin the cat! Perhaps try out a couple of different techniques on different ones to see what you like.

 

Gil :smiley16:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...