Have you ever seen a model finished so beautifully that you find yourself saying “I want to build one just like that!” ?
It happens a lot with scale modellers, but few of us admit to it! When I happened across a build of a Pacific campaign Hellcat on line years ago I was in awe of its paint and finish, it looked awesome!
I had to know more about it! In short order I found the modellers web page, Diego Quijano’s Scaleworks and began to study his work.
The model in question was painted in what modellers refer to as the Spanish Style. This is a painting style that is vibrant and heavily modulated. Weathering is also a strong feature, making such models stand out and grab your attention. I’m quite a fan of this style but I have never attempted it myself until now. Here is his Hellcat featured on the cover of his book:
For this project I chose Hasegawa’s 1/48 F6F-3 Hellcat, it’s a good kit that builds into a nicely detailed replica of the real aircraft. Also the markings in the box were just what I needed for a Pacific campaign Hellcat.
Work commenced in the Hellcat’s cockpit and to add more interest to this area I added a colour photo etched brass detail set from Eduard. I think this set works very well with the Hasegawa kit and makes for a realistic interior for the model:
My next task was to build and add details to the aircraft’s engine. For this, I added done copper wire to replicate the engine’s ignition harness. This was done by drilling out the holes and using super glue to to attach them to the engine. The whole engine was sprayed in metallic grey and details were picked out with a dark enamel wash. The head of the engine was painted neutral grey and also treated to a dark wash. The rear bulkhead was painted in zinc chromate to match the Hellcat’s interior colour.
Building the airframe was the next step and it was simplicity itself! The Hasegawa kit has superb fit and installing the cockpit and engine was nice and easy.
Paint it! Weather it!
So the big feature of this model is the faded paint finish and it’s weathering. I had to do a lot of experimenting and paint mixing to finally land on the colours I was happy with and in the process I didn’t make note of the exact paint ratios, I just mixed the various shades by Mk.1 eyeball.
This model was primed in Tamiya Yellow/Green to give the Zinc Chromate shade that the real aircraft would have had applied to it. I then sprayed a mottling coat over the Yellow/Green to add a layer of depth to the paint.
Next came the fun part-Painting the Pacific campaign Blues for our Hellcat!
For those of you who may be interested, here is a rough guide:
Top Colour-Tamiya Flat Blue- Faded with Yellow and White.
Middle Colour-Tamiya Flat Blue/Flat Green-Faded multiple times with Yellow.
The Underside was Mig Ammo Satin White.
Once I was happy with the paint finish I protected the surface of the model with a coat of Tamiya Clear Gloss. And once it had cured for a day the model was ready for the decal process. For this build, I chose the kit decals representing markings from squadron VF-9 embarked on the USS Essex in 1944:
This was the longest and most involved process of the project, with severs techniques used. Here I will describe them in turn:
Panel lines were highlighted with Mig Ammo’s enamel wash:
Wear and tear on the airframe was achieved with adding paint chipping by hand:
Oils were added to fade out individual sections of the airframe:
I also added some text to the cowling with a very fine tip brush and white oil paint:
After the weathering process I sealed everything in VMS Satin varnish. This is a fantastic product that gives the model a perfect in scale satin sheen. Here are some photos of the finished model:
Attention on deck!
As is my usual style, I fashioned a display plinth for my Hellcat. I purchased a 1/48 scale resin Essex class carrier deck and plaque and when put together they make a striking display.
Artist’s note: This Hellcat is displayed on an unpainted wood grain deck. This is purely for artistic reason’s as the the colour of the wooden deck provides a great contrast to the blues of the aircraft. The real USS Essex had a Blue/Grey painted deck in 1944.
I also purchased a resin US Navy pilot figure to add to the display and pained him in acrylics:
With all the elements brought together I at last had my dream Hellcat model on display in my studio! From construction to paint and weathering this was an experiment and a test of my modelling skills. I’m very proud of the model and being able to have a model in my collection finished in the Spanish style. Here is the finished piece, I hope you enjoy it!
I hope you liked this model-Thanks for stopping by! Until next time, take care and Happy Modelling!