4. Painting, Marking and Weathering4.1. Priming and painting
I painted the interior with the suggested colors: RLM02 (own mix) and RLM66 (Vallejo acrylic). The details (seat harness, levers, headrest, etc.) were picked out with various acrylic and enamel mixes. Everything received a wash of Van Dyck brown oil paint diluted with odorless turpentine.
For the exterior painting I wanted to try a different method: priming with aluminum and painting with acrylics. Since long I wanted to try the method and I found that the right moment has come because I subscribed to “Aluminum Cans” campaign. I never before tried a bare metal finish and some practice was required. I chose to use Rust-oleum Aluminum enamel (#7715). I sprayed the first coat with a .2mm airbrush at low pressure and realized that the pigment is a little too heavy for such fine setting. The finish was satisfying though, very smooth and reasonably shiny with the exception a few loose “grains” here and there. Those dried pigment grains were easily removed after drying with a household sponge. No sanding was needed. Mindful to the first experience, I sprayed the second coat of primer with a .3mm setting that went impeccably on.
I applied further some pre-shading with black enamel paint.
Next step was the application of eastern front markings: yellow cowling, yellow fuselage band, and yellow wingtips (upper and lower) with Rust-oleum “sunburst yellow” (i.e. chrome yellow) #7747. That paint really has some shine to it!
After the yellow markings were dry, I masked them off and went to apply the light blue undersurfaces with Vallejo RLM65.
After masking the belly and the edges of the wings, I continued by applying the “Romanian olive drab” which I have mixed myself from Liquitex Soft Body acrylic and IPA 50%. As Panzergrau and Russian green 4BO, the Romanian green is subject of much controversy on Romanian forums with no definitive answer. I chose to apply a darker shade because, based on wartime photograph, the aircraft looks in pristine condition (probably the delivery to the operational unit was the occasion the picture was taken). I went for a light uneven coat, letting the aluminum to under-shine thru in some areas.
I completed the camouflage with “terracotta” brown, again quite dark shade, mixed as described above. No problems here other than few inherent airbrush splotches, easy to deal with.
I sealed everything with Micro Gloss and let it dry thoroughly.
4.2. Decals application
I had less problems than expected, but I revised the method. I dipped the decals just about two seconds in the water – enough to slide from the backing paper but not enough to start curling. I affixed them to the model immediately. They behaved quite nicely this time and conformed well to the recessions and elevations. I brushed some Micro Set over them for good measure and the business was concluded neatly. Unfortunately, the good setting does not compensate for offsets and misspelling!
Another quick Micro Gloss followed, and I moved to weathering. The first step was to apply some dark wash. I used heavily diluted Van Dyck brown oil paint, applied with a soft blending brush. The undersurfaces went on just about perfect and I moved to the upper surface. I applied the same technique but I missed the fact that in a nook formed by the horizontal protruding rib with the fuselage the oil wash pooled up and wasn’t dry. When I passed the paper towel to eliminate the pigment excess, the wet surface made the paper stick and I peeled off some paint from both above and under color demarcation line, exposing the bare aluminum! It could have made a nice “chip” if hadn’t been that big! I knew I had a nice problem in my hands, because the proximity of Michael’s Cross decal. I found no way around not masking in top of it. I bite the bullet and masked off the affected areas, sprayed RLM65, masked again the demarcation line and applied the Romanian green. I had some emotions when I removed the masks, but I was lucky this time. The only minor problem to deal with was now the raised accumulation of paint at the tape’s edges. Careful sanding resolved the issue. I re-applied the oil wash in the required patches to regain the tone and that was it!
The only visible chipping on the wartime photo is the propeller and so I did, using silver chrome from Testors. Because the contrast between the propeller’s black and silver was too violent, I applied the same Van Dyck brown wash and it worked neatly. A few minuscule chips occurred during model’s handling were also tolerated for chipping.
I concluded the painting with the small exterior detail: antenna mast, antenna wire, pilot tube. The zebra pattern on the latest is quite troublesome because it has to be hand-painted.
Pretty much content with the way the IAR’s looked, I applied AK matte varnish.
Last step was the application of pigments, grated from artist’s dry pastels. I added some gray to the wheels and wheel bay, and brown and black for MGs and engine “smoke”. I kept that to a modicum value, because the aircraft was supposedly like new.
Conclusions to painting and weathering
I really like the aspect the aluminum primer give to the finish. I’m not sure how much my camera shows it, but the naked eye can “guess” the metal underneath, especially when the model is exposed to a strong light source. Definitely I’m going to use it again!
Kit ratingThe subject itself and the engineering deserve all the praise: trouble free building of an interesting aircraft: Beautiful! On the other hand, the paucity of suggested painting options (only two nearly identical finishing schemes) and the long list of errors from decal application guide and decals themselves drove me to make deductions from the final score. After much pondering, I found 85% mark it’s about right.