My next step was to add some chipping and scorching to the plane. I used AlcladII Jet Exhaust to spray some scorching and stains across the panels of the plane. I went a little overboard with this in terms of a natural/realistic finish and instead aimed for something that looked cool and satisfied my artistic sensibilities.
Following this I sponged some paintchips on using charadon granite and then refined the chips with my brush. I think it looked great! I added a few other tones of paint to the chips (including some metallic tones) and also used the Alclad paint to add a few chips to the black invasion stripes.
With the exterior virtually finished, it was time to finish the cockpit/interior. I had decided early on not to use the pilot model provided for a couple reasons. One his proportions looked distorted - very small feet/short legs in contrast to the helmet) and secondly because I was painting this plane with the landing gear down I wanted it to be parked/at rest. So the pilot seemed uneccessary/improbable. In retrospect I probably should have painted up one of the extra Forgeworld limited Thunderbolt pilots that I have in a box in my games room (DUH!) - I think I will add it later.
As I had noted before, I spent a good deal of time adding additional technological details to the interior to make it look more like a real cockpit. I also crafed seatbelts out of brass fret from around the edge of one of the Forgeworld brass eagle sets. Handy stuff that!. I created deeper contrasts in the interior as they would still have to show through the clear "glass" of the canopy. I also painted some kill marks next to the canopy and added the pilot name label. I ended up using the name of one of my favorite gaming buddies Nic Drake. I think he though that was cool. (sorry Erik there was no room to put Hildebrandt instead! ;P )
In the 1st Cut Cabinet at Games Day Chicago 2011
Finally I had to glue in the canopy "glass" - This once again highlighted the lack of forethought in this kit. FW provides a little piece of clear plastic for you to cut into the window shapes but neglects to include any form of template!!!!! It would have been SO EASY to put the outline for the window shapes on one of the pages of the instructions (not like there is much other content on those sheets to get in the way....) but with a little fiddling and a replacement sheet of clear window plastic I managed to get a good fit. I used white glue to tack them in place with a couple small touches of loctite superglue. It didnt frost up at all and the windows ended up looking good.
I built the tarmac panels on an angle to create a more interesting visual movement. They are 2mm plasticard glued to a 1mm plastic sheetset into a picture frame. I coated them in Tamiya textured paint (not worth it btw - I will review this product later) and scribed in my cracks and shallow breaks. I added a area of grass and rubble at the back for interest and used some Tamiya smoke to create oil spills and stains of various ages.
I need to take a pictures of the finished base because it turned out quite nice! I was thoroughly pleased in the end. This piece was well worth taking to Games Day, was completed to a competitive level and - despite the hellishly bad fit of the kit - was indeed a lot of fun to paint!
Here is the finished piece as photographed by the incomparable John Schaeffer (Thanks so much John!) at the Golden Demon competition in Chicago. You can click on it to see it even larger.
All in all this piece turned out pretty much exactly as I envisioned it. The techniques all went as predicted and the finishes are really great (nicer in person especially due to the contrast of relectivity and matte surfaces IMHO). I have a piece that I am proud of, that was fun to paint and really reinvigourated my working attitude! It made cut as expected and got a runner up pin in a great category. Totally satisfied.
Cyall in a week!