First build: eek! Airfix Jaguar XKR GT3 1"32

Tromance

New Member
Joined
Aug 13, 2013
Messages
17
Hello all.
I briefly introduced myself in the Say Hello forum, but to recap - Phill, from Dubai, like car models, not modelled since I was a teenager and wasn't very patient/good at it.

I was recently visiting the UK and went into ModelZone, a large chain that looks to be winding up - the branch I visited had a massive closing down sale and I thought I might be able to add to my 1:43 F1 car collection.

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But while there I saw the range of model-making stuff they had, at dirt cheap prices, and on the spur of the moment bought a cutting board, basic tool set and this Airfix 1:32 kit for next to nothing. It's Apex Motorsport's 2008 Jaguar XKR GT3 car that competed in the European GT3 Championship.

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I was particularly drawn to this car as the owner of Apex was killed in a plane crash (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2008_Biggin_Hill_Cessna_Citation_crash) early in 2008, along with former racing driver David Leslie, a man whose autograph I'd got as a kid. Additionally, one of the drivers of the Jaguar (who was not on the plane) is someone I've subsequently come to know.

So I bought it for a song, deciding that I'd do a better job now, as a patient adult, than I did as a 14 year old slapping on thick layers of paint and crinkling decals.

Back in Dubai, I started perusing the web for modelling tips and realised just how in-depth some people go with their techniques compared to my historic ham-fistedness. Over a couple of weeks I built up a shopping list and stocked up on what I hope will be the basic essentials. Then I finally decided to take the plunge.

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The main problem I've had here in Dubai is a lack of materials. After a lot of searching I've managed to find a couple of shops with basic equipment - The Toy Store has Revell Acrylic paints and quite a lot of Revell models (which I'm sure will help form a stash in time), a shop called Silver Lake stocks a decent range of Tamiya enamels and a few Airfix kits, and the Jag starter kit came with six colours of Humbrol acrylics. I've failed to find any model-specific spray primer, so opted for cans of standard primers found in Ace Hardware. I also bought a can of gloss clear coat, but no hardware shops here have any matt or flat clear coat, which is a shame. The closest I've found is a can of Citadel satin-effect stuff at the local Games Workshop, but it's expensive and the reviews I've read online suggest it's not particularly stable.

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I haven't yet invested in an airbrush, but my forum delvings suggest it might be worth getting in time. If I can find one. I've picked up a couple of extra brushes, although some seem to shed hair faster than a particularly enthusiastic pet. So I may well upgrade soon.

I've started with the wheels and brake discs, cutting them off the sprues, filing them down with a jeweller's file and primed them all as best as I could, using two light dustings to the pieces mounted variously on alligator clips and skewers, or with Blu-Tac. Then I left them to dry overnight.

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I read that it's better to start with the lighter paint and then do any dark sections, so I painted the wheel spokes in silver, trying to go with multiple thin coats rather than fewer thick globs. After four coats, it looks ok. However, I didn't prime the back of the wheels well enough and the paint didn't stick so well. I don't really think it'll show on the final model, but still, lesson learned.

I also painted the brake discs in silver too, making sure not to paint the back so the glue would work when it comes to sticking. The following day I painted the callipers red using a cocktail stick, which was somewhat fiddly, but I think has come out well.

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I was worried about how to paint the black of the tyres onto the wheels, as I don't have a particularly steady hand (yet). But I managed to find some Tamiya masking tape at Silver Lake, so decided to see if I could cut away the excess with a knife to completely mask the silver bits.

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Worked pretty well for a first go! In retrospect, I probably would have had slightly better results masking the centre after primer, then using a spray can of matt black paint, then finishing with the silver. But after four coats of black paint applied sparingly by brush, I think it looks ok. Will do the other three today.

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My next step will be to try and wet sand down the tyres a little to get rid of the brush marks. The finest grain I've managed to find is 1500, hopefully that will be enough. I'm going to head out today and get some automotive polishing compound as a back up. I'm not quite sure what the result will be - I'm not (at the moment) going for a post-race weathered look on the car, and new slick tyres tend to be pretty shiny, but I'll see what I end up with.

That said, I've been reading up on washes and wanted to see if they might work on the discs and on the centre nut of the wheels to bring out the detail. I painted everything so far with Humbrol acrylic, so based on my reading I'll need to clear coat it (found some Future, or the modern equivalent of), and then apply the wash. I'm figuring an oil paint and white spirit mix might be the best (there are some good art shops with general painting supplies), but I'm open to correction.

I also impulse-bought my second model at Silver Lake - looks like it might be a bit more complicated. But has fewer decals than the Jag. Having not yet tackled them, they terrify me.

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So that's where I am at the moment. Sorry, this was far longer than I intended, but I'm hoping it will help any other noob, like me, that's frankly terrified at trying to emulate the amazing model work shown by so many on this and other forums.

Please, I fully welcome any suggestions, criticism and abuse that might help me learn. OK, not abuse. But suggestions. As this is my first model I don't expect the finished result to be brilliant, but that doesn't mean that I'm not aiming for perfection in spite of my lack of talent. :p

So far, my questions are:

Is it worth putting a wash on the silver wheel spokes and the brake discs?
If so, is an oil and white spirit mix the best option (over Humbrol acrylic)?
Should 1500 paper be OK for cutting back the black on the tyres, as long as I use a soapy water solution?
Is it best to Future-coat every single part once painted, or would the Krylon clear coat be better? Or can/should smaller parts be left un-coated?
Is there an alternative to spray matt clear coat, perhaps a house-hold, brush-applied varnish of some sort?
What's the advantage of painting parts on the sprue, other than ease of holding? How do you touch up the parts that were attached once you've cut them off?

Thanks for reading if you got this far!
 

Mfun

New Member
Joined
Aug 11, 2013
Messages
104
Great collection !!
Is not my area but i like the job you did in the Jag !!
 

dazed1

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Joined
Feb 26, 2011
Messages
177
Wow! It looks like you are off to a great start. You're right when you say that there is a lot of great stuff here on the internet on all of the forums especially SMA. That said I would go with the KISS method for the first couple of models in. (Keep It Simple Stupid) That's what I keep telling myself as I try to keep my foot in the hobby. Just try for a nice clean build first then expand into techniques like washes, etc. That said you may want to try a wash on the brake rotors this time but perhaps not the wire wheels as they will be harder to fix if it goes wrong.

I think 1500 should be allright with soapy water, just use a light touch and check your work often. If worse comes to worse you just have to fill in a bit of black paint.

Painting on the sprue is a matter of preference. I prefer to detach all and prep before painting

Same applies to Future. Most "car" guys tend to lean toward the clears like Krylon for topcoats especially on the body but there are those who will use future for that. Again it's a matter of prefrence. My opinion is that not everything has to be clearcoated. It would be more if you are intending to wash or decal the item. Decals have to go down on a shiny, smooth surface.

I believe you are right about the oil/white spirit mix but I hope others that do it more than I chime in here to confirm it. And I'm not sure about matt clear alternatives.

Hope this helps you a bit. Just try not to get frustrated with it and step away for a bit if you do. And ask all the questions you want as that what forums like this are for. It's a great group here and they will help as much as possible. You're off to a great start and I look forward to seeing more of your work. :)
 

Tromance

New Member
Joined
Aug 13, 2013
Messages
17
Thanks for the kind words chaps, and particularly to Dazed1 for the advice.

Now that the wheels have dried I rather like the look that's come from using the black acrylic neat. I was slightly worried that not having thinned it might have left it too textured, but it actually reflects the look of scrubbed tyres quite well.
Your idea of keeping it simple is a good one, I'll make sure I've mastered the basics before washing everything I see. Besides, no one will see the brake discs behind the wheels anyway. I think I'll save wash experimenting for the Escort, as I fancy trying to put some grime on the engine.

Anyway, did some more over the last couple of days. For the remaining three wheels I was umming and aahing about how best to mask the rim. For the first one I'd masked everything and then cut around the rim freehand using a knife, but in a craft shop I found a knife-compass affair and used that instead. I measured the diameter of the rim, set the compass accordingly, and cut out masks from the tape before fixing them on.

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I'm pretty pleased with how it turned out.

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Today I got on with some other assembly and priming. The roll cage was a bit fiddly but has turned out OK. Using the needle-nosed Revell Contacta glue was a big help in not dolloping on far too much. Here it is halfway through construction.

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I had a bit of a nightmare when cutting the gear shifter and linkage off the sprue - the linkage broke. I glued it back together and I think I've probably rescued it as much as possible under the circumstances. I'll try and sand/file it a little bit to get it more flush once it's all set and the primer dried

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Next up was the seat, which had two really annoying moulding marks on it. I sanding away the top one, but I think getting rid of the centre one is going to be more bother than my current skill level will allow. Bit annoying that it wipes out half the seatbelts though.

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I also primed the base of the car. I masked off the central area, where another piece will be glued, and also masked the areas where the wheels will fit on, so to avoid sanding later for glue purposes.

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It's turned out OK, but I realised part way through that the base seems to be a bit warped. I'm mildly concerned that this may affect the way the finished product stands. Does anyone have any suggestions as to solutions? I'm wondering whether some gentle heat from a hairdryer and then leaving it with a weight on to flatten it out will sort things.

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Other than that, I reorganised my desk and found some polystyrene to keep drying items in the place. That'll save on the copious amounts of Blu-Tac I've been using.

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dazed1

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Joined
Feb 26, 2011
Messages
177
That craft knife circle cutter is perfect! I'm gonna have to find me one of those. Try the hair drier or some people use hot water and a gentle twisting motion to try to fix warping problems. You're doing great. :)
 

Tromance

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Joined
Aug 13, 2013
Messages
17
dazed1 said:
That craft knife circle cutter is perfect! I'm gonna have to find me one of those. Try the hair drier or some people use hot water and a gentle twisting motion to try to fix warping problems. You're doing great. :)

Cheers! Yes, it proved very useful.
OK, will experiment to see if I can straighten it.

My next question - what should I use to degrease paint? I'd used denatured alcohol on the primer, but when I tried it on a layer of acrylic it stripped some of it. Which ain't no good.
 

Tromance

New Member
Joined
Aug 13, 2013
Messages
17
Right, an update after a couple of days off.

First up, I primed the seat. I wanted to paint it red, but primed it white. In retrospect, grey would probably have been a better option. But anyway.

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To paint it, I'd watched a few How To vids on YouTube and decided that thinning the paint was in order. I bought pipettes and everything. But it didn't go well. The paint was too runny, and the pigment clumped together in a maddening fashion. It looked, frankly, dreadful.

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While ruminating on what to do about the seat, I painted the now-repaired gear stick and linkage. Which promptly broke again.

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I was not having a good day, so I went away and did something else before I hurled the model across the room. A couple of days later I returned, and painted the centre console, which was immensely fiddly and required my holding my breath for each little dab. But it's actually turned out really well. Probably the bit I'm most proud of so far.

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I sanded down the seat, re-primered it and had another go without thinning the paint. It's better, but still streaky. I clearly have to refine my technique - any pointers would be greatly appreciated.

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I seem to be better at darker paints. Here's the base, done with a new large brush I bought. Not perfect, but I think it looks OK.

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Boldened by my success with the centre console, I decided to have a crack at some of the detail on the interior base, which I've sprayed with white enamel. I sort of wish I'd thought it through earlier though, as the paint doesn't stick too well and it's too fiddly to sand. However, I bought some grey oil paint with the idea of applying a wash to it to bring out some details, which may make it look better. I've also bought some plastic forks to practice on first. Again, any advice would be most welcome.

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That's it for now - next step is to glue some stuff together and possibly attempt my first decal. Which scares me.
 

RedDragon62

Just trying to build a decent model
Joined
Mar 11, 2013
Messages
267
I'm no expert but it seems you may have thinned your paint a tad bit too much. Ther are some great videos on youtube and the folks here are pretty knowledgeable on thinning paint.
 

dazed1

New Member
Joined
Feb 26, 2011
Messages
177
Unfortunate problems with the seat. Second try looks better. Does it just need a second coat of paint to look more uniform? You're still making great progress for first time back to modeling.
 

Tromance

New Member
Joined
Aug 13, 2013
Messages
17
Thanks for the comments guys. I've had to have a few days away from the project due to work commitments, but since the last post have put most of the interior together. I've also bought my first (very cheap) airbrush, so am holding off on any body work until I've had a chance to experiment with it.
Will try and take pics and post an update asap.
 

Tromance

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Joined
Aug 13, 2013
Messages
17
It's been a while, but I finally have an update on this.
As mentioned above, I've bought an airbrush, and also some paint supplies from abroad, so have started attacking the body. My airbrushing technique is seriously unrefined, but I figured I had to start somewhere, so got stuck in.

Here's the body with Vallejo grey primer.
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I then applied a misted coat and two wet(ish) coats of Vallejo Model Air white, waited a day for it to dry, and masked off the centre stripe using Tamiya masking tape.
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Three coats of a Vallejo Gunmetal and Black mix later, I let it dry overnight and whipped off the masking with mixed results.
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It's largely OK - at least for a first attempt - but some of the paint has got underneath the masking tape, which is annoying as I thought I'd pushed it down pretty well.
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Removing the tape has also removed a chunk of both paint and primer at the back of the car. I'm presuming that there was some grease there that meant the primer didn't stick properly.
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My plan now is to try and recoat that small area at the back, and then lightly sand away the overspill that's gone onto the white area. Does that sound like a plan? Any other suggestion on how to tidy things up would be appreciated.

Cheers.
 

dazed1

New Member
Joined
Feb 26, 2011
Messages
177
Your plan for a fix sounds good. While no help this time, one suggestion for 2 tone paint jobs: once you've finished masking, spray a mist coat of your base colour (in this case the white) over your masked area. If it bleeds under the tape at least it's the right colour and can be blended in with a little sandind/polishing. Also it's best not to leave the masking on too long. Maybe after about 15 minutes. Long enough for the paint to set up so it won't run or smear as you remove the masking. Hope this helps and hope others chime in if my advice is not the best.
 

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