Yesterday, I was able to sit down for a while in the evening and add decals and varnish to my prototype Do17z. Painting of this was done parallell to applying decals and varnish to the previously posted Spitfires. The plane was first undercoated with grey primer.
There are always some snags to be worked out whenever painting a new kind of miniature, so I find it valuable to paint up a prototype before embarking on the entire uit. This allows me to test the colours and streamline the process - nothing is worse than having started on, say, ten models and gotten halfway through when you realise that the level of detail you have settled on is far to high, resulting in the models being ready to game in months rather than days or weeks. Or at all, for that matter... The prototype also serves as a sort of "master copy" when painting the rest, being referenced to for details, camo pattern, decal positions, etc.
In a field of flowers... Belly up, you can see the rear gun position between the engines. When painting my aircraft, I use a technique where I paint the first coat in a darker colour than intended, then add a second layer with the actual colour I desire. This has the effect of adding some depth and variation to the colour. The belly was painted Saturday evening.
End status saturday, having also finished the base colour and canopy. Painting this size of aircraft was a new challenge. For the single-engine fighters, the magnet for the flying base has been sufficiently strong to keep the model in position while painting. As you can see, the Do17z was neatly perched in a level position on its magnet, though holding it sideways or upside down, as I could do with the fighters, was out of the question. As a result, I had to retain a hold of some part of the model while painting, which is why the rudders are rubbed bare. These were completed only after all other painting was done, including the camouflage pattern. Using the rudders as a handle was combined with a lot of nervous handling of the bare paintwork, something with which I have never become comfortable. This begets the question "So, how does one paint a bomber?"
Very, very carefully.
Sunday, I got to finish the camo pattern. This was done without much research, as several model aircraft and colour schematics that turned up on Google image search sported this pattern. As a very practical-minded fellow in a forum once said of painting historical miniatures, "If you think it looks good and it bears even a passing resemblance to any reference material, you should not accept criticism from anyone". The argument did run deeper than that, yet I'll probably make that the subject of a later post!
There are a couple of notes to this stage. First, you might have noticed that I have filled in one pane on the canopy. This was because images showed that this pane was actually a panel where (probably) the radio antenna was attached. When painting the canopy, I did have some trouble matching the model up with images from the web, although I decided that at 1/300 who is gonna notice? Or care? :)
Second, the pattern was simplified somewhat. The area around the canopy is rather fiddly to paint, so I decided to avoid painting the pattern in this area. The same goes for the engine cowlings. Seeing as the rudders were painted on after the camo pattern was completed, there is no pattern on them either. At this scale, I found that I could hardly justify the extra work on these fiddly bits and I honestly think it does not detract from the model at all.
Wednesday, model done! Decals and varnish applied. Low-viz balkenkreuz on top, high-viz on flanks and below. I wound up aligning the flank decals by eye (sigh) and the top ones using the shaft of my scalpel for side-to-side positioning (measured from wingtips) as well as a highly visible line in the wing for front-to-back positioning.
Here are some more corners that I decided to cut for the benefit of my sanity. The engine cowlings are, from all reference I have found, really supposed to have the belly colour on their lower half. This solution, however, looks quite all right and saves me those horrible dreams at night to boot. The same goes for the bottom of the rudders.
Balkenkreuz positioning was fairly straightforward - no clearly visible lines to assist in placement, so the distance from the engine to the decal was found using my square file whereas the front-to-back alignment was done by eye.
Again, the alluring profile of "der Fliegender Bleistift"... mm-hmm!
One down, one bag to go (good grief!). Eleven Dorniers later, I will either be bombing England or spend a few days in my happy place before being fit to speak with other human beings again. Yes, kids, miniature painting brings its own set of occupational hazards. Small wonder it feels so great when one finishes a model :)
Once the unit is finished, I will dig out my digital camera (as opposed to my cell phone camera) and try to get some high-quality shots.