The kit comes with a nice engine that, due to its size, lends itself nicely to detailing. My original intent was to go all out nuts on the detailing. There was a sort of snowball effect of, "Well if i do this and then I will need to to that... then I will also have to do that...", and so on. I had not even started yet an was feeling overwhelmed. This is supposed to be relaxing. As the scope of the project settled in I realized I would have to scale back in places. There aren't open cowls to display the engine and it was decided to keep it that way. Most of the detailing went into the rear of the engine since that will be seen in the wheel wells. Various sizes of solder were used for the hoses and wiring.
When I got back in the hobby, this was one of the first kits I bought. Because I have always liked this aircraft and also the price was great. The bad news was the great price was due to the hobby shop going out of business.
I built a few models, this was build 9 I think, to get some experience and to have the memories of how to do things come back before tackling this one. Overall fit of the kit was nice with few problems in that regard. The biggest thing to get used to was the softness of the plastic. Always wet sanding and starting with a finer grit than I would have normally was all that was needed, but the lesson was learned after making some serious gouges in some of the parts. There are numerous reviews on the kits already so there isn't much point in rehashing them. I picked the most glaring errors that could be corrected and compared to what I felt was my ability at that point and set about fixing those. Some of the smaller ones, as one review author said, I can live with.
The tail wheel had very flat side and what they called a hub made it look more like a bagel than a tire. I started going through my stash, the bulk of which was older jet kits from my "Topgun" period, looking for a suitable replacement hub. I was thinking a jet hub may work since many of them have spokes that are sort of similar to a 190 hub, but nothing was close to the right size. Continuing down the pile I came to the Tamiya 1/48 P-51D, the one that is all chrome. And before you ask... I don't know why. Why did I buy it or why did they make it? These hubs were very close to the right size.
I chucked both together in my Dremel and sanded off the rims that were too thick. A new rim was made from strip styrene and the hubs glued into the drilled out tires. After the halves were glued together the tail wheel was once aging turned on the Dremel to shape the tread area a little so the side appeared less flat and some groves added for the tread.
Cockpit & Fuselage Interior
There is very little in the way of after market goodies for this kit. Luckily one of them is a resin and PE detail set from Verlinden. Crisp details and nice castings of the resin and a good PE fret built up into a nice cockpit… as well as some nice fuselage interior details. The instruction sheet however s barely adequate. If I had not recently completed a D-9 in 1/48 using the Eduard PE detail set, there would have been a lot of head scratching. I used the Eduard instruction sheet more that the Verlinden . Belts are made from lead foil form a wine bottle. I also printed a tiny navigation chart to put in the map pocket. The Instruments are from a Mike Grant 1/48 decal sheet. I just used the biggest ones on the sheet and then a drop of Krystal Klear for the glass face.
The Verlinden set includes a replacement for the kit water tank and some details for some hatch interiors. The hatch for the tank is not a separate piece like the tail wheel maintenance hatch in the kit. The question is why was the hatch in the vertical stabilizer molded separate when there wasn't a shred of detail in the kit? The tail wheel hatch was very thick and the once the fuselage hatch was cut out, getting the hole to match the supplied PE hatch was difficult. New hatches where made from sheet styrene and the PE interior detail added.
(click photos to enlarge)
Cowl Flaps & Landing Flaps
Using my 1/48 scale pilot figure that watches over me as I work, and provides a handy scale reference, I estimated the base of the cowl flaps to be well over an inch thick in scale. When I am looking at the thickness of a part I will compares it to the pilot's fingers then I look at my own but making the adjustment to 1/24 in this case. The gap tooth look of them was enough to know something needed to be done. The old flaps were cut off and the disc left was sanded to reduce the size a little. Strip styrene was used to make an edge for the new cowls flaps. New flaps were cut from a sheet of styrene and curved slight around the shaft of a drill bit. The front edge had to be sanded a tiny bit concave so there wouldn't be a gap when glued in the open position.
The kit's landing flaps were pretty bad. Poor detail and the spaces in between the ribs on the flaps and under the wings had ejector pin marks and bumps and gouges like the mold makers never quite finished the job. Sanding in there would have been a nightmare so the detail ribs were removed and new details added form sheet and strip plastic.
Welds for the exhausts were made with stretched sprue glued in place, and softened, with Tenax and textured with the edge of a knife.
Landing gear was detailed with solder, springs were made for the drag link struts and the tires had the tread reduce as the detail was way to sharp and deep. The inside detail of the gear doors was remade since the ribs that made a square grid was not on the real aircraft. I scoured the net for a decent photo of the gears doors and had to settle on photos of some doors that were on another model that looked good.
Trumpeter did make a nice attempt at adding some realism to the LG by making it with the 90ish degree pivot point where it attached to the back wall of the gear bay, instead of the usual pin/hole method I am used to on all the other models I have done. Anyone that has built a 190 knows it can be work getting the gear at the correct angles. The weight of this model, added to substantially by the big chunks of resin in the fuselage and the brass and solder all over the place, put a lot of strain on these attachments. The fact the plastic for the LG had a vinyl-like quality to it making it flex too much, and not want to be glued to well either, did not help. I used gap filling CA, got it just right and hit it with accelerator. As soon as I put the plane down on the gear...CRACK went the glue joint. Some more CA in the joint, some accelerator, but this time I forced it to crack and did the glue/accelerator again. I did this 5 or 6 times… each time it got a little less loose when I cracked the joint and finally it was tight enough to support the weight. This kit sure could use metal landing gear struts. The "working" oleos were glued in place as well to add support and hold the tires straight.
The decision to do the Ta 152 tail conversion was made back in October of '05 just after completing the same aircraft in 1/48 scale. I found the markings for Gelbe 6 at my local hobby shop and decided to give it a shot. I submitted an artice to Brett Green at Hyperscale and it was put in the Testor's Scale Workshop since it was finished with Model Master enamels. Bob Stephenson (The Würger Mechanic) saw it and emailed me with some additional info about that modification to the tail on the real aircraft. Seems I got it half right, in that not only does the angle of the vertical stabilizer leading edge need to be increased, the trailing edge needed to be trimmed to bring it forward. This maintain the same overall surface area of the tail. The difference can be seen in the side by side photo of the two tails, with the 1/48 being somewhat elongated. The decision was made… I would do it again and get it right! Many thanks Bob.
4mm was taken off the back of the vertical stabilizer and a spine was added to the front to increase the angle a little over 7 degrees. This was very similar to how I did the 1/48 version. The holes are drilled to force the putty down into to make "keys", just like the extra plaster that squishes through the lath on old walls, to help hold the putty in place. This was the first time trying Milliput and it was good thing I did this since it did not want to stick to the plastic all that well. I am still not sure if that was normal or something having to do with the Trumpeter plastic. When the putty was sanded to shape, the very thin back edge kept chipping off. The area was painted with some thin CA. This was very hard and sanded nice and smooth. It scribed and took rivet detail very nicely.
The model was finished with Model Master Enamels and Buffing Metalizer. The RLM "84" was mixed using the AeroMaster Late Dora Pt. 1 sheet, used on the 1/48 version, as a guide. The fuselage marking had to be printed, with the help of a friend with an ALPS printer, since after market decals just do not exists for a D-9 in this scale. Hobby Decal makes a very nice set of dry-transfer stencils in this scale that really look like they are painted on. After top coating the marking with Future, weathering was accomplished with a pastel wash, sealed with Model Master flat lacquer and some pastel post shading.