Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Hasegawa B5N2 Kate Part 5 - Base coat and chipping

Welcome to part 5 of the blog; the painting of the base coat.  As I mentioned in part 1, this aircraft is based on a photo of an original.  This particular aircraft didn’t exist, I’m using the photo to reproduce an aircraft that may have existed but is a good canvass for the paint chipping effects.  The reason I decided to do this is because it would be almost impossible to reproduce each scratch, chip and ding with accuracy so be doing a conjectural aircraft we don’t have to be so accurate.  As long as the effect is in keeping with the photographs you can’t go far wrong.


With everything ready its time for the natural metal undercoat and my preferred paint is Alclad.  It’s lacquer based so it’s very tough and it goes down extremely well, it’s quite smelly so good ventilation and a mask is a must.  The shade I prefer is Duralumin as it tends to be a smoother finish and isn’t overly bright so we should get some contrast with the lighter underside.

Next is a very important step, we need a matt finish so I misted on a few coats of Vallejo Matt Varnish.  This is important because otherwise the metal surfaces are too shiny and the top coat can wipe off, the matt provides a key for the top coat of paint.

With the matt coat applied it’s time for the AK Interactive Worn Effects chipping fluid.  I find it a bit too thick to spray neat so I thin it with a little distilled water to help it flow through the airbrush.  To accelerate drying, I give the model a blast with a hair dryer.


Using Tamiya XF-76 IJN grey, the underside was sprayed, you’ll note that various panels and surface features have been picked out in a lighter shade.  This helps to break up the large monotone colour but this will be enhanced by oils later on in the process.

Camouflage dry it’s time for the fun bit, water is applied to the area we want to chip and allowed to soak in.  The longer the water is left, the more Chipping Fluid will dissolve and the bigger the paint chips.  I wanted the underside to be moderately chipped with the damage being caused by knocks and dings rather than having the paint flaking off so after a few minutes I started scrubbing with a small cut down brush.  This makes the bristles a bit stiffer which is ideal and makes the chipping process easier and more controllable.


Looking at the photo, it was clear that the paint flaked off heavily on the top of the rear fuselage but it followed certain panels quite cleanly therefore a similar area was masked up.

Tamiya XF-70 IJN Dark Green was sprayed on lightly, the thinner the top coat, the more the Chipping Fluid has more effect and the chips are larger.  In fact the level of chipping you see here is similar to what the AKI Heavy Chipping fluid will give.

Now have to do the rest of the fuselage.  In order to provide the contrast in panels, the relevant areas are masked off and the paint applied.

And here is the finished fuselage.  In order to provide a bit of tonal variety and to fade the paint, Tamiya XF-4 was added to the mix.  This was sprayed over certain panels and along highlights to break up the dark green colour.

It’s fun time again, using the same brush and keeping the area wet the chips were created using the same technique.  I recommend stopping every now again and returning after a break as it’s easy to get carried away.  If you do go too far fear not, just touch up the paint and go again, the chipping fluid remains effective for a few hours but bear in mind the longer you leave it the less effective the technique will be.

Small scratches can be made by using some tweezers or other sharp object.  You may not need to use water however occasionally it does help.

A cut down cocktail stick is a good way for complete control, this way panels can be picked out.

 And here is the finished airframe.  Note the pattern of the wear and tear and how the heavy chipping follows panels in some areas.  Note the contrast between areas, the effect was rarely even over the entire airframe and this creates interest and is more visually appealing.


Now for the markings; I had bought the Montex set for this model however unfortunately the white surrounds for the Hinomarus were not for the aircraft in the set.  I wasn’t worried though as this was not an actual aircraft (but no doubt some wag will state that it was impossible for an aircraft to have camouflaged undersides and plain red roundels though!).

I advise you to remove some of the tack from the vinyl masks as they are very sticky and there is a risk that they may pull up the underlying paint, ask me how I know!  You’ll also see from the photos that I have used kitchen foil to masks the big areas.  This is great stuff as it conforms to the contours and holds itself in place (but I did back it up with masking tape I a few areas.

And here is the finished paint scheme.  Note the contrast between the heavy paint chipping of the camouflage and the relatively pristine markings, the paint used for these tended to be a bit more stable.  Also, as I didn’t have the relevant tail codes I decided to use part of them and depict an aircraft with a replacement rudder.


  1. I'll be the first to ask, How? ;)

    Jamie, thank you so much for the walk through. Learning tons of great stuff and still just stunned at the level of detail you get. Can't wait for part 6.

  2. Questions: I notice you use some sort of sponge when masking off holes, ports, etc. Do you find the sponge creates interesting spray patterns to the surrounding edges or do you merely use this technique for convenience? What kind of material is this?

    Also, the Zero in the source picture is battered all to heck. Clearly these aircraft were not pampered, but what else could be the cause of so much weathering? Cheap quality paint? You mentioned the paint on the markings tended to be more stable.

    Finally what is the mask material used for the markings themselves. It seems to be transparent and I have not seen this before. Seems like it would be useful when trying to position the markings prior to affixing the mask.

    Thanks again.

    1. Hi William

      Thanks very much for your kind comments.

      The sponge is just packing sponge, from a camera I think. It's away from the edge so there are no touch ups required. I use it because it's very easy. Another source maybe from the washing up sponges I have used those before too.

      The aircraft in the picture is actually a Kate old chap! ;-) Sometimes the paint wasn't applied over a primer, sometimes it was applied in the field. I'm inclined to think that it was the application rather than the paint quality itself. I think you'd be better posing this question over in the forum at Hyperscale.com, there are bound to be people there who will know but the usual caveat applies, never rely on things you read on the internet!

      The masks are from Montex, I get mine from A2Zee models. The are transparent but very sticky so moving them around is tricky.



    2. Thank you for your responses. Very helpful.