As seen in an earlier post, I recently picked up Bronco Models FI 103 RE-4 at an IPMS show. This was partly an impulse buy, but I’ll classify it as a pre-meditated purchase as I’d been on a low-key lookout for this kit ever since I saw it in the August 2012 issue of Tamiya Model Magazine (page 14).
I’ve always had an interest in the German V-weapons… at least, ever since I saw the film Operation: Crossbow as a kid. Something about the design, the purpose, and the actual employ of the V1 and V2 has certainly ensnared me. But enough about me. On to the kit!
The entire cockpit assembly is made up of a mere five pieces near the bottom-right quadrant of a single fret, plus a nice steel photo-etch fret for the seatbelts. It’s bare, but then again, the prototype’s cockpit was hardly an elegant affair. These flying bombs were designed late in the war to serve as a Nazi version of the kamikaze, so amenities – hell, most basic controls – were left out. Even the floorboard was of simple wood construction. Finding images of extant prototype cockpits was difficult, so I was forced to rely on Brett Green’s and Roman Volchenkov’s excellent builds of this kit for reference (bear in mind, the exterior paint scheme I’ll be using has been researched independently by myself).
Starting with the rudder pedals and control stick, I laid down a coat of Vallejo Model Air Steel with my Iwata HPC-Plus at about 20 psi (rather than repeating myself ad nauseum, be aware that this is my standard airbrush and standard pressure setting). I’ve always been a Tamiya acrylic guy, and this was my first use of Vallejo: it will most certainly not be my last. Pre-thinned airbrush paints might be the best thing since slide molds. I did return to Tamiya, however, for the control stick base and pilot’s seat, coating them both in XF-63 German Grey.
With that done, I turned to the floorboard. I’ve only recently started using artist’s oils for weathering and effect work, so the thought of making a wood grain out of nothing was daunting to say the least. I read many reviews on how other modelers have accomplished this, however, so after a trip to Hobbytown USA for supplies I was ready to give it a shot. First, I sprayed on a coat of Tamiya XF-59 Desert Yellow. After letting it dry for a good two hours, I dipped a wide brush in a heavily thinned mix of Mineral Spirits and Raw Umber artist oil paint. After working it back and forth for several minutes, I let the piece dry overnight.
When I awoke the next morning, I was quite pleasantly surprised to see this:
I’ll be damned: it actually worked.
From here, I only had the seatbelts to add. I gave the photo-etch fret a solid coat of Future before airbrushing on a coat of XF-21 Sky to serve as the canvas belts. After that came the manual application (read: dry brushing with a toothpick) of X-11 Chrome Silver to pick out the harness highlights and clasps.
That about does it for this first post in the build log for this kit. Tomorrow I’ll begin work on the fuselage and will hopefully be sealing up this gem of a cockpit inside before the day is out.
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this, and wish you all a pleasant evening.