With assembly and priming complete, it was time to dive into the paint job. I knew this was going to be a complicated endeavor, for I’d picked a mode of the RE-4 that had been captured by the Allies at the close of the Second World War. Though there were a number of these weapons captured, this one had by far the most distinctive paint scheme:
With this as my only real reference, I decided to begin with a complete undercoat of ModelMaster Acryl RLM-76 Lichtblau. Once I managed to resolve some early thinning issues, this went on smoothly enough.
Some of the other builds of this kit that I’ve seen showed that the modeler either painted the upper wing surfaces with a solid coat of RLM-72 Grun or continued the distinctive disruptive (squiggle) pattern from the fuselage to the wings themselves. I disagree; a close look at the two prototype images don’t seem to show any such coloring on the wings, with the exception of RLM-72 on the wingtips. As a historian, I have a particular respect for accuracy, so rather than fly in the face of the evidence I decided to mask the wing roots in preparation of my application of the squiggle pattern.
Now came the hard part. I decided to go with Tamiya XF-62 Olive Drab (standing in for RLM-72) as my squiggle color, but have never really tried to create such an unusual and particular pattern before. Thankfully, I use an Iwata HPC-Plus airbrush which features a locking nut on the rear to inhibit the full motion of the needle chuck assembly. What that means is that I was able to limit the pullback of the trigger, keeping me from accidentally blasting a spray pattern two inches wide across my delicate squiggle work. Investments really do pay off sometimes.
I set my compressor to a bare minimum of 7-10 psi blowing through the brush, put the needle about 1/4″ away from the airframe, and set to work.
It was nerve-wracking at times, forcing myself to neither a) pull too far back from the fuselage or b) hold still any length of time while paint was flowing. But, after about 5-10 minutes, I got a result that I was -and am still – rather pleased with:
Despite my temptation at this point to continue, I had to reign in my impatience and call it a night. I wasn’t about to ruin that work by masking it prematurely.
The next day: Looking at the prototype images above, you can see how the squiggle pattern dissolves into the solid stripe across the pulsejet. I kept this section in RLM-72 for that purpose, and also masked the fuselage nose with tape and Elmer’s Poster Putty to give the demarcation line a feathered, wavy edge:
The very front of the nose cone (aside from the burnished aluminum warhead, of course) seemed to be a lighter shade of green in the prototype images. I first tried RLM-81 BraunViolet for this, but it blended in too much with RLM-76 for my liking. Instead, I mixed 75% Tamiya XF-66 Light Grey with 25% Olive Drab to get a shade that I liked. This went on easily enough, a situation helped by the simpler masking pattern the 1945 images call for.
While this was drying, I masked the canopy in preparation for painting. There’s no sense in hiding it – I was apprehensive about this. I have never had a good experience masking canopies. I’ve tried tape, I’ve tried Parafilm, and I’ve tried masking fluid. None of them have worked for me. Hell, I even purchased some Bare-Metal Foil in case I wanted to try that. This canopy was fairly simple, however, so I decided to give Tamiya masking tape one more shot. And, believe it or not, I think I managed to get the hang of it! As obvious as it sounds, holding the masked canopy up to a light source makes it incredibly easy to see where you need to cut with your #11 scalpel. In a matter of minutes, I had managed to accomplish what I’ve spent unsuccessful hours on before.
I don’t mean to wax on and on about such a simple thing, but this was a pretty big deal for me, and I couldn’t be happier with how it turned out.
With this done, it was time for a coat of 50% Future, 50% Isopropyl rubbing alcohol. If you didn’t know, Future floor polish is an incredible gloss medium that both seals your paint job and provides a level surface for decal and weathering applications. I don’t know how I got on without it all those years ago. Future, however, requires a good long while to dry before it can be handled, so I decided at this point to call it a night. The entire airframe had been painted, the canopy was good to go, and the paint was sealed. The next morning would surely see the completion of this build.
But that, friends, is something that will come later. I hope you enjoyed this installment of this build log, and are looking forward to its completion in the next entry. If you have a comment or question, please drop me a line below! Until then, take care, and happy modeling.