Hasegawa Spitfire Mk. Vb Night Fighter – Salt Chipping Technique

I built three single seat black aircraft and used them to test paint chipping techniques.  This one is the Hasegawa Spitfire Vb Night Fighter and my chipping method of choice was to use salt masking over aluminum Alclad before black paint.

Much like the Bf-109E in the previous post this kit was built straight from the box.  The kit went together well with very little fitting, sanding, and filling required.

This kit like the other two was given a coat of primer straight from the can.  You can see here how rough that turned out to be.  My previous post discusses the primer choices.  You can also see where I didn’t quite sand out the wing root – needed to be fixed.

After priming, areas of Alclad aluminum were sprayed on the kit.  I like using Alcad because it’s thin and it’s tough.

The kit is then coated a small area at a time (preferably where the Alclad is!) with water and Morton Kosher salt is sprinkled on the water.  Wherever the water is the salt sticks.  While still relatively wet the salt can be pushed around with the same brush I used to apply the water.  I applied more heavily in the areas of the wing root as you can see in the shot.

The aircraft is then given a coat of black paint.  I used the same Scalecoat used in the previous post as well as following on with streaking using ever lightened colors of black to produce a weathered look.

The salt is then brushed away with a stiff brush and ta-da paint chipping.  After a coat of Future floor polish, the decals were then applied.  I normally use Solvaset decal solvent on my decals and I really sweated this one out as you can see it wrinkled the marking up and it wasn’t un-wrinkling very fast.  It took a lot of Solvaset to make the decal finally sit down.  I think the Solvaset slightly remelts the Future and the Future sets back up before the decal has worked through the setting process.

I think I could have done a better job at arranging the salt crystals to make it look more organized.  As put on the chipping was rather random except for the wing root area.  But after a blast of Testors dullcoat, the kit actually came out looking quite nice.

What did I learn;

  • The salt method is easy to see where to put the salt on silver.  The next method documented (hairspray)requires you remember where the Alclad is or paint it all Alclad)
  • Organize the salt better, maybe along panel lines.  The salt works pretty good and produces pretty good results (see hairspray in next post!)
  • Find a different way to set Hasegawa decals.  The Solvaset works well on the OWL decals I have been using but might be a bit too strong for the Future/Stock decal mix
  • Drop using Rust-oleum primer

Thanks for your interest!

Hasegawa Bf-109E Night Fighter – Micro-Mask chipping

I built three single seat black aircraft and used them to test paint chipping techniques.  This one is the Hasegawa Bf-109E Night Fighter and my chipping method of choice was to use micro masking solution over aluminum Alclad before black paint.

The kit was built straight from the box.  I’ve built a 1/48 Hasegawa Bf-109E before (previous Hasegawa Bf-109E post) and remembered to be careful at the wing-root fit.  There was still a bit of sanding and filling needed to make things perfect.


I use mostly these sanding sticks I buy really cheap at the local mega-store.  The nail file works great for working the putty as it has many different grits and I often will follow up with a nail polisher that has three really fine grits and can make the plastic and putty shine!

I then primed the kit from a rattle can primer.  I have used the Dupli-Color “Fillable and Sandable” primer out of the can with good success.  At $7 a can it’s a lot cheaper than the primers for scale models.  On this pass, I tried the Rust-oleum and it made for a rough finish on the kit as seen in the earlier photo.  I might try to decant and thin it on another kit but I think I’ll stick to the Dupli-color.

After priming the kit was sprayed with Alclad Aluminum in spots I wanted to show chipping and after drying Micro Mask was applied in chipping patterns over the silver.

The aircraft was then sprayed with black enamel paint from Scalecoats and weathered with increasingly lightened and thinned paint (added gray to black) to produce a streaking effect that can be seen well in the photo.   We are ready to chip!

What turned out very wrong in this test was the Micro Mask was put on so thin it actually leveled under the paint and that made it very difficult to see where I needed to peel it away.  I started using a wooden stick to try to scrape the mask away and it either wouldn’t budge or I couldn’t find it.  What occurred then was I wound up literally scraping the paint off and left deep gouges in the paint where there should have been chipping.


Had this not been a test build I would have attempted to take the paint off and repainted the plane.  Instead, I recovered by over spraying the damaged paint and roughly scrapping it off while still wet.  Not the best looking up close but not too shabby on the model shelf.

The model was finished off with a nice set of OWL decals (I really like their thinness and way they perform) and overshot with Testors Dullcoat.

What did I learn;

  • Put the Micro Mask on thicker.  (I know, tough being a cheapskate!)
  • The weather streaking looks very nice.  I used the same cup of paint in the airbrush and added a touch more gray paint and a drop of thinner before each run of streaking
  • Test fire the primer before you commit to three models!

Hot time in the old town

Working in my garage over the last couple of days has been toasty, even going out about 9:30.  This shot was taken at 11:00pm in the garage; uncharacteristically warm in Oregon for this time of year.


The Bf-110s have started down the painting process.  One will be all black and the other will have an overspray of what seems to be RLM 76 and RLM 75 over it’s black.  The decal sheet mentions that this aircraft had a field color application later in the war as the night fighter groups experimented with camouflage.

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Can you tell which one is the Eduard and which is the Monogram?

The Kingfisher diorama is also starting to take shape.  I have the sand on and some random plant life and we are ready for water over the weekend.  Not sure if I am going to use acrylic gel or clear casting resin.  Will think about that tomorrow.

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Back in black

I haven’t posted for a bit.  I’ve been busy with many of the other spare time hats I wear and kind of fell of the attempt to build two kits per month.  Here is is the end of April and I’ve only popped out four kits and the two I’ve been working on get a little attention here and there.

I’m in the painting stage of my F4U-5N.  This is going into a Korean bird all black camouflage.  I bought the Montex set to do this with red markings but that’s a Navy bird and since the son is in the Marines I’ve decided to do the Marine markings on the Eagle Strike Corsairs over Korea Part 1.

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I am trying the salt paint chipping strategy on this one.  I used it previously on a P-61 I painted all black (see earlier posts) but felt I over did it.  We are trying to be more subtle this time.

I painted the plane Floquil Bright Silver as a base.  Last time I used a duller Aluminium and it didn’t show as well so we will see how well the bright color work.  Then salt is then applied by putting water with a drop of detergent down in key spot, shake salt on it, and  carefully move the salt around and with a small brush.  Where the salt went down heavy I knock a bunch off as opposed to leaving it like I did on the P-61.

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Next a lot of black spraying.  I used Scalecoat Engine Black and it went on very well.  This paint is supposed to be a Floquil replacement for railroad modelers and I like the way it performed tonight.  Here are a few shots of the finished paint on the kit.

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In a couple of spots I have knocked off the salt to see what it look like.

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And finally, when your all done and the airbrush is cleaned, now is the time to find out you missed the back of the bird.  I’ll have to fire up the black blaster the next session.


P-61 is complete – first kit of 2015


Actually this should have been the last kit of 2014.  I’ve been working on this kit since August of last year with a long period over the late summer and early fall where it sat idle.

I bought this kit on eBay many moons ago and I found a couple of parts missing.  I’m not saying the seller lost them as this kit has been rattling around in my stash in a rough box without plastic bags for years.  But I had to fabricate one of the small flaps from scratch.

On this kit I used or tried the following (* = first time);

  • *All black camo (I think I painted a P-38 all black in my youth)
  • *Using salt to create paint chipping
  • *Loan Star Models resin cockpit
  • True details wheels
  • *Scalecoat and True-color paints
  • Rescribed the whole thing (resribeaholic)
  • *Kitsworld decals

I can’t believe how big this thing is on my shelf, and putting it next to the Bf-109e I am building really shows it’s size.  It would barely fit in my paint booth.

I wanted to have a Black Widow since I first saw one as a kid.  Great modeling experience – I am satisfied with the result.

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P-61 ready for finishing

The black is on and it turned out pretty good.  The first few salt chips that came off made the chips look more white rather than silver and that had me worried but once I got it all off I’m pretty pleased with a first attempt at salt chipping.  The thing I was most worried about, it would look overdone, didn’t happen.

The process I used to paint it were;

  • I used the Tru-color black as my base coat (see previous post).  It seemed the blackest
  • Sprayed random patches of Scalecoat engine black.  This color was slightly less black and added some differentiation
  • Highlighted the panel lines with Scalecoat loco black (darkest black)
  • Sprayed random swipes of Floquil grimy black along the airflow to breakup the black and provide weathering

Next I am going to future, decal, and touch up some of the non-black areas that may have been oversprayed.

Here are some shots;


P-61 turned to the dark side

I got the first coat of black on the P-61.

I’ve been playing around with my black paint stocks to try and determine what color of black to use on the model and I’ll probably use all five of these in some fashion.  I really miss my floquil engine and weathered black but these substitutes look promising.

I have a bunch of other models in the queue that will be black as well so this is worth a shot at understanding black.  Here they are;BlacksThe photo is a bit fuzzy, hard to focus the camera on an all black subject!

I’m going to use the tru-color black for the base coat then use the next three for highlights and breaking up the solid black color.  At the end, I’ll streak the model with grimy black to give it a true weathered look.

Here are a couple of shots.  That aircraft is really black!

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Note that the salt chipping discussed in a previous post is starting to come off.  I’m not sure I like the results yet but I’ll wait until all of the black is on the clean it off and see what it looks like.  Doesn’t look shiny silver enough!


Happy New Year!