Moving on to one of more fun aspects of creating these models, chipping the paint. To create this effect, I use Humbrol Maskol. I mask of the area to be painted and then apply the Maskol randomly to the area to be painted.
Once the paint has dried, I remove the paint and gently rub the area and the Maskol will peel off. This effect looks great.
Once I was done with the intakes, I cleaned up my airbrush and mixed up some Grime. I sprayed he recesses of the S-Fiols, the engine area, the droid strip and some streaking. Grime gives the X-Wing a bit of a dirty look. I didn’t want to heavy with it as Blue Leader really wasn’t that dirty of a miniature. Actually, it was pretty clean when compared to the later Red 2 version of itself.
Additionally, I painted the areas aft of the nacelles Grime as well. I did this because painting under them will be difficult once the engines are installed.
Making my way through the journey that is X-Wing building, it was time to start working on what makes these kits look like ILM inspired miniatures. I was time to tackle other colors other than shades of gray.
The original Blue Leader had these yellow looking areas on the S-Foils. The color that is applied here isn’t a shade of yellow, but it’s called “Trench Olive”. Archive X has this color in their line of paints. My only problem is that I didn’t have any. So, Model Master to the rescue. Model Master reintroduced some of the old Floquil colors as acrylics. I had Flat Earth and Olive Drab. Using my skewed logic, earth is in trenches and olive is, well, olive. I mixed up a batch that looked the part and airbrushed it on the fuselage and the S-Foils. When I applied, it was bright. Once dry, I lightly sanded it and the applied a misting coat of Light Ghost Gray to match what I did to the fuselage. That really toned it down.
Next was adding some random, differentiating panels. I used light gray and light ghost gray on some random panels. Next up was a part I was dreading…the Blue Squadron markings. You may think, “Why is he dreading that?” They look good in the picture. Let me explain…
I decided that I was going to use Vallejo Dark Blue for my blue stripe. I have never used Vallejo paint. This is most due to the horror stories I have heard about this brand of paint. I had a hard time getting that blue stripe down both sides of the fuselage. The paint didn’t want to spray out of my airbrush right. Once dry it was susceptible to being scratch off easily and hard to mask over. Honestly, I really didn’t like it. But, at this point, I felt I was stuck with it. So, when it came time to do the blue squadron markings, I cringed. There’s an old saying, when all else fails, read the instructions. So, that’s what I did. I learned a valuable lesson when it comes to Vallejo paint. Use the Vallejo system and everything will work like it’s supposed to. Following the instructions of 5 parts paint to 2 parts thinner and 1 part retarder works wonders! To achieve that, you must use the Vallejo system, Nothing else works right. Lesson learned. It really airbrushed great! So, before, I wouldn’t touch Vallejo with a 10 foot pole. Now, it’s not that bad.
Now, it’s starting to look like Blue Leader. After looking at a few different shades of blue, I decided to go with Vallejo Dark Blue for the markings. It’s a little bit light for the original Blue Leader and Rogue One Blue Leader. Although, I think it will all work out when it’s all said and done. There’s going to be a few layers of paint on top of it.
I also applied the blue markings on the aft fuselage. These a stripe on top over the back parts cluster.
There is also a larger blue stripe on the bottom aft fuselage as well.
It was time to start applying some of the colors to the fuselage. I have decided that while I’m going to portray Blue Leader, I’m not going to do the original Blue Leader or the Rogue One Blue Leader. This build is going to be a mash up of both ships with some artistic license thrown in.
The base coat is Archive X Reefer White. Once that was dry, I lightly sanded the fuselage to thin the white paint. This allowed the black paint to show through.
The next step was applying gray around the canopy. This was painted with Model Master Neutral Gray (FS36270). I also applied Neutral Gray to other panels as well.
The next step was to start adding other grays. The next color I choose was Model Master Light Gray. It’s interesting, on its own, Light Gray looks almost white….until you apply it over white. Using more artistic license, I chose areas that I thought would look best with Light Gray applied. Once I was satisfied with my application, I then chose Model Master Light Ghost Gray for some panels. To tone down the entire fuselage, I lightly sprayed Light Ghost Gray over the fuselage.
This is the first round of colors. There will be more, the blue stripe down the sides, yellow, various other colors.