Invasion Stripes

Invasion Stripes

How to paint D-Day markings on your Thunderbolt

by Ed Mate

The first step is to determine where the stripes go. There is an “official” placement, but if you can check photos, you may find your subject has some differences from the official guide.

The photo of Silver Lady shows standard fuselage stripes and the wing stripes appear to be 20 inches wide, but the wing stripes are outboard of the official placement. Moving the inboard stripe to the outside and adjusting the black & white pattern to maintain two black stripes in the middle appears about correct. Note the black stripe spanning across the aileron and flap just like the outboard white stripe should.

I started with some tape strips cut to a scale 20″ wide and placed the first piece where the black stripe straddles the aileron & flap. More strips of tape placed side by side lays out the stripes on the top of the wing. Scrap tape is placed outside the five 20″ tape strips and then the 20″ tape strips are removed. Repeat on each wing on top and bottom.

The fuselage is a little trickier. It turns out that starting the rear stripe just ahead of the tail wheel well has the forward edge of the white stripe on a vertical panel line. (Thank you for little miracles.) I used some short pieces of tape cut to a scale 18″ wide to help locate the rearmost vertical line. Place the front edge of the 18″ tape pieces on the panel line in several places around the fuselage. A narrow piece of tape cut on a curve (about 200 mm radius) is placed abutting the rear edges of the 18″ strips of tape. The curvature of the narrow tape will appear vertical on the fuselage due to the tapering of the shape towards the rear. By keeping the tape narrow, some flexibility is available so the curvature doesn’t have to be perfect. With the rear most vertical edge established, I measured a scale 90″ inches (5 x 18″) forward and marked several spots with short pieces of tape. Another narrow curved piece of tape is wrapped around the fuselage abutting the short pieces to establish the forward vertical edge of the stripes. Add wider pieces of tape to prevent overspray on to the other parts of the model. Also, determine if the landing gear doors were painted and prepare them to be painted if needed. Also take a close look at the intercooler doors on the fuselage to see how they were painted – they often do not match the stripes well. Notice Silver Lady’s intercooler bay is painted black, but the bottom of the door is not completely painted black.

Here is my model (Tamiya kit) with the fields for the invasion stripes exposed and the edges masked to prevent overspray on the areas outside of the fields. You might also notice the small piece of tape covering the spot inside the field on the left wing. That is where the bar for the national insignia ends up. There is a similar piece on the bottom of the right wing. Be sure to mask for the insignias so that there will only be one color under the decal – otherwise it is likely the line of color change will be seen.

Paint the exposed fields white. I used some dark grey preshading on the panel lines to help break up the stark solid white. You might also note that I painted the stripes before painting the rest of the model. That is a modeler’s choice – the technique works either way. I prefer to limit the amount of masking I do over natural metal silver finishes so I painted the stripes first.

Mask the white stripes. Relocate the strips of tape that were cut 20″ wide and place them back on the model. The outboard and inboard white stripes are masked by placing the strips against the edges of the tape that determines the field. Another 20″ strip placed against the edges of those stripes should generate an open spot in the middle that is filled with the last 20″ strip of tape. Lift the two strips of tape where the black will be painted. Repeat for other wing and the bottoms. Again, the fuselage is a little trickier. The 18″ short bits of tape are used to find the edges of the stripes just like the rear edge of the field was found. Narrow curved pieces of tape are placed on the model along the edges of the pieces. Once the edges of the white stripes are masked, the centers are filled in with scraps of tape.

Don’t forget to mask for the national insignia! I create the tape mask for the insignia by photo copying the decals to be used on the model. I place the photo copy over a piece of tape and cut through both just inside the outside edges of the insignia.

When you layout the fuselage stripes, you’re going to find out that Tamiya placed the right fuselage side intercooler bay about 0.015″ forward of the one on the left side. The good news is that the insignia breaks up the edge of the black stripe passing by so it will be hard to notice unless you’re looking for it.

Paint the black stripes. I used black ever so slightly lightened with grey and then post shaded the panel lines with pure black to help break up the stark black much like the preshade was used for the white.

Don’t forget to paint the gear doors at the same time.

Now mask the black stripes and remove the tape outside of the edges of the field so that the rest of the model can be painted using your usual techniques.

I find painting basic shapes like stripes much easier than applying very large decals that can wrinkle, silver, blister, etc. Invasion stripes are not really that difficult, but some patience is needed – it might take two hours to get the tape in the correct location, then just 10 minutes to spray the paint.

Final results on the completed model.


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Superdetail Conversion – Trumpeter 1/350 Nimitz to Carl Vinson

Superdetailing the Carl Vinson in 1/350 scale

by Dave Kopielski

I started with the Nimitz model and converted it to the USS Carl Vinson CVN-70 as she was at the start of the 1983 world cruise (her maiden deployment).  All differences as well as the hangar bay details were scratch built. I purchased extra aircraft sets to fill ship with all 86 aircraft. The decals for the hangar bay and aircraft were made by me. The ship is also illuminated with over 500 feet of fiber optic lines and 40 LED’s.  Photoetch sets were used on the ship and for all the aircraft. The ship is also accented with resin CIWS and deck tractors, 3-D printed hangar doorways and Tilly Crash tractor.

A total of 777 hours were spent building.

Additional pictures can be found at the following locations.

On the IPMS-USA website –

On Facebook (build pics, no login required) –

On Flickr (high resolution images) –

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by Ed Mate

The 108 gal. paper tanks in the Tamiya 1/48 P-47D Thunderbolt kits are decent, but the modeler is challenged with cleaning up the seams on the nose and tail without destroying the fine raised detail. On many of my kits that last “rib” of fine detail is detached due to the difficulty of removing the parts from the mold. This is the reason I looked into the Eduard Brassin product.

However, working with the Brassin parts a number of other modeling challenges appear. The parts don’t attach to the model the same way so a mounting system must be created, multi-media – the straps and some details are made of metal and must be bonded to the resin, but by far the worst on this Brassin set is dealing with removal of the pour stub and clean up of the resulting mess.

Additionally, Eduard did not provide the “strap” at the transition from the cylinder to the nose and tail parts so an additional set of straps must be fabricated. I find it easier to work in plastic than in metal so I fixed up a tank using 0.005″ plastic strips:

The challenge with this approach is keeping the center straps parallel with each other and the front and rear strips while using near-instant drying super glue to bond the mixed media (plastic to resin).

Looking for a solution to these issues led me to my current approach – the Frankentanken. This Frankenstein approach uses the kit parts for the cylinder and straps and the Brassin nose and tail parts with their nicely done rib detail.

The first step is to assemble the Tamiya kit parts paying close attention to the center cylinder to get the seam as good as possible with the straps aligned. No need to worry about closing the gaps at the nose and tail.

The next step is to clean up the seams like any seam work done on a plastic model. I like to use a Flexi-file with a sanding strip that has been thinned to easily fit between the closest straps near the tail. Then I polish out any scratches with fine grit sanding pads.

Now, cut off the nose and the tail. I use a razor saw and leave a little “waste” for final clean up ahead and behind the front and rear straps.

Now carefully trim the waste away and clean up the ends so they are nice and square. I use my lathe for this step but it can be done with a flat file – choose one that is wide enough to cover the full diameter. Also, I found that removing the alignment pin protrusions on the inside helps avoid any interference with the resin parts.

Now this is a very important step – do not neglect it! Drill a small diameter hole through the cylinder from outside to inside. I locate the hole in the mounting tab so it won’t be seen and won’t need clean up later. I discovered this the hard way. Epoxy cures with a thermal reaction that heats up the air trapped inside the cylinder. The expanding air ejects the part being bonded. So if you don’t want to hold the parts together for a seeming eternity, drill the hole to give the heated air a route to escape.

Next, attach the resin nose and tail with 5-minute epoxy. I do this in two sessions gluing first the tail then the nose. This approach takes the pressure off (no pun intended) in getting the parts aligned properly both axially and rotationally so the filler spots show up in the correct location relative to the mounting tab. I like 5-minute epoxy for this because it gives some time to align things and it will fill the small gap at the seam between the resin and plastic.

I’ve used the Brassin set photo etch filler cap and feed tube cover and I’ve salvaged the filler cap from the Tamiya part. Once those are in place, paint and attach to the model as you would have with the kit parts.

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Marine Models USS Philadelphia 32 pounder Carronade

Marine Models USS Philadelphia 32 pounder Carronade

by Glenn Estry

Marine Models USS Philadelphia 32 pounder Carronade. I won this kit (sight unseen) in an auction with a high bid of $20. The kit is from 1947, a 70 year old unassembled wood and cast metal kit. The base was a piece of plywood that the instructions said to draw lines to simulate deck planks. The bulwarks were were three pieces of mahogany which also were to have pencil lines to portray individual planks. Knowing that this would not produce a quality representation of a deck section, I raided my scrap wood collection and found 5/32″ x 1/32″ basswood and some 3/8″ x 1/16″ mahogany and scratch built the deck and bulwarks. Two of the 8 cast metal pieces used for hanging the tools were broken, so I made a RTV silicone mold of two intact pieces and made cast resin duplicates with dye added to the resin to make them match the others. The cannon and its platform were epoxied together and painted with Tamiya gunmetal from a rattle can. All other metal parts were painted flat black. The inside bulwarks were painted a dark red custom mix of Testor Acryl paints and the deck and bulwarks were stained using Minwax Golden Oak & Red Mahogany. The scale ropes are from Syren Ship Model Company. The handrail has no finish other than being sanded down with progressively finer sandpaper from 1,500 to 12,000 grit, giving it a nicely polished look and feel.

If you’d like, here is a brief history of what happened to the 2nd ship named USS Philadelphia (1799-1804).

During the First Barbary War Philadelphia cruised off Tripoli until October 31, 1803, while giving chase and firing upon a pirate ship she ran aground on an uncharted reef two miles off Tripoli Harbor. The Captain, William Bainbridge, tried to refloat her, first laying the sails back, and casting off three bow anchors and shifting the guns rear-ward. But a strong wind and rising waves drove her further aground. Next they dumped many of her cannons, barrels of water, and other heavy articles overboard in order to make her lighter but this too failed. They then sawed off the foremast in one last desperate attempt to lighten her. All of these attempts failed and Bainbridge, in order not to resupply the pirates, ordered holes drilled in the ship’s bottom, gunpowder dampened, sheets set afire and all other weapons thrown overboard before surrendering. Her officers and men were made slaves of the Pasha (or Bashaw).[6]

Philadelphia, which had been refloated by her captors, was too great a prize to be allowed to remain in the hands of the Tripolitanians, so a decision was made to recapture or destroy her. The U.S. had captured the Tripolitanian ketch Mastico, renamed her Intrepid, and re-rigged the ship with short masts and triangular sails to look like a local ship.

On February 16, 1804, under the cover of night and in the guise of a ship in distress that had lost all anchors in a storm and needed a place to tie up, Intrepid was sailed by a volunteer assaulting party of officers and men under Lieutenant Stephen Decatur, Jr. next to Philadelphia. The assault party boarded Philadelphia, and after making sure that she was not seaworthy, burned the ship where she lay in Tripoli Harbor. Lord Horatio Nelson, known as a man of action and bravery, is said to have called this “the most bold and daring act of the Age.”[7][8]

Her anchor was returned to the United States on April 7, 1871, when the Bashaw presented it to the captain of the visiting Guerriere.

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