Time for an update. I moved on to the upper hull. I primed and installed the maintenance bays and the antenna mount. After some study I decided that I could go ahead and install turbo laser stations and mask off the open windows without having to remove them to install the cockpits. The laser cannon cockpits can be installed from the inside so I will work on them later. I placed, but did not push down, the laser cannon backplates. That way I can paint the whole hull with the base coat without the cannons installed and then put the cannons on after primer and paint. If I put the cannons in first, it would have been difficult to get paint under the cannon and onto the window frames.
I was then able to add most of the external piping to the upper hull. Some of the piping will have to wait since it runs over some of the panels that haven’t had their decals added yet. I also added detail parts to the covers leading to the docking ports and installed the PE grills in them. I’ll install them onto the hull after the two hull halves go together.
I then moved on to the lower hull and installed the landing gear doors and turbo cannon stations. Just like with the upper hull, I partially installed the laser cannon backplates. I then started adding as much of the external piping to the lower hull as possible without having both halves put together.
There were a few parts that I could not install until I get some of the decals placed. Those parts, some from the upper hull and some from the lower hull, were primed and painted separately. I also sprayed a black grey pre-shade on the docking ports.
From there I moved to the engine cover. I started with the PE grills. They are very nicely etched. They have a small flat spot on opposite edges that matches a flat spot in the cover. That makes sure that the grills are attached at the proper angle. I glued them in with CA glue. I then started adding the detail parts. Lots of detail parts. A few needed to be glued in place to make sure they stayed in place, but most fit very well without glue. I dry brushed some silver on the turbine blades that go behind the grills. I’ll install that part after I prime and paint the engine cover.
At this point I decided to check the fit of the engine cover on the upper hull. It does not snap in quite as tightly as some of the other parts since it needs to be removed to turn the lights on or off. It is good that I did a check first. I discovered a slight warp in the engine cover. I will need to get most if not all the warp out to make the cover fit well and look good. I laid the part on a corner of the workbench and then placed a wooden block on the part and then put a heavy bottle on top to provide the weight required to flatten the curve. I’ll leave the weight on a few days to see if the curve flattens.
While waiting on that, I moved on to painting the base color on the upper and lower hull halves. I started by adding the mandibles to the lower hull half. I am using Vallejo Model Air 70.119 White Gray. It sprayed on fairly well. I did have a bit of a problem with paint building up on the edges of my airbrush nozzle. I’ll have to look into that to see what I’m doing wrong. I haven’t had that problem when spraying Tamiya paints. I also sprayed the parts that can’t go on until some of the decals go on first. Some of those are still attached to their trees. Note the black spots on the upper hull. They correspond with the grills in the hallway covers. Hopefully they will give some depth behind the grills.
It looks like the White Gray paint is going to take a while to fully dry, so in the meantime I’ll start working on the turbo laser cockpits.
More to come…