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Sciabola or Italian Sabre

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I just thought I'd start my thread in preparation for November.

The choice of scheme I'm going to use is an Italian aircraft as depicted by one of the decal options in the Airfix 1/72 F-86 F/E model.

The paint is Dark Green/Ocean Grey on the Upper surface and PRU blue underneath.

I'll be making my own vinyl paint masks using the plastic kit decals as a guide and I'll build the plastic kit soon.

Here we are:


Edited By Alan Gorham_ on 30/07/2019 12:38:12

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I'm not planning on planking most of mine truth be told. I think (although I might be wrong) that most of the fuselage can be covered with sheet balsa that has been "ammonia-ed". I find the priming/prep/painting to take longer than building, so my second choice is mostly 2 colours and straight lines like you say.

We'll see!

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I'm with you on the sheeting route. With the Nimrod nose section nearly done, I have a good idea of the amount of stress a sheet of balsa can take with ammonia persuasion. It should be a doddle and end up a bit lighter overall. I'm not sure how much weight the planked glue joints add but, like you say, it'll be an interesting challenge.

Edited By Bob Jennings 1 on 01/08/2019 12:21:09

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 5 weeks later...
  • 1 month later...

So...a bit of progress to report:

My plastic kit is finished, see pictures below. I always like to build a plastic model of the subject I will build. Gives me a chance to practise painting the colour scheme and also the decal sheet can be used as the basis of some vinyl paint masks for the PSS model. I'll show how I do that process on some more posts. It has been done before by others on this forum and elsewhere, but we have some new PSS'ers along for his mass build so it might be of interest.




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Why bother with painting on markings when modern vinyl stickers are so good?

Well, for me it is the process of doing another part of the build of the model myself. It means I can make any scheme and I have to say that painting is probably now my favourite part of a build.

To start, I take a good quality scan of the subject plastic kit decal sheet. Make it at least 600 dpi but not too big or the filesize will jump up and make it unwieldy to work with.


You then need to import this image into a CAD program. I use AutoCAD 2004. Import onto a dedicated layer as a raster image at 1:1 scale and then create a layer for objects you will trace. I used a magenta layer that I named "trace" and then traced the outlines of the roundels, white serial numbers, call numbers and the prancing horse motif.

Trace using combinations of straight lines, arcs and polylines.


I haven't shown the traced markings here as they don't show up too well in a screen shot.

Bear in mind that you have traced the markings at 1/72 scale. Once you have traced all the markings you want to make masks of, then hide the decal sheet layer and scale the traced markings up to the required size. The PSS model is 1:10 scale, so simply scale the traced markings up by a factor of 7.2.

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Once the markings are scaled up, they need some processing to make them ready to be cut on the vinyl cutter. I have an old GraphTec CraftRobo, bought in 2008 and still doing sterling service.

Draw a rectangle the same size as the sheet of vinyl you wish to put through the cutter. In my case it was a sheet of A4 size in landscape format. Drag all the markings into this rectangle and lay them out as you wish:

f86 cut sheet cap.jpg

One thing that I find useful to do with roundels is to place a square boundary around them to allow easy placement on the model:

f86 cut sheet v2.jpg

The magenta lines will be cut by the cutter into the vinyl, but the red chain lines are just for construction and can either be deleted or placed on another layer and made invisible.

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The layout sheet we have just drawn needs to be saved in .dxf format prior to import into the vinyl cutter.

This is what it looks like in the cutter software:

cutter layout cap.jpg

I could have fitted more markings into that sheet, but I will go ahead and cut the vinyl now, then I will show you how I paint on the model using the prancing horse motif as an example.

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The paint mask material I use and like is Oramask 810 (made by the same company who bring us Oracover!). It is a translucent smoky grey film which has low-tack adhesive on one side.

A word about painting....The motif we are going to paint is a black horse on white background and the entire motive is on top of the camo scheme of dark green and grey. I like to paint from the lightest colours to the darkest to help prevent darker colours from bleeding through lighter colours, so I gave my test piece a coat of matt white over the grey primer. This white will act as the background colour for my horse motif, so the mask will go directly over the white paint, then the camo colour will be sprayed over the entire mask, before the horse outline is removed and the black colour sprayed in.


Above shows the test piece to be painted with a printed paper version of the mask to check size etc. The cut mask is off to the left.


Weed out the surplus vinyl as above and then apply a clear "application tape" sticky side down onto the mask. This allows both parts of the mask to be transferred to the test piece on a single carrier sheet and because it is clear, you can see where you are going to stick it down.


Here you can see the mask with the application tape still stuck to it. Use a blunt tool such as the special ball toll in the previous picture to go around every edge of the grey vinyl to gently ensure it is in full contact with the test piece. This helps prevent paint bleed.

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After removing the clear application tape gently to make sure we don't lift the paint mask, we are ready to spray camo colour now yes?

Well, another way to help prevent paint bleed is to "seal" the edges of the mask using a light coat of the same colour paint that is under the mask: in this case white. The theory is that if the mask is ready to bleed, then the bleed will be the same colour as the base paint so you won't see it and this sealing coat will prevent any further bleed.



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Ok, now we get to the action!

With the sealing coat dry, spray the top colours over the mask. I only used RAF Dark Green here for simplicity. Again I like to spray lightly around the edges of the mask as a dust coat and let this dry before following up with heavier top coats.


Then, when the green paint is dry, we need to prepare to spray the black paint by masking up the rest of the area where we don't want any black paint to go. As well as weeding out the tiny horse who is to be painted black:



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You can (I generally do) add another light spray of white to seal the mask.


Black paint then goes on, again a light dust coat around the edges of the mask before following up with heavier coats to prevent paint bleed.


Finally, you get to the nervewracking (it's exciting really) bit of removing all the masking. Remember to pull the tape or vinyl gently back on itself. Never just rip it up from the surface as you can drag paint up!!


No paint bleed, a nice crisp result, but there is one boo-boo! I left a tiny gap in my masking around the white cloud and so part of the green had some white overspray. I cleaned it up and touched it in but it is visible and it shows how important preparation is at every step before blasting paint at the model.

Hope that was of some interest even if you don't go this route with your Sabre...

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi Alan ,great job with the paint masks. I'm not a fan of vinyl either

Could you sell me a set ? I'm doing the same as Pete Garsden and i saw your offer to him .

Did you also include the writing ''CAVALINO RAMPANTE'' Written on the nose ?

Please name your price send to my adress.

Thanks anyway , Dirk.

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