Preparation of parts | I started building the model as always by cutting out all parts from the sprues. As in the case of Italeri, most of the elements had seams of the molds. It took me several hours to remove this imperfections, divided into a few evening sessions. This is a necessary process.
In addition, the model was pitted after casting. I filled out these defects with a white Tamiya putty.
I always make dry fittings to see if everything designed by the manufacturer fits perfectly with each other. I spent the most time to matching the back of the body to the chassis and adjusting the mask and its side blinds. There was a lot of sanding here to synchronize all moving surfaces.
Due to the fact that I like to apply a lot of clear varnish on edges and panel ends (so as not to wipe the undercoat during polishing), I had to enlarge some gaps, so that later the panel after painting is greater than the hole that it is to cover.
At this stage, I also decided to cut off most of the original heads of bolts, nuts, rivets, etc., because the stock ones, although quite well reproduced, they were too poorly emphasized for me. I bought several sets of third party bolts, nuts, rivets heads in several sizes from Meng.
I made the necessary measurements and glued new bolts and pasted the characteristic kedra in the connection of body and fuel tank cover. A lot of work also required to mount the front windows, which were made of bent PE sheets.
Painting with primer | Due to the large number of parts that must be painted separately, I had to drill small holes in 'smart' places, thanks to which I could fix the elements to a toothpick and freely operate when painting. I mounted larger parts using Patafix.
For painting I used the MR Surfacer 1200 primer from Gunze. This product perfectly fills all micro scratches made during sanding. It must be thinned - I used a leveling Thinner for this from Wamod. I painted twice. The first contact layer, thin and not very wet. When the elements dried slightly, I applied a second - wet layer of primer.
The next day, when everything was dry, I made an inspection in terms of possible imperfections. There were several places on the body elements, where scratches after sanding became visible. I had to make the necessary mortars and corrections.
At the end of work with the primer, using the Tamiya abrasive sponges (2000/5000) I polished parts of the body from minor inclusions, dust, etc. The parts must be ultra smooth, otherwise a gloss surface would not be achieved.
Engine painting | Looking through photos of the original Alfa engine you can see many shades of aluminum - from dark to very light and shiny, where it was polished. Due to the fact that I was building a museum version, all elements had to be in good condition - without stains, raids, etc. On the other hand, they could not look like a cast straight from the factory.
The first base color was AK Extreme Metal Gun Metal. It is not as dark as it might seem. It is ideal for emphasizing dark parts, to corners, etc. Then I made the color modulation using 3 colors alternately - AK Extreme Metal Aluminum, White Alu and Matt Alu.
The valve covers and the gearbox flap have been painted with AK Extreme Metal Polished Aluminum paint. After the paints have dried, as a wash I used the black Panel Liner from Tamiya to emphasize the differences in textures and cambers. At the end I rubbed the edges with the bright enamel of Tamiya in the color of Matt Aluminum, to emphasize the brightness of the edge.
Base color painting | To get the right color - Italian Bordo, I mixed three C series paints - Mr.Color Wine Red + Mr.Color Russet + Mr.Color Red. I don't know the proportions, because I mixed and mixed over and over, changing the proportions of the paints, until I got a satisfactory result. I could probably use a ready-made color mix, e.g. from the Zero Paint Authentic series, but I had such paints in the workshop, so I took the opportunity to create my own Italian Bordo recipe.
Painting with Mr.Color paints from the C series is quite pleasant. You can't ruin anything here. Unlike paints such as Zero Paints, Mr.Color C series does not eat primer or plastic. It can be applied with wet layers. And it dries very quickly. Unfortunately, reds and derivatives cover very poorly. Sometimes they have to be applied on a white base. You need to spray several layers, remembering that all elements should be painted with the same amount of paint, otherwise we will have shades that are difficult to lose later on.
1/12 scale is quite a big piece of plastic. An airbrush with a 0.5 mm nozzle is essential here. I painted using the Procon Boy LWA Trigger 0.5 mm aero. In the end, quite a nice, smooth varnish coating came out. There were a few inclusions, but despite the great cleanliness during painting, something will always "fall in". When removing imperfections, I used water abrasive cloths from 3000 to 6000 grit.
Painting with a clear coat | The best gloss effect I get with using 2K car paints. Modeling clear varnishes are good, they can give satisfying results, but unfortunately they are not hard enough after drying (even after two weeks), which means that further polishing is not effective. In addition, modeling varnishes can go yellow over the years, and getting a glossy surface is sometimes difficult and complicated. I liked 2K Varnishes for their quality. If we get the hang of it, we are able to paint the model, basically with no orange peel effect.
The clear varnish I used is my own product - 2K Diamonds Crystal Gloss, which was created especially for modeling purposes. It will be available for sale soon. For painting, I used a Procon Boy Trigger airbrush with a 0.5 mm nozzle.
I paint in 3 coats. The first coat - a contact one, which gives adhesion. I paint thin at low pressure, approx. 15 psi.
I spray the second one after about 15 minutes - it is wet and I apply it thicker. I let the varnish spread nicely over the surface, controlling it so that it does not flow and does not stain.
The third coat - the last one, in the next time interval of 15-20 minutes is the final layer. Also wet, but not as thick as the second coat.
This is how I painted the necessary elements. I left all the elements to dry under cover, so as not to catch air inclusions. It is important to remember that on the edges and around the rivets and other types of protruding elements, the surface of the varnish should be thicker, because during a polishing we can quickly wipe it to the primer.
Polishing | I like when the clear coat on my models is perfect and free from imperfections. To do this correction and polishing are necessary. I don't have a spray booth good enough, so some dirt can stick to it when painting. To remove inclusions on the paintwork, I used Kovax abrasive strips and Gunze polishing cloths with high grits of 3000/6000. I sanded wet. The hardest part was around the rivets on the cab and on the hood pins of engine cover.
When it was smooth enough, I could move on to polishing. Using a mini grinder and sponge pads, I polished the entire car body using the full spectrum of polishing pastes, from automotive and more abrasive ones, to dedicated modeling pastes and wax from Tamiya.
Update 3 | 22.08.2023
Chrome plating | I removed all the original chromes with a bath of parts in a solution of Domestos and a small amount of water. After 15 minutes the original chrome was removed.
I tested many different techniques for creating chrome imitation, but always something didn't suit me. Only when I combined those specifics I got satisfying result. From the beginning...
We paint the elements with rich black glossy paint, in my case GX Ueno Black from Gunze. After drying, we put chrome from AK Interactive on it. Then we paint the elements by dipping in AK Interactive Gauzy Agent vinyl clear coat. Drain the excess from the parts and leave to dry. I always give them one day of rest. At the very end, I rub the chrome powder from USCHI on the prepared surface. I use an applicator from the cosmetics industry. I rub until the effect is satisfying. This technique gives ultra-chrome! The downside is that after a year I have the impression that the chrome is not as bright as at the beginning.
Details | In this build it was necessary to make dozens of small details. I added the heads of bolts and nuts and the heads of rivets the most. In large part they were add-ons from Meng and specially designed 3D prints. There was also high-voltage wiring made of thin 0.4 mm wires in a colorful braid from Top Studio. Additionally, I also made spark plug caps and ignition distributor caps as well as various types of heat-shrink tubing connections in various diameters - also from Top Studio. Electrical bundles are colored thin wires in colored sleeves connected together also with heat-shrink sleeves. Clamps on the water hoses and chrome headlight surrounds are chrome adhesive tape cut to proper size.
Assembly of the body, chassis and engine into the frame | When all the elements of the body were polished, the parts of the cab like the back seat, the dashboard were ready, and the frame was equipped with leaf springs, steering knuckle, drive axle, brakes and wheels, I could proceed to connect the body to the chassis. At the same time, I mounted the drive unit, radiator and its housing to the frame. I added high voltage wiring, various types of oil supply lines, starter power supply, tie rods etc. I also added power from the rear fuel tank and many braided wires - not always knowing what they were for :)
Steering wheel and exhaust system | The wooden steering wheel, which is mounted in the original car, is quite a characteristic element of the entire vehicle. I had to make every effort to get a similar effect of multicolored varnished wood, but in 1/12 scale. After a few tries, I decided to use oil paints for artists - in my case, Royal Talens paints. To begin with, I painted the steering wheel with brown Gunze. Then I applied oil paints to the steering wheel rim with a sponge. I used several colors - yellow, orange, burgundy, dark brown and white, to get this melange pattern. After the oil paint dried, I secured the steering wheel with vinyl clear varnish from AK Interactive - Gauzy Agent.
Due to the fact that I was building a machine in a museum condition, the exhaust system was not heavily worked and I did not have to paint full color separations of the exhaust manifold. I focused on the different shades of steel from which the manifold and exhaust pipe were made. The base color was AK Xtreme Metal - Gun Metal, spotlighted with Dark Aluminum. In places of overheating I painted with Burnt Metal also from AK.
Installing the security bolts | In motorsport in the 1930s, special security bolts were used. It consisted in the fact that in the head of the bolt there was a hole through which the steel cable passed. The cable ran through the bolts along the length of the entire frame, which prevented the self-unscrewing of a single bolt.
This item in my model was designed by my friend Oleksii and printed by Matts Panzers. The biggest challenge was to correct the 0.4 mm hole in the bolt head, which was not always a through hole on the prints. I had to drill through the bolt heads with a micro drill. Many bolts have been destroyed. The safety cable that passed through the bolt heads was made by twisting two 0.15 mm wires together. It was enough to fix the bolts in the previously drilled holes and thread the cable. The security system made in this way was used practically on the entire body. This is a typical job for watchmakers :)
More photos of the completed model here | Gallery
Author | Jarek Rydzu Rydzyński