I finished the fuel tanks and the Sidewinders. Despite their relatively small size, I think I spent around 4 hours on them, trying to emulate what I’ve seen in reference photos.
Not having built many jets, I discovered that while the basic paint on a Sidewinder missile doesn’t vary a lot, many of the small details do. My main basis for reference was a very good photo of a Sidewinder on an actual Italian AMX, as well as another very clear photo that was a good additional color reference.
I started by painting the front portion of the missile blue, so that I could represent the blue bands indicating an inert missile and warhead. (Or at least that’s my understanding of what it represents….) Masking the blue stripe aft of the forward fins was easy- I just cut a very narrow strip of tape and wrapped it around. The stripe that goes “under” the fins seemed like it was going to be a bit more difficult, until I realized all I had to do was cut two very tiny pieces of tape, apply one with its edge against the fin, do the same for the other fin on that face of the missile body, and then adjust the tape pieces accordingly. It took a few minutes, but I think the effort was worth it.
Next I painted the body Tamiya XF-19, and after masking that off, painted the forward half XF-63. I hand painted the forward part of the warhead XF-56. A dab of India ink completed the warhead. Finally a few swipes of Vallejo Metal Color Dark Aluminum on the dealie mathingies on the rear fins completed the paint.
I weathered the missile a bit with graphite powder, and then highlighted the panel lines with a sharpened mechanical pencil. I also used the pencil for the small dashed lines around the body, as well as a “stencil” on the forward part of the body.
Finally, I masked off and painted what appeared to be an arming switch- that’s the red and green dot of color- and gave it a flat coat.
The fuel tanks followed a similar procedure- XF-19 paint, highlight the panel lines with a mechanical pencil, and then graphite powder for staining and shading.
I’d seen the fuel tanks in a variety of photos, and they varied from quite clean to downright dirty. One set of photos caught my eye, as it showed one tank with a fairly prominent, dark stain, while the other tank was used but not filthy. I tried to replicate this look, and though it wasn’t quite what I was shooting for, I thought it got the point across.
When all was said and done, I was quite happy with the results!
Now it’s on to getting the fuselage and wings fully assembled and ready for the paint shop.