747-8F / 747-400F – Working with the deck (2)

Hello everybody,

I have been able to overcome what I think was one the most critical points of the B747F cargo set, which was to make the main cargo deck (base shape) and actually be able to create a sort of guide for it to be attached to the fuselage.

I don’t have many photos but I wanted to share one that shows the detail that the deck will have, so far the details are designed with the computer and yet to be placed on the deck itself.

The set will also include decals, so I have been taking note of the different letters and marks that go on the side walls. I noticed some differences between the 747-8F and 747-400F deck systems, the 8F is using some wheels to guide the cargo into the deck, so I may rework that area for the 747-400F set.

As a personal note I would like to say that temperatures and humidity are not helping me to work with everything as I would like to, it is not a personal complain but more a technical issue since humidity makes things harder to work with.

August has been a messy month, so from September I expect to have a more solid schedule and be able to do things in a better order. The change of decals is more work piled to do, but I am sorting that out. Up until now I did not have a catalogue and projects to work with alongside, so I need to set a schedule to designate time for both, keeping the store with items and work with new projects and decal liveries.
I know that if I run to do things, there will be bad results, so I repeat myself that I need to take the time that it takes to do it right, there is no such thing as rush into modeling and specially when you are offering your work to the public, so things must be 100% correct.

Speaking of decals, I have done more tests with them (although not on airline models yet) and I am surprised by the decal thickness, I am currently using a 7 μm decal paper (carrier thickness) which allows for 0 appearance of decal edges, I applied decal softener in my tests, but even without it, decal edges are practically invisible, with softener, there is no way to see where the decal cut is. As soon as I can, I will upload photos of these tests and I am planning to do a full video on the decaling process of an A350 model for a full decal test

Will be representing the Air China’s A350 with the 2019 Horticultural Expo colors, I think this one will be a good decal testbed, since it will have big and small decals, colorful ones, blacks and also white decals.

Best wishes,
Guillem

747-8F / 747-400F – Working with the deck

After starting the decal tests with the new printer, I am also trying to advance step by step with the B747F cargo deck project.

Before I get into more details about the cargo project, I am glad to say that I was able to improve the results over the first tests with the livery decals. Currently fixing the A350 decals, I’ve been able to make appear again the cockpit rivets and other fonts (such as those on the doors) which were way too subltle on the first tests, so I am glad to see that details are back, printer was also able to print the very thin subtle colored lines such as those for the cargo doors.
There have been several modifications done onto the corrected (reaconditioned) A350 decal sheet in order for them to be printed with the different equipment, so instead of reworking all the liveries done so far, I will apply the airline decals onto the A350 base sheet as I did while creating the artworks, expect to do the tests for the A320 soon. It will take some time to complete this, but I go step by step.

The positive aspect of printing the decals myself is that I am able to do as many tests as needed in order to be certain that details will be well represented, color tonality etc. I will soon take pictures of the decal test print.
I also had to learn the hard way some things, so I had to purchase more decal paper, but I learned from my errors and I am able to continue.

Now on the cargo bird:

As I was afraid, I had to remove a part of the inner fuselage where the wing goes, in order to keep the floor straight. I wanted to mess as little as possible with the fuselage, the wing root will also need a small cut, this is something that had to be done because the way Revell designed the wing union, did not have into consideration the interior space (as there is no interior in the kit).

One of the things I had to decide was how to work on the interior. The first idea was to create the interior separately and then place it on the inside of the fuselage, however, many things depend on the fuselage. For starters, the nose area will have detail which is attached directly on the wall itself, wing root needed the cut modification, L1 and SC doors have been opened, also, due the roof required on the compartment, the cockpit plastic part will be modified and extended as  per the hump room/resting room.

Another dependant situation is the attachment of the cargo deck, for which I made two rails with the purpose of deck placement.

The best solution and the more accurate one is to work directly on the fuselage. This will ease things for me and will allow me to make a better representation of what I try to do, it would be very hard to make the parts in such a way they would fit the shape of the fuselage, latches and actuators are placed directly on top of the nose cut, so I prefer to leave the fuselage ready in this aspect.

Side cargo door opening edges will also be sanded down to reduce plastic thickness and create a more realistic scale effect with the real airplane.

At the same time I was cutting the L1 and the side cargo door, I thought that while I was at it, it would not be a bad idea to open the other cargo doors since I was already adding the cargo deck. Thus this would be a completely full door set.

Perhaps it will be more costly for me to cast 85% of the fuselage with the full interior in it, but it will be easier for the modeler in order to avoid adjusting so many things, such as cutting the hump. So basically it would be closer to just builiding the two fuselage halves but with the interior. Of course having to make bigger molds will also represent using more materials, but I have in mind to use some additives to lessen the cost.

One of the negatives of doing such a big conversion, is that this one cannot be used with the Zvezda kit (at the moment) and only with the Revell 747-8i or 747-8F. However, if things go well and I can overcome the initial costs, I may do a surgery to the fuselage and replace the wing root and nose gear sections so that the interior can also be used for the 747-8i from Zvezda with Zvezda wing and nose gear unions.

For the 747-400F version, instead of re casting the fuselage and deck again, it would be specified in the instructions where to cut and what parts to use to make the shortened version.

Making half of the deck wasn’t easy because firstly I had to find the shape of the fuselage (on the interior) and another difficult aspect was to perfectly match the half of the airplane. If the deck was too wide, the fuselage halves won’t close, if it was too narrow, the deck would not join both fuselages.

By doing several tests, gluing the deck on one fuselage halve and placing this on a flat surface, I was able to find the center. Now that I have one half of the deck, I will proceed to make the exact same part to make the other half and join them together.

The deck will carry as many details as possible, so I am looking forward to work on this area.

 

Thank you all for reading,

Guillem

First tests with the new decals

Hello everyone,

As you may probably know, due some issues that I prefer to forget, I had to take the decision to make my own decal prints for the GSE models as well as for the aircraft liveries.

I have started to do some tests with the printer and so far I am happy with the results.

At first glance, can you tell which one is printed from my printer and which one from the expensive printer at the companys? (apologies for the quality of the photos).


On the left, the one I printed, on the right, the company’s.

Naturally, there is more than a first glance; a higher price printer which already includes a white color from manufacture will always be superior to these more affordable printers.
These highly priced printers can print white + colors in a single pass, which means that the white underlaying color would be perfectly placed below the colors, there are many other pros on the expensier printers obviously, but if we compare the overall look/quality, you can still print very good decals at a cheaper price. I am not criticizing the expensier printers, but I have been proven that even expensier printers can have issues in some areas.


Image above is zoomed about five times the decal size.

There is one thing that I am still working on, which is the sharpness of the colors (specially black) when there are lines close to each other, this is something I noticed in the settings and I am still configuring these parameters. I am still familiarizing myself with the different setups and there are several options that need to be checked.

One of the things that really surprised me is the opaqueness of the white as you can see on the first photo. These numbers are actually a decal placed on a black paper, and at first instance, I am also happy with the decal thickness.

Speaking of the white color; it is very possible that I may separate the white underlaying decal from the color decal in some circumstances thus placing first the white decal (as a primer) and then the color decal. This would not be an issue if a decal logo is bigger since you can reduce the size of the underlaying white, but the majority of the details are quite small, some lines are 0,08mm thus even reducing the artwork, it would not perfectly fit under the colors in a second print pass.

I personally don’t think that would be a bother, since this would happen only with decals that currently have a visible white and that are mixed with colors, there are very few decals currently going on dark colors, most of the airliners have white colored fuselages.

The main issues I had were with paper jamming after or during the print process, but that is something related to the print setup and specifying a proper paper type in the settings solves the issues.

Metallic colors won’t be present on my decals (at least by now). That is something I had to think about and I took the decision to not to include them, that will also be reflected on the final price and I would like to give a comment on metallics.
To be 100% honest, I think that metallic prints looks cool, however, about the windows frame and from the realism-scale point of view, these may not be very accurate since the chrome-like shine may be unrealistic for the scale, when you see an aircraft in real person, the window frames do not reflect like a mirror, it is a more dull color which actually happens anyway if you clearcoat the model, modifying how the light reflects on the metallic particles of the decal.
The reason why I used metallic in the previous decals was because I had the chance to, and because it is what most manufacturers use, but the same way as the reds for the several stencils have too much contrast for my liking, just because a manufacturer does include metallic color doesn’t mean that is the way to go.

That is speaking of window frames and from the colors I previously used for that particular printer, however, it will be missed on the leading edges of the A350 decals. Although it won’t be the same, I am not disregarding that particular decal, as I am working on a photorealistic leading edge. In the end these are options that are included on the decal set since in most cases the leading edges had to be painted.

Please, understand that above images are tests that I did just in one morning time. I am going to try some other settings and try to improve the edge sharpness. Overall I can say I am positive with the results and the decals are going in the right direction. Would like to take the chance to mention that besides the Air China A350 with the Expo 2019 colors, I have also completed a Skyteam Vietnam decal set as well as working on a new A320Neo livery.

All these changes actually took time from the stock making of the GSE models and time form the 747F detail set (as well as other items on the list), but I hope to update the 747 cargo progress very soon.

There will be some time required to modify the artworks to be printed in the new printer, although the printing company thought was my sensei not much of what he instructed can be rescued/used for the decals, in the past I was much more limited using dull Pantone colors, but now I can adjust better these colors to try to match those of the real aircraft, so I will be changing colors in future liveries as I won’t be printing Pantone anymore.

Best wishes,
Guillem

 

747-8F / 747-400F – First work with the nose

Starting to work on the nose for the 747-8F/747-400F cargo detail set. The grey colour is due putty being diluted to create a somewhat texture to the interior. Note that the 16 latches that keep the nose tight on the real aircraft have also been added here.

Floor is still not added as well as some other vertical bars that go across the end of the nose.

I plan to make the flaps of the nose with photo etched.

Painting and decaling guide

Hello,

I have recently finished the guide I was working on alongside the China Airlines A350 build. I truly hope it can be of help, I know most of us modelers know these basic steps, but I tried to give some tips on mistakes and problems I found during the time, so I hope you won’t come accross with them and avoid issues on your model.

Lastly, I would like to comment that  I am working on two new A350 liveries and will upload the profile images in the next week.

Click on below image to download the PDF guide:

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