I have been and still working on the Hong Kong Express A320Neo which I hope to have finished during the next weekend. I had to start over because I did not like how the project was going, my first approach was wrong and I am not sure why I did not do as I did with the China Airlines A350.
Here is an example of what was done:
1- I placed the windows with normal paper to check where the cheatline goes, you can also do this by simply adding the windows decal first.
2- I added the cheatline decal and hkexpress.com logos.
3- I clearcoated (and this is very important) so that I could protect the decal from the masking tape and I masked all around the cheatline and logo.
4- Once the masking was done, I painted the tail section.
While adding the cheatlines, it is very important to keep a good symmetry for both sides, a good reference can be the panel lines.
Currently the model is 85% decaled and so far so good, did not have any issues with the decals which is a good sign, I did a quite extensive test on this model and I am very happy with this decal paper, this was a really important test for me.
I hope to have this finished by the end of the week as I am really excited to continue with the current projects as well as start the LEAP engines.
Very busy days but I will get back on track again and prepare more stock units once this A320Neo is completed.
This is the first entry of the year and I am hoping that everyone has started this 2019 successfully and with positivity.
I find myself currently working on an A320 which ended up being a Neo variant with the Hong Kong Express livery colors.
I was designing this livery and at the same time thinking that it would be a challenge because of its design with white colors and that was something that I needed to fully test.
I must say that I am adjusting the A350 decals (as well as fine tuning some aspects of the A320 decals after the experience with the HK livery).
The approach I took with this livery was to have white decals instead of purple decals that would wrap the end of the fuselage.
This decision was taken after seeing that the purple decal would be just too big and difficult to place and also because the colors of the engines must match the color of the fuselage.
So I saw this livery “in reverse” making the background of the tail instead of the purple design.
Now, I was able to fully test the white opacity and also test a little bit further the decals positioning.
I must say that the film is very thin but it is surprisingly resistant, the edges are practically invisible. I hope to post a video soon of some of the process I did while placing the decals.
I would like to write my opinion about white decals in general.
I won’t state this at 100% because I haven’t tested white decals from model kit manufacturers but, I do believe that it is near impossible to have white (and I mean, pure white) on a dark surface in one go, (with decal papers) you can though see it white when the white decal isn’t big enough to tell the difference.
I have to clarify that the small white decal on a dark surface looks indeed pure white, but when decals are big such as the background of the Hong Kong Express tail, you can start to see the difference when comparing to the white of the fuselage.
This makes sense, if we take for example that you want to paint a dark surface with a white spray can, the normal procedure would be to apply thin layers until getting the desired finish. Decals are thin regardless of the ink used for the white, so we are simulating the way we would paint a surface.
My approach for this Hong Kong livery was to use 3 layers of white decal for the tail section, this allowed for a whiter surface that gives the desired result. The film I am using is only 7 micron, so having 3 layers of decal on top of each other is no issue at all for the specific properties of this film.
You can always opt to use two white layers if the result is already satisfying for you.
I am very cautios about which decal goes where and more importantly, which color is beneath which decal. For bright colors going on dark surfaces such as the now old yellow crane of Lufthansa onto the blue tail, I will be including two white underlaying decals for the bright color to stand out.
Of course it is optional how many decals you want to use, but from my point of view I must give as many possibilities as I can.
I will also be giving specific tips or instructions if a livery has a cheatline that divides two or more colors.
For example, I should have done a method that I did not do for this livery but that I did in my previous A350 China Airlines build. This consists in; first, painting the whole fuselage white, then applying the grey cheatline and once dry, apply a gentle gloss coat over it to protect it.
Once protected, mask tape the outline of the cheatline and proceed to paint the purple color. This is specially needed when a cheatline goes across a certain section of the fuselage and we don’t know exactly where to divide the colors.
Besides the specific tips, I also include a black colored decal sheet printed on a regular paper in order for you to easily see which white decal is what.
I will keep on working with this project and post the photos of the finished model very soon.
With a little bit of delay, I want to wish you all a very happy holidays!
2019 is around the corner and I do hope from heart that we can all be in good health and doing what makes us the happiest.
I personally have lots of projects for this coming year, (perhaps too many!) but I will be putting all my effort in every single thing, that is why sometimes things take such a long time to be completed, you can’t rush something that you do from heart.
I have been off from work (with model items) for a few days, mainly focusing onto adjusting the several artworks that were made in order to be printed with the new equipment, and so far I can say that the A320/A320Neo liveries have been adjusted, the A350 “generic” has been adjusted as well and now it is time to do the same for the rest of the A350 liveries. From there I hope to keep on creating new artworks for future aircraft models as well.
During the rest of this and the upcoming week, I will be working on an A320 finally wearing the Brussels Airlines colors as I wanted to make a “quick” build in order to do the final test with the decals on a model.
I can tell for sure that the decal can resist the 2k clear coats (but I think that is normal in all decals due the nature of this kind of clear coat) so I am sure they will work as all the other decals in the market regarding the clear coats/varnishes.
For this reason, projects such as the 747-8F are currently on pause for the next few days, but I am going to retake them once we start the next year.
I have set a goal to have completed the next Neo engine for around January-February. It will be the other variant, the LEAP 1A engine, which hopefully won’t give me as many headaches as the PW did.
These are the two first items I am going to be working on during the beginning of next year, and once completed I am going to be working on a series of new GSE models such as; the new cargo loader which will include the double sill, a new tug; the Charlette version and I am also going to make the hydrant truck. The 747-8F project also gives me the oportunity to create some other GSE items related to the cargo operations, so I expect to make new pellets/containers, dollies and transporters. Since the 747-8F will have the L1 door opened, I would also really like to work on boarding stairs vehicle.
I am not forgetting the long long project that the B737NG cockpit is, so I am taking this project step by step, considering every area a single model because there is a lot of detail to include and I don’t want to rush things as they have to be perfect. Such big projects require lots of planning and I have been able to see that I can’t do two big projects at the same time (747-8F / 737NG cockpit) so once I start the next GSE, I really hope I can work between these and the cockpit.
Livery decals have been on pause for a very long time due all the troubles I found in the way, but finally things are going alright and I do hope I can update the blog/store regularly with new liveries.
Thank you all so very much for your time reading my usual long posts and for trusting in the items I make. I put all my effort in them and I really hope that all of you like them and cherish them as I do, there is always this special feeling knowing that a little piece of me is around the world being in good company with all your models.
Wish you all a very nice entry to the next year, and see you soon on 2019!
I would like to upload some of the progress that I was able to do with the 747F deck project on last weekend.
This week is a little crazy since it is holiday today and it will be extended till Monday. However, there is not much time to lose so even I reduced to 3rd gear for being national holiday, I still keep on preparing units and working on the 747F project.
Currently making more baggage carts, belt loaders, AST-1 and catering truck. I am also planning the Leap 1A engine for the Neo family, project that I set date to be ready on February at the latest. I will be using the PW as a base instead of having to do a full scratch built like I did with the PW, and although both engines are quite different when looking carefully, it is better to start with some shape (specially pylon-wing union) than starting from zero.
Now onto the progress that has been done on the freighter project:
I have made the floor of the crew rest area which is also the ceiling for the cargo compartment, this was needed as it is also a basic structure for the interior. Not planning on detailing the crew rest area since it won’t be seen from the outside. I may leave the holes for the windows for those who prefer using the clear plastic, but for my build I will have them covered and a decal will represent them.
Revell made a mistake on the upper deck windows, since the 8F is still using the traditional -400 windows for that area instead of those from the 8i but made it right on the L1 door window which also preserves the “old” window style.
After having made the crew rest area, I attached what will be the ceiling (still not all of it is placed), since the ceiling shape change at about section STA1500 towards the end of the fuselage. By adding the ceiling first, I can now see what sizes the side walls are going to be and add the detail on that particular area. The upper side of the ceiling (the one that isn’t seen) will be solid and have the same shape as the fuselage so that it can be easier to place on the concave shape of the fuselage. There isn’t too much space on that area so it won’t be a problem on regards material quantity.
This cargo set will also include the cockpit because there is a lot going on on that area. As you can see from the picture above, the entire base of the cockpit will be putty-filled so that the ceiling is flat on both the cockpit and crew rest area.
Cockpit base will also include all that detail on the edge that is actually seen from the outside. I also marked where the ladder will go, actually corrected instead of standing at the front of L1 door as I mistakenly marked firstly.
I am also not forgetting the cargo bays, I think that it would be a good idea since I have this model open in such a way, to include also both cargo bays. This will also help me to represent the new cargo loader which will feature these different sill height positions, so my idea is a diorama with four cargo loaders fully loading this freighter, nose door, side cargo door and both cargo bays.
I am advancing a little slowly because these modifications require planning and sometimes things do not always come out right at first.
Hope you like this project so far! I am really looking forward to it because it will also give me the chance to create new GSE specifically for loading such giant birds.
I can finally present a few photos of the new livery decals; in this particular case, decals for the Brussels Airlines A320, livery that I decided to make since it has white-on-dark decals on the tail area and can be very useful for this test build.
The decals have been rearranged, they are now placed in a more intuitive way and below their category name. There is the white layer decal which needs to be printed separately from the colors, however I do believe it won’t be a big nuisance to place some of the required white decals first. Most of the airliners are white anyway, but I do provide white underlaying decals in case where there is a background color other than white.
The sheet for white decals actually has the same decal numbers as their color counterparts for better understanding.
The generic decals will be available in two configurations, one for white fuselages, the other for fuselages other than white (including more white elements).
I took the chance to add a few details such as subtle people silhouettes on the passenger windows.
It has been a very hard way to come to this result that I present today in form of photos, hopefully in the next month, with a completed build. I had to redesign many lines from the previous artwork and had to change the colors almost on all objects.
Price wise these decals will be practically half cheaper than the previous digitally printed ones, naturally the two techniques are completely different and so are the costs of printing them. My time working on them will be exactly the same because I wish to continue making detailed decal liveries in the future not just for the A320 and A350.
As always, color in the photos may be different from the color seen in person, and even then it will be different than once placed on a white surface, that is why I always double check with a color chart printed with the exact same printer and do decal tests first. Decals may tend to look bluish because of the backing blue paper, but the true colors will show once placed on white surface or on white decal.
Examples above may have just too much contrast in some cases, I find difficult to photography decals, mainly due my camera having difficulties to focus, but as I explained in previous entries, I tried to make the color for the different markings to be as subtle as possible in order to keep a good balance between color/scale.
Hope you like the progress so far! Now it will be time to try them out, will record a video while doing so.
As I commented on the previous entry, today I would like to upload some of the process I made during the last days on regards the 747F project.
The cargo door still requires more details on the inner side, the two arms as well as some bits of wiring, the rollers etc. There are some minor differences on the panel between the -400F and the -8F, there are also some differences in the deck (besides the lenght) so I will work on the -400F variant later on once I have completed the 8F.
In the previous entries I comment on the issue I had with this particular area of the door frame, now that I have attached (only for reference) the door, I can see that the inner cover has to have an empty space, like a notch so to represent the space needed for the door to fit once supposedly closed.
There is also going to be all that detail for the reinforcement of the fuselage for the door.
Still work to do on the union between the door/fuselage, as I comment before, I need to correct that area.
Now that I have more or less figured out the SCD, it is time to plan very carefully the interior of this beast. Unlike a house, I will start from the roof, I will do so by continuing and modifying the cockpit floor, extending it to the resting area, there, it cuts and a second ceiling is visible. Having the mark of the deck level and having later the level of the ceiling, I will be able to see clearer where the side panels and their detail will go.
There is a Zvezda 747-8i on the way as I would like to do a port from this build in order to be placed on the Zvezda kit, as for somebody it may be easier to find a Zvezda kit than a Revell one, I also would like to do this port to open posibilities for those who prefer to work on Zvezda kits. It will be a challenge because both kits are completely different, a lot of surgery to do, but the Zvezda version will come later once the Revell variant is completed.
Within the next couple days I hope to upload some of the progress done on the livery decals.