As I alluded to in an earlier post, I’ve recently dipped a toe into the whole Vietnam Conflict for Flames of War, or “Call of Duty” as they refer to the book. For the US side of the conflict I decided to base my forces on the Air Cavalry list because, well ‘Helicopters’ are probably all I need to say. My palette test for these has been a Bell UH-1B “Hog” with its outrigger belt-fed miniguns and 2.75″ rocket pods. It’s a bit of a rough model to assemble being a blend of resin, injection plastic and white metal components, so being more than passingly familiar with some of Battlefront’s World War Two offerings I knew there would be an element of cleaning, sanding and filling required to get a good finish.
I chose to prime the kit white in order to bring out the brown-violet base colour more, but gave it a black pre-shade first around all of the panel junctions and fittings. This was where I left things in my earlier post. The final stages involved the cockpit windows, decals and finishing touches.
The glass: As a solid resin piece there isn’t a clear plastic canopy or cockpit interior to worry about. However I didn’t just want to paint the glass a blue/grey gradient. Replicating an effect from Battlefront’s own example I tried to give the canopy the illusion of reflecting the tree-line and horizon in blue and green-greys like GW Incubi Darkness and Fenrisian Grey. This was highlighted around the edges by adding Beige to the mix. The reflected tree-line was then blocked in using a dark green before giving the whole miniature a coat of Klear acrylic gloss varnish.
Decals and re-profiling: I applied the Divisional badge for the 1st Air Cavalry to the nose and the standard Army and hazard caution marking to the tail boom which I then protected with a second coat of varnish. NATO Black tank wash from MIG was then used to re-profile the panel lines and around the airframe and engine details. As always speed and efficiency are uppermost in my mind as these are for gaming rather than display, so to speed up things mr handy hair-dryer was deployed to accelerate the drying. To tidy up a make-up cotton pad slightly dampened with white spirit was used to gently remove any excess. You only need the slightest of traces of otherwise it will remove all of the enamel wash rather than the excess and you will need to start again.
I still have one last stage I will apply, but only once I have a few more of the helicopters done and that is to apply a light coat of pigment weathering to dust over the airframe where dirt and debris would build up from the rotor downwash. This I’m leaving for now to avoid differences in the effect across the various helicopters in the force. In this instance I want to ensure the colour and tone is the same for all of the ‘birds’ so I’ll do them all at the same time. At the same time I do this I’ll make one final pass with the airbrush to very lightly add a soot black along the tail underneath the exhaust where there will likely be a buildup from the aviation Kerosene.
One down, only five ‘Slicks’ to go now.