Hasegawa 1:200 737-200
Detailing with Paint and Decals
This model is based on the Hasegawa 1:200 scale kit of the 737-200 advanced.
This is, in my opinion, the finest of all the available 737 kits. The only correction
required was to fill in the lower rudder hinge leaving the upper two as appropriate
for the advanced 737-200.
Before assembly; panel lines for the
main wing spar, emergency exit wing walks, spoilers, wing tip lights, and horizontal
stabilizer leading edges were recessed for better definition and ease of
painting. After the fuselage and engines were assembled, the nose and tail cones,
as well as the engine intake lips received the same treatment. Prior to adding
the one piece wing/underbelly, the fuselage mid section was spread open by
gluing in a piece of sprue (test fit for proper length). This minimizes the
gap to be filled at the wing/fuselage joint. Fuselage seams and windows were
filled with gap-filling super glue. The remaining seams at the wingroot/under-belly,
cockpit windscreen, and lower rudder hinge were filled with 3M ACRYL BLUE putty.
The wingroot seam and the lower forward edge of the cockpit were smoothed with
a piece of t-shirt dampened with denatured alcohol to keep from destroying the
kit shape in these areas. Kit antennas were removed and replace- ments were
made from .010" plastic. Small discs of .010" plastic, punched with
WALDRON punches, were glued on the fuselage center line. Holes were drilled
in the center of these discs with a # 70 drill bit and these became the base
plates for the upper and lower anti-collision beacons. Small holes were also
drilled in the fuselage to represent wing inspection lights.
As you have read many-times, a bare metal finish requires flawless surface preparation.
My approach to this is a little different. Instead of trying to polish the bare
plastic to perfection, I treat the model as if I were going to paint it as usual.
After filling and sanding, I apply Testors Model Master Gray Primer (from their
automotive line) thinned 50/50 with Model Master Airbrush Thinner. When the
primer dries, I wet sand with 400, 600, and 1200 grit paper. I repeat the filling,
priming, and sanding until I?m completely satisfied with the condition of the
model. The model is then washed with a detergent solu- tion and a soft toothbrush
and allowed to dry. When the model has thoroughly dried the areas that will
be bare metal are given two thin coats of Future Floor Wax applied with a cotton
swab. When the Future is dry, these areas are again wet sanded with 600 and
1200 grit paper. Now we?re ready. This was my first Bare Metal model since trying
SNJ about a year ago. In the past 15 to 20 years I?ve tried every type of alumi-
num paint and/or metalizer I could find. SNJ is by far THE BEST. It?s easy to
apply, produces several variations of bare alumi- num, and can be masked over
with drafting tape, Post-It tape, 3M low tack tape (blue box), and ParaFilm.
(The March ?94 issue of FineScale Modeler has an excellent article on the basic
application of SNJ). Following the SNJ instructions, I ap- plied three misty
coats of SNJ spray metal and allowed it to dry for about 1 hour. After drying,
I polished the spray metal with a piece of soft terrycloth. Then came the SNJ
Polishing Powder. (A word to the wise here, SNJ?s Polishing Powder is EXTREMELY
FINE and can easily get all over everything.) Wear a mask and use it sparingly.
The best method I?ve found is to dip the end of a cotton swab into the powder
then tap the swab on the edge of the bottle cap allowing the powder to fall
into the cap. With another swab, pick up small amounts of this "fallout" and
apply it to the model surface. Polish with a soft cloth. I applied four coats
of powder to the aircraft fuselage and one coat to the horizontal stabilizer
leading edges. I left the vertical fin as it was. TIP: If you polish through
the base coat or get some other blemish in your finish, you can re-spray and
re-polish right over your previous finish. This yields variations in the shading
and sheen which actually give a more realistic look to the natural aluminum.
The engines were treated a little differently. They had been prepared for finishing as I described above but I later
discovered that SNJ Polishing Powder works better when it has a little "tooth"
to hold on to. With this in mind, I dusted a few light coats of Model Master
Primer then one slightly wet coat. After about four hours I rubbed three to
four coats of Polishing Powder directly into the primer. This yields a slightly
darker and somewhat shinier aluminum. SNJ neither suggests nor recommends a
clear coat for their product. Clear coating usually dulls bare metal finishes
because the clear coat fills in the microscopic spaces between the metallic
particles and interferes with the reflectivity of the finish. Here?s what
I do. I use a mix of two parts Future to one part denatured alcohol. I set my
airbrush for the finest possible spray and dust on three to four coats of the
Future/alcohol mixture. This seals the finish without the buildup and dries
instantly. I now increase the flow from the airbrush and apply the Future/alcohol
in slightly wet coats until I?m happy with the shine. The Future dries
in about an hour and gives a hard acrylic coating over a shiny aluminum finish.
I masked the fuselage and vertical fin using thin strips
of drafting tape and ParaFilm; leaving the nose and tail cones, nose gear doors,
wings, and wingroot fairings exposed. These were airbrushed with Gunze H338
Light Gray thinned 50/50 with denatured alcohol. The horizontal stabiliz- ers
and landing gear were also painted at this time. (I have a sample of the Boeing
Gray epoxy paint used by USAir and the Gunze Light Gray is a nearly perfect
match). This was allowed to dry for several days then the wings were masked
leaving the spars exposed. These were painted Gunze H337 Grayish Blue and again
allowed to dry for several days. Now masking left the leading edges exposed,
and these were brush painted with Humbrol Metalcote Polished Aluminum. After
about 30 minutes this was buffed with a soft cloth and polished with SNJ powder.
The leading edges also got the Future/alcohol treatment. Later on, the small
leading edge segments above the engine pylons were brush painted with Polly
S Metalline Bright Silver. Wheels were airbrushed with Metalizer Titanium, then
tires were brush painted with Gunze Extra Dark Sea Gray. Engine intake lips
were painted Model Master Steel and the APU exhaust area Polly S Oxidized Aluminum.
The basic USAir color scheme came from the decal sheet by Flight Design. Cockpit
and cabin windows by ATP; door and emergency exit frames from Superscale.
I began by applying the cockpit windscreen then moved to the tail to apply the
blue background decals. These required some trimming, some patching, and lots
of Micro-Sol on the top and trailing edge. Early in the planning stages I wondered
if the red fuselage stripes would be opaque enough to adequately cover the bare
metal and purchased a second decal sheet. I anticipated correctly, and the red
stripes on the fuselage and tail were all double decaled. Lots of Micro-Sol
was also needed around the nose. Once the red stripes were secure, I added the
blue stripes to the fuselage. At this point the white USAir titles were applied
to the tail and were doubled to increase opacity. Next came the door frames.
I didn?t like the white scuff plates on the Flight Design door decals so I opted
to use those on the Superscale sheet. These were again doubled to get the proper
ATP windows and portholes were added followed by emergency exits which
were also doubled. The white door handle backgrounds were cut from the flight
Design decals and applied followed by ATP door handles. Placards on the cabin
doors and emergency exits were made from small pieces of ScaleMaster white stripes
overlaid with small stencilling from a 1:144 scale F15 decal sheet. The registration
numbers, American flags, and USAir fuselage titles were now applied. Some extras
which were not an the flight Design sheet included tow limit stripes on the
nose gear doors, fleet numbers taken from the ATP 1:200 scale sheet for the
PSA DC9, thin white stripes in the red below the cockpit, and wingroot landing
lights which are the larger size windows from an old Microscale 1:200 scale
window sheet. Most of my reference photos showed baggage compartment doors to
be light gray as was the lavatory service panel on the right forward fuselage.
These were all represented by thin raised lines on the kit and had been sanded
away with all the other raised detail. I experimented with various templates
and freehand drawings until I got the shapes down in 1:144 scale. I reduced
these drawings to 1:200 scale and transfered the shapes to .010" plastic using
carbon paper. I then drilled and filed the panels open to create a template
of .010" plastic. This template was taped as tightly as possible to ATP decal
film then the panels were airbrushed with Gunze Light Gray. (Antennas, beacon
light mounting plates, and engine pylons were also painted at this time). The
Gray panels were applied to the model and door handles from the ATP sheet were
added to the baggage doors. The small square on the lav service panel was lightly
drawn with pencil on decal film using a 1:72 scale aircraft panel template.
This was applied over the gray panel then small stencilling was added from a
1:72 scale aircraft data sheet. NOTE: Before drawing on decal film you must
apply a flat or semi-gloss clear so the pencil will have a texture to hold on
Next my attention turned to the engine safety markings. Each side of each
engine is made up of ten small pieces of decal. The white backgrounds are pieces
of white decal stripe. The red stripes are individually cut from an ATP flag
sheet. The red half circles representing "Stand Clear" were made by punching
(with a Waldron punch) a red dot from decal stripe and cutting it in half. A
small black stripe represents the engine. The open red circles came from a 1:72
scale F15 sheet as did small distorted arrows which substitute for the "stick
figure" inside the circle. The red "Warning" and small stencil- ling below also
came from the F15 sheet. I sure wish decal makers would start including this
stuff. (After I suggested this to Jennings, they began showing up on most of
the newly released decal sheets) The wing escape walkways on the original Hasegawa
decal sheet were an off white / yellow color. I carefully cut them from the decal
sheet and used the open spaces as a template to cut new ones from white decal
film. These were applied to the wings and I used the lines I had recessed before
construc- tion to trim away any excess. This was followed by application of
arrows from the Superscale door sheet. The decals were allowed to dry and any
remaining decal residue was cleaned up with a cotton swab and warm water.
Wingtip lights were painted silver, and when dry,
overpainted with Tamiya clear red and green. All recessed lines were highlighted
using neutral gray ink in a 6x0 Rapid-O-Graph pen. Deeper lines i.e., flaps,
ailerons, and rudder hinge line were then gone over with a sharpened pencil
for greater emphasis. I now airbrushed everything with several misty coats of
the Future / alcohol mixture which sealed the decals, ink and pencil lines, and
gave everything a semi-gloss finish. After waiting about an hour, I applied
straight Future with a cotton swab to everything except the wing spar, leaving
it semi-gloss. Landing gear and antennas were attached and Krystal-Kleer was
placed in the holes drilled for wing inspection lights. The final touch was
the addition of the upper and lower anti-collision beacons. These are made by
Premiere-Plus from England. The package contains two different size teardrop
and one small size dome shaped lights molded in red, green, and clear plastic.
Each light has a 1/8" shaft that fits into the # 70 holes which I had drilled
early in the construction. I used the small clear dome shapes painted with Tamiya
clear red. The finished model was mounted to a base made from 1/8" foam
plastic, which was obtained scrap from an advertising display firm.
I hope that I've given you some useful new ideas and tips to make your modeling more enjoyable.
Member Comments :
||comment by: MASP posted on 05-23-2005
Congratulations, very nice model! I built an American MD82 (pic. on Gallery) and used ModelMaster Chrome Silver and like it very much. Regards! Marcelo.
||comment by: Mark Krumrey posted on 06-21-2005
Cudo's Gene: Looks good, and a great article.
||comment by: big baby posted on 04-01-2006
Gene, I met you and a few others at the Atlanta Nationals. Aren't you the guy who sent me some AA-737 Decals and gave me advice (at Atlanta) on clear coating decals??? Either way, I know we met. Oh yeah, the build look GREAT. What did you do on the wings. I can't tell but it looks like you scored the lines to make the flaps look like they can move or you cut them out and glued them back in for realism?????
||comment by: gjake posted on 07-08-2007
Thanks for the comments. I didn't cut anything loose, just highlighted with ink and pencil.