Scratchbuilt 1/72 Caudron G.IV (Part III)






Transparencies

I decided to try to use clear epoxy resin for the transparent parts, which consisted of pilot and observer windshields and a small window in the fuselage floor. The masters were built from styrene and clear acetate film and silicone molds were cast from them. The resin I used proved to be somewhat tricky and unpredictable, sometimes becoming too soft or too brittle after curing, but finally I managed to produce three clear parts.

 

Misc. details

 

Colors



During its career twin engine Caudrons served in a number of air forces, giving a lot of color scheme variants. I have chosen the one that seemed rather interesting and unusual — the aircraft used by the Red Army during the Civil War (1917-1921). Color profile from the book «Aviation in the Civil War» depicting this specific plane looks suspicious and contradicts two photographs from the same book – for example, the cowling and the rudders seem to be painted the same color as the rest of the plane, not black and white respectively, as the color profile suggests. As for the stars, it's hard to tell if their color was red or black (many «red» aircraft of the Civil War carried black stars, which were eventually replaced with red ones). I have chosen red from purely aesthetic considerations. I also decided to go with yellow as the main color, similar to the museum aircraft on the photo above.


Painting


The model was painted with Vallejo acrylic (Model Color Sand Yellow) with preshading on most parts. First, the parts were covered with Tamiya primer and airbrushed with the base color. Then, preshading lines and spots were airbrushed with Vallejo dark brown, followed by a thin, semi-transparent layer of the base color.

This method, however, was not entirely suitable for the wings – it would have been too tedious to accentuate each rib with an airbrush. Therefore, I decided to try a different approach. The wing was painted with a base yellow color, and brown lines and spots were applied with an airbrush only where it was easy to do, followed by a layer of Future. After that, a kind of wash (a thin mixture of Future, brown Vallejo and water) was applied to the wing with a flat wide brush in a single stroke. Then, as with regular preshading, a thin layer of a base color was applied.

The stars were painted using masks, and all the parts were airbrushed with a layer of Future. I was not quite satisfied with the resulting finish (it was somewhat grainy) and had to carefully sand all the surfaces with 6000 grit sandpaper. Finally, all the parts were airbrushed with a matt varnish (Future + Tamiya Flat Base).




Assembly


As I had expected, assembly proved to be extremely complicated. In order to make it possible, I had prepared a simple jig, which held wings and stabilizer in place. First, the wings were assembled, the most difficult part being positioning the engines between them, while the fact that all the wing struts were identical helped a lot. To simplify the process of rigging, I had provided two tiny holes in the base of each strut, into which wire rings were to be inserted, while thread would pass through these rings. Unfortunately, I did not install the rings into the struts before assembling the biplane box, which turned out to be a big mistake. Gluing the rings into the struts already placed between the wings was much more difficult than I had anticipated. Some holes turned out to be blocked by glue, and, of course, it was impossible to drill them out again. There are many, many rings, and placing each one is a potential for a glue stain, broken strut or other accident.

Then the rigging itself was done. I used a translucent elastic thread, separated along its fibers and twisted. While simple in theory, the process of guiding a thread through the loops is quite nerve-braking. Finally, the thread was installed and painted blue-gray with a brush.

The tail frame was glued to the upper wing, and the stabilizer was, in turn, glued to the frame, followed by the undercarriage struts, connecting the lower wing to the tail frame. I made them from the copper wire, assembled with CA glue and painted with a brush. After that the fins were mounted, a process complicated by the fact that the inner fins are located on the stabilizer and the outer – on the tail boom, while all four leading edges must be parallel. The remaining details — struts, braces, wheels, and turret were installed. The final stage – retouching small defects, restoring paint and varnish where it was damaged – and the model was put aside. A few small details were still missing, but since the danger of ruining the fragile model was too high at that stage, I decided to stop there. My first scratchbuilt project was finished.



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Part I
Part II
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