The LandFreeder bodyshell
Even though the bodyshell is "generic" due to the lack of Ford official license, a trail model has to be as scale realistic as possible: this is one of the category characteristics. This is why the vast majority of trail fans take great care into making their bodyshell as realistic as possible, often by adding many accessories. As for me, it is going to be somewhat more complex due to the bodyshell being in lexan. Nevertheless, the bodyshell needs a serious job starting by a good painting.
Sometimes, you make mistakes... this is the story of a painful painting that turned badly.
For more realism, I had decided to paint some areas in flat black: the front grill, the rear bed and the bumpers. Unfortunately, you can not get a flat aspect on a lexan bodyshell since you paint it from the inside. One solution is to use the PS-55 Flat Clear to be sprayed from the outside, but the result was not yet what I wanted (yet this would have been much simpler and smarter!).
Thinking about this flat black, I remembered my Madbull new bodyshell I painted with a PS-5 spray by mistake since it should have been sprayed with the TS-14 I had bought on purpose: Ô surprise, the bodyshell looks very nice in flat black.
Genius idea: paint it PS-5 from the outside! Go, masking:
Front side (grill + bumper)
Rear side (bed + bumper)
When partially painting from the outside, the protective film is an issue. Of course, you can completely remove it, but then you will need to entirely protect the bodyshell when painting the main color from the inside. So, I only cut the film where I wanted to apply paint and added more protections to be sure.
Let's go for the black PS-5:
Aaaarrrrggggghhhhh!!!! Still glossy.
My first mistake was to think an ABS bodyshell surface was as smooth as lexan: wrong, so the result is more glossy than on my Madbull.
OK, so "less smooth"?... a less smooth paint? Primer! Well, neat: you can not spray primer directly onto lexan because it won't stick. However, lexan paint is a perfect primer coat for primer (on lexan) . The primer being less smooth than lexan paint, I should get the result I am looking for. In theory.
There! No glossy effect with primer. Let's go for PS-5 (again):
Very difficult to depict the result with photos: the result is what I wanted from the beginning, a flat black. Probably not as flat as when using the XF-1 I had to use in some places to make a few corrections. The solution I used (PS coat- primer -PS coat) gives a good result on the rear flat bed. On the bumpers, the result doesn't look as good and in addition, the paint will be exposed to scratches. Needless to say that I do not recommend this method (afterwards).
Now, let's go for the main bodyshell painting. I chose to make it boxart, that is using PS-15 Metallic Red. This particular paint is one of the most difficult to use because it is very liquid (as every metallic effect paint that contains metallic particles): you need to apply very (very) thin coats and to spray from a greater distance than usual. Moreover, this paint requires a background because it is translucent: white PS-1 is great to make it brighter.
As I said before, this is the story of a failed painting. Whenever something makes a bad start, it goes even worse:
Told you: it turned really bad.
Here's what happened, hence how not to reproduce this mistake:
- The problem showed after spraying the third coat of white. In some areas, this coat melted the first ones and started to melt part of the metallic red coats, thus what you see.
- The spray can died when spraying the third coat of white. I immediately took a new can and finished spraying that third coat, but the mix between paint and solvent was probably no longer balanced in the old can (too much solvent). When the badly mixed paint got covered by the new can paint, the high concentration of solvent got covered.
- The bodyshell dried for 24h in the kit box. However, the bodyshell was placed normally (so reverse, compared to the above photo): solvents were prisoners under the bodyshell.
From this bad experience, some advices:
- always let your painting dry in open air.
- if the spray can gets empty while spraying, stop immediately. Let everything dry for at least 24h because there is more solvent than paint.
After this drama, damages on the PS-15 coats didn't look too bad since they were not visible at first sight. So I decided to keep on and finished to spray the white coats, now considering this bodyshell would be a "runner". Last step: to spray black PS-5 to hide the white inside the bodyshell. The bodyshell would look more realistic with a black inside than a flashy white.
Result after removing masks: impossible to depict with photos because the metallic particles reflect the flash. To be honest, some areas are darker and others lighter: not a complete failure, but definitely not as good as expected.
Cosmetic improvement: rear window joints. It seems that Tamiya forgot to include the stickers to make them. Because it is not easy to paint this thin band (with or without mask), I used a black marker and added two stickers:
The front grill and the bumpers being painted flat black, I thought it would be nicer to give the same treatment to the bodyshell accessories. These are the roll bar and the front lights from which the chrome has to be removed: place them in a dishwasher, apply primer and then paint them with PS-5. If you don't own a dishwasher or if your Miss gets upset at the idea of using it for your "toys" , you can get the exact same part tree already in flat black (reference 9000328) from the Desert Fielder (58537) and the Bush Devil II (58523) kits.
Last, but not least: the driver. None is included in the kit (the same applies to all CC-01 models). Thankfully, Tamiya has been providing drivers for years in many other kits, so I picked one up from the family. I chose the Holdiday Buggy's: a Willy would have been fun, but it wouldn't be realistic to place a speed-maniac into the slowest of my models.
The part tree reference 19005086 provides everything you need: you just need to paint it and to find some way to fit the driver cockpit to the chassis (or to the bodyshell itself if it is made of ABS).
The first post
The second post
Painted driver and cockpit
The painting is hand-made, except the background color sprayed with TS-14 German Grey. The driver T-Shirt was painted using only one coat of XF-2 white thinned with a little bit of water: this technique makes the white less opaque and the TS-14 acts like shadow under the white to make it look like three-dimensional. Unfortunately, the photos can't depict this properly. For the hat, I used a "soil effect" paint: the stickers said it looks like soil or mud. I am not sure of that, even if the paint lack of homogeneity makes the hat look pretty realistic.
Here we are, my model is now finished and ready for some stretching:
Sorry, these shots are "traditional" in the trail world (and crawler too). OK, next
For information, the height is almost 5cm (spray can cap + lighter), which is the limit since one of the three other wheel barely touches the ground. So this gives a real theoretical ground clearance of 4,5cm. Yes, "theoretical" and "real": just because the ground clearance is not the same everywhere under the chassis, especially not under the drive gear gearbox or under the lower arms of the 4-Link.
Anyway. My LandFreeder is able to climb onto a spray can cap and a lighter on my balcony: nice! What about the real world?
Update The bodyshell on my model is now the Mitsubishi Pajero Metaltop Wide'.