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Painting a Spiraled Spinner

Painting a Spiraled Spinner

 by Scott Sclafani

I modeled this particular aircraft, JG 26, because of the unique late war color scheme. RLM 75 dark gray, RLM 81 green, and a hybrid green “sky” color that was not officially documented were all used on this very colorful bird. Also note that most of the underwings were left in an unpainted natural aluminum.

Additionally, this was one of the few documented cases of a wooden TA-52 tail married to a FW-190D fuselage. A grainy black and white photo of this bird appears in the book JG 26 Green Hearts: First in Combat with the Dora 9. I have not seen this photo reproduced in any other publication, and thus made it a worthwhile subject to replicate.

Painting a Spiraled Spinner

The kit itself is a Tamiya 1/48 scale FW-190D with an aftermarket Arba resin TA-152 tail. No other modifications or after market products were used. Decals were supplied by Kommadeur.

Paints used where the aforementioned colors manufactured by Humbrol. Scale color was achieved by adding a small amount of flat white to each paint before spraying. A Paasche single action airbrush with # 2 tip was used with no masking between color demarcations on the upper wing and fuselage sides.

To apply the Arba resin tail to the Tamiya model, great care must be taken to ensure a proper fit. Actually, the Arba conversion I used was not designed for the Tamiya kit, but for the DML (or Trimaster) FW-190D.

One thing that came out particularly well was the spiral on the spinner. The first step in painting the spiral is to spray the base coat of the spiral color, in this case white.

Let the base color dry sufficiently before applying a coat of gloss lacquer. After lacquer has dried, use the kit supplied spiral decal and apply to spinner. It helps to use a decal setting solution to get the spiral to snug down, however, with the compound curves of the spinner you will still have small creases and bubbles that will form on the decal.

Painting a Spiraled Spinner

Use a new # 11 xacto blade to puncture any air bubbles that may form on the spiral decal. After you’re satisfied that the spiral is snugged down as best as possible, spray a coat of the spinner color, in this case black. The spiral decal will act as a mask preserving the white color underneath. After drying for at least 12 hours, remove the spiral decal carefully with a small piece of Scotch tape.

The decal should lift off in pieces without too much difficulty. You may find small areas that need to be touched up on the spiral edges and this can be done with thinned black or white paint and a small artist brush. Apply a final coat of gloss lacquer to the whole thing and you’re done. During the later stages of WWII German ground crews usually hand painted spirals in the field with varying degrees of artistic success, I believe my method is cleaner than the real thing.

Photos by Phil Novak