1:72 Australian Department of Aircraft Production (DAP) "Bunyip" Mk. IIB, aircraft „BF-K/A78-158“ of the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) No. 5 Squadron; Piva Airfield/Torokina on Bougainville (New Guinea), November 1944 (Whif/modified Eduard La-7 kit) -
Painting and markings:
PantherG’s original profile drawing showed an all-green La-5FN with Australian markings and characteristic white quick ID markings. Since I already had an RAAF Hurricane in my collection with such a livery, I rather went for a different paint scheme and went for another RAAF “classic”: upper surfaces in foliage green and earth brown, paired with sky blue undersides – plus the white markings.
PantherG was so kind to draw up a matching profile, based on my plans, and I stuck to it as good as possible. The real challenge became the colors, though. RAAF tones, esp. foliage green, are under heavy debate among modelers, and it is hard to find good evidence. Moreover, the RAAF seems to have been very pragmatic when it came to (re-)painting the flying equipment, there must have been a lot of variance and tolerance concerning the paints’ tones.
The most frequent recommendation for foliage green is FS 34092, but while this bluish green tone goes into the right direction, I find it (after having seen trustworthy WWII pictures of RAAF aircraft) to be much too light, lacking chroma. Furthermore, the recommendation of simply using RAF Dark Earth for the RAAF’s Earth Brown appears fishy to me, too. Again, the RAAF tone appears to be much deeper and richer, and less reddish.
As a consequence I decided to mix my own colors and eventually settled on a 3:1 mix of IJN Green (Modelmaster 2116) plus Humbrol 30 (Dark Green) and a 3:1 mix of Humbrol 10 (Brown) with Modelmaster 2108 (French Earth Brown) – both became relatively dark tones, but this would only make the white ID markings and the grey tactical codes better stand out. The Sky Blue underneath was also a light but rich tone and I found in Modelmaster 2131 (Medium Su-27 Blue) a suitable approximation.
The white tail was painted with a mix of Humbrol 34 and some 147 (White and Light Grey FS 36495), while the wings’ white leading edges were created with white water slide decal sheet material (TL Modellbau) and some touch-ups with white enamel paint. A convenient but somewhat tricky solution that saved time and masking hazards – I guess that painting would have been the more hazardous alternative.
The kit received a standard black ink wash and panels were post-shaded with lightened basic tones, visually adding surface structures that are actually not there.
The interior of cockpit and landing gear were painted with RAF Interior Green (Humbrol 78) – I checked several sources and pictures of museum pics, and this seems to have been the typical tone for RAAF aircraft (or at least those that had been built in Australia).
The decals were puzzled together from various sources. The roundels belong to an RAAF Spitfire (from a Carpena sheet), and this aircraft’s serial number was cut into pieces and re-arranged for the Bunyip. The tactical codes were created with single RAF font letters in medium sea grey from Xtradecal.
Some soot stains around the exhaust and the cannon nozzles was added with grinded graphite, and some signs of wear added on the leading edges and around the cockpit as well as the engine with dry-brushed light grey and silver. Finally, the kit was sealed with matt acrylic varnish (Italeri), and some oils stains (Tamiya Smoke) as well as small details (wire antenna, position lights) were added. Voilà.