Ducati 888

Box artwork

In my spare time, that’s between, work, the house, sleeping, watching movies and modelling, I take time (normally during work!) to peruse the internet. I am a member of a number of automotive and general modelling forums. These are great places to see other modeller’s work, get tips, and ideas, join in a few debates and mainly see what everyone else is up to. These forums for me, serve as another club. Just like the Romsey club, I bring ‘along’ my work for others to see and mock! Posting your work on the forums opens your work to (hopefully) constructive criticism and without too much effort, garner the opinion of many modellers who are far more capable than I’ll ever be. One such forum is the Scale Plastic Car forum, known as the SPC. The forum is hosted by Steve Hemming of Hiroboy fame. The idea of group builds has found favour with many modellers in recent years, with individuals creating work based on the theme. I guess a little like our very own Test Trout. Between February and July this year the SPC are running a Ducati contest. Build any Ducati, any scale in any medium, by July 31st. I often avoid building to deadlines, but 6 months seemed reasonable enough time to knock out a 1/12th scale bike. I have 3 kits in my collection. No, sorry that’s 3 Ducati kits in my collection and I took the decision to build the one that I hadn’t planned to do! It was destined for dissection and for use another transkit build, but the transkit has long since been discontinued.
I began in my usual way by cleaning up the fairing, tank, seam filling and sanding everything smooth including a general rub over the parts to help ‘key’ the paint. I dislike Tamiya’s way of moulding these parts in their final colour. It serves little purpose to the seasoned modeller who will paint over it anyway. Tamiya have even repeated this on their latest Ducati kit, the 2004 GP4. I used a good few coats of Tamiya white plastic primer straight from the can. It dries very smoothly but still needed some further help by wet sanding with 1500 grit paper. I use white primer because it provides a neutral base for the next colour. Not surprisingly this was red. I airbrushed on four coats of Zero Ducati Rosso Red followed by 3 coats of Mr Hobby Top Coat. After polishing, the parts were ready for decals.
The decals proved to be this kits Achilles heel. The race numbers sit on the white background. Before starting this kit I was concerned that the ‘whites’ would bleed badly, ie, the red would show through. For insurance I was kindly sent some spares from a fellow bike builder on the forum. The bleed was the least of my problems. From the outset I ruined one decal within minutes of getting it on. It reacted badly to Microsol and cracked everywhere. Undeterred I dipped another in the water, and with a little more care, placed it on the seat. This time I began smoothing down from the top, but finished with a crease. I eventually resorted to cutting a ‘relief’, which help it to lay down. Once happy I hit it with Microsol, less this time though. The cut was carefully positioned under the line upon which the number ‘one’ would lay! Clever huh?!! Several other small cuts were needed. I repeated this process for the other two and once the ‘ones’ were on, things began to look better. All of the other decals went on with ease, and after drying for a week, I sprayed over them with four coats of two part clear. What? Two part what? Used in the trade for clearing paints on real cars, this stuff is mixed from clear and hardener, thinned and sprayed on in wet (heavy) coats. It dries in 24 hours, is bulletproof and goes on incredibly smoothly, lessening the amount of polishing required. This model marks the first time I’ve tried this with success. For the record I used my new Iwata Revolution CR airbrush, which was superb. A further bonus was that the mistakes I made while adding the ‘whites’, had all but been hidden.
Other parts were assembled ready for paint. I normally get the engine, exhausts and frame together around this stage. The Ducati frame is very different from other bikes. They use the engine as a stressed member and so just a small tubular frame is formed around that. The swingarm is hung from the engine too. Ducati’s current MotoGP rocket ships are designed this way too. It was different to, in that it is white. Zero Pure White was used, over which Zero Pre-Thinned clear was sprayed. I then masked off the white areas and airbrushed Zero Jet Black. The areas to remain black were masked off and the upper part of the frame was sprayed with Alclad White Aluminium. Over the satin black base this looked very realistic. Overall I’m pleased with the result, as this was a lengthy and fiddly task.

The one piece exhaust system is made from 6 parts. I used superglue, set with Zip Kicker to fill the gaps. Once cleaned up, it was sprayed with Halfords grey primer, sanded smooth, airbushed with Zero Jet Black, cleared with Zero pre-tinned clear and finally airbrushed with Alclad Polished Aluminium. The weld seams were masked off and Humbrol Steel was sprayed around the seams and at the join of the pipe and silencer. Over this I applied Tamiya enamel clear orange, thinned with Zero base coat thinners, which was faded and strengthen where appropriate. Between this clear blue is added and finally Testors Pactra purple pearl, and RC car paint. To blend all this together, I tried something new. I thinned Humbrol steel and airbrushed this over the length of the exhaust, which imparts a subtle steel look often seen on Ducati’s.

The engine was assembled and given a couple of coats of Alclad Aluminium for a nice cast look. Various parts were painted and added including several magnesium parts, which were airbrushed with Hannants RLM83, a Luftwaffe green! The wheels received the now customary Zero Jet Black and two part clear finish and left ready for the tyres to be added later.
With the main parts painted I began assembly. Before fitting the engine, I painted the rear shock. Tamiya give you a black shock spring that needs to be yellow!! After priming white, I shot three coats of Zero Camel yellow and cleared it using 2 part clear for added resistance to damage upon assembly. It never fails to amaze me how long it takes to mask up and paint small parts. I usually do a batch of parts together and then bulk spray the various colours needed, then more masking and spraying of secondary colours. The shock including its retainer and damper probably used up two hours alone! The shock was placed between the frame and the engine fixed in using 4 small screws. This in turn held in the shock. One last note on the engine. The prominent cam belts and pulleys were sprayed black using the Zero colour once more (have you noticed a trend yet!) and the pulleys were hand painted with thinned enamels and a steadyish hand!
While carrying out the application of carbon decal to the front and rear mudguards, known as huggers, I also added two small square pieces to frame which help form the outer parts of the airbox. Tamiya provide only the lower section of the inner part, but nevertheless, this had the carbon treatment too as it’s visible when the seat and tank part is on. The instructions call for the fitting of the exhaust next. This was fitted without using glue, it simply clips into place and is secured with two screws. The swingarm was assembled, clean up and painted with Alclad White Aluminium over a polished grey primer. Some shading was added around each end with Humbrol steel. The paint doesn’t adhere to well to Alclad and so it can be buffed away and blended for a pleasing effect.
The decals were tricky. The ‘SBS’ logo had to be applied over the pin that helps the model prop up upon the rear stand. Surprisingly, I applied both of these without problem. A few small cuts were made before dipping them in water and then slid gently over the pin. Some assistance from the trusty Microsol and a very satisfying job was complete. After adding the rear hugger and Alclad painted chain and sprocket, the swingarm went in with a little persuasion, but managing not to break anything.
The kit forks come on a sprue of parts finished in Tamiya’s early chrome. Every part was removed and placed in a bleach bath for an hour….and another….and another…and another….and then overnight. The next day I discovered very little of the chrome was removed and a strange sticky yellow appeared on one side of each part. Breaking out my new bottle of Mr Hobby paint remover, each part was plunged in for 15 minutes. What came out look like something from a horror movie. Have you ever seen ’The Blob’? These parts would have passed the audition! The replacement parts were cleaned up and the chrome was successfully removed with Mr Muscle Oven Cleaner, kindly lent to me by my employer….modern chrome parts from Tamiya can stripped using bleach with no problems…you live and learn.

The forks were given a coat of primer followed by Zero black as an undercoat for Alclad White Aluminium and then Tamiya enamel orange, sprayed in three coats. The effect I was looking for was an orangey/gold anodised finish. Overall I was pleased with the result, but I wished for a nice set of modern Tamiya turned forks that appear with the newer kits…anyhow, after further masking, the brake callipers were painted titanium gold and the small retainers for the front hugger (another fiddly task to mask), painted once more with Zero black. The ‘Brembo’ logo’s for the callipers are decals from Crazy Modeller secured with plenty of Microsol. The handlebars are relatively easy on this bike, Zero black again with Humbrol flat black grips. The small button on the left bar was picked out with enamel white undercoat and a coat of Tamiya gloss red. Assembly proved a tricky affair,r as four parts need co-ordinating at the same time! Suffice to say, the forks need some refinishing with careful airbrushing of more orange while I muttered under my breath something along the lines of the bike being fatherless….

The fluid bottles were sprayed an off white mix of white/tan which looked much better than just white, in my normal, slightly lazy way. The bottles contain a gold coloured brake and clutch fluid, which tints the already translucent bottle. The effect wasn’t far off.

The instrument pod was painted semi gloss black and covered with the remains of my Studio 27 small carbon decal sheet…I also had just enough for the forward part of the air intake.
I ran the cable lines using the kit vinyl tubing, a little out of scale but good enough for a ‘shelf’ model. With the exception of some small detail painting, the frame, forks and swingarm were all but complete.

Once some detail painting was carried out to the footpegs, and a few touch ups here and there all that remained was the rear light, an unusual addition on a race bike. The lens was airbrushed with Tamiya acrylic clear red from the inside and mounted onto its backplate.

One job I loathe doing is painting the inside of the fairing and seat parts. This again involves and hour or so, of slow, tedious masking, followed by 5 minutes of excitement with the airbrush. I selected the now trusted Zero black and sprayed two goods coats on which offered excellent coverage. I could now mount the seat/tank part and thus cover up most of my hardwork forever. The fit was a tad tight, probably due to a build up of paint layers, so it was easy going to avoid chipping or scratching the paint finish. Six screws ensured it will never, ever move! The seat pads were airbrushed Humbrol flat black and being careful to avoid marks, glued them into place with white wood glue. The petrol cap, previously stripped of its chrome finish was resprayed Alclad Duraluminium. This was attached without glue as the fit was nice a tight.

With the seat in place I now had a better way to handle the model, as the clearcoat finish is pretty much bulletproof.
Before I could progress any further the wheels needed finishing. The tyres had the seams removed by 400 and 1500 grit sand paper and were then carefully mounted onto the wheels. They are very tight on the rim and so it’s very easy to chip the edge of the wheel, particularly the rear. I found a handy reference photo, which showed some hand written markings that had been applied to the running surface of the front tyre. I duplicated this with thinned white and yellow oil paint, thinned and painted on with a Vallejo #030 brush. As the tyres had no manufacturers markings on the sides, I added direction arrows and tyre slip markings with the same paint.

The brake discs were first airbrushed Zero black and then the carbon faces were masked off and created with darkened Tamiya Gunmetal. The rear disc was finished with Alclad Duraluminium. I was a little disappointed with the result – this will need rethinking next time. The insertion of the rear wheel caused a little increase in blood pressure as parts were launched toward the carpet monster…with the wheel in place, the fairing was added. Just two screws hold this into position, and yet more coaxing with cocktail sticks allowed these to be used. The front wheel was offered up and the carbon finished hugger glued on. The pictures shows the front wheel in place for photography before removal to allow the fairing to be fitted.

The last kit part to go on was the windscreen. My reference showed this, at some races, to have a tinted finish and therefore to add just a little touch, I shot three coats of Tamiya’s excellent X-19 Smoke on. The screen fitted okay with some issues with alignment being corrected with clothes pegs!

Red used for the fairing, and fit the 20 or so photo-etch boltheads to add yet another touch of detail to what was essentially an out of the box model.I very much enjoyed this model, surprising to say because I had little interest in the bike and didn’t even know who the rider was before I Googled him! Overall I’m pleased with the result and some of the new techniques I used. This bike is in an on-line competition on Hiroboy’s forum here – http://forum.spc.org.uk/phpBB3/viewforum.php?f=32. Entries close July 31st – lets see how I get on!

2 Replies to “Ducati 888”

  1. Fantastic!!! one day i will have one in my garage next to my 926 SP5 888!
    Lovely details looks just like a ral bike, well done!!

  2. “Fantastic”
    Just browsing and come accross your exeptional 888 Corse model, attention to detail looks great and I bet you have spent as many hours as I take to build the real thing.

    Best regards

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