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Well I have done a bit with the 44" Eagle; the painting is not great but almost acceptable, from a distance it looks ok. I have never painted anything like this before; I would rather be cutting and soldering more brass at this point, much more comfortable for me.
Someone told me about pre-shading and lightly over spraying. Light is not something I am best at!
I have loosely assembled and started machining the brass buttons to hold the thing together; I thought about threads and screws but have slight interference fits and will bond the buttons in. I don't intend to swing the thing about; side loads will be minimal, the buttons are in shear - they will be plenty strong enough just so long as they don't come out.
The pod hasn't been touched for a while; that is still in white primer and hence the colour difference.
I will persevere with the paint finish; hopefully it improves rather than gets worse.