Detailing

The detailing process is my favorite step in building a plastic model airplane. This is the time when you will add all those little details that will make your model airplane stand out and look realistic.

Be careful not to overdo it, stay as close as possible to the way the plane looks in real life. Use pictures of the real airplane as a reference.

Study the pictures very carefully. Look at the oil marks, stains, damage, rust and the effect of weather and time on the airplane. Look at the area around the engine, vents, the leading edge of the wings, the surrounding area around the machine guns, the edges and tips of the propeller(s), and the effect of weight on the rubber tires.

You never know, if you get really good at this, some day, you may end up working at an airplane museum.

Weathering

Do I want my model to look brand new or do I want it to look like if it has been in action?

There are many techniques that can be used to achieve excellent weathering effects:

  • Diluted paint: Dilute some black or brown paint with thinner and apply it to your model.
  • Paint chips: Accomplish this by applying aluminum color to the leading edge of the wings or any aerodynamic surface.
  • The “Eraser Technique”: Using the eraser from a pencil I have achieved excellent weathering effects. Especially on airplanes painted in aluminum finish. I use the eraser to change the brightness of the surface panels as it happens in real life.

You can choose to make your airplane look factory new or maybe you prefer to make it look old or in active duty. It is up to you. Have fun!

Displaying your model:

How do you want to display your finished model?

  • Stand Alone: This is a very simple procedure; just sit the aircraft model on a bare shelf, maybe next to other models. Two of the most common problems you will face are: people trying to touch it and dust.
  • Dioramas: This is the incorporation of the model into a scene or context. The purpose of a diorama is to tell or represent a part of history, a moment or a situation. It is a good idea to protect your diorama using a commercial display case or vacuum-formed clear dust cover (acrylic or styrene).
    If a commercial display case does not fit your diorama you can consider building your own by contacting a supplier of acrylic plastic.
  • Custom Cabinets: This is of course the most expensive solution but it could be the most decorative one.
  • Hanging your model from a string: This is a nice option; but make sure the string you use its of good strength. Try nylon… you don’t want your new model end destroyed!

View the video tutorial:”Building your First Kit From Start to Finish”

Tutorial Video Part 1 of 3
Tutorial Video Part 2 of 3
Tutorial Video Part 3 of 3

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2 Comments

  • By Michael, May 29, 2013 @ 1:57 pm

    Hey, I have two B-29′s I’m going to do and I want to recreate some original WWII situations. I have a series of photos from fold3.com of planes being loaded with m-69 napalm clusters and I want to recreate that scene. This series also has all of the scaffolding used to work on the planes, and all of the bomb loading trucks and gear. Is there a way to post photos and ask the audience where to find the 1/48th scale model trucks and how to do some of this stuff? If there’s a better site or forum to do this–please email me and let me know.

    Thanks!

  • By Will Crowley, April 14, 2014 @ 9:12 pm

    1/48 scale is equal to O scale model trains I believe. A local model train shop may have accessories that may fill the bill. Give them a try. :)

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