Scale Aviator International Magazine Issue 3 - Page 55

MASTER CLASS in PILOT PAINTING Scale model aircraft are a great way, and sometimes the only way, to see a historical aircraft y. Invariably at a Fly-In, the aircraft that gets the most attention is the aircraft with the top notch weathering, rivet detail, and fully instrumented cockpit. The ultimate compliment from spectators is “It looks like the real thing!”. Unfortunately, I nd that pilot gure usually doesn t look like the real thing. I think if the model looks real, so should the pilot! I absolutely CRINGE when I see a Snoopy (or other) plush toy in the cockpit of a scale aircraft!! With that philosophy, I created my own pilot gure company called Best Pilots. I sculpt, make molds, cast and paint the pilot gures so that they look as realistic as possible. Since I have a degree in illustration and paint quite a few pilots a year, I thought I could share some of my knowledge gathered over years with my fellow RC pilots. A most important rst step: Clean the gure! Before painting the gure, you really have to insure it is free from any mold release agents. If you don t clean it, the paint won t adhere to the surface. Also at this time, remove all ashing and traces of the seams from the molding process. To clean the gure, I use rubbing alcohol and an old toothbrush and give him a good scrubbin . I ve also used soap and water and even carburetor cleaner all to good effect on resin gures. You should probably plan for about a weekend to paint your pilot. Not much of a time investment when you consider all the time, effort and money in your scale warbird. We are going to use my latest pilot gure from Best Pilots, RAF Ace, Sailor Malan as our subject. I will from time to time show other Best Pilot gures as well not only to illustrate different techniques but also take advantage of this wonderful marketing opportunity! OMG! Airbrush!! First we are going to use an airbrush. Airbrushes sometimes make me madder than a stripped servo gear, but this step is pretty painless. We are aiming for a light esh color, somewhere around Charlie Brown and one of those vampires from Twilight. Don t worry if the skin color is too light at this stage because the next steps will make it look right. I almost exclusively use Model Masters Acrylic (MMA) model paints by Testors. I like that they are water soluble and my local hobby shop has a great selection of colors to choose from. My mix for the base coat of Caucasian skin (the word esh creeps me out for some reason), is: 1 part MMA Flesh (eck, that word), 3 parts MMA Flat White and 1 part MMA Wood (yes, Wood. We are just worried about the actual color here not the name. I nd this is a good ochre color and it won t make your pilot look like he is made of wood!) Pour part of the Skin color in the airbrush cup and ll 57 57 55