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Building and Detailing Aircraft

Building and Detailing Aircraft

Building and Detailing Aircraft

You’ll find informative, technique-driven articles covering a variety of aviation models including airliners and combat aircraft. Get how-to tips on painting, assembling, detailing, and finishing from some of FineScale Modeler’s best aircraft builders including Frank Cuden, Paul Boyer, Massimo Santarossa, and Floyd Werner.

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United States
Kalmbach Publishing Co. - Magazines

in this issue

2 min
3 techniques for masking canopies

There are parts of an aircraft model where you can get away with mistakes. The canopy is never one of them. Spots of glue or squiggly framework on clear parts can spoil a model more surely than anything. But if you’ve ever loused one up, you are in excellent company. That’s why you read so many articles and tips about it. Here are three of the most common — and reliable — ways of masking a canopy for painting. Pre-cut masks For complicated framework or faint, illdefined panel lines, pre-cut masks are my favorite. Designed for specific kits, they are accurate and easy to apply. Slip the tip of a hobby knife under a corner of the mask and pull it from its adhesive backing, A. Place the mask on the model; align…

8 min
detail a c-123b provider

Ever switch your model build mid-build? That’s what I ended up doing with this 1/144 scale C-123 from Amodel. In fact, I changed my mind twice. Originally, I was going to use the kit decals, which were U.S. Coast Guard markings. Then I looked at Squadron’s C-123 Provider in action book and discovered a great scheme. Later, I looked at photos on the book’s next page and found an even better scheme. That shifted gears again from that initial ADC gray aircraft with red trim to a C-123B from the Military Air Transport Service. This one would wear a white crown with natural-metal wings, horizontal tails, and fuselage. Throw in an orange rear fuselage band and nose cap, and the model will have a lot of character. Caution: Soft plastic! The Amodel kit…

4 min
bare-metal beauty

The motivations for building a model are diverse, including subject, color scheme, history, nostalgia, and the movie of the week. Roden’s 1/144 scale Boeing 720 inspired me for a variety of reasons, not least of which was the desire to finish it in American Airlines’ terrific bare-metal lightning-bolt livery. That gave me a chance to try a non-traditional painting method using Alclad II lacquers. These metallic paints give great results but achieving multi-hued panel effects can be problematic. High-shine shades like chrome and polished aluminum, normally applied over gloss black, don’t take kindly to masking tape. In the past, I’ve successfully applied Alclad II paints over not only black but also gloss white and blue. I wondered what would happen if I used other base colors? A test on a sheet of…

7 min
motorize your model

Every now and then you need to spice up your model building. Looking for something different from my usual sci-fi and armor models, I rummaged through my stash and found Academy’s 1/48 scale Polikarpov I-16 Type 10. In many ways the I-16 was ahead of its time, being one of the first fighter planes to sport retractable landing gear and a variable-pitch propeller. It saw extensive frontline service during the Spanish Civil War and the Second Sino-Japanese War, and it was still the Soviet Union’s most important fighter at the beginning of the German invasion in World War II. Initially, I thought I would do a quick out-of-the-box build just to “clean my palate.” But when my son’s R/C helicopter suffered one too many crashes, it provided a good source of small DC…

5 min
setting the scene for a corsair

When people think of World War II Allied fighters, often the first that come to mind are the Mustang and the Spitfire. But, for me, the gull-winged Vought F4U Corsair is iconic. Perhaps it was watching all those reruns of Black Sheep Squadron, but it’s always held a special place in my heart. So, I decided to try to re-create that South Pacific Solomon Islands imagery with a Tamiya 1/48 scale F4U-1A Corsair (No. 61070) and some detail help with Eduard products (eduard.com): photo-etched metal, or PE (No. 48381), and precut canopy masks for both the 1A and 1D (No. EX033). Breaking with the cockpit-first custom, I started on the Pratt & Whitney R2800 radial engine. All paints are Testors Model Master enamels except where otherwise noted. 11:1 Aerial victory ratio of Corsairs…

3 min
decking out a nimitz-class carrier

For years, builders of modern naval aircraft in 1/72 scale have felt left behind when it comes to diorama accessories. So I was excited when Italeri produced a large Nimitzclass carrier-deck section (No. 1326). I had already built a Hasegawa F-14A Tomcat and thought I would be placing it on an assembled surface in no time. This was far from the truth… The good parts of the kit are: 1) the tie-downs on the deck look realistic; 2) there’s a posable hatch (opened or closed) for the catapult operator’s position; and 3) the carrier deck is made of a sturdy piece of plastic. The bad parts are: 1) the box art makes you think that you can make bow catapult No. 2, which you can’t; 2) the decals of the deck lines are…