How to Paint a Pilot Bust and Add Simple Cockpit Details
One of the features that always gets inspected on a scale model is the cockpit. There are so many gadgets in the cockpit of a full sized aircraft, it’s fun to see what was modeled. Yet, when it comes to ARFs and foamies, we’re lucky to get a decent pilot let alone a decent looking cockpit! So, in this episode of our Foam Kit Bashing Series, we’re going to talk about some quick and easy ways to dress up an otherwise minimalist cockpit. The whole idea here are simple things that can be done that add big results. We’ll cover full scratch building of a cockpit in a future episode. Oh, and in case you missed it, last time we talked about the whole construction process of converting a Freewing Mirage 2000 into an Isreali Kfir. This airplane has really transformed and looks awesome as a kfir.
Before prepping and painting the airframe (we’ll cover painting in our next episode), we really should work out the cockpit interior first since we need to pull the canopy off the airframe to work on it. It’s better to do this earlier in the process just in case we mess something up it will be an easier fix. The base cockpit provided with the Mirage 2000 is ok, but there are definitely a few issues that we’re going to fix. First off, the pilot is just too small for scale. To solve this, we’re going to replace him with a 1/12 scale Castle 5 bust which comes from my folks at JetHangar.com and show you how to paint him (this is one of the pilots I manufacture for my folks in sizes ranging from 1/18 scale all the way up to 1/6 scale). The second thing we’re going to do is show how to make the cockpit a little more “popcorn” proof and then detail it a little bit to make it a little more Kfir representative. The stock cockpit is black and inside a sealed compartment and had already “popcorned” up…so, now is our time to fix that.
HOW TO PAINT A “CASTLE 5” PILOT BUST
Painting a nice looking pilot is not a difficult thing to do and is something that can actually be done pretty quickly. We first off need a selection of paint brushes. I have a number of paint brushes that I turn to when I’m painting a pilot. I’ll use a wider, kind of square brushContinue reading →
When someone mentions the allied fighters from World War II, I would imagine the P-51 Mustang is usually first on people’s minds. However, the less glamorous P-47 Thunderbolt was ever so much a workhorse in the war having operated in every theater. It was a fast and heavy weight fighter built like a tank that could withstand an astounding amount of punishment! Combined with it’s eight .50 caliber machine guns while being able to carry 3,400 rounds (compared to the Mustang’s 6 guns and 1,800 rounds), it was a deadly machine. Add in the aircraft’s external stores capability and the P-47 could deliver about half the payload of a B-17 when gully loaded! If it was lacking in some way, it would have been the range which was roughly half that of the P-51. Being a large powerful fighter makes it harder to run a marathon I suppose.
Needless to say, the P47 makes for a darn cool model and has always been a popular subject. It makes sense given the wide gear stance and wonderful proportions of the design. So, when the E-Flite 1.2m P-47 Thunderbolt Razorback came to market, there was no question that it would be an awesome flying warbird. Especially given Horizon Hobby’s track record of great flying P-47’s in multiple sizes.
The 1.2m P-47 comes wonderfully packaged and pulling the airplane from the box, I don’t think I noted really any shipping damage. The parts count is really low having Continue reading →
Well, it’s been a little while since my tease at kit bashing a Freewing Mirage into an IAI Kfir (“Kfir” is Hebrew for “Lion Cub”). We started with an assembly & flight review for the Freewing Mirage 2000 which out of the box flies awesome. However, the Kfir is such an awesome looking airplane and with canards and a little extra wing area we’ll add in the bashing process, I can only imagine that the airplane will fly even better! So, in this article, we’re covering the transformation process of turning this airplane into a Kfir and we’re using 3D printed parts as a part of that as well as employing some traditional building methods. Through this whole process we will be employing the foam refinishing method I covered in our How to Refinish a Foam Warbird series. I don’t plan to get into much detail about the foam prep work itself in this series as I want to focus on the kit bashing aspect to compliment the refinishing we did previously and use the next couple articles to go into more detail on painting, simple panel lines and weathering.
Now, one of the reasons that it’s been a little while is, in addition to of course a few distractions, is that I’ve been working out the 3D printed parts with a friend of mine. CAD modeling takes time and there were a number of parts that we ended up making. These include printing a new nose, the exhaust shroud and turkey feathers, the dorsal inlet, external wing tanks, lower ventral tank, and the afterburner cooling scoops and inlets on the fuselage. As a whole, we printed a total of 23 individual pieces for the conversion (many of the parts required multiple pieces to be printed).
As promised in my How to Repair Fiberglass and Fibgerglassed Parts article, here’s a little tutorial on some of the detail parts I had to re-scratch build while repairing my Mirage IIIRS earlier this year. These include some of the very distinctive pitot tubes and antennas that are exhibited on the nose section of the full-sized aircraft. In all the searching we did of the crash site when the airplane went in, the original parts were just nowhere to be found…a sacrifice to the three angry bushes that swallowed my airplane I suppose! Also, if you missed it, be sure to check out my coverage from the US Scale Masters Championships as I competed with my fully repaired Mirage and somehow in the process came out of the competition finishing 1st in Expert being named the Grand National Champion! What an amazing weekend! It was such a great event with a wonderful and very talented group of scale modelers, I can’t wait to go back!
CHOOSING THE RIGHT MATERIALS
When we talk about detail parts, we need to talk about materials selection. Obviously, any materials can be used, but when dealing with parts that are protruding from an airplane, we need parts with stiffness and resilience to repeated abuse. Let’s face it, these parts areContinue reading →
With the 2016 Scale Master’s Championships just a few weeks away now, here’s a little glimpse into the journey in getting there. In addition to this, I also had some pains at the Gilman Springs qualifier too which I wrote about in my coverage from the event. So, it’s been an interesting year that ultimately has improved the airplane as a whole, but not without a lot of frustration and multiple stints of repair work through the year. But, with a little persistence (and lots of complaining), I think we’ve got it all worked out and the Mirage IIIRS is ready to go big at Woodland-Davis! 😉
It has been said there are two types of model airplanes…those that have crashed and those that WILL crash…
Well, if you follow this site on Instagram or Facebook then you know that the inevitable happened! My competition Mirage IIIRS crashed! I was at an event back in October last year and for whatever reason, the fan wasn’t making the power it typically does during takeoff. The takeoff roll was sluggish and instead of aborting and taking home a perfectly fine airplane, I forced the airplane off the ground thinking it would be ok once airborne. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case and I couldn’t get enough altitude to get the speed up and the airplane ended up landing in a few large bushes. I walked up to the airplane expecting the worst and found it upside down but thankfully mostly in tact. I was very fortunate! The most damaged area was the nose section being broken but thankfully still connected to the airplane. I later discovered that the lack of thrust was likely due to a combination of tired batteries not holding voltage under load and a partial blockage in the exhaust duct being caused by some loose tape that I was unaware of. Thankfully it was repairable and so I thought it would be a good opportunity to discuss some basic fiberglass repair. Oh, and the lesson here??
LESSON OF THE DAY: If your airplane isn’t doing what you expect it to, abort and troubleshoot!
The most impacted area from the crash was the nose. Though technically still attached to the fuselage, it was pretty “crunchy” and loose. Both sides of the noseContinue reading →
The Grumman Aircraft Corporation has produced some of the most iconic aircraft of our time (McDonnel-Douglas is another one that comes to mind). When you think of the numerous aircraft tied to the Grumman name, what really comes to mind are the family of incredible cats they produced starting from the Wildcat all the way through to the Tomcat! (seriously, these are the kind of cat videos you should be searching for on the internet! ;)) The F8F Bearcat is a proud member of the Grumman cat family and is no exception to greatness. Designed for pure performance (i.e. climb rate), the airplane is literally the smallest and lightest airframe you could wrap around the largest available engine. I bet the propulsion group within the company must have been ecstatic! Consider that it used the same engine as the Hellcat, but with an airframe that was 2000+ lb lighter.
As an aircraft, the Bearcat was a high performance machine having better performance even than some of the early jets. Though it didn’t quite make it to see combat in World War II, it still remained in service into the early 1960’s with over 1200 total aircraft built. Now, what you may not know is, that the Bearcat Continue reading →
The topic of aircraft markings and making decals was touched on a little bit in my How to Refinish a Foam Warbird series and the request to expand on it a bit has come up a few time since then. So, here’s a bit more extensive walk through of my process of making and painting markings for my airplanes.
Color and Markings are one thing that I’m very particular about on my scale models. I’m so particular in fact that I will usually make my own decals and paint masks as opposed to outsourcing. Ultimately I do this because I actually enjoy the challenge of it (when it’s going well of course) and this gives me full control of the sizes of all of the markings since it usually takes multiple iterations before having everything just the right size. Also, my preference is to paint whatever markings I can and in the case that the markings may be too small to paint, I will move to waterslide decals. In some cases, I will even use a combination of paint (or vinyl in the case of my “Lady Alice”) and decals to create a single marking. Obviously, there are always limitations when doing your own markings and so in the case I just don’t have the capability to make what I need, then it’s time to outsource.
Since I’m a scale fanatic, my goal in making markings is always to recreate markings Continue reading →
It’s no secret, I love deltas! The Mirage, Kfir and Skyray are some of my favorites if you couldn’t tell from my builds and the aircraft in my hangar. There’s just something about the look of a delta wing that is so wicked in the air, especially with the addition of canards like the Kfir. So, when I received a Freewing Mirage 2000 as a gift this last Christmas, I was stoked! I had been eyeing them for a while, especially after all of the fun I’d been having with the Freewing F-14. Of course, I can’t leave well enough alone, so we will actually be spending a few articles covering the transformation of this Freewing Mirage 2000 into an IAI Kfir…yes, you read that right! 😉 So, consider this as our first installment of “Foam Kit Bashing 101” as we work toward transforming this Mirage 2000 into the wicked looking Kfir. However, before tearing into a full kit bash, I wanted to discuss how this airplane assembles and performs stock out of the box.
The nice thing with these Freewing jets is that they are an all inclusive package. The full power system, retracts, and servos come fully installed and at $299 for the Mirage 2000 it’s a pretty killer deal. They’re EPO foam which I do have a love/hate relationship with, but none the less you get a pretty cool airplane and they are a great canvas to do fun things with (which we’ll start next in our next installment). They’re fully finished and Continue reading →