From the Bench — AMA Expo West Pomona 2018 & Scale Weathering How-To Video

Weather me this…

During the AMA expo January 2018, it was announced that the show was being moved to the Pomona Fairplex and would also occur in November.  Well, needless to say, November arrived before I could blink and it was time to start thinking about the show!  This time around, kicking off the new venue, the AMA reached out asking about doing some how-to clinics throughout the weekend.  The idea I had was to provide some weathering how-to’s on a couple airplanes through the course of the weekend and then on Sunday afternoon, give those airplanes away.  Well, thanks to the AMA and Horizon Hobby, we were able to make that happen and it was a great time.  Horizon Hobby donated an E-Flite P-51 and an FMS Yak-130 for me to work on during the weekend which we gave away on Sunday afternoon.

This year, I had a full booth and through the course of the weekend, I was showing weathering techniques on the donated airplanes provided by Horizon Hobby.  For one of the clinics, I was able to do a weathering session on the main stage for the purposes of recording video.  Below is the end result as well as a few pictures of the finished airplanes.  The techniques mentioned in the video kind of run through the gamut of what I like to employ when I’m weathering up an airplane and are applicable to any medium of aircraft foam, glass or otherwise not to mention any size.  Additionally, combinations Continue reading

From the Bench – Quick and Simple Foam Warbird Painting

To Paint or not to Paint…

If you saw my E-Flite T-6 Texan review last time, then you saw the results of the repaint that was done on that airplane.  I thought it would be worth doing a separate video and article on what was done since it was just a quick and dirty spray can paint job that I did through the course of a weekend with all of the painting done over the stock paint with minimal prep.  This is worth discussing because sometimes we just don’t want to go to the extent of filling panel lines, or sealing up the airframe with polycrylic or anything like that.  Sometimes, we just want to do something quickly, but still get good results.  The difficulty always is, however, that stock paint just loves to lift up off of that EPO foam.  Thankfully, with the right tools, we can avoid that.

It’s interesting how something like this, though not entirely difficult, is all that’s needed to really refresh a model and make it stand out.  As I mentioned in my review, I have really enjoyed flying this AT-6, but following the repaint, I absolutely fell in love with the model even more!

 

PAINTING TOOLS & PAINT

First things first, let’s talk about what we need.  What we’re doing here is literally just applying a new paint job over an existing stock paint job.  There’s no paint stripping involved, so it’s important that we use very low tack tapes for masking.  I had heard Continue reading

Foam Kit Bashing 101 Ep5 — How to Add Realistic Panel Lines and Weathering

Whether or not to weather or not…?

Check out the full series of videos and articles at: thercgeek.com/kitbashing

Last time we covered how to paint camouflage and talked about application of markings.  In this episode, we’re talking about panel lines and weathering!  I get questions quite often about my weathering techniques, so the following tips are some of my simple secrets. 😉

Panel lines and weathering are something that can really make or break a scale model.  When we started this Kfir kit bash, I knew that I wanted to use it as a canvas to show some simple weathering and panel lining techniques.  Very often we can get too heavy with either and so my hope here is to give some pointers for adding some realistic and effective looking panel lines and weathering that’s easy to do.  These are some techniques that are pretty simple to employ and that I actually use on my competition models also.

There are so many different techniques we can turn to for this stuff, so these are just a few that I regularly use.  Ultimately the best techniques are the ones you like and give you the results you’re looking for so experiment and try different techniques.  The only way we develop these skills is through practice and use.

As we talk about panel lines and weathering, my recommendation is less is more.  What I mean is that if you feel that a panel line is too dark, or the weathering is too heavy, then it probably is.  Also, it’s highly recommended doing all of this final finish work inside under artificial light.  The sun washes out much of what we apply and so the results are much less subtle once we bring the airplane inside since we’ll continue to darken until we can see a result.  So, just a couple things to keep in mind as we go through this (it’ll be stated again too 😉 ).

THE PANEL LINE PROCESS

To apply panel lines to the surface, we are simply applying all of them using a mechanical pencil.  This works excellent in this case because the pencil lines when applied, are darker than all of the colors on the airplane.  So, as a result, you can get a Continue reading

Foam Kit Bashing 101 Ep4 — Painting Camouflage and Adding Markings

Camouflage me this…

Check out the full series of videos and articles at: thercgeek.com/kitbashing

Continuing in our Kit Bashing 101 series, in this installment we are talking about painting camouflage and adding markings to our Kfir.  The transformation from Mirage 2000 to Kfir has taken place and we’ve even added some nice Kfir specific cockpit details.  So, there’s no more procrastinating, it’s time to prep and paint this jet!  We have an awesome 4 tone Isreali camouflage scheme lined up that we’re going to paint and so we’ll talk through the process of achieving that.  We’ll be utilizing an airbrush in the process along with some humbrol plastic model paints for the camouflage and then once painted, we will be applying our markings.

First things first though, the airplane was made paint ready.  The process used was the same as what we did in our How to Refinish a Foam Warbird Series where we applied 6 coats of minwax polycrylic, primered and sanded a few times, and then finished it off by wet sanding with 600 grit sand paper to get it paint ready.  There were a couple things done differently here though that are worth mentioning.  First of all, there was quite a bit of texture coming through after the initial primer coat, so I decided to spray a some Rust Oleum gap filler primer.  This helped build up the lower areas to even out the surface.  After sanding it down with a sanding block, many of the imperfections disappeared.  Being foam it’s difficult to get a perfectly smooth finish, but this helped really smooth it out.  Also, this primer is ideal for prepping 3d printed parts and getting rid of the striations you get due to the layer build up.

The last thing was, I had a couple areas of the pink Home Depot foam react to the Evercoat primer when I applied it too heavy which melted some areas underneath the polycrylic.  To fix it I just filled it back in with some spackle and sanded it flush.  I’ve Continue reading

Foam Kit Bashing 101 Ep3 — Pilot Painting and Cockpit Details

How to Paint a Pilot Bust and Add Simple Cockpit Details

Check out the full series of videos and articles at: thercgeek.com/kitbashing

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 brush Continue reading

From the Bench — Tips for Making Your Own Aircraft Markings

Decals, Vinyl and Paint Masks…oh my!

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

How to Refinish a Foam Warbird – Ep3 FMS RC P-51

Primer, sand, primer, sand…PAINT!

It’s time to finish off our FMS RC P-51 “Lady Alice” Transformation!  In this installment we’re doing our paint prep and painting.  Last time we covered filling in all of the oversized panel lines,  smoothing the airframe out and sealing it all in with multiple coats of polycrylic to provide a protective finish.  You can catch that post here; also, you can catch my assembly review and paint stripping methods here.  There’s much to cover, so let’s get to it!

PAINT PREPARATION

Primer, sand, repeat…
This seems all too familiar given our filler process, but the first step in preparing this airframe for paint is to lightly sand the polycrylic’d surfaces with some 180 grit sand paper.  This is mostly to Continue reading