While I was building my giant scale Top Flite F4U Corsair, I wanted to add just a touch of detail to help break up it’s all blue paint scheme. This is very easy to do with some basic techniques and supplies. Here’s how I did it…
The technique for adding panel lines with a pen has been around for a long time, but the new Fine Tip Sharpie pens really make the task easy. You need some flexible straight edge rulers and some basic templates to get started.
Depending on the color of you airplane, you can use various colored pens. Straight black is not really a good choice for the Corsair so I went with a dark blue. Also since many of the full-size fighters were operated in harsh conditions, the rivets quickly started to show through and this is best replicated with a silver regular tip Sharpie. I also use color profiles from books and online as guides to detailing.
Remember, this is not a full-blown scale treatment. I just wanted to add a hint of detail to add some unexpected eye candy to an otherwise impressive film covered ARF.
Since there aren’t that many flying Corsairs around, I went with some examples from local museums to get a feel for what I wanted the Top Flite model to look like. I wanted to duplicate the rivets and screws to look silver but the lines are not black. I used the blue lines because white and/or silver lines were too over-powering. Use your straight edge and lay down your panel lines. A good think here is that if you mess something up, you can simply wipe it away with solvent like MEK or Acetone and do it over again. Be use to use rubber gloves when handling solvents.
With the silver Sharpie you go along the panel lines and add the silver rivet details. Try to keep them evenly spaced and draw right over your aircraft markings.
For round and odd shaped panel lines like this fuel tank cover, use the templates.
An excellent guide to detailing is this template set from Hobbico. I used it for the fuel tank detailing applied a red Monokote disc I ironed on to the fuselage to represent the painted filler cap!
Now, for those screw heads. Maintenance panels on a plane have to be removed and replaced and flush screw heads are all over the place. I use the vinyl rub-on graphics from Cal-Grafx Art. These work great and are printed in sheets so you can cut them to length and apply rows at a time as well as individually.
The spacing in the rows and columns are different so depending on the direction of your cut, you can vary the application spacing of the screws. Pretty need. Check out Cal-Grafx’s website at: www.cal-grafx.com
Here the flush head rivets are being applied to the wing center section.
Here’s a typical place for screw heads, along the wing leading edge radiator cover panels.
When combined with the Sharpie rivet details, I think you get a really neat appearance that’s almost impossible to duplicate in any other way, and certainly not as quickly!
From the smallest access panel, to the largest panels and covers, the Cal-Garfx screw heads (with some color printed right on top) make adding details quick and easy.
Just position the screw head and burnish down with a smooth tipped tool. Here I use the handle of my scissors.
Here’s the Fuel tank cover completed with the screw head detailing. Looks great and takes only minutes to complete.
That’s it. Go over the rest of your model and add as much or as little detail as you like. I use some 3-view drawings and just pay attention to the major lines and panels shown in the top and side view. For lazy guys, you don’t even have to do the underside! Once you have it all done, go over the whole model with some compatible clear coat and mist it over the rivets, screws and panel lines to seal it all in. You really don’t have to do this as it takes only minutes to redraw details that might wear away.
Have fun and be sure to check out my Top Flite giant scale F4U Corsair ARF review in the November 2012 issue of MAN.