It’s early Sunday morning. You stayed up late finishing your new ARF warbird last night, and you’re raring to get to the field to collect all the Oohs, Aahs and accolades that come with the unveiling of a new model. En route, you plan your strategy: choose a spot in the pits that’s accessible to all your club mates, remove the model from the car, and place it carefully where it will become the center of attention.
I used a Binks airbrush for all the weathering and realistic accents, such as the gun-gas residue shown here.
Some of the tools and materials I used are shown here. Warbird Colors water-based paints worked well.
Compare the reworked Kyosho P-40 (above, personalized with my initials) to the stock model at left. This was a great way to practice scale-finishing techniques.
The model I chose was the new Kyosho P-40 Warhawk, a .40-powered warbird that’s fairly typical of today’s contemporary ARFs. Although this is not a product review of the model, I will say it is among the nicest, most complete offerings I’ve seen. And with an O.S. .48 Surpass 4-stroke for power, it is a very scale-like flyer.
I assembled the model according to the instructions, including the radio, engine and tank installations. I then went over all the film-covered surfaces with a Scotch-Brite pad to remove the shine from the film and impart an overall “satiny” look. Resist the temptation to use a fine (600-grit) sandpaper because if you break the surface of the covering, you’ll end up with a bunch more work to eliminate the plastic “frizzies” you’ve created! You need only remove the shine. When this was done, I fit a small piece of scuffed chrome MonoKote to the inset fuselage panels aft of the canopy glass. I used a dressmaker’s pattern-transfer tool to simulate the rivet lines in these panels; this creates a convincing illusion. Cockpit work was next, with the addition of paint, a pilot figure and an instrument panel.
Before I installed the canopy, I trimmed it to fit and masked off all the clear panels. I then used Formula 560 canopy glue to attach the canopy to the fuse-lage. Small pieces of masking tape work well to hold the canopy in position while the adhesive cures. All remaining masking was accomplished with tape, paper, or self-adhesive shelf-lining material and included the stock national insignias, engine, wheel, tires and gear struts. I then performed a final wipedown with alcohol to remove any unwanted residue.
I protected the clear portions of the canopy with masking tape before I applied primer and color. Be sure to use a sharp no. 11 hobby blade to cut the tape along the frame line and avoid unsightly “frizzies”!
I installed chrome MonoKote “access” panels before I applied the color. Using “chrome” permits you to simulate areas of chipped and worn aluminum.
I used the airbrush again to simulate an exhaust pattern; a grayish color works best here. Note that the number-one exhaust stack has no stains or exhaust deposits.
Here is the horizontal stabilizer after I had lightly scuffed it with a ScotchBrite pad to provide better surface adhesion for the paint. Note that the elevator had not yet been scuffed.
I left the original national insignias in place, scuffed them with a ScotchBrite pad and masked them before I applied primer.
The cockpit after I installed the instrument panel, the glareshield, the pilot figure and the headrest. Note the scuffed and �riveted� metal panel behind the pilot bust.
A little more airbrush work in the form of gun-gas and exhaust stains had my P-40 looking the way I wanted it to and ready for a clear, sealing coat. I dusted on two light coats of flat, clear polyurethane straight from the spray can, let everything dry for a couple of days, and that was it.
POINTS TO REMEMBER
- Panel lines should be subtle, barely visible accents. They should not stand out or be made more pronounced by the application of airbrushed black streaks.
- Ditto for exhaust and gun-gas residue. Even in-service warbirds were treated to some form of cleanup and maintenance.
- For all practical purposes, the “color” black doesn’t exist in the weathering process. Grays, tans and reddish browns, depending on the device or material producing the stain, are much more realistic choices.
- The line between realistic and grossly overdone is a fine one. When in doubt, err on the side of conservatism; you’re more likely to end up with a replica instead of a caricature.
Now stand back, look at what you’ve accomplished and head for the field again. Just remember two final points:
- Never forget where you parked your model.
- Stay away from Bubba!
- –BY RICH URAVITCH