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Scale Pilot Figures and Busts–Add Life to your RC Plane




By Gerry Yarrish


When it comes to the Illusion of scale, one of the most important ingredients for any RC plane is the scale pilot figure that sits in the cockpit. Nothing is worse than seeing a beautifully built scale model airplane fly by without “someone” manning its controls. Yet for many modelers that little intrepid aviator is only an afterthought and not really considered important. WRONG! For the sport flier and scale competitor alike, an occupied cockpit goes a long way in making the aircraft look more like the real thing. It should be a crime to fly scale planes with a doll’s head or a stuffed animal just strapped in the cockpit. It’s better to just black out the cockpit with a coat of black or blue paint sprayed on the inside of the canopy.


Any type of model, scale, pattern or sport, will look much better with the addition of a little life added but, remember, it should also be appropriate for the style and scale of the plane to really be of benefit. Today, there are so many companies offering pre-painted and inexpensive pilot busts, that there’s no real excuse for going the “Barbie” route! If you fly a WW1 biplane, pickup a vintage aviator, if you have a FW-190, stick a Luftwaffer pilot in the front office. Your model will look so much more professional and finished with just a little bit of effort.


This guide includes some of the more popular scale pilot figures available today. Some come painted from the factory, while others have to be assembled and painted by the modeler. These lightweight crewmen come in a variety of styles and several sizes, ranging from 1/8- to 1/3-scale. Go for it and add some life to your model.



 Aces of Iron also has Civilian Designs. This figure fits like a glove in almost any aircraft. This is the figure to pilot warbirds like the P-51, P-47, T-6, T-28, T-34 or any other you are likely to find at an airshow. This is the most versatile pilot ever made by Aces. The civilian figures are perfect for all the aerobatic aircraft as well (YAKs, Edges, Extras, CAPs, Sukois, Pitts or ultimate Bipes).



Considered to be one of the very best produces of super detailed pilot figure busts, Aces of Iron Productions has many styles and sizes to choose from. Aces of Iron has developed a new highly detailed figure for your 1/6-scale Warbird. This figure will soon be availible in larger sizes from 1/4 and 1/3 scales as well.

info@acesofiron.com http://www.acesofiron.com/home.htm


AH Design—The Pilot People


At AH Design, all our figures are made up in a similar way to the victorian method of doll making. We start with a body sock made of rip stop nylon and stuffed. Then we add the latex head which is first painted by hand then sewn on. The clothes are then added before the last stage which is the attaching of the hands and boots. This method ensures an ultra light figure that is flexible enough to fit into a cockpit.


AH Design, Mountain Ash, Rhyd-y-Foel Road, Llanddulas, Nr Abergele, Clwyd,

LL22 8EG; PH 01492 512765





All Axel pilot figures are handmade in Germany. Each figure is unique with subtle difference in the clothing, eye and hair colors. The bodies and limbs are flexible, so the figures fit precisely into the cockpits of various types of models. Corresponding handmade accessories include seatbelts, parachute harnesses, hats, eyeglasses and wristwatches,

Because these pilot figures are individually handmade, please allow plenty of time for delivery.

Pilots are available in 1/4, 1/3.5, 1/3, 1/2.5 and 1/2 scales and as full-body, half-body and bust types.

$106 TO $175 (FULL BODY); $61 TO $121 (HALF BODY); $41 TO $96 (BUST).

Axel Scale Pilots, Hannelore Pfannmuller, Robert– Bunsen Str. 62, 65428 Russelsheim, Germany;

www.axels-scale-pilots.de ; email info@axels-scale-pilots.de .




A company Model Airplane News has used many times to fill a model’s front office, is Cajun RC Specialties. They offer many styles and sizes of pilots including WW2, Jet pilot, Civilian and Scale Masters style up to 33% in size. These molded busts are lightweight and come nicely painted for a simply-glue-in-place installation. It’s easy and effortless.


Cajun R/C Specialties—LIFE LIKE Scale R/C Pilots

602 S. Angel St., Kaysville, Ut. 84037; (337) 269-5177; email: denny@cajunrc.com





Century Jet Models’ fighter pilots come in several sizes that will perfectly complete the cockpit of your new scale jet. Century offers full-figure fighter pilots in 1/10 and 1/8 scale, fighter pilot busts in 1/10 and 1/8 scale, WW II pilots in 1/5 and 1/6 scale and a 1/5-scale WW II British pilot. All of Century Jet’s pilots come completely painted and weigh less than 5 ounces each.

FROM $25.95 TO $40.

Century let Models, 11216 Bluegrass Pkwy., Louisville, KY 40299;

(502) 266-9234; fax (502) 266-9244; www.centuryjet.com ;

sales@centuryjet.com mailto:sales@centuryjet.com




These 1/4-scale WW II RCAF/RAF pilot figures are made of lightweight molded latex are fully detailed with clear goggles, separate helmet and oxygen mask, separate head and hands for positioning and a separate Mae West life preserver. Also available are parachute harnesses with a quick-release box and buckles.


Clark Industries – 8726 Highway #9, RR#4, Tottenham, Ontario, L0G 1W0

(905) 936– 2131; fax: (905) 936-2131; http://www.clarkindustries.on.ca/index.html





Hangar 9 produces a very wide selection of pilot figures that range in size from 1/3- to 1/10-scale. Among the many models available are civilian, jet and sportsman pilots, WW II British, Japanese, German and American pilots and WW I American pilots. Hangar 9 figures are made of durable, lightweight latex rubber and can easily be trimmed for a custom fit. The figures come unpainted but can be finished with standard acrylic paint. They also feature several scale details, including oxygen masks, headsets and helmets. Also, for today’s modern aerobatic planes there is a full line of Helmet Head pilots in various colors to choose from.

Hangar 9; distributed by Horizon Hobby Inc., 4105 Fieldstone Rd., Champaign, IL 61822;

(217) 352-1913; www.horizonhobby.com .  




Hobby Lobby offers many lifelike pilot figures In just about every size and style you can imagine, including civilian, early aviation, WW I, WW II, jet and female. All of the pilots come hand-painted and can be cut to fit more narrow cockpits. They are molded of hard rubber and range in height from 1 7/8, to 6 inches.

Hobby Lobby Intl., 5614 Franklin Pike Cir., Brentwood, TN 37027;

(615) 373-1444; fax (615) 377-6948; www.hobby-lobby.com ; sales@hobby-lobby.com





HP Pilots offers  the largest selection of pilots anywhere. We have over 200 pilots from 1/12 scale to 42%, civilian, military, busts, top halves or full figured. Everything from WW1 and WW2 military pilots, to modern and jet figures and civilian male and female. This is a one-stop-shopping destination for the modeler looking for scale pilot figures of all types and sizes.


Roy Seals/H.P.Pilots 6942 Audrain Road 9137, Centralia, MO 65240; 573-682-2333; Cell 920-344-8866; Cell 920-344-0266; royseals@wi.net






Carved from balsa to look like YOU!  PilotPortraits are unique to your likeness and individually hand-carved using your photo so that they resemble YOU and nobody else. Finally,  pilot figures that will fit within your canopy and cockpit exactly as you’ve always wanted it to. Each pilot is made-to-order and scaled to fit your R/C Aircraft and yours alone. Every pilot is hand-crafted by Mike Brent, a professional illustrator and fine artist. Mike is an avid radio control enthusiast and knows what you want for your R/C model aircraft.  You’ve put so much into your R/C Model Airplane, now put yourself in the pilot seat! You can have a personalized, one-of-a-kind pilot for your radio control airplane from PilotPortraits, carved directly from light-weight balsa …  and it will look just like you!

Call for a quote today!


PilotPortraits, MikeBrentArt.Com, 23 Plumb Brook, Woodbury, CT 06798

Phone: 203.263.2336  Studio; 203.725.8112  Cell

http://www.mikebrentart.com/index.html , mikebrent@charter.net


Red Aero RC


From Lindbergh to Modern Aerobatic Pilots, the Classic Aviator is a living legend. Modeled in full-leather headgear and clear-lens goggles, no detail has been spared to recreate a classic moment in time. The Classic Aviator will arrive fully painted and ready to install. Check here for colors and dimensions. Mega®Pilots are made to order at time of purchase. Allow approximately 2 weeks for delivery.


Red Aero RC LLC Model Aviation Apparel & Accessoriessales@redaerorc.com





When you have an aerobatic sport plane that needs a little personality, try these zany characters! Not intended for serious scale airplanes but for the sport flyer looking for something special.

Slimline Products, PO Box 3295, Scottsdale, AZ 85271; Phone: 480-967-5053; Fax: 480-967-5030; e-mail: support@slimlineproducts.com mailto:support@slimlineproducts.com




Does your plane look like it’s running on “auto-pilot”? Add life to your aircraft with realistic-looking pilot figures that have details such as belt buckles, buttons, sunglasses and goggles molded in! These great looking pilot busts are available in WWI German pilots come in 1/3, 1/4 or 1/5 scale, to fit inside almost any scale-sized airplane cockpit. They feature a flat-bottom base that allows for easy installation with glue or screws. Available prepainted i
n leather-looking brown or unpainted to customize yourself. Plus many more from various manufacturers are available from this URL.








In the scale airplane and scale pilot figure business for more than 25 years, Vailly Aviation has an incredible line of military pilot figures and busts in a variety of scales and styles.

Whether you build sport or civilian models or heavy metal warbirds let us furnish you with a pilot to give your latest creation that extra-added touch of realism. All our pilots are made in the USA and are based on the very popular OFFICERS and GENTLEMEN figures. We can also provide neat little accessories such as sunglasses, headphones, helmets and hats.

18 Oakdale Avenue, Farmingville, NY 11738-2828

1-631-732-4715. E-mail: vaillyav@optonline.net http://www.vaillyaviation.com/





For nearly 45 years, modelers have turned to Williams Bros. for their scale pilot figures. Made of injected-molded plastic, these figures come in several styles, including standard, racing, sportsman and military. Available in 1/4-, 1/5-, 1/6- 1/8- and 1/12-scale, Williams Bros. pilots come in kit form and must be glued and painted.

FROM $2.35 TO $8.55.

Williams Bros. Inc., 2210 W. 2nd St. Suite B, Taylor, TX 76574 / Office:(512) 352-9346 / Fax: (512) 352-9356
E-mail: wmbros@sbcglobal.net








These exquisitely hand crafted full body pilots can be positioned sitting, crouching, kneeling or just about any other position your project requires and are designed to fit our 1/9th scale B-17. Besides being fully pose-able, they feature highly detailed and historically accurate uniforms and equipment. Each figure is molded using a light weight resin plastic that accepts paint easily. Painted figures are painstakingly detailed by hand to provide a true work of art. As an added bonus each FULL-BODY figure comes with a “clip-on” fur collar to individualize your bomber crew members even more. Additional clip-on accessories to be added in the future.


P.O. Box 250332, Atlanta, GA 30325; PH: (404) 944-0028; email: mkramer@wingspanmodels.com ; sales orders email: sales@wingspanmodels.com



Tech Tip—



When painting soft latex pilot figures, nothing beats acrylic paint. Available in most hobby shops and many craft stores, acrylics are water based and very inexpensive when compared with model paints. Acrylics are very similar to oil paints and must be thinned a bit before they are applied to the object you want to paint. You can spray acrylics, but you get excellent results by simply using a brush. Here area couple of tips.

·                     Mix colors on a paper plate used like an artist’s palette. Start with white and add color to the base white.

·                     Apply lighter colors first and then apply darker ones.

·                     To add realism, add highlights and lowlights to your base colors. Mix a little white and black into the colors to produce the lighter and darker shades.

·                     Use a heat gun or a hair dryer to speed up drying time between coats.

·                     Keep a clean cup of water and a supply of paper towels nearby to clean your brushes,

If you haven’t tried acrylic craft paint before, you’re in for a treat. It’s very user-friendly, dries quickly and is available in a myriad of colors.



Updated: July 16, 2015 — 4:00 PM
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Add a Comment
  1. My brother suggested I would possibly like this website. He was once totally right. This publish actually made my day. You can not imagine just how much time I had spent for this info! Thank you!

  2. Hallo,i am looking for two busts pilots for mine PC21 from LINDINGER.
    The same like in the FMT from 03 2010

  3. This story and the ideas you shared are brilliant! Well done!!!


  4. ParkFlyer Plastics has a nice line of smaller pilots.

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