Bring your Scale Pilot Figures to Life — Tips from a Pro for using Pastels

Bring your Scale Pilot Figures to Life — Tips from a Pro for using Pastels

Scale pilot figures are an important part of any scale RC aircraft. In many competitions, they are required, and showing up with a plane that has an empty cockpit will cost you points. Lyle Vasser, longtime MAN contributor and owner/operator of Best Pilots, has brought detailing and painting pilot figures to a true art form. We asked Lyle to write this article so that he could share his techniques and materials for getting the most realism possible from one of his pilot figures—specifically, the pilot’s face. Lyle’s big secret… He uses ground pastels to add a new level of realism to the flesh tones of the pilot’s face.


LyleThe most important first step is to seriously clean your pilot figure. Before painting it, you have to ensure that it is free from any mold-release agents, oil, and dirt. If you don’t clean it, the paint won’t adhere to the surface properly. Also at this time, remove all flashing and traces of the seams from the molding process. To clean the figure, I use denatured alcohol and an old toothbrush, and give the figure a good scrubbing.

You should probably plan for about a weekend to paint your pilot figure. That’s not much of an investment when you consider all the time, effort, and money you’ve put in your scale warbird.


MODEL AIRPLANE NEWS PREMIUM members can access this article and many others highlighting amazing techniques, RC airplane builds and projects. When you become a member, you’ll get instant online access to our back-issue archives, the latest Model Airplane News Digital Editions, all of our newsstand-only special issues, and much more.

Membership includes exclusive access to our enormous collection of RC information.

  • 7+ years of digital editions of Model Airplane News
  • Flight Journal and Model Airplane News special issue digital editions, previously only available on newsstands
  • Free access to our magazine app through the iTunes Store – get Model Airplane News on your mobile or tablet device
  • Contests & giveaways only for members
  • 30 years of Model Airplane News archives
  • 10 years of Electric Flight archives
  • 5% off ALL Air Age Store purchases every time you shop



Air Age Media ©
WordPress Lightbox