HOW TO WARBIRD MAKEOVER
Before Wear and tear Getting even more excited about your e;orts, huh? Sure, it’s looking great and luckily there are just a few steps left. ;e part of the weathering process that seems to get the most attention but is easiest to verdo is the panel wear or paint chipping. I usually start by sizing up the level of wear I’ve already applied and imagining how some of the panel edges would look after frequent opening, closing, or removal. How much of the finish on the leading edges of the airplane would be beat up by sand, stones, and other debris found on operating theaters like that desert we mentioned earlier? You can be sure that any painted surface kept outdoors and exposed to regular dirt, sand, or rocks found on most airports, will su;er the e;ects of these materials. Naturally, the worst wear usually occurs at the leading edge. ;e next step is deciding how to simulate the wear or chipping. For sharp-edged panels or large chipped areas, as on the leading edge of wings, I use a fine, pointed brush to randomly apply silver paint stippled along the dge of the panel. ;e drier the brush the better; you don’t want a lot of paint, just a suggestion of metal peeking through on the edges. Chipping uses the same paint, but application is better handled by random dabs of a coarse, mostly dry sponge dipped in the silver paint and blotted before you apply it o the surface. Using a di;erent corner of the sponge for sequential dabs will prevent a “repeat pattern” look. Also, when going from one leading edge to the opposite one, try not to look at the first one to “mirror image” it. Avoid symmetry of chipping … it never happens that way! Now, for those areas where the paint was worn through rather than chipped, I use a craft material from Amaco called Rub 'n Bu;. Crafters use it to create a metallic look on candles and other items. It’s wax-based and I apply a small amount to a cotton swab before touching it directly to the model’s surface. Don’t apply it too heavily or you’ll be on your way to a chrome-plated leading edge! Excess can be removed with alcohol but you’d best practice on something other than your model until you feel comfortable with the process and result. Above: Small, spring-loaded panels, like this handhold, lose a lot of their paint through daily use. Silver paint, randomly applied with a fine brush, creates the illusion of chipped edges. Below: In those areas requiring wear, rather than the chipping replica- tion, I use a craft material called Rub 'n Bu; applied with either a cotton swap, paper towel, or my finger.
Dirt and grime
Finally, there’s the exhaust staining and grime
accumulation that is best handled with an
airbrush but can also be convincingly duplicated
with pastel chalks or even ground-up pencil
leads. Again, subtle is better! You will notice
in your photos that the engine grime starts
behind the cowl flaps, as you would expect. No
need for masking anything here, just take the
cowl o;, do your thing, and replace the cowl; the
stains will begin exactly where they should.
Here is an example of both wear and chipping simula- tion in the same general area of the model. Compare the “before” and “after” images below to see the di;erence just a little weathering can make on your scale project.
;ere you have it, breathing life
and realism into a great foamie
warbird in a small number of
easy and inexpensive steps. It
is easy, but you’ll never know
until you try it. Just think of all
the admiring looks your new
weathered warbird is going to
receive at the field; go ahead,
go for it! ;