Transform an arf by adding deTail and weaThering
By P. J. Ash Photos By DAviD hArt & P. J. Ash
I’ve always loved airplanes. My interest has always been with scale models, particularly around warbirds. It wasn’t long after I started building and flying RC warbirds that I was drawn to scale competition. While I was competing,
I started measuring my work against other scale modelers and
friends, and over time, I learned techniques to accomplish that
“real” look. There are many ARFs on the market today that make
great starting points for producing a competition-worthy plane.
The models in this article are my MiG- 3 and Mitsubishi J2M Raiden
(Thunderbolt), both ESM ARFs from VQ Warbirds. Being a bit out
of the ordinary, these planes aren’t modeled very often—always
a good thing for scale competition. This article highlights some of
the ways that I’ve learned to enhance the looks of your average
First, do your homework. One of the most important aspects
of detailing a model is to match the overall appearance of the
full-size aircraft. Also, it is easy to “overweather” a model, so the
key thing to keep in mind is to be subtle. Take the time to learn
how the real aircraft was manufactured and with what materials.
Aircraft with metal skins wear much differently than airplanes
The author shows off his latest competition
airplanes. The MiG- 3 (foreground) and the
Mitsubishi J2M both started out as ARFs.
When picking a subject for scale competition,
you can gain a little edge by choosing an
unusual subject plane. The judges see a lot
of Mustangs and Hellcats, so get noticed for
having something different.