1/16th Jenny Canuck

Memories of Flight School

by John Reid

Part 3

Finally the sheathing of the hangar walls is finished. Now that was a boring job’ If I never see another tongue depressor in my life that would be OK with me. But before I did that job I had to frame the interior of the hangar walls with pine strips. Two sizes were used 7/16x1 1/16 and 3/8x3/8.The framing was easy, I followed the framing techniques I found in an old book on construction. I do not have any information on how the actual interior of the Toronto Flying Club hangar looked in those days so most of it is from my imagination and my fading memozy of other old hangars. The tongue depressor strips I used were quite thin, about 2mm .1 had to sort them out to find strips that were not too bent, twisted, knotted or discoloured. I rejected about 50%. The strips were then measured, cut to length, sanded and glued to the foam board.


I drew vertical lines on the foam board to keep things straight. Because the strips are so thin and the fact that I don’t seal the wood before glueing, the moisture in the glue tends to warp the strips. Clamps and pins were used where necessary to prevent this. This is not a hard job but it is repetitive and not very creative but can be very rewarding, as nothing looks as good as real wood. I find that I like to have my hangars look like old barn siding or in this case whitewashed wood that has been aged.


I have my own method to achieve this. Basically, the secret is to paint and weather the raw unsealed wood, then use a matte varnish-scaler in your paint mix and then finish up with chalk pastels. Because the wood is so rough the pastels will not wear off the surface. The procedure is basically as follows when using acrylic paint. For the whitewashed exterior of the hangar I used very thin washes of white gesso mixed with a touch of raw umber plus a matte sealer varnish airbrushed or brushed on the raw wood. Let the paint soak into the wood and repeat the washes until the desired intensity of colour is achieved. The colour should be applied carefully so that it is still transparent enough so that some of the colour and texture of the wood shows through. If the white seems too bright wash the entire surface with a very thin wash of raw umber and matte varnish medium. (When I say thin wash I mean the consistency of dirty water. Your paint can never be too thin for this operation.) You can speed up the drying process by using a hairdryer. These washes should be put on with a large brush (3/4 inch or so) Use an old one as the rough surface will soon ruin a good one. This thin raw umber wash can also be stippled (dabbed) on with a stiff bristled brush for a more irregular effect. You can also use an old stiff bristled toothbrush and after most of the paint has been removed from it flick on a spray of colour .The wetter the toothbrush is the larger the particles sprayed will be. Try to be subtle.

After letting the wood thoroughly dry, you can start using your pastels. On the now white-grey exterior I use various shades of the grey chalk variety (Not OILS) Here again you must be very subtle in their application as you do not want a whole lot of contrast, just a little shading. I grind up my pastels on very fine sandpaper to create a very fine dust like soft powder. Then with very soft brushes (preferably old) I brush on the grey colour between the individual boards and on any surface were dust and dirt would gather. A lighter grey could be used to highlight certain areas. I have an airbrush but I still prefer this method. Please note that the pictures that I sent in with this article shows just the bare painted wood with no pastel weathering.

If you would like a small preview of how it should look when finished please see my article on the Nieuport 28 diorama. The final step would be to spray a fixative-sealer over the finished surface but this is not necessary if you have already added your matte varnish to the paint mix. The pastel shading and highlighting will not rub off such a rough surface. The procedure for the interior grey finish is much the same except here I used a mix of white gesso and a little black gesso to achieve a darker grey. I then used my very thin washes of raw umber. The weathering techniques are the same as for the exterior but here the pastels used were a darker grey. The hangar floor was done the same way except here I used burnt umber or an even darker grey to represent oil and grease drops and splotches. Well that is about it .Now it is on to completing the weathering of the walls and then on to the plywood roof .1 hear they used felt and hot tar in those days. Now maybe if I use...


John Reid 2004