by Saso Knez

When modeling the cockpit I would seriously recomend using Eduard photoetched frets. If your subject is to odd and Eduard or any other company does not make any detailing sets, you can use typical PE instruments from Waldron. I always use PE parts for the instrument panel, since it gives best results. When something big and circular like the core of a compresor, trim whell and so, use O-rings normally used in pluming, If you spend 15 min. in your local hardware store I'am sure you will find the right size for your need. If there is a well visibile spot on the aircraft interior, you can add some intrest by riveting it. You can represent some rivets and bolts with a drop of slow-setting (gel) super-glue. Don't worry if they are somewhat unvisibille on white plastic, when the interior is given a wash, they will stand out really fine, not to mention after the dry-brushing. And now for the canopys; There should be no problems regarding the front portion of the canopy since they are mostly flat. I make canopys with actual framing. The main frame is plastic and the cover frame is alu-foil or some thin metal. For the rounded canopy itself you are in for a bit of sweat. If you can vacu-form then everything is cool; you pour plaster into the kit canopy so you have a master, then just form-on! The ¨best¨ way to make an canopy is to ask a friend to send you one (thanks Brian-you are great). My favurite tehnique, besides asking Brian is to make a plaster master, and then press a clear soft-drink botlle to the master and hold it briefly above a candle. This will give you an outline of the canopy shape. Then persuade the clear PVC to form into a canopy, trim it to size and then click it into the frame.

Measurments/shape modifications

Name a kit in 1/32 that has not a major fault in measurments or shape. So the first thing that a modeler must do is to decide if he is going to corect the mistake or not. When corecting any shape use the putty or Alumlite. Yes, even if you reduce size. The plastic on most models is from 1-2mm thick, if your corection is masive, it is most likley that you will eventually file through the plastic shell. If you layer the plastic with putty on the oposite face of the plastic, then when you file trough plastic you will not end up with a hole, but you will start to file away the putty. If you make a hole in the putty, then you don't want to hear my comment. Adding material is another twist of the old trick. Use a plasitc strip (or strips) out-linnig the correct profile. Then apply putty over it. Sand down the putty untill the plastic strip apares-then stop. More words on this subject would be waisted here since a lot of articles on this page deal with this subject...

All of those intrest points

We (read=I) decide upon a project by its ¨intrest points¨. Besides that an airplane must have an history (like flown by an ace, or on a special operation), it must also be colorful. It sure looks great when finished, but the proces of making those small painted on stuff is a bit of a tedious proces. I always hated to use decals. If you don't use lacquer they silver, if you use lacquer the whole thing shines...Randy Lutz in his article about building his Me 109 G-14/AS states: It seems to go against all logic to shoot black paint over a nicley finished and painted model. Randys line is just what I feel about laquers. Anyway, I am sure that If I would try I would learn to work with decals. But when you build a project spaning over one or two years, one wishes to play it save. I mean you try so hard to achive that flat finish, and then you shoot gloss over it!! I recentlly developed a methode that ALWAYS gives good results. I made photo-etched stecils for the big national insignias. They were standard so the investment was very economical. Not to mention that modelers can swap this frets. For the maintnace stecils I will try out the Archer products, but as far as I comunicated with modelers that use their products they had no problems. And whatever is left on the plane a hand-cut mask if the marking is big. And if it is not; draw out the technical pen and persuade your hand to stop shaking. The worst time I have is when painting the scoreboards on aircraft. But with constant practice you will get the results you always wanted.

Some things that need extra care

A most important issue when scratchbuilding or detailing the interior are the interior joints. Most often they are left as they are and than they spoil the look of the interior. The corection of this edges is pretty straight forward. Use the methode you use with the outside joints. I prefer to deal with all the joints like this; First of all I try to align all the parts as straight as they can get, than I will the sometimes large gaps with super glue. Than I cover the joints with ordinary modeling glue. Glue partially melts the plastic, so it if the gap is not too big is almost becoms plastic. The method is especially welcome when scribing the panels. But it doesn't work with the resin or metal kits of course. When you think you are finished, airbrush a cote of bright paint on the joints. Then repeat the filling and sanding. When satisfactory results are achived, I always wash the joint with thinner, so it creats a kind of wash, that reveals some minor imperfections that might become visibile when weathering.

© Saso Knez