Model Planes-Making it Look Like the Real Thing.

Model Planes-Making it Look Like the Real Thing.

A realistic finish can take a model plane to the next level. Using multiple references can help you achieve an authentic look. Here are some overviews of techniques to add life-like touches to your model airplane:

Paint-chipping effects

It is common on planes for the paint to chip on the fuselage, revealing the metal underneath. There are a couple of ways to get this effect. Each begins with a metallic undercoat. The first is a tape method. Tape is used to remove sections of topcoat to reveal the metallic basecoat. Another process is salt weathering. Here water is applied then, salt to the basecoat. Next, a second color is airbrushed over the dried salt. After the paint is dry, water and a brush are used to remove the salt and paint, revealing the metallic basecoat.

Wind streaks

This effect adds the faint weathered lines to the wings of the plane. In reality those lines appear on the wings from hours of wind pushing against the metal. To mimic this look on your model plane, water down a light gray paint. Then dampen the wing. Apply the paint to a folded corner of a dry rag. Drag the corner of the rag across the wing in the direction that wind travels. Be sure to use a gentle touch, you only want to add a hint of color.

Oil Stains

To add an oil stain, simply make a small dot of ink with an archival pen. Then with a moist cloth wipe across the ink in a downward direction.
There are loads of tips and tutorials on finishing effects available online for model planes. The key is to use references, a plan, and patience. Remember not to go overboard! A great model has subtle details, giving it a realistic look and feel.