Our R/C plane hobby is now easier than ever for people to get involved. The evolution to foam and ARF planes removes a lot of the cost and building intimidation factor for buying a plane and learning to fly. However, it has come with a cost. In the age of building your planes from scratch or a kit you really got to see the creativity of our modelers. Nearly every plane at the field was unique. Not so now. It is not unusual to see several of the newest ARF's all at the field at the same time and with the exact same paint scheme. This can even be confusing in the air. At a recent indoor fly there were 4 identical UMX Stearmans in the air at the same time. You didn't dare take your eyes off of yours!
Even with ARF planes we can make our planes unique reflections of our talents. Below are two projects I did recently to make my planes stand out from the rest of the clones.
First is my UMX Stearman. For this I simply used a plastic model technique called dry brushing to paint the cylinders of the radial engine.Then I painted the crankcase grey.
I masked and painted canopy frames and the cockpit floors. Then to top it off I found a pilot on Thingiverse that a guy from R/C groups designed to go right into the UMX Stearman.
A friend suggested that airshow Stearmans often have wing walkers, so I found a suitable sized girl on Thingiverse and painted her up with a jump suit and goggles. I made a simple bracket for here out of a couple left over scraps of carbon fiber.
She mounts to the wing with a rubber band that grabs the front and back of the bracket so it can be easily removed. I did reinforce the center section of the wing with some packing tape to prevent the bracket digging into the foam.
This is a simple dress up. On R/C groups guys have done complete repaints and rigging on these Stearmans!
Total time of modification was one evening with most of that for painting the figures.
Project 2 is more involved. I wanted to build an electric bubble top P-47 but E-flite and Parkzone had both stopped selling the kits of that model. I found however, that I could buy the bits and pieces of the airframe from both of those kits, but not all of the same one! So ended up with a bare metal painted Parkzone fuselage and elevator
with an E-flite olive drab wing and cowl.
After going through my piles of warbird photos I found just the right plane to make. It is a restored P-47 called No Guts No Glory and is painted as the aircraft flown by Lt Col Ben Mayo, CO of the 82nd Fighter Squadron, 78th Fighter Group. The plane has a checkerboard nose, invasion stripes, and simple artwork. I could use most of the Parkzone insignia and the repainting would be minimal.
So the first thing I did was to repaint the canopy frame and cowling flaps silver. The canopy frame is is black as shipped from Parkzone but in the picture you can see it is silver on the plane I'm modeling. I used Tamiya low tack tape and Tamiya aluminum silver for the paint. This matched up well with the rest of the fuselage so I moved ahead.
Next, the existing invasion stripes were masked on the bottom of the wing and the rest was given a coat of silver. On the real plane the invasion stripes extend over the top of the fuselage and wing. Once the silver was dry, I masked off these sections and used Tamiya flat white.
So far so good. Then disaster struck! With the silver and white on the plane I masked the black stripes and painted the black stripes. At that point it was late so I went to bed. The next morning I pulled the tape up and chunks of the ORIGINAL paint on the model started coming up with them exposing the bare foam underneath. AAARRRGH! I knew I should not have left the tape on overnight. I used some sandpaper to blend these areas in and out came the silver, white and black paint again for touch ups.Fortunately I did not have to really tape everything again for the touch ups and was able to use a straight edge of paper as a mask while I touched up the various spots. That is an advantage of using an airbrush for this work!
All touched up and ready for some paint detail on the dummy motor, weathering and decals.
What have you done to make your ARF unique and different? We want to know! Share your pictures and stories with us!
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