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General Ship Modeling
Discuss modeling techniques, experiences, and ship modeling in general.
Hosted by Todd Michalak
Tips on painting small scale aircraft
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New York, United States
Joined: September 24, 2002
KitMaker: 379 posts
Armorama: 150 posts
Posted: Thursday, April 19, 2018 - 08:15 PM UTC
Hi all,

I have a few builds that I'm slowly working on - all have small scale aircraft (1/350 for Musashi & Warspite, and a 1/540 air wing for Forrestal).

Any tips on painting, weathering, detailing?

Right now I'm working on Musashi (the older Tamiya one), I've airbrushed the F1M & E13A light grey on the undersurface, and JA Green on the upper surface.

Any tips on how to detail/weather?

How to paint the canopies?

Once painted they will get a coat of Future before applying decals - Should I then seal with a gloss or flat coat?

After that I will eventually have a whole modern USN airwing to do. How do you guys do those canopies?

Thanks for any tips!


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Missouri, United States
Joined: April 06, 2016
KitMaker: 440 posts
Armorama: 171 posts
Posted: Thursday, April 19, 2018 - 10:31 PM UTC
Hi Peter,

While I personally haven’t done a plane in that scale I have seen a good YouTube video of a 1/700 Walrus being painted. I am sure you can adapt some of his techniques. I know I will when I get to the planes on my forthcoming 1/350 Missouri. Not all of them because this guy is a damn Ninja model builder but definitely some

Here is the link:

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California, United States
Joined: May 03, 2006
KitMaker: 2,174 posts
Armorama: 271 posts
Posted: Friday, April 20, 2018 - 05:38 AM UTC

Quoted Text

Any tips on how to detail/weather?

...Should I then seal with a gloss or flat coat?

...How do you guys do those canopies?

Thanks for any tips!


Hi Peter,

Tiny aircraft for ship models are essentially like any airplane model, just smaller. I don't really detail or weather my planes since in small scale it isn't usually worth the effort. As for the canopies, I usually paint the whole a light gray and later add frames using a small brush - and plenty of magnification!

It is a good idea to lighten the colors to provide for scale effect, especially if the planes are very small scale.

For example, the correct FS 35042 Non-Specular Sea Blue color for the airplanes on my 1/1200 scale Enterprise, although accurate, would have appeared almost black in this miniscule scale. I substituted instead Model Master Blue Angel Blue (FS 15050) – a much lighter, bluer shade. Similarly, Model Master 2055 U.S. Navy Blue Gray stood in for the "accurate" but darker ANA 608 Non-Specular Intermediate Blue.

These lighter colors, though not technically correct, more effectively convey the impression of the Three-Tone scheme in this very small scale. The blue canopy frames were hand painted over Model Master Neutral Gray “glass”.

Painting these little guys was great fun. Good luck with your airgroup!