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How to make Aircraft Canopies! - From the SMML'ers

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SMML Subscriptions The Ship Model Mail List is worthwhile for anyone building models of steel ships.  Every day you will have the previous day's inquries, answers and observations dropped at your "door" in one convenient email package.  You can use it to get your questions answered, or to share ship modeling  experience with others.  It is a flame-free forum that I find both indispensable and enjoyable.

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1/700 scale Aircraft Canopies

1) In the smaller scales one item to try is a very sharp 4B pencil. This works beautifully on ship's bridge windows It leaves enough 'shiny' grey to be convincing. Particularly effective on models of liners.

Regards, Chris Drage

2) From: AAA Hobby <aaahobby@earthlink.net>
I concur with the use of light blue for the canopies. As for adding the canopy frames, get a 0.5mm mechanical pencil and apply them with that. At that scale, it will appear to match the aircraft paint color. Quick and easy, and the way I did it on my 1/700 CV-6 air wing; good enough for a 3rd at the IPMS Nationals. <<

But think about how well you would have done if you had made little photoetched birdcages, painted them the right color and filled them in with Crystal Kleer. Heck, you mighta gotten a first if you'd put little p/e guys in the cockpits.

I only say this because a certain somebody did exactly that with a 1/720 Revell Enterprise a couple of years earlier. Vacuformed canopies, weapons, crew IN the a/c, etc.

3) Subject: Canopy framing painting thin lines:
Paint canopy with gloss paint. Use a scalpel to cut the frames into the canopy. Give it a wash with frame color and then wipe it off. The paint will remain in the recessed lines. This leaves very thin straight panel lines.

Kjetil Lindahl

4) With my Bogue (CVE-9)I placed 4 F4Fs w/ the canopies all opened as they would be on deck, making it an even smaller item to paint. I used an enamel chrome silver w/ a slight tint of lite blue. It did rather well at the IPMS Nats in 2001, but I think the judges were more swayed by the expression on the faces of the LSO & the pilots in 1/700! Now if you believe that, I would like to talk to you about some Enron stock I have for sale.

Bert McDowell

5) Painting canopies in 1/700 was never satisfactory for me, so I decided to go to a different route and cut them off, drilled the cockpit and filled the empty space with 5 minute clear epoxy. I applied small amounts to keep the shape in control. After the canopy is finished and dried I could sand and gave it a more correct shape. A touch of future will make it clear and shiny again. The frames are more difficult in this scale. I tried to use the thinnest rapidograph, which is .1, free hand, or cut very thin black decal strips and apply with future. Both techniques require careful attention, otherwise won't look good.

Regards, Sami Arim

6) I paint the canopies lite metallic blue...IJN Interior Blue mixed with some silver, to a light blue, then use a 000 liner brush to do the frames...liner brushes are great because the bristles are very long, and by putting paint just on the tip, you can drag the brush and adjust the pressure and direction before the paint reaches the piece.

Jeff  Herne

7) The easiest way would be to use small thin strips of silver decal film. Cut them to the proper width (.01"?) and length and apply. Another way would be to paint them on. A third option would be to paint the entire canopy a solid silver-blue color and be done with it. In that small a scale nobody would criticize you for not adding the birdcages. Of course, you realize this is the most accurate and correct way to do it!!

James Corley

8) I paint the canopies lite metallic blue...IJN Interior Blue mixed  with some silver, to a light blue, then use a 000 liner brush to do the frames...liner brushes are great because the bristles are very long, and by putting paint just on the tip, you can drag the brush and adjust the pressure and direction before the paint reaches the piece.

I use a product called micro mask it is a blue tinted liquid you paint on all over the canopy and let dry and the very careful with an exacto cut around the areas you want painted and remove the thin film in these areas leaving the rest in place ,spry on your color and let dry and the with the tip of your exacto knife lift and remove the remaining film over the clear areas and voila , works very well I use it on my bridge windows when I wish to paint in stuff like windshield wipes and etc.

Good luck and happy sailing, John

9) I use a product called micro mask it is a blue tinted liquid you  paint on all over the canopy and let dry and the very careful with an exacto cut around the areas you want painted and remove the thin film in these areas leaving the rest in place ,spry on your color and let dry and the with the tip of your exacto knife lift and remove the remaining film over the clear areas and voila , works very well I use it on my bridge windows when I wish to paint in stuff like windshield wipes and etc. <<

I trust we are not talking about 1:700 scale here.

If you can do all that in 1:700 scale, I'd like to know how you model the pilot, his cockpit interior and especially the pilot's harness.

The sharp edge of my exacto blades are thicker than the cockpit framing on most 1:700 scale aircraft.

Happy modeling,. John

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