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How to paint a convincing cockpit tutorial (Updated 2018)...

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  • Member since
    February 2012
  • From: Olmsted Township, Ohio
How to paint a convincing cockpit tutorial (Updated 2018)...
Posted by lawdog114 on Wednesday, September 11, 2013 12:43 AM

Hello,  since there seems to be some interest in how I paint my cockpits, I figured I would walk you through "MY" process which I have pretty much standardized over the years.  Hopefully you can adapt some of these techniques and make them work for you:

You will need (not necessarily in order, but the order I thought of them):

*  An airbrush, preferably a double action with a fine setting.

*  A paint brush for painting fine details.

*  A paint brush for drybrushing.

*  Acrylic Flat Black paint (I use Tamiya Paints pretty much exclusively).

*  Scheme specific paint (ie Interior green, RLM 66....you get the idea)....

*  Masking tape.

*  Testor's Gloss Coat.

*  Testor's Dull Coat.

*  Lacquer Thinner.

*  An acrylic wash. 

*  Isopropyl "Rubbing" alcohol (I use 91% from any drug store) or your paint thinner of choice.

*  Enamel based silver for drybrushing.

*  A metallic silver Sharpie.

*  Airscale instrument decals (optional)...

First, here's my paint mixing "system".  I mix all my paints in these palettes with cheap Testors paint brushes.  I keep my Alcohol and Lacquer thinner in pump bottles which I dispense into the palette as needed.  It works great for me and paint never gets wasted. 

I will use my SBD-3 Dauntless build as a walkthrough pictoral..

1.  Prime the cockpit pieces in flat black (I use Tamiya Acrylic XF-1 cut with 91 Isopropyl).  This is the base for a "shadow" effect. TIP: I attach mine to a clothes pin with Blue Tac for easy painting and handling.

2.  Spray the base color, interior green, RLM 66, RAF green, for whichever subject your building.  I normally use Tamiya Acrylics because I have good control with them, but here I am using Gunze Aqueous with their own thinner because I like their Interior Green (I use their Olive Drab and RLM colors too but thats another story).  Use low pressure and sort of fill it in slowly to create shadows in the crevices.  There is no rush here. Here I'm using Gunze Interior Green thinned with Tamiya X-20.    

Here you can see the shadowing effect.  Much better than spraying grey plastic green.  

3.  Tape off the boxes and such then spray them NATO black (XF-69) or something similar.  This can be tedious but I like the results.  EDIT:  Truthfully, as of late, I've been lazy and hand paint these in.  Just dilute it slightly with 91% Isoprophyl to avoid brush strokes.  Capillary action will carry the paint where needed.  I'll now admit that there is little difference once finished with the process.

Paint other boxes too.  It adds visual interest...this box may or may not be brown.  That said, if you have photographic reference, by all means use it.  

4.  Like above, silver is also an eye catcher.  Take your silver of choice and paint some boxes to draw the eye in.  You can also use a metallic silver "Sharpie" and hit the little knobs and dials.  I find this easier than using a brush and it works on seat belt buckles too.  

Some of these knobs are then picked out with Tamiya Flat Red and Yellow with a toothpick to also draw in the eye. 

5.  Its drybrushing time. Use silver enamel on the black boxes I suppose you can use acrylics but I have better luck in the drybrushing technique with enamels.  Dust some of the raised details, such as the seat corners, floor and rudder pedals, with the silver to simulate wear (I use Model Masters Chrome Silver or Floquil Old Silver). I usually go easy with the drybrushing, just enough to bring out the details. The I use a diluted postshade with XF-69 NATO Black and XF-64 Red Brown to weather it up a bit.

6.  Now we need a barrier between the paint and upcoming wash.  I still use the old Testors gloss and dull lacquers.  I have yet to find anything better.  Shoot everything with a coat of the gloss and allow it to cure for a few hours, or even overnight.  (NOTE:  I used to use Future for this, but for some reason their "new" formula sucks and won't cure for me.....just thought I would put that out there).  You may be able to use Model Master's enamel thinner too if the fumes are too much with Lacquer thinner.  I suppose I'm used to them.

7.  Once dry, it's washed with "The Detailer" which is a pre-made water soluable product I discovered a few years ago.  Just slop it on. 

It will look like this...

On a side note, I got mine at the LHS for like 4 bucks but you can get it here too http://www.thedetailer.net/.  I love this stuff and use it for all my washing needs.  I like to cut the black with a touch of brown.  After a short time, you can remove the excess with a damp paint brush.  I suppose you can use it over an acrylic clear, but I like it over the Testor's Gloss Coat.  I like how it dries fast too.  I've gone from sprue cutting to wash in one night several times.  

I then remove the excess with water with a brush.  Just fill a small bowl with water to rinse the brush. Let it stay in the grooves and cracks..

This is about right...

8.  Once I have the wash where I want it and the excess is removed, it's sealed with Testor's Dull Coat, cut again with Lacquer thinner. I try to leave an ever so slight sheen by adding a drop of the above gloss to it.  I just dont find a dead flat finish that appealing. 

Done!

9.  On another side note, the things that tend to change from subject-to-subject are the seat belts and instrument panels, which tend to depend on what I have available.  I generally prefer molded on seat belts like an Ultracast or True Details seat, but sometimes I'll just fire on a set of photo etch from my stash.  Regardless, it still gets the same treatment described above. A few seats...

Ultracast with molded belts (Corsair)

Kit Seat with Photo-etch belts (1/32 Corsair)...

Resin seat with Photo-etch belts (Fw 190 F-8)...

On instrument panels, I like a decal snuggled down with Micro-Sol.  Fortunately alot of kits nowadays offer this option on the decal sheet.  Tamiya's P-47 has the best I've seen so far in this regard (see below).  Other times I have to go old fashioned painting then drybrushing the dials. Then I add Airscale individual decals.  This is my NEW preferred method.  Heres's a few instrument panels...

Drybrushing, paint, then Airscale decaling (1/48 Tamiya Spitfire).  

Instrument decal (1/48 Tamiya P-47)...

Paint then kit decal (1/48 Hasegawa Fw 190 A-8

Paint then Airscale decals once again (1/48 Tamiya Corsair)..

Paint with Airscale decals (1/48 Mosquito)....see a pattern yet?

 

 

 

I figured I'd end with a few cockpits.  Here are some examples of my typical results with the above process:

1/48 Tamiya Spitfire Mk I.  Out of the box except for Airscale decals and Photoetch seat belts

1/48 Tamiya P-47D (Out of the box with an Photoetch seatbelts and decal instrument panel)...

1/32 Hasegawa Bf 109 G-6  (Out of the box with fabric seat belts)...

1/32 Tamiya P-51D completely out of the box except for seatbelts.

Well...that's about it.  Its not a definitive method by any means but it works for me.  Like I mentioned, I've been know to get one nearly finished in one evening at the bench.  Of course, your mileage may vary...

Joe 

 

 "Can you fly this plane and land it?...Surely you can't be serious....I am serious, and don't call me Shirley"

 

 

 

 

  • Member since
    December 2006
  • From: Phoenix, AZ
Posted by Fly-n-hi on Wednesday, September 11, 2013 9:29 AM

Nice!  Thanks for sharing!

  • Member since
    January 2013
Posted by BlackSheepTwoOneFour on Wednesday, September 11, 2013 9:43 AM

Very nice. Perhaps this is worthy of a sticky?

  • Member since
    May 2013
  • From: Indiana, USA
Posted by Greg on Wednesday, September 11, 2013 10:24 AM

EXCELLENT! Thank you so much for taking the time to create and post this, Joe.

Hardcopy coming off the printer now, will be at the bench shortly. Please excuse the copyright violation. :)

-Greg

G-J
  • Member since
    July 2012
Posted by G-J on Friday, September 13, 2013 7:20 PM

Awesome post!

Thanks for sharing.

On the bench:  Tamyia Mosquito Mk. VI for the '44 group build.  Yes, still.

On deck: 

  • Member since
    October 2004
  • From: Mesa, AZ
Posted by jschlechty on Friday, September 13, 2013 7:47 PM

Nice work - thanks for sharing!  I will also save these pics for reference in future builds.

  • Member since
    February 2012
  • From: Olmsted Township, Ohio
Posted by lawdog114 on Friday, September 13, 2013 8:52 PM

Your all welcome and thanks for the kind words...

Joe

 "Can you fly this plane and land it?...Surely you can't be serious....I am serious, and don't call me Shirley"

 

 

 

 

  • Member since
    February 2011
  • From: Bent River, IA
Posted by Reasoned on Friday, September 13, 2013 9:47 PM

Let's see, between your top notch office detail and flawless paint jobs you need to compile a book!  Heck, you're even getting the antenna wire down. Wink

Science is the pursiut of knowledge, faith is the pursuit of wisdom.  Peace be with you.

On the Tarmac: 1/48 Revell P-38

In the Hanger: A bunch of kits

  • Member since
    August 2012
  • From: Parker City, IN.
Posted by Rambo on Friday, September 13, 2013 11:01 PM

Thanks for sharing, this is some very excellent work

Clint

  • Member since
    August 2013
Posted by Jsmyth on Saturday, September 14, 2013 7:34 AM

Great tutorial!!! I have never dry brushed or any thing like that. I will have to give this a try on my Airfix 1/48 BF109

Thanks Lawdog

  • Member since
    March 2012
  • From: Corpus Christi, Tx
Posted by mustang1989 on Saturday, September 14, 2013 8:17 AM

This is now printed off and put in my modeling tips binder. Thanks Joe!!

                   

 

  • Member since
    January 2012
  • From: Hatfield
Posted by Misty on Saturday, September 14, 2013 2:17 PM

This is the sort of stuff i come here for. Excellent.

  • Member since
    February 2003
Posted by Jim Barton on Tuesday, September 17, 2013 2:24 PM

Nice! I like it!

"Whaddya mean 'Who's flying the plane?!' Nobody's flying the plane!"

  • Member since
    June 2012
Posted by Compressorman on Wednesday, September 18, 2013 2:11 PM

Thanks for taking the time to post this excellant tutorial. Your cockpits look Bow Down Wow

  • Member since
    August 2007
Posted by adb2323 on Thursday, September 19, 2013 9:22 AM

Thanks for the great tutorial! Do you use The Detailer wash for speed or finish quality or both? I do a lot of military modeling, so have collected Mig and AK enamal washes. Have you ever use them?

  • Member since
    February 2012
  • From: Olmsted Township, Ohio
Posted by lawdog114 on Thursday, September 19, 2013 7:57 PM

adb2323

Thanks for the great tutorial! Do you use The Detailer wash for speed or finish quality or both? I do a lot of military modeling, so have collected Mig and AK enamal washes. Have you ever use them?

Thanks for all the compliments everyone.  I stumbled upon The Detailer wash at my LHS after the owner recommended I try it....and I really haven't looked back.  I like it because its really easy to use and the results are fantastic to my eye.   Prior to this, I used Windsor Newton "cottman" water based paint thinned with water.  I've never tried the MIG or AK products.  I would imagine there would be little room for error with an oil based wash no?

Joe

Joe.  

 "Can you fly this plane and land it?...Surely you can't be serious....I am serious, and don't call me Shirley"

 

 

 

 

  • Member since
    December 2002
  • From: USA
Posted by jbherri2 on Wednesday, September 25, 2013 8:40 AM

This needs to be a "sticky" somewhere!  Great stuff!

  • Member since
    February 2012
  • From: Olmsted Township, Ohio
Posted by lawdog114 on Wednesday, November 2, 2016 3:33 AM
I get alot of questions about my cockpit techniques, so I figured I'd bump this one up with a few updated pics...thanks again for all the kind words. I hope this info is helpful.

 "Can you fly this plane and land it?...Surely you can't be serious....I am serious, and don't call me Shirley"

 

 

 

 

  • Member since
    March 2012
  • From: Corpus Christi, Tx
Posted by mustang1989 on Wednesday, November 2, 2016 6:29 AM

I always like reading this one. Good stuff. Yes

                   

 

  • Member since
    February 2007
  • From: Brunswick, Ohio
Posted by Buckeye on Wednesday, November 2, 2016 11:32 AM

I have this bookmarked, if I could only get it to come out like this.Bang Head  Thanks so much for taking the time to post this again.  You get done in one evening what takes me weeks.Toast  Going to give this a try on the 1/32 Bf109G-10 I just started.

 

Mike

  • Member since
    January 2015
Posted by BrandonD on Wednesday, November 2, 2016 4:56 PM

Thanks for posting this, Joe. I really, really like the way your cockpits come out, and I will be stealing a few of these techniques. I feel like I've used most of them, but you execute them so much better it's not even close.

I have a bottle of The Detailer, but when I was initially using it as a panel line wash, it kept coming up too easily for my liking, and I went with Flory products after that. But I was using a damp cloth napkin (what I still use with Flory). I'll have to give the paintbrush a try and see how that works out.

Thanks again!

-BD-

  • Member since
    February 2012
  • From: Olmsted Township, Ohio
Posted by lawdog114 on Wednesday, November 2, 2016 6:42 PM
Thanks guys. Indeed Brandon, Detailer is not good for panel lines, but I find that it works great for this purpose..it works in gear wells too.

 "Can you fly this plane and land it?...Surely you can't be serious....I am serious, and don't call me Shirley"

 

 

 

 

  • Member since
    December 2016
Posted by JohnMatt on Thursday, December 14, 2017 6:35 PM
When Photobucket canned free accounts, immense chunks of shared knowledge evaporated with it. Can this tutorial be recreated somehow? I'd love to see it.
  • Member since
    May 2016
Posted by Hobbie on Friday, December 15, 2017 3:48 AM

Damn I printed it but didn't saved it...
Maybe I can scan it and make it a PDF... I'll see about that.

Arguing with an engineer is like wrestling with a pig in the mud : after a while, you realize the pig likes it.

  • Member since
    March 2015
  • From: Streetsboro, Ohio
Posted by Toshi on Friday, December 15, 2017 4:13 AM

Thank you so much! 

Your friend, Toshi

On The Bench: Revell 1/48 B-25 Mitchell

 

Married to the most caring, loving, understanding, and beautiful wife in the world.  Mrs. Toshi

 

 

  • Member since
    February 2012
  • From: Olmsted Township, Ohio
Posted by lawdog114 on Saturday, December 16, 2017 10:53 PM

JohnMatt
Can this tutorial be recreated somehow? I'd love to see it.
 

Hello John, I will update this thread with new pictures on my next cockpit. I have two Bf 109s and a P-51 scheduled for build soon. Thank you for your interest in my work. 

 "Can you fly this plane and land it?...Surely you can't be serious....I am serious, and don't call me Shirley"

 

 

 

 

  • Member since
    February 2005
  • From: Cleveland, OH
Posted by RadMax8 on Saturday, December 16, 2017 11:56 PM

Hey man, you’re doing the whole modeling community a massive service by updating this. Thank you, my friend!

  • Member since
    May 2016
Posted by Hobbie on Monday, December 18, 2017 1:45 AM

Here's the original one!

 

PDF format.

Hope it will help ;-)  Thanks Joe!

Arguing with an engineer is like wrestling with a pig in the mud : after a while, you realize the pig likes it.

  • Member since
    February 2012
  • From: Olmsted Township, Ohio
Posted by lawdog114 on Monday, December 18, 2017 9:31 PM
Nice! Thanks Hobbie!

 "Can you fly this plane and land it?...Surely you can't be serious....I am serious, and don't call me Shirley"

 

 

 

 

  • Member since
    February 2012
  • From: Olmsted Township, Ohio
Posted by lawdog114 on Sunday, March 18, 2018 8:03 PM
I finally got around to fixing this turkey. I added a few small things, took some out, but I think it's improved overall....

 "Can you fly this plane and land it?...Surely you can't be serious....I am serious, and don't call me Shirley"

 

 

 

 

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