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painting black aircraft


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hy guys well as the title says how to go about painting an aircraft black without risking it looks like a toy :)

also how would you do the panel lines on a totaly black aircraft :)


boy I hope this isnt one of those stupid Q's :) ;)

Greetz STB

Frederick Jacobs

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To U about painting a Plane Black,

This can be a touchy deal as to black or any other color to which can happen when u prep the surface as to painting said A/C.The following is what can or could happen.But the first is what can happen.

1.Prepping the whole deal with lighter fhild or a tac rag cleans off dirt,dust from sanding bondo or spot putty.

2.Then a wash of lighter fluid will really clean off the surface and reuse tac rag here again.And even if u do these correct.U just might get lint or hair or any type of foreign matter to butt.If one is using an airbrush.Blow it off again and again as to starting the painting process.

3.Use the tac rag again for final wipe down.Again,And even if u have a paint booth.Dust still can or anyhting in the hair land on u'er project.

4.U can start painting any time now.

5.Let paint set up for about an hour as to set up time.All paints have a base that will attack the surface as to adhereing to the surface u'er painting.And that goes for any type of primer one what use before painting said A/C.

6.Depending on the black u use as to a flat or semi gloss or high gloss black.Black is Black regardless of what plane u'er painting.

7.Letting said subject to dry at least 24-48 hours and to handeling said subject.It's a feel and touch deal.But at 48 hours.Paint should be dry.But rule of thumb.Subject should set up for alonger bit of time as to a week.This allows the paint to settle down on the surface and to give the paint a time to relax and to cause no shrinking on the surface.

8.Yes,I said shrinking.Painted cars for a livivng awhile back and when the paint doesn't adhere to the surface and starts reciding.Then u have a BIG problem and u'll have to let the paint super dry for about two weeks and resand the whole deal and reshoot it and do the above all over again.

9.U do not want to over paint.(to much paint cause runs).That again for black can cause really big problems and ruin u'er whole day.

10.Last thing is that 99.9% of any paint job is PREP Work.No other way to say it.Hope this helps out.Larry

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Good question.


I encountered a similar problem when I did a SBD Dauntless last year and it was dark blue pretty much all over. I tried using a lighter blue pastel chalk over the panel lines and varied the matt coate over the top. Its not the best model in the world but its at least not monochromatic.


TC mentioned avoiding that monochromatic look in his MM review of the Trumpeter SBD. .Maybe..some hints there perhaps.


Chris's F6F5 'in the work's seems to also have avoided that toy look with even with one homogenous dark colour.


So I'd say maybe a combination of:

Panel lines with a lighter colour pastel

Varying shades of black ( some blue or grey mixed in)

Varying finish from smooth to matte.

Paint chipping


Any other ideas?


Cheers Matty

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Don't know much about pannellines.


But the F-117 doesn't have any so painting this Italeri model was a piece of cake. And it's the only jet I have in my collection.


I remember it gave some smiles to my face when I posted black squares as progress pics.

Everyone going "All I see is a black sqaure" " There's something wrong with your camera " etc...


Being a stealth plane...get it ?


BTW,it's brushpainted.


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I HATE brush painting black! it always turn out nice when the paint is wet. but when its dry its ugly :D and even worse: painting matt black at gloss black aircrafts ;)



Erwin: your F-117 is looking Great! ;)




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the best results l ever got was with flat black. If l wanted a semi gloss or a gloss black l used flat black. I wold then spray it with gloss and it turns out much better, you would be surprise how the gloss changes the colour. If you want semi gloss then spray semi gloss on top of that after decaling. When l was painting trains for people on the side l found this is the best way to get a good black for some engines


hacker :D ;)

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When doing RAF bombers I tend to use a mix between night black, coal black and flat black with a touch of medium/dark blue added. I wll sometimes do the fuselage flat black, the underside of the wings night black and the engines and tail planes coal black then gloss varnish, apply the decals and weather with a dark grey and finally seal with a matt varnish. There isn't much variation in the end but I think it's better than using the same shade.



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l remember an experiment done during the war that found that gloss black was better hiding an aircraft against the night sky reason why the P-61 and others where gloss) then flat black which oddly enough reflected light more and made the plane actually shiney. Go figure

hacker :D ;)

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When I do my Widows, and any other night fighter for that matter, I prime my model using automotive acrylic primer (grey).


I then use a can of automotive gloss black. Let the whole lot really harden for a week or two, then tee-cut/polish back the gloss black paint.


Add decals. Sometimes, depending on the decals, you can use setting solutions to bed them down on the model (although not generally necessary on a gloss black finish), and using clean white spirit thinners, it may be possible to remove all of the decal clear varnish carrier film, but leaves the decal design and colour - beware though, this does not work on all decals!


If the kit panel lines are recessed, apply your favoured method of colouring them, by whatever medium you prefer (I generally use dark grey - Panzer grey - Matt enamel for mine...it's easy to clean off when you are using car acrylic gloss paint :D).


Apply a coat of your preferred clear varnish to finish the model off. Semi-gloss represents a full-sized used gloss finish quite well, whilst a dead matt finish represents the early RAF night 'sooty' black well - a mixture of the two can provide interesting tonal contrast effects, as each reflects the light differently.


I colour my exhaust staining as a light grey background with very dark brown exhaust staining/plume (for a well used aircraft, or just the dark brown for a lightly used one).





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this depends on the plane! There're a lot of differences between the looks of a F-117, a Korea Tigercat and a BAe Hawk...


Accordingly, techniques may vary quite a lot... Some ideas:


- Use a light wash (such as a light brown one). I've already experminented this technique (many years ago) with excellent results to depict aged Marines dark blue Corsairs or Navy Hellcats. However, this is only applicable for some old and dirty-looking planes.


- Cheat: use different similar colors! Blacks may be colder (with a drop of blue or grey) or warmer (with a drop of red or dark brown) than "pure" black. You may use "post-it" masks to spray subtle nuances along panel lines for instance.


- Rely on weathering to avoid monotony. Check pictures as black planes are rarely overall black. some areas are generally more faded than others (such as upper wings), you've oily zones near moving parts, fuel spills near refuelling points, dust under the wings, behind the LG, etc. etc.


- Last but not least, planes are generally not flat ot gloss! Some area are gloss and others are flat whatever may be the original paint finish! Use polish cloth and micro-mesh to modify color brightness.


HTH :)

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