After getting the paint just right, we now go over it and make it look like it is flaking off! Is this a crazy hobby or what? All in the name of making a model look like the real thing.
Getting the paint to look like it is flaking off is not very easy. Some use an undercoat of silver and sand off the paint over it to give it the worn look. To me, paint on aircraft doesn’t flake off smoothly, unless a there is a consistent wearing agent on the paint, like feet on walkways and arms resting on window rails.
I think to get the most realistic paint flakes, you have to paint them in. I use two techniques. The first works very well for very small chips in the paint and it produces a very random effect.
I dip plain old steel wool, (steel wool in comes in several grades, I use coarse for large size models), in a little puddle of steel paint - don’t use silver, it is too bright, you want the chipped off area to look like it has been there a while. Steel paint looks more like oxidized metal and more natural. After dipping the steel wool in steel paint, pat it on a piece of cardboard or cloth, to get the excess off of the wool. Then pat the steel wool on the surface you want to have paint chipped. Vary your angle and keep rotating the steel wool to keep it random.
The second technique is a little more time consuming and it is more tedious. I use a “liner” brush and steel enamel model paint and just paint the chips in. The liner brush adds to the linear effect I see in a lot of chipped away areas of paint and if kind of “scribbled” along the surface the brush will give you a random effect.
Just keep in mind what effect may be happening on the aircraft. On the leading edges of the cowl and wings, the paint will chip more with the flow of the wind due to rocks, grit and bugs, that knock the paint loose. On panels on the side of the fuse, the paint chips on edges and runs along the panel lines. Hatches get some use, so around the edges the paint will flake and sometimes the panels get thrown on the ground and get scratched. Also, paint peels away from rivets, so to get that effect, you have to paint steel around the rivets. Keep all this in mind and paint with a purpose, but also keep it random. Hmmm. Its kind of like patting your head and rubbing your belly, but after a bit, you get the hang of it. When in doubt, check your reference. Note the slot between the “T” and “W”. A little step will be glued in place here. I chipped the paint away to simulate worn paint from the side of the pilots shoe continually rubbing against the fuselage as he gets in and out of the aircraft.