I have to admit that this isn’t my favorite part of painting RC models. Don’t know why, I guess because it is pretty tedious and there isn’t much creativity to it. I’ve painted several “stars & bars” on models and have always looked for a better, faster way. I don’t know if this is the fastest way, but it seems to go okay. This being stars without the bars made this job a little easier.
First I draw the insignia out to size I need in Adobe Illustrator (a computer illustration program). Then print it out and use that as a guide to cut the shapes out of Low Tack Airbrush frisket. I needed a sheet for each color. 1) One big circle for the dark blue background, 2) One star & 3) one circle for the red ball.
One little thing I overheard “hangar-flying” at the airfield, is the use of “registration pins” that some custom template cutters use. I wasn’t sure how they worked so I tried it my way. Essentially I made two cross-hairs on each sheet that registered with the original artwork. The pins were then pushed through the original art and positioned on the plane. I taped these in place and every time I put a sheet of frisket
I have to confess that I did mess-up. After completing the first insignia on the fuselage, it just didn’t look right. I got out the original picture and kept comparing and it was just too small! Rats! How did I do that, I measured the insignia from the 3-views and didn’t double-check them against the original photo! It is interesting to me how inaccurate some of the references are out there in terms of plans and three-views.
Of course I couldn’t leave it that way, it would have bugged the heck out of me. So I got out the steel wool and lightly sanded down the edges of the paint and then hit those edges with the color of the aircraft to fade out the different colors so they wouldn’t be visible when over-painted with the new insignia. Turns out, it was only 1/2” too small, but now it looks right.
You can see there is a small bit of touch up to do where the paint blew under the frisket. This happened because this isn’t a smooth surface, remember the rivets! I’ll just touch it up some later. Some of the guys reminded me that these insignia were never perfect on the full-scale aircraft either. Hmmm, maybe this is more scale?!
On to the rudder. I was really looking forward to this because of the red striped tail which should be pretty dramatic on this model. I spaced out 13 equal spaces on the tail and masked them off. I used Tamiya model tape which must obviously be made with gold because it cost so much! But it does a fine job of not letting paint blow under it. The blue tape was regular 3M for delicate surfaces. I learned long ago to never skimp on masking tape. Good masking tape is the secret to a good paint job.
I thought the blue & gold color scheme was kind of cool looking.
It is always a little bit like unwrapping a present when unmasking something like this.
And the results were GOOD!
Whew! All insignia are on the model. I discovered on thing at the end of this project that will come in handy (would have come in VERY handy on this project if I had discovered it when I started). When using frisket over large bumps or rivets hit it with a heat gun and it will "relax" the frisket to conform to the irregular surface. It looks like it is melting but if you don't go crazy it will just become very flexible and conform very well.