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Old 03-19-2010, 07:09 AM
P4Patti's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: BundabergQueensland, AUSTRALIA
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Default RE: Scale poseable pilot making

Thanks for the link Bob, the museums are one of the few places to get colour pics with their uniform displays. We have a friend going over to Tauranga in NZ soon and he is going to take pics of their flight suits and helmets on display for me.

Doc, the pic of Douglas Campbell in his ground uniform is a beauty. I personally like the dress uniforms rather than just a trench coat but the ultimate would be to do both.

I've been trying to come up with a figure of what one of these pilot pups would be worth from the time it takes. They're not your run of the mill sub $100 cockpit filler as you can see and there's nothing really I can find to compare it with so it's a bit difficult. I certainly enjoy making them and would like to see them gracing cockpits and hobby rooms but I'm not willing to do it for a couple of dollars an hour. Like all scale builds it's the detail that makes them better than the average but it's that detail that takes the time - like the the pleated shirt pockets and pocket flaps, trouser belt keepers to keep the belt in place, shoulder epaulettes, wings, badges .....

What would someone be willing to pay for that sort of time consuming detail?

But as an indication of what I'm thinking on price - a poseable, light body with a pair of arms, hand or gloves, a pair of boots and one of our existing heads (suggestions for popular heads would be welcome) $200, and then $150 to paint all the parts. The clothing/uniform making is extremely time consuming but I'd be happy to supply the patterns as I develop them. There is a reasonable range in 1/6 scale very cheaply from China but not much in the other scales unfortunately.

I believe that the body mould is fantastic as it is like a sculpted, shaped body and that gives the clothing shape, fit and form making the figure realistic and in proportion. I've used the wire in the past and wrapped it with padding but it didn't give the shape that I've now got.

Once the face likeness has been created and the mould made from the machined plug the relatively simple process of casting can be done. From this you get a basic, white, hollow, polyurethane resin shape. This has to be cleaned, prepped, primed and then I like to cover the grey primer with a white undercoat to give a light base to put the skin colour onto. I airbrush a very light mist of my skin colour made from mixing white, yellow ochre and burnt sienna (these colours make a more realistic skin tone than red, yellow and white) and build up very light layers. With the airbrush paints, because they are so thin and watery you'll find that if you apply them too fast you can get droplets on the surface instead of an even misting. By building up very thin layers you can achieve a lovely realistic look rather than brushing with a bristle brush and using washes in creases and wiping off excess. To the base skin colour I add more burnt sienna and deepen shadow areas with a VERY light mist of paynes grey. Be careful with this or you can end up making him looked bruised! Paynes grey is much more subtle than using black and is good for the edges of caps goggles to give a 3D effect. As it goes over the burnt sienna it actually looks brown not blue. For the lip colour I use burnt umber and white, and possibly a little burnt sienna but never red or pink! The eyes are a whole thing which I wont start on now but if anyone wants tips I'm happy to help.

We've just made a new 1/4 scale body and thinned this one down a little. The first one was a bit bulky and we didn't think 1940's pilots looked like gym junkies I've had to adjust the clothing slightly to fit so am making a completely new Tom and we've cut a new head with headphones on. The pics are the very beginnings of the new head with a mist of base skin colour on and also a screen capture of the 3D model Tom was created from.

Eric's head was also too big for the previous body, he looked a bit like a Thunderbird puppet! He's going to be remade as well and Tom tells me that Eric's moustache was a sandy colour and not dark like I'd painted it. It's great to have that sort of first hand knowledge.

Will keep you posted.

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