Contributing Editor: Les Morrow
Hello you are metallic finish reader
How many times have you admired bare metal airplanes & wished
you knew how to make a finish that looked like real aluminum, but wasn't hard to apply, didn't add a ton of unneeded weight like real metal, or cost a small fortune?
I know I've admired many all metal airplane models over the years
and always asked myself "How in the world do they do that?" Well in preparing a new racer for the Warbird racing scene, I discovered
a way to make a finish that looks like real aluminum, is lightweight, reasonable in cost, and is quick to do. Too good to be true you say? Well...keep reading and I'll tell you how I did it.
I'm very pleased with the result and intend to enter the airplane in static judging at Tucson, Az. Scale Warbird Racing Assn. race over
the Labor Day weekend, and think I will score well.
There are various ways to duplicate real metal on a chosen subject,
including real metal, aluminum tape, and various commercial type methods, but the easiest way I've found is to use Chrome Monokote®. Now, before you scale purists who shun the use of Monokote® for anything but a sport bird, start turning your noses up, keep reading and you may be surprised. I was very sceptical myself when my son suggested it, but decided to at least try it because of time constraints. I'm glad I did, because the result was certainly pleasing and fit the bill for a metal airplane quickly and cheaply.
The method I used to duplicate the P-51 World Jet Unlimited racer
follows and can be done by anyone who can apply Monokote®. The first thing you should do of course......(are you ready for this guys?)
is to finish out your model construction; making all hatches, fillets, cowlings, and so forth. Sand...() the model completely as you "normally do" with a combination of blocks and hand sanding.
Smooth the high spots and fill in the low spots using spackling or one of the balsa fillers on the market. After I finish "sanding" the airframe, I then "go back over it with at least 300 grit sandpaper"
to really smooth the surface.
Remember, any hole, seam, or other defect left will show through
the Monokote®, so fill them and sand them level until they can't
be seen. This is the single most important part of getting superior metallic finishes. Remember, real metal is somewhat (to say the
very least) reflective when it is in skylight and defects will really show up on a smooth "shiny" surface. When satisfied that the surface is as smooth as you can make it, you are ready to proceed
on to step two, (2).