Simulating a corrugated metal finish by painting
One of the aspects that worried me about finishing the Boeing F4B-2
was how I was going to reproduce the corrugations on the tail surfaces
and ailerons. At one point I was considering gluing thread to the
surface, but decided this would be heavy, very boring to do, and could
come out looking hairy. Home-made corrugated paper was another
possibility, but this would have been difficult to produce, and heavy
again. Eventually I decided to have a go at spraying them on.
Taking the tail components, as an example, these were first airbrushed
with a light coat of matt white enamel, thinned with cellulose
thinners. When dry, the outlines (which are free of corrugations)
were masked with thin strips of paper masking tape.
The parts were taped down to a board around the edges, so the paint
could only reach the centre areas of the tail units.
A mask was cut from a piece of thin card, consisting of lots of thin
slits, 1 mm wide, spaced 1 mm apart. (I doubt very much whether this
is scale corrugation spacing, but seemed to create the right effect!)
You will need a sharp knife and a steel rule for this. The slits
should be long enough to cover the largest part you want to paint.
There is no point in making the slits too long, as they become more
prone to waviness the longer they are.
The mask was positioned over the part to be sprayed using a piece of
tape along one edge only. This allows you to lift it up during
spraying to see how things are looking. If a bit more contrast
is needed, drop the mask back down, and spray a bit more.
With the white base colour, I found you needed only a very light shade
of grey to get a nice effect. The card mask does not have to fit
tightly down on the surface - a bit of overspray actually makes it
look better. Also, mist the paint on really gently, and build up
gradually until you are happy with the contrast.
Each component was painted in turn, allowed to dry, then turned over
on the board, and the reverse side sprayed the same way. The full
effect is only obvious once the masking around the outline of the
parts is removed - the contrast between the smooth and "corrugated"
sections was most pleasing. The photo below is a bit washed out -
the stripes are rather more obvious on the real parts.
Afterwards, the same mask was used for the ailerons (using dark yellow)
, then put away in a safe place for possible future use.
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