Over my past several builds, I’ve become increasingly disenchanted with my cockpits. Despite the usual weathering, they’ve all appeared too…clean.
So, with my current set of builds, I’ve determined to see if I can’t add some depth and variation from the get-go. There’s still a lot more I can do to add visual interest to the cockpits – busying them up with wiring and such – but this how-to is going to focus exclusively on laying down a base coat that, on its own, provides an added layer of depth and variation.
1. Paint it all black
Rather than spraying your main color over gray styrene or gray primer, lay down a black base coat first. For this B-25 I used Tamiya X-1 Gloss Black since I also had some Alclad to shoot, but you can use any black base, be it gloss, flat, or semi-gloss. Hell, bust out the satin if you’re feeling saucy.
2. Base coat that bastard
For this to work, I like my paint like I like my excuses – extremely thin, random and haphazard. Tamiya and Gunze paints work brilliantly, and Model Master enamels can hold up well, too*, but I would stay away from paints that don’t reduce well, such as Vallejo.
Spray with a light, tight spray pattern and slowly build up the color. Don’t try to cover all the black, though, since that’s your source of shading and depth.
Here we are midway through the process:
And done. Here’s the B-25 cockpit floor and seats:
…the P-51B cockpit floor…
…and the Dewoitine D.520 cockpit…
From this point, there’s obviously still a lot of work to be done to bring the cockpit home, but the added depth and shading offer a much better foundation to build from.
Try it for yourself and let me know how it works in the comments!
*Heavily-thinned Model Master enamels can tend to get a bit run-happy. You can tame them down a bit by adding some hotter lacquer thinner to the enamel thinner.