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"Painting canopies" Topic

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captaincold6916 Aug 2019 8:46 p.m. PST

I've seen some amazing paint jobs, but the one thing (at leasr for me) that just stands out and POPS, is a nicely painted canopy.

Just bought some AiM Wilcats and Zeros and I start priming tomorrow.

So, all you amazing canopy painters, please…share your techniques!


Thresher0117 Aug 2019 6:32 a.m. PST

The first decision you need to make is whether you want to go light blue, dark gray, black, or other colors.

Personally, I generally go with dark gray, since in most of the photos I see, that seems to be the most predominant color.

In all cases, add a gloss coat over the finished paint to make it actually look like glass.

Lots of options for highlighting, accenting, etc..

I've even painted pilots and their helmets to the sides of a few canopies, just for grins F-8 Crusaders. Thought that turned out fairly well.

Good luck!

Toaster17 Aug 2019 1:07 p.m. PST

I find silver with a blue glaze simple and effective, white highlights can be added before or after the glaze to taste.


Personal logo Yellow Admiral Supporting Member of TMP17 Aug 2019 8:09 p.m. PST

I have dozens of AIM planes, and a few in 1/200 from other manufacturers.

My favorite canopies were painted by Kevin of, in grayscale (he mostly does bluescale, but I think the gray canopies look more realistic). His technique is basically a multi-step shading technique, starting with a near-black, and mixing in more white for each successive layer until he gets a blended dark-to-light effect, then he paints a reflective flare in white on some top corner.

Kevin's Canopies

I tried to repeat this technique, and while I think I could do it with practice, I'm much too lazy and short of time, so I developed a much simpler method. I paint my canopies a very dark silver, sometimes with a black wash. Later, after dullcoating the entire plane (once it's completely painted and decaled), I add a brush-on gloss coat back to the "glass" parts of the canopy. If you look closely at the canopy, the metalflake in the silver paint is not quite right, but from table combat distances, the effect is marvelous. The gloss and metalflake in the silver reflect little glints and flares light like real glass, and the overall dark gray of the canopy is about the same as the impression of a plane canopy from a distance, looking down.

Ix Canopies

Note: my dark silver method works on AIM planes because they have clearly delineated glazed panels with exaggerated raised canopy cage bars, all of which I find really easy to paint. It doesn't work very well on 1/300 planes, esp. from brands like the older Scotia and Navwar castings that just have engraved seams where the canopy bars would be. I think Kevin's technique would look far better on canopies like those.

- Ix

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