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Old 03-08-2014, 10:07 AM   #1
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Simple Scale Exhaust Techniques

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All this poor winter weather we have had in southern Ontario over the past few months has provided ample time to spend in the workshop. With most EDFs available now being ARFs or RTFs that build rather quickly, what else to do but add some detailing. So I thought I would share with you a quick and easy way to add some personal detail to your latest project, whether small or large. One of the projects that I have been working on this winter is an EFlite Phantom. I came across one of these models at the reduced priced so I could not pass it up. Unfortunately the reason for the reduced price is because EFlite has discontinued this kit. For those unfamiliar with this kit the quality and workmanship is outstanding. Hopefully they will be producing more jet kits in the future. One of the trends that I have seen with all the EDFs that I have purchased over the past two years is that manufactures seem to be getting better at adding scale realism to their models. But in all my experiences they unfortunately seem to be neglecting what I think is the most important part of the aircraft, the business end of the jet, the exhaust section. In almost all cases they just glue on either a silver or black exhaust nozzle. The Phantom was no exception and was crying out for some detailing in this area. So with that in mind here is a couple of techniques that you can use to make this area a little more appealing to the eye.

The first technique I used is the addition of rivets. Riveting is a technique that has been around for years and one that I have used on many of my Warbirds over my 30 years in the hobby. If you google it you will find numerous techniques but let me save you the time as I have spent many hours experimenting with different types of glues (white, epoxy, ca, etc) and methods of application (syringes, various needle diameters, etc). I have found that the best no fail method is to use a round tooth pick and Formula 560 canopy glue.

Aircraft preparation - The first thing you need to do is to layout where you want to run the line of rivets. I used pin stripe tape as a reference which was later replaced with edging tape when I was ready to spray the finished project. Once you have your reference line, use a pencil and ruler to mark rivet intervals. This is dependent on the scale of the aircraft but I used 1/4 inch spacing. Also mark them about 1/8 inch back from the reference tape so the glue will not bleed into the tape. The pencil dots are only reference because once you start applying the rivets you will find that you may want to change the location of them or add more in certain areas.

Application - Once you have your reference pencil dots put some glue in a small mixing cup so you can easily dip the tooth pick in. Using a round tooth pick allows you to pinpoint the application location. The depth you dip the tooth pick into the glue will ultimately determine the size of the rivet. Once the glue is on the tooth pick just touch the location on the model and the glue will slowly run onto your reference spot and form a nice round rivet.

Glue - As I indicated after much research I have found the Formula 560 to be the best glue for this job. It does not shrink so the size of the rivet on application will be the same size when it has dried. The glue's viscosity is such that no watering down or thinning is required. Also as the glue dries clear, you do not have to paint them. The best thing is that the glue is water based and workable for up to one hour. If after applying a row of rivets, you find one that is not acceptable, you can simply use a wet paper towel to wipe it away and then reapply. You can also add more glue after the initial application to increase the size.

Exhaust Nozzle - The next area to consider is the actual nozzle cone. Again there are multiple ways to add some scale details to the nozzle vanes including, pencil lines, air brushing vanes, applying metal or plastic covering (as demonstrated by POGO in Big Bug thread) and brushing vanes. I have found that the quickest and easiest way to add some detail with little work is the brushing method. I used this on both the Phantom and a Starmax F18. The technique includes applying a base coat of color, usually silver or black and the apply the second color on top once the base is dry. The important thing is that once you have applied the second color and before it is fully dry use a brushing pattern starting at the cone attachment point to the exhaust exit with thinner. As you do this it will slowly pull the top coat off in streaks leaving a vanning effect. If you have a steady hand, you can use a square tip brush and as you brush towards the exhaust just slowly turn the brush to get a thicker vane at the exhaust end. In the end if you don't like the look of your finish just apply more paint and do it again. The best thing about these techniques is that it is the exhaust and is suppose to look dirty.

Happy detailing.

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Old 03-08-2014, 10:34 AM   #2
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I am: Eric K.
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Re: Simple Scale Exhaust Techniques

Good tips Marty
That last photo is a Starmax F18 exhaust.
Have you flown it yet?
Cheers Eric
Zen thinking * It's rebuildable till it fits back in the box. **
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