Our Guide to Model Planes

Aviation collectors and hobbyists alike are sure to love a model aircraft project. However, aside from purchasing the aircraft model set, it can be difficult to know what to do with it next. In this guide, we’ll take you through every aspect of an aircraft model project from how to paint a model plane, to how to display your model plane (or model plane collection!) and even how to clean and maintain your model aircraft.

How To Paint a Model Aircraft

There are a few things to consider when painting a model plane – if you want your project to look tip-top then there’s a bit more to it than simply applying paint wherever you like! From primer to paint, decals to finishing coats, it’s important that you take your time with each aspect of painting your model plane.

  1. Apply a primer to begin with – this will help you to cut down on the number of coats of paint needed (saving you from covering finer details with thick paint) and will help you to identify any flaws in the construction before you finish painting properly
  2. Once dry, wipe your model plan with a damp cloth
    Decide which paint you want to use – acrylic paint has the advantage of being easier to tidy up (water cleanup) whereas enamel paint can provide a tougher finish that withstands buffing
  3. Make sure that you properly ventilate the area and wear appropriate respiratory protection before you begin painting
  4. Secure your model aircraft, when working with sprays or airbrushes the model may move, causing you to make a mistake
  5. Use spray paint or an airbrush to apply your base colours – this minimises the risk of uneven coverage. Be aware that using an airbrush gives you a more precise line!
  6. Apply detail to your model plane using a paintbrush – you may wish to invest in a variety of brush sizes to suit the size of the detailing
  7. Leave your model to dry and test the dryness of the paint by seeing if you can dent the paint with a fingernail (if you can, leave it to dry for longer)
  8. Apply any decals provided in your model aircraft kit
  9. Once the decals are dry, finish your model plane with an overall coat of clear paint (you decide whether you want flat, semi-gloss, or gloss paint)

How To Weather a Model Aircraft

If you’re wanting to achieve a more realistic look, you may wish to add weathering to your model plane. You can easily add a little flight-time wear and tear to your model aircraft to make the model look much more authentic. Why not try some of these weathering tricks on your model aircraft?

  • Give your model plane a silver undercoat then sand off some of your topcoat of paint to give the plane a worn look using the effect of paint chips flaking off the wings
  • Duplicate the wearing down of the wing walks by creating a worn-down pattern using masking tape
  • Crumble some pastel chalk in black and brown and dip a fine paintbrush then gently apply a little smudging along the lines of the aircraft to give the effect of shadows – you can buy pre-mixed weathering powders, but pastel chalk works just as well!

How To Display a Model Aircraft

Once you’re finished your project, you need to work out how you might like to display your model aircraft in your home. There are a few ways you can do this:

    • Model Plane Display Stands – display stands mean that you have the greatest amount of versatility when it comes to where you want to place your model planes. With a display stand, you can place your model aircraft on a desk, on a window sill, on a shelf or bookcase, and move them between locations for your convenience
    • Model Plane Diorama – for those that really want to create a realistic setting, aircraft model accessories can help you to create a full picture using a model runway, model airport structures, model airport vehicles and more!
    • Model Aircraft Display Wall – if you have multiple model aircrafts, you may wish to create a display wall. Choose a wall that you’d like to turn into a display and line the wall with shelves or brackets that can support your model planes
    • Suspended Model Aircrafts – alternatively, you may wish to suspend your model planes from the ceiling so you can get a 360-degree look at them and provide a realistic setting for your models.

How To Hang a Model Aircraft From The Ceiling

One of the most popular yet trickiest ways to display a model aircraft is to suspend them from the ceiling. While you can use blu tack or thumb tacks for your ceiling fixture, a more professional alternative is to attach a hook to the ceiling.

  • Attach a hook to the ceiling
  • Decide on the position of your model plane (is it flying straight, nose diving, climbing?)
  • Cut three lengths of fishing line to attach to both wings and either the front or the rear of the plane depending on the chosen position
  • Loop the free ends of the fishing wire into a knot and fix to the ceiling hook

How To Clean a Model Aircraft

If your model plan is out on display, chances are that over time it’ll be subject to a gathering of dust! Some aircraft models may have nooks and crannies that can’t be reached with a cursory dusting, so if you want to keep your model aircraft sparkling clean we recommend using a damp cloth to gently wipe away any dust that may have gathered.

Looking for a new model aircraft for your collection? Browse our selection of aircraft models here at Flightstore.

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