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Painting Scale Pilot Helmets

I put a outrageous volume of fact in a helmets of my Best Pilots commander total given a a greatest thing that’s beheld when your commander is sitting in a cockpit. Most moody helmets are leather and that’s what’s shown in a Dec 2011 emanate of MAN. The following technique works like sorcery in replicating leather of all kinds, though it works a best when your commander figure has leather hardness molded in a helmet. I’ve enclosed information here for doing a crash adult pursuit on WW2 Navy cloth moody helmets as well.

First paint a helmet, earphones and goggle frames prosaic black. When portrayal areas like this, it is quicker to paint where a black meets another tone with a excellent brush and afterwards fill in with a incomparable brush. Kind of like coloring within a lines in a coloring book. After all is embellished prosaic black and dry we are going to learn a technique called dry brushing.

Dry Brushing is a sincerely easy technique to prominence lifted detail. A middle soothing prosaic brush works perfectly. Mine is all twisted out during a ends from use, that indeed creates it work better. The pretence is to not let a lot of paint come off a brush.  To assistance this, usually hardly dump a tip of your brush into a paint. You usually wish about a 1/16 of an in. of paint on brush.

In this instance, a tone we are going to paint Sailor’s leather helmet is, uh, MMA Leather. After dipping your brush ever so somewhat into a leather paint, brush it on an aged purify T-shirt until there is roughly no paint entrance off a brush. (If we have visitors in your portrayal area, be certain to use an aged T-shirt and not underwear… for apparent reasons.) Lightly drive a brush opposite a area to be leather. Magic starts to occur and a black helmet starts to demeanour usually like leather. For a darker leather helmet, use reduction paint and for a some-more brownish-red leather helmet use more. This technique takes a many time, though it is a many rewarding for a picturesque outcome achieved.

Navy Helmets

The Best Pilots Pappy Boyington figure uses an altogether opposite technique given WW2 Navy/Marine drifting helmets were done of cloth not leather. But we do use a Dry Brush technique to get a earcups to demeanour like leather that residence a headphones.

To get Pappy’s helmet to demeanour real, initial paint a cloth area MMA Dark Tan. To move out a detail, we request a wash.

-Washes- A rinse is simply thinned down paint that is really watery. This allows a colouring to run into reduce areas like stitches, ridges and seams to make that fact “pop”. we detected a really useful rinse that works a bit improved than plain water. We’ll call it Best Pilot’s Wash. To make, brew slowly- no froth – 5 tools H2O and 1 partial Future building gloss in an dull medicine bottle or identical container. The Future is a well-used enchanting glass used by excellent scale modelers for years, and they are still finding new uses for this glass in modeling. Check it out online. The things is pristine acrylic so it mixes good with MMA Acyrlic paint. When used in Best Pilot’s Wash, it tends to let a paint colouring settle into a crevices improved and not climb behind out like it would if regulating plain water. That’s my speculation anyway. Only drawback, if there is one, is it leaves a glossy aspect that will be corrected after with a prosaic pure coat.


Take a dump or dual of Best Pilot’s Wash and supplement usually a little dump of burnt umber so that we get a light brownish-red pure puddle. Take that and rinse it over Pappy’s helmet, holding caring to make certain it flows in all seams and NOT over a face or skin areas. You gotta be clever with that. I’ve beheld that a pilots in a South Pacific had distinguished persperate stains around a goggles on their helmets. Something to do with drifting and fighting in a pleasant sourroundings tends to make one sweat! To grasp this effect, simply rinse a covering of burnt umber and Best Pilots Wash in those areas. Usually about 3 layers will get a effect.

MASTER TIP- Dry Brushing brings out lifted areas of fact and mimics highlighting and fading. Washes brings out recessed areas of sum and mimics shadows. Drybrush = light, Washes = Shadow

To finish a helmet, we can easily dry brush a bit of light tan on a seams and straps that reason a goggles on. This creates those sum mount out practically and adds to a some-more formidable tone variation.


Straps – The goggle straps on Sailor were a bit some-more formidable than his American ally’s. They were partial cloth lonesome effervescent and leather. For a cloth partial we embellished it with MMA Dark Tan and afterwards practical a really skinny Best Pilot’s rinse with a bit of Burnt Umber.


The leather partial of a tag is embellished MMA Flat Black and afterwards dry brushed with MMA Leather churned with a bit of Burnt Sienna for an roughly booze color. This gives a good movement in leathers and is historically accurate.


Pappy’s goggle straps are a bottom of MMA Flat White with a really afterwards Best Pilot’s wash with a bit of Dark Grey.


The goggle frames are embellished with a bottom cloak of Flat Black (don’t paint a lens area yet!) and dry brushed with a same wine-ish tone brown.


Pappy’s goggle frames are MMA Neutral Grey dry brushed with MMA Flat Whit



The headphones are left black. For additional detail, dry brush them easily with a hold of grey, usually a top area and seams. There are dual screws on a headphones, to give them a bit of a lead look, we overwhelmed them with a lead china colored pencil. Use metalic finish paint for other steel tools for a “metalic” look.


Add a “Best Pilots” printed lenses and a pursuit is complete!  Pretty good eh”?

(Above) Whether in a Corsair, or in a Wildcat like a lead photo, (both taken during Top Gun!), Pappy Boyington from Best Pilots looks like a genuine MacCoy! Lyle’s portrayal techniques and his sculpting talents are simply, well… a BEST.

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