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What do you do about pilots


nheather
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I’m pretty new to aircraft modelling, did a load as a teenager but when I came back to the hobby, I concentrated on 1:35 AFVs.

 

But interested in doing some aircraft and am left wondering what do you do about air crew.  Many kits don’t come with them, fine if you are displaying wheels down on the ground but what if you want to display it flying.

 

Cheers,

 

Nigel

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You could always ask for peoples unused ones. I never use mine as all my aircraft are built wheels down so have currently just given all of them away to someone who will use them  but there must be others here like me who would rather see them used than go to landfill.

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Well, aircraft do have pilots in them with their wheels down sometimes.  The alternative would be somewhat interesting.  I stopped including pilots many years ago, partly because so few of them were anywhere near realistic (Airfix generally excepted but they could have put a little more thought into appropriate clothing for the type) but also because of the difficulty in fitting realistic seat belts when fitted to the pilots.  Nowadays I usually do without pilots or seat belts, on the feeling that my interests are mainly in the outer shape, colour and markings of the thing rather than the hidden inner details.  Fortunately nowadays most models come without such clutter.

 

I am completely bemused by modellers who obsess over the exact shape of the rudder pedals but ignore major shape errors and use paint of any colour they like "because it's wartime, innit?"  It takes all kinds...

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Display it flying and let your imagination fill in the pilot. 😁

 

I have recently started using pilots on some kits that come with them (thank you Zvezda!) but most of my collection is in flight with empty cockpits, which I don't mind. I usually leave propellers static as well, although on some recent builds I have tried the "no blades, smooth spinner" approach, which I am happy with.

 

But like Graham, I am an "external shape and right colour" type of person, I can handle a bit of suspension of disbelief.

 

You do need to be careful though with buying aftermarket crew or using spares from other kits. The simple fact is that they probably won't fit without a lot of work. Kits not designed to take crew focus on detail over scale, so plastic thickness means the actual inside dimensions of the cockpit are too small for a correctly scaled pilot. I found this trying to put a spare Zvezda pilot in a Trumpeter kit. One test fit and I gave up, would have had to cut either the figure or the cockpit up in a dozen places and it just wouldn't have been worth it.

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The other problem with doing inflight models are tires that can sometimes be too thick, or too large diameter causing fit problems in the landing gear bay.  This, of course, isn't a problem for those type of aircraft that have doors that completely enclose said area.   Also less chance of encountering this problem with the larger scales.

 

regards,

Jack

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If you want AIRCREW in an "in flight" situation, try visualizing them hanging on for dear life on the wings leading edge and such (a little bit like 007) The actual PILOT figures is another matter. They are usually safely tucked away inside the cockpit. These days you have a lot to choose from, there`s just so many smaller manufacturers out there and they do make top notch stuff, not like in the dark ages like some of us will remember. If you want a really good tip for "in flight" presentation, try building 3 or 4 of the same kits and portray them flying in formation, that will add another dimension i can almost guarantee you. 

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6 minutes ago, top turret toddler said:

If you want AIRCREW in an "in flight" situation, try visualizing them hanging on for dear life on the wings leading edge and such (a little bit like 007) The actual PILOT figures is another matter. They are usually safely tucked away inside the cockpit. These days you have a lot to choose from, there`s just so many smaller manufacturers out there and they do make top notch stuff, not like in the dark ages like some of us will remember. If you want a really good tip for "in flight" presentation, try building 3 or 4 of the same kits and portray them flying in formation, that will add another dimension i can almost guarantee you. 


 

Interesting, I used the term aircrew to include co-pilots, navigators, radio operators and gunners.  Is aircrew not the correct term.

 

I would have called the guys you are referring to as ground crew.

 

Unless you are referring to something else in which case I totally missed it.

 

Cheers,

 

Nigel

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Just now, nheather said:


 

Interesting, I used the term aircrew to include co-pilots, navigators, radio operators and gunners.  Is aircrew not the correct term.

 

I would have called the guys you are referring to as ground crew.

 

Unless you are referring to something else in which case I totally missed it.

 

Cheers,

 

Nigel

 

Aircrew....well maybe from a non military perspective, idk. As far as military, i think about the people working on the ground, of course once they are airborne they become aircrew 😉

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4 hours ago, Mark Harmsworth said:


I was half expecting this, the pilots cost as much as the aircraft - maybe I’ll leave it on the ground.

 

Cheers,

 

Nigel

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9 hours ago, top turret toddler said:

What scale are you considering ?

Haven’t quite decided, 1:48 or 1:72, most likely a mixture, 1:48 where sensible, 1:72 if I want to do something big.

 

For example if I suddenly had the urge to make a spitfire and a lancaster, the spitfire would most likely be 1:48 and the lancaster 1:72.

 

Cheers,

 

Nigel

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19 hours ago, JackG said:

The other problem with doing inflight models are tires that can sometimes be too thick, 

Or the right size but have to fit within too shallow an interior.  Kit wall thicknesses are way above scale.  The alternative would be tyres that were too thin to look right when lowered but would satisfy the minority to like them retracted.  Perhaps not a good business decision: it is always possible for the affected modeller to thin tyres that are too thick to retract.

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Personally I very rarely use pilots as all my model are represented on the ground, the only exception being some small scale or "box scale" kits that I built as desk models.

However I always keep the pilots included in kits as there have been a very few cases when I decided to have the pilot in the cockpit. For example with a recent MiG.29 build I preferred to have a cockpit in the pilot instead of modifying the auxiliary intakes as these are closed with engines shut down but are open with the engines on... and if the engines are on then there has to be a pilot in the cockpit.

If you want to use pilots in your build and the kit does not supply them, then as you've seen there's plenty of aftermarket ones available. Resin figures however are expensive so a better solution could be looking for plastic ones. The quality of resin figures is generally much higher but recent plastic figures are not bad. The problem is that many sets tend to feature more ground crews than pilots in the cockpit, meaning that for that one pilot you would end with 3 or 4 other figures that you may not be interested in. Brands you can look for are Revell for 1/72 and ICM for 1/48

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