Building a grouping of models in the standard scales available can soon overwhelm a desk, a shelf, or even a large display case. Here's one way of building a sizable and diversified collection of aircraft without taking up more floor space than, say, four postage stamps.

Generally, model aircraft kits come in three main scales: 1/32nd scale, where one inch on the model is equivalent to 32 inches on the full size airplane; 1/48th scale (1"=4'); and 1/72nd scale (1"=6'). Smaller scales are available, and because of limited space while living in Japan, I decided to challenge myself to create a collection of accurately rendered aircraft models in the smallest scale possible. Due to the popularity of waterline ship models, sets of aircraft have been released over the years to complement these kits, issued in 1/700th scale, nearly 10 times smaller than the most popular aircraft modeling scale.

Each of these tiny replicas of World War II planes was sanded and lightly buffed in order to remove any mold lines. Then, using references for camouflage and markings, they were masked with light tack tape and airbrushed with a Paasche VL1 in accurate colors. ID stripes and fuselage bands were also sprayed on. Touch up was largely done by hand, such as canopy panes and some small markings. Most of the national insignia were commercial decals that were applied after a light coat of semi-gloss had been sprayed over the surfaces. A flat coat was airbrushed over each of the finished models to give them a uniform appearance. Finally, the canopies were coated in gloss and, in many cases, antennas made from stretched plastic sprue were added.

Each aircraft took around five hours to complete, and were glued in place in a handmade miniature display case.

The result is an attractive and surprisingly realistic display of detailed aircraft models, each of which is not much larger than a fingernail.

However, I've just been moved to a padded room where no one let's me have or use anything sharp anymore.


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