It started out very simple. I had a schematic I found on the net.
I bought some aluminum foil and fashioned a wing, a fuselage, and a tail assembly all to scale. Then I made my first mistake.
I used the foil wing and tail pieces as templates and used regular ol' craptacular Sculpey white clay to make them. Next I coated the foil fuselage in Sculpey. Awful stuff, that first generation clay, as I found out. It's soft and crappy to work with, picks up fingerprints like crazy, and is not very strong even when baked.
But I pressed on. I added Sculpey III white clay on top of the airframe. Then I tried using toothpicks covered in clay to hold the wheels on. Bad move. Using Dinko Tilov's techiques I made a wire armature for the wheel struts. Excellent. But still elementary school quality.
Then I decided, since the recipient of this plane just got his captain's wings with a major air carrier, to give the plane a captain's hat. I was very happy with the fine detail of the hat and it inspired me to keep going. Kelli thought some captain's stripes on the wings would be a nice touch. Oui!
Then the wheels themselves totally crumbled under the last baking (which was about two trips to the oven too much for them). I used techniques found in a book by David Kracov to fashion the eyes (which are the best eyes I've seen in any book) and his example to just bake the wheels and back assembly separately and superglue them into place.
So after some tail numbers and several coats of glaze (who am I kidding, it's structural at this point with the crappy wing clay): Voila!
My next plane (if I decide to try another) will be better but at least this one is done.
Kracov's book guided me through a project I'm about a third through but here's a head, some hands, and some shoes. Not too shabby. Kracov's techniques are not much different from the other books I've read but he pays a lot of attention to small details, like the eyes. I'm diggin' it!
Cessna 185 schematic: richard.ferriere.free.fr