The powerplant process

This week, I built yet another Aires R-2800 in 1:72 scale. It’s the seventh or eighth one I’ve built, and I think I’ve finally figured out how to do them well:

The trick is to airbrush the crankcase neutral gray, then the cylinders steel, before you ever take the parts off the sprue. Then, I run a heavy black wash over the cylinders. Next, I cut the cylinders off and add them to the crank case. The Aires engine comes with a length of wire for the push rods, but I instead stretch some black sprue and use this instead. The 18 front pushrods come next, followed by the photoetched wiring harness, which is painted the weird brassy yellow color on the prototype. The magnetos, distributors and oil scavenge pump go on next; when all is dry, a dark wash was applied, then the whole front crankcase was drybrushed with aluminum or steel. The final touch is to apply a tiny drop of bright blue paint to the Pratt & Whitney logo plate on the lower crank case.

The engine in the photo went into my P-47D “Chief Seattle.” The one just finished looks a lot like this one (not surprisingly!) and will go into another P-47, “5 By 5.” With the R-2800 powering the F4U, F6F, F7F, F8F, AF, A-26, B-26, Martin 404, P-61, PV-1 and PV-2, and even the AJ Savage, I suspect I’ll be building a lot of these little suckers in the future.

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1 Comment

  1. […] to paint the crankcase and cylinders, apply a wash, add the push rods as I described in my previous post on the R-2800,  and then the fun part: making my own ignition runs leading to the cylinders. This will be a real […]


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