Monday, October 3, 2011

"Good Things Come In Small Packages"... Number Four!

Going Navy with 'Da Blues...

Well, try as I may, I cannot find the layout that this picture of Brian inspired. Years ago, I got a call to create visuals for eight spread ads for an art director, Tony Halstead, who was freelancing for McCann Erickson. The client was Hamilton Avnet and wouldn't you know it, I've found six of the eight color xeroxes of my work, but not the one of a kid making a model airplane. In the above photo composite I designed for Brian's college graduation diary, the background pic of him making a model is one I shot for the Hamilton Avnet comp. 

Anyway, my son had a great time building a series of naval aircraft complete with the early WWII tri-colored camouflage of dark sea blue, sky blue and white. By this time, he was fairly good at airbrushing this paint scheme though he never did get the concept of taping off the greenhouse canopies that were used at this time during the war. 

What I used to do as a kid in the early sixties, was to paint the greenhouse frames by hand carefully lining in between the pre-grooved frames on the clear plastic canopy with turpentine or Testor's Thinner and then immediately add a line of dark blue using capillary action to do the rest of the work. If I wasn't satisfied with the line I would carefully erase the line trying to not disturb the many other frames I had created. It was quite tedious, but then, I was a kid and had plenty of patience especially on a rainy day when I had nothing else to do and nowhere else to go. 

My first airbrush was a Paasche "V" I received as a graduation gift in college. Within months it had paid for itself painting airbrush illustrations for the oil trade industry, but I didn't incorporate the tool on any model building projects until I attempted to use it in Jack Leynnwood's illustration class. It was then that I learned to use clear cellophane tape to mask off the frames of the greenhouse canopy and then spray color on with the airbrush. It was a technique my son never acquired mainly because I didn't trust him with an X-acto knife... at any age!

His inspiration for the TBF Avenger, which was another Lindbergh reissue and built completely by Brian except the greenhouse canopy, was at an airshow at Burbank where he saw a tri-colored SBD Dauntless and a year or two later, the TBF, at the then, annual Confederate Air Force Show at Chino.

Copyright 2011/ Ben Bensen III

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