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Metalizing Two Mustangs

by Steve Mesner




Model Master’s Non-Buffing Aluminum is a favorite paint of mine. Having extremely fine grain, it gives a good representation of silver-colored aircraft dope, or weathered, flattened aluminum.

It does have one drawback - it is somewhat fragile. It won’t take a lot of handling without rubbing off when applied over bare plastic. It does a little better when shot over a flat enamel primer, but it still doesn’t like to be masked, even if clearcoated with Model Master Metalizer Sealer. I messed up a beautiful ESCI F-5A model learning this lesson, and will not make that mistake again. Plan your painting sequence accordingly; the Aluminum should go on last.


Airfix 1/72 Scale P-51D Mustang

The title image shows an out-of -the-box Airfix 1/72 P-51D Mustang in 359th Fighter Group markings.

First I painted the rudder red, then the nose green (Testor 1/4-oz bottle generic bright green, deepened with some gloss black). After masking these areas off, I shot the whole model in Model Master Green Drab FD34086 as a primer/basecoat for the Aluminum, then masked off the antiglare panel. The paint job was then completed with a couple coats of Metalizer Non-Buffing Aluminum.

I unmasked the previously painted areas (except for the glass) and shot the whole model with Metalizer Sealer. SuperScale decals for “Louisiana Heat Wave” were applied and sealed with another coat of Metalizer Sealer. After unmasking the glass and adding the landing gear and other details, the model was finished.

Heller 1/72 Scale P-51D Mustang

For my next Metalizer Aluminum experiment, on a Heller 1/72 Mustang, I decided to look for an even simpler scheme that could be done without using the Sealer. A photo of an Israeli Mustang had what I was looking for - just a black antiglare panel, national roundels, and a fuselage number.

After out-of-the-box assembly, I masked off the glass and shot the whole airplane in Model Master Flat Black, again as a primer. The antiglare was masked off and the rest of the model got squirted with Non-Buffing Aluminum. I trimmed the clear film from generic SuperScale decals and applied them directly to the unsealed Aluminum. The model was then unmasked and final-assembled.


The Aluminum finish looks better on this one than on the sealed Airfix Mustang, in my opinion, but it’s still fragile. I handle it very carefully to keep from rubbing the Aluminum off on the sharper edges.


These two Mustangs aren’t the best kits on the market, nor is my buildup of
them likely to take home too many contest trophies, but I enjoyed building them, and learned lessons that I’ve been able to apply to my “real” models!

Model on!


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Photographs and Text Copyright © 2003 by Steve Mesner