1/72 Aircraft Collection “In Flight”

When I started my collection (not knowing really that it would someday turn into a “collection”) as a kid in the ’70s, I always (always) built model planes with their landing gear up, because the primary use for the models was for “flying” against my buddies’ planes in our garden toy-soldier wars. To have our planes configured for sitting on the ground just didn’t compute.

That practice of building models that look like they are in the air actually continued until just a handful of years ago, but as I have gotten more and more into staged photo shoots of dioramas it now makes more sense to have the landing gear down, so the planes can be realistically depicted in static scenes, like this one I put together earlier this month. I mean, they’re models; it’s hard for them to be shown realistically flying!

I have tried, though, and this set shows a few planes I chose for the purpose because they happen to have propellers that spin easily enough to be set in motion for a photo. Of course it’s a photographic illusion, but for the planes I have that never got their wheels, I think this method puts them in the best light I can hope to manage!

3 responses to “1/72 Aircraft Collection “In Flight”

  1. Pingback: 1/72 Aircraft “In Flight” Part 2 | Schopenhauer's Workshop·

    • Thank you kindly! The first few times I tried to do pictures like these I used fishing line to suspend the models down into the frame from a pole… Not only were the wires all too visible, but it was also nearly impossible to get any steady airflow onto the props; if I did get some wind onto them, it would make the whole contraption sway and ruin the shot, since “moving props” require a slow shutter speed. This post https://schopenhauersworkshop.com/2015/04/06/chicks-dig-models-not-usually/ has a photo or two in the gallery at the end — feel free to skip through my essay on models and relationships, if you like! — which shows the pole-and-line system. I began to envision a sturdier system that might employ what’s called a C Stand (a tripod sort of thing with clamps and rods used on film and photo sets to hold all manner of objects up), but in the end I went very low tech: I hold the plane with my hand while an assistant (usually my son) operates the leaf blower and/or shutter. I realized that as long as I was going to have to use photo-editing tools to remove whatever “arm” held the plane in place, it might as well be as quick and easy as a hand. So: now when I do these “in-flight” shots I have the scene base, a real poster-sky backdrop, the model in my right hand, the camera on a tripod within left arm’s reach, and the leaf blower in the hands of my assistant. Afterwards, it involves a fairly tedious process of doctoring the image to remove my hand and forearm while matching the sky tones of the poster as nearly as I can. Thank you for asking — I appreciate and enjoy the dialogue!

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