1/72 Academy PBY

Gallery Article by Lloyd Curtis on May 25 2015



Last Christmas I was trying to decide what to give my father. He has always loved the Consolidated PBY-5 Catalina, and I had the Academy 1/72 kit in my stash. I decided I would build it and give it to him for Christmas. I also wanted to make it easy for him to take care of, so a covered display case was a must. The kit goes together pretty well with only small amounts of filler needed here and there. Tape seat belts were added to the cockpit, although they are pretty much invisible.

The interior was painted Model Master interior green followed by a raw/burnt umber wash which really brought out the details. Unfortunately, like the seat belts, little of it can be seen. The most time on the aircraft was spent masking the windows. I spent at least an hour on each window. They were then painted with interior green and then the whole plane was sprayed with Model Master gloss black with a few drops of white added to create a “weathered” black look. The decals were applied and settled down nicely with a coat of Microset/sol. A coat of flat finish was applied and the masking removed. Weathering consisted of a gray wash and chipping with a silver pencil.


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From the beginning I had envisioned the aircraft in the water near a palm and fern covered beach. The base is made from plywood with dollar store foam interlocking mat pieces glued to it. A trough was cut into the foam so the plane would sit lower in the water. Florists foam was used for the beach area and the whole base was given a coat of plaster. When the plaster was about 90% dry it was given a wet finger rub to smooth out any ridges. Once dry, the whole thing was sprayed with a clear gloss to seal the plaster. While this was still wet, the beach area was sprinkled with baking soda to give it some texture. Once dry, the base was painted with acrylics and the model attached with Latex caulking. The water was done using 2 part casting epoxy and done in 2 pourings. If you use this method, make sure your dams are sealed, otherwise you end up with epoxy all over the workbench. Which is why I needed 2 pourings.

The tree trunks were made from heavy gauge wire with smaller gauge wire spiral wrapped around it, this was then coated in PVA and wrapped in gauze. When dry it was painted with artists acrylics. The fronds and ferns are made from feathers.

I was very happy with the result even though the plane does not sit deep enough in the water. My Father was very happy to receive this gift.

Lloyd Curtis

Photos and text © by Lloyd Curtis