Pilots


 

The original pilots (Jan-Michael Vincent and Ernest Borgnine) are far too old to fly Airwolf today.  So, who would fly Airwolf?  In the TV series the creator of the Airwolf project was Michael Coldsmith Briggs III (Alex Cord), the FIRM's deputy director (AKA Archangel).  All of his operatives and employees were attractive females with multiple PhD's- all dressed in white, just like Archangel (who even had his own all-white helicopter).  Many of them were helicopter pilots (who flew him around), so it makes sense that to replace the original pilots, he would select a pair of his white-garbed female assistants to fly Airwolf on missions.

Okay, yeah, its a stretch...  But it's an excuse to use female pilots in this heli, like I did on the Coast Guard Dauphin.  Everyone seemed to love that.
 


 

I used the helmets from Cermark again, these have so much detail it is amazing.  Even the liners have ear pads on the inside of the liner (as if anyone would see), the microphone boom is fully articulating, even the chin strap has padding in the right places!  All this detail makes painting the helmet a very long job!
 


 

Here is a close-up of the helmet (I wish I had taken a picture of this head-on) 
 


 

The first step is to disassemble the helmets.  I removed the liners, microphone, all the accessory mounts and straps and the visor covers.  Each part was sanded with 600 grit to remove the injection and tooling imperfections.
 


 

For an accent, I airbrushed the visor covers with a mix of Tamiya metallic black and silver. Placing small parts on painter's tape allows me to airbrush them without blowing them all over the place!
 


 

The helmet body (and some "body armor" parts) were painted authentic Airwolf grey - Dupont 5031K.  The Airwolf logo and pilot's names (Bambi and Buffy again...) were dry-transferred onto the helmets, then airbrushed with 2-part automotive clear.
 


 

Once painted, they were partially re-assembled.  The microphones, chin straps, etc will go on after everything else is assembled as they are very fragile.  I also did the detail painting (screws, rivets, etc) at this stage.
 


 

Here is one of the pilots with the partially assembled helmet.  It was tough to find a white flight suit, and even tougher to get it on the model.  The suit is made of some type of stretchy vinyl, and sticks to the model's parts like glue.  Getting the arms in was like trying to cram a snake into a toothpaste tube.  Finally, Airwolf Grey painted body armor parts from another model finished off the flight uniform.
 


 

Vario seat belts are very detailed, but take forever to assemble!  I painted the plastic parts with a blend of Tamiya Silver and a touch of blue..  Looks very much like steel...
 


 

Here they are, strapped into the seats.  They are glued as well- I hope they will be flying in about 4-5 months, and we don't want them to come loose in flight! 
 


 

Below is a close-up of  "Bambi" The Ray-Ban's come from a pilot sold by Starwood.  Whenever I need a pair of these, I have to find a use for the left-over pilot!  Fortunately, I am building a Hyperion Stuka right now, and his upper torso fits that cockpit!
 


 

And finally, a close-up of "Buffy"  I wish I had taken these photos from the other side, so we could see the microphone detail...  I will have to remember that when Airwolf is done and we take the "Professional" photos! 
 

 



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