Introduction: Custom Painting a Starship Model, Aztec-Style-Masking

To boldly finish, the model you just put together, you could buy those fancy aztec style decals that are easy to find online, but we must live by the directive that we never buy what we can make.

In this instructable you will have a general idea of how to mimic the pattern style known as aztec and apply it to the spaceship of your choice.

My choice of colors does not follow the recommendations of the manufacturer or the colors of the ships in the series where they appear, it's a personal choice and you should exercise your own.



seriously sharp and dangerous x-acto knife (BE CAREFUL)

small glass with smooth edges to use as cutting board (works way better than a self healing mat)

Plastic model masking tape, works better than a blue painters tape, not sponsored, but Tamiya works great and very reasonable priced. 10 mm, is a good size.

The paints of your choice, I am not following the color scheme for the can choose to do so if that is you cup of tea. I find easier to use paints in spray, as they can cover a wide area in fewer passes and you completely avoid leaving brush strokes. To create a contrast I used 3 different "grays" that go nice together and create the illusion of thpanels.

Step 1: Creating the Masks

To create the areas where the model will not be painted, first attach the masking tape on the clean surface of the glass and carefully cut it in a way that allows you to create the pattern that is more suited to your model. Some models already have well defined areas on the surface that mimic a pattern of metal panels, be creative and play around them, but keep it simple or the general effect will be confusing as the patterns could mismatch too much.

Step 2: Masking the Model

Once you have chosen a pattern and cut it on the glass, lift it carefully with the exacto knife avoiding wrinkling it and place it on the clean surface of the model. Some model manufacturers recommend cleaning in a particular way the model before painting, read the instructions and do as they say.

Step 3: Finishing and Assembling

Paint and allow to dry completely, even better, wait a little longer to prevent wet paint attached to the edge of the masking tape ruining the effect. Once dry remove the pieces of tape using the tip of the knife and go carefully, you could damage the plastic surface easily.

Before finishing the model you may want to modify something completely off the general plan of the build...besides the masking of course. I chose to use the plastic from the frame to modify the back of the base by attaching a long piece of plastic runner and creating so a point of anchor to hold the model on a wall.

Finish the model by adding details that can enhance the general look with contrasting colors.

Step 4: Finish With Decals and Assemble

Finally attach the decals and pieces of the model to the final and definitive position.

Space Challenge

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Space Challenge