Is it red with white stripes or white with red stripes?

July 16, 2018

Is it red with white stripes or white with red stripes?

Every project is different, and each one requires that you sit down and really study what you are about to take on. Case in point: Sacramento Metro Fire's Copter 2. You would think that I'd be able to take one of the Cal Fire Hueys I already have, strip off the paint, add the new paint, and call it a day.
I only wish...

I really like the paint scheme on this aircraft. I don't know who dreamed it up, but nice job. There are a number of differences between the Metro Fire and Cal Fire helicopters from the get go; each one contributing to the hours it will take me to finish it up. I'll list most of them, including one that may sound silly, but the first problem I had to solve.

  • The tail rotor is on the opposite side than a Cal Fire tail rotor, so I have to rework the detail.
  • The Metro Fire Huey sits at a different angle and height than the Cal Fire Hueys, so I have to figure out who the skid manufacture is and download the skid specs so I can figure out the angle and the height. (Seriously, I really do that.)
  • The water intake and delivery system is different.
  • The rear view mirrors are different.
  • The antennae are different.
  • The engine intake filter is different. 
  • The side steps are different.
  • Lastly, and the biggest decision of all: is this a red helicopter with white stripes, or a white helicopter with red stripes? 

Trust me. I'm detail oriented and I really sweat the details. Conversely, I'm also lazy and I want to do things as easily as possible.

If you guessed this was a red helicopter with white stripes because there is more red than white, your approach is different than mine. After wrestling with this question for almost an hour and trying out a few things, going white helicopter with red stripes proved to be the lesser of two evils. Without being overly technical, the problem to be solved was a negative space issue and the ease of lining up stripes with key landmarks on the fuselage and the conversion of details around all of the windows (rivets, bars, frames, etc.) that I would have to convert from white to red. Those are all individual parts that have to be handled separately. Better to leave well enough alone. 
Now about 3 days into this helicopter, I decided the red I had was a little to bright, so I knocked it down a bit. There's a lot going on there, especially with the the door in a position other than closed. I challenge you enlarge the picture and stare at it for 5 minutes without going crossed eyed. 
I think the water tank is still too bright, but I have to look away. The stripes are giving me a headache...

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