To my mind, a Scale Glider never looks complete unless there is someone in the cockpit. I know others may not agree and prefer the looks of a well made empty cockpit seat .I might even agree if the Glider was on the ground and static. However, in the air, a Full Size glider needs human input , so why not a scale pilot in our models.
Consider the site of your much cherished scale ship doing a low shrieking pass over the slope with all the thrill that entails, only to see, as it flies close by, that there is nobody at home. Your glider becomes no more than a pilotless drone and looses the scale effect you have been striving to achieve
We must remind ourselves that this hobby of ours can be extremely expensive and enough to deter many newcomers, particulary the young and not all can afford the best
But a personal plee though, PLEASE no fluffy animals or beany toys.
So what else is there available?
1: You can carve your own out of balsa or blue foam
My personal attempts at this have been just about satisfactory, but I am no sculpture. If you go this course then, to add detailing to the face and hands, try coating the surfaces with plaster of paris then scratch away until you are satisfied with the results, then paint. I would suggest that you never make the eyes look straight ahead as they tend to look like a lifeless stare, just make them look sideways. For more on painting pilots go Here
If you are lucky, you maybe able to convince one of the female members of your family to knit a jumper. They might even find that they enjoy the challenge.
2: Childrens toy dolls
For the smaller scales of around 1:6 or even
1:5 you can get away by buying those childrens dolls that come with all the clothing (Ken and Action Man spring to mind).
There is a great variety to choose from, but always try and buy the ones with articulated joints. If you look around the shops, there are usually dolls on offer that are out of fashion and then you will pay around £4. Bargain - particularly when they come with glasses, watches and headsets to name but a few
To use these dolls will require some modification. If you put them straight from the box into the seat they will have an incorrect posture and look very stiff and lifeless. This can be remedied with your favourite junior hacksaw and glue. Just refer to the diagrams to see how it goes, but for best effect never leave the head looking straight ahead.
If you find the legs too long then cut them, the same goes for the arms. None of this butchery will show when the dolls are re-dressed
3: Latex Pilots
These are usually the cheaper of the pilots for model gliders and are usually supplied fully painted and clothed. A.H Designs. make a wide range of other pilots, including those with leather jackets and flying helmets which are suitable for open cockpit vintage gliders. The detailing is not as good as that of Axel's Scale Pilots for example, but they are extremely lightweight and relatively inexpensive.The pilots all come ready painted, but iIf you wish to further enhance these figures, an Acrylic paint should be used, as other paints have a tendancy to flake off.
Check the links page for suippliers of pilots