No Strings Attached

how to get your helo airborne
Well, after a lot of questions I received on how I got my Bushranger gunship to "fly" in my diorama "Close Call" I thought the best way to show you all, was to make an article, no deep explanations, just a simple walkthrough on how I did it.
Step 1
Ok, step one was to find some wire. Now, the best way to find out if it is going to support your Helicopter is to get some, bend it at a 90 degree angle on one end, sticky tape that end to the helo's skids or what ever, and then hold the bottom end of the wire, and see if it can hold the helo up. If it can, then you're in business.
Now then, bend the wire at a 90 degree angle on the end that will be attached to the helo (Fig 1). In my case, I was going to be making a Huey fly, as we all know, Huey's have skids, not landing gear, so, I then bent the right angle to a more rounded shape, so it would fit snuggly beside the skid (Fig 2).
Step 2
Once this was done, I had to figure out just how I was going to camouflage this big wire support, now what better way than to whack it inside a piece of your dioramas foliage, in my case, a tree. To make this piece of wire truly hidden, I decided to build a wire tree around the wire that was going to hold up my Huey. But, before I began, I gave the piece of wire a few more bends to make it look a bit more like a branch, so once the wire tree was built around it, it would be even more inconspicuous (Fig 3).
Step 3
Once you had done that, it was time to attach it to you helicopter, you only need 3 things for this, some pliers, your helo, and a stove. Heat up the end you bent to fit next to the skid to the point that the wire is red, using the pliers to hold it over the stoves flame of course, then put it into the helo's belly, so it is also pressing against the side of the skid, don't push it in too far though, or it may come up through the floor of the chopper, hold and push just enough that it will not break or fall out once cooled down. (Fig 4). Ok once you've done this, hold it in position until it cools.
Step 4
Now then, drill a hole in your diorama base for the wire to go in, and using some epoxy 5-minute resin or whatever you want to use, whack it in. Now assuming you've used strong enough wire, the helo should already be hovering there with ease. Ok now, build up your wire tree around that main piece of wire holding the helo up, using the twisted wire technique, here's a link to that article Making Trees with Wire Now, for foliage I used heiki sea foam and parsley, put it around the branches until you've got your desired amount, BUT there's one last thing to do, make sure you put the foliage on the tree slightly touching the skid and bottom of the chopper were the wire goes in, this way it will be very hard to tell where the wire attaches to the helo, which in the end is the entire purpose of this little job.
Step 5
Well, hope that's answered all your questions about this, and I hope it lets you all receive a lot of praise and questions on "how did you do that" I know its done just that for me.
(p.s. apologies for the drawings, paint is hard!)
  • Fig1
  • Fig2

About the Author

About Dave Brown (lestweforget)

I have been modelling since i was about 4 years old, i remember my dad used to take me to the local toy store every now and then and get me a new kit, usually old airfix 1/72 aircraft. Now days (when i find the time) I mainly only build dioramas, although i occasionly build the odd aircraft, ship ...


Cool! I'd like to try that. Thanks!
OCT 03, 2004 - 01:48 PM
Thanks for sharing! I think this is one of the on going dilemmas, how to get a helicopter or a plan acctually airborne in miniature. Now we have a better clue how it can be done!
OCT 03, 2004 - 01:53 PM
cheers guys, glad u like it
OCT 03, 2004 - 01:58 PM
Thanks David that is a real informative article
OCT 03, 2004 - 03:11 PM
David that is very nice work there. Very clever as well. I will have to try it sometimes. thanks for showing it to us. Cheers Kevin
OCT 05, 2004 - 04:21 PM
thanks Kev! thanks Andy! cheers
OCT 05, 2004 - 04:47 PM
Thanks for sharing David.
OCT 05, 2004 - 05:07 PM
Another mystery solved. Great info David. Thanks for taking the time and the effort to share it with us.
OCT 06, 2004 - 12:52 PM
thanks dave for the tips. while this mistery is resolved i cant help it to ask this. Aren't helicopter rotors rotating when airborne? How do we resolve this (without using batteries and motor) thanks once again
OCT 06, 2004 - 01:36 PM
Dave, great article and well explained. I have a 1/72 huey, and i'd like to try that. Thanks for the tip!
OCT 06, 2004 - 02:07 PM