Daniel Hirscher’s original PC-21 color schemes are undeniably eye-catching. His creative paintwork brings model aircraft to life. Pilatus Aircraft Ltd
Daniel Hirscher, 35, originally from Austria, has been a keen model aircraft pilot for 18 years already. As a trained carpenter, he had little to do with painting during his vocational training. The bug finally caught up with him when he decided to have a go at painting one of his model aircraft himself, using an airbrush gun. He soon found himself becoming more and more interested in airbrush techniques. “I invested a lot of time in learning the skill. I practiced day and night until I saw an improvement in the results!” Daniel tells me. He is now self-employed and runs his own paint company. His goal, he says, was to earn a living painting model aircraft – and he is proud to have achieved that.
Creativity and love of detail
Daniel has already painted numerous model aircraft, including some PC-21s. The single-engine turboprop trainer is very popular in the world of model aircraft, he tells me. Daniel designed his first model PC-21 color scheme at the request of a customer, who asked him to create a design not in use on any existing full-scale aircraft. Daniel loves this type of assignment. “I’m very creative and I love detail. For his designs, Daniel mostly works with airbrush techniques for maximum precision.
Daniel approaches all his orders in more or less the same way. His clients give him some guidance as to what they want in terms of style and choice of colors. “From that moment on, my head fizzes with ideas and creativity”, says Daniel. After discussing the preliminary sketch with the customer, Daniel starts work on the model aircraft. The process takes around a month from start to finish. He also points out that he never uses his own designs twice – “all model PC-21s, and all my designs in general, are one-offs”.
“My work exceeds my customers’ expectations”
In addition to his own creations, Daniel also paints model aircraft in the same color schemes used on original full-scale aircraft. The challenge then, he says, is to note every detail with the utmost precision so that his model paint scheme perfectly matches the original. When executing custom designs, on the other hand, it’s important not to impinge on the shape of the aircraft, such as the fuselage. He says he’s never had a disappointed customer yet. On the contrary, the end result always exceeds their expectations!
Looking to the future
For Daniel, it’s a great honor that he, as a small businessman, has attracted the interest of Pilatus. As he says, “Pilatus is a cool company with even cooler aircraft! The fact that such a big company is interested in me is confirmation that I must be doing something right in my life!” Asked how he would feel if he were invited to paint a real PC-21, he says “that would be the absolute highlight of my career!” Well, model aircraft are one thing, but the full-size version requires different and even bigger thinking in the design and painting process.
“Designing and painting a real aircraft would be the absolute crowning achievement for me”, he concludes.