Airplane Wire Sculpture

A detailed How To

A few years ago, my wife and I traveled to Mystic, Ct. In many of the tourist shops I saw majestic models of old ships from schooners to galleons, but their price tag was just as majestic, if not more so. Don’t get me wrong, a lot of artistic talent and patience went into building some of them. I thought to myself that I would like a show piece like one of those for myself, but without the hit to the pocket. That’s when I decided to look into building a model, but I wanted it to be my own. I came across people that had made elaborate toothpick models of famous ships. While I was intrigued by toothpick modeling, I felt that if it was a boat, I could not say it was original, so….I decided to do planes.


While I was able to do just about ANY plane, including a huge 3 foot B52, they just were not durable enough, especially if they were going to be near children!

I decided to try wire, at first just using steel, but then to add value, I switched to Brass, and Copper. I still use steel, but only if the model / sculpture is going to be painted :

SteelF4PhantomThe Copper / Brass Fokker Dr3 is by far, the most popular:


The last plane I did was a copper P51, which I have made a step by step video of on at YouTube User Mjolnir794. Steel is the cheaper way to go if you’re just starting out. I would recommend an easier plane to build as well.

Some points to make…..choose a resin core solder, be sure to only use the wire you are working on, keep the rest packaged, and clean, or the solder will not stick. And finally, the soldering technique used is NOT the technique used to solder connections between wire that will carry a current. The solder in this case, is used only as a bonding agent. Do not heat up the wire first, then apply the solder…joints close by will melt!

In order to find a plane to build, you will need, not only the three view, but also the isometric cross sections. These cross sections are the first things to build and will be the backbone of the entire project. For beginners, I recommend the F104 “flying rocket”. Most of its’ fuselage is circular, and the center line is easier to find and control as you are building. The F104 :


I know, I know…I wanted A model, not tens of models!! It turned out, craft fairs and craft stores were delighted with the idea of making a craft that would appeal to the male population! I was able to sell my wooden models for $50 USD for the F104 to up to $185 for a B27 which was close to 20 inches long! The copper/brass go for around $200!!

I hope you find this useful, and don’t be afraid to hit me up for plane plans, or any questions you might have! ¬†