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In-Box Review
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by: Timothy Powell [ RICEBALLTRP ]

Originally published on:

Since the dawn of my model building existence, I have wanted a more realistic way of displaying airplanes either in flight or sitting with engines running. I, like many builders have tried the method of simply cutting the props off the hubs to simulate the “invisible” blades as well as the clear painted discs to simulate the prop arc of a spinning prop. Both methods are OK, but to me it never really captured the essence of a spinning prop in a realistic manner.

Enter “PropBlurs.” With the emergence of photo etch metal parts in the after market industry, a more viable medium for spinning props has emerged. Simply put, these blades are cut and fashioned to look like a spinning blade. Simply primer, paint, cut and attach!

“Propblur.com” currently has three scales available; 1/144 (good for prop airliners), 1/72 and 1/48. I threw down the gauntlet and issued a challenge of not just doing 1/32 scale, but helicopter rotors as well! They informed me they were in fact in the works.

I purchased a few sets for myself ( 1/144 and 1/48 ) to try out this new cottage industry product. Very little advertising is done by the folks at “Propblur.com” by way of hard media like magazines and banners, but instead they rely on word of mouth. I am not affiliated with them, simply a customer.

The products come on a standard sheet of metal. The blades are also not too thick or thin. They do however sell a “wargame” edition which is made of more durable, thicker metal. Depending on how many you order will determine the size of the sheet. A nice feature is the option of ordering either connected props or individually cut blades on separate sheets or a combination of both on a single sheet. I opted for the multi sheet so I could try a little of both.

I built a 1/144 USCG C-130H and I wanted to display it on a taxiway base going out to the runway for take off. At 1/144 scale, the props are small and care must be taken to ensure you don’t paint or primer the slots in the “blur.” I did, but a sharp hobby knife cleaned out the slots just fine. Also, because both sides need to be painted, take care not to allow paint to bleed through to the opposite side. Again, trial and error! I simply attached the fret to a piece of masking tape. The attach points for the props are in strategically good locations to help ensure you don’t cut the blurs. If the props bend a little while removing, simple bend them back. As of this review, the 1/144 scale props only come in attached 2, 3 and 4 blade sets. Because the C-130 hubs are larger in diameter than most piston engine hubs, I had to separate the blades and attach them individually using CA glue. Not a difficult task and “Propblur.com” makes it easier by offering a template to help out with alignment for individual blades or if you can use the attached blades, just slip them on the propeller shaft.

I’ve started work on a 1/72 B-25 so I could try out a larger scale of prop blur, but after working with the 1/144 scale, I don’t think I’ll have many problems and quite honestly, I like the way they look.

Ordering from their web site was easy and packing and shipping time was acceptable and not too pricey on the shipping charge. I got mine in about a week after I placed the order. On a scale of 1-10, 10 being the best, these rate out at 9.0 in terms of quality and ease of assembly. I would have rated it 10 if they were already painted and weathered! The only place I know to get them is on their web site - www.propblur.com.

Please remember, when contacting retailers or manufacturers, to mention that you saw their products highlighted here - on AEROSCALE.
Highs: Thickness of the PE is very good for scale effect Easy to use
Lows: Tedious and care must be given so the "blur" edges don't bend or clog with paint.
Verdict: On a scale of 1-10, 10 being the best, these rate out at 9.0 in terms of quality and ease of assembly. I would have rated it 10 if they were already painted and weathered!
Percentage Rating
  Scale: Other
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  PUBLISHED: Oct 18, 2011

About Timothy Powell (riceballtrp)

Copyright ©2021 text by Timothy Powell [ RICEBALLTRP ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of ModelGeek. All rights reserved.


I agree that this is a terrific idea, and looks pretty good. However, I think that in real life, spinning props do not look that way. A photograph of a spinning prop where the camera shutter 'freezes' the propeller blades, does look like this. PropBlur is pretty close to perfect but not quite.
OCT 20, 2011 - 03:59 AM
My biggest beef with it is that each "blade" is pretty much identical. I feel that there should be some more randomness to the shapes, especially in the case of a multi-engined aircraft. The curves at the tips are also a bit too pronounced; they should be flatter, and the blade shafts a bit wider farther down. Still, it looks far more dynamic than bare hubs
OCT 27, 2011 - 09:08 AM
Maybe the can do a series of different types? How the blades appear on a photo depends on the shutter speed. High speeds will freeze the blades so it will look a slightly blurry normal prop, lower speeds will give the tip blurring look like we see on this example with the blurring reducing logarithmically towards the hub on quite low shutter speeds you'll get the blades looking bent as the faster moving tip takes longer to reflect enough light for the exposure.
OCT 29, 2011 - 12:56 PM

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