Finishing - page 5

02/07/06 - The Tail section

With new confidence and renewed energy for the project, I decided to tackle the tail section next since it will be the most difficult and I want to get that behind me. I decided to do the armadillo plates around the outside of the fins. Even though they are a lot of work, I think they are a significant feature of the B-24 tail so I just had to do it.

I used a template to mark the plates and then applied blue tape on the inner line and 1/4" tape on each plate. I sprayed two coats of filler/primer and then sanded it down with 320 and took the tape off.

After that I taped it up again for the band that runs around the outer edge.

The inner tape line on each panel got sanded down. It came out pretty good.

A panel line placed vertically and two access panels made from Flite-Metal were next. I used a sharpened 1/16" tube pressed into the FM to make some screw heads on the access panels. Flite-Metal or Aluminum duct tape works great for access panels.

The rudder painting is done. I took advantage of some very nice winter weather and painted. I used Testors Model Master Paints. The red & white stripes are 7/8" and the blue stripe is 1". It looks great to see some color! I had a small screw-up, I mixed the paint 3 parts thinner to 1 part paint and sprayed. It looked too thin so I looked again at the label and it's 3 parts paint to 1 part thinner. Sprayed again and everything looked great until I peeled the tape off and the thinned red had seeped under the tape. It looked awful. I was ready to tear the covering off and start over but figured I had nothing to loose so I got my magnifying glasses and the exacto and tried carefully scraping the excess paint off up to the tape line and it worked!. In a half hour it looked pretty good, not perfect but what was in the war?, and after weathering it will be fine.

I had a little better luck with the blue stripe, no bleeding but tiny bits of red did come up with the tape. Oh well, it's not supposed to look like it just came off the assembly line.

The stab panel lines. I'm taking the lazy way on the panel lines, I'm only doing the top before paint. I'll draw the bottom lines on after painting. The tail section is ready for paint!.


2/9/06 - It took about four hours but I got all the panel lines drawn on the fuselage. I used my jigs I made for aligning the windows and it wasn't too bad, just tedious.


2/10/06 - Started on the fuselage panel lines. The two pictures show how the lines go down. Tape, spray a couple coats of filler, sand off the inside line. The top is done.


2/13/06 -The weather was perfect at around 70 F with no wind and I was ready so I painted the tail section today. I'm using PPG Deltron DMD651 Fine Aluminum. I'm a lousy painter but this stuff laid down real nice and it was looking good right up to the last pull of the trigger when the paint gun sputtered and I got some large droplets that ruined the job. After the paint dried I saw some other places that needed some putty and/or sanding too. I noticed after wet sanding the paint with 320 that it looked a little more like aluminum sheet. The fresh aluminum paint looks like sand blasted aluminum. I hit a spot with #0000 steel wool and that buffed it pretty good. I think I can get a good aluminum panel look by buffing the paint with a polishing compound or the #0000 steel wool.

It was good to get some paint laid down and get a feeling for the paint. The silver paint really shows every defect which works good as a first coat to see any scratches, nicks or in some cases, wood grain showing through!


2/14/06 - The tail got it's second coat today with much better results. I took more time to get the spray gun adjusted correctly and got a flawless paint job the second time. Having paint left in the cup I also painted the flaps and nacelle hatches for the main gear. The flaps will need some more filling & sanding and another coat. The procedure for the rest will be to spray a light coat, fix what shows up and spray another coat. The PPG paint is great stuff. I was told it makes an amateur look good and I agree. I'm looking forward to painting the rest and it doesn't feel like a chore anymore.

The paint stuff.

The left side panel lines taped and ready for filler in the "paint room".

The right side is ready for it's filler. Instead of doing all the vertical lines then coming back and doing the horizontal I tried getting them all done at once. Where a line meets another line I held the exacto blade against the tape and pulled the excess, cutting the tape at about 70 degrees and then curled the angled edge.

I found that if I curl the inside edge of the tape up a bit where it meets another panel line, the filler feathers out real nice and there's a lot less sanding to do.

2/23/06 -

The right side Windows taped, papered and ready for filler. The windows should be proud of the fuselage skin so I did them last. Originally, the plan was to do them with Flite-Metal, which would have been thick enough to make them proud a bit so I inlaid the plywood window frames. But with painting, it would have been easier and better to just glue them on the fuselage. So now I have to tape and fill. Change orders never help! To make it worse I got the left waist gun window slightly crooked the first time I taped & filled it so I had to sand it off and do it again. I spayed four coats of filler to make the window frames thick.

2/25/06 - Finished the fuselage panel lines today. Whew! It wasn't too much work really, there's just a bunch of them and it's tedious laying out the lines, taping the lines (and making sure you taped the right side of the line), taping the cover paper, spraying with three coats of filler, removing the tape, sanding/flaring the filler, re-taping lines that got sanded away or lines that were missed or couldn't be done with the first pass, re-covering, re-spraying 3 coats, re-sanding until all 75 panels were done. I patched a few places and sanded with 400 grit to smooth the lines. It's good to have the most difficult panel lines out of the way. The wing will be easy!

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Updated July 14, 2009