Finishing - page 7


Wing panel lines taped and sprayed. The right wing(on the left) has the tape removed.



Little hatches and panels add character. I put some little hatches on the nacelles and added round indentations on the wings for the fuel filler caps. The fuel filler caps will be painted red later and that red really looks good on the silver background. In this picture i'm also fixing the panel lines where they meet. I angled the tape the wrong way which makes too sharp of a transition of the filler/no filler line.

I put little Zeus fastener heads on the nacelle panels. I didn't really plan on that but they are big enough to see or notice that they are not there. I used a 1/16" aluminum tube with the end sharpened and attached it to a wood burning tool and used the temp control to get it the correct temp to burn in the fastener heads. There was no room in the tube to put the slot maker so I had to go over each head with a modified exacto blade headed with a candle to burn in the slots. The whole process only took a few hours but the effect is great!. I am tempted to do more but where do I stop. I can't put all 500,000 rivets on so I have to draw the line and get this thing done. A wet sanding with 400 grit and the wing is ready for paint. I also wet sanded the fuselage and got it ready for paint.

3/12/06 - It's been cold and rainy for about a week now with more on the way so I don't know when I'll get to paint but I'm using this time to get better prepared to paint so I can paint everything at once. I patched up one of the flaps that showed it's flaw after I painted it silver the first time. I worked on cleaning up the canopy frame, got the waist window wind shield and the gear doors prepped and started building the bomb bay doors. After those I will prep the turrets.

I made a bunch of 1/4" strips of 1/16" balsa, put them in the jig and taped them together. I removed the door from the jig, turned it over and sanded it down and then put laminating film on that and added a 5/16" strip of 1/64" ply to one end of the door and trimmed the film off. For strength I added .050 carbon fiber rod to the top end and .014 x 1/8" carbon fiber strip to the bottom end. I then glued on four pieces of styrene angle stock as slot running guides. The idea is that the cables that make them move will hold them against the fuselage and keep them from flying off.


I did that four times (I already made one door a while back but I want them all the same so I made four more).

3/14/06 - The motors, props and adapters/mounts came today from Hobby-Lobby.

3/17/06 - Since it's been raining it's given me a great opportunity to get everything ready for the aluminum paint so I only have to setup once and today it's all ready. I taped up the turrets, trimmed and taped the chin window, any exposed foam core on the wing and anything I don't want silver and scuff sanded the plastics. It's time for paint! It's rained all week but Saturday and Sunday are supposed to be in the 60's with no rain and that will just be warm enough to let me paint.

3/18/06 - Painting day!

Today is the day. Since I have a bunch of painting I setup a plastic tarp paint room on the sunny side of the yard and made a hanger for the wings and fuselage to hang from for painting and set a temp gauge inside to monitor the temp. I looked over the wings and fuselage one last time in oblique lighting to catch any pin holes or blemishes before the paint goes on and actually found a couple spots that needed some spot putty. By noon the paint room was 65° F and I started mixing the paint. The painting went very well and by about 2pm everything was silver and no runs, drips or blemishes! The only problem I had painting was that when you spray something light that is hanging it tends to get blown away from the paint gun so I was spraying with the right hand and holding the wing or fuselage still with the left hand and trying not to touch what I just painted.

And then disaster struck! I had hung up the wings and fuselage in the shop to dry after painting each and was hunting around to get something to put the turrets on for painting (I should have had them ready) and I bumped into the left wing and knocked it down. It fell right onto the corner of a board and punched a hole in the TOP on the wing!. Couldn't have been the bottom eh? After some bad language was shouted about and I calmed down I went back to painting and finished everything else. I did two coats on the right wing and fuselage and one good coat on everything else.

After cleaning up the paint gun I assessed the damage and is was not going to be as bad as it first appeared. Amazingly the only real damage was the hole and the hole was 99% in one panel. I only had to work on that panel and it was where the filler was built up to make the panel line so it will be easy to hide the repair. The hole was in the only place where I could get to it from the inside, above the landing gear, so I was able to put a balsa patch in from the inside and used bondo on the outside to get it smooth. After about 30 minutes I sanded it down, taped the panel and sprayed it with filler, and could not tell it was ever a hole. That all took about an hour and I was back in business and very happy again.

3/19/06 - Painting day two.

I repainted the left wing with two coats and re-shot the right wing tip because I didn't get full coverage. I pulled that tape off the plastic parts and there was no seepage under the tape so they all look great. That phase is done! Now to wait a couple days and paint the star & bar and sharks mouth and the painting will be finished.

The Zeus fasteners on the nacelles.


3/20/06 - Motor update. I waited six months for the AXI motor price to drop and a week after I paid full price they went on sale at Hobby-Lobby-$76 including the motor mount/adapter set- $30 less than what I paid!. I called Hobby-Lobby and they said no problem- they will refund the difference- That's what I call great customer service!. They will certainly get my business again.

I soldered on connectors to a motor, battery and ESC, updated the ESC software and ran through the setup- fixed throttle, no current limit, no brake, soft cutoff, super soft start, 9 volt cutoff and mounted the motor to a test stand. Let's see what this thing will do with the 10-7 3 blade prop. Numbers are at full throttle.

AXI 2820/12 - Full throttle test
Prop Static
voltage after 10 sec
amps watts prop RPM

Graupner 10-7 3 Blade -resin fiber

12.4 10.5 36 390 8400

Zinger 10-8
2 Blade -wood

11.6 10.6 32 345 9100

The Graupner prop is within the limit for the system but I like the Zinger numbers better and will most likely use a 10-8 2 blade for the first flights. The 10-8 should give me a cushion on the speed so I can throttle back after takeoff. I also want to try a 10-8 APC to see what it will give. My hope is that the 10-8 will be more than enough so I can throttle down and cut amps and be able to use the 10-7 3 bladed props for the scale look.

I buffed (scratched really) the aluminum on the wings and fuselage with #0000 steel wool, doing some panels 90° to the ones around them. It really helps the aluminum paint look less like sand blasted aluminum and more like aluminum sheets. Still not quite as real looking as Flite-Metal might look but still pretty good and much easier and a harder coating too. Like a bad engineer, I didn't weigh anything after the panel lines but before the paint went on so I don't know how much the paint added. I did weigh the wing before the panel lines so I do know how much the filler AND paint weigh. The right wing after panel lines and paint is 31.2 oz. That's only about 2.5 oz. added and that's not bad.

3/22/06 -

Painted the white on the star and bars and the sharks mouth using Testors Model Masters Flat White. I used the frisket film again on the star & bars, printing from the plans on the frisket back and cutting them out. I made a couple round disks from plywood to help me cut the circles. I put only the S&B outline on so I could first paint the white. I found that when putting the S&B outline on it's important to keep the orientation correct. The circle is not centered on the bars because of the star. I didn't realise that until I was done and the wing circles were backwards. Fortunately I didn't paint all the way out to the edge so I can shift the blue just enough to fix it. I also painted the olive drab anti-glare panel on the nose with Testors Model Masters Olive Drab. I couldn't get a definitive view of Old Ironsides anti-glare but I think I got it close to what it was.

3/23/06 - When I peeled off the frisket film this morning it didn't want to come off and left some marks in the paint. The paint didn't peel though and that was nice. I was able to buff out the marks with the steel wool. I think what happened was I put the film on too soon after wiping down the area with isopropyl alcohol and the paint was softened up a bit by the alcohol.

Using new frisket film I got to work on the blue parts of the star & bars. They went a lot better. I cut out new outlines, stuck them down over the white and then aligned the bars to the outline and aligned the star to the bars. I then sanded down the ridge at the edge of the white, wiped it down with a tack cloth and airbrushed a couple coats of Testors Model Masters Insignia blue.

As soon as it was dry- about 10 minutes, I took off the frisket film and it came right off and they were done! Much better than a decal.



I airbrushed the black over the white on the mouth to make the teeth. I traced the mouth outline on paper and drew the teeth to match the pictures. They're not perfect but I'm not going to the scale masters anyway. Again I used the copier to transfer the drawing onto the frisket film. I found the secret to getting crisp lines without bleed under- don't thin the paint too much. The Model Master paint is supposed to be thinned 3 parts paint to 1 part thinner. By cutting it down to about 3 parts paint to 1/2 part thinner it still sprays OK but doesn't creep under the mask.

When that was dry I hand painted the black and red outline and the eye around the window. This is always the tough part with scale models. The full scale had sloppy hand painted red & black stripes and although it's right, it looks sloppy and the unaware will attribute it to bad craftsmanship.

3/26/06 - I'm trying to decide how to paint the "Old Iron Sides" on the fuselage sides. Should I get a calligraphy pen and just write it on? Try painting it with a brush? or cut a mask in Frisket and spray it. I decided to work on the cockpit a little until I decide and anyway it's too cold and wet to paint. We've had 18 days of rain this March in sunny San Jose, CA. Most of it around 50°- 55° F with only a few nicely placed warm days that allow me to paint so I'll wait.


I cut the "Old Iron Sides" from friskets and airbrushed it onto both sides. Now it just needs the mission bombs.


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Updated July 14, 2009