Life is short, break the rules. Forgive quickly, kiss slowly. Love truly, laugh uncontrollably and never regret anything that makes you smile. - Samuel Longhorne Clemens (Mark Twain)

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

World War II Project - Horsa Glider - Part V

I'm finally worked through the final part of this build. I'm not quite sure when I'm going to pull this into the paint booth so I'll call it done for now. This post is a bit long winded. In part IV I skinned the wings. I did the whole fuselage over the course of two days, just because of the time I had available.

I started with the cockpit. This is two pieces and it has its own quirks (every section does). First you need to flex the cardboard along the scored lines, but be careful with this. There are some fragile sections and its easy to put to much "bend" into it and it will kink on you and be difficult to keep flat against the ribs (this applies every time you need to bend the cardboard).

Second, remember that the very back edge of the cockpit is not covered by the cardboard, it will be covered like a sleeve by the main fuselage (at least in theory). I did the wrap around the side first. Be careful here as window framing is quite fragile. I'm not convinced cardboard was the right medium for this, something thinner and with less internal layers may have been better. Rubber bands are your friend here because of the circular nature of the fuselage. I didn't have any with me at this juncture and my build is a little rough because of it. I think paint will hide a multitude of sins here. I then followed that up with the front of the cockpit which I had trouble getting to lay flat. There are some serious compound curves here. I finally managed to weight it down with my steel weights. I'm not happy with the end result as there is a flat part on the lower front of the fuselage that is not lining up with the front, I lost the curve there somehow. Again, probably won't be noticed once she is painted. I feel like I managed to get glue an everything.

The "side" skin for the cockpit. Be careful of those window frames, they are fragile!

I did not have any rubber bands at this point and I did not get a nice round look when I attached the skin here. Note that the skin does not (nor should it!) go all the way to the back edge of the cockpit bulkhead.

I need some weight here. That's three pounds of steel weights. Definitely overkill. But be aware that you will need something to hold the skin to the three front ribs of the cockpit.

Here you can see that the side windows are not quite conforming to the front, that I can fix. What I cannot fix is the flat spot where the lower fuselage meets the front. Will probably disappear with a little paint work.

A very definite kink in the side skin right below the window. This is a tricky spot.

Here I have managed to at least get the side windows to conform to the front edge, still nothing on the bottom though.

Adding a fillet of glue and then I'll hold it till it dries to get this side to conform to that nasty compound curve.
I then moved on to the tail (which I broke at one point, which made this much easier!). This is an interesting section as its wider at the front than the back. However with the whole tailplane/rudder assembly now a second piece it went wasn't to difficult. I had the rubber bands this time and they did short work of the whole thing.

Here I'm prepping the skin by gently wrapping it around the tail first before applying any glue to it.

Fixing the rudder and tailplane assembly that I broke early on.

This is not an easy attachment with everything loose. I did one side first which stabilized everything and then the other side was much easier to get in place.

The tailplane struts did a nice job of helping me get everything straight here. Quite happy with this repair.

From here I moved on to the final piece the main fuselage. I wasn't looking forward to this part at all. First I went ahead and attached the skin for the door. Its hard to get wrong, there is a tab that will guide you to the right placement. Be careful when applying glue you don't want to glue it shut (well maybe you do, I did not).  Having the door in place helps guide you in getting the rest of the skin on and keeping it straight. I then applied glue along the spine and clamped it in place and let the glue dry. This way you aren't constantly fighting trying to keep the cardboard in place on the two tabs on the top of the fuselage.

I then applied glue to all the ribs and any point where the skin would come into contact with a piece of MDF. I wrapped it around quickly, added the rubber bands and then adjusted it making sure all the lines were straight and that the skin was as tight to the ribs (without kinks) as I could. There is a cardboard score line right down the middle of the windows that wanted to kink quite badly (and you can see it in the pictures). I found that with the main fuselage and the tail that gently pre-wrapping (or dry wrapping or dry fitting) the cardboard around the ribs was more effective than trying to do it "freeform". Again be careful when you are getting the cardboard into shape. I think I managed to get it all quite smooth in the end. Now the issue I have is that the cardboard skin should stick out beyond the ends of the fuselage, and when I was finished it certainly did. However its not long enough to fully cover the gaps between the cockpit and tail assemblies. I'm not sure if I did something wrong or not. Near as I can tell everything is fitting exactly where it should be but there is an obvious gap. I think painting it will go along way to hiding it and in the end its a piece of very cool scenery and the players are unlikely to notice.

Make sure you have removed an excess glue from the ends or the tail and cockpit assemblies won't fit or you may accidentally glue them together!

A quick look at how the fuselage looks. Note the gaps between sections. Those shouldn't be there but I'm not convinced that I didn't do anything wrong, yet everything lines up with the various tabs.

From a build standpoint this model definitely has its challenges. MDF is not the best structural material and there are a couple places where the connection points are pretty small and easily broken. I found the skin tricky, but not terribly difficult as long as I went slowly. I think this kit would be better if it was cut from thin plywood rather than MDF. I'm not sure about the cost but some of those small junction points on the rudder/tailplane, the main wheel carriage and the spars on the wings would certainly benefit from a stronger material. Oh! And I found the last two pieces for the main wheels, They are cardboard so they were on the cardboard sprue with the cockpit and fuselage skin.

Which brings up another point. The instructions need to be gone over again and edited. There are numerous errors in part numbers and if you are going to use part numbers on the instructions you should be putting them on the sprues as well for quick identification. While the sprues conform pretty closely to the instructions some of the parts are definitely in odd spots. I also need to make a decision about how I'm going to use this on the table. What you don't see is the main wheel carriage. Without doing any research, I assume that this would be jettisoned after takeoff but what I'm not sure of is if the front wheel is jettisoned as well. I have left it on for the moment just to make sure I can change my mind.

Its a bit to big to fit into my combination airbrush/photo booth.

I'll need to do something about that gap in the front of the wing. A little filler should take care of it. Again the gap occurred because I managed to break both the spars while transporting it and didn't get it quite straight. I probably could have used the skin itself as a guide towards fixing the damage I did.

Monday, June 26, 2017

World War II Project - Horsa Glider - Part IV

Before I started applying the cardboard "skin" I wanted to make sure that the different sections separated correctly. In this case the locking mechanisms are part of the build with the passenger compartment being the key. Make sure that both the tail section and the cockpit section attached by the simple act of twisting them together. you don't want to be forcing things together or swearing at your model as it lays in pieces on the floor. Proceed with a little caution and be prepared to sand or file the locking mechanisms as need till you get a nice fit.

Then its on to the skin! Not much to say here other than patience is a virtue and its better to go slow and make sure that glue joints have dried before forcing things. You need to make sure, especially on the crew compartment that the grooves in the cardboard remain parallel to the body and don't twist, nice straight lines is what you are looking for here. I found that clamps come in very handy to make sure you have good contact with the flat areas.

I started with the wings. As I feared I managed to break the main spars which throw everything off slightly. I managed to get it together and its pretty straight. This is the easiest of the skins to apply and I should have just done it right away the cardboard adds a lot of strength across the upper surfaces of the wing that will keep it from breaking. The cardboard is not the easiest thing to work with. Bend it to much and you will have a hard time getting things to lay tight against the right areas. Clamps and weights can't even be used in some areas. But the wing, overall, is pretty easy.

Busted spars. I should have used a straight edge to make sure that the front of the wing was completely straight when I glued these back together. Again pretty small pieces from MDF used for structural integrity just don't cut it.

Weighing down the right wing. I did bend the cardboard for the front of the wing first. But I left it unglued while I worked on the upper surface.
I found that just holding the front edge of the wing down when I glued it was the most effective way to get a nice neat front edge.

Upper surfaces in place

You can see the gap between the left and right halves, it is narrower at the back and wider at the front, this is a problem created by the broken wing spar and not having the wings nice and straight

Weighing things down

The end result

You can see just how much I was off when I fixed the spar. I had to widen the slots to get the tabs to fit on one side.

Monday, June 19, 2017

World War II Project - Horsa Glider - Part III

The wings are the last piece to assemble in the instructions. If you build as directed you are just about done because you would have been adding the skin as the last part of each sub assembly, something I decided to wait on. Be aware there are some fragility here until you skin them. The wings are constructed from two pieces  (each) of MDF so they are quite heavy. I'm looking at the wing spars that hold this assembly together and I have my doubts, hopefully the cardboard skin will hold everything together, and it should.

There is a piece mislabeled here as well. The long spar that joins the two wing halves together is noted as #1 on the diagram and as L in the instructions. The assembly is pretty straight forward, just be sure that all the slots line up between the upper and lower surfaces of the wings so that the spars will fit correctly.  Test fit, test fit test fit!

After the wings I went to work on the undercarriage. This is another point where are there are some very small pieces and it won't take much to break them. A little judicious filing will make things much easier. This is another spot in the instructions where a part is labeled incorrectly. The diagram shows the Front Frame as part #1 and the instructions refer to it as Q. Its not a big issue since there is nothing even remotely similar to it.  The one issue I ran into is that the two wheels are each constructed of four parts. On the frame those parts are on there are only three pieces for each wheel. I don't know what I did with the two part "V"s that make up the outside portion of the wheel. I was throwing away frames as I finished them and I thought I was making sure that I snagged any misc pieces from those but as it sits they are definitely missing. Odds are no one is going to notice anyway so I'm not going to go crazy over it.

Now that I have everything together I'm ready to move on to applying the "skin"

Here are all the pieces for the wing except the long spar (L)

Here is the upper wing with the ribs in place and the lower wing ready to be glued together. be sure that your engraved sides of the wing are facing away from each other! This is a big surface so clamping the two wing halves together is required (in my opinion, long time readers should know how I feel about clamping at this point).

The lower wing, engraved side

The upper wing, engraved side, ribs attached.

Everything glued together, I got a little sloppy with the glue here, but it will be covered by the cardboard "skin"

Wings assembled

Spars added. The wing is ready for the "skin" now.

The under carriage. Note that I only have three pieces for each wheel, not sure what happened to the fourth piece. The two triangles are the support struts for the tailplane.

The under carriage assembled. Note that the spot where the front frame and the undercarriage frame come together at the wheel is a weak point because the MDF is thin. I broke this joint on one side trying to force the wheels on to the tab. Sanding the tab slightly will make it easier to fit the wheels on and help keep you from breaking the joint there.

Two unknown pieces that were on one of the frames that I held on to. I have no idea where these goes or what their purpose is. I have gone over the instructions and I don't believe I missed anything in the assembly process.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

World War II Project - Horsa Glider - Part II

I fired up the airbrush and did a quick application of paint to what will be the inside of the glider skin. I also painted the cockpit and the interior floor, door ramp and bulkheads with the same color. Most of the pictures I saw actually had a two tone scheme on the inside but I just didn't want to go that far with this one. I'm actually questioning why I even bought this one, it may never even end up on the table. It certainly doesn't appear in any of the Kampfgruppe Von Lucke scenarios from the Two Fat Lardies Pint Sized Campaign. Still its been kind of a fun build up to this point.

Here I painted the "inside" of the cardboard used for the glider skin using AMMO US APC Interior Green thinned down with a bit of white. I'll have to watch for overspray around all those open windows though. Masking is going to be a bit tricky, or I may just have to brush paint the fuselage.

Here are the finished glider components with their coating of interior green. There are a lot of variations on the interior color so, much like camouflage colors, its hard to be wrong.

I decided that I would leave off the skin and do that at the very end just so I could be more methodical with it. I don't see anything in the assembly sequence that would cause a problem by doing that and right now it just makes everything easier to handle. 

After the airbrush work I started in on the next sequence; the tail. I had some issues with this assembly. First off on my kit the fit on all the parts was incredibly tight, to tight to make it easy to assemble. To make it easier I would highly recommend filing the slots a bit before trying to assemble the ribs to the tail core (S) and tail assembly (U). You will be much happier at the end.

While I followed the assembly sequence as written I would recommend that you don't. The tail core piece (S) is easier to get properly placed by using the ribs (V, W & X) than by using the end bulkhead (U) as stated in the sequence.

Watch for the point where the rudder attaches to the rest of the tail piece (T). I didn't even realize that I had snapped it off while I struggled getting the end bulkhead (U) into place (the fit is much to tight). Also the end bulkhead (U) actually has a top! On the tail piece (T) the upper tab and lower tab that the bulkhead attaches to are different sizes and correspond to different sized slots on the bulkhead. I had it upside down the first time and snapped it in half trying to take it off, which is about the same time the rudder snapped off.

Also attach the tailplane brackets (Z) to the tailplane before you attach it to the rudder. The fit is incredibly tight and at first I thoughyt they might not actually be the right size to fit into the slot on the tailplane. If you haven't broken off the rudder yet, you could well do it trying to get these in place.

I won't try and attach the rudder back into position until after I have put on the cardboard skin. I suspect the skin will be easier to put with it out of the way and I won't risk breaking it a second time. In the end it might need to be pinned in place.

Here is the action sequence:
Here are the components for the tail assembly

By trying to follow the sequence I broke off the rudder and snapped the end bulkhead in half. A little judicious filing of the tabs and slots would have kept this from happening

Plan B, attach the ribs first which gets the tail core into the proper position

You can see the tabs on the tail core sticking through the final rib assembly (the ribs are all two pieces). Those tabs are different sizes.

Since I had conveniently snapped the bulkhead in half, I lined them up so you can see that, indeed, the slos are actually different sizes and not by very much. There is no indication of direction in the instructions.

Now I have everything in place.

This should be a single assembly at this point but for me it has become two. All the parts for the tail have incrediably tight fits including the wing support brackets on the tailplane. I would attach those brackets before attaching the tailplane tot the rudder, especially if you haven't already broken the rudder off.