well hello folks
can't believe a month has passed since I last posted an update...
I have not been idle though - I have done a lot of 3D modelling for the tailwheel, main wheels (for which I am getting help!) and the spinner (of which more later..), in between I have also released an airscale instrument panel set for the Hobbyboss 1/32 B24 Liberator and also worked with Airfix to master this airscale cockpit set for the new and mind blowing Airfix 1/24 F6F Hellcat - the decals for all the instruments & placards are in production, but the PE is done..
..as for the P51, when I had the Hellcat PE test shot done, I also added a load of extra P51 stuff to the fret so I make the most of one-shot production, Part of that was the stainless steel side panels that surround the exhaust ports, and I also made a fold up box structure that is the structure that surrrounds and supports the exhausts themselves..
..Also seen here are the 3D printed exhausts from Model Monkey - huge shout out for these as they are exceptional quality and amazingly are hollow so are ultra realistic..
..these were folded and the details added before the boxes were added to the outer panels - the exhausts are not yet fitted so they can be painted & added at the end..
..and so onto the spinner - this is one of those things that has sat in the back of my mind as a niggle since I started this build - it is unfortunately unpainted on the real aircraft so had to be made in metal - a bit like skinning a tennis ball in sheet aluminium - very tricky..
..I actually bought the HpH 1/18 Merlin engine model hoping to cheat and get a good basis for the prop & spinner from that, but it is very crude - the spinner is a solid with four peg holes in it to take the blades - there is no reference to the cutouts on the real thing, so that was a 70 euro write off (though I think I can use the blades so may not be dead money...)
I restarted my Rhino 3D programme trial and got to work modelling the Spinner...
..when I went to get it printed at Shapeways, I noticed you could choose polished Aluminium so I thought well that would be brilliant as it would save lots of messing around with skinning as I could just polish the part - so at great expense (150 euros) I ordered it with the hub done in plastic..
one - it's not polished at all, it is more like a carbide burr in texture, and two, somehow I got the hole cutouts wrong as two were in the right pitch for the blades and two were in the opposite pitch..
..that said - it is aluminium, and after filing & polishing is just like a cast part - don't know how they do it, but it's bloody clever..
..as the cutouts were wrong, I knew I had to skin it, so I made a tape mask and started with the lower section...
..with this skin added, I taped it to the top part to mark another tape template with where the cut-out holes were on the next bit of skinning (there are 3 - bottom, lower of the top cone, and the tip)
..this skin needed rows of 3 rivets adding so I made up a jig I could do this accurately with..
..I was hoping after adding this I could get away with the spinner tip being the base aluminium part, but there is a lip that can just be seen..
..in doing the tip, I nearly gave up as turning one sheet into a fully compound curve sheath without a visible seam proved very difficult - I don't have any in progress pics, but at this point the bulk of the shaping has been done and the skin runs up over the lower part - I was hoping I could just sand & file this away for a nice close fit (I should have started with the tip & made the lower panel fit it, not the other way around..)
..once it was all sanded away, I was really happy with the result..
..the prop hub was painted and added to the base..
..and it is a perfect fit..
..it feels great having got that done - everything else is easy by comparison I also have the right sheet aluminium that Brian (Out2gtcha) kindly shipped from the US on my behalf so can now start skinning the airframe..
..a milestone I think, and hopefully the start of more regular updates..