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Heavy Mod - 1/18 21st Century Toys P-47D Razorback

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Here's the best picture I can find so far:




That picture shows the dust pans on the bottom, and the shields on the sides.  These parts are aluminum sheet.  Surprise - not canvas or leather.  What doesn't show up is the leather boot that attaches to the tops of the shields, and folds over to attach to the sides of the door cutout, sharing fasteners with the piano hinges on either side.  Another part of the boot encloses the area aft of the yoke where the wheel itself retracts into. 


I have looked at alot of wartime photos, and have concluded that this stuff was part of the combat config.  I think I can see the dust pans protruding from the bottom of the gear yoke in the few photos where the tail gear is clearly visible.  And if the dust pans are there, the rest has to be.


Those parts will be hard to make.

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Here is an update.  I have made a bunch of decals for the fuselage, and will apply them soon.  Will show that when I do it.  Meanwhile, work has begun on the aft fuselage and tail:




You may recall I sawed this off quite a while back, so as to break the fuselage up into two large projects instead of one super-large project.  This worked pretty good on the P-51 of several years ago.  Re-attaching is just not a big problem, and the saw cut was made at a manufacturing splice anyway (Sta 302.5 bulkhead).  


Here are the problem areas:


1.  tail wheel door cutout and the doors themselves (will cut new cutout, and scratch build the doors)

2.  tail wheel yoke and tail wheel (will use existing part for the yoke, pans, and shields - yes that's right, will turn a new tire from acrylic on the lathe, and will scratch build the hub and the fork/axle)

3.  rudder (will fiddle with hinge cutouts, make a new tab with a new push rod and fairing, new tail light)

4.  elevators (will fiddle with hinge cutouts, make new tabs with new push rods and fairings, make new torque tube with accurate attachments to the fin rear spar which can be seen)


It's gonna take a while, and I have gotten started.  Last post I showed this picture of an actual P-47 tail gear with metal pans and shields:




Well little did I know at the time, but the part supplied with the toy is a decent effort:




Now I have modified it a good bit, and will do some more, but this is what I am going to use.  It will be fine, I promise.  The old fork was tossed, and a new fork was made from 3/32 alum tube, flattened in the middle, shaped, and then 1/8 tubing added for the axle and the post:




Also a generous amount of epoxy to help with its shape here and there.  


The tail wheel tire itself is also under way.  Here it is on the lathe (partially done):




It has been very hard to do so far, and now my lathe's electric motor has failed.  So no more machining on the tire until it gets fixed (could take some time).  Grrr.....


Just after I lit into the aft fuselage, I got my canopy drive chain in the mail from England:




This was a disappointment - I thought I was going to get a super-small bicycle chain, and instead I just got a super-small link chain.  That was not made clear by those guys.


Well, the links are so small that I believe they sort of look the part anyway when viewing normally (i.e. not with a zoom like these pictures).  Here:




The picture that counts:




Think I will live with that - its better than nothing in there, and I challenge anyone with normal eyesight to notice.


OK, lots to do to get the tail in proper order.  Stay tuned!

Edited by JayW

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Hi Jay...

    I don't even have normal eyesight anymore...  but the macro pics look awesome!  Love the way you're tackling the aft LG.



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Sorry Jay that I led you to that wrong chain (I was under the assumption that it was mini bicycle chain too), but I think you're right, it still looks fine.

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No worries about that chain y'all!  What I like about it is one - the links are very small and almost exactly the same pitch as a to-scale chain (.375 inch or .02 inch), and which blurs under normal vision, and two - the color is just like a hard steel chain that is well greased.  I declare victory on this one.  Besides, even if it had been a real bicycle chain replica, the Thunderbolt chain is really two chains in parallel - with three side plates instead of two.  I would have had to put two chains in parallel and that would have been four side plates and would have had problems of its own.

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As I wait for the new lathe electric motor to arrive, I have been proceeding with other work on the tail.  First, the aft fuselage / fin combination is pretty much complete, including a repaint:




A number of improvements were incorporated into the repaint - invasion stripes and the black stripe on the fin were all crooked; not anymore.  The serial numbers were also crooked, and I created decals to replace what was there.  You also see a number of drill starts that depict flush screws that hold on the fillet fairings.  The hole you see in the white invasion stripe is the hoist point, which had been missing.


Also, the tail gear door cutout was improved by adding a tricky doubler:




It provides the rounded periphery to the aft end of the cutout.  In that shot you can also see from a different angle how the tail gear strut will look with its protective pans and shields.


The elevators are connected to each other via a torque tube, and this torque tube has a drive arm that is pushed/pulled by a series of control rods inside the fuselage, going all the way back to the control stick in real life.  The torque tube is heavily supported on the fin aft spar.  Here is my rendition of it:






Needless to say, none of that was present until I made it all.  This stuff is somewhat visible, so I took care to make good details - cross bolts, the control rod attachment, etc.  The h/stab and elevators are just dry fitted to assure the torque tube is placed right.  They are in the queue for improvement after the rudder is done.


So the rudder - it needed much work.  Here it is before paint:




 In the past I have made huge projects out of the tail surfaces, but I chose to throttle it back a bit this time.  Partly because the original parts are more usable than on past projects (like the P-38).  At any rate - I spruced up the tab, added a new tab control rod fairing with rod end and lugs connecting to the tab itself, a new tail light fairing, and new covers for the lower hinge area.   The chromate parts you see to the left are lower hinge fittings.  More on that next time.


Trundling right along..... see you next time and thanks for looking in! 

Edited by JayW

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As you all can see from the last post I submitted, I put alot of effort into making good authentic looking hinges for the rudder lower attach point, and the elevators where the torque tube attaches to the fuselage.  I was under the mistaken impression that much was exposed in that area, but once I made and installed the side covers - these things....




why, much of that work disappeared.  First here is a shot of the fully complete rudder, with those side covers.




The main upgrades are the lower hinge area with side covers, the tail light, the tab control rod with fairing, and some enhancing of the tab periphery to make it stand out a bit more. 


And, the rudder-side lower hinge fitting I worked very hard on:




This hinge point, in real life, not only provides one of three hinge points for the P-47 rudder.  It also is the single hinge point that has a vertical constraint, meaning that the weight of the rudder is reacted here.  Also, it is the point where the rudder angle is controlled - the two little horns sticking out the sides of the rudder, through slots in the side cover, are where the rudder control cables are attached.


But look at what happens when the rudder is positioned:




I can appreciate that what you see here is quite accurate, but alot of that good detail work cannot be seen.  I even attempted to show the control cables by using fishing wire.  Can you see it?  I didn't think so.  All this stuff is even more hidden with the h'stab installed:






Oh well - the work was kinda fun.  Note in that last picture the "jack point and skid shoe" fitting just in front of the rudder.  Gotta have that (the original didn't).


So the tail looks like this so far after gluing on the rudder:







Was going to proceed on to the h/stab and elevators, but arbitrarily jumped onto the tail gear doors instead.  They will be fun.  This picture shows how I tore into the existing door:




As I have done in the past, I aim to use the existing part as a contour guide, and make it the interior portion only.  I will slap a piece of 0.015 inch plastic sheet on the far side for the outer skin.  You will see all that next post.



Edited by JayW

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Well I whittle away at it an hour here, a half hour there, and a half day sometimes.   Let me show you the tail gear doors.  Recall I said I would use the existing units to make the new ones - the existing ones becoming the insides.   So I mutilated them pretty badly like this:




Once I added a correctly shaped outer skin, bonded together, filled in here and there with epoxy, and primed, it looks like this:




Add other details including the drive fitting, and you get this:




The flanged long part to the left is the piano hinge which will attach it to the fuselage.  The drive rod has a couple of jam nuts slid onto its OD.


And the finished product:






And the tail feathers to date:



The old part didn't look much like a P-47; this is better.  Note the uber-informative engineering drawing print in the background, taking all the guesswork out of the effort.  So now it is on to the h/stab and elevators.  They really don't need much so no heavy lifting required.  Also, I missed some decals so will be making and applying them too.  Maybe by then I get my lathe motor back and can finish the tire and wheel, which are glaringly missing.  And then - the wings will show up on my radar!!!  Stick around; it will be fun. 


Edited by JayW

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