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

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All right you guys - I will sand off the "made in china" lettering!  For the sake of realism, which is what we try to do.  Geez.....  :)


Barry and others suggested using metallic sheet for the gun panels.  I thought about that too, and yes I will try that if I can find the right stuff.


How about this from Peter (aka airscale):


"Those are double take pictures of the gear bay - I thought they were reference shots of the real one! absolutely convincing - brilliant"  


Reference shots of the real one?  Oh a great complement from the guy who is doing Lopes Hope in 1/18, who's cockpit cannot be distinguished from the real thing!   Thank you - that is what modelers want to hear.  I cannot wait to see what you do with your own gear bay.  So Peter suggests staying with the plastic material for the gun panels, and using heat and then cold to form them.  And this is kind of in line with what I was thinking originally.


 Also Shawn suggests using a reamer for holes.  


Thanks all for good suggestions.  I am formulating a plan:  I am first going to form the plastic sheet, probably like Peter suggests, but using a wing leading edge section further outboard of the guns to keep the steam away from the gear bay.  The contour will not be that different from the desired.  I will hope the curvature is well set in, and will return after I flatten the sheets between thick flat plastic sheet, making a sandwich.  I will align the thin sheets as much as possible to assure the contour is oriented to the gun barrel holes.  Then I will make use of my mini-end mill, and drill the holes precisely located relative to one another.  The thick outer layers will prevent tearing of the thin inner layers (Have done this before with the instrument panel).   When I remove the thin panels (now with good holes), from the sandwich, I will rough cut the peripheries, then hope the curvature returns at least mostly.  If not I can heat/cool them a second time I suppose.  Then I glue the two .01 panels together to make one .02 panel.  Then comes the exacting work of final trimming the panel edges to match the cutout.    I think a template will not be exact enough - I will have to just trim a bit here, fit, trim a bit there, fit, trim some more here, fit, etc, etc.  And then if that all becomes a big fail,  I will try alum panels and hope for the best.   Man - I feel like this sub-project is a must-succeed; otherwise all this effort is for not.


Stay tuned.  Hopefully I can get this part done before we re-floor half of our house, including the man-cave where my modelling happens.  That will force a temporary halt to the P-47 effort. 



Edited by JayW

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Jaw dropping,  this entire post is so unbelievable...I have the same 1/18 aircraft and I was planning to do the same thing but now that I've seen all your masterful work I think I"ll just take up knitting.   Keep up the good work, I can't wait to see the finished product.

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"That's interesting how the spent shell casings and link chutes are interconnected between the guns, I never really thought about how that was done before.


NukerDan - No, am pretty sure each gun has its own chutes.  The shells drop straight out of the guns through big slots in the lower wing skin panel.  And the links pass through individual chutes for each gun, through smaller slots on the lower wing skin.  Here is an end view of the guns - I have tried to identify the chutes (note the feed chutes on top - could you have been looking at those?):





 Here is the lower skin panel:





BTW - the model did not have the smaller link ejection slots.  I am adding them.


Edited by JayW

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What is the red vent?


Dodgem37 (Mark) - thanks for asking.  It is a fuel tank vent on the RH wing only.  As defined by this drawing:




Drawing is 93C65147, Installation - Vent Line - Wing Main Fuel Tank, effective on all P-47D aircraft (also P-47N).


You can see it enters the wheel bay at the aft upper region of the inboard canted rib, is attached to the rear shear web via tube clamps, mates with a special tube assembly via a short section of rubber hose (with hose clamps), and exits the airplane at the wing lower surface.  The detail drawing of the curved exit tube and support plate (93C65225) specifically says to paint the tube red.


Here - a better picture of mine:



Edited by JayW

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Well the machine gun sub-project went better than expected.  I'll get to that in a minute.   The RH wing leading edge has a hole for an air duct - I am not sure what this air duct is for, but it's there.  Here it is on Dottie Mae:




The original hole in the wing was awful, so I cut it away and then some, so I could fit in a block of plastic with a slotted hole drilled in it:




Then I simply sanded the excess away:




The hole shape is actually accurate, but the leading edge contour is considerably blunter than the real thing, so it isn't going to look perfect.  Once the wing halves are glued together, I will add the ring doubler that you see in the Dottie Mae pic, which will cover the seam.  It'll look good.


OK on to the machine gun leading edge panel.  Brian asked for a blow-by-blow, so I will give it to you.  Hope you all find it interesting.  Here is my goal - to duplicate this (Dottie Mae again):





As I described earlier, I decided to try plastic sheet (and if I failed, alum sheet).  Also, I need two layers to give the squarish holes and the round holes.  I first needed a good framework around the leading edge cutout which would provide a shelf in which to glue down the panels, and also serve as contour formers.  Here:




It is fixed to the lower wing half, but fits tight to the upper wing half:





The hard part, of course, is to get the rib contours just right, and offset just right.  I got it pretty close.  Note I have a mid-rib; without it the leading edge panel is a little weak.  Material is .03 and .04 inch plastic sheet and strip.


Then, I took Peter's advise for hot-forming, and deep freezing thin plastic sheet.  Man - it worked, with a vengeance.  It was difficult to unwrap the plastic from the x-acto knife handle it was wrapped around!  Thanks AirScale!  Here is one of four .01 plastic sheet details that have been hot/cold formed, and somewhat relieved:





Yes - I used an x-acto knife handle as the contour master.  Why?  Well Peter suggested using the actual wing as the master, and applying steam to heat the plastic sheet.  But this would have been in the vicinity of the wheel well, and I feared some parts would come unglued or unbonded.  Besides, the curved sheet would have to be flattened in order to drill holes, and cut the periphery.  So an exact contour match was not necessary.  


From there, it was off to the mini-lathe set up as an end mill (or in this case a drill press).  It can drill holes very exactly:




What you see there is a sandwich - with the thin formed sheet (two of them), pressed between thick plastic strip.  This solves the large hole tearing problem, and results in very nice clean .125 inch diameter (and later .156 inch for the other two sheets) holes.  After this step, I got this:




At this point I knew this was going to work just fine.  The squarish holes were had by filing corners into the .156 inch holes, as seen here:




Nested and bonded:




Now for final trim to the cutout.  What you see above is slightly oversize.  First the lower wing halve cutout was matched up, then the upper half.  Then I glued the panel in place:




Final trim, of course, was lots of trial and error, taking off just a bit at a time, until I was satisfied with the fit.  The contour matched up pretty well with the wing, thanks to tedious work on the framework ribs, and to good initial forming of the panel sheets.  Victory!


From there, the guns themselves were easy.  I used .125 diameter plastic tube, reamed to .078 inch ID, with a long plug of .062 diameter plastic rod with a .028 diameter hole drilled (scales to the 50 caliber gun barrel).  They were cut to four different sizes to account for the stagger that P-47 guns sported.  Also, inner supports for the gun barrels also serve as the shell ejection chutes:




And with wing upper half:









What a relief.  This is going to be OK.  The guns can be removed, and installed after the wing halves are joined, and the wing painted.  I am not sure if it is evident in the pictures, but I was able to capture the somewhat "level" orientation of the guns, thus correcting the error on the original model.  Now, it will take a couple days work to do the other wing.  And then I must decide what wing sub-project is next.  Not the flap supports - must wait a while longer for that.


Sorry if this post is tedious for some of you - I really went into detail.  Later, alligator!





Edited by JayW

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