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1/18 Scale Blue Box F4U-1A Corsair Modification


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18 hours ago, wingman777 said:

Wow love the finished product of the vertical stab/rudder!!  Great work!!


4 hours ago, Jim Barry said:

That said, it's an awesome rudder!


You guys are not making it any easier when I try to decide whether or not to remake the rudder!  Your comments are well received here; thanks.  Truthfully as soon as I finished it, I knew that it left something to be desired.  That was evident when I first posted on it.  Too rough, and the trailing edge is just too blunt.  At a considerable risk to the tissue covering, I went to work sanding the edges and thinning the trailing edge as much as I dared, and it looks better now.  But only an incremental improvement.  Got a lukewarm reception initially by OBG whose opinions I value.  And I think he'd still like to see a new one, which I get.  I think he thinks I have a great model going here, and wants to see it stay that way.  And lastly, I made a mistake with the rudder skin's tab cutout - the gap between the tab leading edge and the rudder is supposed to be more covered than it is.  It's fixable, and I will probably try, but it will look like a fix I am afraid.  Which strengthens the argument to just do it over.  I only hesitate because the rudder looks awfully cool from a few feet away (it really does), and it was just a SOB to build.  


I am going to stay on course for now.  After the elevators are done, it's back to the wheel well, and also h/stab skinning - not sure which order.  All with the intent to join the aft fuselage halves so that final skinning can commence (including the feared fillet fairings and tail cone) and ultimately join the aft fuselage to the forward fuselage.  Don't need the rudder for any of that.  So plenty of time to mull over the decision.          

Edited by JayW
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What a great show!


I like the rudder very much, actually. Although the trailing edge might not be as sharp as it should be, I guess it's still much sharper than the original kit part. And I like the fabric-approach, although the thin plastic sheet is probably much easier to apply.

Keep up the fabulous work! You rock this thing. We're all flashed by your master-class skills.



Edited by daHeld
I changed a word
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On 2/8/2023 at 5:37 AM, daHeld said:

What a great show!

Well you ought to know Andy!  I noticed a while back you were going through the entire build.  Thank you, and I really appreciate your interest, and I promise alot more adventure to follow.  It isn't done! 

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On 2/1/2023 at 5:45 AM, JayW said:


Oh man!  I worked my a__ off on that thing!  Since I last posted on it I cleaned up the edges as best I could and refinished:




You must admit it looks better than before.   That photo is from an electron scanning microscope (my I-phone zoom close-up).  Step away a couple feet and that is a pretty cool looking control surface.  Heck, you get that close to my engine and it starts looking a little ratty. You know, that engine that everyone seems to love...  :rolleyes:


I hear ya man.  I will finish up the elevators, and if they are on a truly different level compared to the rudder, then yes I will do the rudder over again, with plastic skin and trailing edges a bit thinner.


And, I will take this opportunity to say that constructive criticism is welcome on this build, from people who know what they are talking about.  And my audience sure seems to know.  It helps make this Corsair better than it otherwise would be.  Keep the inputs coming.

Been busy sorting out my new life recently, but catching up on where you're at and wow!!!! I can't imagine being able to top that effort Jay. I reckon that's spot on :) 



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Let's see - last I posted progress, I had finished the elevator skeletons and added .005 inch thick plastic skins (instead of the fabric used on the rudder).  P-38 filler was added at the tip and the balance weight tower without much problem.  What was needed now was to apply decal strips to simulate doubled up fabric along ribs and spar and other structural elements.  First though, a coat of primer and then some semi-gloss for good decal adhesion:




You can see that the plastic skins have a slight draped effect that, I think, simulates a taught fabric covered surface. 


Then decal strips - a not-so-fun task:




Then top coat:




Note the tab hinge points (three of them), and the penetration for the trim tab control rod (made from a chunk of 1/16 dia aluminum tube, sanded to proper shape.  Theses elevators turned out better than the rudder in almost every respect.  Now that the top coat has been applied, I definitely have a LH and a RH elevator, if only due to color.  Prior to top coat, they were identical.  BTW - how do you like my sawhorses?  ;)


In parallel with the finishing of the elevators proper, I began work on the four tab surfaces (two trim tabs, two "balance" tabs).  First, the skeletons:




I intend for the balance tabs to be movable, at least for a while.  The trim tabs will be glued into place.  I used P-38 filler to shape the small leading edges of the tab surfaces:




Worked OK, but this is certainly a small application for body putty. Then came paint application - I used the double hairspray method so I could do some chipping.  Keep in  mind the tabs in real life are aluminum skinned as opposed to the elevators which are fabric.  Here:




Addition of a few more details (like the elevator torque shafts and round access doors), a couple of decals, and I had a batch of parts ready for assembly:





Assembled, on saw horses just like the factory floor:










Well - they aren't perfect, and the huge thumbnails really expose any flaw.  The double hairsprayed tabs have a bit of show-through of the YZC primer.  This happened to some of my skin panels on the fuselage as well.  I don't like it but I am going to leave it alone at least for now.


Next post you will see the inside of the tail wheel bay again, at last.  Don't go away.    



Edited by JayW
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Jeez, I haven't looked in for a while so I had to read up on this one. What a tremendous build! The level of detail is simply stunning. And it was a very good decision to skin the model with aluminium. When I looked at those pictures, I thought it was a pity that the panel and rivet detail of the kit wasn't up to the very high standard of your scratch building. But of course you took care of that as well. :bow:


Keep the updates coming!




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I am going to do something about that color mismatch between the elevator and the tabs:




It's so weird - it seems to me that, when doing the double hairspray method, everything seems OK until I apply the final clear flat topcoat, and that seems to draw out the YZC from underneath.  This happened in spades to one (not both) of the fuselage panels over the engine accessories compartment.  WTF....  Could be that I need the top color (in this case blue) to dry longer?  At any rate, I am going to try to cover up that yellow hue without significantly affecting the chipping.  That is, unless my audience thinks its a good thing....


With the tail feathers completed enough, I turned back to the tail wheel bay where much remains to be done.  It's been a while.  The work was interrupted, as you may recall, by lack of parts - 3D print parts.  Well I have had them for a while now and they awaited completion of the elevators.  The structure is already in there, as is the door operating chain drive.  Now, the system stuff needs to go in - elevator control, rudder control, tail gear and its operating mechanism, and the arresting hook and its operating mechanism.  Maybe the arresting hook stuff will wait.... gotta be careful what is sticking out of the bay as the aft fuselage gets man-handled during the skinning effort. 


A reminder picture of the completed bay, in Rhino 7:




First, I made some sub-assemblies, based on these Rhino models:


Rudder torque shaft - 




Elevator torque shaft & push rod - 




My assemblies built up and painted:




That was fun stuff!  A good many (six) 3D print details are there (all excruciatingly small), along with some tube stock and Meng nuts and fishing line for control cables.


These assemblies installed:


Rudder torque shaft - 




Elevator torque shaft - 




Note how I can only attach one side of it, and hope when the fuselage halves are glued together, it will have stayed accurately in place.  Note also the other hole in the fuselage just aft of the torque shaft.  That is for the elevator hinge, which should be coincident with the torque shaft, but mismatches the shaft by a good .15 inches.  It just is.....never mind how.  :unsure: 


The (long) elevator push rod - 




I thought it might ride the door chain drive, and it does, slightly.  The Rhino model warned me of that and it was right.  In real life, the clearance is tight.  In all though, I am very very pleased with the integration in there.  I wonder if these details were painted the same color as the bay, or just left YZC.  I guessed YZC.


Next is the tail wheel operating mechanism - a task I very much look forward to.  This:




You will see that next.  It's gonna be a bit tricky, as it must attach to only one fuselage side.  Stay tuned!


Edited by JayW
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43 minutes ago, easixpedro said:

Saw Horses?!  Now you're just showing off :)


Hey - I will have you know that the elevators have dinky little "tab horns" on both sides - one for the balance tab, and one for the trim tab.  They are fragile, and when you lay the elevator down on the table, it puts pressure on one or the other tab horn.  There is no doubt that, in real life, the same would happen.  So no doubt elevators were placed on saw horses or the like in a factory or maintenance hangar setting.  So I did same!   They are going to gather dust for a while so I thought it was an opportunity to have a bit of fun, and protect the tab horns at the same time.  :P

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1 hour ago, Rainer Hoffmann said:

And it was a very good decision to skin the model with aluminium.


Herr Hoffman - we shall see.  The most challenging skinning tasks remain which are the tail fillet fairings and tail cone.  Oh, and the tips of the fin and h/stabs.  The thought keeps me up nights.  You are right though - the aluminum skinning is far superior to the unmodified surface of the toy model, so far.

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