Well, it has
been a while, but this last phase was a long one. I
wanted to create the intakes for Airwolf's jet engines, so I
started with a technique from the Airwolf build by Thompson
Fuselages (Airwolf_Crazy on the forum). This technique
uses construction paper to get the complex shape of the
intakes formed. First, I created cones with the
construction paper, and used a handy snifter to mark the end
of the intake:
had the pattern for the intake, I transferred it to a heavier grade of
paper. The heavier grade would crease too easily when trying to
get the initial fit, but once cut down to size it handled easily.
I should have scanned the pattern for others to use, but honestly, I
just did not think of it until now.
it in place, and used a small mixing cup on the end to keep the end of
the intake circular. Then I gave it it's first coat of West System
24 hour epoxy. This relatively thin epoxy completely saturates the
paper, giving the resulting part surprising (for paper) strength.
where I diverged from the Thompson technique. Rather
than leaving the epoxied paper in the fuselage, I removed
the parts and applied multiple coats of epoxy to both the
inside and outside. The goal was to get the part rigid
enough to apply fiberglass.
the pattern for the fiberglass was easy. After rough
sanding it, I simply rolled the part on the fiberglass, and
marked the edge as the intake rolled over it!
Here we have
the parts with their first layer of fiberglass.. Once
the first layer hardens, the successive layers will be
easier to apply.
"fine" or "lightweight" fiberglass to
finish the part, so light sanding was all I needed before
giving the outside (which will become part of the interior)
it's coat of paint. This part really should be part of
the kit. The way Vario represents intakes is
horrible... just a hole in the fuselage is all you
get. The Len Mount Dauphin included some really nice
cast resin intakes that I just had to glue to the fiberglass
and finish. You can see, I left a i/2 inch border
around the edge of the intake for the epoxy to latch onto,
to make a good bond.
In order to
securely mount the intakes on the fuselage or
"blind" side, I laid down fiberglass matting
soaked in 24 hour epoxy. The paint under the matting
has been ground down to the carbon for a strong structural
attachment. The Intakes may well become the easiest
place to lift the Heli, so I want them strong enough to
support the weight of the aircraft (of course, I say that
about every component).
section of the intake is lined up with the edge of the
intake bezel, then "tacked" down with little balsa
squares, and CA. Once a section is tacked down, it is
Aeropoxied (Hysol) for strength. At this point, a heat
gun is handy. It softens the fiberglass, allowing you
to more easily conform the fiberglass part to the fuselage.
entire intake is properly mounted against the bezel, the
part is fiberglassed into the fuselage. Again, I use
the heavier weight fiberglass for strength, and then a final
layer of the lighter weight fiberglass to smooth everything
out. Any gaps or voids are filled with Aeropoxy.
fiberglass and epoxy has cured, it is time to smooth out the
inside of the intake with Evercoat Metal Glaze (just like
Bondo). The multiple complex curves are a pain in the ass, I
ended up using small pieces of blank "credit card"
plastic as spreaders, as standard spreaders just will not
fit in this place!
pretty close here, now we have to pay attention to
symmetry! Curves on one side must be mirrored on the
sanding sessions, I airbrushed the interior to cover the
fiberglassing work. Some parts of this MAY be visible
from the cockpit area, so we want to make everything look as
nice as we can.
Back on the
outside, layers of Metal Glaze, 2-part-primer, and sanding
are slowly working the intakes to a nice, smooth finish!
wanted some detail in the intake area. I has played
around with a 40mm fan, but the blades did not look
realistic. Les and I were poking around in an
electronics surplus store, and I found some impeller type
fans that had a lot of promise! All they needed was
some sanding and paint.... (I have those!)
sanding is made easier by sticking a flashlight in the back
of the intake. In this case, there really IS light at
the end of the tunnel! Seriously, the light made it
possible to get those final, tiny imperfections sanded out.
A void in the fiberglass! Apparently, when I glassed in one
of the intakes, there was an air pocket that I missed.
pressure from sanding discovered it, and so I opened up the void,
and used a Monoject syringe to inject some Metal Glaze into
it (This is a handy device to fill the inevitable voids you
get in 2-part doors and hatches- just punch 2 holes and
intakes are almost done, and beginning to look like real
intakes! It's getting hard to remember that these were
once just construction paper!
those impeller fans... I painted them Silver, (actually
aluminum), and then used a mixing cup with the base cut out
as a mask, and painted the center black. 2-part clear
went over the whole thing for durability, and
lo-and-behold... I think I have something interesting!
The impeller wheels are easily removed from the rest of the
motor, but I am leaving them attached for now, as they
protect the impellers from scratches.
Here is a
shot of the intake with the fan blades placed. This
actually looks like the "business end" of a
turbine! Airwolf has an armor screen covering the
engine intake, so I will start looking for a screen that
will be true to the Airwolf specification, but still allow
this detail to show through!