purchased the Dzus fasteners from Cine-Scale when I began
the project, and carefully sanded each one down as best as I
could. Pulling them out now to put on the fuselage- I
see that they are just not of the quality and consistency
that I want for this build. I decide to make my own
from styrene and actual screws.
needs to be drilled, have the screw set, and the styrene sanded to
follow the contour of the screw on one side. The screws are from
Micro-Mark, and the set is often on sale for $9.95 which is an absolute
than try to cut each one exactly, I made them all just a tiny bit long,
then made a jig to mark and cut them all to exactly the same
were done, the screws made it easy to attach them to the
fuselage! I drilled holes in the fuselage at the precise
mounting locations, then screwed them in. A little CA
wicked under the body of the connector finishes the
attachment. You can see the Airwolf Blueprint, which
has a somewhat different rivet pattern from the
photos. I think that when they made the blueprint,
they re-worked the rivet pattern to look "good" at
the size of the print.
wanted to attack this detail. I had hoped to get the
parts from Cine-Scale as well, but that never happened, so I
decided just to make my own.
a 2-D part out of styrene, then pressed the part into slabs
of clay (REALLY not the best material for this, but it was
handy at the time). Actually, clay is probably one of
the worst choices as it will not release the part at all,
and has to be scrubbed off! Anyway, I filled all the
molds with West System Epoxy and waited until the parts
cured. I made LOTS more than I needed, as I assumed
(correctly) that the yield of acceptable parts would be
Here are the
completed parts! Looks easy doesn't it? Well,
this took about a week of meticulous sanding and shaping to
get all the parts just right.
A Laser is
handy when transferring rivet lines from one side of the
airframe to the other. It helps you make sure both
sides look the same!
What is this
doing on my bench? While
ordering the kit for the new "Sunami" helicopter
from Indy Helis, the opportunity arose to acquire the
prototype as well! I just could not let the
opportunity pass, so the prototype arrived, beautifully
built by Indy Helis! Having this will make it much
easier when I build my own! Stay tuned, as this build
will begin immediately upon completion of Airwolf! We
also have a photo shoot of this beautiful helicopter
planned, and we will be adding a Gallery page for that as
back on the bench, we start riveting. I decided after
looking at all the options, that the only real solution was
the Starwood Rivet kit. This kit uses a green-hued
water-based glue and a syringe with interchangeable
needles. Using a rubber band to apply an even pressure
to the plunger, you can lay down a line of rivets relatively
Here is the
completed tail section. The detail came out quite
nicely I think.
When all the
riveting is done, some of the rivets while drying had
somehow dried with a "point" This not only
looks bad, but can poke through the paint. I cured
this by lightly sanding all the rivet lines (also allowing
me to reduce some that were a little heavy), then wiped the
rivet heads with a cloth dampened with isopropyl alcohol.
This softens the surface of the rivet, giving you a nice
smooth "bump", but dries quickly enough that you
don't remove or reshape the rivet entirely.
Now we begin
masking for paint! I took the wheels off the
landing gear to more easily mask the wheel wells.
Since the fuselage is resting on it's surface, I used a
stack of bath towels to protect it from the bench
carpet. Over the build, the bench carpet has lots of
"hard spots" from dripped glue, epoxy and
CA. We will replace it when Airwolf is in the paint
We mask the
door opening from the inside, and the inside of the door as
well. This will allow Bryan to paint the door
jambs. I know a lot of "purists" and
builders intending on competition feel that there is
something intrinsically wrong with not painting the fuselage
yourself. In competitions, there is a "hit"
for not painting yourself. Since I have NO intentions
of competing, and I want this to be done a perfectly as
possible, I would be crazy not to take advantage of the fact
that one of my best friends and neighbor, Bryan Barba has
built and painted award-winning custom classic cars for most
of his life.
Here we are,
all masked up and ready to go! I have mounted a plate
in the fuselage which will allow Bryan to hang the fuselage
from his ceiling. Basically, this is just one of those
"wall sander" plates with a screw-adaptor for a
wooden pole. When we see this next, it will have the
color coat on it!!