With 90% of
the dust specks buffed out, master painter Bryan inspects my
work while Les watches. You don't often get to see
this kind of work up close, and even though - as editor of
European Car Magazine - where Les sees Bentleys,
Austin-Martins, Ferraris, Lambos, and super-cars from
Pagani, Koenigsegg, & Spyker- he is in awe of the work
I Purchased a bunch (11) of the 20/9 Vario aluminum grille sheets.
I like these as they are 3D metal mesh, as opposed to a flat 2D
mesh. The problem is, since they are 3D, the surface of the mesh
is all "edges", and standard paint would wear off very
quickly. I sent them all to an anodizer and when they came back,
it takes a LOT of pressure with a blade or screwdriver tip to take the
color off - basically, you have to penetrate into the metal!
one layer of the mesh, but it was too transparent for my tastes. I
want to obscure the mechanics more than a single layer would allow me
to. The 3D mesh makes it easy, as it "self aligns" when
layered on-axis, and a slight offset gave me the opacity I was looking
for. I affixed the mesh to the inside of the fuselage with
"spot welds" of thick CA. I found that the thick CA does
not run too much, and a handy acid brush dipped in accelerator allows
you to just move along, "spot welding" as you go. Not
super strong, but it holds everything in place perfectly. I then
used Aeropoxy to permanently affix the mesh. the applicator allows
me to "squirt" the glue through the mesh until it contacts the
fuselage. The blue tape is there to maintain the shape of the
cowling. The mesh was actually spreading the cowling, so I taped
it to have the epoxy cure into the proper curve.
Here you can
see the entire upper side completed. I used 4 layers
of mesh for the jet intakes at the top (middle of the
or airbrushing was out of the question, but the white Aeropoxy
was visible as you looked through the top of the cowling to
the inside of the opposite side. So, I broke out the
paintbrush and did the job by hand.
inevitable happened!!! While finishing the bottom of the
right-hand door, I "burned" through the clear coat
and exposed paint. Oh well, at least it is a door, and
can easily be masked. First, I sanded the area with
#1000 grit to prep it for re-paint, then put the entire heli
in a large plastic garbage bag. Making a small hole in
the bag allowed me to completely isolate the door,
protecting the rest of the heli from overspray.
layer of color paint, then the clear coat makes the door
just as good as new!
cut me some stainless steel exhausts to replace those silly
plastic ones that came with the kit. What we wanted
however, was the discoloration that comes from use on an
aircraft. Bryan played with it for a while on some
scraps, and we discovered that the secret to that nice blue
tone is... AIR! If you heat the pipes up, and hit them
with compressed air as they are transitioning from yellow to
orange (yes- hot indeed!), you get that real nice blue-ish
tint that transitions to brown, then yellow. Simply terrific!
wanted 4 layers of mesh rather than just a "hole"
into the fuselage. By cutting ovals of mesh 15mm wider
than the tube itself, then cutting a series of 7mm slits
around the periphery of the mesh, I was able to form the mesh
over the edge of the exhaust, again tacking it with
CA. Below, you see it masked prior to final
"sealing" with Aeropoxy.
here you can see the top of the doghouse, and start getting
a feel for what the final product is going to look
like. Unfortunately, this camera just not do justice
to the finish, we will have to wait for Les to do his
"Pro" photo shoot when I am all done!