My first impression of the
Vario fuselage is that it is really well made, there are far fewer
surface imperfections than the Len Mount fiberglass Dauphin, but it is
really weak in many places and will have to be reinforced. So
far, I have been entertaining myself with Instrument panels, Rocket
Pods, and the like, now is the time to get down to the fuselage
itself! Break out the sandpaper, and my converted barbecue
bib! First, we sand down the ridge created by the seam where the
2 halves are joined. We are going to eventually put a
"world class" finish, with two layers of 2-part primer,
color coat, and automotive clear, so every square millimeter has to be
carefully sanded and prepped!
The seam is where a lot
of the imperfections appear. They are almost invisible until the
surface is sanded, then they appear as white dots. If they are
deep, they are not a problem. If they are just below the
surface, the air inside the bubble can expand in direct sunlight,
giving your model that lovely appearance of sprouting pustules.
I just press on them (quite hard) with a dental tool, and if they
depress, then I dig them out and fill with Evercoat Metal Glaze.
This technique works on acne as well- try it sometime.
With the seam sanded smooth on the
main fuselage, we progress to the rest of the body components...
I leave the windows, doors,
etc in the fuselage for the first pass of sanding. This maintains
structural rigidity of the fuselage, allowing it to endure while I
wrestle with it on the bench during sanding... I was amazed when I
read on the Vario website: "In the kit of the big AIRWOLF you
will find a CFRP (carbon fibre) fuselage, which gives you the option of
finishing the model just by applying the white paint." Wow!
There is NO way paint would adhere perfectly to an un-sanded fuselage, it would
probably peel off in sheets! Besides, no matter how many Black
& White Airwolf models you have seen, the actual Airwolf was a dark
grey (Phantom Grey- DuPont color 5031k to be exact). Anyway, more
Here we have the main
fuselage about 75% sanded. I fill the little pits and holes as I
go, as I know I will be finding others later! They seem to be more
prevalent in areas where the thickness of the fuselage changes.
The Fein MultiMaster (orange tool towards the right), is handy for
getting into corners, with it's triangular head. Unlike the
Dauphin's heavy fiberglass resin, you need a very light hand when
sanding this fuselage.
Here on the vertical
stabilizer, I will rough in a tube to hold the tail strobe, and I have
milled a channel in the area where it bonds to the tail boom, so the
wires will enter the boom at a more opportune location. When you
are this early in a project, you always have to anticipate steps you
will not take for months (it reduces the things you have to re-do!)
Finally, all the pieces are
sanded! Now, we can proceed with cutting out the openings, and
building the plywood interior. With breaks to work on the surveillance
pods (more on these later), this has taken only 2 weeks.... Sheesh!