The cockpit II
 
After the second coat of paint,matt dark green, and some buffing with wire wool, the levers were made. Sowing pins with their multicolored heads are ideal for this. Out of litho I cut small strips that I folded around the stems of the needles and bent them in the correct angle. They were  pushed into the balsa core of the quadrant.
 
 
 
Details are applied to the console like the handles for the aileron trim and the indicators and placards with warnings. On top of the console are 2 fuel tank selector valves. The black handles I made again using  sowing needles. The red fuel selector switches I made using normal sowing needles with a piece of litho folded around it and glued with CA. Later I will add some more details
 
 
  
 
Next come the drivers seats. That involved a lot of thought and research. The size, how to make the frame and the seat itself.
The base I made out of plywood, 8-mm thick. Around that I folded a piece of paper and cut out the rough shape of the chair. When I cut away to much I added pieces of paper with tape and after a lot of trimming and trying I found a shape that was to my liking. Fitting it in the cockpit showed I was on the right track.
 
     
 
The paper form was drawn unto the litho, cut out and test fitted around the base.
 
 
That is starting to look like a pilot seat. The seat frame I made out of stainless steel rod. I searched around for something lighter and easier to use but couldn't find it quickly, so I used the SS steel. I should have looked longer for aluminum rod in the correct size, 2,5-3 mm. That would have been a lot easier to work with, but I was to anxious to make the frame. Anyway I bent the frame and filed little hollows in the ends of the rod where it was glued with CA onto the rail and the armrest. Litho was folded and glued around the frame in 2 spots and that gave it some support. I had a lot of trouble glueing the rods as the contacting surfaces  were not fitting very well. I must have redone it a dozen times. But finally it looked like this.
 
 
The rivets were put in the seat itself, a slot cut out for the seat-belt to go through, a strengthening gizmo made onto the back of the seat and the whole lot was glued together.
 
     
 
2 coats of green paint and the chairs look like this
     
 
 
I'll do the weathering later. The steering column and yoke are next. I have an original yoke so measurements were easy to take. The curved base was made out of stainless steel. Again I should have looked further and used aluminum rod. The stainless steel is very tough to bend, especially when the object is so small and the bend has to be very accurate. I drew the yoke in scale and "fitted" the rim until the shape was OK. The center was made out of a slice of styrene pipe and the spokes out of styrene rod. The center cap is litho punched out with a pipe punch and then I laid it over a small hole in my workbench and pushed in the center knob.
The steering column is made out of styrene, heated with a lighter to get the bend. The details are made out litho.
 
 
              
 
It's time to put the components together, after some weathering of course. There are still some details to be done, but they will follow later . A wise man once  wrote on a forum: "A model is never finished, you just stop working on it" . I now know what he meant. I keep seeing things that can be improved, but I also know that it would be crazy to go that far. Nobody will ever notice. But I know. Is that anal or what?
 
 
 
        
 
I wanted to do the instrument panel, but first I had to do the cockpit windows. Some things depend on how they turn out, size-wise that is. The rims of the cockpit windows on the outside were made out of litho. I made a paper form and used that to cut out the forward panel that also would form the rims of the windows. I stamped out the corners with a pipe punch and cut away the center. After applying the rivets and heating up the litho it was glued to the fuselage and the rims folded inwards.
The same was done for the side window.
 
          
 
 
I made the clear windows out of 1-mm plexiglas. They were cut out with a pair of scissors and I gave them an aluminum rim using duct tape. That was painted and weathered and the whole was glued in using special clear plexiglas glue. I was so absorbed with my work that night that I completely forgot to take pictures. You can see the finished result later. There is a protective foil on the plexi and I left that on to prevent scratching and getting glue or paint on the clear surface. I doesn't look real pretty, but safety first with this material.
 
So now on with the instrument panel. I have a low res scan of a panel as it was supplied by the factory on the C-47. Later all kinds of stuff was added to the panels and so no 2 look alike. I went for the factory one. I printed the panel to "scale" and found that it didn't exactly fit. So I redesigned the panel, but using the original instruments, switches and basic lay-out.
As I was doing this I found out it was important to do the side panelling first. At least on one side. This had implications on fitting the instrument panel so I had to abandon the panel once more.
 
The real cockpit is clad in a sound-absorbing, heat/cold insulating material. It looks a bit like a quilted blanket. It's fastened with studs to the bare inside of the fuselage. It looks a bit like nylon sleeping bag material, only thicker and probably waterproof. The square quilts in the material are sown in. So where to find that kind of material in scale 1:8. That would make the squares about 4 x 4 mm! I had to be inventive and the answer was again.......litho plate. This stuff is amazing.
I took the thin plate I have , 0.1 mm, and sanded it with wire-wool. The thin plate has some sort of tough protecting coating on it that doesn't hold paint very well. The paint had to stick very well because I couldn't have any aluminum shine through while wanting to replicate cloth.
With a litho plate taped down to a flat unblemished surface, I marked out dots every 5 mm on every side of the plate and started to scratch lines in it. I used a kind of pick that had no sharp edges so I wouldn't really scratch it but more make an indentation.
 
It was tedious and very precise work but it came out alright. I knew that beforehand because I had already tried it on a small piece...
 
 
        
 
On the right hand side of the cockpit are 2 protrusions through the blanket. 1 is for 2 pressure gauges and 1 is for 2 valves. I made these out of litho and used a picture I had taken in a DC-3 for the gauges. The valves were made out of litho and styrene. The blanket was cut out and heated and everything test-fitted.
 
        
 
 
After painting and weathering it looks like this.
 
 
 
So NOW we go for the instrument panel. Please see next page.
 
 
 
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