Update, April 6, 2005
 
The guys are ready and the interior of the flight-deck as well.
Here is how it looks from the outside looking in.
 
                 
 
All parts of the inside are still loose. First I am going to cover the nose with litho as much as possible. Some of the panels will cross over where I cut the nose from the fuselage, so these will be done when the nose is attached to the rest of the fuselage again.
I will put the crew and all the cockpit parts in when the nose is covered. I will have to turn it in a lot of different positions and push on it to glue the panels on and I don't want anything to break or come loose on the inside.
 
The nose is one of the most difficult parts to cover because of the various bends. So here goes without any practice at all,  apart from one of the cargo doors I did as a test.
 
All the panels are put on starting from the bottom of the tail to the top of the nose. Like shingles on a roof. That way wind and rain cannot get under the seams. So that's what I do as well. I start at the bottom. First I draw all the panel lines onto the nose itself. Than I make a template out of paper. I tape that to the litho and cut that out ( a little oversized) with a normal pair of scissors and fit them. Than I cut and file until the shape is what it should be. Than I apply the rivets ( see page "covering") and heat up the panel to get the weathered look and to make it softer and more pliable.
 
           
 
Under the nose are 2 access panels where all the wires run from the pilots controls. Throttle, mixture, cowl flaps, steering cables, etc.  All run through the bottom of the nose. These panels are fastened with a sort of piano hinge on both sides. To open you pull the wires out and the panel comes loose. These panels are always pretty beaten up from the manhandling during maintenance. Their shape is also not following the round form of the nose. They are dented inwards a little. I tried to get the same effect by sanding away the spot where they will  come, trying  to make it hollow. It worked a little. In the last picture above you can see the greenish strip where I sanded away the epoxy using a Dremel.
 
The rest of the nose is covered using the same method as on the bottom. First I glued panel by panel, but that takes forever because the glue has to dry 15-20 minutes before you can fix the panels. So I do a couple of panels at the same time now. I tape the ones that are finished onto the nose and fit the next one on. When I have a couple ready I glue all of them down using Bison TIX, a contact glue.
 
I made a big mistake with glueing the first few panels. The litho plates are bare aluminum on one side and have a coating with whatever is being printed on the other side. When heating up the cut out panels, this coating burns and discolors. I thought that this was a good basis for the glue. I found out the hard way that it wasn't. Apparently the coating is silicon based and contact adhesive and silicon are not very good friends. So the first few plates dropped off the moment I looked at them.
So now I sand the backs of the panels with 40 grit. The coating disappears quickly and the aluminum is scratched, leaving a perfect basis for the glue.
 
 
              
 
As you can see the effect is very lifelike. Next update will show the roof and the escape hatch. I will have to make something for the hinges to go onto. I will also be adding some details like a handle and hinges for the door, windscreen wipers, de-icing tubes, etc.
 
The nose cone is a different story altogether. I am not sure how I am going to make that. I have tried beating it or at least some segments of it but that doesn't come out right. A sculptor friend of mine suggested having it cast in aluminum, that might work. I am not sure yet. Any ideas out there?
 
Update April 13th, 2005
 
All the panels on the nose are ready, at least the ones that do not cross over the cut and not the nose cone.
The effect is better than I expected. I will be installing some hard points for the pitot tubes and the antenna on the roof and make up some nice details, like hinges, wipers and de-icer tubes. After that I will install all the cockpit items and start on the fuselage.
 
 
  
 
  
 
 
  
 
update October 3rd, 2005.
 
It has been a long summer. Apparently this is not a summer hobby. The fall is in the air in Holland right now and I am back to my little hangar.
 
I bought a "panel hammer", used for beating panels in the automotive industry, took a sheet of litho, put it onto some newspapers and started beating away. Within 10 minutes I had a quarter of the nose cone finished.
 
  
 
 Within an hour and a halve the nose cone was finished. I was amazed. This really works good. You have to take care though that you beat softer and softer as the litho gets it's shape. That way you beat out all the small dents left behind by the round tip of the hammer. Easy does it!!.  After the panels were glued on I filed them down with a very fine file to get rid of the high points. Then I polished them with a Dremel polish-wheel. This really works well and the result is very satisfactory. I will use the same method for the engine cowlings later.
 
  
 
 
The original plane has a clear shield in the front of the nose with appear to be heating elements in the perspex. I have no idea what that is for. I cut a rectangular hole in the nose with a recessed lip and covered it with a piece of thin plastic from a package blister, painted the heating elements with silver paint and glued it to the nose. I added a strip with rivets and closed the hole from the inside with a piece of litho. It looks convincing for whatever it may be.
 
  
 
It was fun to take the covered nose section outside and shoot some pics to see what it would look like in natural light.
 
     
 
I spray painted the top of the nose section in matt black and added some details like the de-icing tubes and the red snaps on the lid of the nose. The tubes I made out of normal 1 mm wire and attached them using very thin wire that I braided around the tube and inserted it into a hole in the fuselage. All this was CA'd together.
 
 
  
 
  
 
 
 Please Email me at:
dc3@propellor.tv