LITHOPLATING THE FUSELAGE
 
Now I was ready to start with lithoplating the fuselage.
The first thing to do was the recess for the tail-wheel. The tail-wheel sits in a recess underneath the fuselage. It is shaped like a tent.
I took a circular piece of paper and and made a cut in it towards the center. By overlapping the 2 edges I got a "tent" shape. By adjusting the amount of overlap I was able to vary the depth of the tent.
I did the same with a piece of litho. From the inside I marked the size with a felt pen and marked the strengthening lines. Now I put in the rivets and made the lines using a piece of hardwood to rub and a piece of hardwood with a gully routered into it as a template.
This plate was glued into place with CA to position it and afterwards I liberally applied epoxy glue in the seam and across this piece of litho on the inside. I glued a piece of hardwood across the top, again with a blob of epoxy so that would be the anchor for the tail-wheel assembly.
 
 
THE TAIL-WHEEL
 
That brings me to the tail-wheel. I didn't like the Robart undercarriage that is used on the Ziroli dc-3's of the same size. I found a nice assembly at Fiberclassics Scaleparts in Germany. Fiberclassics used to make a great dc-3 kit and FC Scaleparts bought all the spare-parts. These dc-3's are well known for their detail and flying characteristics and are still highly sought after. They made a main landing gear that is just to good to be true. I'll show that later.
 
Anyway, the tail gear. Although it is very nice, it still needed modifying to bring it up to scale. The fork that houses the wheel wasn't the right shape, the protection plates were not there, the strut didn't have the correct angle and the shock absorber didn't look correct at all.
 
I sawed of the excess on the fork, changed the setup of the strut and main pylon and made a shock absorber. Then the gear was clad in protection plates and I changed the screws. After painting the result is great.
As I got it. The black on the fork was dremeled of.
  
After modification
On the plane
 
The wheel is attached on the inside with a lockable nut and it the whole assembly turns when you "taxi" the plane just like it's big sister.
 
 
PANELING.
 
Starting at the tail all the the panels were templated in paper and finished in litho. This was a difficult job because of all the curves and the fact that all the rivet-lines had to run correctly. Especially at the root of the vertical stab are many rivets. The seams where the horizontal and vertical stabilizers connect will later be covered by a fairing.
 
Finished tail
Looking forward
Close up of tail
 
After this it was just cutting out the panels, fitting them like a knights harness and glueing them in place.
 
Around the tail-wheel
A knight in shining armor
Side ready
top ready
 
90% of the fuse is now covered in litho. Where the nose will attach to the fuse it is still unfinished. I fitted the nose to get an idea of what it might look like and was happy.
 
In the mean time Adri Brand, a specialist in graphics and decals was working on the correct lettering. I don't want to put decals on the plane but use real paint. So we are trying to make decal templates that can be sprayed. But first we had to get the size and lettering correct.
 
There is a Japanese guy who makes illustrations of  many aircraft and who happened to have made a line drawing of this particular DC-3. Take a look at his work  www.nags-gallery.com. After explaining what I was going to use it for and after he looked at this site, Nag kindly sent me a file with only the artwork. Although it was way to small, Adrie managed to use it as a model and make the bigger size lettering.
 
Below you can get an idea of what the model eventually might look like.
I just received a sample of the decal material to see whether it is supple enough to adhere around the rivets, without the paint running underneath the decal material and giving ugly run-outs.
 
Fitting the nose and checking the artwork
 
THE VERTICAL STABILIZER
 
With the fuselage came a vertical stabilizer which had the wrong shape and size.
Lucky for me I was able to use it as a basis for a correct sized one. It was just a simple matter of marking and cutting it out and sanding the top.
 
To get a correct fit of the stab on the fuse I covered the root with klingfilm and lathered a nice amount of epoxy onto that. I than fixed the vert stab onto the fuse and let it sit for 24 hours. This gave me a perfect fit after I peeled of the klingfilm.
 
The vert stab was now covered in litho. Many panels and a rubber de-ice boot with long thin strips and a big anti-collision light made this more challenging then one would expect at first sight.
Panels drawn in.
Panels cut out
 
But the end-result is worth it. I made the de-ice boot of real, very thin, rubber.
 
 
Anti collision light (it works)
 
Making the rudder was a different matter altogether. I was now fairly confident about my metalworking skills, now I had to make a wooden frame, cover it with silk and dope and make it look like the real thing on a small scale. Luckily there are many tutorials to be found on the net, so I spent a couple of evenings reading all about this. From Ziroli I had already bought a complete set of drawings and I used those to make the rudder. I won't go into the woodworking technique, but I'll show the pics and tell you about the mistakes I made.
The basic set-up
The finished frame.
 
Here I went wrong. The material I used for the ribs was to thin, especially the bottom and below and above the trim tab cutout. I'll explain later.
The entire rudder used to be covered in fabric, except the trim tab, which was aluminum. I wanted to do the same thing. The original rudder frame was made of riveted aluminum, so I had to replicate the rivets. For that I used white wood-glue which I applied with a pointed object.
 
Riveting
 
That worked quite well.
The hinges I made using Robart hinge point hinges. These were lengthened with a piece of alu tubing and glued to the inside with 5 minute epoxy.
 
I was now ready for the covering.
 
I was lucky to find a nice amount of old model covering silk. In Europe that is hardly used anymore. But the weave is so fine it gives really a good scale effect. After 3 tries I finally managed to get a nice and tight result and I was very pleased. Until the next morning......  Because the frame material was to thin and the shrinking of the silk under influence of the dope so strong, the bottom and the trim cut out were warped. This also gave a fold in 2 places. I am not known for my long and abundant hair, but now was the time to pluck out the last strands.
folds
 
I managed to get the worst straightened out with struts and braces inside the trim tab and brute force, but I might want to redo this one. For the time being though I finished it with paint and the trim tab and the static electricity thingy.
 
Hmmmm.....
Static electricity thingy
Trim control linkage
 
I thought it wise to leave the vertical stabilizers for a later time. (you get to know yourself a lot better with this therap...., I mean hobby.)
 
So on to the center wing.
 
 
 
 
 
 
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