26th August 2015
Back to the Phantom build!
Where I left this build (*ahem* 10 months ago) was with the wings just about to go on.
As it was, I attached the wings back in October 2014 as you can see in the picture below…
So far so good…
All looks fine until you notice the hole in the wing root on the starboard side (see photo below) :'(
Unfortunately I didn’t notice this while I was gluing the wings on, by the time I noticed it was too late to do anything about it.
In actual fact the upper surface of the wing at its root should be roughly where the red line is. As you can see the upper surface of the wing ended up way too low.
So 10 months ago, faced with this problem I decided to put the Phantom to one side and get on with something a bit more straight forward. And there she sat until a few days ago…
To fix the problem I decided to use my trusty razor saw to slice vertically along the upper edge of the wing, the hope being that it I separated the top surface of the wing from the fuselage I could pop the wing surface up a bit and into the correct position.
While I was sawing away I came to the realisation that I was savagely scraping the side of the fuselage! Better add the damage to the list of repairs…
Engaging my brain (a bit) I retrospectively applied a bit of masking tape to protect the fuselage from any further damage while I sawed through the wing…
In order to push the upper surface of the wing up I drilled a hole in the underside (circled in red below), and through this hole could be pushed a prodding device. However no amount of prodding was going to fix the problem. As I said, I hoped that a firm push would pop the upper surface of the wing into position, but it seemed that the wing was quite fixed in its shape and wasn’t going to be persuaded anywhere.
Sod it I thought, let’s take the entire wing off…
With the wing off it was an easy job to add some plasticard shims (circled in red) to pack the wing root to be the desired thickness.
Next time I attach a pair of wings to something I will pay far more attention to the dry fitting!
And to aid re-attachment a thick plasticard tab was glued into the wing root.
While I’m in repair mode, the hole I drilled for the failed prodding attempt was plugged with a bit of sprue and a dab of Tamiya Extra Thin cement.
While the glue is drying on the shims, I decided to fix the scratches that I caused earlier. As you can see they’re quite bad…
I also started on some of the other seams, might as well get fettling.
For the spine seam, this had a rub down with the rough side of a black Flory sanding sponge, then onto the fine side, finally a polish with the blue side of a Flory polishing stick and then onto the white side. I find that this gives a highly polished finish to the plastic which makes it really easy to spot any imperfections in the light.
I had a few divots and voids still in the seam, so gave it a dab or two of plasticard dissolved in thin cement. Will let that dry for an hour or two before sanding it again.
The scuff marks on the sides had a going over with a sanding sponge and on through the grits as with the spine polishing. Any remaining scratches were filled with Mr Surfacer 500. Mr Surfacer is perfect for filling very fine blemishes like this. It’s better that Perfect Plastic Putty for this kind of job, because it’s lacquer based it bites into the plastic and doesn’t chip when sanded.
After a couple of hours the Mr Surfacer was sanded down. For this I wet sand it which makes the process much quicker. Here she is all polished up and blemishes removed.
While I have the wing off I decided to sort out the seam where the intake joins the fuselage. You can’t see it that well in the photo, but there is a bit of a step here which will need to be sorted.
The approach I took for this was to go over the rivet holes with an MDC #0 riveting tool to make them deeper, and to scribe the panel lines a bit deeper too. Then I sanded the seam down without losing the detail, and when I got close to obliterating the detail I’d run over it with the riveter and scribing tool again. Saved having to re-do the recessed detail from scratch.
The vertical seam ended up a bit scruffy, so I gave that a line of plasticard dissolved in thin cement to fill it, sanded it and re-scribed it.
When re-scribing a complicated curve such as shown below, it’s always best to take the time to apply a dymo tape guide. Trying to do this freehand with a hand held straight edge inevitably ends up with slippage and swearing.
From here it’s a simple matter to run the scribing tool against the dymo tape to re-instate the panel line.
Here’s the finished area, sanded scribed and riveted.
Time to re-attach the wing.
First of all the sprue peg filling the prodding hole was trimmed and roughly sanded down.
With a good coat of extra thin cement on the wing root tab I created, the wing was attached…
It turned out (understandably) that the shims had not only bowed up the top of the wing, but also the underside. This meant that with the wing lined up at the front (circled in green), it no longer lined up at the back (circled in blue). So to get around this I glued the green circled area first and didn’t glue the blur area, this will be done last after the front area has fully cured.
You can see (circled in red) where I have added a blob of CA glue (super glue) to hold the wing in place while it dries. What I did was to run Tamiya Extra Thin into the wing seam, manoeuvre the wing into the correct position, apply a blob of CA glue, and hit it with a blast of CA Activator spray. The activator spray instantly cures the CA glue, leaving a solid blob of super tough glue to tack the wing in place while the Extra Thin glue cures.
The blob of CA will be sanded off later.
Here’s a view of the top of the wing root. No more hole in the side, but a bit of a gap that will need to be reinforced and filled.
Filling isn’t a problem, but strength is. I don’t want the wing to get flexed later on (after painting and decaling) and for a big crack to open up in the wing root. So to avoid this I’m going to glue in plenty of plasticard shims to give some structural integrity to the join.
To the right of the joint you can see two white plasticard shims glued in place.
Having left the glue to dry overnight, it’s time to coax the rear part of the wing back into position.
Circled below you can see that the rear part of the wing is a bit out of register.
CA glue to the rescue here… I applied a small blob of CA glue to the fuselage, bent the wing into position so that it contacted the blob of CA glue, and then hit it with the CA activator to tack it in place. The CA won’t be the only way the wing is held in place, CA glue is quite brittle and can crack if knocked. Here it will just be used to tack the wing in place while I use Extra thin cement and plasticard sheet to weld the wing in position.
And here we are, with the wing back in place, with the wing root at (almost) the correct height and with some more plasticard shims glued in place to provide a bit of strength…
So after 10 months of the shelf of doom, the Phantom has been put back on the bench and is now in a worse state than when I started 😉
Well, until I get the filler in the wing root – then it will be on the road to recovery and hopefully she can start to progress once more.