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Author Topic: Ercoupe Build (slow)  (Read 9573 times)

Offline wwwarbird

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Re: Ercoupe Build (slow)
« Reply #100 on: February 07, 2019, 08:14:07 PM »
I just got word that Ziroli models was able to pull the canopy on my form!  So that's a worry that I can put to rest.

 Did I miss something here? Does Ziroli do this as a service?
Narrowly averting disaster since 1964! 

Wayne Willey
Albert Lea, MN U.S.A. IC C/L Aircraft Modeler, Ex AMA member

Online Tim Wescott

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Re: Ercoupe Build (slow)
« Reply #101 on: February 08, 2019, 10:05:47 AM »
Did I miss something here? Does Ziroli do this as a service?

Yup
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The problem with electric is that once you get the smoke generator and sound system installed, the plane is too heavy.

Online Tim Wescott

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Re: Ercoupe Build (slow)
« Reply #102 on: February 10, 2019, 05:10:50 PM »
Experimenting with paint.  Got some advice to sand the outside of the canopy & apply clear dope; here's my first semi-successful results.  This is clear over a surface sanded with 600 wet, and another one with 1500 wet (I was told to use 1000, but I seem to be fresh out).

It's not quite as clear as the original stuff (on the left for comparison), but it's not color sanded or rubbed out or anything.  I think it'll do, since there's not going to be a cockpit interior anyway.
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The problem with electric is that once you get the smoke generator and sound system installed, the plane is too heavy.

Online Tim Wescott

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Re: Ercoupe Build (slow)
« Reply #103 on: February 18, 2019, 07:25:10 PM »
After letting the dope cure for week (while I was just barely healthy enough to report to work, work, get home, and sleep), the doped-over canopy material looks pretty good.  So, I have that part covered.

I decided to 'glass the fuselage with 1/2 ounce cloth, both to get a nice easy finish, and because it makes it all-over fuel proof.  I think I'm not a fan of fiberglass cloth, but what the heck.

The two weights are before I started adding 'glass, and the weight after the cockpit and one side was done, but not the other.

It's now sitting on my bench with the epoxy slowly curing.  I need to bring it in here.  And -- oh ****!  I need to wipe down my scissors with solvent!  I forgot last time, and had to scrape the epoxy off with a knife, to the detriment of the knife, and probably the scissors, too.
AMA 64232

The problem with electric is that once you get the smoke generator and sound system installed, the plane is too heavy.

Online Tim Wescott

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Re: Ercoupe Build (slow)
« Reply #104 on: March 02, 2019, 07:28:32 PM »
Been busy and under the weather, and sanding is boring.  So not much to show.

It's been sanded to a fair-thee-well.  I just painted it with nitrate, and put on putty to fill the low spots.  Yes, I'm probably committing a sin to use lacquer putty for this, but I grew up in a body shop and it just seems natural.  The long swipes of putty are because there are some long skinny low spots where the sheeting joins -- clearly I need to up my game when it comes to joining sheeting.

The plan is to fill the serious divots, then go with a couple of coats of dope + zinc stearate, then sand, then get back to covering the wing.  I want to get all the bits fairly well finished before I assemble, then I'll spray with silver (and probably exclaim in dismay), and finish up the finishing.
AMA 64232

The problem with electric is that once you get the smoke generator and sound system installed, the plane is too heavy.

Online Tim Wescott

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Re: Ercoupe Build (slow)
« Reply #105 on: March 03, 2019, 02:55:05 PM »
Sand, examine, curse, fill, let dry, repeat.

The circled area is a particularly frustrating divot.  I forgot to change out the waxed paper on my bench after 'glassing the fuselage.  The divot under that filler was from pressing the thing into a dried drop of epoxy.  D'oh, d'oh, d'oh, and in French, for emphasis, t'oh.
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The problem with electric is that once you get the smoke generator and sound system installed, the plane is too heavy.

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Re: Ercoupe Build (slow)
« Reply #106 on: March 10, 2019, 05:15:40 PM »
No picture, because the contrast between tissue (yes, tissue) and balsa isn't at all high.  I'm repairing the divot in the repair of the divot in the repair of the shortcoming in the original construction that left divots in the fuselage skin.

One of the low spots was bigger than I thought.  So I filled it, with some cursing and sanded it flat (dammit!).  And, sanded through the fiberglass in four spots surrounding the divot.  So I covered that with tissue, silently accepting that there would be one odd rippled spot in the finished product.  As of last night I had decided to go into full "FIFI" mode (F*** It, Fly It) -- then I noticed that I had sanded through the tissue into the balsa along the ridge where two sheets of balsa join (which joint was the cause of the first divot).  So I'm @#$% well going to fix that, and then I'm going to declare it FIFI.  Or I'm going to start collecting empty beer bottles, or something.

Grr.

Still hoping to make it to the Regionals...
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The problem with electric is that once you get the smoke generator and sound system installed, the plane is too heavy.

Online Tim Wescott

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Re: Ercoupe Build (slow)
« Reply #107 on: March 13, 2019, 10:35:30 AM »
No picture, because the contrast between tissue (yes, tissue) and balsa isn't at all high.  I'm repairing the divot in the repair of the divot in the repair of the shortcoming in the original construction that left divots in the fuselage skin.

Gouge out the divot, lay down a 1/2" by 3" strip of Esaki, dope, sand, putty, sand, more putty dammit, sand, and dope.

OK.  Now I'm just going to put on the filler and sand.

With my eyes closed, so I can get this plane done.
AMA 64232

The problem with electric is that once you get the smoke generator and sound system installed, the plane is too heavy.

Online Tim Wescott

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Re: Ercoupe Build (slow)
« Reply #108 on: April 27, 2019, 12:02:04 PM »
Note to self: never, ever, sand a profile fuselage with an idiot board* once you've started finishing it.  The patch didn't work.  I've been distracted by paying work, but over the last week or so I scuffed up the remaining coating (probably 90 to 95% of the surface still has glass on it), and I've covered it with good ol' silkspan.  So the finish on the fuse is basically a kinda good idea at bottom, then a terrible mistake, then an attempt at a fix, and then a fix that may be adequate.

But, if you're at the Regionals and you see a scale plane in the circle trailing streamers of its fuselage covering -- that's me, with adhesion problems.

* At least, that's what they called flat sanding boards in my dad's body shop.  Can't imagine why...
« Last Edit: April 27, 2019, 02:38:21 PM by Tim Wescott »
AMA 64232

The problem with electric is that once you get the smoke generator and sound system installed, the plane is too heavy.

Online Tim Wescott

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Re: Ercoupe Build (slow)
« Reply #109 on: April 27, 2019, 02:36:00 PM »
Engine "compartment" mockup and balance mockup.  That boat anchor in the front is a Fox 40.  The big weight over the wing opening is about three ounces heavier than the current wing (nearly 10 ounces, and I only have half of it in silkspan, and roughly at the wing's CG.  The nut about halfway back is an ounce of weight to simulate finish weight.  The pen about 15% back from the wing LE is the balance point.

So it looks like I'm in the ballpark, although I suspect that in the end the weight box in the back will remain empty, and I'll be scratching for space to put weight in the front.  But I'll roll with what I get.

Too bad the AMA won't let you use metal props -- I could get one made out of brass; that'd bring the CG forward nicely!

AMA 64232

The problem with electric is that once you get the smoke generator and sound system installed, the plane is too heavy.

Online Tim Wescott

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Re: Ercoupe Build (slow)
« Reply #110 on: May 27, 2019, 11:38:35 AM »
As a couple of you noticed, I did not have an Ercoupe at the Regionals.  Here's the servo installed.  I'm going to put all the radio equipment on the in-circle side of the nose, with the servo lead coming through a slot that goes from the servo mount.

I realized about three weeks ago that (A) I needed to enclose the radio equipment, and (B) time was short, so I came up with an ugly box to put it in.  I'm going to replace that with something nicer (but keep it as a backup, just in case).  Current thought is trending to something that looks sorta-kinda cowl like, and screws onto the left side of the nose.  That should provide easy access to the radio, and look better than the crate that I have built.
AMA 64232

The problem with electric is that once you get the smoke generator and sound system installed, the plane is too heavy.

Online Tim Wescott

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Re: Ercoupe Build (slow)
« Reply #111 on: May 27, 2019, 07:55:27 PM »
Progress on the fake cowl radio box.  It's ready for planking.
AMA 64232

The problem with electric is that once you get the smoke generator and sound system installed, the plane is too heavy.

Online Tim Wescott

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Re: Ercoupe Build (slow)
« Reply #112 on: May 29, 2019, 10:53:53 AM »
Oh, so that's why I don't plank.  Right.  I forgot how freaking tedious it is -- at least, when I have to watch the clock and cannot just lose myself in it.
« Last Edit: May 29, 2019, 11:27:19 AM by Tim Wescott »
AMA 64232

The problem with electric is that once you get the smoke generator and sound system installed, the plane is too heavy.

Online Tim Wescott

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Re: Ercoupe Build (slow)
« Reply #113 on: May 30, 2019, 10:41:23 PM »
Planking proceeds, ploddingly.

A bit faster once I got around the tightly curved part and started using half inch wide strips.
AMA 64232

The problem with electric is that once you get the smoke generator and sound system installed, the plane is too heavy.

Online Tim Wescott

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Re: Ercoupe Build (slow)
« Reply #114 on: June 01, 2019, 11:17:53 AM »
Oooh, this looks much nicer.  Finishing this is going to make me want to finish the plane, not throw it in a dumpster.

I will need to un-round the edges of the fuselage where the box is, though -- there's some epoxy/microballoon mix in its immediate future!
AMA 64232

The problem with electric is that once you get the smoke generator and sound system installed, the plane is too heavy.

Online Tim Wescott

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Re: Ercoupe Build (slow)
« Reply #115 on: June 01, 2019, 02:08:21 PM »
Test fit radio.  As a bonus, there's much more room than in the ugly box.
AMA 64232

The problem with electric is that once you get the smoke generator and sound system installed, the plane is too heavy.

Online Tim Wescott

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Re: Ercoupe Build (slow)
« Reply #116 on: June 01, 2019, 10:09:32 PM »
First, if you guys notice me doing something stupid, like, say, building a plane that doesn't comply with the rules, then by all means speak up!  Part of doing a build thread is so that folks can point out that I'm on the wrong track.  The stunt guys have absolutely no problem with this, BTW.

Second -- I can't make the fuselage wider than 1 1/2" in profile.  Dangit.  So the radio needs a different home.  It'll fit -- barely -- into the wing, so that's where it's going to live.  My first big problem is routing the servo wire.  I have some phenolic tubing that I bought a long time ago for coil forms for radios.  I've used maybe two inches worth of it, so I can use a four inch piece for a wire guide, right?

So, one wire guide (which doesn't intersect the bellcrank which, thankfully, lives entirely in the left wing panel), and a hole drilled in the fuselage to intersect with the wire guide and the well for the servo.  Voila -- the servo wiring can be done.  There's a picture of the test fit.  As long as I don't goober that area up with glue when I assemble the wing to the fuselage, I should be fine.  I'll probably make sure to insert a pull string.

Third try at a radio box -- woo hoo!  OK.  some things go easier if you draw up detailed plans first.
AMA 64232

The problem with electric is that once you get the smoke generator and sound system installed, the plane is too heavy.

Online Tim Wescott

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Re: Ercoupe Build (slow)
« Reply #117 on: June 30, 2019, 01:31:22 PM »
Here's a bit more on the radio box.  Because I didn't plan ahead, I needed to drill a hole in the already-completed fuselage.  Had I planned ahead I would have done it before the plywood doublers went on -- oh well.  Drilling the hole after the fact means that I have this hole in the very bottom of the fuselage that I need to fill.
AMA 64232

The problem with electric is that once you get the smoke generator and sound system installed, the plane is too heavy.

Online Tim Wescott

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Re: Ercoupe Build (slow)
« Reply #118 on: June 30, 2019, 01:33:38 PM »
And -- I got the other half of the wing covered.  Finally.  I need to patch the silkspan over the plug for the radio wiring hole and paint the cockpit area with flat black.  Then I just need a few more coats of clear and I can start in with the sanding sealer already.
AMA 64232

The problem with electric is that once you get the smoke generator and sound system installed, the plane is too heavy.

Offline Chris McMillin

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Re: Ercoupe Build (slow)
« Reply #119 on: June 30, 2019, 04:50:20 PM »
Cool man, keep on truckin'.
Chris...

Offline Will Hinton

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Re: Ercoupe Build (slow)
« Reply #120 on: July 02, 2019, 09:47:48 AM »
I'm lovin' it!!! H^^
John 5:24   www.fcmodelers.com

Offline john e. holliday

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Re: Ercoupe Build (slow)
« Reply #121 on: July 02, 2019, 11:18:27 AM »
Keep up the good work.  Also thanks for making the mistakes for us.  Nothing like experience. D>K
John E. "DOC" Holliday
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AMA 23530  Have fun as I have and I am still breaking a record.

Online Tim Wescott

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Re: Ercoupe Build (slow)
« Reply #122 on: July 02, 2019, 11:31:28 AM »
Keep up the good work.  Also thanks for making the mistakes for us.  Nothing like experience. D>K

Learning from your own mistakes is good.  Learning from someone else's is much, much better.
AMA 64232

The problem with electric is that once you get the smoke generator and sound system installed, the plane is too heavy.

Online Tim Wescott

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Re: Ercoupe Build (slow)
« Reply #123 on: July 02, 2019, 11:34:38 AM »
Keep up the good work.  Also thanks for making the mistakes for us.  Nothing like experience. D>K

Overall, I'm having fun with this build.  My day job is product design, where you have to sweat every detail long before any metal is cut or bits downloaded onto processors (because when you have to do the sort of "oops, gotta throw that away and start over" mistakes it means that 1000 units have to be reworked).  So just launching into a build without thinking about every freaking step ahead of time is kinda nice, even if I've probably done enough rework to account for mild to middling crash.
AMA 64232

The problem with electric is that once you get the smoke generator and sound system installed, the plane is too heavy.

Online Tim Wescott

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Re: Ercoupe Build (slow)
« Reply #124 on: July 07, 2019, 04:11:20 PM »
I'm literally papering over my errors.  I had to plug the hole in the bottom of the fuselage from drilling up to the servo box, and I had to plug the hole in the side of the fuselage from my plan to have a radio box as a cowl (which would have been illegally wide).

Both were plugged with balsa glued in with Super Fil, both have been doped, and both have been covered with paper -- Esaki in the case of the side hole, and silkspan in the case of the hole on the bottom.  Sand, paint, sand, paint...

I'm hoping that covering the small divot with Esaki is a good idea.  It does seem to be getting shinier faster than the silkspan; we'll see what the long term results are, well, in the long term!
AMA 64232

The problem with electric is that once you get the smoke generator and sound system installed, the plane is too heavy.

Online Tim Wescott

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Re: Ercoupe Build (slow)
« Reply #125 on: July 07, 2019, 04:18:27 PM »
Sand, paint, sand, paint.

I think I'm going to spray on the last few coats of clear -- it should go faster, and be smoother.

My overall strategy for this is to finish getting enough clear on, then finish out the cockpit, then install the canopy, then put on sealer, then sand as individual bits.  Once I'm happy, then I'll assemble the plane (yay!), and finish out the fillets and any bits & bobs.

Cockpit "finish" is just going to be flat black -- if I'm reading the rules for the event right I don't need any detail at all, and the way that I've cut out the interior of the cockpit should look pretty close to an empty airplane from the side.

After all that, I'll put a coat of silver on it (remember, this is my practice for doing a Stunt Finish), then I'll probably be depressed for a few days, since the silver will do such a good job of making all of the mistakes apparent.  Perhaps I'll take up skateboarding or golf.

Once I get over that and return to modeling, I'll scuff up the silver and paint it white, then put on the trim.  Easy peasy.  At the rate I'm going, maybe I'll make the next Regionals!

The pictures show the sum total of my modeling efforts for today, which was to make a mount for painting the fuselage, that uses the engine mounting bolts.  It's made out of scrap aluminum, but I've seen people use all sorts of things.
AMA 64232

The problem with electric is that once you get the smoke generator and sound system installed, the plane is too heavy.

Online Tim Wescott

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Re: Ercoupe Build (slow)
« Reply #126 on: July 14, 2019, 09:19:13 PM »
The last coat of clear was shiny when it dried! I think I'm pretty much done filling the grain of the silkspan!
AMA 64232

The problem with electric is that once you get the smoke generator and sound system installed, the plane is too heavy.

Online Tim Wescott

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Re: Ercoupe Build (slow)
« Reply #127 on: July 17, 2019, 10:52:18 AM »
More random bouncing around in the build order.  Since the fuselage seems ready for the fill coat, it's time to "detail" the cockpit -- which for this plane means painting it flat black.

I wanted to have a vent to the outside, to minimize the puffed canopy effect.  I also wanted to do it without filling the cockpit with castor.  For sport planes I usually just drill a tiny hole in the back of the canopy -- this time I decided to drill another unscheduled hole in the fuselage, and vent the thing out through the wing (which will get a matching hole, and I'll have to be careful not to fill it all with glue when the wing goes in).

And because I hope to keep the balsa dust out of the canopy (insert hollow laugh here) there's a filter.  It's just a bit of Q-tip fluff glued into a section of aluminum tube, but as long as it passes air and not balsa dust, I'll be happy.

The canopy paint was a lovely collision of screw-ups that turned out right: I wanted flat black, but didn't have any.  The can of black dope that I got from a friend is dry.  But I have this 20-year-old bottle of Aerogloss, that's been thinned with regular lacquer thinner.  I'd never trust it on the outside of a plane -- but inside a canopy should be safe!

So I unlimbered my new (to me) air brush, and sprayed it on expecting shiny.  Because it's in such crappy condition, I got flat black!  If I'm lucky, it won't all flake off the first time I start up the engine.
AMA 64232

The problem with electric is that once you get the smoke generator and sound system installed, the plane is too heavy.

Online Tim Wescott

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Re: Ercoupe Build (slow)
« Reply #128 on: May 19, 2020, 08:50:12 PM »
Well, it's been less than a year.

Canopy glued in.  All the previous pictures have been with the "trash" canopy.  I got the "good" canopy out of the stash, scuffed up the inner edge around the perimeter, and glued it is -- with some work.

It's glued in with epoxy that has some crushed charcoal mixed in for color, so that it doesn't show against the black of the cockpit interior (it's a boring cockpit). 

I was paranoid about smearing all that dark black glue on the inside of the canopy, so I made a scissors-action spreader by taping a stick of wood along the bottom outer edge of each side of the canopy, then taping sticks onto the canopy so I could squeeze them and spread the canopy -- and it works!  The third picture shows the canopy spread out ready for installation.

The final picture shows the canopy all glued down, clamped firmly, and waiting for the glue to dry.  I messed up the contour of the back of the canopy vs. the fuselage.  It would have been better to work over the fuselage more -- instead, I just clamped the canopy in place.  The second picture shows a clamp stop that prevents the clamp from slipping.

So tomorrow I can take the clamps and tape off, and see how much balsa dust there is inside.
AMA 64232

The problem with electric is that once you get the smoke generator and sound system installed, the plane is too heavy.

Online Tim Wescott

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Re: Ercoupe Build (slow)
« Reply #129 on: May 20, 2020, 01:08:53 PM »
Tape off.  Just a few minor boo-boos.  I think I'm going to try the black glue method again at least once, but it does have the obvious (if only in hindsight to me) flaw of not having a way to rework smears & errors on the inside of the canopy.  The really bad one is an area that was going to get painted anyway; there's a smudge where I started with the canopy too low and then brought it up; for that one I'll probably just cheat the beltline of the cockpit up a bit from scale (it's not like I'm expecting to win).

There's definitely some smudges on the outside that I'm going to need to deal with -- for those, if the beltline doesn't cover it I'll probably go over the thing with fine sandpaper and polish out the resulting scratches.
AMA 64232

The problem with electric is that once you get the smoke generator and sound system installed, the plane is too heavy.

Online Tim Wescott

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Re: Ercoupe Build (slow)
« Reply #130 on: June 08, 2020, 09:02:19 PM »
Various voids in the first cut of gluing have been filled, sharp edges sanded, and a layer of dope applied to the raw epoxy.  There has to be a better way to do this...

Once it's as smooth as I have patience for, I'll mask it off and paint a strip of black to define the canopy.  This violates the "darkest color on top" rule of painting -- but from the inside of the canopy, it will be the topmost coat.  Hopefully the silver will mask it (or gray, if I do this the Phil Granderson way).
AMA 64232

The problem with electric is that once you get the smoke generator and sound system installed, the plane is too heavy.

Online Tim Wescott

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Re: Ercoupe Build (slow)
« Reply #131 on: June 09, 2020, 10:06:11 AM »
This is out of order of the actual build sequence, but I realized I didn't have a picture of it.  Here's a shot of the leadout guide mount on the bottom of the wing.  The pic is a bit too close to show context, so the included shots are that context.




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Online Tim Wescott

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Re: Ercoupe Build (slow)
« Reply #132 on: July 01, 2020, 05:39:37 PM »
Paint, sand, paint, sand.

I'm probably doing this out of order (I said I'd do the black surround on the canopy), but I'm starting the build up on the fuselage.  I'm using someone's suggestion to put a bit of white in the clear, to give a bit of cover.  Which means that I really should do that black surround sooner than later...

It's actually looking like it may end up smooth and shiny, possibly before the 22nd century.
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The problem with electric is that once you get the smoke generator and sound system installed, the plane is too heavy.

Online Tim Wescott

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Re: Ercoupe Build (slow)
« Reply #133 on: July 09, 2020, 07:03:24 PM »
Look!  A wing!  I've only got about a square foot sanded on the first coat, but it's coming along well.

(In case anyone's wondering -- I purposely chose a scale subject with a shiny new paint job, because the other reason I'm doing this is to practice a Stunt Finish.  The project is just taking longer than I thought it would.)

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The problem with electric is that once you get the smoke generator and sound system installed, the plane is too heavy.

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