Friday, February 7, 2014

AMARC A-10: The Fuselage


The Warthog loses some weight...

The project has begun. The first thing to do is to ensure the kit fuselage matches the shape of the A-10 in the photographs. I'm only using just about the foremost third of the Warthog, so everything aft must be taken off. When I first thought to do this, I figured one simple just straight down would suffice, but if you notice in the picture, the fuselage is not simply sheared along one vertical line...



...so, quickly this project was becoming a bit more complex. Not to be deterred, I marked out an approximation of where I thought the cut should be made on the kit fuselage with a No. 2 pencil...





I was satisfied that it looked about right to me, so the cutting began. A Dremel tool and a sharp Xacto blade made quick work of it. I also sliced off the protruding gun barrels as the gun is removed in the real A-10. After sanding down some rough edges, the final results were pleasing...


Now that I have come this far, there is no going back.
Since the fuselage will be open in the back, there needs to be something inside of it. Struts and ribbing of some sort will be a necessary detail to add as it can't just be bare. This will test my scratch building skills to say the least, as well as my creativity considering I haven't found a decent photograph to go off of though I have located some schematics...


That should at least give me some idea of what avionics and cables should be running through that section of the aircraft but a little more research should be done otherwise, I'm just shooting in the dark.

Any way, since the cockpit was already painted for the most part by the kit's previous owner, I decided I could go ahead and install it and touch up some of the paint work afterwords. This is where the kit started to show its weaknesses that I feared. The instructions were less than detailed in regards to where exactly the cockpit should fit along the fuselage wall...


Mmmmkay. A couple of dotted lines. The parts do not have very obvious locator pins, slots, nubs, or anything like that so I had to reference some other A-10 builds to be sure I had it right. Which, I think I do. With that installed, I attempted to work on some of the fuselage interior and test fit some scratch built ribs based on the drawings I found...



Pro tip: Use old credit cards, or insurance ID's for scratch building.

I wasn't really pleased with this look. After doing some more research, I found this image of a cutaway A-10...

You can see that the fuselage in the drawing has been bisected nearly in the same location as the A-10 I am replicating. Judging by the photograph, the exposed area I am dealing with is where the Warthog's fuel cells are located. Not much there except open space and some electronics that run along the fuselage wall.
Time for a change then.
I closed up the back wall that I just made...


I can't be certain based on the info that I have that this is completely accurate, but it strikes me as plausible and that is all I really care about. Next I had to box out the interior of the panels that the cables and wires run through. This was done with plastic playing card. Its thin but easy to manipulate and works well for this purpose...


They were installed and lined up with the panel lines that are visible on the plane's exterior...


If you look at the photo of the real A-10 I am using for inspiration, the bottom half of the fuselage gap seems to be filled with a sheet of plywood or something of that nature. Its purpose? I haven't the faintest idea but I figured I should replicate it...


Surprisingly, I cut the piece of balsa wood to size on the first try and it fits nicely! Next, I needed the guts of the Warthog to fill those panels. The reference photos don't show much aside from a rather large conduit of some sort and some wires. So, I likely took some liberties but I am happy with it. A coffee stirrer and some insulated wire was used...


You can also see I drilled out a hole on each side of the lower fuselage to reflect the hole present in the reference photographs.
Some other bits were added to match the images and I am calling this scratch building adventure complete!


When it was time for the fuselage halves to come together, it became clear to me again why I decided to avoid building the entire kit. Check out the lovely gap along the nose...


Tamiya Extra Thin cement was used to fuse the nose together, and rubber bands make for useful clamps...


And that will just about do it for the main component of this project. While I started this with the intention of simplifying a difficult kit, it has quickly become a bit more complex than I anticipated. Never the less, the difficulties were easy enough to handle, and only a little putty and minor sanding is necessary. Time to move on to the next process - painting!
Thanks for reading!

2 comments:

  1. This is looking sweet. Great scratch building.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Nice work Jon, interesting way to display the build as well and yes i do like the use of credit cards, may be a way to get the card off the wife....hahaha

    ReplyDelete

LinkWithin

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...