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The Peter Buckingham Column Part 21

IN PURSUIT OF PERFECTION - WILL IT EVER BE DISCOVERED?

 

 

Having just completed one Revell 1/144 C17A Globemaster, I ordered another one from Graham! The reason for this was the release by F-Dcal of the Qatar Amiri Air Force sheet for the C17. What makes this such an interesting release is that Qatar have bought two C17A's, one in Military Colours of Neutral Grey and one in the civilian markings of Qatar Airways which makes it the only C17 ever produced in commercial markings. There are some pictures on the web (www.airliners.com) of this aircraft and it is truly magnificent.

 

 

I ordered the decals direct from France via their website and I believe that I received one of the first sets followed by an urgent email stating there had been a mistake at the printers and another set would be despatched.

 

 

Those of you who followed my build of the previous C17 will know that I displayed this aircraft on the ground and with the loading ramp down so I wanted this one to be a little different. I thought long and hard on how I wanted the final result to be presented. One of the parameters is that the Qatar Amiri Air Force version in civilian markings has something I have never seen - a huge identifying name of 'QATAR' along the underside length of the fuselage.

 

 

Another parameter was my receipt, direct from the manufacturers in Korea, of a resin set of flaps and slats by the Wolfpack after market accessory company. This resin kit arrived in a very strong cardboard box with a full colour picture of a full sized C17 with the flaps and slats displayed. Inside were 18 pieces of light blue resin parts to make up the slats and flaps together with a full colour double sided A4 instruction sheet with photographs. Two of the pieces were badly warped and after an email to Korea, replacements arrived in short order. Good service!

 

 

So, having regard to the two paragraphs above, I decided to to show the model in flight and in a climbing mode after take off so that the underside decal could be seen. That was, and is, as I write this column, still Plan 'A' !

 

 

 

The mere fact that this was an in flight pose, much of the fuselage building work was reduced as there was no need to prepare the landing gear of 14 wheels and 5 oleos! One down side to this pose was that I would have to black out the canopy windows as there do not appear to be any 1/144 pilots. Another problem was how to support the model. More thoughts! In the end, I decided to make an internal box out of balsa with a spruce spar that would slide in and out for dismantling. This took me back to my flying model days making the balsa box around the 1/2 inch x 5/32 spruce spar for a cosy fit. Balsa is wonderful stuff as it cuts so easily and sands beautifully.

 

 

Once the fuselage halves and base had been fitted around the inner cocoon (see my previous build for fuller description), the balsa box was epoxied onto the freight deck floor leaving a large surplus sticking out of the back end for later trimming to size. It was now time to make an incision into parts 19B and 19C, namely the freight ramp and the rear extension of that piece. It actually requires a very long 'hole' (approx 11mm x 62mm) to be cut, and with trial and error, the hole was finalised.

 

 

My proposed angle of climb with the flaps and slats deployed should equate to the C17 climbing through 'clag' (low cloud) and into the blue after take off, and I will hopefully be able to replicate cloud from a suitable material. The cloud should effectively cover the spruce spar support. That is Plan 'A' (1) !!

 

 
Now for the hard bit! Cutting out the redundant plastic from the four plastic halves of the Revell C17 wings. This is not a job for the squeamish, but provided you study the instructions, tape the guide lines for cutting with Dymo Tape and then double (and treble) check against the photographs, you should be OK. I was using the Tamiya Plastic Scriber for the long cuts and my Swann Morton scalpel for the very small bits. There is not much left of the wings once all the cutting is done and I was concerned about the final strength of the finished wings.

 

 

I needn't have worried because having followed the instructions to the letter, the resultant effect of the plastic now holding the resins parts was a pair of very strong wings. I thought that the wings looked very good. I hadn't used resin to this degree before, and as the flaps and slats had operational 'gaps', I discovered that the superglue gel I had used had resulted in a 'bobbly' and unsightly finish at the bottom of the gap. To get over this I made up a very liquid mix of Vallejo water soluble filler and 'painted' the gaps with the mix to flood the gap just enough to cover the 'bobbles'. Once dry, delicate use of a needle file smoothed everything out. Very little 'adjustment' of the wing halves was required before cementing them together and then cleaning up the usual leading and trailing edge seams.

 

 

More next week.

 

 

Peter Buckingham.

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