|When Terry first sent me a picture of his work, I knew straight away that I had to make an exception to my 1/72nd scale rule and persuade him to write an article for me on just how he does it; and here it is. I'm sure you will agree that the workmanship is exquisite ~ and remember this is wood ~ and 1/144th scale!!!|
models are 99% wood, mainly balsa wood, although I have recently started to use bass wood for some
components. Each component is made separately, there is obviously no question of carving a complete aircraft from one
piece of wood.
The fuselage, engine nacelles and any of the 'bulkier component are made from balsa, this wood carves and sands easily. Wings, tail planes, fins, and other 'flatter' components are constructed using basswood, it is easier to obtain a flat smooth surface on this wood. Propellers are made in basswood because greater detail can be carved into the harder wood. Struts are also carved in basswood, in this case it is for greater strength combined with a smoother surface.
I suppose stage one is to acquire a plan or at least an accurate 3 view drawing to the correct scale, it is also important to have as many photographs of the subject as possible, but of course this applies to all model making.
The actual shaping is achieved by sawing a piece of wood down till it is slightly larger than the length, height and width of the component that is being modeled. With fuselages I normally cut file and sand away the wood until I have a profile of the side view. The next step is to draw a center line down the top bottom and ends of the wood, this is important or you may end up with a banana shaped fuselage. Next remove the wood that is necessary to produce the profile as seen from above, this gives a crude squared off fuselage.
When 'rounding' off the fuselage the front view of the drawing and hopefully the cross sections have to be referred to. But of almost equal importance is the host of photographs that will have been assembled. Wood is then gradually removed until hopefully the correct shape is achieved. If not go back to paragraph 1. At this stage the item has to be 'grain filled' or sealed, the sanding sealer is simply painted on, left to dry then sanded, this process is normally repeated 3 or 4 times.
All the other components are manufactured in a similar way, and then assembled. When I attach any one component to another, I always use a small sliver of wood as a sort of dowel. This makes for a strong joint, it also allows lining up to be achieved before committing to a permanent joint. Major joints are filled, normally with 'tetrion', most joints are also blended with more sanding sealer. The whole assembled model is then given one or more further applications of sealer and sandpaper, until a smooth blended finish is achieved. The construction pictures of the Sea Eagle show the point where the top wing is being attached to the rest of the airframe.
I don't bother with transparencies, it's not really that they are difficult to produce, it's more that, if the cockpit is glazed the interior would have to be furnished. That would be difficult, in wood at1/144th scale and the whole process of producing a model would become extremely long. I believe that I am more of an aviation enthusiast than I am a model maker, for that reason I want collection of models more than I want a perfect model of any particular aircraft. I also have to define the control surfaces, probably with 'fine line decals'.
The small size of my models means that some components have to be a little oversize, this is to provide reasonable strength, struts for example. I also blame the small model size for my paintwork, I always feel that the standard of my paintwork is not up to the standard of my 3D work. But hey, I end up with a model, often a unique one at that.