As it turns out, the Wings of Freedom Tour wasn’t completely over. Lucky for me, I live about fifteen miles directly south of the airport. I happened to be in my kitchen loading the dishwasher when I heard the unmistakable roar of engines. We normally have a little crop duster that makes its way around the fields in the area but this was no crop duster. I made it out to the deck in just enough time to see the B-17 and Spitfire fly over first, followed by the B-24 and then the B-25. No TF-51 though. If this was 1940’s Germany, my house and I would be demolished. I’m happy to say that it’s 2017 and I have witnessed a Spitfire in flight. No question a very nice surprise.
Progression was the name of the game here at the Amateur Airplanes workbench yesterday. Really, the entire weekend turned out to be quite a big push in a positive direction. A very pleasant groove has been established over the past week that I will absolutely exploit to its fullest. Doing things the right way pays off tenfold.
Going back to my priorities post a few days ago, I am sticking with that same mantra by putting the Mustang at the forefront. There really wasn’t a whole lot to be done making for a fast session. I fixed the gap in the port side window with a gentle, light sanding. One thousand grit sandpaper was as far as I would attempt and it thankfully solved my dilemma. Touching up the paint that was sanded away was addressed next and the aircraft was put aside to dry. Once the paint had dried, I took a trip out to the garage and applied a coat of clear matte to prepare for weathering today.
Next up was the Beaufighter. Like the Mustang, there wasn’t a whole lot to work on. Sanding was the main event with two seams on the engine nacelles and the observers canopy getting finalized. From there I painted the tires and shot a coat of primer on to check my work. My goal is to get the belly painted within the next day or so.
And now the Betty. Talk about a quick catch up. With a little more hard work, it will be ready to start final paint. The canopy, wing roots, and around the engine nacelles were sanded to, hopefully, perfection. I was encouraged by all that was being accomplished so I kept going by attaching the waist windows and tail canopy. I went ahead and put some primer on to see where we stand. I’m sure I have some more work to do but no doubt, I’m happy with what’s in front of me.
Today didn’t offer much of a progressive standpoint as a whole, but what it did give me was well accepted. The morning was a little fuller than expected with the Mustang receiving top priority.
The decals were started and finished in about thirty five minutes with ease. I’ll let them set up tonight and seal them in tomorrow morning. Weathering and some touching up will be the next steps to address. The tail band needs to be repainted at some point as well. Somewhere along the way I mistook the directions and thought it called for a white tail band. Just as well on this build given all the paint mishaps that I’ve had.
As much as I would like to dive into The Helicopter Project, I’m finding it much wiser to clear my plate a bit first. Even with some free time opening up here and there I am fighting the urge to delve a little deeper. I’m sticking to my guns here and not allowing myself to get out of hand. The Mustang, Betty, and Beaufighter are first priority.
Proof that my approach is working for me, the Mustang has been put through the paces with paint being completed this morning. The past two mornings have been spent at the airbrush finalizing the longest paint job ever! All looks well and I applied a coat of clear gloss tonight to be prepared for decals tomorrow morning.
Next on the progress report is the Beaufighter. There hasn’t been a huge amount of work done but we’re getting there. Engine components were the main attraction today with basics getting attached to the aircraft. Preliminary paint of gear doors and such was accomplished today as well. I need to do some dry fitting on a few parts and some minor assembly on others before we can graduate to paint. This build is treating me quite well.
The Betty is flowing now with its wings attached. The wing roots look pretty good with minimal filler needed. I will give it a good sanding tomorrow and shoot some primer on after that. If all looks perfect, I will get an application of silver applied so I can use the salt technique during final paint.
The Mustang didn’t get painted today but with the progress that was made on the rest of my projects, I am pretty happy with the work completed this morning. It was nice to sit down at my workbench today and just finally sort through and prioritize the Betty, Beaufighter, and The Helicopter Project.
The morning kicked off with the Betty. The engine nacelles/gear bays were sanded and affixed to each wing. I haven’t applied any filler yet, but it will be needed. Some of the glass was installed to my delight. Some filler will be needed in those areas as well but for the most part all looks well. I refrained from attaching the waist blisters until after I know the wing roots are acceptable. That should come later in the week. The main focus now is to get the wings finished and attached.
The Beaufighter saw minimal work done with the canopy getting masked and attached. The aircraft is pretty close to paint worthy as it sits. The engines and engine nacelles need to be addressed before I can shift over. Until then, I will concentrate on the little tasks needed to get there.
The progress achieved on the Betty and Beaufighter became a great motivation for me today. That said, getting all the helicopters on their respective work boards and ready for preliminary paint was even greater of an accomplishment. I am definitely still out of my element but I am learning. Today’s work calmed me down a lot and I feel better about my approach. So preliminary paint will be performed tomorrow and we’ll go from there.
The workbench has been in a bit of a funk lately and I am hoping that the thirty minutes spent attending to the Betty and Beaufighter this afternoon will be what I need to inject some life into these builds.
Over the last few weeks, I have slowly progressed on both builds. The Beaufighter has had its wings attached and wing roots filled and sanded. This afternoon saw the horizontal stabilizers attached. I’m feeling good about how things are coming together so far. Tomorrow will see some minor preliminary painting of landing gear, engines, and propellers. I would like to get the glass masked and dry fitted as well as some miniscule sanding on the vertical stabilizer.
The Betty has left a very relieved grin on my face. All gaps have been filled along the upper and lower fuselage seams. That was actually finished up about a week ago. So today was focused on the wings. I wanted to attach them this afternoon but I opted not to so I can have more leverage with the engine nacelle/gear bays. There will be some sanding before I can attach them to each respective wing. After that will be some filling and sanding. That will be addressed tomorrow. My goal is to have the nacelles attached to the wings and the first application of filler applied to the gaps. All the glass will be a priority tomorrow like the Beaufighter.
So do you remember the British Mustang? I sure do! Well good news about it at least. It is all masked and ready to be re-painted to cover the yellow overspray. I would really love to take care of that tomorrow but we all know how lazy I get when it comes to my airbrush. Here’s hoping!
This build took an uncanny amount of time to get through the workbench. My procrastination was the culprit for most of that time but that’s with all my builds lately. But realistically, I should have been finished weeks ago with a fairly easy build.
I’m quite happy with the results here. The camouflage scheme is superb and I will be scouring the internet to see if there were any more aircraft with this scheme. The added brown makes a very nice difference. The only bummer of the build were the decals with a little silvering. After market decals will be used for the next one. All in all, I think it came out well. Now it’s time to finish the Mustang.