The Squirrel and the TSK (Part V)
As I closed the previous chapter, I was ready to mount the horizontal stabs
before painting. Well, as I have mentioned many times before- I am not experienced
in building stuff- and the method provided to attach the stab to the tail boom
is tricky at best! A thin threaded rod is provided to be screwed into the wooden
stab, and then into a hole that you drill in the tailboom. Yeah, right. Well
after a few passes, I had the threaded rods into the stabs, and also had the
matching holes drilled in the boom. I mixed up a batch of 2 part epoxy, and
with the stab in place, I used a bit of a coat hanger to reach inside he tailboom
and put a liberal amount of glue inside on the threaded rod. I did one stab
at a time, leaving the glue to set-up over night.
The resulting gaps were filled with the same filler I used on pinholes and gaps earlier, making a fairly OK looking transition from the tail boom to the stab.
It is only just OK, because of two main problems- I was just skilled enough to get a good alignment of the stabs on the right spots, and the kinda less than solid method of attachment.
These are probably both due to my own in-experience, and maybe I'll have some folks that know a lot more than me suggest better ways to attach these stabs more solidly. But they don't seem to vibrate in flight, so what the heck!
With the stabs attached, the last bit of construction was the placing of the bottom plate. This is a curved fiberglass piece that will help hide the skid attachments. This is done kinda like the front part of the fuse is done. With a set of small wooden blocks glued inside the fuze, small holes are drilled through the plate and into the fuze, then the screws were put in and tightened - hopefully getting a good seamless join. Due to the fueselage being made for the Shuttle, the holes in the bottom plate for the skids were not where they needed to be on my TSK, so some trimming was needed. After these wood blocks were positioned and glued with 2 part epoxy, the blocks were also covered with extra epoxy for some fuel proofing. This was then set aside to cure for a day or so.
I was now ready to head to the paint booth! I am fortunate to work where there is a small paint booth, that I was able to use during the evenings, and weekends, when it was not being used for work jobs. With a good place to paint out of the way, I then went searching for the paint to use.
This is a good place for other, smarter people to talk about the paints to
use for job like this. I found that talking to other modellers in my club provided
some excellent advice, most of it applicable, some of it things to file away
for future use.
So- armed with the fuze ready to prime, I got ready to spray. Using some flexible wire from the workshop, I was able to hang the two parts of the model from the ceiling of the booth, plus attach the misc. parts to some sawhorses in the booth. The fuse was hung to try to provide access to all the surfaces to be sprayed- top, bottom, and the sides. I also had both pieces kinda fixed to some weights on the floor- to try to minimise the models swinging around while being sprayed. And of course- be certain to use proper breathing gear at all times!
After getting several good coats of the primer on the model- I left the machine to sit over-night. You may need to give the primer a final very fine sand at this time, and then a final wipe down, to remove the grit and finger oils.
While handling the machine with latex gloves, I headed back to shoot the color- a metallic silver. With the machine re-hung from the ceiling, I then shot about 7 coats of the silver onto all the fuze parts, following the directions on the paint can, for the correct time to wait between coats. When I thought I got the best possible job- I again left this to sit overnight. And when I saw the bits in the morning, boy, they looked better than I recalled from the night before!