Author Topic: Lets build a P-47 (Photo Walkthrough)  (Read 843 times)

Dave Winfield

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Lets build a P-47 (Photo Walkthrough)
« on: February 17, 2015, 06:39:21 PM »
Since I am updating the P-47 kit and creating a new series of Thunderbolt models...
and test building the first new kit...

why don't we do a photo walkthrough, which will serve as a Build Photoset for the P-47 kit.

Obviously this is my build method...not necessarily yours.
You can use my efforts as a guide to build, or as a companion to your own build method.
As long as we get to the same end result, thats all that counts.


Jumping right in...
I like to start with the fuselage.
This one has five sections to the main fuselage.
I start by cutting out the individual sections, with their joiner strips and their respective tabbed joiners.

Make sure the belly seam edges are perfectly straight...always cut with a straight edge.
And use a round object like a thick wooden dowel to pre-curve the parts.
Refer to the bulkhead formers for the proper shape of each section.

I also like to cut out slots and holes for things like Wing Spars and the Cockpit.

The center (Cockpit) section of the P47 model has a step in the belly area, that is created with narrow slits.
Its important to cut the slits precisely and smoothly to get a nice tight closure.
A joiner piece is provided that you can glue from the inside.
I also like to use a burnishing tool from the inside, with the part on a flat surface, to smooth out the seams as much as possible.

After the belly seam is glued securely, you can burnish again.
Use a hard rounded object, applied to the inside of the part, against a flat surface (like your cutting mat),
to smooth out the seams and make the joints less visible.

These first photos show a white build (no colours or textures applied yet), so edge colouring isn't an issue,
but when building a coloured model it is important to edge colour your parts. This will help make seams less visible.
I will be switching over to a full colour build in a few steps.

I like to assemble all the fuselage sections and then prepare the Bulkhead Formers
as well as other components that need to fitted into the fuselage.

I also fit all the tabbed Joiner Strips in preparation of the fuselage assembly.


Dave Winfield

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Re: Lets build a P-47 (Photo Walkthrough)
« Reply #1 on: February 17, 2015, 07:18:17 PM »
In preparation of the fuselage assembly, I went ahead and created some of the sub-assemblies
that will be fitted during the Fuselage assembly (and later, Wing assembly).

Cockpit and Recessed Wheel Boxes are provided with this kit
...and assembly is fully detailed in the Instruction diagrams. 
Each are simple box construction.
I can't seem to find the photos I took during the assembly of these parts.
I will post them when and if I find them.


After test fitting most of the fuselage parts, I decided to switch over to a full colour test build,
so I will continuing with photos of that build...but I may still use some of the white-build images.

One feature of the P-47 is the side Intercooler Vents on the sides of the fuselage (behind the Cockpit).
These Vents have doors that open and close to allow cooling.
The model can be built as-is, with graphic artwork simulating partially open Intercooler Vent doors.

You can also install open Vent doors using the additional parts.
Assembly of these parts is required before the fuselage sections are joined.

The side artwork is cut....a pattern is provided in the Instructions...and a new vent Door is fitted
from the inside of the fuselage. The vent door is a single part with a few small creases and folds.

If the model is to be displayed with landing Gear down, you will also need to install the Tail Gear box before the fuselage is assembled.
(The Tail Wheel and its support can be assembled and installed at a later time if you like.
Assembly is very simple and detailed diagrams will be provided in the assembly instructions.)

The following photo shows a test fit of the open doors for the tail Wheel.
I don't recommend attaching the Tail Wheel doors this early in your construction.

Once you are ready, you can start attaching fuselage sections.
Shown here, are the two most rearward sections of the fuselage, connected using the tabbed joiner strips.

My method is to fit the Tail end former first... shown in the previous photo.

Then attach the next fuselage section...
and then fit the necessary bulkhead former into place (at the fuselage connection).

I shape and size the former until I get a snug, but easy fit within the fuselage.
The formers fit exactly at the connection of each fuselage section.
(It must also fit inside the tabbed joiner strip)

Holes in the former allow me to grab and position the part using tweezers and needle nose pliers.

Here, you can see, I am preparing all the bulkhead formers.
But I will do final fitting, resizing and shaping, just before I install each former.

You can also see the Cockpit tub is ready to install
and is fitted to its own supporting former.

The former creates the rear wall of the Cockpit tub and is positioned by a spacer
against the main fuselage bulkhead former.


Dave Winfield

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Re: Lets build a P-47 (Photo Walkthrough)
« Reply #2 on: February 18, 2015, 09:56:08 AM »
Couple of shots to illustrate the Cockpit assembly...

a screengrab of the Instruction diagram
(in progress - part numbers have not been entered yet)

and a screengrab of the actual Cockpit parts.
Its a fairly simple box construction, with some detail layering options.


Dave Winfield

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Re: Lets build a P-47 (Photo Walkthrough)
« Reply #3 on: February 18, 2015, 10:22:21 AM »
Heres another shot of the Cockpit tub before attachment to the support brackets/former.

Note the fold down sides on the cockpit...these can be glued to the underside of the
fuselage opening once the cockpit is in place.

I also recommend leaving the Instrument panel off, until the cockpit is installed.
You can assemble and install the supporting parts for the Instrument panel, but
leaving the panel until later will allow you to position it high enough, to fit tightly up
against the upper cowling.

The Instrument panel is photographically detailed, and can be glued to card and installed.
But I have also provided a second panel that can be cut to create recessed gauges
Its a small touch, but it adds a lot of interesting depth to the cockpit.

Disclaimer: Most aircraft instrument panels like this are almost flush. Gauges are mounted fairly
smooth with the panel surface, so this recessed gauge effect is an extremely exaggerated look.

Unit to the right is the Gun Sight, which will mount on top of the instrument cowling after the fuselage is completed.

On my first "white build" run through, I assembled the fuselage from front to rear.
After fitting the cockpit in place I made my last connection at the seam just behind the cockpit.
Shown here:

That last connection is always the toughest one, because you don't always have access to the insides of the fuselage.
Its nice to reach inside and work the connection with your fingers and massage the parts into the best possible fit.
But not in this case, because the only available access to the fuselage interior, is through the cockpit opening.
And once the cockpit is in place, you lose that opening.

So, on my second build attempt, with a full colour version, I decide to try building the fuselage from the tail end.
And I made that center connection without a cockpit in place, which allowed me to reach inside and get a better fit.
I then installed the cockpit from the front, sliding it all the way backwards until the support bracket contacts the center bulkhead/former.

I continued with forward fuselage connections and made my last one at the front of the fuselage.

It really didn't make things any easier however, because I still had that one "last" blind connection to make.
I just moved tlast difficult connection to another spot.
The cockpit went in just as easy, and everything else worked just the same.
So, its completely up to you how you assemble the fuselage.
You can always try a run through to get a feel for the method, before committing to a final build.
Just do a low quality print of the fuselage parts on cheap cardstock.
Don't worry, it can be dismantled again to retrieve the formers, cockpit, etc. and they can be re-used.

Heres on last shot showing the cockpit assembly installed, from the front of the fuselage.
It has been pushed into the center section from the front and pushed backward until it contacts the center bulkhead/former.
Obviously I have not pushed the cockpit up into place and I have not glued the side tabs into place yet.


Dave Winfield

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Re: Lets build a P-47 (Photo Walkthrough)
« Reply #4 on: February 18, 2015, 11:17:20 AM »
A couple more beauty shots of the cockpit area...
might be helpful, might not?

You can see how the Gun Sight fits on top of the cowling.

An interesting feature of the P-47 is the hardened steel armour plate that is positioned behind the Pilots seat
providing the pilot with some rearward protection against gun fire.
On the bubble top Thunderbolt, part of the Canopy sliding mechanism is positioned behind the seat.

For this I have created artwork on the parts of the model.
But if you are installing a clear canopy and want a little more detail, I have create some 3D parts that you can install.
Just some simple layering of small parts to create a bit of a raised effect to the Canopy track.

Once assembled, it can be glued in place on top of the fuselage, and it also covers part of that fuselage connection seam.


Dave Winfield

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Re: Lets build a P-47 (Photo Walkthrough)
« Reply #5 on: February 18, 2015, 11:23:34 AM »
To complete the "fuselage", you need the front/engine cowling which also includes the engine artwork.
Three ringed sections make up the cowling plus a tabbed joiner strip that is installed on the inside of the middle ring.

The rings are shaped (using the formers as reference) and glued using small joiner tabs.

Then bend the tabs on the center part and attach the other two parts making sure to line up the top and bottom center lines.

Once the three sections are tightly glued together, you can install the engine former.
Glue the engine artwork to heavier card (like the other bulkhead formers).

But first, I like to burnish the cowling parts to get a smoother finish and make the whole thing a lot more rounded.
Once again, place the part face down on a flat surface and burnish from the inside, across the seams, with a rounded end tool.
(The marker in the following picture is just a support...not my burnishing tool!)

There is a second former that must be installed, this one to the rear of the engine cowling.
This former not only shapes the cowling, but is the mounting plate to the main fuselage.

You may also notice I created a hole in the center of the engine to receive the intended propellor support.
You'll need to plan out the propellor assembly to create the proper size hole in the engine.
I will be using a sanded wooden toothpick, about 1.7mm diameter, so I drill a slightly smaller hole that I will ream out later.

The centers of all the related engine and propellor parts are clearly marked for this purpose.

The engine plate fits a prescribed depth from the front edge of the cowling (as stated in the instructions).
The rear former fits at the base of the engine cooling flaps.

Note: the cooling flaps are marked out and can be cut to bend outward.

And the last thing to do (to complete the Fuselage) is glue the complete engine cowling to the front of the fuselage.
Just butt it up, center it (top and bottom, side to side) and glue in place.

Once it is secure you can assemble and attach the propellor parts.


Dave Winfield

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Re: Lets build a P-47 (Photo Walkthrough)
« Reply #6 on: February 18, 2015, 11:37:06 AM »
Just in case you didn't know...

this first "new" P-47 is based on 44-32691, on display at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum.

I got an up close and personal look at this plane, so I thought it would be a great idea.
The aircraft, from what I have read, was repainted by Republic Aviation for the Museum
to honour the 50th anniversary of the Thunderbolt.

Paint scheme features oversized markings, cowling graphics, and d-day style striping.

My model (shown) has a few errors that will be corrected in the final version.
Even though I am test building a final time, I am still tweaking the model that wil go into the shops.


Vermin King

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Re: Lets build a P-47 (Photo Walkthrough)
« Reply #7 on: February 18, 2015, 01:12:09 PM »
Very beautiful build there, Dave.  Thanks for the walk through
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Dave Winfield

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Re: Lets build a P-47 (Photo Walkthrough)
« Reply #8 on: February 18, 2015, 07:39:18 PM »
continuing on...lets put together the front engine parts.

If you haven't already glued the engine/cowling on to the front of the fuselage
you can install the front engine/propellor parts.

To be honest, its just as easy to do it later on, but I hadn't securely attached the
engine/cowling assembly, so it was easy to remove and add the prop parts.

For the "new" P-47, I decided to throw out the old Prop/Hub/Drive parts
and redesign from scratch.
Using my recently acquired reference photos...

we start with a new Drive/Base...whatever this part is called...
a base disc, conical thingy and three layered front discs.
(and its got a little boxy, bendy down thingy thats points downwards*)

*warning - lots of very technical terms will be used from now on.

Then, a new four way Hub thingy to attach the prop Blades.
This test build is a little small...I have since beefed up the thickness and diameter of these little parts.
But the overall look is what I was hoping for.

New Prop Blades...the Hub parts are sized to fit a small dowel, like a sanded toothpick.
So, one for each Prop Blade.

After the four way Hub has set up, I drill out the rear hole for a spinner dowel.
This is optional, you can just glue the Hub to the Drive thingy, and then to the Engine plate.
But if you want a spinny Prop, then you'll need a spindle type thing.

Once again, I'll be using a sanded toothpick, cut to length.
I need to make the hole fit the toothpick (tightly)...and I also need to make same size holes
in the Drive assembly and in the Engine plate.

Ready to receive the Prop Blades
and ready to attach onto the Engine plate.
The Drive thingy will glue flat onto the Engine, while the spindle is allowed to spin.

I've also started forming the spinner cap which completes the whole Prop Hub/Drive thingy.
Its a petal type form, and very small.
So patience is a virtue here.
Start by cutting everything carefully and precisely.
Roll the part into a tube and prpare the overlapping glue tab.
Now unroll the part and roll the petals into a 90 degree arc.
When your reroll the tube, the petals will be almost closed and ready to receive glue.
Use a small amount of glue on all the edges and then form with your fingers.
Try not to rush it...the more time you give it, the better it will stay in a domed shape.

Like a lot of assemblies, its all about pre-forming, pre-rolling, pre-folding, and dry fitting things
so you understand the method of assembly and parts want to stay in the correct shape and position during the assembly.

... the four Prop Blades and glue into place within the four way Hub.
Don't forget to angle the Blades...all the same direction.
(Decal on the Prop Blades shows forward)

and attach the spinner dome cap thingy to complete the mess!


Dave Winfield

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Re: Lets build a P-47 (Photo Walkthrough)
« Reply #9 on: February 20, 2015, 05:12:27 PM »
With the main fuselage done, its time to fit the Wings.

First thing is to print and laminate the Wing Spars and Ribs to heavier card.
I print on regular weight paper and glue with 3M Spray 77, to two layers of Cereal Box card.
Roll it with a brayer roller and give it a day to dry.
This gives me parts at about 1mm thickness.

Cut out all the Ribs and Spars, and then apply some CA to any tips and edges that show delamination.
There will always be some...most of it isn't a big issue.

I designed a new set of Ribs and Spars for this Jug...incorporating Landing Gear wells.
It doesn't matter if you are planning wheels up or down, you must assemble the wheel wells
and fit them into the spars and ribs, to complete the structure.

The Wells are a simple box construction, with steps on one side.
Nothing too difficult.
There are also some small "ribs" that fit within the wells.
These are optional details...and are quite small.
But the visual effect is better I think, with them installed.

First pic (above) shows me fitting the wheel well into the partially constructed spar and ribs.
The box is glued in a few spots to the ribs and spars...clamped in place until the glue sets.

Next shot (below) shows the top side of the wing...complete...and you can clearly see the spar/rib/well structure.
Its important that the wheel box is flush with the bottom of the spars and ribs.

No, the "R" did not mean left/right...was just something i forgot to erase from the back side of a piece of cardstock.


Just another detail shot showing the fully assembled inner wing.
Spreaders are installed to stiffen everything up and keep things square.
I have changed the design of these spreaders since these photos, but the procedure is still the same.

In this photo, you can also see where the main Spars travel through the fuselage.
The Spars are not glued to the fuselage in any way, just centered.
Its important that the holes in the fuselage are not cut oversize.
The Spars must fit tightly through the openings to keep the wings in place until the skins and fairings are installed.

Next photo shows me piercing the wheel well box to create a hole which will receive a supporting pin inside the Landing Gear strut.
This is an optional method of building the Gear...the inside support rod just adds strength.

Before making the holes for the Landing Gear blocks must be installed to thicken this area of the wheel wells.
Its hard to see in the photo, but the floor has been raised 1-2mm.
An extra part with artwork is provided in the kit to install in that area.

If a support rod is used in the Landing Gear, holes must be drilled the same size as the support rods.

and, we are ready for Skins!


Dave Winfield

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Re: Lets build a P-47 (Photo Walkthrough)
« Reply #10 on: February 20, 2015, 06:14:36 PM »
Wing skins...

You can see I have added a few surface details, like the Landing Lights on each wing.
These lights are artwork... already in place... but I have provided additional artwork parts for a second layer.
Completely optional of course, but it adds some visual effect to the 2D parts.

Best (if you choose to use them) to cut them out and glue them in place before cutting out the wings .

A complete wing cut out and ready to use...almost...

first...edge colour.

If "gear down" is planned, you will need to cut out the Landing Gear doors.
You can save these doors (if you cut them out cleanly) OR use the second set of doors provided in the kit.
Either work just fine.

You should also cut out the Machine Gun ports to fit the Machine Gun tubes.
It is possible to glue the tubes to the front edge of the wing (if you prefer).

To fold the skin, creating top and bottom sides, you need to shape the leading edge of the wing.
If you look at the wing ribs, you'll see this is a curved/rounded you don't want a creased fold.

I prefer to use a long dowel and roll the front edge of the wing.
I start with a thicker dowel and then get tighter with narrower dowels,
until I get the same shape to match the front ends of the ribs.

However the wing edge will need to get flatter and sharper as you get further out toward the tips.
So, you'll have to flatten it out a bit more with your fingers, almost to a crease.

When gluing the trailing edge of the Wings, you only want to glue the very edge, so the wing retains some tapering thickness.
So I added this tabbed joiner strip.

Attach it to the bottom side of the wing, about 2mm from the edge.
Then apply a bead of glue along the edge of the wing skin before folding over the skin and sandwiching the tabbed strip.

The wing tips join together quite well without any slits or cuts in them
but you don't want to glue the entire wing tip flat together.

So, I added a bevel to the edges of the curved wing tips using the rounded end of a paint brush.

Place the wing tip, at an angle, against a hard surface like your cutting mat, and push and drag
the tool around the shape of the tip, creating an indent. I think it just stretches the paper a bit
creating this bevel on the edge. You can see I applied a fair amount of pressure, leaving a trail
of colour rubbed off from the paintbrush.

I was able to achieve 1-2mm of beveled edge on each side of the wing!

Apply glue just to the edges of the card and carefully line up the wing tips.
The bevel helps keep some thickness in the wing ends.

Now the wings are ready...
and its time to fold over the skins and glue the edges.

Test fold, and test fit, before gluing
...make sure everything lines up and give yourself a visual reference for that final glue and fit.
Try to avoid any twist in the wing.
I can verify that these wing skins line up really well.
But, if you end up with a tiny overhang top or bottom, it can be trimmed...its better than a twist in the wing.

Anything more than .5mm is too much though. Try again.

I just lined up the tips and made sure the aileron/flap lines lined up.
You cannot use the inside (fuselage) edge for alignment because the underside of the wing is longer.