Saturday, January 28, 2012

Accurizing Revell AG's 1/72 Horten 229, Part 2


I've included some excellent drawings by A L Bentley from Merrick's German Aircraft Interiors so you can see my main reference. I just checked ABE books and saw it at $38 in acceptable condition. It's worth every penny!


Here's a rundown of the modifications I've made so far to the kit.
The nose. The first inaccuracy I noticed upon opening the box was the shape of the nose. The kit part has a somewhat angular nose shaped very like that of the Hs 129. In profile, it should look like a fairly blunt-nosed thick cambered airfoil, e.g. NACA 2418. I made a drawing of the correct curve from references and printed it out in 1/72 scale, then cut a piece of sheet styrene to this shape. Next I cut the kit part in half and sandwiched the piece in between. The rest was puttying and sanding to produce a master. The images below show resin copies made from a two-piece RTV mold of the master, with a couple of kit parts installed.  The obvious additions are the fronts of the jet engines, but I also cut off part of the landing gear door (discussed in Part 1) and made it a fixed part of the nose. This correction I made after molding the replacement nose, having noticed that the opening for the nose gear bay should be somewhat farther back. There are a bunch of these resin parts out there somewhere (hopefully in completed builds) as I was selling copies for a buck plus shipping back in '98.



The nose gear doors. Here you see one of the modified doors. The original kit part was cut in half down the middle (with the front part of it carved off and added to the nose). The red part shows the added length, although stiffening ribs are still needed. Why you might ask did I not just add the kit's rear nose gear doors? Those are flat, and the actual doors were curved to create a bulge large enough to contain the retracted nose gear. Hence I had to replace them. (If Bentley's drawings are correct, I will also need to cut the rounded part off the end of the door and add that to the nose.)
    The fairing over the main gear. The kit part, shown at right, has a fairing around the main gear, but the leading edge of it goes straight across the underside of the plane. Actually, it should blend into the bulge formed by the closed nose gear doors. To achieve this, I added a curved piece of sheet styrene and blended it into the main gear bulge with putty. It's painted to see how smooth it is; you can see it needs one more coat of putty.
      The nose gear itself. The kit part isn't bad at all. It's pretty accurate except for one thing: it attaches at the wrong point. I soldered brass tubing to form the hinge on which the strut rotates to retract and superglued it to the top of the strut. For fun, I made it moveable by putting brass rod through the tube, with short bits of brass tubing soldered on the ends to hold it in. Now the top of the nose gear will be at the right place: just under the pilot's knees.
        The cockpit. The front part of the cockpit floor was in the way of the nose gear and there wasn't supposed to be any floor there anyway, so I cut it off. It did provide support for the stick and rudder pedals, so accurate parts will need to be added to attach those. Merrick includes a good shot of the instrument panel, but I did nothing to the kit part but paint it to look like wood, and apply the kit decal. A new seat needed to be added, since I dropped the kit part and spent a lot of fruitless time searching for it. The replacement part had might as well be accurate though, so I fabricated one from styrene sheet and stretched sprue, following A L Bentley's drawing. One difference from the kit part is the headrest. It seems to be a piece of armor plate, which no doubt would have had padding over it. Judging by Bentley's drawing, the construction appears to be a welded steel tubing frame with sheet metal on the inner part of the sides and a canvas seat slung like a hammock from the tubing. all that is visible of the seat in any of his photos is the headrest. (I didn't observe the seat in the real aircraft at Silver Hill. Perhaps I should've stuck my head up into the nose gear bay. The docent might have scolded me for that, though.)
        To be continued...

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