P51 (Accurate Miniatures) Build #11

This will be a short post because though I spent a fair amount of time diddling with the flaps, not many photos were taken.

With the flaps now dimensioned and shaped, I made the molds (when I pour the rubber, I try to mold other items I know I’m going to need; in this photo, I’m also molding propeller parts):

2016-06-05

About this time I noticed how lumpy the rubber stayed. Usually this all levels out as the rubber cures. Not this time. Why? Well, it’s because I absolutely SUCK at math. Suffice to say that I suspect I put about 10% more hardener into the mix than I should have…and it may have been more. But, having poured the damned stuff, I decided to see if I could pull a usable casting from a really lousy mold. The answer was, “sorta.” One of the flaps’ corners is bulged on both sides:

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No, it wasn’t from misalignment of the mold halves since this mold doesn’t have “halves.” It’s because of this:

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That, ladies, gentleman, and children of all ages, is a bubble. It’s a damned big bubble. I sat there for a while trying to figure out how I got a bubble. The best I can come up with is that due to some idiot (me) putting in far too much hardener, the rubber set up in the vacuum chamber before that damned big bubble could migrate to the surface where it would pop. But that doesn’t explain why it’s a bubble under pressure. And it’s obviously pressurized, otherwise it wouldn’t bulge like that. That bubble wasn’t there when I broke down the mold box. That bubble wasn’t there when I filled the mold with resin. And that bubble should have collapsed when I put the mold/resin into the pressure pot and left it there for 24 hours under 55 psi, either. But there the bubble stayed and, for some reason, expanded. How the intercourse it did that I still have no idea…and I have less on an idea as to why it did that on both sides.

I took a sharp knife and cut a hole into the bubble to allow the (mysterious) pressure to escape and tried another resin pour to see if I could pull a useful casting out of this mystery mold…and I did.

The flaps required EXTENSIVE reworking to both fit and droop the way I want them to. The reason there’s no pictures here is because some idiot (me again) forgot to take pictures of that TEDIOUS AND DRAWN OUT PROCESS. I spent the second half of last month figuring out why the flaps didn’t fit or droop properly, which is why this post is going to be so short.

But I got them to fit and droop.

In the process of all that fitting, the resin flaps were handled and manipulated. A lot. This resulted in me wearing away the corners of the resin parts. To put back the shape I used gap-filling superglue:

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Once the glue had solidified I trimmed and rough-shaped the corners. After letting the parts sit overnight, because superglue gets much harder over time, I did the final shaping and sanding:

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Having crossed that task off the list, I added the elevators, wing, and belly scoop. I also added the landing gear strut doors temporarily (using white glue) to act as masks for the landing gear wells and so that when the underside gets paint, the strut doors get painted (and weathered) at the same time so everything matches:

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Accurate Miniatures, the company the produced this kit, has a reputation for well-fitting kits. Perhaps it was because this kit sat in a hot attic for 13 years and things warped/shifted, but the fit on this kit ain’t all that grand. Substantial putty is going to be required to get the proper fit, so the first coat of putty has been applied. Once that sets up overnight, I’ll begin the sanding process that I’m sure will lead to the next application of putty.

I will repeat as necessary:

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