F4U-1A part 1: cowl flaps and control surfaces

“It was a wonderful weapon and we were delighted to get it”

I’ll start with the cowling, like everyone else does*

The kit cowl flaps are fine, but Corsair cowl flaps splay obscenely open, so we should get in up in there. Vector has a lovely resin set which also includes a cowl ring with ribbing detail.

The first thing is to cut the ring from the pour stub, which connects to the front of the ring. I used a Dremel with a cut off wheel for this, then a grinding bit to clear out the middle, sneaking up on the edges. 

Now we need to get to round. A broom handle was about the right diameter.

Twisting on the sandpaper wrapped around got me pretty close. 

To line up the ribs, I made a template with an illustration program on the computer and printed out. Blue Tack holds the ring to the template, and then more Blue Tack on the end of toothpick holds the part in place, while sill more Blue Tack holds the toothpick in place. This way, I can line up the parts just how I want them, and then daub a drop of thin CA via capillary action to lock down. One you get going, it’s pretty quick to work your way around.

And here it is. Despite my best attempt, they still aren’t perfectly straight. On closer, if belated, examination of my references, they should also be kind of grouped in twos. These aren’t super noticable, more to give the impression of more engineering than anything, so once they’re painted and tucked behind the reduction housing, it’ll be fine.

Adding the actuator hardware to the cowl ring is slightly different: BlueTack again holds the part in place, this time so the part being glued can lay flat. A tiny daub regular CA on the actuator and then drop into position, with a few seconds for tweaks.

After all the actuators are in place, we need to thread in the actual cable. Fine wire left over from an electronics project came in handy, but you could use anything. Old computer cables from obsolete standards—firewire 1, SCSI, etc—are useful here. If you don’t happen to have, you almost certainly know someone with a box of unusable cables.

I need to go back a get a few of these a little straighter. Once they aren’t glimmering silver the flaws should be a little less noticeable.

While we’re at it (procrastinating on starting the cockpit, that is!), let’s chop up the rudder so it can sit at a nice angle.

A JLC razor saw makes quick work of it with minimal collateral damage.

I also cut out the trim tab so I can give that a little nudge over as well. In scraping out the molded trim actuator, which is going to get replaced later, I overshot a bit. Yikes!

Gently sand down with assorted Micro Mesh Swabs, then fill with Mr Surfacer 500. Let that sit a few minutes, and then wipe across with a q-tip dipped in Mr Color Thinner, and sand again. The Mr Color Thinner is really mild, and won’t melt the plastic (as least, not right away).

I glued the rudder halves together, and then used oversized .020 and .010 sheet styrene from Evergreen to cover. Later, I’ll trim down and sand in the curved front shape. 

* apologies to chukw  

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