F4U-1A Part 4: More cockpit details

A bit more work on the cockpit.

First up is the chair mount. As rendered by Tamiya, it’s made up of solid triangles of chunky plastic, which provides good support for the chair, but isn’t especially accurate. This is probably a bit too deep into rivet counting nerdery for most, but I was interested in the challenge. This turned out to be easier than it looks.

After first measuring the apex of the triangle, that is to say, the point furthest from the bulkhead, I cut .030 styrene rod for the mount using the Chopper II to help keep lengths consistent and also to take advantage of the angle guides. A bit of blu tack holds the parts in place while I dab Tamiya Extra Thin.

After making each triangle structure, I connect them with more rod measured to the width of the chair. (I ended up deciding to go with the Ultracast. While the Eduard has the most character, the Ultracast just looks the most like the real thing.)

Once it was completed, it was time for surgery on the bulkhead. I nibbled the chunky triangles away with sprue cutters, and then filed the remainder. This left gaping holes, with I filled with styrene chunks and CA. You won’t be able to see it once the chair’s in, but it seemed worth it to take a minute to fill. The protruding top bars are anchored in holes carefully drilled into the middle of the molded on bracing. I’ll trim them to the exact length when I mount the chair, but first I’m going to paint everything separately. If I need to, I’ll add additional support at the bottom.

I have a reference that shows a lot of plumbing in the lower front bulkhead made from small gauge electrical wire and .3mm solder. This isn’t really all that accurate, but is more meant to be impressionistic, while also hiding the join with the foot trough assembly. 

Finally, I started painting the console. It needs a little tidying up here and there, but is starting to look okay. The Eduard PE really helps fill in some key details, like the spigot looking knobs on the port side, and much better wing folding and arresting hook controls (towards the back, both port and starboard sides). The cooling flap levers (red/yellow/yellow, lower left) are PE, but with knobs made up from build up thick CA.

I still need to add the document case on the starboard side, and I’m probably going to scratch build the manual bomb release, which goes to the left of the trim tab wheel on the port side. 

One thing that is sort of vexing, is the oxygen bottle. I had a really hard time masking, and then yellow isn’t the easiest color. It’s also not rendered correctly, in that it’s rendered molded into a panel on the console, where it should be strapped to the back bulkhead. I think I’m going to fix all these problems by just cutting it out, trimming the excess, and then adding straps and nozzle detail. 

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