F4U-1A Post 12: Wheel wells

The Tamiya kit offers rudimentary detailing, with the hydraulic cylinders and a simplified junction box. We could just weave in wiring around them, maybe drill out the cylinders to add the piston rods, but what would the fun be with that?

Instead, I scraped out the detailing, including the ribbing, with a Mission Models Micro Chisel (super useful tool) and a file.

I added back the ribbing with .020 x .010” styrene strip. For the junction, I took 0.020” rod and carefully glued it in an arrangement roughly approximating the prototype, with two bars, a spacer, and then a third bar.

I also scraped out four ribs on the interior sidewall and CA’d on a bit of wine bottle foil for the canvas access hatch. You can’t really tell in this pic, but I embossed dots around the ring to simulate buttons.

At this point, I added the outside sidewalls. [EDIT: this turned out to be not super thought through.] These don’t normally get added until you add the outer wings, but as far as I can tell, you can add at this point. The alignment is critical to getting the seam between the outer sidewall and the top, so I wanted to do when I had the most control and the fewest moving parts.

To make sense of the somewhat chaotic wiring, I color coded the lines in a shot of a restored F4U-1A. Apparently the wheel wells didn’t change much at all between the F4U-1 and the F4U-5, at least, so almost any reference you can find of almost any version will be generally accurate.

Starting to add wires. Looks pretty silly at this point, but the night is still young.

For the hydraulic cylinders, I used nested Albion aluminum tubing with thin strips of furnace tape (basically thick foil with adhesive backing—it comes in a roll like duct tape that will last a modeler literally forever) and then wire for the piston.

Final cockpittery!

I also finally assembled the cockpit—this felt a bit momentous to me. Before buttoning it up, I did fix the registration of the instruments in the panel. To affix the panel face back on on the instrument film, instead of using PVA glue this time, I painted the front of the film with Future. 

Reverse view, showing off the ‘famous’ belts.

I might actually start thinking about getting the fuselage together, though it might make more sense to wait until the engine is built, in case there’s any heavy modification required to get the engine installed. Speaking of, the Vector R-2800 is a project all on it’s own, but that’s for another day. At least its close to scale.

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