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My Scratchbuilt Helijet

badsimmonds

Alphans
Since finishing my Sky 1 build I've been wondering what next, well after going thru a period of yes no I decided on the Spectrum helicopter. However after starting on the body I decided it wasn't really working so I scrapped it and used the materials on a Thunderbird Helijet, not the usual one but the other version that appeared in various guises throughout the series and beyond.

As I had all this balsa wood I used it to create the main body of the helijet.
To get the right shape I glued another strip onto the main piece and left it to set. Balsa as you all know is easy to work but damages just by looking at it so to overcome this problem I intended to cover it with fibreglass as I was going to do with the Spectrum helicopter.
I believe the original model was approx. 17 or 18 inches long but because I did not want to reduce the size of the balsa my model will be about 24" long.
It doesn't take long to get the basic shape, in fact I spent longer fine tuning the front and rear sections to get to a point I was happy with.
 

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Getting airborne again.....

.....badsimmonds, great to see you posting again. Having ventured into the realms of balsa wood recently (quick and easy to cut and shape, but won't stand up to any punishment at all), I understand completely why you're going down the fibreglass route. It's always interesting to see somebody building a model of a subject which receives less attention - there won't be as many people around who've built one of these, so you're working a wee bit more on your own with this one.

Good luck with your helijet, badsimmonds, and can't wait to see more pictures.

Kindest regards

Patrick
 

badsimmonds

Alphans
Hi Patrick its good to hear from you again.
As I had built three models from Thunderbirds I had originally decided to build the Spectrum Helicopter however I've ended up back on my favourite series.
To make matters worst I'm actually building two different models (both from thunderbirds) at the same time, the reason behind this is it gives me something to do while waiting for the other model to dry.
all the best.
 

badsimmonds

Alphans
With the main body the shape I'm happy with it was time to cover it in fibreglass.
Balsa is easy to work with but takes dents etc so easily so I thought I thought I would try something new (for me anyway) and cover it with fibreglass.
I had the kit from Halfords but I bought some finer matting. It was very messy but went on fairly easy, I did two layers of matting and any left over mixed resin was just poured over it and brushed in.
It didn't take too long to dry and I was soon able to sand it down and then cover it with filler to even out any dips. The balsa is now well protected and should be able to take the usual dings that happen during construction.
I wish I had used this method on my Firefly.
Being an inexperienced modeller I like try something new each time.
 

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techno

Alphans
This is Looking Awesome! Which Helijet from Thunderbirds are you doing or is This Your Own Design?either way, it Looks Super Cool. Dan
 

badsimmonds

Alphans
Hi Dan

Thanks for your comments. My Helijet is one from Thunderbirds that had a number of versions throughout the series and later series as well.
I chose this one because it was a fairly simple shape and I had some materials lying around that would be useful.

many thanks.
BS
 

techno

Alphans
i have an I de3a which one you mean, Have You thought about doing the Helijet from the Imposters Episode of Thunderbirds? just asking. I'm Planning to Try and Build a Helijet of my Own, in Tribute to My Father's Former Job. Dan
 
Standing on the Shoulders of Giants.....

.....see, it's only because of good folk like yourself that others amongst us ever pluck up the courage to try out new techniques. The reason the Forum is invaluable is because of pictures posted by members who are "giving it a go", and showing is more educational than telling. As a matter of interest, what was the worst, or most difficult, aspect of working with the material for the first time?

Kindest regards

Patrick
 

badsimmonds

Alphans
Hi there
I still have never actually moulded anything in my life which I really must rectify sometime so it was with some trepidation I decided to cover the model in fibreglass. This is not moulding but merely covering the body in the stuff.
I found it very messy but maybe that's just me sloshing the stuff on before it set. The brush would pull off the matting sometimes as I was trying to coat it in the resin but with more luck than skill it did the job. I buy only cheap paint brushes as you can only use them once. certainly any further balsa models I may do will get a coat of fibreglass as it makes such a difference.
Here is a photo of the type of helijet I'm working on, there are various versions and I'm still not sure what my version will be.
I 'm building another different model at the same time so I'm jumping from one to another.
 

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badsimmonds

Alphans
After constant filling, sanding, spraying the body is coming along nicely, I did leave areas on either side of the body free of fibreglass so I had a gluing area for the side pods.
As I'm trying to build this with materials lying around the garage as much as possible I decided to make the two side pods/engines out of solid white wood.
After much rasping and sanding I had the basic shape. I then decided to make the intakes/outtakes at either end from a separate piece. I did think of carving them out but thought this might be easier. I cut some 'U' shaped pieces from mdf and glued them in place.
Once they were set I used my electric sander to blend them in and get the right shape. Guess what - its back to filling, sanding etc, the wife hates it when I go into the house covered in dust. Eventually they start to look right but I still have to go back and retouch and reshape parts.
 

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badsimmonds

Alphans
Time to fit the side pods to the main body. When I fibre glassed the body I left areas on each side so I could glue the pods on. The pods were solid wood for two reasons, one I had the wood lying around and the other more important reason was the landing legs fit into the pod so I needed something solid to work with.
I decided gluing was not enough and because of the landing legs I drilled two holes through the pod into the body, mixed up some fibreglass resin and poured it in then hammered a couple of metal rods straight into the body, this was repeated on the other side as well. So hopefully the pods will take the weight of the model ok, its actually very light so shouldn't be a problem.
Its then a matter of filling the holes and joins with p38 and sand away again.
 

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Clyde-built.....

....one thing's for sure, this particular vehicle isn't going to fall apart, is it? With your trademark enthusiasm for robust designs and construction, the helijet starts to take shape. Looking forward to seeing the next stage,

Kindest regards

Patrick
 

badsimmonds

Alphans
Now its the turn of the two raised sections which hold the small wings.
As before they will be made from balsa, carved and coated in fibreglass.
I always hate carving as its so messy, it just gets everywhere.
With much attention to photos I fine tuned each piece until I thought it looked right. The rear one was hardest as it has to fit the rear part of the body which curves in all directions.
After loads of sanding and filling where needed it was time for the fibreglass.
This is another messy job but its worth it as it strengthens the balsa and gives it a 2mm protective cover which can take a lot of beating.
 

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Slate Mcleod

Alphans
Hi Badsimmonds, if you are just using the fibreglass to seal the wood, then just use the resin on its own. You don't actually need the glass as such. It will go on much smoother and you wont need to sand it back as much.
 
From simple beginnings.....

....that last shot with the two engine / rotor housings instantly gives the viewer a real glimpse of how she's going to finish up. I admire the way you've got the curves done - you don't have much margin for error and you could end up very easily taking too much off. Straight lines, angled edges and modular construction with an Eagle is one thing - keeping your eye in on this type of work is another thing entirely.

Kindest regards

Patrick
 

badsimmonds

Alphans
Hi everyone
Many thanks for your comments.
When I built my Firefly I just used the resin to coat the balsa and although it did help it to seal and strengthen the surface I found it still damaged quite easily. This is the first model I've actually covered in fibreglass matting and I must say it does make a difference though I take your point on the extra amount of work needed. It can take a lot of handling without any damage and I have to say I'm a glutton for punishment when it comes to endless sanding.
Patrick I think the eagle is a much harder item to build and I take my hat of to anyone who attempts to construct one, I wish I could as I would love a 44" eagle.
Thanks again
BS
 
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mirrorman

Alphans
Thanks for all of the progress pictures badsimmonds. This is really coming together, and should look great when done.

I take my hat off to anyone who can do this sort of scratch work .. :clap:
 

badsimmonds

Alphans
With the two mounts complete after lots of sanding etc its time to fit the winglets.
I wasn't quite sure which method to fit them, either cut a slot on either side and fit them that way, the trouble is they might not be very strong, the other method seems drastic but makes the whole assembly much stronger.
So I cut the wings from 4mm perspex and sanded them down then I sliced the top of the mounts off using a saw (I said it was drastic) then glued and screwed them onto the flat surface. The top was glued back in place and once dry it was down to filling and sanding.
This took ages as the two halves had to blend in with each other, I was always finding little bits that were not quite right. It took a lot of work but its stronger than the other method.
 

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Again, built to last....

Durability is one of the most critical aspects of a model's construction, because you can just imagine attempting to get your lovingly-crafted replica into the boot of a car, or even shifting it from one part of the house to another, when....oooops, there goes the tailplane / landing leg / engine bell etc etc. I've said before that I really admire your "robust" methods of building, because you take the most direct route - cutting the tops off the mounts, for example.

You're going to end up with a fantastic helijet, built to impress but also built to last. Keep posting all these clever ideas, badsimmonds, because it helps to inspire the rest of us.

Kindest regards

Patrick
 
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