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My Thunderbird 4

badsimmonds

Alphans
After a rather long break from this I'm glad to get back to it. When my Stingray was finished it was Christmas then the weather was too cold then I got involved in decorating the house and redoing the garden, finally that's all over (I hope).
Before Stingray I had built TB1 & TB3 and it was my intention to do TB4 but then Stingray appeared and put paid to that so I'm getting back on track.

I was going to use balsa for the body but that was a bit too expensive at the time so I thought I would try something different and cheaper mainly insulation panels. Its so easy to cut and shape but you have to be careful when sanding as it can take off quite a bit if your not paying attention (also its advisable to wear a dust mask)
I cut out some lengths and glued them together using evostik contact adhesive.
To be truthful I have no idea if this is going to work but I'll try anything new. After a few days I started to shape the body using a rasp and sandpaper, once I had the basic shape I did some measurements and decided it was a bit short so I added another piece at the back. The main body not including the lights or the engines works out at about 400mm long.
The shape isn't quite right yet so there will be lots of adjustments as I go along.
 

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tryptych

Alphans
Have you considered using expanded polystyrene block as a base and then using clay?
As long as you keep it cool and moist it will remain soft for a long time and it's much easier to fix mistakes.
Once you have the final you can make up a silicone mould and plaster/batten strengthening ready for a polycarbonate resin / fibreglass cast.
 
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badsimmonds

Alphans
Hi
I used the insulation panel as it was free (from work) The polystyrene would work just as well.
I have never moulded anything and wouldn't know how to proceed which is why my models are built the same way - rough shape from whatever materials - fibreglass - then sanding and filling until happy with the finish. I only ever build one of anything and being lazy I use the first and last body I build. If I was wanting more than one then I probably would go down the moulding path.
TB4 like all my models at this stage looks awful and every time I start a new project I'm always worried it might not turn out ok.
Thanks for looking and I hope you continue to look in on these posts.
 

tryptych

Alphans
Yeah, you could use either material, but polystyrene is easier to cut. (You can use a hot wire which goes like a knife through butter.)
I appreciate you have never done it before, but you might like to try it out on a simple project some time. It's not about reproducibility, (although that is handy), its about ease of modelling and quality of finish. This is how they build prototype car bodies, boats, aircraft and many SFX models because once they come out of the mould, they are virtually ready for paint, and they are also much lighter. I appreciate it's another extra step that takes more time and money, but I genuinely think if you tried it, you wouldn't go back.
 

badsimmonds

Alphans
Over the last week I've covered the model in two or three layers of fibreglass.
It took a couple of days to complete as I had to wait for it to dry before doing certain sections. As usual it was very messy and just use cheap brushes as they have to be chucked after every session. I just use Fast Glass resin etc from Halfords. To keep the model from sticking to the bench I supported it with two pipes pushed into the body and a large chunk of wood.
Once its completely dry I spread P38 over the model, this will take a few coats to get it right and as usual endless sanding. So far so good though it still looks a mess, I'm sure others would do a better and cleaner job than I.
With the filler I'll be able to adjust the contours etc and get it just right.
 

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KevinD

Alphans
Fascinating to see. I have always avoided fibreglass out of the fear that I haven't got a clue what I'd be doing and also because I like working at the dining room table!
 

badsimmonds

Alphans
Hi Kevin
Definitely something not to do on a dining table. I'm certainly no expert on fibreglass, I haven't moulded with it and probably won't in the future as I only build one of anything.
I first used the resin to coat balsa wood but you could still damage the surface as it wasn't really strong. I then decided to use the glass matting without really knowing what I was doing, I just hoped it would work out. I use the kits from Halfords as they are easy to get, you can get various grades of matting but I found when I used fine stuff it was like wrapping the model in cardboard so I continued to use the rougher grades. It does entail using lots of filler and sanding to get a nice surface but I think the extra effort is worth it.
 

KevinD

Alphans
Hi. Having said I've nothing to do with fibreglass, I have picked up one of those Halfords kits to help me with a fibreglass kit I'm going to try to put together!
 

Andernut

Alphans
Fibre glass is quite easy to use and you should have no trouble. Make sure you use enough catalyst or it will take ages to solidify. I often mix in some P38 car filler to thicken up the mix.
 

badsimmonds

Alphans
Although I've worked on TB4 everyday there isn't much visual change since last update. Its been a matter of sanding and filling all the time, I must admit I do use too much filler which just gives me more sanding to do.
I got to the stage where I thought it was reasonable and time for its first primer coat. I'm always amazed how many defects the primer coat shows up just when you think you'd cracked it you have to start again.
Fortunately almost half of the TB4 body will be covered by the engine tubes and other panels so I shouldn't be too fussy in those areas.
 

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badsimmonds

Alphans
I've been away for a few days so I've not spent much time on this project but I have managed to get some work done.
Apart from constantly filling and sanding the main body I decided to start on the engine pods. Fortunately I had some balsa left over from an aborted Spectrum Helicopter A42 so I cut out two pieces and trimmed them to the approximate shape required. After working out the sizes I used a mixture of Stanley knife, rasps and sander to get the curves. However much care you take you find that the surface is not completely flat/level along the length so to over come this I placed a large sheet of sandpaper on a flat board and sand the object by moving it against the paper, this gives you a nice level surface along the whole object.
I've still to cut away the front intakes but I thought it would be best to coat the whole thing in fibre glass resin to strengthen it. I supported them with a pipe stuck in the outtake end to stop them sticking to everything.
 

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badsimmonds

Alphans
Progress is a tad slow on this project for various reasons so again there is not much to report.
Thinking the main body was more or less done I decided the nose was a bit too curvy so I had to reshape using the usual filler. The advantage of filler is you can add or take away to your hearts content till your satisfied, so at the moment its one step forward and two steps back.
I have started to carve out the front intakes on the engine pods and the rear holes which will take the engine parts later on. This work will entail even more filler etc, after every session my fingers are covered in the stuff no matter how much I try to avoid it.
 

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KevinD

Alphans
Looks good. Like the intakes. The nose section I think has a compound curve (higher in middle and lower at sides as well as curving downwards). Not sure from the photo if yours does, apologies if I'm saying something you already know.
 

badsimmonds

Alphans
Hi Kevin
You've got me wondering if I'm doing this right, do you have any front-on photos of the nose section as all I can find is angled shots or any head-on shots are obscured by the light bar. I'd be grateful for any help thanks.
 

KevinD

Alphans
Hi,

The only one I've got is of my own scratchbuild. It is the 'bonnet' area of TB4 that I mean, it is slightly domed, not flat but it is fairly slight. You might be able to see it from this shot of mine.
 

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Andernut

Alphans
Take a look at David Sisson's model on fb. He gives a complete build log with many photos and some great finished shots that will give you all the info and images you will need. Yours is looking good but getting those curves right is important with this little sucker.
 

badsimmonds

Alphans
Hi Kevin

Thanks for the photo of your superb model, I hope mine turns out as good as that.
I see what you mean about the curve, I must admit my TB4 nose was flat on the top but I've now started to change it to a slight downward curve. I just don't seem to be getting any where with the model at the moment, I'll be glad when I move onto another part.

Andernut you are correct about getting those curves just right. I want to do a TB2 possibly one day but it is renowned for being a difficult shape to get right which is why it will be a while before I attempt it.

Mean time its back to filling and sanding.....

Many thanks for your input.
 

KevinD

Alphans
Hi, thanks for the nice comments. Much appreciated. Your TB4 will be great (your others are so this one will be!). Yep, fill-sand-get bored-repeat, seems to be the only way forward with these things!
 

badsimmonds

Alphans
I got a bit bored with working on the same section of model so I decided to jump forward and finally fit the side engine pods.
Before I could do this I had to create the hole for the engine rear pipe. I had roughly shaped this space but I used the usual filler and tape method to make a perfect circle. I cut up a couple of pieces of pipe wrapped them in parcel tape fitted them in place and filled any gaps with filler. The filler won't stick to the tape but to make sure just before the filler set I gave the pipes a slight twist to loosen any grip. The end result is a perfectly shaped space.
I would have glued them on using 2 part epoxy but as I didn't have any and didn't want to buy any. I drilled a couple of holes in the engine pod which matching ones in the main body. The engines being balsa I cut some dowel and glued them in place with white wood glue. For the holes in the body - which is made from insulation panel - I mixed and poured some fibre glass resin in the holes, while this was going on I also used some filler along the pod edges and then fitted the parts together and held in place with tape. Mixing and using filler and resin at the same time was a bit rushed before they went off in the heat.
The model looks a bit better now but of course its still filling/sanding to blend in the pods with the body.
 

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