Friday, October 8, 2010

Stranraer: The Madness Continues

With the interior done except for painting, and a break to participate in 24-Hour Comics Day, I've decided to venture into Biting Off More Than I Can Chew Land. It's been a strange journey so far.

The kit canopy is VERY, VERY THICK.

With all that (hopefully) beautiful detail inside, it seems a shame to hide it behind a warped, distorting canopy. So, I've decided to build my own canopy out of sheet styrene and that thin clear plastic they use for packaging headphones and the like.

I thought and thought and sketched and sketched and came up with Technique #1. I'm building a frame of styrene. The frames are a bit wider than scale, but I think (hope) that the clearer transparencies will make up for that. We'll see how it paints up (one reason for doing it this way was easier painting of the interior of the frame. My one worry is putting the 'glass' in I have a plan, but it wasn't fully formed because I didn't think I'd get to this point without complete failure.

I've got a tentative plan for Technique #2 which I'll be attempting Sunday. I'm doing that a) just in case placing the glass in the current frame fails or b) it looks like butt.

All in all, this is the smallest, most delicate thing I've made yet. Not only that, it's the smallest most delicate thing that needs to be structural! I'm pushing the limits of my engineering ability and my tools. Some of the parts are so small that I really can't see them when they're in the tweezers. Zowie. Stay tuned!

Listening to while posting: "Swans" by Camera Obscura


  1. Did you consider taking a piece of heated clear plastic sheet and using the old canopy as a form and create a thinner canopy and then applying the frame pieces afterwords?

  2. I really did consider that but, after much thought, nixed it. Firstly because my experiments in heating and molding smaller pieces (for the landing light covers for my T-6) resulted in failure time after time. The movement of the plastic was very hard to gauge and there would always be twists and inconsistencies. Practice didn't seem to cause improvement.

    Secondly, I want to be able to paint the interior of the frames and that would be difficult. I found this out after laying on sheet frames over the cast frame on another T-6.

  3. The trick is to keep pulling down until all wrinkles have disappeared.

  4. I also have this model, is my favourite Matchbox model, but your work is... superb!