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Airbus A318 conversion from A319, Finished!


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Having built Revell's A321, A320, and A319 Airbus kits I wanted to add the smallest of them all, the A318, to my collection. There are few aftermarket decal options for them. As far as I know Draw Decals are the only manufacturer doing sets for the 318 and Greg from Draw kindly supplied Britmodeller with a review set at this years Telford. No reason to hesitate now!

The set is for Frontier Airlines 'Stu the Rabbit', all of Frontiers aircraft feature wildlife designs on the tail fin, and 'Sheldon the sea turtle' is aslo available from Draw for the A318, as well as others for the A319.

Only Eastern Express do an injecion moulded A318, and Welsh Models do a mixed media kit. A fuselage is available from Contrails, but I quite like doing my own conversions. The main job with the Revell A319 is to shorten the fuselage and raise the tailfin.

Having searched the net I found that the measurement differnces between an A319 and A318 is that 79cm needs to come out ahead of the wing, and 160cm behind it, with a 75cm increase in fin height. These scale down to 5.5mm, 11mm and 5mm respectively. In easier terms this is 1 and a bit windows ahead of the wing and 3 behind.

So out with the saw! I made my own mitre box a while ago to help with these sort of conversions. I found some scrap 3cm x 2cm timber in the garage, glued & screwed a 'U' shape together, and made some saw cuts in various places to guide the saw. Now I did all this by hand, so it is possible that my cuts are not perfectly alighned and square down to the last thousands of an inch. It doesn't matter as long as both cuts to remove a section are made in the same slot. The mating faces will then have the same cut in them.

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So in went the fuselsge halves, and the cuts were made. Note that I staggered the cuts on each side to improve joint strength when it is all fixed together.

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Then I assembled the half with the alignment sockets in (rather than the pins) on a flat surface, which ensures that the tailfin is nice and square to the fuselege.

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Once dry, the other centre section is held in place with an elastic band, and the nose section offered up and the mating face sanded if necessary for a neat fit.

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Ending up with a pair of fuselage halves like the original kit.

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But leaving a considerable step on the underside which will need sorting out

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I reinforced the inside with some strips of plasticard, as some serious sanding might take place in this area.

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Glued together like a normal kit, and with a first fill with Milliput and sanding, it starts to look ok.

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I also glued some plasticard strips on the inside to cover the windows, as I will be filling them with Milliput as well. The cockpit window I will keep clear.

That 'orrible step under the rear fuselage came out ok with some heavy sanding and copious amounts of Milliput, all blended and shaped nicely.

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Next up was the tailfin, simply done by slicing the tip off and gluing on a roughly shaped plasticard extension. Once dried hard the extension will be sanded to blend it in smoothly.

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The cokpit window was glued in, and milliput run around its edges. Sanding removed it's clarity but that can be corrected.

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10 minutes with some micromesh polishing cloths and it is good as new.

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The wing has a number of small flap track fairing only appropriate to theh A321, and these were removed and cleaned up.

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The wing goes on next, I leave it off until the cockpit glass is cleaned and finished, so that if needs be I can get acces to clean the inside of the glass through the hole in the fusealge that the wing covers. No end of dust and stuff can get in, so its as well to have access.

Thanks for looking,

John

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Great start John, as usual. I'll look forward to seeing this come together.

I'm sure you're aware that the cargo doors are smaller on the A318 so you'll need to trim down the hinges and modify the wing to body fairing. Here's a discussion on the Babybus from earlier in the year that you may find useful:

http://www.britmodeller.com/forums/index.php?/topic/234942125-thinking-about-jumping-on-the-a318-bandwagon-such-as-it-is

Hope it helps,

Jonathan

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Jonathan, thanks for that link. I had a vague feeling that there was something about the cargo doors, and having read your link I now recall having seen that thread a while ago. I had completely forgotten it, except that some vague generalisation must have lodged in a braincell somewhere!

It's at the perfect stage for me to incorporate the adjustments, I'll do something with those little strakes by the noseleg as well.

Thanks again, it shows the power of a site like this that such valuable feedback can come within a few hours!

Cheers

John

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Ok, following Jonathans info I have reworked the forward right hand wing/body fairing, filled in and rescribed the cargo doors to new positions and made them narrower. Hinges are made from plasticard strip.

Front cargo door rescribed nearer to the shortened fairing;

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I need to sand the rear hinge a little more, the rear door rescibed in a more forward position;

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Viewed from below and highlighted by drawing around with a pencil, the shortened fairing on the left, (unmodified on the right, 'coz we are looking at this upside down)) and the new cargo doors.

Done with reference to the photos in quoted in Jonathans link.

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The tailfin extension is now sanded and blended in.

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Thanks for the help and positive comments,

John

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Just in case anyone else is tempted to do this conversion, there are some other decals available that I know of (in fact most operators of the A318 are covered).

TwoSix - British Airways

Classic Airlines - Air France current

Draw Decals - Frontier (2 tails)

Nazca Decals - Air France previous, Avianca, Frontier (5 tails), LAN Chile, Mexicana (3 versions) and Tarom

Hope this might be of use to someone

Dave

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This is coming together really well. The fairings and cargo doors look just right. One question though - how do you plan to install the nose gear leg? It's going to be a tight fit, or are you a gynaecologist in your day job :lol:.

Jonathan.

P.S. If you haven't already, don't forget to fill the A321 flap lines on the inboard and outboard flaps.

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Thanks for the comments, I'm really enjoying this conversion.

Jonathan - It's not too difficult to get the noseleg in, it involves a bit of twisting and trimming but it can be done. I'm not a gynaecologist in the truest sense, but as my day job often involves me in dealing with some stupid wotsits, I guess I could make a partial claim.

The clear cockpit is masked off simply by laying peice of clear plastic over a photocopy of the decal sheet and cutting some Tamiya tape to the window shapes. makes perfect masks!

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The inboard flaplines are already filled and smoothed off, and I have made some replacement winglets for the undersized ones in the kit (lowest one in the photo). Also a DirecTV housing for the top of the fuselage. It will be finally shaped & smoothed once fitted.

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Whilst having a photocopy of the decal sheet, I cut out 'Stu' and used him to check that the size and shape of the tailfin is correct. It is, phew!

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Ready for primer now. I've also added those 2 little fins by the nose gear doors;

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Thanks for looking!

John

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What an incredible idea to make cockpit masks - still a lot of exact cuts on a small area of tape though, so am guessing not quite as easy as you make it look.

Cheers,

Mike

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  • 2 weeks later...

Well progress slowed down once I had to go back to the day job after Christmas, so this is where it is now.

It was primed with Halfords white plastic primer and then given a top coat of Appliance White. This was masked off for painting the wings.

The engines were built up and painted in the meantime, along with the tailplanes.

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Next was another dose of masking to define the Corroguard areas of the wing box.

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And the 'big reveal'

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Its a short assembly job now to get the undercarriage and engines on, then the best bit can start - the decalling.

Thanks for looking

John

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...and everything is now assembled ready for the decalling to begin. I'left the tailplanes off as there are decals to go on under them.

I like to get airliners as complete as possible before putting decals on as it reduces the chance of ruining them with glue/paint/gunge fingerprints.

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Thanks fo looking,

John

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Thanks for the feedback guys. The good bit has started now, decalling.

I used a photocopy of the 'Frontier' logo to check for fit on the fuselage, removing the areas below the doors so that I could align them with the doors marked on the fuselage.

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This revealed that the letters 'ON' would need a slight trim to allow for the camber of the wing. So creasing it with the back of my knife blade marked out where to trim.

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Cutting first the photocopy, and then the actual decal;

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Went on nicely! I removed the 'last 2 letters 'ER' to simplify application of the decal.

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When the full logo was on I left it 10 minutes to let it 'grab' onto the model, and then proceeded to do what Draw Decals recommend. To help the decals settle down it is suggested that you apply heat to them. So with hot water from the kettle in a small bowl, and a multi folded sheet of kitchen paper we can start..

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Dip the paper in the hot watere and apply to the decal pressing gently. Be careful that any hot water that will ooze from the paper will flow down and away from your fingers.

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Work along the decal, applying heat to all of it. This softens the ink and makes the decal snuggle down perfectly, and eliminates any air bubbles. It's really satisfying to do and only takes a couple of minutes, with the decal ending up looking painted on. The carrier film seems to vaporise.

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Rabbit goes on the tail next!

Thanks for looking,

John

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I missed that post application hot water trick somehow - will try that on mt next one.

I have learned so much from your thread here John, thank you.

Seeing the kettle and toaster in the pics above, reminds me it's time for breakfast.

Cheers,

Mike

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