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Mig 15 Scratchbuild

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As promised, in this post the tail goes on and the jet-pipe and air intake get drilled out.


Attaching the tail is fairly easy.  Prepare the fin exactly as per the wing - cut out and stick on a paper outline and then cut the plywood to shape with a bandsaw or some manual equivalent. Its up to you whether you contour the fin into a streamlined shape before or after it's attached - but in this case I did it after.


Now I apologise for this post as I did not take sufficient photographs of the process to fully illustrate it - but it's not rocket science so I'm sure you will follow along easily enough.



When you cut out the tail-fin ensure that you leave a large 'root' at it's base. This is what will provide the attachment to the fuselage. Now cut two parallel cuts in the correct location for the fin to slot into and at the correct location so that when the wood between the cuts is removed you have a single slot at exactly the width of the plywood (or just a fraction less to make a tight fit). I used a coping saw for the parallel cuts as it gives better control than a bandsaw and it worked well in this case giving me exactly the width slot that I was after - just tight enough so that the fin's root would slide into the slot but be held by friction.
Remove the wood remaining between the two cuts with a chisel (or a fret saw if you prefer) leaving a single slot into which the root of the tail can fit.


The fin was then simply glued into place using PVA and held with clamps for 24 hours. In this photo you can see that I've also done most of the contouring to give it a streamlined leading edge and a sharp (ish) trailing edge.




Once the tail was secured I drilled out the tailpipe. Start by marking out the exact centre of where the hole will sit - then make an indentation on that spot with a braddel, a woodworking tool that looks a bit like a screwdriver but has a sharp point on the end. Use the indentation to provide the starting point for a fine guide drill-hole - say 2mm maximum. I use an electric drill because it's quicker and tends to wobble less than a hand held 'eggbeater' drill.  Once you have confirmed that your first hole is in the right spot and is nice and straight then stick in a larger drill - say 4mm and repeat. The accuracy of the first hole should guide the second into the right place. Once you finish the second hole once again check that it is straight and true and continue enlarging the drill and repeating the process until you reach the diameter you need.




Obviously I didn't want to drill to the full length of the tail-fin's root as this would reduce the strength of the tail's connection. In this case I went a bit more than half way along the tailfin root. Once I had achieved the target diameter I rolled up a bit of sandpaper and tried to smooth the cavity as best I could - one day I will buy a dremmell tool. At this stage the cavity looks very basic but  latter on I'll add some detail to make it a bit more realistic.




The process for then nose intake is exactly the same except once finished I had to cut out and carve an airflow splitter and glue it into place with PVA.  There's also a bit of whittling / sanding / shaping required to get the rounded appearance of the leading edge of the intake correct.



And that's about it for now.


Next time I will show how I made the mess in the photo below - and will now leave you wondering if the entire project is doomed...




Merry Christmas to you all...



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This is shaping up nicely. I very much enjoyed scratch-building big~ish (radio controlled) models from wood but have never attempted anything like this.



This particular one never got further than the vacuum formed canopy plug. My first daughter was born around this time - she's 6 now :rolleyes:


I shall follow your progress here quietly from here on :)

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Scratchbuilding RC models... now that's skill!  And courage too, when the time comes to fly it and risk everything. I like the look of that meteor, why not just finish it as static model? You are mostly there.

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Let's organise an emergency Meteor STGB and force SH to finish that Meatbox! I for one would love to see it finished - even as a static.

:winkgrin: Reconcilor even your "mess" is streets ahead of my woodworking skills.........press on as I'm learning lots.

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I think if you fibreglassed it like an r/c model, you could tackle NMF without too much difficulty. It would give you a nice hard surface to work. 0.5g/m^2 bidirectional cloth and epoxy laminating resin would be what you needed for that :)

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Yes but I was mixing my ounces and grams up there. It's 25g/m^2 cloth you'd want - it's like silk.

This sort of stuff - you'll get it locally (glider supplies maybe?)http://www.fighteraces.co.uk/product/woven-glass-cloth-in-25g-48gsq-mtr/


The epoxy laminating resin (like this http://www.fighteraces.co.uk/product/l285-epoxy-skinning-resin/ also from a glider supplies type place, not like automotive bodge stuff) is thin and can be further thinned with acetone. A small amount of resin will wet out a lot of cloth using a rubber squeegee or even a credit card. Once it looks satin rather than gloss the resin is well enough spread. It'll take 24 hours to cure, then squeegee a another coat of resin on (thin!) and it'll cure glassy. No more than about 0.6mm thick, but it will wet and dry to a lovely, smooth and hard surface beautifully. Thereafter it's like finishing a decent quality plastic model.




This here is a much heavier cloth than I'd suggest you'd use - but you can see the weave is probably still finer than you may previously might have envisaged?


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Yes, but I'd do it wet or you'll get a lot of epoxy and glass dust. It's a hard enough surface to work properly. You could scribe panel lines if you wanted to, and with a coat of primer you can rivet the surface too with normal riveting tools.

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It's Christmas eve and time for an update.


A few posts back I asserted that my woodwork was dreadful.  On this post you will see exactly what I mean. This one is all about bodging and filling and sanding away mistakes in full confidence that all of this wood-butchery will be hidden under primer and paint.  I've said it before - you don't really need any special skills to build models this way - you certainly do not need to be an expert woodworker. So if you feel inclined to have a go - just have a go - it's actually all fairly straightforward.




Those of you that have been following along might remember that when I was carving out the hollow for the cockpit a fairly large chunk of wood snapped off from the port side just beside the pilot. This hole needs filling - otherwise the pilot will be able to climb in and out of the cockpit without opening the canopy.


Here's what I've done to alleviate the situation.




Using a set of dividers to measure a few of the hole's key dimensions (length - width etc) I reproduced the offending hole's shape on an appropriately thin sheet of wood.  In this case it's New Zealand White Pine (re-cycled Kahikatea). I only mention that it's Kahikatea to distinguish it from 'Pinus Radiata' the white plantation pine that is found almost everywhere but is not IMHO really suitable for this kind of work because it is too fibrous and tends to 'chip out' when carved.  


You can see what I've done in the photo above, I've just cut out the wood to the right shape and stuck it in the hole. I used a variety of glues in this case - two part epoxy for rigidity, some liquid nails for strength and then a generous amount of PVA to fill most of the remaining gaps.


Once the glue had set hard I just took to the Kahikatea with a number 11 hobby knife and whittled it to match the fuselage's cross section.




This wood carves and whittles beautifully. Where-ever you are in the world the woodworkers will know the right type of local wood for carving so have a chat to them and get something that's suitable for the work you have in mind.




With the majority of the hole plugged I just smeared plastic wood all over the plug to fill the numerous small gaps and cracks. I also filled over the joints between the fuselage and cockpit rebate and worked a tonne of the stuff into the wing roots. The wing roots on a Mig 15 have a small blending fillet between the wing and the fuselage and I'm going to use the wood-filler to sculpt this shape. a plywood insert that I put on top of the wings (see a couple of posts earlier) helps to fill out this volume and gives something for the plastic wood to grip onto.



On the starboard side there was another gap, but as it was a smaller and simpler shape I just filled it with plastic wood.  In fact - while I was working with the filler I went a bit mental and gave the entire airframe a close inspection and just plastered any surface imperfections that I saw.  Now you can see why my woodwork teacher was never too impressed with my approach! Just look at the state of the tail in the photo below.




And so, after letting the wood-filler set for 24 hours in the 40 degree Western Australian summer sun it had cured and was ready to be sanded.




Nothing surprising here; start with a coarse sandpaper - sand everything. Select a finer sandpaper - sand everything again. Select a very fine finishing paper - sand everything yet again...

For some reason I really enjoy this - it's therapeutic and as time passes the mess diminishes and the model 'emerges'.












And here she is - all filled and smoothed out.  To get to this point I actually went through a second, more detailed sequence of 'inspect, fill, sand' but it's just repetition and If you have ever built a model you probably know about it anyway so I won't labour the point further. By the way - if you are wondering about the tailplane - it's made but I'm not sticking it on until as late as possible as I fear at the moment it will just get in the way and / or get damaged. A few posts ago I showed the model with the tailplane (sort-of) attached. But it was just stuck on with blue-tack 'for illustrative purposes only'.


And that's about it for this post. I'm hoping I'll get one more in before the end of 2016. Once again thanks for the interest and the comments, I am really enjoying keeping this log of the build and appreciate each and every reply.


Have a very merry and safe Christmas.


Best wishes,



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Oh dear.  That was the fifth vote! Natural metal finish it is then 😵.  I must insist however that I reserve the right to paint camouflage over the top of it if it's a total disaster. Let's see if I can pull this off!😕

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Thanks for the comments everyone - much appreciated. 


It is now New Year's eve and I've got this one last update for 2016 for you to peruse.


The basic airframe shape is now essentially complete (tailplane excepted as discussed above) and so now it is time to start priming. I use a wood-primer which is supposed to sink in and seal and protect the  wood from the surrounding environment - humidity, moisture, wood-eating microbes and so forth.  I am not completely convinced that it is necessary to use wood primer as modern spray on model primers like Tamiya and Mr Hobby seem to stick to wood very well and I think they would probably suffice.  However, as I am trying to re-visit the techniques I used to use many years ago - I'm going to do what I did 'back then'.


So, after a quick look around the shed I found this 'primer, sealer, undercoat - I reckon that looks like the right kinda stuff.




Thin it down a little bit and just brush it on.




No need to be too particular as this coat is going to have the daylights sanded out of it anyway.




The PVA that I used to stick the paper pattern onto the bottom of the plywood before cutting out the wing has left a nasty messy residue. This will need a good primer coat and some serious sanding to fully cover and smooth out.


If anyone has a better alternative to PVA for attaching the paper, something that doesn't leave this mess, I'm keen to hear about it.


First coat done - pretty rough - but that's of no real consequence - just get good coverage - and don't be too afraid of putting it on a bit thicker than you might with a kitset.




Underside view. Most of the PVA residue is now obscured.



And sand it back to this...Nice and smooth...




Paint it again with a somewhat thinner coat.




Inspect for surface flaws that require further filling and cleaning up. This is especially necessary given that some very mean people have voted for this model to be finished in natural metal. :-). You know who you are!




Apply liberal amounts of filler.




Now that I am no longer working directly onto wood and am just working on the primed surface, I am no longer using plastic wood.





This is Vallejo model filler and this stuff is awesome! Regardless of what you build or how you build it I strongly recommend you get some of this stuff. It spreads like soft butter and dries, quickly to a very hard tough finish. It's the best modelling putty I have ever used. BTW - I have no commercial interest in Vallejo...just in case you were wondering.


And now - guess what - it's back to sanding...and sanding...and sanding....with finer and finer grades of paper until you get to about this point - a nice smooth shiny model.





The model is actually much shinier than it looks in these photos, I think that apple I-phones have a polarising lens that prevents me from capturing the full shine on this finish. Suffice to say the model feels and looks about as smooth and shiny as a kitset would after priming and sanding. The only limitation that I struck is that I could not use 'wet and dry' sanding. I tried a tentative experiment with wet sand paper, but the wood primer just sort of detached and little plastic globules of it 'rolled up' under the paper - so that's a no-go.


Below I have attached some authentic air-combat photographs - taken by me while flying my imaginary F86 in the neighbour's back-yard.


Combat started with a high-speed, head to head cross-over. As you can see, I started with a slight height advantage which I managed to hang onto in the ensuing fight.






Here I have maneuverered into a position above and behind my unfortunate opponent.





Who, despite his desperate attempt to escape with a severe break to port and high-speed Yo-Yo was unable to escape the fury of my six imaginary 50 calibre machine-guns. The fact that his aircraft was not fitted with tailplanes may have contributed to his defeat.




I won't post the rest of the footage as it is too graphic and violent for general public consumption. We must think of the youngsters you know!



Next time - There's something that's really bugging me about this model at the moment, and I'm going to fix it once and for all. Am hoping to have the next posting in a week or so.


Happy New Year to one and all.  I hope 2017 treats you all well and that we all build plenty of good stuff and have heaps of fun doing it.


Best Regards,



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Off again for some more wooden Mig15 action.  This time I'm going to fix something that has bothered me for some time about this model and finally got so irksome that I had to do something.


I am not a rivet counter - I do not generally worry about minor points of inaccuracy that would require specialist knowledge to detect. That's just not my thing.  But what I can't accept is an issue that any observer - could readily detect.  Hence - I try to make my models as symmetrical as possible (most aeroplanes are almost perfectly symmetrical in plan and front view) and I try to get all the 90 degree angles as 'true' as I can.


In the case of this build I failed horribly in the latter regard. I was in a hurry one day and just 'stuck' the airflow splitter into the air intake any old how.  And it was crooked - Leaning about 4 degrees to port. At first I thought - 'It'll do' - 'She'll be right'.  But it wasn't right and it annoyed me every time I looked at it. Now I'm going to fix it.



This was my first idea - but this was stupid at a number of levels - so I had a re-think.




Ah-ha! This is more like it - a little cutting / grinding tool in a miniature electric drill.  I decided to do some dentistry.




My mother always wanted me to be a dentist. Here I'm grinding out the offending airflow splitter.  It was made of Jarrah - so it was fairly hard going. 




Voila!  One ragged hole in the front of the aeroplane.






Which gave me a chance to re-visit the rather inadequate sanding inside the air-intake. It's much smoother now and I am feeling much happier about the thing already!





Now take that pair of dividers that my father gave me for my birthday (very thoughtful) and measure the inner diameter of the air intake.




Transfer the measurement onto that beautiful piece of NZ White Pine.

Draft up the new splitter.

Cut it out using a coping saw.

Cut, carve and sand to shape.




And now it's all ready to go.  Look at the job I did on sharpening that pencil! Ha! So much for woodworking skill!





Mark up the centrelines, top and bottom of the intake.  (You can see the top pencil mark in this photo.) Put a dash of PVA on the splitter and put it in place.  Do it carefully this time and check that it's vertical!





It's a bit out of focus - but I think that you can now see that the splitter is now pretty square.  There is some filler work required to fair it into the rest of the fuselage - but my much esteemed Vallejo filler will deal with that very easily.


I'm happy now - this will not bug me any more.


So - what have I learned?


1. Work carefully and try to get things right first time.

2. Use softer woods for details - it's a great idea to use a hard-wood for the main structure of the fuselage but details such as this are much easier to form with a moderately soft 'whittling' wood such as this - I believe that birch, basswood and Jelutong are also all excellent.

3. One advantage with scratch-building is you can generally 'have another go'. if you ruin one bit, just build it again.  With a kitset you might have to buy the whole box and dice a second time to get the replacement bit. I've had to do that on a few occasions and it gets expensive.


That's it for this round. Next update might be a few weeks away as 'life' threatens to get in the way of modelling. 


No 'preview' this time but I will leave you with a cryptic photograph of a piece of wood that might give you a clue of what  the next post will be about.




Until next time - Happy modelling and stay safe.




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