Curl and Form Builds
Print out the plans and tape together. Cut out all parts and label them as you cut them out. Save paper templates for reference and for cutting slots in fuselage, wing and fin details.
Remove paper from inside the area of the foamboard that will be the inside curl. You can remove all paper for a lighter model (Mig 15, Sabre, FW 183).
Find a 1" D piece of tubing , rod, PVC etc. Even a rolling pin will work. Lay the part on a firm cushion and roll down hard a few times back and forth in the direction you want the curl. For cones and tapered fuselage parts, try rolling in the taper direction. Usually two or three passes will do. Now you can bring the edges together. It is more important to line up the butt joint edges. You can temporarily hold the parts together with masking tape and roll the inside until the form is round, oval or whatever you need.
Bring the joining parts together and make sure the joint is tight. One part may have too large a circumference, so carefully shave the longitudinal joint and test fit again. It doesn't have to be perfect as long as it looks good.
Longitudinal joints will either be topside or bottom side. These joints should line up with the next piece unless noted.
Make a centerline mark on any fuselage bulkhead formers. This mark should line up with the topside or bottom side joint.
Usually the cowl should be fitted with its bulkhead before joining to the fuselage body because it's impossible to get it in later.
Start with the rear of the fuselage and hold the joint together. It should meet up either with its straight cut or the 45 degree bevel cut. Use hot melt glue along the edge and hold a couple inches together until glue sets. Spread the remaining joint and apply a bit more hot glue working from back to front. The goal is to have no seam showing.
Now join the fuselage sections together making sure the fuselage is straight.
Take your fuselage template and position it back over the fuselage. It wont fit all the way around because the fuselage has stretched. The pattern gap should be even at the joint.
Cut all slots for wing, stabilizer and fin. Remove pattern and test fit wing, stabilizer and fin. Adjust the slots if necessary.
Wing and fins - the wing is cut out and either gets the half deep cut airfoil technique or you can roll curl the front 1/3. Both work and fly well. Test fit the wing join and set dihedral at 1-1.5" at each tip. The LE and TE should meet flush. You can put an additional bead of glue along the join on the underside. I have never had a wing break.
There are a couple ways to hinge rudders. One is to make a 45 degree bevel cut on one side along the hinge joint and then run the hot glue gun tip back and forth across the hinge line (no glue) You are relying on the paper as a hinge and it works quite well on all but the most delicate designs. Or you can separate the rudder (elevator), round the edges and use clear tape as a hinge leaving a small gap for swing clearance.
The Hellcat has built in down-thrust. Before gluing the cowl on just tape it on and put a straight edge in where the pod inserts. There should be 2 degrees down thrust compared to a straight line back to the stabilizer. Some models (Zero) and others have no built in pod down-thrust. Adjust the cowl cutout for the pod tray until the angle is correct. Now glue on the cowl.
The 1System Warbird pod is a tight slide fit. You can adjust the fore and aft slightly to help attain the correct CG.
The canopy is made from the pattern taped over a section of plastic water bottle. Cut out, tape together with clear tape and trim. I use a permanent marker for the framework. Sharpie brand makes really good markers in different colors. I use the silver pen for the Sabre and Mig 15.
Before adding servos and radio/motor/prop and while the model weighs only a couple ounces test glide. Add some ballast to the nose (I use coils of solder wire) and tape in with masking tape until you get balance at 30% back of LE. You can test glide in a carpeted room, outside on the lawn... The glide should be gentle, fairly flat with no turning tendency. Once satisfied with the glide make a mark where the model balances.
Now install the servos, control wires, control horns, and pod. When done check the balance again that it is on the mark.
My Hellcat needed no weight added and was right on the mark. Err on the side of nose heavy before power on flight tests.
I used 3 mist coats from 18" away of Krylon Gloss Navy Blue fusion spray paint. Decals were printed on a color printer and cut out with scissors. Cowl flaps were made from paper and tape.