Its been another busy weekend, but not so much on the model side of things. I have started on the wings though, creating the template then cutting the blanks ready for shaping. One difference with the wings on an SP is that the design to extend and retract the trailing edge flaps does not require those canoe shaped fairings on the underside of the wings which the other 747s have. This also means I don’t need to make them.
Another week has passed, but progress has been made with completion of the tail section, at least for now, and the first coats of spray putty. This not only seals the raw timber and filler, but it also gives me the chance to see what else requires further shaping or filling. It’s very difficult to see any small defects in the raw timber with its random patterns and colour variations. Another round of filling where required and light sanding, followed by another coat of spray putty. This process continues until I am happy with the finish before the painting process begins.
Without getting too carried away, the time has come to start on the wings. I’m looking forward to this as I will see how large this plan will be. The wingspan will be over 800mm. I’ll be making 2 sets of wings, 1 set is for a FedEx 747 Freighter ordered by a client. I’ll be posting updates on the freighter soon.
Now that I have finished messing around with the wing fairing, at least for the time being, I started work on the empennage (tail section). Preparing the horizontal stabilisers is relatively straight forward, but they too need to be aerodynamically accurate compared to the real thing, not that this plane will ever fly, however, there is no compromise when it comes to attention to detail. I love buildings these things, especially when they start to take shape, and that is where we are at with this build.
Once again I have attached the horizontal and vertical stab’s temporarily as the flight surface details need to be carved in and this is much easier to do before attaching them permanently. I also need to refine their shape a little more as well.
The overall span of the horizontal stab’s is wider than a conventional 747 compensating for the shorter distance from the wings in order to maintain the correct attitude during flight (it’s a physics thing…).
Building the wing fairing section has been a little tedious with getting the right fit and shape, but I’ve taken a big step and sanded it down, closing in on the final shape and looking like the real thing. I’ve used filler again to help improve the fit with the fuselage by using the fuselage itself as a mould. The result so far is pleasing.
You will notice I have glued a strip of timber to either side of the fuselage. You will see why in my next update. Remember, this is my first build of this aircraft type and scale, so when I repeat the process for client orders, there will be much less filler. This process is called test and learn, with my learnings going back into build design improvements.
The next stage of this build is to develop the wing box / fairing. On a smaller scale, I would have carved the wing box as part of the fuselage. In this case I’m thinking about the ability to separate the wings and fuselage for storage or shipping purposes in the future if need be.
I built an initial ‘blank’ from offcuts, which have been cut down closer to the final shape. Next step is to the shave the blank down and blend in the fairings so they are snug when joined to the fuselage.
The 747SP along with its -100, -200 and -300 counterparts had a different wing box / fairing design, which was redesigned for the 747-400 to improve the aerodynamic characteristics of the aircraft, thus reducing drag and increasing fuel efficiency.
Apart from the most obvious characteristic of the 747SP (being shorter in length), the other characteristic that stands out to me is the fuselage tail section and the way it is formed. So in an attempt to get this right on my model, I had removed too much material from the sides of the tail section, so I simply put some back. While using filler is cheating in my view, I made sure I minimised its use as much as possible, so I glued timber offcuts in place, then reshaped the timber as much possible, before using filler to get closer to the final shape. Like I have said before, this model is my prototype, so I won’t make the same mistake next time.
I am getting closer to finalising the fuselage shape, including a few adjustments to the nose section. Im now looking forward to starting work on the wing box and wings themselves. It’s always exciting seeing my creations start to look like an aircraft as I move through each stage. I’ve also been commissioned by a good friend on mine’s business to build a 747 freighter in a large scale, probably 1:75 Scale, so work will be starting soon, and so will the blog posts go with it.
This week has not been as quite as productive as I’d hoped, thanks to a heavy head cold and family commitments, but I did manage to add some final details to the 1:100 Scale Concorde. There are many markings and sensors on the real aircraft that would be difficult to replicate at scale, so its important to choose the details that stand out if the aircraft was viewed from a distance. I’ve added some markings around the engine pods and the forward doors.
The final step now, is to add a coat of clear lacquer to seal the hand painted details and decals, as well as making the details pop.
Keeping true to my word, I managed to get some more shed time after work and knocked up a template and a couple of vertical stabiliser blanks for the SP. I couldn’t help myself and went for a quick assembly to see how it looks on the fuselage. Glad I did, as it gave me an indication of the tail section geometry when viewed from the side. You will notice the divot in the fuselage where the vertical stabiliser joins. This is a feature on the real aircraft and was a result of using standard 747 fuselage sections in the design of the tail section. The vertical stabiliser also stands 2ft taller than that on a standard 747.
One limitation I am finding with using Oregon for the fuselage is the growth rings in the wood are much harder than the wood in between, so shaping is a bit more of a challenge and can result in a bumpy surface. I am using pine for the vertical stabiliser which doesn’t have the same problem.
I’ve been spending some time working on my next project: the 1:75 scale Boeing 747SP, however it’s time to get back to completing my first Concorde build, which involves some delicate brush work to add the features such as the aircraft registration, Australian flag, and “Concorde” wording. I like to apply most of my details by hand, but it’s also hard when you’re a perfectionist and you want the details to look good and as close to the real deal as possible. The windows and doors on this model are decals, but as my painting skills improve, I will probably revert to hand painting those as well.
A point to note with this particular Concorde livery, is that Qantas never ended up going ahead with their Concorde program, but had initially placed order options before cancelling. I would have imagined that artists impressions and models with the Qantas livery would have been produced as part of the original sales presentations back when they were ordered. It was only a year or so, after Qantas cancelled their Concorde orders, before they ordered their first Boeing 747’s. I wonder how the future would have played out, had they proceeded with the Concorde program. There is a famous image of ABBA When they first came to Australia in 1977, stepping out of a Qantas 747. Might have been a completely different scene, given the Concorde is synonymous with celebrities.
Back to the model, only a few small details left to add, and a final coat of clear varnish left to apply, then it’s done.
I am going to post my model blogs more regularly as I progress my builds, as Fraser Aero Art is about bringing you on the journey with me and producing what I see as Aero Art. So, keep visiting.
I’ll be posting updates on the 747SP build later in the week.
After completing the basic fuselage block, it was time to get the shape closer to its final state. I removed most of the excess wood on my sanding machine. I didn’t quite get the angle of the band saw cut for the upper deck right, so needed to apply some filler. You will notice this on the upper deck area. Like I said, the first is always an experiment, so I can iron out build mistakes early on.
Because the B747SP is a shortened version of the B747-200, sections forward and after the wing box were not included during manufacture and assembly. The vertical stabilizer is a different size and shape than the conventional B747 as well, so the fuselage geometry is modified and dips quite a bit around the tail section.
I’m pleased with the profile of the forward fuselage section (image on the top left). Still more work to do around the nose and tail sections before I am ready to move to the next stage, which is to install the vertical stabiliser (tail fin) and wing box. The upper deck side profile also needs a bit more shaping before I will be happy. After observing and photographing 747’s for so many years, I have a good picture in my head of how my models need to look, and because I am a perfectionist, I won’t be happy until its a close to the real thing as it can get.
B747SP Update #2