Building Tips


Adding Streamlined Fairings           


    On models with large fairings around lift struts and landing gear struts where large streamlined fairings are prominent, you just can't leave them off or the model will look unfinished. The fairings can be built up from blocks using either balsa or blue foam, but a much easier and quicker method is to build them up using balsa formers and common printer paper for the fairings. At a glance, making the fairings might look difficult, but it really isn't, and after you've done a couple you'll find it's really a pretty easy task, and that the gain in the finished look of the model is well worth the extra effort. And as an added bonus, the fairings weigh practically nothing.

    I like to use Pacer Canopy Glue to attach the paper fairings to the model as it tacks the paper in place quickly and dries clear. And any unwanted glue goobers or smears can be cleaned up with water or Isopropyl Alcohol after the glue has dried. So, let's get started......


Top LG Fairing

The process begins when the landing gear has been mounted and the LG strut is already shaped and finished. In this case, the Landing Gear Strut was covered with Manila File Folder paper over balsa ribs to form the airfoil shape....


To build up the fairing itself, begin by making up balsa wedges from 1/16 scrap balsa sheet and glue them in place on the fuselage and Landing Gear strut....

Next, using common printer paper, hand cut and fit the lower fairing section first by trial and error, fitting the fairing frequently on the model and trimming as needed for a good uniform fit. Then once the final shape is established, use that pattern to make up 2 parts that will be used on the model and glue them in place....


The same process will be used in the top section of the fairing, again using the hand fitted part as a pattern to make up the useable parts. When the parts fit well, glue them in place. And don't forget, if there are provisions made for wing strut attachments, get all that set up now, before the paint work is done.


Then once the fairings are finished, trimmed and glued in place, paint the fairings to match your chosen color scheme.


Lift Strut Fairings

Trim the opening in the LG Fairing so that the strut inserts easily into its attach point with as little opening as possible. Retain the strut with the appropriate hardware and you're ready to start building up the fairings....   


 Using the same trial and error method used before on the upper LG Fairings, fit the top Strut Fairing and trim the clearance holes for the attachment fittings. Then once the shape has been established, make up "the keepers" and glue them in place.


Moving back to the bottom, remove the strut and make up the teardrop shape fairing base from scrap 1/16 balsa sheet. Fit the base over the strut and re-mount the strut onto the model. Slip the fairing base next to the LG fairing and tack glue it in place.


Remove the strut from the wing and make up the 1/16 scrap balsa wedges at the leading and trailing edges of the strut and glue them in place.


Then using those same techniques to fit the paper fairing halves we've used before, make up the patterns, then the parts and glue them in place on the strut. At this point, the fairing is finished and will fit perfectly against the LG Fairing when the strut is re-installed. And because the opening in the LG fairing is closely fitted, it will act as a guide to make the blind lift strut attachment easy.


Now that the Fairings are all in place, paint to match your chosen color scheme and you're finished with the Struts.


The Inner Wheel Pant Fairings

The procedure is exactly the same here as with the upper LG and lower strut fairings. Start with the 1/16 balsa wedges to establish the basic shape of the fairing. Then, hand fit the paper pattern for the lower half.


Make the bottom fairing parts in the same fashion as described above and glue in place.


The Top half of the fairing is hand fitted to make the pattern....


....and then the parts are cut out using the pattern and glued in place to complete the basic fairing.


As with the top LG fairings and strut fairings, once the parts are glued in place you can paint to match your chosen trim scheme.


And with that, the Fairings are done, and will add tremendously to the look of your finished model with only a little extra effort, and with very little weight gain. And since you saved all the parts patterns, if the model is damaged, you'll have everything you need to repair the model quickly without having to go through the hand fitting process again.


Building Tips