This time I’ll be detailing the intake nozzle ducting within the nose section. It’s not a part of the Viper that’s usually seen in the original Battlestar episode footage – even in close ups the nozzle intake appears as a ‘black hole’, with no visible detail of the internal ducting. It appears a blackened plate or fine screen is used to block the internal detail. Rather than adopt the same strategy as used on the props, I thought it would be great to attempt to give the nozzle a more practical look and feel.
I’m a big fan of the Sabre and Super Sabre jets from the 50’s/60’s and I assume the nose intakes from these aircraft were a big inspiration for the Viper design. These aircraft and the plastic model Viper kits were used as my basis for the design of the ducting.
First up, I constructed an internal former for the rear of the intake ducting and fixed this in position with rivets.
I then developed some cardboard templates from stiff cardboard sheet to work out the dimensions and fit for aluminium sheet ducting.
I marked and cut out aluminium sheet based on the template design. As much as I would have liked to form the duct from a single sheet of aluminium, with only one join line, this was to prove too difficult. The rolled out shape was too large for the sheets I have and the internal curves very tight, even for 0.6mm sheet aluminium.
The aluminium ducting walls were then drilled and fixed around the internal shape of the nozzle and bulkheads with clecos.
The holes were then countersunk with a simple home made die tool and fixed into place with countersunk rivets.
I also plan on installing a metal wire grill at the rear of the ducting, but this will have to wait until the nose is removed from the rotisserie. Only then, with the jig frame removed from the centreline of the nose section, can the grill be installed.
Next time, it’s make or break time as I design, fabricate and fit the external panels to the nose section. My efforts up to this point will account for nothing if the panel fitting stage isn’t successful. Wish me luck…