Winging it

I’ve had one major component to do, to complete the overall shape of the viper – the wings!  I had laid out the frame some time ago, but upon review I discovered some of the angles were not quite right.  I ended up having to unpick some of the frame work to get it looking right.

I built some formers out of 1mm aluminium sheet and angle, cut out lightening holes and dimpled them for strength.  Then I laid out the basic structure.  The problem was, not having enough table space to accommodate the structure – at around 4 metres long it’s a large component.  I made do with what I had and began assembly.

With the base structure assembled, I figured it was an opportune time for a test fit and some photos.  I had to move everything half a metre sideways so that I could sit the tail fin on top of the high engine.  I then sat the wing frame in it’s approximate position on the port side engine housing.  I’m happy with the overall shape – everything seems to line up and fit where it’s supposed to.  Whew!!

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Next it was time to cut to size some 0.6mm aluminium sheet for the wing skin.  I attached the skin with clecos and did a further test fit of the wing – just so I could stand back and enjoy the sight of an all aluminium 1:1 Colonial Viper.

Note the wing leading edge is slightly angled, as per the filming models and full size mockup – this was some interesting geometry to work out and it took me some time to get it looking right.  I think I’ve got it reasonably close.

I still need to work out how to mount the wings so that they can be removed for transport.  Also, building the wing with enough strength so that it can be mounted at the engine housing and support the front tip on which the guns are mounted.  I noticed on the full size filming mockup, an additional wing mounting existed on the side of the engine intake.  I’m hoping to avoid this and build it as per the miniatures, with the mounting points only on the main engine housing.

Well there we have it, true to my original vision, a full scale aluminium viper work in progress, reminiscent of the WW2 era warbirds like the P51 Mustang or P47 Thunderbolt in natural metal.

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Still plenty of challenges ahead of me, but now that the overall shape is defined, it’s a big step in the right direction.

Stay safe out there.

 

Greeblies and things

Among other things, I’ve been working on the port side engine.  I’ve completed the skin on the engine housing and attached it securely behind the intake nozzle.

I’ve also started on the greeblie panel located between the port engine and the high middle engine housings.  There was quite a lot of trial and error to get the look reasonably ‘correct’.  Although ‘correct’ is very open to interpretation as the filming models differed from the full size mockup and the Moebius model differs from the old Monogram model.  So anyway, a best guess and some artistic license required on my part.

Next up was deciding on the greeblies for the panel, again some guesswork and artistic license required.  I went for a walk around my local Bunnings Hardware to see what I could find.  I found some items that are reasonably close to the look I’m after and decided to go with them.  Firstly there a two grilles/grates

I cut the sheet aluminium to expose the grilles

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Then I attached some circular greeblies and pipework, similar to the full size mockup, along with two sections of C channel

I then did some experimenting with the engine greeblies behind the intakes.  Lots of variations here as well.  I tried using the full size mockup/Moebius greeblies in the first instance.  Some copper pipe, fittings and soldering.

I wasn’t entirely happy with it, especially once I looked at the greeblies used on the filming models – much more variety and detail.  So I’ve decided to use the filming model greeblies as the basis.

Lastly I acquired some 25mm (1 inch) square hollow section aluminium for the exhaust nozzle detail.  I sliced up one for a very primitive proof of concept fitting and I’m satisfied it will do nicely.  It’s going to be one of those long monotonous jobs…

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Till next time, stay safe out there.