Scratchbuilt 1/72 Caudron G.IV (Part II)

Fuselage and interior

For the fuselage I wanted to try something different – namely, an old technique of wood carving. Naturally, this method requires wood of the finest quality, but I was not patient enough to wait for the basswood I had ordered and instead decided to use cheap planks from a hardware store I had on hand. The biggest problem with this type of wood is that its structure is not homogeneous, which causes a few problems later. Despite that, working with wood is very satisfying. The pictures below illustrate the process of transforming a wooden block (two blocks glued together, actually) into a Caudron fuselage. Instruments used – a knife and some sanding blocks. After the external shape was defined, the fuselage halves were separated and material was removed from the inside using a rotary tool. Then the fuselage parts were impregnated with CA glue and later covered with Mr.Surfacer.

The internal fuselage structure was represented with various plastic rods made by Plastruct – by that time I grew tired of stretching sprues. The rest of the interior was made using styrene sheet. Museum photos from the Windsock book served as a main reference for the interior.
Unfortunately, an attempt to cut a few panel lines on the fuselage sides quickly revealed the weakness of my homegrown technology. Apparently, CA did not penetrate deep enough, which made it almost impossible to cut a straight line due to the uneven hardness of the wood fibers underneath. I decided to switch to a different material. A silicone mold was made from each fuselage half and two resin parts were produced. After that it became quite easy to deepen the panel lines and cut the required holes. The interior was painted and the fuselage halves glued together.

While testing the fit of the fuselage to the lower wing, I noticed that something didn't look right — the fuselage was positioned at a wrong angle relative to the ground. After checking the part against the drawings I realized that somehow I had lost about 1 mm around the rear part of the fuselage/wing joint – a very important millimeter, since it changes the look of the plane considerably. Adding some plastic to the joint area fixed the problem.

Also, at that point I decided to correct the rear part of the fuselage, which, while matching the Windsock plans, looked very different compared to photos. Using them as a reference, I made the upper part of the rear fuselage straight, also lengthening it a little.

Wing struts

The wing strut master was constructed from plastic sheet; two holes were made in its base for tiny wire loops, through which braces would later pass. X-shaped engine nacelle struts were built from copper wire. After that the molds were made and resin struts were cast. Quite a lot of struts, actually…

These struts were painted using the following technique. First, all the parts were airbrushed with beige acrylic. Then, in order to represent a wood grain, a few layers of thin stripes were painted with a thin brush, using a brown paint, strongly diluted with water. This was followed by a filter layer of Future mixed with little reddish-brown acrylic and, finally, a layer of Future. Metal bands, used to prevent wooden struts from splitting, were made from thin foil with adhesive layer, painted blue-gray. This task proved to be quite difficult. First, there are simply a lot of bands – more than a hundred. Second, the adhesion of the foil turned out to be very weak, which caused me to adopt the following approach. Immediately after the application the first band it was fixed with Future (fortunately, it dries relatively quickly) and the strut was put aside. Then the process was repeated on the second strut, and so on. By the time I had to return to the first strut to apply the second band, the first band was already dry. Finally, a few layers of Future were added, followed by wash and a layer of semi-gloss varnish (Future with Tamiya Flat Base).

Tail frame

Tail frame, which consisted of four horizontal booms with a square cross-section, turned out to be the most complicated part of the project. After experimenting with many different techniques and trying a few suggestions from forum colleagues, I finally solved the problem using the following method. First, the styrene master was built. The booms were made from square plastic rods with 0.7mm cross-section (by Plastruct), vertical struts – from sheet styrene. The resulting frame turned out reasonably delicate, with scale thickness, but much too soft and weak to be used as is. The part was used to create a silicone mold, and two resin parts were cast. During the casting thin acupuncture needles were inserted into the vertical struts, while the booms were filled with carbon fiber. Finished parts had the required strength to hold the tail without bending or breaking. The tail frame was painted and equipped with metal bands using the same technique I used on wing struts.


Part I
Part III

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