Seasprite pt 5

After a bit of a break doing other things, I am back on the Seasprite. My new house is nearly finished and as I have built a purpose built spray booth in there, I have been painting detail parts until I get into the new house when I will tackle the main fuselage. However there is lots of work to be done before I aim a spray gun at the fuselage.

The first job involved riveting. Normally I use glue and a syringe to make the rivets, but recently I saw on the Scalerchelis forum, a different way of doing it using tiny molded plastic domes. these are about 1-1.5mm diameter and come in bags of 10,000 for less than $10 from China. The guy who first came up with this idea, and I cant remember his name, used a pencil with some clay on the end to dab a rivet, dunk it in CA and place it. This looked a little fraught to me as I could see problems coming when the clay started to deform. I did try it with Playdoh, but the CA stuck to the Playdoh with disastrous results. I came up with the idea of using a vacuum pump and I found a cheap one used for pick and place of electronic components. It had a selection of tips but they were all too big and the rivets disappeared inside them, so I made a small adapter out of a piece of brass tubing. This worked fine for a little while, but when I dunked the rivet in the CA, the CA went into the nozzle as well as on the rivet. It soon blocked up and as it was angled, cleaning it became a nightmare. So, I added a length of plastic tubing and fitted a straight brass tube to the end into which I could put my nozzle adapter and I could run a drill straight through when it got blocked. Now I could do a bunch of rivets and I did not have to touch the release button as the surface tension of the CA on the painted part was enough to pull the rivet off. So, it was pick , dunk and place, and took about 2-3 seconds per rivet, somewhat slower than the glue method, but much more consistent. I need a lot of rivets for the fuselage, so I bought 50,000 to be sure I had enough. I hope I don't have to use them all.

I started on the sonobuoy ejector door

Then I did the other two doors

Then it was time for some color so I started by painting the horizontal stabilizers

This looked fairly good, but I may redo them as I made several basic mistakes which are difficult to see, but I know they are there.

I continued on with the color with the dunking sonobuoy

Then I painted the flare ejector

Back to white, and I masked off the landing gear carefully and gave that a coat of white, actually a lot of coats to be sure it was all white

The last two large items are the torpedo

And its carrier

A weekend later and a few more parts are painted. This is one of the flotation pods on the front of the helicopter. The step opens and is weighted to close automatically

I also painted a lot of tiny parts like tie down rings, door handles and hand hold handles. The other things I did was to paint the winch assembly.

Now it is rivetting time big time. The first parts I did were on the top of the doghouse. These are too big to paint indoors so they will have to wait with the fuselage to when I get into my new house before they get painted.

Then it was time to start on the fuselage and I dry sanded the whole thing. The only parts I can paint are the doors in the nose as I will have to hang the fuselage to prime it underneath. I cant do it on its side as it would break the fuel tank and torpedo mounts. So, I primed and wet sanded the nose and started on the rivets.

and a side view

I dont have many rivets left from the first bag so I guess I must have used about 9000 so far.

Next was the preparation of the fuselage. There are several large panels additional to the main fuselage and I had seen, again on scalerchelis, someone carefully cutting out the shape from styrene and gluing it in place. It looked very effective but I am lazy, so I bought a laser cutter from Ebay. I traced the shaped Gavin had molded in to the body by the old trick of scribbling a pencil on a piece of paper over the line. Then I scanned it into my computer, put it into Coreldraw and redrew it to make it a single line. This I fed into the laser cutter using various different thicknesses of styrene, and I sat back and waited for it to do all the hard work. I was not sitting back for long, that thing is fast.

I used hi build primer from Home Depot which I have not used before. The results were very poor with large areas of dry gritty paint being deposited. I had to sand it all down and it was a severe problem with all the little pieces and parts I had added. I decided that as I wanted the fuselage in white eventually, I would try white high build primer. That worked a lot better but still gave me the same problem. Sanding it down was easier and then I gave it some touch up coats to get even coverage before finally sanding it down with 600 wet and dry emery paper dunked in soapy water.

Now I had a super smooth surface to put my rivets on, but first, I had to mark out where I was going to mask off for some detail painting I had to do. I intended to use some low tack frisket but it turned out that my vinyl cutter could not cut that without major retuning which I was not prepared to do. After scratching my head for a while, I decided to print the items on paper and fix them in place with transfer tape after cutting out as much as possible around the shapes. Then I used a pencil to mark out the rest of it. Now I can start riveting.

That took one day to do including marking out the lines. Also I went to the store and had a nap after lunch lying in the sun.

I spent three weeks doing the rivets and I only have a small number left from the third bag of 10,000. This means that there are almost 30,000 rivets on this helicopter! When I had finished doing the riveting and put everything to one side in preparation for moving house. My new house had a 900 ft.² workshop and a 225 ft.² dedicated spray booth which was air-conditioned. I decided I would use it rather than try and get some painting done before I moved. So that meant quite a long break of about four weeks, a major part of which was trying to find all of the things which I had in my old house, and I don't know where they got put in the new one. But I did find some things I didn't know that I had site was not a total loss.

So now I could start painting and the first job was to paint the whole fuselage white, and painting white basecoat on white primer was not easy. The reason for this was that I wanted to paint the yellow onto white to keep it a nice bright color. Once the basecoat been painted I painted a section of the rear end of the fuselage and part of the fin in yellow covering all of the area which would be masked off. After masking the yellow off, I placed stickers where the Navy and 1905 legends would go and made up a large sticker for the star and bars. Then I painted the rest of the fuselage gray

Painting the Star and bars required some thought as to how I could do it with only one mask. I ended up making a mask which was the star and bar outline in a square. In the star and bar sticker I cut where the stars were and the bars. Then I put just the square outer section over the white that had been left when I peeled off the original mask, and this allowed me to align the cut star and bar exactly on top of the white. then I masked off the whole of the fuselage so that I could paint the star and bar. Now I peeled off the section that was red and painted the two red bars. Now I put some ordinary masking tape over that once they were dry. Then I peeled off the section that was blue and painted all of that. now I could peel off all of the masking and that had the star and bars painted. I had also masked off the wheel wells which were white and some lines which indicated with the steps were.

The next job required the use of my vinyl cutter to cut out the black wording which set on top of the yellow fin, and of course the red arrow.

The next part required me to print whites on a sticker which was not easy to do but surprisingly that is what they had done on the full-size so to do that was correct. I managed to get my Roland pri nter Cutter to actually print white text on clear vinyl and I put the appropriate signs in the appropriate places to keep the model properly scale.

The next job is to figure out how to do different colored dry rub on transfers from the kit that I bought and I will save that for tomorrow as it seems to be quite complicated.

Well I gave it a try. The process as recommended was very complex and the instructions were hopeless. 13 pages of them and no clear sequence to get exactly what you wanted. It nearly worked, but at the end all I got was black smudges and that was on the easy writing. Then I tried a decal set which needed a color inkjet and without the special coating, the words just floated off the decal while I was trying to get the decal off the backing. Then I wanted it to print white. You had to cut the words out of the sheet. White writing on white paper is not easy to see, so I went back to my Roland and printed everything out on clear in the color I wanted and after smoothing them down it was difficult to see the clear. I had 3 small parts to paint and fit before clearing so I did them with my airbrush and then bit the bullet and mixed up some clearcoat.

The last one shows the turbine inlets in and the nav lights painted red and fitted along the red lines.

Now we are approaching the end of this build. I am fitting all the parts built previously and painted separately. The first was the torpedo, which is held in place with magnets and a large blob of PFM. it doesn't move. I added the oil filters and fuel filters which would only be used if there was another fuel tank there, but they are on the full size

Up front underneath is the large radome which is made from untreated fiberglass. Gavin made his out of CF so i painted it up as best as I could to match

On the other side I have fitted the supports for the fuel tank and the filters, and then the MAD sensoron its carriage

The last picture is the winch

And then I run into problems. Gavin has disappeared and he has supplied me with 2 LH chin window and 2 RH door windows. No RH chine window and no LH door window. It seems I am going to learn the art of mold making and vacuum forming to finish this model off. Last week i ordered some connectors for the lights and they got sent to my old address, only to be forwarded into oblivion by the Post Office, so I ordered some more so I can make up a lighting tray i have yet to figure out how I can raise and lower the landing light, small servos need 5v and I am running 6.6v. Finally, the LCD display on my dashboard has died, so I have to get another, and relearn the programming I learned last year.

After using large amounts of sheet styrene, i have managed to make the two windows I was short of. Of course I had to make the molds first, but that was a just a question of carving balsa wood until I got the shape right. Anyway, the windows turned out great

Now I am going to take the vacuum formings of the top windows and fill them with plaster of Paris to make molds, and then remold them in green Styrene which I got from Evergreen custom department.

The last two pictures were taken with fluorescent lights on, the previous two with only natural lighting through the window. It really is a gray helicopter

That was not as simple as I thought. My Grand daughter and i had great fun making molds, but they required a little more attention than I paid. The existing window had to be full of plaster and that meant gewtting it supported asbsolutely level. Once the plaster had set I tried getting a pull from the Evergreen material but it proved to be useless and melted into holes. I found a company in Washington state that sold green vinyl and bought some from them. It was a little darker than I liked but the results turned out much better

Now its time fr a test hover to make sure all is in order for a flight at Dalton. SAB had come out with some new blades designated 1D,2D or 3D depending on their maneuverability. I bought a set of 2D blades designed for ultra stable FAI flying and fitted them. But first a load of pictures just in case.

And then it was flying time

You can see the hover at

You can see the first gentle flight at Dalton at

Development continues, wipers, mirrors and then get the landing gear to work properly. It may be a while as I want to fly this bird, not mess with it.

It has been a long time with no updates. I got the bird flying but it wont stay still, the v-bar needs adjustment. Darrell is coming for a few days so he can help me move it around. I haven't been entirely idle with it though.

I decided to fire up the 3D printer once more and make some mirrors. The metal struts were made from brass tubing and the screws are from a glasses repair kit. The mirror was going to be the challenge so I got my laser cutter out and cut circles from the back. I have had that mirror material since 1999. I never throw anything away!

While the printer was hot I designed some wipers and even added a blade made from a thin brass T section.

Then I went to town. I found a Heliclassis rotor head in the junk box, but it was for LH rotation, so I made some more pieces on my printer, the ones at the top, flipped the blade holders over to make it RH rotation and then I added M blades. These hves the correct serial numbers on them and a some aluminum tape on the leading edge.

Then I got bored and attempted something on my printer with Solidworks which required several builds to complete. A build took 14 hours

As I increase the pitch on the blade grip, the Y shape piece wants to turn with it. So I had to make a ball joint to the L shaped piece. This in turn wanted to twist so I had to make a ball joint to the block lever. This was all printed as one unit with the balls in their sockets. It took a bit of work soaking them to free the balls in the sockets and my trash can is full of rejects. All in the name of scale.