Not Primer: P-51B Part 4

Assembling an old model kit (and a lot of new ones) involves carefully aligning the parts, joining them together with a slow acting liquid cement (I like Micro Weld) and then using clamps to apply force to twist, form, press and shape the parts into what they should look like. This photo shows the second major assembly. The first one was joining the fuselage halves. The second is attaching the lower wing part.

A bag of clamps at Harbor Freight or Sears is relatively cheap. Place clamps EVERYWHERE that the parts can be pressed into a “plastic on plastic” contact. DO NOT accept “gaps” as normal and just figure that you’ll fill them later with putty. This is not a good approach. Do everything you can to get the parts to align properly without gaps.

Even old, old Airfix kits can be assembled “gap free” if you put some thought and effort into the assembly. Let the cement cure for eight hours after the parts are assembled and clamped. Use PLENTY of cement. I apply the cement by painting it on the mating surfaces, and I do this TWICE, then, after pressing the parts together, I apply additional cement to any place where it will run along a seam or down into a join. I actually brush cement onto joints sometimes.

I use more paint/cement at a time than many modelers. It’s easy to arrive at the questionable conclusion that a “minimum” of cement is right, and that a “minimum” of paint is right. I say slather that stuff on there. Generally, once you get past the accumulated fear of “too much” you’ll find yourself in a more comfortable place with better outcomes using a brush.

You just have to let go of the fear of “runs and drips.” Runs and drips can easily be sanded out. Don’t be phobic about it. It’s more important to get a good strong bond during assembly and a smooth, brushmark-free finish during painting.

I cut off the prop blades and put the landing gear up. This is going to be an in-flight model.

I’m using Model Master Acryl dark ghost gray as a non-primer. “Non-primer” is a coat of paint that allows me to see the model more clearly. It has nothing to do with adhesion.

Good assembly methods got rid of the worst fault of this kit–which is really a fault in the instructions. Note the dihedral is correct.

This wasn’t dead easy, unfortunately. When building most kits, especially old ones, getting that “wing root seam” correct and getting proper dihedral involves attaching the wing tops to the fuselage at the right angle. Consult photos and drawings and use Micro Weld to allow you to adjust the alignment.

Unfortunately, in this kit the physical contact between the wing top and the fuselage is minimal. After the cement cures for 24 hours, you’ll need to add bits of sheet plastic to the joint (on the underside) to act as reinforcements. Otherwise, it’s very likely that the wing top will just tear away.

This happened to me twice and made quite a mess within the wheel well. It’s one of the reasons I decided on a wheels up configuration.

I have a vac canopy (of course). I hope it works.

Right now there is no putty on this model except for a tiny bit on the prop hub, applied where the blades were removed. I can see a couple of places where putty will be needed, but they’re small spots.


2 Replies to “Not Primer: P-51B Part 4”

  1. Great demo. I love the idea of penciled panel lines. Panel lines are a pet peeve of mine. Im afraid the approved current look is absurd and cartoonish and artificial and offensive, I should go on.

    Amazed that your brutal use of clamps did such a nice result, right on if it works.

    1. Oh no! Another thing that I do that I didn’t realize is difficult and requires skill and practice. CLAMPING! OMG now I have to schedule “Clamping 101” and put it in the catalog.

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