This set of floats was built sometime in the mid-1980's although these
photos were taken in March, 2006. They have held up very well through
many moves over the years.
The set has never been used because the model they were built for died of
elevator flutter during its initial flight testing.
The float is all-wood construction — mostly
balsa wood. I designed these after reading various articles in
different magazines to determine length, volume and step placement for this
with most of my models, there are plenty of formers to help ensure the shape
is accurate and prevent sagging sheeting. One thing I would do
differently is sheet the forward underside with
plywood instead of balsa as I did on these.
I wasn't considering that the model may run over something floating just
under the surface. A gash shouldn't cause the model to sink, but then
that's what they thought about the Titanic. I'd
rather prevent the damage to begin with and think a harder surface should be
Each float was
fiberglassed using HobbyPoxy II
epoxy glue. My original plan was to paint these floats using
aluminum colored polyurethane. When I saw that the glass cloth turned
invisible with the first coat of clear polyurethane I decided to continue
with the natural finish instead.
This was the first time I applied this type of finish and liked it so much I
have done it a few times since and plan to finish more models the same way.
I don't plan to actually use these floats because I think they look nice
hanging on the wall the way they are and I don't trust the bottoms not to
end up needing several repairs due to punctures. The design itself
should work fine and if the time comes that I need a set of these floats, I
still have my drawings and I'll build another set. I may laminate some
1/64" plywood to the bottom of these and use them. I'll decide when
the time comes.