Airfield Models - Wing Construction Example

Make a Wing to Fuselage Fairing for a Model Airplane

May 02, 2015



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Airfield Models (http://www.airfieldmodels.com/)Make a Fuselage to Wing Fairing for a Model Aircraft

This fairing is a small piece that gives a sport model a more finished look.  I am guilty of sometimes being lazy and not making it, but honestly, that is the only reason.  It is not hard to make and it always makes a model look better than having no fairing at all.

 
 
Select a light block to make the fairing. I like to begin with a lightweight balsa wood block that is bigger than necessary.  The larger size makes it easier to work with while getting it to match the wing's airfoil shape.

Draw the shape of the airfoil on the side of the block to give you a rough idea of where you want to end up.

Cut the block to roughly match the airfoil at the wing root. My coping saw skills are lame at best.  However, it is the only tool I have that will remove the bulk of the wood easily.  A belt sander that allows you to sand over the drums or a drum sander will also work.

In the worst case, a four-in-hand rasp can be used to tear away the wood relatively quickly.

Do not put too much effort into making a perfect fit right now.  By the time we're finished it will be.

Attach a piece of sandpaper to the wing. A piece of 100 grit sandpaper with notches cut to go over the wing dowels will be used to continue shaping the inside of the fairing.
Slide the block over the sandpaper to get a perfect fit to the wing. The tape does not stick too well, but if you vacuum the wing first it will hold well enough.

Alternatively you could put some spray glue on the back of the sandpaper and let it set up for a few minutes and then put the paper in place. That should keep it from moving.

Slide the fairing back and forth over the paper until the fairing is a perfect fit against the wing.  I switched to 220 grit to finish the inside.

Ensure the fit is good before shaping the outside of the fairing. Be sure you are happy with the fairing to wing fit before you continue.  Although you can see a gap here, the fit is actually very good, but I will need to put a little weight on the part when it is glued on to eliminate the gap.
Transfer the shape of the fuselage to the front of the block and carve it roughly to shape. A carving knife and razor plane are used to remove the bulk of the excess wood.  Get as close as you feel comfortable without removing too much wood and switch to sanding blocks.

Before I did any of this carving, I traced the shape of the front deck on the front of the fairing so I knew where to stop.  The shaping was done with the fairing off the airplane.

Block sand the fairing so that it is slightly over-size. More sanding is needed.  The fuselage is already fiberglassed and the fairing will be too.  Therefore, I want to make the fairing smaller than the deck by the thickness of the glass cloth.  If anything, the fairing will look better if it is slightly too low than it will if it is too tall as shown here.
Place masking tape on the fuselage to protect it while sanding the fairing closer to its finished shape. Some tape wrapped around the forward fuselage will protect it while the fairing is brought closer to its finished shape on the plane using sanding blocks.

By the time this step is complete, the fairing will still be too high.

The block is a near perfect match to the fuselage and will improve the appearance of the airplane. Maintaining the shape from the previous step, the fairing is sanded with a block off the aircraft until it is the finished size.  Check your work frequently to ensure that you are sanding where needed.
 
 

This installment concludes this series.  I hope you have found this article helpful.  The completed model having the wing from this series of articles.

 
 

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Building Model Aircraft Wing Tips
How to Join Multi-Panel Model Aircraft Wings

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Copyright 2003 Paul K. Johnson