The Scale Squadron of Southern California, a club devoted to scale modeling and RC airplane fun have embarked on a new product review, the Cessna 195 from Top Notch Kits. This article continues with the construction of the wheel pants, cowl, vertical fin fit and wing installation. For the first part of this article, click here.
There was little guidance to the wheel pants’ shape, but upon review on the internet, we found some pictures to compare. It did take some sanding as expected but the shape is do-able and comes out nice. Notice the rear-edge of the pant slopes inward and is straight. Also note that the pant is made of several layers of balsa and plywood. Inside there is a 1/32” doubler to add some strength. However, once carefully sanded a very scale shape is possible with no actual modification to the wheel pants.
The landing gear is metal. To give it a scale shape the kit instructions tell us to add this piece of wood to back of the wire gear. Wire gears flex and we were worried the part would snap off. So, we glued it to the wire, then filled the gap (round wire to flat piece of wood!) and then wrapped it with ¾ oz glass cloth and Pacer Finishing Resin. This will ensure that it looks good AND holds together.
The engine cowling as described in the previous pictures did require a LOT of work to glue on the detail “bumps” on the cowl. Also, a mounting ring made of plywood is installed on the back. The end result, however, is a great looking cowl that fits perfect. This cowl is fitted, sanded, primed, and ready for paint.
Ok, the pic is a little out of order, but while we’re talking about the cowl, note the electric motor mount. The forward extensions were included in the plane, but in our kit, the actual wood plate for the motor mount was missing. We constructed this out of lite ply, it only took a few minutes. One a positive note you can see the plane is shaping up and it does have most everything you need to allow the plane to have different electric motors or a glow engine installed.
The wing caused us a little bit of grief. We found essentially two problems. 1-It was difficult to align the wing and keep it straight and 1-the rear spar twisted when fit into the ribs. So, a bit of filling, sanding, and some wood was needed to get everything to fit and be straight. We layed 1/16” balsa strips on top of the ribs and spar and sanded with a 24” sanding block. This solved the fit and finish issues so that the surface would be smooth for covering. 20/20 hindsight, we would have more carefully aligned the parts before gluing, thus resolving the fit issues.
The wing, when done, did fit pretty nicely to the fuselage. And the end result was a fairly straight alignment too. However, as with most any plane you build where the wing has a cut-out for the fusealge, we had to add a little wood between the fuselage side and the wing to created a prefect fit. Just don’t make it too tight! Remember covering and paint have to fit in there too!
There is a lot more going on in the rear of the fuselage than one might think. The tail cone is a separate piece that fits onto the end of the fuselage. It must be sanded to fit and it hides the tail wheel gear and the elevator joiner. It also was intended to have a cutout in the side for an arm that the kit instructs the builder to solder to the music-wire tail gear to use for rudder control. We abandonded this method and went to pull-pull on top of the fuselage. We’ll show that in a future picture. However, note that once fitted and sanded and covered, the tail is clean and very good looking.
As with any kit, to make sure everything looks good, we test fit each piece as we went along. As you can see the fuselage, vertical stab, and rudder fit looks perfect and very scale. The beauty of this kit is even though it’s challenging to build, the end result is going to be a park-flyer size plane that is surprisingly scale looking.
The fuselage has a truly scale shape that requires sheeting the fuselage. This does take some work. BUT, it results in a great finish that looks good. The wing is bolted on of course and the wing mounting parts are all included in the kit. The wing to fuselage fit and finish and attachment was shockingly easy and looks good.
As you can see, we are covering the plane as we go along. The plane is covered in neutral colored Solartex. This covering takes complicated shapes very well and will give us a nice base for painting. Yes, we said it. We’re painting it! This will give it the finish quality of a much larger and more expensive airplane. Anyway, while we’re on topic about finishing, note that the side windows are molded, supplied with the kit, and fit perfect.
Click here to go to the third part of this buildalong.