Workshop Secrets — Scale Windshield Fairing Strips

Oct 30, 2013 3 Comments by

When you install a clear plastic windshield or canopy, the way you attach it to the model, or the way you treat the attachment seams has a lot of affect on the model’s overall scale appearance. This technique can be used on with many scale models from racers and open cockpit biplanes, to J3 Piper Cubs and other civilian and military aircraft that’s equipped with a clear windshield installation.

Start by cutting a symmetrical windshield using a paper template to make sure it makes an even curve at both ends. Test fit the template on your model and when you are satisfied with it, transfer the shape to a sheet of clear plastic. Protect the outside of the plastic sheet (I use 0.015 to 0.020 inch thick plastic,) with a layer of masking tape. Place the template on the back side of the plastic and trace with a fine tip Sharpie marker.

Mark the cockpit cover for the shape of the windshield and finalize the cockpit opening before you finish painting the hatch cover. It is better to do it now before there is a paint job to mare and chip.

After the cockpit hatch cover is painted, tape the windshield in place with making tape and then, using Pacer Formula 560 Canopy Glue, form a bead of adhesive along the bottom edge where it contacts the hatch cover. Set aside and let the adhesive dry over night.

Here’s the formed fairing strip ready for detail. I use J.B. Weld metal epoxy putty to form a smooth fillet between the windshield and to the surface of the catch cover. Simply apply tape to the junction of the two surfaces and then carefully cut away the tape with a sharp hobby knife to expose about 3/16 inch of the windshield and the area around it. Then mix up the epoxy and apply a thick bead around the exposed area. Wet your fingers and smooth the J.B. Weld and let setup for about 2 hours or until it begins to firm up. Carefully remove the tape to review the filleted fairing strip. Let cure over night.

Drill several small holes centered on the fairing strip with a small 0.020 drill bit and a pin vice. Make sure they are evenly spaced around the windshield.

Here the screws have all been installed.

Now mask off everything you don’t want to paint white using vinyl tape and masking tape. Leave all the edges of the fairing strip exposed.

Lightly spray on a coat of white primer, let dry and then apply 3 or 4 light mist coats of paint to completely cover over the dark color of the gray putty. Let the paint dry before removing the tape.

Once the tape has all been removed, use some alcohol to remove any residue left behind by the tape.

Here’s the finished windshield with its nice looking fairing strip. This technique works well on any model needing similar detailing.

Featured News, Gerry Yarrish, How-tos, Scale

About the author

Senior Technical Editor About Me: I have a lifelong passion for all things scale, and I love to design, build and fly scale RC airplanes. With 20 plus years as part of the Air Age family of magazines, I love producing Model Airplane News and Electric Flight.

3 Responses to “Workshop Secrets — Scale Windshield Fairing Strips”

  1. Terry says:

    Great detail tip, thanks !

  2. Tony says:

    A great way to add the finishing touch to the windshield, thanks for the tip !

  3. Ernest Wankowski says:

    A great job and very useful techniques. Thanks for the advice, will use it on my next model. Please keep the pearls coming.

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