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Workshop Secrets — Scale Windshield Fairing Strips

Workshop Secrets — Scale Windshield Fairing Strips

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 mar 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.

Updated: September 3, 2015 — 10:07 AM

9 Comments

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  1. Nice demo Gerry! I have a J-3 that needs that done so perfect timing.

  2. Great result for a highly visible, “make or break” appearance part. It’s a lot of work–and a lot of masking–but worth the effort.

  3. Nice looking finished product, but you totally lost me when you wrote:

    “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.”

    Do you apply the tape to the junction and then cut a space out to which you smear the JB Weld? Should the JB Weld be applied to the windshield and the adjoining wood in front of it?

    Thanks.

    Richard Byrnes
    Sellersville, PA

    1. Sorry Richard. I did not have any photos for this information. Basically after gluing the clear plastic in place, I use Great Planes vinyl tape and I lay it down on the surface and on the windshield so there is a 3/16 inch gap on both, (total 3/8 inch.) Makes sure it is smooth and even it full length. Then mix and apply the JB Weld epoxy. Let set for a little while and smooth with your fingertip wetted with some water. When it starts to set up carefully remove the red vinyl tape. Now Let set up until hard, add the screws and mask off the rest of the hatch assembly and windshield and paint as shown about.
      GY

  4. Great info Gerry – I will try this real soon ! I have also found using Denatured Alcohol on the fingers works great with JB Weld or other Epoxy. Keep havin FUN ! Rod Maier

    1. Thanks for the tip Rod. I have been using Windex and simply spritz it on my fingers and a little on the JBW. works great and has a little alcohol in it!
      Cheers,
      GY

  5. I seems as if someone should make cockpit fairing tape, ready to go.

  6. Nice tip about using JB weld.

    I use painters tape to mask around where the windshield will go to avoid getting RC-56 on surrounding areas, then use a syringe and a piece of nylon tubing to apply glue like a small caulk gun.

  7. I think it would look really good if it was the gray or silver. I really do like what you have done. I take it that it takes about 2 days to do all of this.
    Great work Paul

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