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.

Model Airplane News - RC Airplane News | Workshop Secrets — Scale Windshield Fairing Strips

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.

Model Airplane News - RC Airplane News | Workshop Secrets — Scale Windshield Fairing Strips

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.

Model Airplane News - RC Airplane News | Workshop Secrets — Scale Windshield Fairing Strips
Model Airplane News - RC Airplane News | Workshop Secrets — Scale Windshield Fairing Strips

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.

Model Airplane News - RC Airplane News | Workshop Secrets — Scale Windshield Fairing Strips

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.

Model Airplane News - RC Airplane News | Workshop Secrets — Scale Windshield Fairing Strips

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.

Model Airplane News - RC Airplane News | Workshop Secrets — Scale Windshield Fairing Strips

Here the screws have all been installed.

Model Airplane News - RC Airplane News | Workshop Secrets — Scale Windshield Fairing Strips

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.

Model Airplane News - RC Airplane News | Workshop Secrets — Scale Windshield Fairing Strips

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.

Model Airplane News - RC Airplane News | Workshop Secrets — Scale Windshield Fairing Strips

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

Model Airplane News - RC Airplane News | Workshop Secrets — Scale Windshield Fairing Strips

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
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