Monday, September 30

Build Guide Pt II: MiniArt's 35th scale Focke-Wulf Triebflügel Interceptor

Andy has finished construction of Miniart's 35th scale Vertical interceptor that never was - the futuristic Focke-Wulf Triebflügel. See how he finished construction and detailed this kit up so very nicely before paint & weathering in today's story...

Build Guide & Review: Focke-Wulf Triebeflügel Interceptor
From: MiniArt 
1/35th scale 
Kit No #40002
Six marking choice in the box
Price - £43.99, US$53, €47 from Creative Models

Previous parts of this story:
Build Guide & Review: MiniArt's 35th scale Focke-Wulf Triebflügel Interceptor

Last time out, we finished the cockpit and forward fuselage on MiniArt's new 1/35 Triebflügel fighter from their What If...? range. Picking up where we left off, the next step in the build is the construction of the central hub and the rotors. The hub is a very simple assembly consisting of three rotor mounts which attach to a lower ring. The main hub casing then drops down onto the ring to complete this sub-assembly. On mine, the rotor mounts had a tendency to sit angled back very slightly on the lower ring resulting in a small inward step when the main casing was added. I was able to adjust them before the glue dried to counter this but, if you're building one, it may be a good idea to add a thin shim of styrene under the rear of the mounts to ensure they sit vertically.
Moving onto the rotors (or wings if you like), these needed the ramjet inserts and the interior of the engine casings painting before the rotor halves were joined. I went with a dark metallic shade, mixed from Alclad lacquers, on the basis that the dark colour would help to hide the inevitable seam lines where the two casing halves joined. As it turned out, the relatively small openings on each end of the ramjets meant that the internal seams were all but invisible anyway.
The rotors attach to the hub via plugs which are a simple push-fit into the holes in the mounting blocks. Despite this simplicity, the system works very well. The plugs fit tightly enough to hold the rotors very securely, and allow them to be set at any angle you wish, but they can still be easily removed for painting, or for storage or transportation of the finished model.
With the three rotors in place, the overall diameter is over 30cm (12”), so being able to easily remove and reattach the rotors will be very handy should you be taking the model to a show, or simply need to temporarily store it.
Moving on to the rear fuselage, there are a couple of areas to deal with before the two halves can be brought together, the first being the four stabiliser legs. MiniArt has used a very neat attachment method for these, using channels moulded on the inner faces of the rear fins. If you're mounting the stabilisers in their retracted in-flight position they sit fully in their respective channels, and need to be added before the fuselage is closed up.
In the deployed position though, they only slide partly into the channel until the block on the end of the strut butts up to the partial stop in the centre of the channel. Although the instructions tell you to install the stabilisers at this stage for either position, if you're you posing them extended it's best to leave them separate for now, as they can be easily slid into the channel after the fuselage is closed up.
The other aspect to deal with before closing up the fuselage are the rear fins. Two of them are moulded as part of the fuselage halves, while the other two are built up separately. I found it easier to add the separate fins to the individual fuselage halves first, although they could be added after the fuselage is joined if you prefer. I found the tabs used to mount the fins to be slightly too large to easily slide into the slots, and needed a little trimming. With that done though, the fins fitted very well, closing up tightly to the fin base on the fuselage.
Despite the good fit, there was inevitably a resulting panel line around the base of the fins. Now, you could fill that, or you could leave it as an intentional panel line which is what I chose to do. The only problem with doing it that way is that the fins moulded onto the fuselage halves don't feature a corresponding panel line. To remedy that I simply scribed a new line on the base of the moulded fins to match that on the separate ones.
With those areas dealt with, the rear fuselage could now be closed up. Very little work was required on the resulting seams as the fit of the two halves was very good. No filler was needed, just a little sanding to get a smooth join. Only a little scribing was needed were the panel lines had faded slightly from the sanding. Electrical tape was used as a guide for the scriber to keep the lines straight. Any lost rivets were reapplied with a needle.
With the fuselage together, the only remaining details to add were the two aerials. The loop antenna on the top of the fuselage is supplied as a photo etch part, but I chose to substitute this for a wire one for added strength. The wire was wrapped around a knife handle to get the shape, then the ends were secured into holes drilled into the blister mount on the fuselage spine.
The landing gear was the last stage of the construction, and both the main gear and the stabilisers had a little remedial work done to improve them. Starting with the stabilisers, the fit of the wheel struts was a little vague. The ends of the struts just push up into the flared ends of the shrouds with no positive attachment point. To improve this, I simply glued short lengths of styrene tube, with an inner diameter that matched the struts, into the open ends of the shrouds. The wheel struts could then be easily slid into the tubes which held them very securely. This also gave me some degree of adjustment when installing the struts to ensure they all touched to the ground.
The single main wheel is fairly large, with an equally chunky strut that should do a good job of supporting the finished model. The strut comes in two halves, each with a short pin axle that will trap the wheel in place when the two halves are joined.
The only problem is the pins are a bit on the short side which can allow the wheel to come loose from the strut. You could get around that by simply glueing the arms of the strut to the wheel hub, but I used a different fix which also allowed me to leave the wheel separate for painting.
The two-axle pins were cut from the arms of the strut, and holes drilled in their place. A short length of brass tube was then cut to act as an axle. Not only would this hold the wheel in place more securely, but it would also be far stronger when supporting the model than the styrene pins. I closed off one of the holes with a disc of styrene and a bolt head to prevent the axle pushing all the way through. After the wheel and strut are painted, the new axle can be slid through to trap the wheel, and the other hole blocked off with another bolt head.
A quick dry-fit of the fuselage sections shows where we're up to at this point. The way the front, rear and centre hub slot together is excellent. The fit is so precise and tight that I don't think I'll even bother to glue them on final assembly and, as mentioned earlier, the rotors simply slot into place too, and remain both poseable and removable. Even the stabilisers could be kept loose fitted if you wished.
Given the large size of the model and it's an unusual layout, it's remarkable how straight forward and quick the assembly has been and shows how good MiniArt have become at engineering their kits. We'll wrap up this part of the build here for today. Next time, we'll get the Triebflügel painted, decaled, and weathered. That will be coming soon, so stay tuned.

Andy Moore

If you like this kit you can pick one up from Miniart's distributors - See the closest to you on the MiniArt Website.