Next up, I continued working on the orbiter. I sanded the leading edges of the wings to the shape described in the instructions, basically rounding off the top edge to the bottom edge to gain lift. I finished building up the rear propulsion section and the payload bay section, and glued them both to the wings as per the instructions. I cut the body flap out, cut one of the launch lugs in the kit into a 1/4 inch piece and halved the rest, and glued the two halves onto the body flap, and glued one side of the flap deployment elastic onto one corner of the rearmost flap on one corner. The 1/4 inch piece of lug gets glued to the wing centerline near the front of the orbiter. After all that had set up, I glued on the Tyvec paper included in the kit for the body flap hinge, with white glue. I hardened the wings with CA and then sanded them lightly to remove the 'grit' that the CA inevitably raises. Once that was done, I went ahead and glued on the forward crew cabin as per the instructions, and cut a small balsa piece to fill the small gap between the cabin and front end of the wing plate. I then moved on to the rear, and glued on the rudder, and trimmed and glued on the engine bells, after having painted them gunmetal gray and letting them dry. I glued on the other half the Tyvec paper hinge for the body flap to the main wing, leaving a small gap between them so the body flap can fully raise at deployment. I used my steel ruler and some clothespins to hold everything pressed tightly together while the glue dried, with a piece of wax paper in between to keep the ruler clean. After that was all dry, I then deployed the body flap full up, and carefully pulled the elastic flap deployer over the hook on the rear bulkhead, and keeping it taut, wrapped it over the opposing body flap corner and secured it with a clothespin, and rubbed a big drop of Titebond II into it and onto the corner of the body flap to glue it in place. After this dried, I went over it again with a smaller drop of glue, let that dry, and cut the remaining cord off.
I then carefully cut the belly wrap, which is an ingeniously resized photo of the actual shuttle re-entry tiles. Using the body flap template, I carefully cut the body flap part of the wrap off the back of the orbiter belly wrap so it can be glued seperately to the body flap. Don't glue it up as one piece or the body flap will be unable to deploy at tank sep and the orbiter will crash. I then carefully fitted the front portion to the orbiter belly, and satisfied with the fit, was ready to glue it on. I started thinking of how to mark the wrap so I could cut a small square hole in it for the front orbiter attachment lug, which was already glued onto the belly of the orbiter. I put a small drop of Titebond II on the lug, then carefully aligned the back of the wrap with the edges, and worked my way forward, preventing the underside of the wrap from touching the glue drop until I was satisfied everything was properly aligned. Let the wrap touch the glue, then lift it straight up, and lay it on the work mat, and cut 1/4 inch square out around the glue drop. Wipe what's left off the lug, and it's clean as a whistle. Works like a champ! After carefully cutting the hole for the lug, and checking the size and alignment, I then glued the belly wrap down with a good smear of white glue across the underside of the wings and belly.
The body flap tile wrap is a bit more challenging, since you have TWO alignment lugs to work around, but the same principle applies. You don't have to use a glue spot to mark it, just line it up, mark the centers with a pencil, and cut the notches for the lugs, since they go all the way to the front of the body flap anyway. Once you've notched for the mounting lugs, I made a small slit on either side of the rear part of the body flap, so those corners can go over the elastic glued on the rear corners of the flap, and the rest of the wrap can lay flat, and not interfere with the mounting lugs, since the ET rear tank mounting dowels have to be able to slide out of those lugs umimpeded at orbiter deploy. Glue the wrap on with a light coat of white glue, and it's a good idea to burnish it down, especially in the area immediately behind the orbiter mounting lugs, to make SURE it's all flat and won't interfere with deployment.
Here's some pics... OL JR