X-Wing Build

Discussion in 'Scratch Built' started by wolsen, Sep 4, 2019.

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  1. Sep 4, 2019 #1

    wolsen

    wolsen

    wolsen

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    I found myself with some time off work this week and a heavy duty airframe from an unknown origin (56 mm OD, 51 mm ID) so I figured it’s time to move up from LPR to the world of MPR/HPR. Since my kids are just getting into Star Wars, I showed them Lakeroadster’s X-Wing build thread and they were super excited. I decided to go all out and make a bigger version of one. This one is slightly different because the kids wanted it to be Luke’s X-Wing.

    I started out by filling the tube and cutting some rather sad-looking fin slots, but a bit of sanding and fillets will work wonders in the final model.

    IMG_3002.jpg

    The tube was a bit rough still and sanding only made it fuzzy, so I made a mixture of wood glue and water (50/50), added a couple coats and sanded it down to get a fairly smooth result.

    Next, cut some fins out of 1/8” birch plywood. They’ll still need some touch up and sanding still.

    IMG_3003.jpg

    The nose cone is custom turned out of 4 layers of pink foam. Carved with some rough sandpaper to get the general shape, then refined with some 220 grit. The shoulder is a section of the body tube, cut down to an inside tube coupler and then epoxied in place.

    IMG_1567630735.180221.jpg

    While I was cutting out the foam, I went ahead and cut out a cockpit. Those front points get a bit flimsy so this was only as far as I was willing to take the sanding without anything else to strengthen it. I will just finish it with some filler and more sanding once it’s affixed to the body where it will have more support.

    IMG_1567631007.827583.jpg

    And last thing I’ve done this week is work on the winged-motors and mounts. These are only for show on this bird as it’s intended to fly on a single 29 mm motor.

    I took two TP rolls and cut them in half to form the large fronts of the engines. Heavy duty card stock was used to create the support structure, and plain card stock was then added as a half circle to fill in the rest of the length of the support structure. Right now, it’s just tacked together with some CA, but white glue or wood glue will be used to bond it all together. An Estes BT-5 tube will serve to attach a BT-20 tube section (not pictured) as the aft part of the engine.

    IMG_1567631265.396289.jpg
    IMG_1567631501.522103.jpg

    This bird will fly out at my local club launch site, which is in the desert with a rock hard ground. As such, I’ve elected not to extend the motors aft of the fin/wing as it will just break off on landing.

    I’m ordering some custom cut centering rings from the local rocket shop (I suck at cutting circles) and a motor mount tube. So once those get in, I can begin some real assembly. In the meantime, gonna look for some good material for an R2 unit.

    Some fun dry fit photos of the pieces coming together.

    IMG_2996.jpg
    IMG_2999.jpg
    IMG_2998.jpg
     
  2. Sep 4, 2019 #2

    neil_w

    neil_w

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    Looks good so far!
     
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  3. Sep 5, 2019 #3

    BABAR

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    Always a favorite!

    I like the idea of sharing it with your kids!
     
  4. Oct 8, 2019 #4

    wolsen

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    Okay, so I've been really bad at updating this build thread... I'll have to do better.

    Nevertheless, progress has been made over the past month.

    Since I last posted, I took the opportunity to meet one of the local club members and get some advice before I started assembly and boy I sure am I glad I did! The airframe is on the heavier and one of the goals of this project is to get more experience and practice on MPR in order to prepare for one of my goals of reaching HPR. One of the major concerns was the durability of the fins. They were constructed with basswood and given the heftiness of the airframe, motor size, etc, it was advised that I consider strengthening the fins in order to survive an impact with our hard desert floor.

    Assembled the 8" long 29 mm motor mount and added a kevlar shock cord. Note the final assembly actually has 3 CRs rather than 2 (one closer to the fins).

    IMG_3015.png

    Attached the fins and added internal fillets using 30 min epoxy, added the rear CR to close it off and added the rail buttons. I then proceeded to added an Aeropack Motor retainer. I wished I would have waited until after painting in retrospect. Oh well, something to remember for next time.

    30 min epoxy for some external fillets turned out my best yet, though the pictures are hard to tell thanks to clear epoxy.

    IMG_3012.png

    IMG_3014.png
     
  5. Oct 8, 2019 #5

    Bat-mite

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    Looking good. Don't let it end up like this!

     
  6. Oct 8, 2019 #6

    wolsen

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    The fins still had a fair amount of flex and give to them and I wasn't overly confident in the stability. I prefer the fins to be strong and sturdy so I decided to take the plunge and try tip-to-tip glassing. This was something I've never done before but there's fairly good information out there. I ordered some epoxy resin and 6 oz glass and added a single layer. I didn't order any peel-ply as I had some heavy weight ripstop nylon lying around that I figured would suffice for the time being. I suspect I could have gotten a smoother finish and spent less work sanding if I went with something more designed for the task, but it worked out.

    Glassing in progress with the nylon peel ply:

    IMG_3018.png

    I saturated the fabric but was still going light on the resin and adjusted as I went on to the next fin set. I ended up getting fairly decent coverage at the end and was pretty happy with the overall results. Added some CWF to fill the pot marks and started sanding it down for a nice smooth surface. I don't think I've ever sanded a fin to be so smooth before.

    IMG_3049.png

    IMG_3050.png
     
  7. Oct 8, 2019 #7

    wolsen

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    Let's hope not!
     
  8. Oct 8, 2019 #8

    wolsen

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    After the fins, I moved on to revisiting the motor mounts on the wings. They're clearly decorative, but I decided that the card stock setup I had wasn't going to survive any kind of real force put on it. Dropping things unintentionally is a wonderful test of the durability of things.

    I used 1" foam to carve out the shape of the mounts and added some tubing to the top. There's 1/8" left of the round tube in the front to give it the full circle visual, but the rest of the tube was cut down the middle, folded over and glued to the top of the foam.

    IMG_3047.png

    IMG_3048.png

    Finally the motors, cockpit and R2 unit (1" foam ball cut in half) were epoxied onto the fins.

    IMG_3051.png
     
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  9. Oct 8, 2019 #9

    wolsen

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    I made the laser cannons out of some plastic reusable straws cut to size and some chopsticks from my favorite local Chinese restaurant. The club member helping me advised me to build the laser canons to fail and be replaced and even donated some plastic rivets to the cause (thank you!). Measured and drilled holes at the end of all the fins and in the plastic straws, then drilled some sink holes on the backsides of the fins to hold the rivet head lower. I would say its to help reduce drag, but let's be honest - that would do very little to reduce the drag on this thing.

    Here's a pic of the rocket assembled with the cannons attached.

    IMG_3052.png
     
  10. Oct 8, 2019 #10

    Red7Fifty

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    Cool Build....and spectacular Giant Scale FAIL.
    Here is a BT-60 Scratch build by my buddy:
     
  11. Oct 8, 2019 #11

    wolsen

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    I layered the foam with a thin coat of epoxy resin, mostly to add a little hardening to the foam and make it durable for painting. Filling and sanding, filling and sanding, filling and sanding. Finally, added the first primer coat... Filling and sanding... another primer coat... sanding... and that brings this thread up to date with where the rocket is now. Need to inspect it a bit for more primer necessary and my son pointed out that I haven't yet attached the rear half of the engines so I'll need to rectify that before going much further.

    IMG_3055.png
     
  12. Oct 8, 2019 #12

    wolsen

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    Very nice - looks pretty cool!
     
  13. Oct 14, 2019 #13

    wolsen

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    Painted a white top coat today. Went with some black underneath to give it a weathered look

    IMG_3063.jpg
     
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  14. Oct 14, 2019 #14

    BABAR

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    The build is great, but the background is in tents!
     
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  15. Oct 17, 2019 #15

    wolsen

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    Tonight I added a base coat for the R2 unit and applied some markings to the top wings. Normally, I'd mask everything in the same color and paint at once, but I opted for an easier masking job (where I could bag the body and the underwings. I wanted to see if the markings looked the right scale as I'm just eyeballing it. I realize that the markings aren't quite right, as the bottom markings should be more parallel to the fin wing edge. I did a better job on the left one, but not sure how I missed this. That's what I get for painting when tired

    (apologies for the pic quality, it got dark quickly and the lighting isn't great)

    photo_2019-10-16_19-17-40.jpg
     
  16. Oct 17, 2019 #16

    Nytrunner

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    That's looking great!

    Where'd you get your x-wing plans?
     
  17. Oct 17, 2019 #17

    Bat-mite

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    I like how you're doing the "aging."
     
  18. Oct 17, 2019 #18

    wolsen

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    Its a scratch design where I've used inspiration from various sources: Lakeroadster, my kid's LEGO X-Wing, etc.
     
  19. Oct 19, 2019 #19

    wolsen

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    Added some more paint. Unit markers on all 4 wings and stripes down the side.

    IMG_3069.jpg
     
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  20. Oct 19, 2019 #20

    wolsen

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    And some more painting... this time by hand and brush for some detail

    IMG_3070.jpg

    IMG_3073.jpg
     
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  21. Oct 19, 2019 #21

    BABAR

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    Chirp warble BLEEEEEEP!
     
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  22. Oct 19, 2019 #22

    BABAR

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  23. Oct 19, 2019 #23

    neil_w

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    Ha ha, R2 is great!
     
  24. Oct 19, 2019 #24

    kuririn

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    Nice brush work! Grab a bag of Doritos and makes some guacamole dip to celebrate.
    IMG_3070.png
    :D
     
  25. Oct 19, 2019 #25

    neil_w

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    Lesson well learned from this forum: you will get as many comments on whatever’s in the background of your pictures as the foreground. :)
     
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  26. Oct 20, 2019 #26

    BABAR

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    Like how do you say “X-wing” in Spanish for 5 year olds?
     
  27. Oct 20, 2019 #27

    kuririn

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  28. Oct 20, 2019 #28

    wolsen

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    Hah, all the comments are great! I’ll have to buy a Where’s Waldo figure and start sneaking him into the background!
     
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  29. Oct 22, 2019 #29

    jqavins

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    Background heck; put him in the cockpit!

    "Red-and-white-stripe 5 to Red leader."
     
  30. Oct 22, 2019 #30

    Bat-mite

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    That's going to look great on the pad. Best of luck for the flight!
     

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