Getting the Perfect Fit

Discussion in 'Tips, Tutorials & Tools' started by Ajax, Jun 23, 2004.

  1. Ajax

    Ajax Member

    Hello all,

    I was looking at the R-100 photo gallery on Wayne Currell’s site:

    and noticed the outstanding model by Thomas Boegel where you can hardly notice where the different sections of the hull fit together. This naturally has me wondering how he managed to do that! :D What are the techniques you guys use to get parts to fit together so perfectly?


  2. Ron

    Ron Member

    Take pictures from the good side :) Seriously, I use 2 different types of blades for all my cutting. The standard #11 for longer, sweeping cuts and the olfa hobby blade for those tighter curves. Cut down the center of the line and try to do the same on the joining piece. Have a look at a Modelart kit and examine the joining strips. It's a good thing to remember, always make your strips from standard 20lb xerox type paper. I find that the thinker stuff usually found with many of the Polish kits kinks and does not conform properly to curves. One other thing.... plan your build so that you can always get your fingers in where 2 pieces come together. In terms of a fuselage, start at the nose and work your way back to the cockpit area inserting the formers after every 2 pieces are joined nicely. The same goes for the tail end. Start at the last piece and work forwards towards the cockpit.

    I'm by no means an expert but it's worked for me after many many trials
    and many more errors :)

    Hope it helps

  3. Ajax

    Ajax Member

    Thanks for the great tips, Ron; it certainly does help! :D

    Next time, I'll make sure to print the connecting strips on 20 lb paper, that should immediately add a great deal more flexibility to the joint. I also see I made the mistake of gluing the formers in first to complete all the segments of the hull individually and then gluing them together, instead of connecting 2 segments at a time and then fitting the formers.

    One other thing, when you're gluing the segments together, do you only worry about applying glue to the connecting strip or do you try to actually glue the sides of the 2 segments together as well?

  4. Ron

    Ron Member


    Apply the glue to the inside of the segment thats going to get attached to the joining strip. Smear it on good so that you get a little play when putting the pieces together. You don't need to worry about the actual edges as they will bond tight. I'll see about doing a few segments
    tomorrow and take some pictures as its getting put together

  5. Ajax

    Ajax Member

    Thanks again, Ron!

    I hadn't really considered applying the glue in that manner at all. I guess I was too fixated on thinking about the connecting strip! :lol:

  6. JRSeese

    JRSeese Member

    I appreciate these tips as well. Ron, have you ever worked a kit that does not have joining strips, but tabs on the fuselage sections? Ever cut the tabs off and make your own strips?

    Also, as far as joining the ends of the section itself - that is, rolling the part into a tube and glueing - joining strip there as well? That is the first step, right?

    Though I've built a few models, no airplanes yet and I'm still very green in this area, thanks
  7. Leif Oh

    Leif Oh Member

    Ron, thanks a million for the tip about joing sections before adding formers. I arrived at the same method, using copyproof joining strips at the bottom, all by myself, but the idea of joining sections first sort of opens up a whole new vista of possbibilities for getting things right.

    I used to sand formers together, to get the proper angle, and then carefully sand the joint as well, adding colour as needed (and, dear me, how often that was!).

    A number of new questions quickly arises:

    How do you best get formers into their proper position (not being able to place them against a flat surface, and gently prod them flush with the edge?

    Do you add just one former with your method, or do you double them up, as per design?

    And, same question as JR Seese, do you close the next section first, at the bottom, with copy proof joining strip, and then make a joining strip for joining the closed section to the previous one?

    Eagerly awaiting, I'm not going to build one more iota until I get this pat.

  8. Gil

    Gil Active Member


    Ron's method is similar to the one I use (don't ask how long it took to discover). The former is inserted till it "snugs up tight" then glued. A finger hole in the former for positioning is recommended. Exact positioning is not so important as is the fact that it's in approximately the right place (this is the really beautiful part of this method as it takes much of the "exactness" out of positioning the former). Use of at least 0.5 mm is recommended with 1 mm not being unreasonble for the former material. The higher thickness stiffens the former so that it will not buckle when gently tapped around its periphery into the correct position. The strength of structures built this way is a dramatic improvement over prior methods. I've found that using a stainless steel wax modeling spoon tool and a magazine surface to press the joining strip and external shells together works well.
    Thanks to Ron for bringing this method out...,

    Best regards, Gil
  9. AdamN

    AdamN Member

    Tabs vs Strips, and more than one former

    The last two airplanes I built I used 1mm formers that I glued a joining strip around the edge of. I cut and sanded the former just a bit small for the end of the fuse sections I was joining together. Then, depending on how small the former was, I used a strip of either 20lb paper or 60lb card stock to wrap around the edge of the former. I then applied glue to the inside of the fuse section (which I had already glued into a tube), and slid the former/joint strip combination into place.

    Once the glue had dried, I had a chance to test fit the next section of fuse. and be sure the joint was perfect before I glued it in place.

    I have had much better results using this one former one strip method, than I did when I was trying to use either two formers, or tabs and a former.

    Just something to think about.

    Thanks for sharing such great ideas everyone.

  10. Ron

    Ron Member

    Here we go :) I used a portion of the fuselage of Halinski's Ju88c.

    Carefully cut out the fuselage segments being sure to save the 'flashing'

    Color those edges. If you need help with this, check out the articles section

    Carefully trace out your joining strip on 20lb xerox type paper

    Here's the resulting strip

    Glue the strip to the cut out segment

    Form the segment to aproximate the former shape you will be inserting
    and glue the bottom seam

    Build up your next segment using the same process as the first

    Give a good coating of glue to the inside of the segment that will be getting attached to the joining strip

    Slide the two segments together carefully lining up the marks on the top and the seam on the bottom. Slide your fingers in and press the seams together. Keep pressing around and around until the glue is set

    Cut out your former

    Stab the former with your blade and insert it into the 2 joined segments. Be careful to line up the bottom mark on the former with the inside center seam. Slide or tap the former until it centers on the joint.

    Run a bead of glue around where the former touches the inside of the fuselage segments. You don't need to be that careful of the amount of glue used here as the joining strip inside helps keep things from warping

    The final assembly :)

    If you have any more questions, feel free to yell, scream ,pm, smoke signal or whatever and I'll see what I can do.

  11. Ajax

    Ajax Member

    Thanks for the in depth tutorial, Ron! I couldn't have hoped for a better explanation when I posted my question. It's going to be a lot of fun to try this out! :D

  12. mark

    mark Member

    ron thanks for the grat tip

    how u cat the parts from the paper?
  13. Kugelfang

    Kugelfang Member

    Wow, thanks for the timely tips. I'm working on the R-100 now and plan on putting the envelope sections together tomorrow evening. I figured out the workflow pretty closely to this, but I didn't think about using 20# for the joining strips. Though, it makes perfect sense.

    Thanks again,

  14. mark

    mark Member

    BTW ron ilook at the forum on the Color edges
    u have some link with pic how to do it ?
  15. jrts

    jrts Active Member


    Cracker tips.

    Now I know why I'am crap at building planes, thanks again.
    Mine always look like a dog in need of a good meal, this will sort that.


  16. JRSeese

    JRSeese Member

    Bravo, and thanks!

    So did I follow correctly that the joiners provided with the kit were discarded in favor of the lightweight paper ones you made yourself?

    [suckup]Ron, you're my hero [/suckup]

  17. Ron

    Ron Member

    Glad it helped :) Yeah, I usually discard the strips that come with the kits
    unless they are already printed on lightweight paper. I got used to the Modelart way of doing things so it naturally followed over to the rest.

    All the best!

  18. GyverX

    GyverX Member

    I know that you guys are talking about a specific model but the technic sounds like it is something that can be used on all models.
    I made up this image to get an idea of exactly what you guys are doing and to see if I have it right. And If I do. What (If anything) are you calling it?
  19. milhistory

    milhistory Member

    After reading these posts, I adopted Ron's methods and am using it on my current build of GPM's ME-262. Here is the front half of the fuselage. Although I did not do a perfect job, it certainly works and is much less stressful than the other methods I have used (butt construction, glueing the formers before connecting parts).

    Thanks Ron!
  20. Darwin

    Darwin Member

    Gyverix, I think you have it right. To be totally correct, you should also show the former below and making a T with the joiner strip. My technique on such models is to first glue the joiner strip around the circumference of the former (making the cross-section of the former look like a I-beam), glue together the longitudinal seam of the fuselage skin (thus forming a tube), and then gluing the former/joining strip into the appropriate end of the fuselage segment. I use the same thickness joiner strip as the skin is printed on. This technique does require plenty of careful dryfits before adding glue, but works very well. The fuselage joiner strip should be about two cardstock thicknesses shorter that the circumference (length of the radial seam) of the skin section it is joining (if using 95 lb cardstock, about 1 mm shorter works). The ends of the joiner strip should exactly meet when tightly wrapped around the former....sand down or build up the former as needed to get that fit. Done carefully, the fit between parts is perfect. (Did I mention that you should also check that the length of the radial seam edges of the two parts being joined should be identical?)

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