Sunday, April 8, 2012

Detailing Wire

Using wire for detailing has a long pedigree, whether for cockpit connections, hydraulic lines on landing gear, or any application that calls for a fine, fairly rigid filamentary part.

I’ve not done much with wire, my previous project involved making fake coil-spring suspension parts, which was interesting to say the least, and I’ll post about that when I’m happy the job is done (twelve of them to do + sore fingers = finish it another time…) but as part of my Phantom building enterprise I found the need of wire.

While some kits have the ejection faceshield handgrips moulded right in, many do not, and if substituting better-detailed aftermarket seats you may be scratchbuilding the grips anyway. The resin seats by True Details are excellent and inexpensive, but the grips, the most visually engaging part of the seats both because of their signal yellow paintwork and because they are the uppermost part of the seat visible through the canopy, are not represented at all.

The seats on Fujimi’s F-4J did not imbue me with much enthusiasm so I resorted to True Details, which left me with the question of what to do for the grips. I had considered trimming them from the kit parts, which might have worked, or might have cost too much plastic in the cut, resulting in the grips being too small. Wire to the rescue…

I ordered up some 0.29mm (.011”) soft silver wire from Red Roo Models, and found it worked easily, the loops being formed by wrapping the wire with finger pressure only around the tapered tip of my scribing tool, then cutting the loops free with a craft knife. The seats were pre-drilled with a .020” twist drill to provide shallow locators, then superglue was used to mount the loops.

Painted up with acrylics (the black stripes spotted in with a fine-point pen, which is quite good enough for my eyesight at this scale!) they look pretty good, and I can see this technique satisfying the “loop question” on all replacement seats in future. In larger scale I could be more accurate (‘rounder’ loops and so on), but for now, that flash of yellow under the canopy is adequately catered to.