In this short “how-to” I will show you a handy way to make some bulkheads for your aircraft, when the kit is lacking them for example. I used this technique for the first time building my 72nd scale Airfix Catalina, so the pictures you are going to see are from that project.
- Styreen sheet (available in different thicknesses)
- Basic tools like scissors, a hobby knife and sanding sticks
- Contour gauge
The contour gauge is a tool mostly used by carpenters. They can be made of plastic, but there are also more oldschool steel ones available. Those are less course than the plastic ones and in my opnion more ideal for the smaller scales. I happend to have a steel one already, an old one, but still functions fine!
At first you’re going to determine the positions of the bulkheads you want to create. For example you can see the blue lines in the picture.
For positioning you can use reference material from books or the internet, but also elements in the plastic parts, like rivets and panellines.
In this step the contour gauge comes in. Set up the tool in the right position and push the rods into the shape of the plastic part.
Now you have a measured a profile which can be transfered to the styreen sheet by following the contour with a pencil.
Notice the masking tape on the rods. It will hold them together, so you won’t lose your contour.
When you determined the vertical centre line, you can use the contra side of the tool to create the full symmetrical shape.
Now it’s time to subtract the contour from the styreen sheet. I used scissors, a hobby knife and sanding sticks in that order.
And like we’re all used to do at our scalemodelling projects, this step is about dryfitting, sanding, dryfitting, sanding, dryfitting, etc. etc.
Repeat it until the bulkhead is the size and shape you need to make it fit in the fuselage halves.
Step 7 – Final step
Now the bulkhead is in the correct size and shape, you have to use your creativity some more to make a interesting piece for your project! Have fun!