This is a re-creation of the airplanes I made a few years ago - I needed to take photos of the process so decided to make another one.
A cigar tube
Some sheet Aluminum
Fast setting epoxy
Primer and paint
Tools: Sheet metal cutters, toothpick/small skewer, modeling clay, sharpie pen, cardboard for wing templates
Step 1: Design the Silhouette
Step 2: Cut Out the Wings and Tail
You can also buy sheet aluminum in small sizes at Lowes/Home Depot etc.
Cut out the wings using a pair of tin-snips/metal shears. Smooth out the edges on a piece of emery cloth/sandpaper. At this point I went ahead and sanded the tube as well - just to rough it up so the paint would adhere well. You could sand off all the paint to bare metal and go for the retro jet travel shiny aluminum look. I did that on the originals and love the look...but wanted to try painting it this time around.
Step 3: Cut Slits for the Wings and Set Up for Epoxy Weld
Push in the wing sections so that there is a little bit protruding on the inside. I will be applying epoxy glue on the inside as well to give the wings more strength.
I wanted to keep the cargo hold open on the inside, so the wings don't stick all the way into the middle - Santa likes to fill up the cargo hold with little M&M's so we don't want to obstruct.
Step 4: The Weld
Epoxy is a chemical glue that comes in two parts. Mix the two parts and the glue will harden from a paste to a solid weld. This is a fast setting epoxy, so I work in small batches as it sets up in minutes.
I used a toothpick to mix the epoxy and to apply it liberally along the edges of the joints. Once the outside is all glued and well set, apply epoxy to the inside joints as well, using a longer skewer instead of a toothpick to reach inside the tube.
Step 5: Sand and Paint
The cigar tube cap is a nice red, so I'm leaving it that way and won't paint it. I wrapped a piece of painters tape around the end and they sprayed a coat of primer.
After the primer is dry (you will have to flip it over and spray primer on the underside as well), spray on a top coat of gloss enamel...I decided on white this time.
Step 6: The Finished Article
My earlier models have little eye hooks screwed into the top of the tube, to hang the ornament from. This time I opted to leave off the hook - and will just place the ornament on a branch of the tree.