Modelling a Hawker Typhoon 1B Covered With Lithoplate





Introduction: Modelling a Hawker Typhoon 1B Covered With Lithoplate

A year or so ago a friend and I where looking to build a warbird and I was wanting to build a Vailly Aviation Typhoon Hawker Typhoon MK. 1B version. I also wanted a plane to make use of what I have lying round or recycle existing materials, to make this build as cheap as possible. I wanted a ugly plane and make it look pretty, but technically also was looking for a challenge no one else has attempted. So the idea was born and some random lines came out like, "lets cover it with aluminium litho plate", "we can obtain that from my local scrap yard", "copy the real aircraft's panels", "detail them as close to 100%, with the original wrinkly effect rivets have on things", I know where to get water damaged wood". The works basically, hyper scale.

So what transpired is some what of a collaborative build between a friend & myself. We haven't worked out the details 100% so they are subject to change as we go. Once the plug is complete we will produce a Epoxy glass mold from a super detailed plug. We are toying with the idea of donating the molds to a museum when we are complete, we just need to find a suitable one.

For this Instructable I will document the entire build process, some of the steps are out of sequence and the build is on going, as punching this many rivets is a lot of hard work.

Here is some history on the plane below.

Some facts and figures from the plan designer:

Wingspan .......... 97 in ...

Wing Area ..........1650
Overall Length .... 79.5 in
Weight ............. 32 - 45 Lbs
Engine... 62cc or 3.7 cu.inch upwards
First photo of the Typhoon is used from Vailly aviation website

Step 1: Making the Fuselage Plug

Making a plug is not a small job and when deciding to do it one should always think of what one has on hand and can recycle. This is an expensive exercise money and time wise, so lets get cracking.

Tools and supplies needed:

• 4mm Masonite / hardboard
• 25mm / 1inch aluminum tube
• 80mm thick polystyrene foam
• CA (cyanoacrylate adhesive) for tacking
• permagrit sanding block
• 120gr sand paper sheets
• Spackle for filling

The Process
Process to get started was tedious, copy each template from the plane using drafting paper. We could have done it easier but the cost of copying the plan with the intention of cutting it up was a waste of funds and we managed to get the paper from someone who was tossing it out. Once they where traced and cut out these where glued to the hardboard using 3M77. We made sure each template had the center marked and a 22mm hole drilled. This is where the recycled curtain rail would come in handy, as this hold all the formers is place.

We then after trail fitting the formers to the rod, cut similar size foam, this is recycled from house building, so if it didn't all fit we made it work. During the process of gluing we used and old technique with a string to straighten the fuselage. I though it was hit and miss and bought a laser level. Using a laser level still took about 40 minutes to line up everything before we where happy. Once this was all done, they where threaded and glued to the rod using normal PVA / White glue.

We didn't have templates for the front few formers so this was drawn up in CAD and the printed, we repeated the process used above and then completed the nose of the aircraft.

After all the formers dried in place we hot wire cut all the excess foam of then block sanded the fuselage. the nose formers we cut, where then applied and received the same treatment.once this was all roughly sanded we used spray foam to fill the vertical stabilizer sides. This was a fast fix and sanded easily. I think it turned out pretty good.

We then took Spackle that is used for dry-walling and gave the two pieces an nice generous coat. We used this because it is readily available cheap and sands beautifully. This was is a lengthy process because it take for ages for the Spackle to dry, but it's well worth it. We also filled the fuselage a few times where these was imperfections.

While the filler was drying on the fuselage we started on the horizontal stab, this I hot wire cut after drafting the shape and templates on the foam. The Horizontal stabs are hot wire cut and then laminated using spray foam. The spray foam is spread out flattening the foam. This skins is then applied to the blanks and compressed. the spray foam takes about 30 minutes to set and is then is ready for handling.

The spray foam was a very novel idea, I was a bit skeptical me being a epoxy and latex person depending on the planes flavour. But it works easily sticks like the proverbial.... , only downside I did note is that when laying the skins in the blanks they should be pinned in place to prevent movement as this stuff is slippy as snot on your worst flu day.

We have decided once this is done and joined we will make a Wing Tube up, box the tube and then put this in place in the Stab. We will then put this tube assembly in the Stab and measure where we want to split the Stab into 3-pieces, cut it and cap the end. Then Glue it into the Fuselage in one piece ready for Filling fillets and detailing. But that will be the next step.

Step 2: Making the Joiner Tube and Joiner for Horizontal Stabilizer

To make the stabilizer tube, I used an aluminium tube, wrapped with plastic then wrapped with glass bandage and then the epoxy is applied with a brush. And then you wait... Once it's fully cured you gently pull the tube out. result is a nice smooth working tube.

A Good taught me this many moons ago when I was student, it has never failed to be a simple and effective method of aligning wing spars and tubes.

Tools and supplies needed:

• 3mm Balsa sheet
• 6mm or 12mm triangle stock (size depends on the diameter of the tube)
• PVA White glue
• a wing tube ready made or make your own
• Epoxy and CA (cyanoacrylate adhesive) for tacking

The Process

I wrote this in point form to make it more clear (mostly for me)

Making the wing / stab Joiner

• Firstly you need to cut some triangular balsa stock, the one Used here is too big for this tube, but I didn't have smaller. A 6mm stock would have been sufficient. For a 22mm tube, I use 12mm stock (9mm is pictured) 24 pieces 25mm is plenty.
• Measure the thickest point of the cord if the wing or Stab and add 5mm, measure your sheet width ways to this. in our case it was 48mm exactly half the sheet width.
• Measure the width of the tube on the 3mm balsa sheet and cuts 2 pieces of 3mm balsa sheet to this length. 4 is the Wing Tube is really big
• Draw center lines on both sheets, vertically and horizontally.
• Next if it is a wing tube I recommend cutting holes in the 3mm balsa, it creates more place for the glue to go and also reduces some weight. Because ours is for a mold I didn't cut the holes. I cut the holes with a brass tube or a multi-directional drill bit running in reverse. using a drill bit breaks the wood and is untidy.
• One the center line, using CA tack glue the Wing tube in place- now laying the sheet with tube attached flat one the table, epoxy the triangular stock in place. 3 each side of the Tube. do half at a time.
• Now join second tube onto the wing tube, vertically with a an engineer square or two. if your measurements are correct on a flat surface at 90 degrees the tube will be by default on the center line. Tack glue the sheet to the wood.
• Flat one the table add the last 12 pieces of triangular Balsa.
• Cap both ends of the tube.
• Now measure the aluminium tube to either fit into the box or be 12mm longer (4 X 3mm cap strips).

And there you have it the perfect wing box. Now fitting it to the foam cores

Fitting the Joiner

Measure up a center line, you could have also used the center line you may have drawn on to cut the foam cores.

• Next is to measure up the box on the thickest part of the wing cord. Can be elsewhere but it makes sense here. Use the box for measuring up.
• Using a SHARP blade, cut the Line you drew down the center. Don't cut it all the way through. cut only though the skin on both top and bottom of the Stab or Wing
• Using the entire length of the blade push it right through to locate the other cut on the other side. Now cut like cutting bread till the bottom on both sides, doing it this way will leave a perfectly finished hole for you box. This works best with snap-off blades because of the length
• Gently push out the section out of the core and trail fit your box. If you measurement is correct then it should fit like a glove. If your box is square this will match 100%, if it doesn't fit sand the FOAM CORE not the Box.
• Thoroughly cover the box with Cold Glue / Wood Glue. Note: Not epoxy but wood glue. it's lighter cheaper and no point in wasting epoxy here, it gives you more working time and it's never coming loose any ways.
• Gently push in the box. wipe off the excess glue, and if need be inject more.
• once pushed through you can now use the edges of the box that sticks out to level the tube. Or for bigger wings place it on a table and measure up the tip height of each side. Once you are happy with the height put it aside to Dry a little or leave it over night.
• Measure the boxes width around your tubes box (see the black lines with rounded corners) , cut a piece of 5mm or 6mm (thicker if the contour of the stab or Wing is more pronounced) sheet to this size and shape. Round the corners are per the picture
• Cut this section out with rounded using the Balsa sheet as a template. Level the foam and box 3mm deep or below the wing skin surface. This works easily with a router or you can do it like Sydney did with a blade and sand paper
• Glue in the Blank with you balsa sheet using Aliphatic resin or White glue. Not epoxy. If you use white glue be sure to wipe off the excess with a damp cloth.
• you can pin in the balsa with T-pins or like me Office pins.
• Leave it to dry and then block sand the cores and you are done.

This is a very simple and very strong method of doing wing joiners.

Step 3: Fitting and Glassing the Horizontal Stabilizer

Fitting the horizontal stabilizer is crucial to have a decent looking air frame. It's also crucial to a plane that can fly straight when in the air. We have until this time spent hundreds of hours getting it to this point, getting the plane looking right is pretty important, but transport of this size of air frame is also important.

Tools and supplies needed:

• 200grm of Ampreg 21 epoxy resin and Slow hardener
• 1 layer 49grm Glasscloth
• paper cups
• paint brushes
• digital scale
• Acetone for cleaning

The process
After having marked the location of the stab, we cut a whole right through, a pretty easy task involving a blade and a hacksaw. I then just push the waste part through.The stab is then pushed into position and is measured using incidence meters and a laser level to get the exact position. The stab needs to be square to the rudder post and the incidence must be as per plane in relation to the wing. What is not pictured here is that we fitted to wing while completing the task.

We then squeezed in scrap balsa wood and CA glued it in place before the sealed the area.Using a wide blade craft knife, I cut through the balsa skins to create a line to follow.The Stab was then cut off with a zona saw, which reveals the tube in the stab.Using 2mm balsa the ends are capped and when dry the hole is cutout to reveal the tube.

last task in this step was to glass the stabs using 49gram epoxy glass cloth, this allows the surface to accept the hard pressing and abuse the surface takes while the litho plate is applied.

Step 4: Pulling Molds for Detailing and Frame Making

I ordered the original parts from Vailly Aviation with the idea that I can use these part to improve the scale factor to me and product molds to produce Window frames, Carbon fiber spinners. This task is process and can be completed once the Fuselage cladding has been complete.

Tools and supplies needed:

• 2kg of Ampreg 21 epoxy resin and Slow hardener
• Ram Wax
• PVA release
• GC1/080 Gel Coat
• 1 layer 163g Twill Glass
• 1 layer 210g unidirectional cloth
• 1 layer of 410 Biax Glass
• Cotton Flock
• micro-balloons
• paper cups
• pain brushes
• digital scale
• Acetone for cleaning

The process
So the first task was to give the parts a good wash to remove oil or anything that will create blemishes left by the molding and production precess. There after is received a polish with a water based Farecla G6 polishing compound and then G18 Polish giving the canopy an awesome luster and a lovely lavender scent. This All parts the received a thin layer of PVA release agent, which was applied with a fine sponge so as not to create streaks.

For the spinner, we required a support so a box was made from isoboard / eps foam. this would ensure that the spinner was vertical while we mold it. We decided we should create a small production line as it did make sense doing one at a time, so a similar box was created for the canopy. We were now ready to schedule time to do the layup preparation, we decided to do this on a full day, I said it would take 3-4 hours.

After doing the Gel coat was applied using the thin paint brush, we pre-cut all the cloth and filled all the "Corners" and with a mixture of cotton flock and micro-balloons. Then the cloth went on in the following order, 1 layer 163g Twill Glass, 1 layer 210g unidirectional cloth and then 1 Layers of 410 Biax Glass. After, 3 hours of staring at the mold we cleaned them all up and decided the mold was hard enough to extract. My partner in this kept saying he was worried it was not coming out to easy.

Here is the result, I will let the final un-cleaned product speak for itself. I thought the result proved that the time spent on the layup preparation was well spent.

Step 5: Preparing the Wing for Covering.

When tackling projects like this there is always the one step you really look forward too and this step in my opinion is that step. This is the step that brought the fuselage together with the wing. We could now see how big this plane actually is, and because of it's bulky dimensions it's a monster.

Tools and supplies needed:

• CNC hot wire cut wing
• EPS foam block for wing tips
• Sanding block (Permagrit)
• CA adhesive and accelerator
• 500ml Epoxy resin and hardener
• 161grm twill cloth
• paint brushes
• 3M Foam friendly marker
• Steel rule

The process
For this step we roped in the services of a friend to CNC cut us some foam wings, these wings are as per plan and have the washout cut into the wing. He did a stunning job. when we got out hands on the wing we where...WOW! The center section of the wing is 140mm or 5.5" thick, that is a very thick wing if you consider the length. before we started to assemble the parts we glued the bottom parts of the foam blanks together of a flat surface. When our friend cut them he made sure that we could just butt the parts up on a flat surface and glue them creating a cradle. In doing so when we joined any other part, we would place the parts in the cradle with adhesive and push them together. This makes alignment a breeze.

Our first job was to glue the two center section halves together, this we decided could be easily done using foam friendly CA glue, the hardening process is sped up by spraying accelerator to the foam. But not enough to heat the foam and melt it. Because the wing doesn't have to be structural. i.e.: non flying, his was the fastest wing I have ever joined, less then 5 minutes. First task, following joining was to mark the notch we need to remove so we could mate the wing to the fuselage, this was done using a 3M marker. We this part was cut out using a hacksaw blade and then block sanded using a Perma grit block.A plywood spacer was installed into the notched section otherwise we would chip out foam every time we test fitted the wing, this also makes sure that the surface is perfectly straight. .After a test fit on the fuselage of the center section we attached the outboard wing panels using the same method. Once joined this is the moment you realize how thick and wide the wing is, as can be seen in the photographs.

Installing the wing tips was pain staking task but was made easier by the fact that we used Extruded Polystyrene Foam, this the said insulation foam that is as blue and pink foam in other parts of the world. After measuring, rough cutting and carving we attached it to the outer wing tips. Once in place we block sanded it to shape with a 280mm or 11" sanding block.

Marking the panel lines
This is one of the exciting parts of this projects, by also a very time consuming part to this project. We want this plane to be almost 100% scale or identical to the real one, and in doing so I accurately measured each panel line to it's exact position on the real one. He I will let the pictures do the talking, but as you can see by the photographs this was a very time consuming process. It had to be correct otherwise the Lithoplate panels would be the incorrect size.

Glassing the wing
To make sure wing is string enough to handle all the pressing we will doing while applying the lithoplate, we decided to glass the wing wing using 161grm cloth. This was also very useful to seal the panel lines so the constant rubbing and works doesn't damage them or worst rub them off

Step 6: Detailing the Litho Plate

Tools and supplies needed:

• Assembled Wing
• Sanding block (Permagrit)
• CA adhesive and accelerator
• Contact Adhesive
• 3M Foam friendly marker
• Steel rule
• metal punches
• paint brushes
• blow torch
• Some custom made tools (details below)

The process

Step 7: Applying the Litho Plate

Tools and supplies needed:

• Sanding block (Permagrit)
• CA adhesive and accelerator
• Contact Adhesive
• 3M Foam friendly marker
• Steel rule metal punches
• paint brushes
• custom made tools (details below)

The process

Step 8: Fitting the Wing to the Fuselage

Tools and supplies needed:

• Covered wing
• Sanding block (Permagrit)
• Foam friendly marker
• Steel rule metal
• 2 Incidence meters

The process

This was a very simple task and we had previously checked this in relation to the stab. For this task we used two incidence meters. One on the wing and one on the tail. we also used the laser and sight to level the wing in relation to the horizontal stab and vertical stab.

What once cannot notice here is lithoplate being glued between the wing and wing seat, when dry the wing forced in place. By doing this it allows use to have a perfect wing seat, with a nice sharp edge. I suspect this will make molding a little more difficult but I personally think it's well worth the risk.

Another task that was completed at this point was the hiding of the open foam on the edges and sealing the edges.

Step 9: Glassing and Smoothing the Fuselage

This way one of the easiest and shortest steps, Sanding Sanding and more sanding... and then sand some more.

Tools and supplies needed:

• 250gr of Ampreg 21 epoxy resin and Slow hardener
• 1 layer 163g Twill Glass
• paper cups
• paint brushes
• digital scale
• Acetone for cleaning
• Covered wing
• Sanding block (Permagrit)
• Foam friendly marker
• Steel rule metal
• 2 Incidence meters
• Dust mask

The process

We first spent a few days sanding off all the Spackle to the wing fillets and stab fillets. once that was done we measured the fuselage and applied a layer of 161grm glass cloth and epoxy resin. All edges where cleaned up while the resin was still achieving full strength.

After the big clean up we applied more Spackle, this time just to cover the weave and smooth the surface for drawing on the panels lines that need to be measured for the next phase of the build.

Then as always we assemble the plane to marvel at the insanity, and question why we decided to go this route. I am curtain that the plane will look like the real deal when done.

Step 10: Too Be Continued...

While the plane is nearing completion there is till a long way to go in terms of cutting and detailing the litho plate. The panel lines have been marked on the fuselage and the aluminium needs to be detailed and applied. I will add more images as soon the fuselage is complete.

Some stats thus far:
- there are some 9000 plus "rivets" on the wing
- three tubs of contact adhesive,
- three tubes of spray foam
- 10 meters of glass cloth
- 10 tubs of Spackle
- 20 sheets of Lithoplate
- way to many hours to count

Too be continued, stay tuned...

Make It Fly Contest 2016

Runner Up in the
Make It Fly Contest 2016



      • Creative Misuse Contest

        Creative Misuse Contest
      • Clocks Contest

        Clocks Contest
      • Backpack Challenge

        Backpack Challenge

      12 Discussions

      Very very nice work,

      My airfield you are welcome any time you like.

      We are down under Australia.

      Holy crap. I'm in awe!

      This is just amazing and impressive. Can't wait to see the rest of the build.

      I've always thought it would be fun to model a smaller warbird, covered with cemented-on aluminum from soda/beer cans . . . but this is a whole 'nother level. Insanely cool. Keep up the good work!! :)

      2 replies

      thanks I will post a picture of the other side of the litho that we use, it actually comes from printing wine Labels


      2 years ago

      Extraordinario trabajo... Sorprendente, fantastico. No tengo palabras para expresar mi admiración.

      1 reply

      thanks for the welcome comments, please keep watching and it'll be worth it

      GREAT BUILD!!! I have been wanting to learn how to make plugs for fiberglass. Is there a way to contact you if I have any questions?

      Keep up the work on that great warbird!!!

      1 reply

      thanks for the compliment. if you require assistance no problems, just email me at my name surname a gmail ,com, or via my website. There was quite a lot on there till my host decided to help me loose it.


      2 years ago

      The only thing left for you to do after you finish this beastie is to scale it up to carry an actual human being! Awesome! I think you should offer to make body shells from the molds for all the rest of the 'wing nuts' on here.

      Just one word : Whaou !
      I'm going to stay tune on your incredible work !