Model Of The Month: Ford Tri-Motor (Zorn - 1:33) in SCADTA colors

Discussion in 'Aircraft & Aviation' started by niebla de fuego, Jan 1, 2012.

  1. Thanks to all for your kind words. I believe that a good model is the result of a good design, and the modeler’s own relationship with the subject. In this case, the Tri-Motor kit by Peter Zorn is a really good kit. And I have a special interest in this SCADTA version, so I guess that’s why the result is coming out well :)

    Rbeach: almost there… but not yet. The circle will be closed when I can see the model finished ;)

    I’ve been absent these past weeks because I had to correct one little thing: the SCADTA logo on the fuselage. The logo is a stylized condor displayed over a landscape with a river and mountains.

    I based my version of the logo on old timetables found at:
    And I draw it with a full red background.

    However, after an interview with a retired AVIANCA engineer who has a huge collection of SCADTA memorabilia and documentation, I found my version was wrong, and the correct logo used white color for the sky (not red). He assured me the colors were correct, except for the sky. Below you can see the difference. On the left my incorrect first version, and on the right the corrected version.


    So I took the new file to the same copy shop where I printed the kit… only to find it had closed down. Too bad. So I went to other places to print the file… only to find that even laser printers differ a lot from each other, and at the end I got 3 different hues of grey from the same source file, not one even close to the original I had with the wrong logo.

    Tired of that I just decided to come back home and use the original piece with wrongly colored logo. At least that way I preserve uniformity in the grey color of the aluminum skin. But it was “bye-bye accuracy”.

    So let’s continue with the report, as close as possible to the original instructions.

    The cockpit is not difficult, but it must be done with care because of the folds and cut-outs of the windows. If you downloaded the kit, you’ll find that in the digital restoration I provided extra grey part to be used as backing, so that the back of the cardstock doesn’t look white when seen through the windows.


    That is probably a good option if you use thin cardstock. However, if the cardstock you use is a bit thick this may cause you unnecessary problems when folding. I found it was my case, so I just opted for painting the back of the cardstock with silver ink.

    The transparent windows were made with the template provided in the kit. I just used white PVA to glue them. The seem to have glued well, but time will tell.

    The cockpit is attached to the structures without problems. If you need to adjust something it will be very little.


    I cut the windows of the skin, and pre-shaped it before glueing it. Always dry-test it before glueing it. Since the cut-outs of the windows align perfectly it is very easy to get the skins glued properly (don’t forget to previously glue a piece of acetate to simulate the passenger windows).


    One small note: you may want to dry-test the fuselage skins *and* the cockpit before glueing, so that the cockpit side windows match better with the cutout of the fuselage skin. I did it, and used a pencil to trace the place where the cockpit should be, then glued it, and after dry I glued the skins.

    Don’t pay attention to the silver paint. I brushed some to prevent any white part showing after the skins were attached, but in reality none of it showed.

    After glueing the skins, I had a mildly unpleasant surprise: the top of the roof where the side skins meet was a bit too short. You can see there is a gap of almost 1mm. I believe it could be for a number of reasons:

    - Cardstock too thick.
    - Parts drawn a bit smaller than the original.
    - An accident when modifying the part to eliminate the round cockpit window to convert it to a 5-AT-D.
    - Glueing the cabin arch roof *before* the sides of the cabin roof.

    Or it could be a combination of some or all of the above.


    In any case that gap is now forever part of the model. Fortunately, it is a very forgiving model, and some mistakes can be made without affecting too much the appearance of the plane.
  2. Now is time for the rear part of the fuselage. Here I would like to call the attention of anyone building this kit. When I cut the part and compared it to the original I found the one from the digital kit was smaller than the original. Not much, just 1mm or so. But it is a noticeable difference. I really don’t know how or why it happened. But it happened nonetheless. I offer my apologies for the mistake, and warn you to be prepared for some extra work.


    The problem lies in the point where the rear fuselage structure is joined with the main structure (at the rear wall of the toilet). The rear structure lacks 1mm to be equal in width to the width of the toilet rear wall. This will never allow a good fit of the skins, and the gap (or “step”) will be awful.

    I solved the problem by laminating 2 pieces of cardstock to each side of the rear structure, so that way the skins of it will have a more flushed contact with the cabin’s skins. You may need to trim the upper arched ribs a bit so that the skins fit properly at the bottom.

    In my case I also had to add bits of paper and cardstock to fill the space between the two structures, so that they glued better. This part requires some work if you wish to have a good model with a good joint. But the result is really worth the effort (and I think more experienced modelers will get even better results).


    In the end you’ll get a nice fuselage.


    In my case it is a nice fuselage with an inaccurate logo.
    (sorry for the improvised photo: the fuselage is already bigger than my working area, so I had to use my bed and a piece of cloth to get a decent photo... I really don't want to show how incredibly messy my small working area is .)

    That’s all for today’s update. See you soon with the wings and stabilizer sections!
  3. Zathros

    Zathros Guest

    I think you could take most of us for a ride, don't you, I'll chip in for gas!
  4. Mikamoon

    Mikamoon New Member

    Jun 27, 2011
    Likes Received:
    The salon was pleasant.
  5. We continue with the building of this nice plane.

    Rear stabilizer and rudder/fin parts are very easy. There’s nothing much to comment here. I just made holes to prepare them for the rigging.



    The wings are easy, but as the rest of the model they need a little patience while the glue dries. Be careful to glue softly the wing skins in place, to avoid the spars to show through it.


    When glueing the center section skin I added a couple of extra fill cardboards to get an even straighter surface. But that’s optional.


    As you can see, I glued the control cables at this stage. They are supposed to be glued later (almost finishing the model) but I prefer to add them now, to be able to anchor them from the inside.


    And on the top wing section, where the control cables exit the wing, I practiced a hole, and with the help of a little piece of paper I glued another set of threads on each hole. This way it looks a bit more realistic :)

  6. Here’s the part where the wing joins the top fuselage. Great fitting.


    Now a more general view:


    Wing assembled to fuselage, front view:


    Now is time for a critical part of the building: the engine pods/landing gear sections. But that will be for another day.

    See you soon!!
  7. Zathros

    Zathros Guest

    You did a professional job on fitting that wing. Excellent workmanship! :)
  8. GAJouette

    GAJouette New Member

    Sep 28, 2008
    Likes Received:
    Very impressive project my friend.I'm amazed at the details included in the kit.Thanks so much for sharing this outstanding build thread.
    Highest Regards,
    Gregory Jouette
  9. Thanks for your words friends!!!

    It’s been a long time since the last update.

    Let’s see..

    In this time I printed the “decals” and corrected the logo on the fuselage.



    I also added ventilation openings to the nose. The kit simulates them only with drawings on the nose. But I printed small trapezoidal parts and after careful folding and glueing the openings were done. Here’s a photo just before I finished the right side of the nose.


    Engine pods are a critical part. If you are building this kit be ready for a challenge to your patience.

    The main axis of the pods must be parallel to both the fuselage and the wings. My recommendations are:

    - build one pod at a time (the instructions already say that).
    - the seams of the struts all face backwards.
    - some trimming and adjusting in the struts may be needed to align properly the pods.
    - use cyanoacrilate glue to set everything in place once you get everything in shape.
    - consult carefully the instructions and reference photos to see where everything goes.



    As you can see, I also added new ventilation openings in the pods.

    Now... although I don’t usually show scale before I finished, someone at the Spanish forum asked me to do it. So here’s a photo of the plane with a CD and my cell phone so you can get an idea of how big it is.


    I’m working on the wheels and landing gear struts right now. Photos soon! (I hope).
  10. Zathros

    Zathros Guest

    WOW!! She's really coming out beautiful! I hope to see many more pics. Thanks for reporting the SPAM too! :)
  11. Work continues with the landing gear.

    The attached photos show the classic constructions of laminated wheels: sandwiched layers of cardstock, then sanding, and more sanding, and more sanding.





  12. I made a jig to get the correct rounded profile of the pneumatic.

    The kit is originally intended for fixed wheels. But you know that I like movable wheels, so I used a pin to create an axle and leave the wheels rotate. They don’t look so great in the photos, but hopefully I will take better photos for next time to show the landing struts and the finished gear.



  13. Zathros

    Zathros Guest

    I don't know how you can do such big projects like this and the DC3 also. You're a better modeler than me.
  14. I just have too much free time. Much more than I really like to have :(
  15. Zathros

    Zathros Guest

    That's happening in a lot of places. For some reason though, there is a small group in all these places that do nothing but seem to get richer for it? Could be my imagination?:cry:
  16. peter taft

    peter taft Senior Member

    Jan 15, 2010
    Likes Received:
    This is sheer paper poetry - delightful in all areas :thumb:
  17. Zathros

    Zathros Guest

    And quite right too! :)
  18. hubo19

    hubo19 New Member

    Feb 17, 2012
    Likes Received:
    Awsome details, love the interior. And thank you for the wheels, with this technik I could do some pretty nice looking wheels for soma of my planes... hopefully.
  19. This week’s update with 15 new photos :)

    First, you can see the assembly of the pods/struts/wheels with the landing gear supports, all attached to the wings. If something is made wrong here, it will show noticeably. Alignment is very precise, and the lower diagonal struts will tell you if you made it right or wrong.


    You can notice I used a folded piece of cardstock to fill the bottom of the fuselage. This was added to prevent the lower and side skins to collapse. It was a good idea because it allowed the bottom fuselage skin to glue easily, and there was very little trimming needed.

    I used a couple of wires inside the lower struts to give some strength to the structure, but apparently it doesn’t need much metallic help.

    Now the plane can sit on the wheels.


    Bottom and top views, with rear part and wing tips attached.



    This is the nose with control horns and control cables attached. It was a wonderful idea to glue the cables to the wings early in the process, since attaching the individual threads to the horns and to the bottom of the wings is very difficult.


    Front view of the rear section, showing tail plane, rudder, struts, and control cables.

  20. Rear view of the same section.
    If you are building this kit, I strongly recommend that you glue the control horns to the rudder and stabilizer before attaching those parts to the fuselage.


    Notice the rear light in the tail, not a part in the original kit, but the real Cartagena had it. Maybe I made it too long.

    Wing tips were attached. I really didn’t feel comfortable glueing them. They were a bit difficult for me. Probably a small misalignment in the wing spars was the cause. So patience was needed.


    Two cheap jewelry beads were used to simulate the port and starboard lights.



    Detail of the rear light. It was also made with a small plastic jewelry bead. I crushed the paper when handling.

    This light, as well as the wingtip lights look really fine if you don’t use macro-eyes ;)