Soda Can P-51B build tutorial in 1/48th scale

Discussion in 'CAN MODELS (Both aluminium and Tin)' started by gman_93643, Nov 7, 2017.

  1. gman_93643

    gman_93643 New Member

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    That was a beautiful model produced by the now gone Sandy's Can Cars. He built it back in 2006 and spent thousands upon thousands of hours doing so. So much so that I recall the model itself only being about 10 inches long but still he was asking $2000 for it. Those were labor's of love that one could never hope to recoup any profit from, but that's okay. He was passionate about his craft and not in it for the profit or appealing to Guinness. Its like me and my R2D2. I was offered a large sum for him, but after spending over 4 months building him, I just couldn't bring myself to part with him. And when Pepsi and Lucasfilm responded with chirping crickets, I wasn't the least bit phased because it was about the passion and doing something that no one else had done...

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    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 13, 2017
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  2. zathros

    zathros -----SENIOR---- Administrator Moderator

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    You said it brother!! :) I laugh when people ask me if they could buy my 26" long "Lilla Weneda" model. They just don't realize the time. I now charge $75.00 dollars for whatever anyone wants me to do. I don't care what it is. $75 bucks up front, then pro rated after that. I do not include machine time, so if I have to mill, do lathe work or, Mig/Tig, it is still $75 bucks an hour. That does not include materials, chemicals, nor my profit margin on them.

    I have taught many people how to weld though and quite a few purchased Mig Welders when I showed them how easy it was to get 5 more years out of their car which wouldn't pass inspection because of a 5" inch hole. Of course, in that physical type of teaching, I still charge, I have done enough favors. ;)
  3. gman_93643

    gman_93643 New Member

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    So, moving on with the build after some very good questions, discussion and engaging conversation.

    We continue with the construction of the Mustang's fuselage using our bulkhead/former technique:

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    The next two fuselage sections are cut out along with our bulkhead/former pieces and we complete the assembly of the final two sections of the fuselage:

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    Again once our can/sheeting/foam bulkheads/formers are completed they are inserted and glued into the ends of the completed fuselage sections. The next step is of course glue them to our fuselage assembly:

    [​IMG]

    The main fuselage assembly is now complete and next we will move onto the wings and control surfaces. In this next part of the build, determining the the context of the build will play an important role in how we decide to proceed with construction. A model that is going to be handled and handled by a young person will need to be built slightly different than a model going to competition in order to survive without the cans becoming dented or creased.

    More to come...
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  4. zathros

    zathros -----SENIOR---- Administrator Moderator

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    A P-38 Lightning would be an awesome candidate for a rubber band model. The fuselages could take really heavy duty rubber bands pulling, coated with some Brake fluid, set up to be counter rotating, it would be a sight to watch fly!! :)
  5. Rhaven Blaack

    Rhaven Blaack ADMINISTRATOR Administrator Moderator

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    That is my kind of car!!!
    I have always liked a good pint of Guinness!!! :Drinks:
  6. gman_93643

    gman_93643 New Member

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    Oh I have a photo of a P-38 Lightning somewhere, I'll have to dig around and find it! :)
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  7. gman_93643

    gman_93643 New Member

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    So in continuing with this build tutorial next we tackle the wings and control surfaces for our model. There are two schools of thought on these parts: rolling the wings versus making a more durable airfoil surface. If I were to compete in an IPMS competition, I would without hesitation roll the wings as was seen in another thread posted by another can artist. I will post a tutorial for those who are interested in that method at a later date. However, there is another method I frequently utilize whenever I build these models for someone else and I know it is going to an environment where it will be handled and the potential for a dented or crease wing is high. To minimize this and build a more durable model, I have come up with the following method for building wings and control surfaces:


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    Here we start with our pieces required to build this surface. I have a top and bottom piece out of can, a less wider version out of aluminum sheeting and also a corresponding piece out of Darice foam.

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    Here in this next part of the sequence, you can see that I have sliced off about a 16th of an inch from the foam edges as this will help us create a durable airfoil that isnt rolled and at the same time will be optimal for handling.

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    Next, we glue the aluminum sheeting to the center of the wing to give it strength. And in the next photo in the sequence, we glue the Darice foam over the sheeting. You can see the edges of the can on either side of the foam:

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    Now at this point we gently roll those edges inward carefully, making certain not to crease them. Once they are rolled sufficiently, we are ready to glue the remaining can surface to the assembly:

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    And here it is. Doesn't look like much yet, but we still need the roll the edges in ward and seal them off with some can edging to prevent any cuts:


    [​IMG] :

    Now we are almost there. We have take a quarter inch strip of can for both edges, creased it in half over a ruler and then glued it to the front and rear edge of the wing surface. You can see the airfoil surface much better in the cutaway view here:

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    And the completed wing surface. To increase the airfoil, you merely increase the depth of foam by adding a slimmer piece to the center of the wing section to increase the height:

    [​IMG]

    Now we utilize these steps on our Mustang to build the wings and control surfaces and attach them to the model:

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    Our tail section and then our wings:


    [​IMG]

    More to come soon...
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2017 at 5:09 PM
  8. zathros

    zathros -----SENIOR---- Administrator Moderator

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    That's coming out really nice. Do you ever use wing spars?
  9. gman_93643

    gman_93643 New Member

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    Yes. If I am going to take one of these into competition, I generally roll the wings over formers and spars. If its a build for a particular person, I opt for the more durable building method as shown above. :)
  10. zathros

    zathros -----SENIOR---- Administrator Moderator

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    That poses my next question, these must be easy to make into R/C planes. I have a bunch of stuff, and a NACA airfoil chart. You have to make the airfoils a little thicker for real flight on smaller airplane models, as the physics do not scale down linearly. Getting the proper air foil for great glide potential is important. This method would make for a great glider, maybe with foam wings, but a super solid body, and the Can Metal nose section would center the center of gravity, allowing the center of lift t to be placed where you need it. A slot could be cut in the fuselage, and one the angle on incident and best position is established, the wing could be then glued permanently. I see one of these using a long rubber band mounting rail going very far and high! I love it!! :)
  11. gman_93643

    gman_93643 New Member

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    The airfoil can be increased by the addition of more foam. Additionally, the foam can be pressed into a specific shape given the right amount of force. I have actually heard of these being used in powered R/C applications so I have no doubt that they could be used in rubber band powered flight.

    I remember years ago building an F-15 for a Dentist's ADHD son. The plane was built rather ruggedly due to this fact. I got a call about a week after his son got it. Turns out the kid climbed the stairs and launched it off of the banister and according to the good Doctor, the aircraft flew for a duration until it crash landed in the kitchen! ;)
  12. zathros

    zathros -----SENIOR---- Administrator Moderator

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    I believe it. There's an old saying in aviation: 'If it looks right, it will fly". Of course how long and landing are something else entirely different. ;)
  13. spaceagent-9

    spaceagent-9 Right Hand Man and Confidant Moderator

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    That's a lot of great work!! How many band aids ?lol. It looks like its going to be a definite showpiece.
  14. gman_93643

    gman_93643 New Member

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    In the early days, LOTS. Shelling cans made my thumb a permanent pin cushion...Plus a fuselage piece glued to my forehead for four hours! :yesyes:
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  15. gman_93643

    gman_93643 New Member

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    Moving on on this build, we come to the canopy. In the years since I've started build I have for the most part abandoned can canopies unless the structural integrity of the model just doesn't warrant it. Whenever I can, I use clear vinyl to create these very important parts of the model.

    On this model, there are three separate canopy pieces, so we use a foam template to trace and cut out our clear vinyl pieces and carefully glue them to the inside of the can piece as shown here:

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    Next we take the remaining two pieces and we painstakingly cut out black can or even black industrial tape to overlay across the remaining canopy piece:

    [​IMG]


    Now we have our three completed canopy pieces using two slightly different methods to create the cockpit of this model and in my opinion, they will look far better than simply turning a can piece inside or simply drawing the lines onto a piece of can as I've seen done on some other models. When placed, I think you'll agree that this small effort has added some life and detail to the project:

    [​IMG]

    And here, we have the canopy pieces glued into position. As was mentioned previously, the details one can add to these models are endless, it merely requires a little more effort to truly make them pop!

    More to come soon...
  16. lizzienewell

    lizzienewell Member

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    Wow. I love how they're unpainted and so still look like cans.
  17. zathros

    zathros -----SENIOR---- Administrator Moderator

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    I do too. I was hoping we could have someone join with this kind of knowledge on the forum. This workmanship can be applied to any model template, including your beautiful models!! :)
  18. gman_93643

    gman_93643 New Member

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    That is the potential for the beauty of the art in my humble opinion. Most if not all of the models I build utilize the method of letting the cans fall where they may. Other builders I have met over the years have been known to deliberately line up the logos or cans in an effort to produce their own pattern. But as you can see, letting the art create itself can have a positive and stunning effect. There are times when I do choose to create a pattern, but it is not in lining up logos, but rather colors to produce something that one would not think could be replicated with cans. A few years ago, I was commissioned to build an Aggressor F-15 with its unique camouflage pattern. The focus was in replicating the colors rather than focusing on the logos, and I believe that this further contributed to an aesthetic beauty that one would perhaps otherwise not see. As you can see, either way, the potential for what can be created is unlimited:

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  19. gman_93643

    gman_93643 New Member

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    Again after more stimulating comments, once again moving on with the build. Next is the belly scoop of this particular model. In this case, it is in two pieces to better allow us to install it accurately on the bottom of the fuselage. Again I'm using the craft foam as a final template to improve the accuracy of the parts:

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    Just as we would with a paper model, the pieces are carefully rolled and shaped in order to fit the unique curve of the underside of the model. To roll can pieces without creasing them, I use a variety of tools such as wooden dowels and even golf putters, depending on the size of the parts in question:

    [​IMG]

    Again, I'm not aligning logos and I am just letting the patterns create themselves as we move along with construction of the model:

    [​IMG]

    Now that the belly scoop is complete, I am now moving on to the nose cowling and the prop assembly. In most of my prop driven aircraft, I build the propellers free moving and so there is some work to be done to make that happen. As we have done with the fuselage, we will use bulkhead construction to complete the cowling and then roll our nose cone:

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    And the completed cowling piece:

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    And now onto the nose cone:

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    And finally the propeller itself. Again, for me, this is a piece that comes into context depending on who the model is built for. As a result, there are various methods I utilize to build props depending on whether or not they will be handled by children versus adults, or if these models are going into competition. The most common method I utilize for propeller construction is shown below:

    [​IMG]

    Here we have our template piece used to trace and cut out a top and bottom prop from our can material as well as a corresponding piece out of aluminum sheeting. The sheeting is glued to the inside surface of one of our can pieces and then the remaining can piece is glued over top. This gives our prop strength and also better allows for it to be slightly spiraled into a more realistic shape. Here is a sample of how this can be done using photos from another build:

    [​IMG]

    And completed prop minus any modifications such as spiraling:

    [​IMG]

    And a better example from another prop driven model build. A small hole is drilled through the center of the prop and the cowling piece then a small nut and bolt or thumbtack in this case secured with hot glue is be used to create the free spinning prop:

    [​IMG]

    Our mustang prop is assembled and installed utilizing these techniques and we are ready to move on to the final touches on this particular model:

    [​IMG]

    More to come soon...
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2017 at 6:51 PM