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American Design

The North American Aviation P-51 Mustang was an American long-range single-seat fighter aircraft that entered service with Allied air forces in the middle years of World War II. The P-51 became one of the war's most successful and recognizable aircraft a clear and easy choice for many RC enthusiasts, myself included.

Take Two.

This will be my second attempt at a P51. This first turned out as a very nice looking static display that broke apart when it tried to fly. This time I modeled in Sketchup first, designed to be built quickly and without too many details. I plan to use the following parts and tools:

  • EPS 1-1/2 inches
  • Tin and tin snips
    (For Templates)
  • A hot wire cutter
  • A homemade vacuum former
    (and some PET-G stock plastic 0.03")
  • A vacuum formed canopy
    (from a foam carved mold)
  • A low temp hot glue gun
    (and some glue)

Enough talk, on with the pics!

P-51, P51, drawn in Sketchup to produce cheap plans

Cutting the Parts

Template drawn in sketchup are cut out of foam

In the above set of pics the process is simple enough, lay down the template and skore a line with the knife. The fuselage template is then flipped over and aligned to skore the remaining half. This template could have been a single part, but it would take more paper to print out. Also, it should be considered that both sides would not be uniform given my cutting skills. The next pic shows how I align the flipped template.

P51, P-51 parts being cut out of foam

Here's some of parts laid out.

RC P51, P-51 parts are laid out for assembly

I've been asked about the rough shaped templates, with the hard corners, on parts that have a more natural shape. Since it would take hours longer to unfold shuch modles I simplify the process and complete that task when I actually cut out the parts. The following pic shows the leading profile of the P51, directly behind the spinner. This part is a perfect circle, but was modeled as an 8 sided polygon. Accounting for the thickness of the foam, a line is offset 1/8 inch inside the polygon. The template is cut out, then a compass is used to make that circle, the radius meeting the points of the polygon. In more recent models I've been redrawing the parts for a more accurate fit, this is done as the very last step in modeling the part in sketchup.

hand cutting P-51 mustang parts out of foam

The next set of pictures shows a dry fit of the leading section of the fuse. The polygon effect is negligible as the part is a perfect fit.

Dry fit of RC P51 aircraft parts

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