Overall, the surface detail on the Fiat is satisfactory, but the control surface separation lines are rather shallow and vague. So I decided to separate the control surfaces.
Using the back of a scalpel blade, I scraped at the aileron separation lines, deepening them. I found the back of the scalpel preferable because it scores straight and well, with little temptation to wander. The scalpel also scrapes a narrower trench than a #11 xacto blade. The deepened lines should work well in defining the ailerons from the wing surface.
With the rudder, elevator and flaps, I decided to get a bit more aggressive, and removed them using the scalpel blade and a JLC razor saw. I’m planning to pose them a bit more dynamically, but I have to say, this was NOT the kit to test this technique on! The plastic is easily some of the thickest I’ve ever encountered.
After a lot of hacking, sawing, swearing and flirting with repetitive-stress injury, I finally got the flaps, elevators and rudder separated.
I’d originally intended to cut around the elevator and rudder hinges, but it just wasn’t happening, so I hacked straight through them with the intention of rebuilding them later.
After getting everything cut away, I started down the road of putting everything back together again.
Rudder and Elevators
After trimming away some flash, I kicked off the repair work by gluing the rudder and elevator halves together. In the case of the stabilizers and elevators, I marked the parts TP (top port), TS (top starboard) and so on to avoid later confusion. Thank goodness. This turned out to be a very good idea!
After gluing all the halves together, I trenched out the stabilizers and tail with files to create curved “channels” for the control surfaces to fit into. Where cuts had gone awry (the fault of a failed attempt to use a jeweler’s saw), I “fenced” the overcut portions with strip styrene, stuffed the gap with slivers and strips of styrene scrap, and let Tenax weld the crap out of them. Once they cured, it was a simple matter to cut the excess away and sand things down. I also added the hinge tabs, again with some Evergreen strip, and sanded it down into a “D” shape.
On the elevators and rudder, more Evergreen strip was added to the “hinge” side, then attacked with a sanding stick and sanded into a gentle curve to mate up with the stabs and tail. The hinge positions were filed out to accomodate the new ones, then everything was fit together.
Not too shabby!
And here’s a look at the tail surfaces after the stabilizers were attached:
While the flaps were far easier to remove from the kit, adding them back and posing them open proved much more involved. The reason? Recreating all of the internal flap detail (click for embiggened images):
Progress on the flaps actually stalled out for some time as the rest of the Fiat started to come together. Once the wings came together, I was able to box in the flap internals on the wing side.
Next, I cut replacement flaps from Evergreen sheet styrene. This was the easy part.
The challenge of adding the internal supports had me flummoxed for several days. Not on how to space them or attach them, but how to make them in the first place. After asking around, someone suggested using playing cards instead of sheet styrene…which led me to stencil paper.
This paper – which you can find at Hobby Lobby or comparable – actually appears to be more plastic than paper. It behaves almost like frosted acetate, so who knows? Whatever the case, it takes pencil well, and it’s one of the few materials I’ve tested that doesn’t curl when cut with scissors. And better still? It can be welded in place with Tenax.