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A maximum fun, minimum cost warbird:
The story of my all-foam Hawker Hurricane.
By Toni Reynaud
Part 1 – Building the fuselage
After the success of my all-foam Hercules, I wanted to
try building an all-foam WW2 warbird, and the Tony Nijhuis free plan for
the Hurricane seemed to be just right as a basis for me to work with.
There were several things to consider, not the least
of which was that for the fuselage - I thought I would just cut and hollow
it in a similar way to the Hercules, but studying the plan showed that
the rear part of the fuselage was strongly curved in two dimensions, so
that method of construction was not viable. I did consider cutting a block
of foam to the top and side views then sanding to profile, but that seemed
like a lot of work and mess. After a bit of internet research, I decided
on using the spine and former approach for the fuselage instead.
I started by cutting a spine from 6mm blue foam to the
outline of the side view. I then cut each fuselage former to the outlines
on the plan, and then removed 6mm from the centre line. Having marked
the positions on the spine, I glued the former halves in place. I stuck
3mm skins to the side of the fuselage, which stiffened it up nicely, and
covered the front sides and deck with single pieces of 3mm foam sheet,
shaped by rolling it over the edge of a worktop. The top rear deck was
too sharply curved to do the same, and there is also the kink where the
cockpit shape enters the rear fuselage, so I planked that section with
3mm foam. I then added control snakes for the rudder and elevator, and
finally closed the bottom of the fuselage with a slab of 10mm foam, and
sanded the whole thing to get rid of glue lines and approach the final
shape. 6mm doublers were added at the wing seating position.
The initial fuselage construction, showing
the central spine, formers and sides. Everything so far is built from
6mm thick blue foam.
Once the basic fuselage shape was completed,
it was time to add the false stringers. The positions of the these
was established using a graduated paper tape.
Having done that, I transferred the spacing
of the stringers from the formers on the plan to strips
of paper, and then on to the fuselage at the former stations.
Using my trusty X-Acto balsa stripper, I cut out loads
of 4mm strips from 1/32" balsa. These I glued to
the foam fuselage at the pre-marked spacing to represent
the stringers. The actual aircraft stringers could probably
be better represented by 2mm strips placed in true scale
positions, but that would be a lot more work.
Balsa false stringers being added.
The cowl started life as a basic box of
The Hurricane's cowling was formed from
four rough-cut blanks, and the position of the circular
F1 marked. I impaled the block on three cocktail sticks
for positioning on the front of the fuselage, and added
three spots of glue to hold it in place while carving/sanding.
I also made up the sub-fin with the tail wheel mounting
in place. This was then glued onto the bottom of the fuselage.
Cowl shaped, sanded and fitted in position.
The plywood nose ring was later replaced with a disc to which the
motor was attached.
Tail wheel and sub fin.
The last main job on the fuselage (apart from installing
the power system!) was to make the wing fillets. For these, I glued a
couple of layers of 6mm foam on to the sides of the fuselage above the
wing opening, glued 1/16” balsa along the wing seat area underneath,
and sanded the fillets to shape.
Fuselage showing wing fillets in position.