Blade 400 Jet Ranger Build

This is my first attempt at putting a fuselage on a helicopter. The fuselage is made of lexan. I selected the Bell Jet Ranger fuselage from ?? because it was very cheap, $25, and they were out of the Airwolf fuses. I put the fuselage on my Blade 400 3D in hopes of getting a better profile of it when I am flying in the yard, old eyes I guess. I will provide a brief explaination of each step along with a photo or two. Hope this helps you in your heli project.

Step 1: Trimming out the parts.

You must becareful when trimming not to slip and cut up into the body. I found a sissor works well as the blades works for guiding and cutting at the same time. I used M300M glue. It is what was recomended at my local hobby store. Seemed to work pretty good for me.

Step 2: Tear down of heli for new fuselage fitting.

Here you can see the heli before, and then the after teardown.

Step 3: Test fitting the Fuselage.

You must do a rough cut opening for the main shaft / swash plate to exit the fuselage. I installed the battery to get a feel for how it would fit. You can also see that I had to make some Basswood spacer to get the fuselage in the position I wanted. I used Basswood because it seems a little stronger than Balsa, and it still pretty light weight. I secured the Basswood spacer using the original screws that held the landing gear in place. I also glued the tail boom onto the rear half of the main fuselage body. Follow the directions on glue bottle. NOTE 1: You want to try to eliminate any air gaps between the two peices you are glueing, otherwise you will notice these gaps after painting. If you paint on the outside of the fuselage then you will not see any gaps. I painted on the inside because I think it will keep the paint looking good longer, maybe not. I will find out. Now continue with the other half of the fuselage. This side will need part of the tail boom cut away to fit around the tail rotor shaft. This part was quite a bit of check, cut, test fit, over and over until it looked good. NOTE 2: The bottom of the fuselage will not be glued together. That way you can just split it apart and slide it of the heli frame if you need to do any work. Only the top seams are glued. The other thing that I did not get a photo of was the bottom of the main fuselage has the center cut out. You can see this later on in this build after painting is done. The fuselage is secured to the heli frame by using small screws into the Basswood spacers, (This too can be seen in later photos. Sorry, I guess I got a little behind in the photo shooting), and buy some lexan tabs I made using scrap matterial as shown in the last photo. You can also see that I used the exsisting canopy mounting rod to secure the top portion of the fuselage. You could put them on before painting for a better look.

Step 4: Painting the Fuselage.

Painting is something I really stink at. Partly because I am too impatient, and partly because no matter what I do, paint always seems to get under my masking tape. Anyway, make sure you use paint the is for use on lexan. Mask off where you need to, and start painting. I am not going into painting details, I stink at it. Also you may choose to paint the outside of the fusealge instead of the inside, totally up to you.

Step 5: Glue and Mounting the rear Fuselage halves and Tail Boom.

Again I used magnets and tape to aid in the glue and assembly process. You also may need to do more cutting and fitting to get things to line up nicely. You can also see in the second photo how I secure the front half of the fuselage. The front on my heli needs to be removed for battery installation and removal. So I slide the front section on the frame and pust the canopy mounting rod all the way through. You will need to mark and drill holes of coarse before you can do this. Right now the bottom of the front fuselage is just a friction fit. I will eventually use a magnet or velcro to secure it. I will probably do the same for the sides as it is a pain getting everything to line up sometimes.

Step 7: Mounting the Landing Gear.

This is the only photo I have of the landing gear. It is screwed on using wood screws into the Basswood spacer. Make sure you install the landing gear in the same for/aft position as it was when mounted to the heli frame. If not your helicopter may want to tip forward or backwards.

Due to circumstances beyond my control, there will be no more photos in this build series. While flying in my yard I lost control and crashed hard. The fuselage was destroyed, and with it, any chance for more photos to show the finished heli. I think there are enough photos through out to give a pretty good idea what it looked like. I will post a video if I can find anyone who has one.

I used magnets to aid in the assembly process. You can use them to hold the top seams together while you fit, trim, and secure the bottom of the fuselage. Again there is a lot of test fitting going here, so take your time. More time spent now will be rewarded later when you are done and everything fits, and looks great. You will notice I do not have the mounting tabs shown in these photos. That is because I came up with the idea later in the build. At this point I did not know what I was going to do. I just kept working knowing that something would pop in my head sooner or later. Once you are satified with how everything fits you are ready to glue the two halves together. I tried to work my way down from the front fuse to the end of the tail. It was not pretty. Some kind of glue and clamping jig would probably yield better results. I do not know for sure. I have never done this before. Good luck is all I have to say right now until I get more experience doing this.

Step 6: Glue and Mounting the front Fuselage halves.