MD500 Tow Defender Build Page 13
Painting - (Inside/Outside) and Final Assembly after painting:
I am now finally getting to the painting part of this project. It's probably a good thing I crashed this heli or I may never have taken it apart just to paint. I was just starting to enjoy flying it after getting all the bugs and things worked out. But I knew the time would come for painting. I am going to paint it using a camo three color scheme. The interior will be all black as I think that is a good way to hide the mechanics and other non perfect build issues. I am sure I have said it already, but I really stink at painting and I am not looking forward to this step. I still have some work to do on the Tow missle pods, but that won't keep me from going ahead with the main fuselage paint work.
Getting everything masked off and ready for painting is something I really hate doing,
but here it is ready for the paint booth.
Here the front and rear fuselage sections have been painted.
Now the front, rear, and cockpit assemblies are all done and dry.
Missle pods are glued and drying. The TOW missle cones are going to be painted red so
I have not glued them on for ease of painting. I will glue after they're painted.
Here the parts are all masked off and ready for primer. the masking actually wasn't as bad
as I thought it was going to be, but it did take hours to do everything. I masked the holes for
the skid struts, the rear facing vents, etc... Added up to lots of areas to mask off.
The first and hopefully only coat of primer is done. The primer itself worked very well.
I am using a two part system, OMNI MP182 surfacer and MH165 hardener. I also used a
mini detail spray gun from Harbor Freight tools. Price was around $20. It worked well but
I found out about half way through this that the spray nossle was too small. This did cause
me some issues that I had to work through. I also found out my mini paint booth I made needs
a little more down draft when painting something the large. For airbrushing it works great.
Here we are with the first color coat done. It's Olive Drab. I left some spot
unpainted as I knew they are going to be a different color.
The second color is complete. There is a bit of overspray just like
the full size model this is painted after.
Here's the third color completed. There is only one color left, burnt red.
While I am not a painter by any means, the third coat of paint thurned out pretty good I think. I did a
cardboard cutout and then sprayed the inside of it arranging it in differnet patterns. This method worked
very well and really cut down on overspray. Now I know how some of the pros do it (I think).
I also tried to have a gap between front and back sections so the paint would also wrap around the mating
areas and not leave a line of different unmatched colors. This also turned out pretty good.
Today I worked on the TOW missiles. Finished up the painting. remounted the mechanical latch that holds
the TOW pods onto the heli. I still need to come up with some way to seal the rear of the missile pods, but right
now I don't know what it should look like. More research needed here. So for now this is it.
Mounted and ready for action.
The main and lower windshield assembly was a bit of a challenge. Because I did not want to permanently glue them in I used
some rubber window flange from Tower Hobbies #FOR134. The two hardest things were getting the windows cut to right size. That
was mostly lots of try the fit, go cut some more off. Then the hardest part of getting two egg shaped curved windows installed into
the tiny little slit in the flange. This took a few hours of trial and error, taking a break so as not to throw it all in the trash, then trying
again and again. I also needed three or more hands at times to push, bend, and use a small screwdriver to move the flange material
around the windows. I also used a small amount of GOOP on the corners of each window. I have never used the flange stuff before and
I am just not sure how well it holds. I don't want a window flying up into the rotor head. So below are all the photos I took of the fun.
So here you can see the main and the lower window installed. I ran out of flange to finish the bottom window today.
I will finish it when my next order shows up.
Wow!! Someone needs to clean these windows now, yikes...
Seats are in the paint booth ready for paint. I masked off the center because I will be hot glueing the seat cushons down.
Seats are painted and mounted in place.
Five point seat belts the pilots will be wearing. These are a pain to assemble.
Here the two pilots are just hanging out getting to know each other.
The pilot is PeggyB and the co-pilot is KellyB. Here you can Kelly trying on one boot.
Here pilot PeggyB is fully suited and strapped in for a test fit. She looks ready.
Here both pilots are suited up and checking things out.
Here it is very close to completed. Just some touch up paint work.
A few more photos outside before it's maiden flight after last falls crash. After the crash repair I decided it was time
to paint it. Because of that I never did a test flight to make sure everything was good again. I just decided that I knew
I had done a good job repairing and that it would work fine. That might be a big assumption, but it paid off. I test flew
it after these photos and worked fine. Blade tracking was off a little and that was about it.
I had also changed the motor pinion from a 14T to a 13T to reduce rotor speed and still keep the ESC in the 80% - 90%
throttle range. I may go down to a 12T pinion yet for one more test flight. This is just based on the look and sound of the
blades. I still need to check ESC log data, but I think one less tooth would be perfect. Now that I have gotten this far I know
that I should have picked a lower Kv motor. Live and learn I guess. This was my first real scale build and I think I learned alot.