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KitMaker Network

Vacuform Basics

Opening up cockpits and other areas
With the parts cut out, now's the time for a test fit and to start thinking about opening up the cockpit and other openings like wheel-wells etc. I do a test fit first to make sure areas like the cockpit actually line up - there's nothing more fun than to carefully clean up the openings in each fuselage half and then find they don't match!

The "score & flex" method works fine if the cockpit reaches the edge of part (as in the case of Koster's Martin Maryland in the photos) - just be careful you don't bend the part too much, but areas like windows and undercarriage openings need a different approach...

To clean out these openings, whatever you do - don't try to cut it them straight out - it's all too easy for the knife to slip and cause an accident to you or the model. What I do is drill a series of small holes inside the edge of the scrap area. Once the holes are all drilled, simply joint them up by "nibbling" and scoring with a scalpel and clean up the jagged edge with a file and wet 'n dry. This method takes a little longer, but it's much more controllable than just hacking with a knife.

Hopefully that wasn't too painful... I normally have the have the main parts of a vacuformed kit cut out and clean in an hour or so. The encouraging thing is that, with the parts prepared correctly, you're all ready to tackle the rest of the build, safe in the knowledge that the two most dreaded tasks in vacuform modelling are behind you. From here on it's up to your own skills - like any short-run kit, what you get out is largely down to what you put in. But that's why we're modellers, isn't it!
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About Rowan Baylis (Merlin)

I've been modelling for about 40 years, on and off. While I'm happy to build anything, my interests lie primarily in 1/48 scale aircraft. I mostly concentrate on WW2 subjects, although I'm also interested in WW1, Golden Age aviation and the early Jet Age - and have even been known to build the occas...