The Corsair82: 82% F4U-1A Corsair

Here you can see the process of producing the molds for the canopy.
1a.jpg
The windscreen mold was built in the usual manor.
2a.jpg
Now I must use the canopy frame to build a canopy mold.
3a.jpg
Wooden bracing is added for stiffness.
4a.jpg
A welding rod id added to define the curve of the canopy.
5a.jpg
I used a strip of molding to define the shape of the canopy. The curve of the molding strip was traced onto many sheets of black poster board and placed a few inches apart in the frame.
6a.jpg
A plug is about to take shape.
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Canned foam is applied to the spaces between the poster boards.
8a.jpg
Many hours of hand sanding defines the shape of the canopy.
9a.jpg
This will be the plug needed to build the canopy mold.
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The plug is surfaced with drywall plaster. (The dry stuff that comes in a sack). The frame is added to be sure the shape still fits.
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More plaster is added to fill depressed areas and the frame is outlined on the plug.
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Ends are added to facilitate building the mold.
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Gel coat added.
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The mold is done.
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The mold is braced with a wooded frame.
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The mold is painted to protect it from UV.
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A canopy “splash’ has been made in the mold. I want to fit it before I have a Plexiglas canopy made.
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The splash is trimmed.
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The “canopy” is fit in the frame.
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The frame is now being modified to fit the curves of the canopy and the “armor plate” is added to the rear of the canopy. This will actually be a plug for a new canopy frame.
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A check for fit is made.
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Gel coat is applied.
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Now a new mold is made for the canopy frame.
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The frame plug is disassembled so I can make a new plug for the canopy. This is necessary because the shape of the canopy was altered during the fitting process.
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Shaping the new canopy plug.
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Cleaning it up.
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Adding support.
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Gel coat.
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The new canopy mold.
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Here is the new canopy frame mated to a new canopy splash.
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The Plexiglas canopy was made in my mold by “Airplane Plastics”. I think it looks great. (disregard the paint job on the frame, it was just a quickie for the picture)
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Not a wave or distortion can be seen.
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It took over a year to get this far, but it was worth it.
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Now I need to build a new molds for the windscreen and the windscreen frame.
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The new frame plug taking shape.
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A lot of modification was needed.
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A view from the left side of the airplane.
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Gel coat…again!
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The frame mold is done.
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A view from the front.
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The new windscreen frame mold.
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These are all parts no longer needed. The bag is full of trash left over from this process as well.
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I skipped the detail on the new windscreen mold. It was done in the usual way. Here is a picture of the new windscreen made by “ Airplane Plastics”.
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Front view.
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“Airplane Plastics” make each part twice. First an part is made with a thinner or left over sheet of Plexiglas. When I advised them that the part fit, they then made the real part. This was done for both the canopy and the windscreen. The dark windscreen was the test part. You see three generations of the windscreen in this picture. To the far left the real canopy is wrapped in a plastic sheet. Both the canopy and windscreen are ¼” Plexiglas. I’m very happy with the way the whole thing came out, even though the process took almost a year and a half.


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