Part 4 - Assembling the Cockpit and Fuselage

Sticking with the plan to paint certain parts of this build, I will be painting the interior portions of the cockpit and certain other interior pieces.

I used the Tamiya Metal Primer rattle can to prep all the cockpit white metal pieces.

For the wood floor, I had a sheet of HGW wood grain decal. I also painted the cockpit floor piece a buff tan color. But it turns out this version of the wood grain decal is opaque and not translucent so prepainting wasn’t required after all.

To match my Tamiya P-51 build, I am using the same BarracudaCals cockpit stencils and HGW seatbelts.

Here are the painted pieces and the floor with the wood grain decal applied.

At first I thought the instruments for the panel were a decal. Turns out they are a glossy color photo. I wasn’t too impressed just by looking at the photo.

But once they were in place behind the panel, they actually looked realistic. They seem to have a bit of depth to them and the glossy finish made it appear that there was a glass window.

Here are all the cockpit pieces painted and with the placards attached. I also used some of the Archer Details metallic rub on placards on the O2 and hydraulic reservoirs just to liven them up a bit. 

Now it was time to assemble the fuselage. The firewall is made out of three layers of photo etch panels. It appears as though the tiny folded tabs on the fuselage halves would just be glued to the back of the firewall. I though, this is never going to hold!

Turns out the smart engineers knew that as well and  the tabs actually fit into the slots created by the 3 layers of photo etch! It made for a very strong hold and for perfect alignment as well!

Everything was going together so smoothly that I forgot to stop and take progress photos! 
Before I knew it, I was already putting on the radiator and scoops vent parts.

They are mostly white metal as well and match the metallic color of the real aircraft, so I didn’t paint them.

The final steps to finishing the cockpit and fuselage section is to run the radiator and other hoses under the cockpit floor. The kit provides 2 diameters of solder or fuse wire to easily bend and fold in order to run them through all the nooks and crannies.

The instructions provided scale drawings of the proper lengths to be cut. Another nice touch!

I couldn’t find a good reference for which hoses might have been rubber and which might have been aluminum tubing, so I just decided to leave them all a natural metal color and simply dress them up with some 1mm black tape to make them look like there were joints or connectors.

Here they are in place.

Here are some overall shots of the cockpit and fuselage (before radiator hose installation).

Next up, the tail assembly!