Matt Stein Models
Depicting
AIRCRAFT LANDING GEAR

Using the "Glue Drop" construction method


Molded into the undersurfaces of Matt Stein Models' aircraft are dimples to position and attach landing gear struts. Landing gear themselves are not provided, but the following describes a very easy, quick and effective method for making them:

1. With the tip of a sharp kinfe (e.g., X-Acto #11 blade), hollow out each locator dimple slightly; as needed to ensure a distinct, clean socket.

2. Cut lengths of plastic (polystyrene) dowel, to serve as the landing gear struts, from stretched sprue or aftermarket rod stock. Appropriate lengths and diameters of these gear for Matt Stein Models' aircraft are:

AD-1 or AD-5/5W SKYRAIDER (1/1550 scale)
Main Landing Gear: 0.015" diameter x 0.08" long; mounted 0˚ (vertical)
Tail Landing Gear: 0.010" diameter x0.03" long; mounted 0˚ (vertical)

AJ/KAJ SAVAGE (1/550 scale)
Main Landing Gear: 0.015" diameter x 0.125" long; mounted 0˚ (vertical)
Nose Landing Gear: 0. 015" diameter x0.10" long; mounted 0˚ (vertical)

HSS SEABAT (1/550 scale)
Main Landing Gear: 0.015" diameter x 0.15" long; mounted pitched outboard to contact lower gear arms.
Tail Landing Gear: 0.010" diameter x0.06" long; mounted pitched forward 45˚

S2F/E-1/C-1 TRACKER/TRACER/TRADER (1/550 scale)
Main Landing Gear: 0.015" diameter x 0.09" long; mounted 0˚ (vertical)
Nose Landing Gear: 0. 015" diameter x0.04" long; mounted pitched forward 30˚


Mount these in the locator sockets, making sure to set each at the correct angle, using superglue (cyano-acrylate).


3. Dip each strut end in a viscous polystyrene cement:
This example is using Testors© Red Formula plastic cement, which has a consistency approximating honey. Dip the strut end sufficient to create a droplet about 2/3 the diameter of the desired wheel on the end of the strut; usually about 3x the strut thickness.

4. Let the glue droplet to begin to cure - again, for the example using Testors© Red Formula - some 15-30 minutes and then gently flatten its sides:
Use a tweezing tool - tweezers, forceps, pliers, etc.; a hemostat is shown here - which has inner jaws both smooth and closing as nearly parallel to each other as possible. Be sure to squeeze - to hold the tool - so that pressure is straight inboard from the sides.

Squeeze very GENTLY, creating a disk about 2/3 as thick as the desired wheel; accordingly the diameter will flare out - to slightly more than desired for the wheel - but further curing of the glue will contract it to correct this.

5. Should you find the wheel hangs down too low or the strut was too long, the disk can be reformed and repositioned at the same time:

As required, recompress or reshape a wheel by gently pushing it up to telescope over the strut, as shown. To do this, open the blunt-ended jaws of your tool (a hemostat is ideal) to about twice the strut diameter and - again, GENTLY - roll the edges of the glue disk back up its shank. Dip the resulting mushroom-like shape once in clean, fresh glue; it will remelt the disk and strut end, which can then be reshaped per the procedure from Step 4 onward.

For the main (forward) gear of the HSS Seabat helicopter the above is always required; to get its wheels up level with the lower arms. Flattening can subsequent be done from outboard (only), using the flat side of a knife or chisel blade.

6. When appropriately sized and positioned disks are achieved, dip each once in clean, fresh glue:

This will partially re-melt the disks and strut tips and, combined with the "memory" of the already-curing glue, will produce more thicker, rounded rims approximating the appearance of tires on the wheels.

When fully cured, wheels can be touched up, if required, by sanding VERY gingerly with a medium-fine grit small file or emery board, and further slight adjustment made using paint as a filler.


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Copyright ©2006 Matthew M. Stein


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