In this post I will begin the wing root fairing and recreate the tail of this SBD fuselage.
To be able to fit the fuselage to the wing, I started by creating a new set of the “bulkhead” edges. I placed them at the stations of the original bulkheads (Figure 24‑1):
In most airplanes the wing root fairing and tailplane fairing are created from additional sheet metal elements, fastened to the fuselage with multiple bolts. In the case of the SBD lineage — Northrop Alpha, Gamma and BT-1 — the wing root fairing was the integral part of the fuselage structure. (However, the SBD tailplane fairing had the conventional, “fastened” design).
In previous post I created a simplified model of the SBD fuselage that helped me to identify the eventual troubles in the modeling process. In this post I will create the mid-fuselage (more precisely: its upper part).
I always try to think ahead about the mesh topology required for a given shape. In the case of the subdivision surfaces that are used here, this approach is extremely useful. When you place vertices of the initial bulkhead in the proper places, it greatly simplifies further modeling. To mark some “longeron” edges as “sharp” (Crease = 1), I started with a thin mesh “strip” instead of a single contour (Figure 23‑1):
Before I start forming the mesh of the SBD fuselage, I will prepare an auxiliary object: the simplified version that will help me to grasp the general concept of its shape. I will describe it in this post.
In the first step, I created the three key bulkheads (Figure 22‑1):
In this post I will finish the “general modeling” phase of the wing, recreating the last missing elements. Of course, the result presented in this section is not the “final product”. It is just detailed enough for the next phase — applying textures and materials. (I will do it when I form the whole model). After applying the textures I will come back to this wing during the detailing phase, and recreate all its small details (like various small openings, aileron hinges, running lights, landing light, etc.).
Finishing the wheel bay, I decided to add the rounded flange around its edges (Figure 21‑1):
I just did it because I do not like to see a non-realistic, “suspended in the air” edge of an opening. A part of this flange has to fit into the bottom of the fuselage. At this moment I left on that flange an “informal”, elevated fragment. I will fit it to the fuselage when it will be ready.
Inside the Dauntless landing gear bay (which I cut out in the previous post) you can see fragment of the wing internal structure. Because I plan to create this model with retractable landing gear, I have to recreate these details. During this “general modeling” phase I will create here just the few key ribs and spars. I will show it in this post. The remaining details have to wait for the detailing phase.
Examining the photos I identified two auxiliary spars and three ribs as the key elements of this structure (Figure 20‑1):