Modeling the Tailplane Fairing

In the previous post I formed horizontal tailplane of the SBD Dauntless. In this part I will describe how I created the fairing between this tailplane and the fuselage. It is an easier part than the wing root fairing, because it is smaller and most of its cross sections are not circular.

At the beginning I cut out from the stabilizer its middle segment, along the root rib (Figure 34‑1):

Figure 34-1 Initial elements of the fairing

Then I “draw” the outer contour of this fairing in the side view. I also checked it in the reference photo (as you can see in Figure 34‑1).

Then I projected this “sketched” outer contour onto the fuselage. I did it by extruding its polyline into a face strip that crosses fuselage surface (Figure 34‑2a), then finding the intersection edge of this mesh with the fuselage (Figure 34‑2b):

Figure 34-2 Projecting the outer edge of the fairing onto the fuselage surface

The intersection edge was calculated by one of my Blender add-ons (named Intersection — you can download it from here). In general, it would be easier to extrude this edge horizontally (because I sketched this contour in the side view). However, I was afraid that the add-on will lost the track of the upper rear part of this mesh (the part that crosses just the upper tip of the fuselage surface). That’s why I initially shifted this contour close to the fuselage, and extruded it in a more-or-less perpendicular direction to the fuselage surface.

All in all, after this operation I have the three edges, which is enough to create the first version of a smooth fairing (Figure 34‑3):

Figure 34-3 Basic edges of the fairing

Figure 34‑4 shows the initial smooth, subdivided mesh based on these three edges:

Figure 34-4 First approximation of the fairing

It starts to resemble the original element. I created here the new row of faces, from the middle edge to the outer contour. Then, before creating this screenshot, I switched the display mode to the resulting subdivision surface.

To have better control over the shape of this fairing, I inserted two additional edge loops into this mesh (Figure 34‑5):

Figure 34-5 Improving the fairing mesh

These additional vertices were extremely useful in shaping the bottom edge of this fairing, which had a semi-circular cross section (Figure 34‑6):

Figure 34-6 Further modifications

In the most of the aircraft designs the fairing is just a piece of sheet metal bolted over the fuselage skin. In the SBD Dauntless it was an integral part of the fuselage skin (except the area around the stabilizer leading edge). Thus I had to extend the bottom part of this mesh, copying the fragment of the fuselage surface (as you can see in Figure 34‑6).

Figure 34‑7 shows the finished fairing. As you can see, it smoothly fits the fuselage:

Figure 34-7 Finished fairing

It was not necessary, but I also created the rear spar of this tailplane — just because I do not like to see a large empty space in a finished element (the fuselage is not finished, yet!).

In this source *.blend file you can evaluate yourself the model from this post.

In the next post I will create the fin and the rudder.


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