Using Panel Lines to Verify the Fuselage Shape

In every creative process, after each “big step forward” you have to stop and carefully examine the results. Usually you have to make various corrections (sometimes minor, sometimes major), before taking the next step. This post describes such minor corrections that I had to make after mapping the key texture of the panel lines.

In my first post published in October, I drew the panel lines on the model, then compared them with the photos. Sometimes a minor difference between their layouts can lead to a discovery of an error in the fuselage shape. I in that post already found and fixed an issue in the shape of the tailplane fillet.

I also mentioned (see Figure 65‑9 in previous post) that I can see a difference in the bottom part of the wing fillet. Now I would like to resume my analysis at this point (Figure 67‑1):

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Figure 67-1 Difference in the shape of the wing fillet bottom seam

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Modeling Bottom Fuselage (2)

Sometimes the relatively simple shapes may require some substantial amount of work. In the previous post I created the basic shape of the bottom fuselage. It occurred quite complicated, because I decided to recreate the opening of the bomb bay “in the mesh”, instead of using the Boolean modifier. In this post I will complete the remaining details, enlisted in Figure 28‑1:

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Figure 28‑1 The details on the bottom of the SBD fuselage that I will recreate in this post

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Modeling Wing Root Fairing (2)

In this post I will recreate the forward part of the wing root fairing. Basically, it is a variable radius fillet. It starts just at the wing leading edge and transforms smoothly into the cone of the rear wing fairing (Figure 26‑1):

Figure 26-1 Forward part of the wing root fairing in the SBD Dauntless
Figure 26-1 Forward part of the wing root fairing in the SBD Dauntless

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Modeling Wing Root Fairing (1)

In this post I will finish the rear part (the most difficult in this aircraft!) of the wing root fairing. I started this fairing in the previous post.

I previously formed the basic cone, up to the trailing edge. I created it as a separated object, to easier modify its topology. Now I copied into this mesh the further fragment of the fuselage, above the fairing (Figure 25‑1a):

Figure 25-1 New elements of the fairing mesh
Figure 25-1 New elements of the fairing mesh

I also created a small rounded edge along the trailing edge of the wing (Figure 25‑1b) (more precisely — along its closing wedge, as in Figure 25‑1c).

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Modeling the Fuselage (2)

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):

Figure 24-1 Additional “bulkhead” edges
Figure 24-1 Additional “bulkhead” edges

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).

Continue reading Modeling the Fuselage (2)