Between all the holiday interruptions and playing with my new Elegoo Mars 2 Pro 3D printer, I’ve been working on the decals for the X-15 models. In the process of researching the markings for these birds, I found that the particular flight of X-15-3 that I’m modeling did not have the ventral rudder installed. In fact there were more flights made without the ventral rudder the there were with it. The ventral and dorsal rudders were one piece wedges that moved in unison with each other. It seems that at high angles of attack the ventral rudder was actually destabilizing. So for many flights it was not installed.
Since I had already assembled X-15-3 and in fact I had primed it as well, I need to do some surgery to remove it. I used my knife with a sharp #11 blade and slowly started making cuts at the panel line (which was also a glue line) to remove it. It took a few careful strokes before it finally came off nice and clean.
Now the air brake actuator that was originally mostly hidden was exposed for all to see. This means that I need to add some more details. I did a bit of extra sculpting on the installed actuator to clean it up a bit. I then started on scratch building a main hydraulic piston. I used the same diameter styrene rods that I used on X-15-1. I made the small rod longer than necessary and I’ll trim it off after fitting it.
I then turned my attention to the air brakes. The opening in the installed kit part ends far too soon. Not a problem with the rudder attached, but with the rudder gone you can easily see that the air brake vanes appear too short. I remedied this by carving more of the part off until I had a depth that I could live with. Then I laid the piston in place and noted where to trim the small rod. I angled the back of the larger rod to match the carving that I had done and trimmed the small rod to the proper length and slightly thinned it where it would attach to the air brake actuator hub. It was all glued in with some Tenax 7R.
It ended up not looking too bad. Now back to prime it again and get it ready for paint.
More decal work to do, more to come. Thanks for looking.