After a couple of successful test flights, I crashed my Hobbico Superstar EP. Badly. The front-end of the fuselage is in tatters, although the rest of the plane appears to be in pretty solid shape.
My question: Is there a good way to repair a shattered front-end (we're talking splinters for the motor compartment and cracked nose-end balsa to the battery compartment). Am I better off ordering a 'replacement fuselage'?
I'm new at this, so any help is welcome. I'm happy to post a picture of the damage if that helps with the assessment.
On 3/1/2004 3:03 PM Ted shuffled out of his cave and grunted these great (and sometimes not so great) words of knowledge:
Depending on your "skills", this will work.
Check the rest of the plane for damage. Many times there is damage in areas not directly related to the crash damage, such as cracked/broken wing ribs, cracked/broken fuselage stringers/longerons, horizontal/vertical stab cracked/broken loose, landing gear blocks, etc.
Remove (cut back) the covering to a little beyond the undamaged area and remove any splinters/pieces sticking out/etc.
Get some balsa of the same thickness as the sides where the nose is (was).
Draw the outline of the nose on the balsa and cut them out. Sand to shape as needed.
Do the same with any of the lite ply pieces that may need replacement (usually 1/8" lite ply). These will usually be your firewall, motor mount, etc.
Fit the sides in place and CA them in place - use some 1/32" or 1/16" balsa about 3/4" - 1" wide to cover/stiffen the joint on the INSIDE OF THE FUSELAGE. This will also provide some additional strength.
I suggest THIN CA for balsa to balsa and MEDIUM CA for any ply to balsa or ply to ply joints.
Fit the new lite ply pieces (if any are needed) in place and CA in place. The remnants of the original will show you if you need to add any balsa triangle stock to the rear of them for support.
Sand the outside (especially the glue joint(s). Cover the outside with some matching film of the same color (I believe it is MonoKote) and re-install the motor, ESC, etc.
Rebalance the plane.
I realize this sounds complicated and a lot of work, but it really isn't. If you are careful in your work, the repair should not be noticeable. Depending on the extent of additional damage, this is a lot cheaper than a new fuselage.
Your decision will depend a lot on your "building skills" and the extent (if any) of additional damage.
I'll second Ted's comments. It does take time, but can be well worth the effort to rebuild a plane with a bashed nose. One of my favorite planes has been bashed and rebuilt twice now. It now has the original wing which required minor repair, but the fuselage is totally new from the trailing edge of the wing forward.