I'm not familiar with the aftermarket set, so I don't know how you are
If you need to remove a panel but leave the rest of the fuselage intact,
the best alternative is to drill holes inthe area to be removed,
overlapping them to take out the core of the removed area, then dress
the edges with riffler files.
If you're talking about cutting the fuselage in half to insert a plug,
so that both ends of the fuselage are retained, a razor saw is best, but
take great care to get true cuts so you don't lose material to sanding
the joints true.
If the ideea is to cut off one end and discard it, the razor saw is
again the ticket, but cut slightly outside the final join line so you
will have material to dress the cut.
In some cases, a resonable alternative is to use a scriber to cut
through the plastic--this requires patience and very careful guide
prep--use Dymo tape for the guides.
And there's the old adage: measure twice, cut once. It doesn't hurt to
mark on the plastic to make sure you are cutting just where you want to.
I'm not familiar with the term 'riffler files'. Can you elaborate on that
for me please? I've bought a 1/48 version of the same kit to practice on so
that when I come to do the 1/72 I should know where to cut but I'd like to
make sure I have the right tools for the job :-)
Thanks again for such a detailed response,
I have a set of small rifflers that duplicate all the common file
shapes, but the two ends (identical) are bent at an angle (much like the
stylized 's' on an SS badge) which allows you many angles of attack to
the plastic without the rest of the file getting in the way. Most large
hardware shops have sets like this, as do some hobby shops and a number
of web hobby-tool sources.
Not sure just what sort of "cut" you are making, but from years of model car
conversions here, I have some techniques that should work just fine on an
aircraft as well:
If the cut being made is a simple one, say cutting away an entire section of
the fuselage or wing, for the purpose of grafting on a new one, I use masking
tape to mark the "cut line" (this works on straight cuts, where the part or
component is being cut straight through, as in cutting it in half). I simply
mark the point at where the cut is to be made, at several points as needed, in
order to ensure the cut will be straight and as true as possible. I lay the
tape up next to this line, on the portion that I am keeping, again taking care
to make sure that I have the line both straight and true. The watchword here
is to "measure twice, cut once", as it is far easier to remove excess material
than it is to add back material where too much has been cut away (can be done,
but makes for a lot of work!). I then make the cut with a razor saw to the
edge of the taped line, which will be just a tad past (on the long side) the
actual joint I want to make. Then, after cutting (and I do this as carefully
as I can, in order to minimize work with files, etc.), I can true up the cut
with files and by sanding. For larger, longer cuts, I prefer a nice, fresh
mill bastard file, at least a half-inch wide, for smooth easy truing of a cut
If I am going to insert a new panel section in a body shell (and again, this
technique can, and likely does happen with aircraft conversions), I like to
mark off the panel area that has to be removed from the original styrene
component (in my case, the car body) with a mechanical pencil, after I have
"scuffed" the area with either very fine sandpaper (generally I use a 2400 grit
polishing cloth, an abrasive coated bit of cloth), which gives the plastic a
bit of "tooth" for the pencil lead. I have also been known to brush a quick
swipe of Tenax over the pencil lines, to "seal" them to the plastic surface, so
they don't rub off in handling. Once this is done, I drill a hole in the
middle of the panel (if small) large enough to insert a needle file in order to
simply file the opening to size (often, I can use an Xacto knife to carve away
material once the hole is large enough. From there, it is a fairly simple
matter to enlarge the opening to the size and shape needed for the intended
replacement panel part. As you get close to the size and shape needed, take
the time to test fit, test fit, and test fit again, until you get the new part
to fit into the opening created snugly, but not so tight as to need forcing.
For a larger opening, I drill holes at the corners, and simply start working
with the tip of my razor saw, until I can finally get enough of a slot to cut
the to-be-removed panel away. This does take patience and care to avoid
cutting past the corners.
Takes a bit of practice, but then that is what model building is all about:
Since I bought my first razor blade saw (not razor saw), it has become one
of my very favorite modeling tools. It is small, very sharp, makes very
fine cuts, just fantastic. Very recommended.
Rob de Bie