Other then some final assembly processes, like radio, switches,
batteries, tank, etc. The Extra is now to the point of being prepped for
paint and covering. Although I have a general idea of where and how all my
internal components will fit, I usually leave those final installations
steps for after painting. My reasoning is that this way I can see how the
plane will balance, and come together, before my final placement of all
the major internal components.
Here are a few pictures of the completed plane, before I strip it down and
prepare it for sanding and filling.
The first step in preparing the plane for painting, is sanding and filling
in any defects that you may come across. But before I do that, I want to
make sure that there is a good fit between the wings and the fuse. No
matter how hard you try, there is always going to be a bit of gap between
the fuse and the wings/stabs at the root. Sanding the root of the
wings/stabs will get you close, but to get a perfect fit, you will need a little filler.
What I usually do is place a piece of wax paper on the fuse where the
wings/stabs mate. A little spray glue on the wax paper will
keep the wax paper nice and tight to the fuse. Once that is done, I then
mix up a little filler with West System Epoxy, and West System 404 fairing
filler. The combination turns the epoxy into a putty type filler that is very easy
to sand. I then place the putty around the root of the wing/stabs.
Generally a 1/4" thin bead around the circumference of the root is plenty. Once that is done, I then mate the
wing/stab to the fuse. The filler will ooze out, filling any gaps.
Here you can see some pics of it being set up. I do one side, let it dry,
then flip it over and do the other side.
Once the epoxy has dried, the final step is to remove the wings/stabs, and
sand the edges. As you can see in the picture you are left with a 1/4 inch
ring around the edge of the root, that creates an almost seamless, seam.
The wings and stabs are now covered using Monokote. I'm not going to get
too involved in how I cover, because I don't do anything special, other
then cover how Monokote is designed to work. I'm just showing some
completed pictures of the colour scheme I'm doing.
Now that all the fillets are complete, the plane is ready for the
painting process. But before I get into the painting and prepping, I just
wanted to mention for clarity, and for whomever may be interested in
painting. The paints, primers, fillers etc, are all
Standox products. Standox products
are all very high quality automotive paints, that are typically found on
more expensive automobiles.
The first step in prepping for paint, is to fill and sand down any defects
that you may find in the glass work. Cracks, large pin holes, the seam,
and any other unwanted variances you may come across. As I come across the
defects, I use Standox body filler to fill in, or patch these spots.
Here are a few pictures of the filling process. You can see the seams
have been sanded down, and filled with the body filler. Once the seams are
filled, I then give everything a good sanding with 100 grit sandpaper.
Making sure that all the sheen is taken off the gel coat, and that
everything is smooth. Any professional painter will tell you that
the finish is only as good as the preparation, so take some time to
Once you are satisfied, and feel that you have filled all defects, the
next step is to paint on the first primer. But before you can paint, you
need to mask off parts that you don't want painted, and you also have to
figure out ways in order to hold your parts.
Here you can see a picture of all the parts that are going to be painted.
In order to be able to hold the fuse for painting, I had to make a handle
of some sort. So I installed a temporary tube
through the fuse, then fastened the tube to the firewall and to formers inside the fuse.
I will then use a workmate to clamp the handle for the fuse, thus allowing
it to be spun while painting.
For the Wheel pants, Spinner, and gear,
I used some scrap lumber and made some handle, fastened with screws. The
canopy just needed some masking, and the cowl can just be placed over a
can or something, that will support it while you paint.
Now that all the parts have been filled, prepped and sanded, the next
step is to prime everything. Peter Woo, who has been a modeler for years,
and use to own a hobby shop has helped me with the actual spraying. He now
owns an automotive body shop, so he has allowed me to use his spray booth.
The name of the primer used is Standox HS primer, which is basically a
chalky filler primer, used to fill in the deep scratches and imperfections
that are left from the filling process. This particular type of
primer has very chalky like characteristics, with a tan like colour, which
make it perfect for this sort of application. Unfortunately, I forgot to
bring my camera to Peter's shop to take some pictures of this process, but
I'm sure you get the idea. Once the primer was sprayed, the next step was
to sand it all down. Again I did all of the sanding at Peter's shop, for
it is a dusty process to say the least. Initially I used 220 grit
sandpaper and a block to sand down the primer. You want to sand it down to
the point where the primer begins to have a translucent appearance
or you begin to just barely see the original finish come through. Once I
was satisfied with that, I then water sanded the hole airplane with 800
grit sand paper. This got rid of any fine lines that were left from the
220 grit sand paper and left the airplane with an ultra smooth finish.
Now that the airplane is primed and sanded, the next step is to apply the
white basecoat. The colour scheme I chose is predominantly white, so it
only made sense to spray the entire airplane with Standox basecoat white
first, then apply masking for the eventual colours. The white was sprayed
at Peter's shop. I then took home all the parts that needed masking where
I could be in the confines of my home and take the time to mask off the
As many of you know, an airplane has many curves and contours. So placing
masking tape on a fuse and expecting to have straight lines is not an easy
thing to accomplish. Especially when you try to place the masking tape on
free hand and by eye. In order to achieve relatively straight lines,
I had to make a jig to mark pencil lines as a guide for the tape. What I
did was to make a small base out of some ply wood, drill a hole, glue in a
piece of dowel (in my case I had some left over aero shaft) then tape a
pencil to it. I then leveled the fuse, and went across the fuse, and every
5-10" drew a faint pencil line. Because the pencil is at a fixed height,
and the table is straight, my line is at the same point all the way around
the fuse. This in turn gives you a proper line to follow and is especially
helpful when going around curves like the front of a cowl as you can see
in the picture.
The tape used to mask the edge of the lines is called 3M fine line tape
(the blue one) It comes in various thicknesses, from 1/16" to 3/8",
depending on your application. I used 1/8" because it is the amount of
seperation I want between colours. This is designed for the actually edge
of where you will paint, and once you define your lines, you need to mask
the rest off in a conventional way, a la masking tape, paper, etc. (see
Now that all the hard stuff is done, the final step is to actually start
painting. Here you can see some pictures of the parts being painted in the
After the white was sprayed the next colour sprayed was red. Once the red
was sprayed, the fuse was flipped upside down, and masked off for
the black and silver stripes.
Finally and now that all the colours have been applied, the last step is
to spray the clear coat, and leave to dry.
The final assembly was pretty straight forward. All the internal
electronics and tank locations were pretty well set and just reinstalled
after the paint was dry. As far as decals and art work are concerned, I
made my own using a bubble jet printer and some clear adhesive paper
available at any local stationary store. Here are a few pics of the final
Here is some pics of the Extra at the field ready to fly:
Click here for flight tests and specifications
Click for construction page 1
Click for construction page 2
Click for construction page 3
Click for construction page 4
Extra parts list