Meteors, Tissue, and Chalk

Trying to work two short articles into one…

PART 1:  Gloster Meteor

In the middle of my building doldrums, I put together this small JetCat – a 10″ span Gloster Meteor.  I thought about a Canberra, but everybody does a Canberra – and the Meteor has very similar proportions.

Over the last few JetCat builds, I’ve been working on a couple of things:

First, instead of mixing 1/16″ sheet and 1/32″ sheet, I am settling on LIGHT (6 lb or lighter) 1/16″ and sanding it thin where I want it thin and leaving it thick where I want strength.  This has been working well, I think.  I am making fuselages from three layers of 1/16″.  To increase strength in these laminations, I embed a carbon fiber strip in the center and cross-grain the three layers as much as practical.  These three things (laminating, carbon fiber, cross-graining) make for a light and stiff fuselage.

Second, I’ve been working on a modular wing structure.  It is really hard to supply very light 3/16″ sheeting for wings – hard meaning supply is short and expensive for Production purposes.  So I am working toward providing the front 1/3rd of the wing in thick balsa and the rear 2/3rds will be 1/16″ sheet and ribs, and sometimes spars.  One downside to this is the need to cover the wing with tissue.  If you’re doing printed tissue (I highly recommend this for JetCats) then it’s no big deal to cover the wing.

One last chit-chat about this model (and some of my other JetCats) – why are you building small at 10″ span???  well, that started with my Ohka – and the fact that the standard size for sheet balsa is 3″ wide.  So, while I’ve been doing full-sheet wings, I’ve been limited to 3″ chord wings.  Another limitation – I try to not exceed 14″ on the sheet – so this has limited Fuselage length.  I am working on joining techniques to work on longer fuselages.  The last thing – it is just easier to design and build a smaller model, especially for testing.  I am pretty sure I will be building a larger meteor – around 15″ span.   That will take completely redesigning all the parts.

Anyway, the photos show some of the construction.  Now, on to a different discussion.

PART 2:  Chalking Tissue

One “thing” about printing tissue is that the colors are not very dense.  This is because tissue is rather translucent.  When you cover sheet balsa with white tissue the resulting color is basically balsa-colored.  You can paint the tissue, but this gets heavy.  One way to improve the colors, but add virtually no weight, is to chalk the tissue.  I am not going to go into a ton of details on this, but just show you some of the results.  The tissue on the Meteor was white tissue that was chalked prior to printing.

I use Pan Pastel chalk (white in this case) and a folded paper towel on a hard surface (wooden table).  I fold up the paper towel to make a swab which I rub on the pan of chalk and then rub this into the BACK (rough side) of the tissue.  I rub WITH the grain of the tissue.  I’ve seen others dump chalk dust onto the tissue and rub it in, but I find this method wastes much less chalk.  Still, this can and will get messy.  White chalk isn’t so bad, but I still have red “stained” stuff floating around from when I did my red Cessna Cardinal last winter.

Check the photos – you can see the difference between the chalked and the plain tissue.


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One Response to Meteors, Tissue, and Chalk

  1. Lincoln says:

    If you want a jet cat that no one else builds, how about the jet version of the AV45? Or the Cri-Cri? 1-26? There was at least one sailplane that was built with a jet engine from the start. In South America I think. There was at least one Soviet biplane with two ramjets added for tests! Possibly the I-153. Also at least one half-jet Lancaster.

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