Chapter 25 - Finishing

I've read tales of builders spending years on this stage. I did't want to do that. I did a little finishing as I went along so there wasn't too much at the end. There was still a lot to do at the end. First I did the entire top of the airplane including winglets, canard, gear, nose, ailerons, rudders, winglets, wings and strakes. I got these in primer and almost ready for the second set of primer coats. At this point I had about 3 weeks elapsed or 90 man hours invested in finishing. Judging by the progress in this time, I estimated about 9 weeks or 300 hours effort to finish the entire bird, ready for gloss. I spread this over the next few months. The plane looks great when it's all white. All those pieces I joined together suddenly become a "thing". I measure finish quality by how close you can get before it starts to look ugly. I'd put this at 10 feet - paint it with gloss and it would probably be a 20 footer right now. (I've seen some 1 footers, many 30 footers and a couple of 10'000 footers at fly-ins.) Given the theory of diminishing returns, my target is 2 to 3 feet. Not a show winner, perhaps - but not embarrassing either. Then there's always the famous comment - "it'll look great as I go over YOUR head at 10,000 feet!"

I've split this chapter into four parts:

Part 1 - Preparation and initial prime
Part 2 - Final Prime and Gloss - the bottom
Part 3 - Final Prime and Gloss - the top
Part 4 - Zolotone, more gloss and trim paint

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