After almost 10 months and 500 hours of work, this 1/8 scale Bell 429 model is finally complete! Last May I began drafting the plans for this model using both measurements from the real helicopter and many pictures from the internet. At first I designed it to be to scale with my previous helicopter model, the Bell 407, but then I decided that I wanted this model to be even bigger than that. This Bell 429 is a little over five and a half feet long at maximum length, and about 20 inches tall at maximum height. I was comfortable making it so big because I had an idea of what building such a model would entail after building the 407. The fuselage began as a 65lb laminated block of wood, and after all of the cutting and hollowing, the entire model is now only 35lbs. Because of this, the tiny skids are not able to support the helicopter on their own, but that is not a problem as it is to be displayed on a stand. It is made entirely out of wood; absolutely no paints or stains were used! The two halves of the fuselage are maple and walnut, and the smaller strips are inlayed curly maple and cherry. This was my first attempt at any sort of inlay, and the fact that it was done on a curved, contoured surface made it very challenging. The panelling on the side and the cargo doors are all wood-burned. The different woods used are: maple, walnut, cherry, padauk, beech, yellowheart, bloodwood, ebony, hickory, wenge, and pine. The only non-wooden parts in the model are magnets (used on the swash-plate and doors) and laminated paper (used for the "glass" instrument panels in the cockpit), and bass (used for the door hinges). All of the doors open, and the two most-rear doors actually slide on a magnetic track. It took me a while to figure out how to make the sliding doors functional, but after much thought I discovered that small magnets on the doors sliding on an inlayed metal track on the body (made from an old bandsaw blade) was the best way to go. I tried to put as much detail in this helicopter as I could, and I think this is best displayed in two components; the cockpit and the rotor head. I tried to make the instrument panel as identical to the real one possible, and let me just say tweezers made that possible haha. I thought that printing off the digital display of the glass panels would best present the technology in the 429 cockpit. The rotor head is completely functional, and similar to my model 407, it performs both cyclic and collective movements. While it is fragile and I try to avoid playing around with it too much, I just like knowing and having the ability to tell people that it is moveable. In the cabin, I decided to go with the corporate seating because it is my favourite seating plan (and maybe because it saves me from making one more seat… haha). I wanted to put plexi-glass or some from of plastic windows in, but I could not figure out a way to make the front windshield. If anyone has an idea for making this windshield, I would love to hear it! It is finished with many coats of glossy spray lacquer, which to me is the best finish option to get in all of those tight corners. Overall, I am very happy with how this model turned out! As with my other models, this one is also for my Dad! We were hoping we could take it to the 2014 Heli-Expo, but transporting this by plane is just too risky. We are still unsure where to display it because of its large size, but in the mean time it looks nice sitting on my workbench haha.
Here are some more pictures:
Here are some more pictures: