Chapter 25 – Final blue paint sanding

I started out today by taping up the canopy edge (with its intersection of the frame) with duct tape in prep for sanding the first coat of blue paint. I then pulled the tape from the canopy hinges to do a final cleanup on those before I moved into the final coats of paint on the canopy frame.

I then spent nearly 5 hours wet sanding the bottom fuselage/nose and canopy frame in prep for paint.

The fuselage sanding of course involved working the bottom of the fuselage (mid-sanding pic here) to prep it for its final coat of blue paint.

As you can see, I then worked the canopy frame even more, with quite a bit more white primer showing through the initial coat of blue paint.  I also filled a couple of very minor holes along the edge of the canopy frame hinges (one front, one aft) before taping up the canopy hinges.

I also did some extensive sanding on the edge of the canopy towards the front on the left side of the frame to dial in the contour.

Here we have the aft end fo the fuselage and strake sanded in prep for the final coat of blue paint.  I had some breakthroughs in the paint back to the primer coat, but for the most part these breakthroughs were minimal.

I also wet sanded the nose hatch door, nose gear fairing and nose gear doors in prep for final blue paint.  Note that I also countersunk the screw holes in the nose gear fairing and gear doors for the screws just prior to the final coat of blue paint.

Finally, I wet sanded the landing brake and RAM air scoop/hell hole hatch cover for their final coat of blue paint.

I had planned to paint the final coat of blue on the fuselage and all these components (except for the canopy frame, which will require at least one more coat), but the sanding took longer than I expected and I didn’t finish until later in the evening, so I will paint it all tomorrow.

Since I didn’t start painting tonight, I figured I would get one more fairly quick task knocked out: the filling of some delams in the pour foam of the aft nose/avionics cover. Actually, I only found one delam/air pocket initially but after some coin tapping I found a couple more. I’ll do one final check tomorrow to ensure I found all the delams in this apparently lackluster pour foam fill.

With that, I left the aft nose/avionics cover epoxy-filled delam voids to cure and called it a night.

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