The N3N-3 after getting touched up paint capture by Z 9 / Z24-120
Man, you blink and you have a plane! It had been six weeks since we last were with the N3N-3 project and things had progressed nicely. Wendy had just got the fuselage covering done and they were masking to start the doping process once the temps warmed up. Well, they warmed up and they not only got the doping process done, but got the final color applied along with some of the designation and registration numbers. The devil is in the details, that saying had to have come from painting an aircraft and bringing it back to from the factory standards!

The “cloth” which is a polyester fabric is first applied to the frame. An iron is then used to begin the tightening process. The plane is “ironed” at a lower temp and then again at a higher temp. This starts the process which is continued with the next three applications of Nitrate which is sprayed on. After that are a couple of coats of Butyrate which lays down the layer for the silver. After the silver is sprayed on (a couple of coats) then the sanding begins. The sanding goes on and on until the fabric looks like shiny metal. It’s only then the final color gets applied.

You can actually see the various stages of the cloth prep and painting in all the photos. It is very labor intensive! And this is just the start! When we left, Wendy was wrapping up the upper wing covering with the lower wings still to be covered. They all have to go through this whole process of paint. The fuselage after coming back from paint will go back into the hangar to have all its internal workings connected, finished and the first testing of systems. This is going so fast, to me at least. Can’t wait until our next visit.

All N3N-3 work photos capture by Z 9 / Z24-120
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