Gauge & Addison prepping wing for color captured by Z 9 / Z50f1.2
It’s not until you are sanding all that surface do you appreciate just how much there is on a wing. But it’s all the surface area that gives the plane lift and of course, flight. The Pemberton & Son’s restoration of the N3N-3 has spent much of 2022 and into 2023 working on this very important component of the restoration with completion now on the books. As I write this, the wings were just attached to the N3N-3. Congrats guys!
It’s hard to fathom at times that what’s keeping you in the air is cloth but it is and it does a great job! Yes, there is a structure under the wing and in the case of the N3N-3 it’s metal. The cloth which Wendy has meticulously and skillfully attached was “stretched” tight with a whole lot of very thin coats of material until color is finally applied. To get that “glass” or metal appearance to the cloth is a whole lot of TLC in the form of 600 – 900 grit sandpaper love. There is no machine doing it, it’s all done by hand with the last TLC done in the paint both so nothing, not a spec of material or dust is on the surface when color is applied.
Gauge putting on the last coat of color captured by Z 9 / Z50f1.2
Photographing during the last prep with the paint booth doors open as pretty straight forward. The lighting in the booth for painting was all I needed for shooting. Once the door was closed though the challenge began. The ventilation in the paint booth made it so I couldn’t smell anything nor have to worry about any over-spray getting on the gear but at the same time, it made photographing the process really a challenge. I don’t think they made the windows of the booth with photography in mind. While they tried to clean a couple of them for me, it didn’t really help. But the story is not so much the laying down of color but the whole process which includes the paint booth. I got my steps in this day as I paced back and forth over and over again trying to get a clear shot of Gauge spraying incorporating all the elements. The Z50f1.2 made it a little easier because at f1.2, it’s really obvious in the viewfinder if it’s sharp or not.
At the end of the day, the last lower wing section had color and was ready in a week to get its detail paint before being hung on the N3N-3. It’s an amazing process I’m so grateful to be able to be a small, very small part of. And with that, wings done! mtc
and with that, wings done captured by Z 9 / Z50f1.2