Propeller & Spinner Assembly

One question we're sometimes asked is "How do I build the propeller and spinner assembly on the Magnificent Flying Machines models?"

Although the assembly procedure is detailed in the instruction book and shown in diagrams on the plan, we hope that this little guide with additional pictures will be helpful - especially if this is your first go at building a model of this type.

For this excercise, I used the nose block, prop and spinner from our Magnificent Flying Machines Spitfire - the process is essentially the same for the Hurricane and Me-109 models from the same range.

I put the assembly together quite quickly for this guide and so it does not rotate as true as I would have liked, but the procedure is the same if you do it "properly".

I have included the instructions from the booklet and annotated these in blue where I thought more explanation might be useful.

I hope you find it useful.

Building the Nose Block

Remove parts in the following quantities from the laser cut sheets: 1 off each NB1-NB5, and 3 off NP1.

Parts NB1 to NB5

Parts NP1

With the cross markings and the letter ‘T’ on part NB5 facing outwards, laminate the parts NB1-NB5, aligning the central hole. Also make sure that the ‘T’ on each part is in the same orientation and that the profiles are evenly matched. Allow this nose block assembly to dry, then set it aside.

Laminate parts NB1 to NB5

Be sure to leave NB5 facing outwards

Laminate the NP1 parts, aligning the central hole. Make sure that the ‘T’ on each part is in the same orientation and that the edges are all  flush. Allow this nose plug assembly to dry.

Laminated NP1 parts next to sanded nose block

Once dry, trial fit it to the square hole in the fuselage nose, adjusting it to have an easy  fit. Cyano adhesive can be run around the hole and the edges of the part to harden the wood. DO NOT glue this plug to the fuselage.

Glue the nose plug to the nose block, ensuring that it lines up with the cross markings on NB5, and the holes remain in line. Make sure that any glue that squishes out between the parts is removed, otherwise it will prevent the parts from sitting together properly. Allow the completed nose block to dry.

Please note, I sanded the nose block before attaching the nose plug - I did not have a built up fuselage to use as a sanding guide. The instructions suggest gluing nose plug onto the nose block before sanding!

Nose plug glued to nose block

Glue a plastic nose bush in to the hole in the nose block using cyano adhesive. DON’T ALLOW THE ADHESIVE TO GO INSIDE THE BUSH.

Nose bush glued into the nose block


Fitting the Propeller and Spinner

Identify and remove parts in the following quantities from the laser cut sheets: 1 off SP1, and 1 off SP2 and 2 off SP3.

Parts SP1, SP2 and two SP3s

Laminate them together as shown on the plan, making sure that they are cross grained and that glue does not enter the radial slots in part SP2.

SP1, SP2 and two SP3s laminated

Once set, locate the plastic propeller to the slots formed by the two parts SP3 and centralise the radiused boss to the hole in part SP2.

Propeller located in slot created by two SP3 parts and hole in SP2

Once you are happy with the fit, glue the propeller in place with cyano, once again ensuring that glue does not go into the radial slots or into the hole that locates the radiused boss.

Propeller rounded boss located in hole in SP2.

Once this has set, cut out the centre part that located the boss.

Assemble the propeller to the nose block using the wire prop hook as shown on the plan, making the shaft as short as possible. The propshaft passes through the back of the nose block via the nose bush, then through the back of the laminated spinner backplate (SP1,SP2,SP3) and finally the prop itself. Bend the wire at a right angle over the freewheel/clutch moulding on the front of the propeller. Snip the excess wire off for a neat finish.

Complete prop assembly before fitting spinner

Here's a video clip of the prop assembly rotating at this stage (note the more skillful among you will achieve far less wobble than this!).

Now this is the trickiest part of the assembly process so take your time!

The spinner is supplied with plenty of material to be trimmed.

Vac-formed spinner as supplied

Start by trimming off the flat area around the base to leave a cone.

Trimmed spinner

Offer up the spinner to the prop blades and mark where they touch. Ideally using small curved nail scissors, make a curved cut to roughly follow the shape of the prop blades as shown here:

Curved cuts to accommodate prop blades both sides of spinner

The cuts should end approximately 10mm down from the point of the spinner. The key here is to cut in small increments, regularly offering up the spinner to the prop blades and constantly adjusting for fit.

Once the spinner sits correctly over the prop, trim the base to sit flush with the spinner back-plate. The following image shows just how much smaller the finished spinner is now:

Trimmed spinner compared with original

Now carefully tack the spinner in place with cyano, making sure that it doesn’t wobble. DO NOT GET GLUE ON THE SHAFT OR IN THE BUSH.

Here's a clip of mine looking slightly "oval" because at this stage, I had only tacked it in two places. It became much rounder later when epoxy was finally applied.

When you are satisfied, use quick setting epoxy to secure the spinner to the propeller blades with a neat glue fillet.

Epoxy is very forgiving and easy to sand, so don't worry about making a mess. The most important thing is to fill the gaps around the prop blades and at the base of the spinner where it meets the back-plate.

Just look at the awful mess I made of mine!

Gaps filled with epoxy - badly!

Once set you can paint the propeller and spinner.

After much sanding and picking at epoxy, I ended up with an essentially complete prop, ready for painting in matt black water-based enamel.

Sanded prop ready for paint (profile)

Sanded prop ready for paint (front)

The finished item - not too bad for a quick build!

Finished prop