The Gladiator of Theseus


I've been working on a 1:144 scale Gloster Gladiator, based on a model I found somewhere quite some time ago.

The model I based the Gladiator on was very low detail, and I suspect that it was originally based on a 3d scan due to the way the cowling and canopy blended into the fuselage. There's not much left of that original model now, but there's still a little bit (unfortunately).

I've cleaned it up substantially: given it a new cowling, canopy, undercarriage, elevators, and also cut it up into multiple components to make FDM printing easier and better. And now I'm in the process of adding ribs.

The fuselage ribs are going to be very fiddly, but doable. Fortunately I can get away with quite a bit in this scale. I do wish now that I'd replaced the original fuselage geometry entirely, because the mish-mash I've left myself with is not going to make my life any easier.

It will need some under-wing gun pods too, now that I come to think of it.


The remaining fuselage geometry enraged me so much that I've just done away with it and replaced it entirely. So this is now the Gladiator of Theseus — I don't think there's any of the original geometry left at all.

I've broken it up into kit form, to minimise the need for supports and also to optimise the stair-stepping of FDM printing. Now all that remains is the test printing.

Next Day...

I've done some test prints. They've all been sprayed the same Vallejo ModelAir Middlestone so that the colour and surface of the different media don't obtrude.

  • The one on the left is FDM printed, having been split longitudinally and with separate pieces for the cowling and undercarriage.
  • In the centre is one that I printed in one single piece in resin, and as usual I got some very bad warping and distortion of the wings. I don't seem to be able to beat that; I don't know what's causing it. I know it's possible to get good, dimensionally stable results in resin, because I've seen other people do it. So the fault lies somehow with me.
  • The one on the right is an older, pre-ribbed model that was just split down the middle and FDM printed in two pieces.

FDM printing gives me much better dimensional reliability, at the expense of perceptible layer lines on the sides of the fuselage. Maybe I could combine the two printing methods: print the fuselage in resin, and the wings in FDM. It's probably doable, though it wouldn't be entirely straightforward.

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