Detailing Print
Written by Vidar Fagerjord   
Thursday, 19 April 2012 20:18

In this article, I'll show some thingy's and doohickey's that add the extra level of realism. Details. From tiny screws to custom built knobs, all in an effort to achieve "as real as it gets". Without going completely nuts.

Cocpit voice recorder panel

The CVR panel has no function in a simulator, thus it's only a showpiece. But that does not mean it should not be populated! I made the microphone from a plexi glass washer I made. I then used a knob for a rotary encoder I had lying around, some 5 minute epoxy glue and a small piece of plastic. I drilled holes in the plastic piece to mimic the holes in the microphone on the real McCoy, and boy did I learn that drilling holes in a circle is hard to do! But I got it good enough. One has to learn when one should let things slide...

I then painted the whole thing dull black and epoxied it in place. I also mounted a LED in the hole beneath. For the audio jack, I used an adapter from large jack to minijack. I drilled a hole in another piece of plexi glass, then epoxied the adapter to the plexi piece. I then epoxied the whole thing to the back of the panel, making sure the adapter was centered in the hole in the panel. When the epoxy cured, I painted the parts with liquid tape to prevent any light bleed. The result turned out good:

I need to get a bigger red switch, but that's not too important.

In a real 737, the "test" button runs a diagnostics test. The "status" LED lights up momentarily (green), and a tone can be heard if one plugs a headset into the "headphone" jack. The "erase" switch erases the CVR under given conditions.

Here's a shot from an angle to show appr. the captains (me) view:

The microphone is about one inch in diameter.

Panel locks

The FWD and AFT overhead panels are secured by two screws at the front corners. They turn a quarter turn, and then you need to release the panel with the panel lock mechanism.

Again, in a SIM you do not need it. But those square holes in the overhead should be populated none the less! Here's how I did it:

A small piece of plexi glass glued to a bigger small piece, rounded and ready for painting. Two coats of RAL7011 later:

I then epoxied it in place, then painted the base black inside the hole in the panel. Done. And here's how it looks:

The black paint creates the illusion that there's something behind the panel:

And here's a shot from the side, not unfamiliar from some photos over at

I made another knob for the AFT overhead as well. I feel that such details is important if you want to create the most realistic looking cockpit. Do not go nuts over millimeters or the EXACT placement of that particular piece - nobody will notice if it's slightly off - but pay attention to the things that creates a more authentic look without draining your funds completely.

As for the locking knobs, I made the height so that they extend a few millimeters over the panel. They are angled to mimic pictures i've seen on the net. And most important: I am very happy with the result! And THAT is the only important thing...


Last Updated on Thursday, 19 April 2012 21:11