I say just get that bird built and finished so you can show off all its glory. The level of detail you've already poured into the thunderhawk is already jaw dropping.
If it were so simple, I'd love to! However, it takes me ages to put these things together. It's actually great that I'm now on this forced holiday.
While I don't want to even think about the time I've already sunk into this, I made great progress over the last week. I have around 80% of the "superstructure" for the "main fuselage": I put together the panels which make up the sides, top and underside of the main fuselage, as well as the rear slanted part to which the tail is attached. These panels will soon be attached to a rough skeleton (that's why I referred o them as the superstructure); however, first I want to assemble the wings to make sure that I magnetise them properly - I want to have the wings detachable.
Here are some close-ups of details:
And here's the whole thing roughly and (very) temporarily dry-fitted together:
I'm also thinking about magnetising the entire front section of the craft to make storage and transport easier. While having the nose and cargo bay detachable would allow me to keep the Thunderhawk in a small(ish) box, say a shoe box, I'm pretty anxious about the integrity of the model. The front is relatively flimsy, with no internal reinforcements in place (there's nowhere to put them!) and the magnets I'd have to use to keep the entire front section in place and aligned with the rest of the fuselage would have to be pretty strong; as such, I'm worried that the magnets might damage the joints between the individual plastic panels. Would you advise me to go with convenience of storage and the slight chance of damaging the model in the future, or should I go with the safer option and fix the front and back permanently? Alternatively, I could easily magnetise the top and slanting back part (with the central engine exhaust nozzle) - that way the model would be just under 40 cm in length (as opposed to around 50 cm). I figure that I should be able to find a box that long somewhere...
Also, as I'm nearing the stage of the project in which I'll have to build the engines, the question I put in post #14 above is still open. In short, I'm wondering whether to recreate the original engines with the exposed machinery or encase them in armour, taking cues from later designs such as a Stormraven, Stormtalon or Xiphon. However, with feedback from other Frater here in this forum and my gut, I'm almost decided to go with the armoured option - it makes a bit more sense thematically and working on angular shapes is always less frustrating than on cylindrical shapes. Unless you think otherwise - after all, the "exposed" engines have been there in all variants of the model.