Holy smoke! Got so excited about my T.V. show I almost for got to tell ya' about the nose guard. Find a neat way to apply a small piece of reinforced packing tape to the nose of the kite, and or... Go down to the hardware store and grab a can of Dip-it. This stuff is used to coat the handles of hand tools. Its a liquid rubber. Thins well with BESTINE solvent/thinner. Mask off the tip of the nose with drafting tape and apply with a clean but cheap art brush. Remove the drafting tape before the stuff begins to dry. Dries to touch in 15 minutes. Takes a few hours to fully cure. Great bumper.
Right about the time I really became hooked on building fighter kites I had the pleasure and fortune of meeting Mr. Gopal Das. He asked to fly an all bamboo and paper kite I had made. I was flattered he took the time to complement the kite. The only advice he had to offer was in regards to a slight balance condition. I asked; " How good does it have to be? " His response. "It must be perfect." Well I figured hell, this guy grew up in Bengal and he has been flying Patang all his life - the possibility exists the critique just might be worth consideration. Guess it does kind a' make sense, I spoze'. OH BABY, did it ever.
OK. We're going to make a triple leg bridle, but to begin we'll make a two leg ( sort of fake ) bridle to dial in the balance of weight from wingtip to wingtip. Grab about 7'ft. of 10lbs. to 15lbs. pound test dacron kiteline. The braided or the cheap crap. Take about 5'ft. of it and submerge into acrylic paint that is wet enough to pour. If its color coordinated with the kite I might get a little misty out of fondness for your style. Clear mat medium works good too. Pull the line out of that mess, squeegee, and let dry. Takes about 10 minutes. With the remaining 2'ft. of line, rubber contact cement the ends to the front of the kite. The upper end goes dead nuts on the center of the spine, right between the bridle holes. The lower end goes on the center of the spine at the lower bridle point. Hang the kite from over head so it is parallel to the floor ( don't do this out side or in drafty areas ) nose to tail. What we use for ballast will also protect the sail material just under the bow at the wingtips too. Cuz' what we're usin' for ballast is tape.
How out of balance is it? It should not be too bad, just a little off. Cut two pieces of tape, one longer than the other. At the wingtips use the long piece for the light side and the short piece for the heavy side. Just stick them on temporarily at the end of the tapes. The majority of the tape can be hanging off the edge of the sail. Make adjustments by adding tape or by scissoring off. Once its "perfect" remove the tapes and stick them on the back of the sail along the trailing edge. A small portion of the tape can be rolled over the bow to the front of the sail. Remove temporary line.
Yer' bridling material dry yet? Wrap the ends of the line around either index finger and stretch. Makes it straight, don't it. Got a good feel to it too. I love this trick. The advantages are multi fold. It will hold an adjustment knot, its water proof, neat, pretty and it don't twist. Not only does it not twist during flight, it is very easy to detect even a half twist in the stuff when tying on the bridle. Plus it has the kindness to accurately and easily allow removal of that annoying half twist or so when tying on. Its a good thing.
There is a school of dogma concerning the bridle length of fighter kites. ( quite a bit of other junk too ) I've tried different lengths and got a free kite lesson ala a head bending paradigm gaga in the process. Listen to your mentors and then try it out for yourself. If you have been considering a fighter kite tattoo; Toy around with the idea of getting the "listen to your mentors" line burned into the skin. Then send a picture of it to the N.F.K.A. web-site! Hard core only baby.
Poke the end of the line through bridle hole via the front side of the kite twice around the bow and back out. Tie an overhand knot. Now tie a double over hand knot. Do it again through the other bridle hole. Leave a loop that is about 4" or 5" inches long doubled over. 8" or 10" inches total. Cut the rest off and trim the tails short.
At this point you may consider larks heading an adjustment bead at the center of the upper bridle legs. Good thing to do if your building a high wind kite. Ain't necessary for a low wind kite.
With the remaining length of line tie a 1" or so loop at the end. A double overhand is good, a bowline is better. Larkshead the long line loop to the upper bridle leg loop - or bead. Flip your kite over and pierce the sail with a darning needle at the lower bridle point, both sides of the spine. Hold the kite belly down - up over your head and stroke the line to de-twist. If you can hang the darning needle on it, its easy to see. Thread the needle with the free end of the line and sew two wraps around the spine. OK, it should look like a letter "Y" hanging out the front of the kite. Make sure the total length of the bridle does not allow the wingtip to pass through ( try the length thing later ). To secure the bottom bridle point tie a single over- hand followed by a double overhand knot. We're almost there. With what is left of the bridle line material, make a tow loop. Tie a double over hand knot and trim. Its just a circle. Stretched out into a loop its about 3" inches long. Larkshead it on to the lower leg of the bridle. With the straight edge used to set the bridle hole marks, set the knots on the bow equidistant from the spine. Use Clear fingernail polish to cement. Center the knot of the lower bridle point on the spine. Goop on a little fingernail polish front and back.
I like to tie my upper bridle loop on with the knots mirroring each other. One is tied one way and the other is tied backwards. No biggie, it is just out of respect to the spirit of the kite. Out of respect to symmetry. Also the trimmed tails point away from the eventual on-rushing wind. We'll hook up some time and I'll show ya'. We're so close now! All we have left to do is table tune and test fly.
Ever heard the line; "A fighter kite at first glance is deceptively simple."? Next time you hear someone say "Jeez, it don't look like it'd be that hard to make one." Just give them a soft Buddha smile and embrace their naivete`. Things always look easy when you know what you are doing. Maybe it ain't that hard to make one - but it ain't no cinch makin' a good one. And a great fighter kite? Well, a great fighter kite requires a great deal of love. A great deal of love and a little magic.