ORIGINAL: Tom Nied
That sounds pretty much what I would try and thanks for letting me know what it really takes. I'm going to start with the leading edge. I've built plenty of free flight models so cutting out parts is no problem. Just getting that massive leading edge right seems a challenge. Thanks for sharing Joe.
Carving the leading edge will make an authentic Ringmaster leading edge but it will not be the best that you can do. The best leading edge is one which you form by cutting riblets that match the leading edge curvature but 1/16" less in dimension. These riblets are then glued to a 1/8" sheet that forms the back side of the leading edge.The leading edge is then formed by wrapping 1/16" balsa sheet over them. You moisten the balsa on one side (outside) and then gently wrap it around the riblets to give it the proper shape and hold it in place with Ace bandages.. After it has dried you can then glue the sheet to the riblets and this gives you a perfect, light and strong leading edge.
I will attach a photo or two to make clear how this is done. One word of caution: don't wrap the balsa sheeting too tight when you are forming it.