Cowling is structurally pretty much done. I've got a dreadful lot of filling, sanding, and sealing to do yet but it is done enough to move onto other more enjoyable things.
I fabbed up a hidden hinge that worked fine, but had more flex on the hinge side than I liked. I just couldn't bring myself to spend $50 to buy the currently marketed one, so I went with the plans based piano hinge method. It works perfectly and looks fine. Could have saved two hours of work doing it this way to begin with. Picture is of my cobbled-together hinge. The cutoff piece of the cowl will be bonded to the door for stiffening.
Next, I started on the baffle kit. I understand the need to have a single baffle kit that fits every airframe and that the 8 has a distinctively different cowl than the others due to the width of the cabin. All considered, it's a good starting point, but those instructions.... without the help of online kit-logs I may have never figured it out!
Five hours over two days and most of the big pieces were in place.
The next day, I finished out a few angle brackets in the center section and then jigged up the top cowl a fixed distance above the lower. A sharpie fastened to a popsicle stick that same distance was used to transcribe the shape of the top cowl onto the baffles. Two colors in alternate turns were used, and the cut made between the lines just to be safe. Testing the top cowl after reveals a nearly perfect fit aside from the back two corners which will need to be trimmed some more. Tomorrow, I'll get out the paperclips and get the gap fixed at 1/2" all around.
*Final note: I love the Skybolt fasteners on the top, but boy am I glad that they were ONLY used on the top cowl!!! The baffles require installing and removing the lower cowl about a thousand times, and the hinge pins are so quick and easy when it comes to holding the cowl with one hand and fixing it in place with the other. YMMV