Chris Parent's Nieuport 24 bis

This Nieuport 24 bis is based on the Nieuport 27 kit by Greg Thomas. Chris reckons this is the best kit he has ever seen. For more details of Thomas Designs kits click here or to contact the manufacturer click here

Here are Chris's notes made while the model was in an uncovered state:

In the picture above you can see all the major assemblies including the 24 bis type tail surfaces. The elevator/stabiliser is 107% of scale, and the rudder is somewhat less than 105%. Every drawing I have shows a different size and shape for the rudder, so I got it as small as possible without making the horizontal tail look absurdly large. For shape, I took the drawing with the lowest profile rudder to keep it as far out of the swirling air (off the prop) as possible.

I made a balsa spinner for the specific 24 bis that I am modeling. Strangely enough, it had the rarely-seen hemishphere spinner. It also had unrounded ailerons, so I had to re-do the ailerons to include this. It involved some splicing of the basswood outlines, but it worked out just fine.

I went ahead and made a balsa cowl as well. The kit cowl is perfectly fine, and more scale in thickness, but I was in the mood so there you go. Both the spinner and cowl are covered with white Esaki then coated with some old CA. (I keep near-dead CA around for this purpose. The result after 400 grit wet sanding is extremely smooth.

I decided to go for a break-away mount on the lower wing. In a crash, I want the lower wing to come off without making a mess of the fuse, and also (with any luck) without requiring a major repair to the wing. Thus I am going for the joint you see at the top of the lower photo compilation . The 1/64 ply on the fuse provides a hardened area to which the wing can be glued. At the rear of the root area (on the fuselage) you can see that I have a gusset and an extra cross member. This is supposed to allow the wing to push in at this point without crushing the fuselage. The 1/64 ply tab will fit into slot, but glue will only be put on the rib surfaces. The tab goes through the fuselage sheeting, the small 1/16 doubler behind the sheeting, and a 1/16 gusset built into the fuselage box stucture. On the wing root, I added a small piece of really hard balsa right at the rear end. This is to keep this spot from crushing if I land on a lower wingtip.

On the bottom of the fuselage you can see the slot into which the rear gear struts will extend. The struts will freely float in and out of the fuse as the landing gear flexes.

The picture at the bottom of the compilation below shows the current state of the fuselage structure. The odd bit of balsa in front of the stab area is a scale feature made from soft 3/32. You can also see some of the small pieces of balsa into which the tail surface control wires will go. Come to think of it, at the bottom edge of the top picture below you can also see a small 1/16 doubler inside the fuse sheeting. This is also an attachment point for some rigging. I will rig the model with the Lycra thread that I think we all have. Interestingly, the real plane was rigged with 3mm wire in most places, and 4 mm in one or 2 places. This makes the Lycra thread a fairly scale diameter if I only stretch it enough to keep it straight. As I suppose is obvious, a break-away joint with non-stretchy rigging would be a disaster.

Now I am moving on to the (ca)bane of biplane modeling: measuring and fitting cabane struts for correct incidence. At least the Nieuport has a triangular configuration in the rear which I find a lot easier than 4 completely unconnected cabanes.

Is this a gorgeous model, or what?! - Here are some notes from Chris, made before the first flights :

The model is on target to be 90 grams w/o rubber, but balanced. I could be off slightly on the CG, so the weight may creep up a little if I need to put something in the spinner. 90 grams sure sounds like alot, but it's a big model at 1/12, 27" span so it should be light enough to fly reasonably well. I will do initial test flights with a test rudder. I can then adjust the rudder size based on any spiral or dutch roll tendencies. The fuselage graphics are freehand painted with acrylics. They took me a little over a week, but it seemed the most authentic way to go with what must have been freehand painted on the original aircraft.

The tailskid is mostly hollow balsa with a tonkin cane (bamboo) piece for the steel skid. There are a number of deviations from the N. 27 kit to make it a 24 bis - the tailskid, landing gear axle, and bungee system are 24 style. Instument type and location are conjectural (except for the throttle) but it seems clear that the 24 bis had no instrument panel per se and that the dials were mounted on a fuselage member.

The cockpit coaming is EVA foam colored with a marker, then sprayed with laquer. After the laquer dries you can make it crack by pulling on each end of the foam strip. The effect is pretty leathery. The coaming grommets and stitching are ink.

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