On the Workbench

Here are the latest photos of the (many) half-finished models in the Stuart workshop. At least when they are in the uncovered state, you can see some of the construction methods more clearly than when they are finished. I tend to have several planes on the go at any one time, which prevents boredom setting in, but does mean they tend to take a long time to finish!

Albatros D.V

This is the Golden Age kit, which I can highly recommend, in the process of conversion to CO2 power. The motor is a Gasparin GM 120, and I am hoping to hide the filler nozzle inside a removable pilot. You can see the tank between the motor and nozzle. I have built in a lower access hatch under the motor so I can get at the mounting bolts, and will have a removable nose block behind the propellor. Scale is close to 1/16th. As usual, I could not resist putting in a couple of extra fuselage stringers. This should not be a problem, as I will have no weight of rubber in the rear fuselage to worry about.

Dornier Do 335

Not much to say about this one - it is the West Wings kit, started in a fit of enthusiasm when it first came out, and sitting around in this state for a couple of years. I am planning to power it with two rubber motors, one driving each propeller. The kit is very well designed, but there is plenty of scope for weight reduction.

Pfalz D.XII

This is the DPC models kit, which I started for another cookup on the Small Flying Arts site. Again, long after the cookup is finished, my model isn't!

I managed to get the two bottom wings and one of the upper ones done, and even covered one of them. I modified the kit design to add scale rib spacing, and separated the ailerons.

The Esaki tissue has been printed with five colour lozenge on my ink jet printer. To improve opacity the upper surface is chalked on the rear with light grey pastel chalk, and the lower lozenge with white chalk. The rib tapes (also chalked tissue) were added afterwards.

Some progress to report in December 2005, as for no obvious reason I got renewed enthusiasm for this project. You can see there is now a fuselage and a complete upper wing, plus the tail surfaces. These latter were scratch built using the Windsock Datafile drawings as a guide, and feature laminated outlines. Rudder and elevators are hinged with soft wire.

The complex lower wing fairings are a distinctive feature of the type, and rather than use paper fairings as suggested in the kit, I have tried to carve them from soft balsa block, let in between the formers and the 1/32" ply root ribs.

The saga continues! I cannot believe how fast a year can go past. Here we are in December 2006, and the model staggers slightly closer to the finish line. The fuselage has been covered and airbrushed, as have the tail surfaces.

To get the slightly fuzzy colour demarkations on the fuselage I used "sausages" of blue tac, with masking tape attached to the top of the blue tac outboard of the area to be painted. The paint spray gets slightly under the radiused edge of the "sausage" giving a softish edge. If you owned a finer airbrush than mine, you could of course do it freehand.

Blackburn Shark

This was not a model I had planned into my schedule Ė itís all Greg Westís fault. He sent me a pdf of the plan, which is a pre-war Comet design, and I knew I just had to build it. The wingspan is 34 inches, and the structure is incredibly light. It is amazing just how little wood some US designers were putting in their models compared to the bricks turned out by some UK companies. I think this has the potential to be a real floater for outdoor flying when the weather is calm. There is more structure in some peanut scale models than this, but what there is in this design looks to be in the right place. The Warren girder struts will help to keep the wings rigidly aligned, and the main challenge would seem to be the undercarriage, and how to make it more crash resistant. Greg has built one and successfully flown it - you will find a video of it in action in the 2010 FAC Nats report. It looks so good in the air that this is definitely one I need to finish.

I dug the bones for this one out of the cupboard when I got back from the 2014 FAC Nats, and by the time October had arrived, some significant progress had been made. You may spot that I decided to add an additional turbulating 1/16" square wing spar between the main spar and the leading edge. Incidentally, the kit design has a single 3/32 x 3/16" main spar shown on the bottom, which I converted to two 3/32" square spars, one on the top and one on the bottom. I also re-cut the joins where the outer panels join the centre section and put in a touch more dihedral before replacing all the gussets.

The cowl is wrapped with soft 1/16" sheet rather than notepaper, to make it more robust. Also I have put in a fuselage-mounted wire landing gear to run inside the front undercarriage struts, but not attached to them, in the hope it will deflect backwards in the event of a heavy landing.

Hawker Audax

I won the this old West Wings kit in a raffle (it has the original peel-off paper patterns on the parts sheets) and for no obvious reason took it away on one of our trips up north to cut some bits out. Before I knew what had happened, I got to this stage.

You might notice in the photo that as the design does not feature side keels for the fuselage, I have attempted to keep everything straight when adding the stringers by temporarily gluing scraps of balsa sheet between each former on both sides. These will come out anytime soon.

I plan to finish the model as an Audax in desert colours, just to be different.

Stearman 76

My old Comet Stearman 76 dimer had flown pretty well at Geneseo in 2012, despite it not being the lightest of models, and much repaired. I fancied building a new one using some of Alan Cohen's excellent strip wood, hoping that by doing this plus the inclusion of a forward motor peg (just behind the rear cockpit) I could knock a couple of grams off the weight of the previous one. As I'm sure I've mentioned before somewhere, there is a lot of satisfaction to be had building a simple model like this as carefully as you can. It will be interesting to compare the performance of this model versus the Ripon. The little balsa tags on the tailplane and fin are for mounting the rigging wires shown on the plan - FAC rules dictate that all rigging and details drawn on the plan have to be present on the model.

D.H.83 Fox Moth

The Curtiss Hawk is becoming too familiar a sight at the BMFA Indoor Nationals, so I decided it was time for something new. I also wanted to try something with a lower wing loading than my usual open rubber models, so get a slower, more realistic, flying speed. I've fancied having a go at one of the late, great, Dave Rees's designs for a while, so I thought, why not build one and fly it indoors?

The chosen design is the D.H. 83 Fox Moth, a type I've flown successfully before as a peanut scale model. Thus, I have all the necessary documentation to hand, especially if I finish it in the same scheme. Span is 30 inches, so larger than normal for me, but it should be fine in a large sports hall.

I started with the wings, as I've never built a set using this construction method before. I used two laminations of 1/32" balsa for the upper rib caps rather than steaming 1/20" square as shown on the plan, on the basis it would be more robust. The two deep spars and webbing give an amazingly stiff structure at a relatively light weight (the upper panels are just under 3 grams each). Changes to the plan involved adding separate ailerons to the lower wings which will be hinged, and making the lower wing panels separate, attaching to the fuselage sides as per the original, rather than having a one-piece wing running under the fuselage.

Short Seamew

In order to maximise the number of classes I could enter at the 2016 FAC Nats, I wanted a model I could enter in more than one event, with the proviso of course that I could fit it into my model box. I'd had an idea running round my head for a while that an enlarged version of my Peanut scale Seamew could go well, but moulding the blown canopies put me off a bit. However, Lindsey Smith then produced a canopy moulding for the 22" span Frog Senior Series Seamew, and when I enlarged the peanut to 22" span, the tricky bulbous parts were exactly the corect size. I'd have to bend a windshield from flat sheet, but that didn't look too difficult.

The main structural difference to the peanut model is the use of a cracked rib wing. I left all the fuselage formers in the same positions, but added one or two extra stringers. Also some soft balsa in-fills for some of the trickier contours. To strengthen the wing to fuselage join, I added a box across the fuselage to accept interlocking balsa tongues mounted in the wing centre sections.

The separate removable outer panels are only required because I have to fit it in my model box - normally a model this size would be one piece. It means adding extra weight, but it can't be helped

Waco C.7

This is a peanut scale plan by Paul Boyanowski which I decided to build to take out to Geneseo in 2016 - the design is light, and it should fly well. It won't have the level of detail I might put in a BMFA peanut, and it certainly doesn't have scale rib spacing, but for this model, duration is he main criterion. The rudder and elevators are hinged - a feature not on the original plan, but useful for trimming.

Cessna 310

As the jury is still out on the ability of the Beriev to be a consistent performer, I thought I'd better get a back-up FAC scale entry started for the 2016 Nats. I've loved Chris Starleaf's 29 inch span Cessna 310 design since the plan was published in FAC news, and it's a proven class winner, so really it was a very simple choice. So far I've got the fuselage and both nacelles done, and I've tried to keep everything as light as possible. The fuselage was a fun build, with the upper structure built "in the air" above the basic box. I love the way Chris has captured the shape of the fuselage using just a minimum of sticks. The photo shows my chosen colour scheme.

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