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.


Macchi C.202 Folgore



This model is from the Pres Bruning 1/24th scale plan. Nice proportions for a flying model, so hopefully it should go well (one day!) Note I have now built the wing as well!


Gee Bee Model X


I was building this model with a group of other modellers who belong to the Yahoo "ffcookup" Group. The idea is that we all build the same model at the same time, and share our building experiences, hints and tips as we go. The problem is, most people have finished theirs several years ago, and mine is still not finished! The Plan chosen was the Tom Nallen design, 18" span of the Gee Bee Model X, which was given away with Flying Aces News a few of years ago. It has been a very enjoyable build so far - a nice light design of a charming little aircraft. The airframe without tissue weighed just 9 grams.



Some more progress to report now (May 2004) as the airframe is covered, and I have even managed to carve one of those tricky wing fillets. Shame I have now got to do another one and make it look identical to this one. Who knows, maybe I will actually get it finished this year!


Fokker D.VII


This is how far I got with my second attempt to join in with a build for the ffcookup group. The kit is the Golden Age Reproductions 20" span Fokker D.VII, which is an old Scientific design from before the war. Very light design, as you can see (e.g. 1/16" square trailing edge), with the potential to be a real floater.

You may notice one non-standard Fokker D.VII feature, namely the two cockpits. This is because I will be finishing mine as a post war Belgian civil machine that was used for giving joy rides.


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.


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.


Blackburn Ripon


This is my first attempt to design a model in the spirit of the FAC Dime Scale rules, so simple construction, not too much wood, and a span under 16 inches. I'm hoping the sweepback on the wings will contribute to stability. Although some of the cross sections are simplified, the outlines are accurate to the scale drawings I used. I need to get on and make the lower wings next.



Latest progress in October 2013 - all maor components covered. I used pre-shrunk tissue (speamed on a frame) for everything except the fuselage. This fairly mild pre-shrinking still allows some further tightening after covering - the parts being wafted over a steaming kettle, then weighted down onto a flat surface.


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 litle 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.


Beech Super King Air 200


As I've taken the Argosy three times to Geneseo now, I thought it would be nice to have a new Jumbo scale model for next year, and drew up this 40 inch span Super King Air. It will be my first low wing scale twin, but seeing Chris Starleaf's marvellous Grumman Gulfstream last year convinced me that this layout is nothing to be scared of. FAC bonus points are the same as for the Argosy, but with only two motors to wind.



The King Air has nice long nacelles, and a huge tail moment - perhaps a bit lacking in wing area admittedly, but kept light, I think it can work. It's nearly all 1/16" balsa.



The wings detach outboard of the nacelles and I'm using tongue and boxes as on the Aerocar and Argosy. The nacelles are nice and roomy for the rubber motors so I may be able to get the rear pegs close to the wing trailing edge.


Beriev Be 12


The loss of the Aerocar meant that my building program in the run up to the 2014 FAC Nats suddenly became very busy, as all of a sudden I needed a new FAC scale model. The Beriev had been on the drawing board (well.... in the computer) for a while, but now I had to get on and build it. It is based on Peter Smart's successful model, being the same size (32 inch span) and with fin and tailplane sizes copied across to mine. The construction is somewhat different though, featuring cracked rib wings and tailplane, and a few more stringers on the fuselage. I'm also doing the military version with the tail stinger, which makes the fuselage much longer than the King Air.



Stringering the hull was rather satisfying.




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