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!
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.
Curtiss P-6E Hawk
OK - here is the plan. The model in the background is my 1/24th scale 15.5" span model
built from the old Comet plan, and it is a great flier, but gets lousy
static marks in scale competitions - not enough detail, and a see-through tissue
finish. So, I have started a slightly larger version, 1/20th scale, giving a span
of just under 19".
This will have exactly the same outlines, incidence angles and centre of gravity
(so hopefully it will fly as well as its little brother), but more detail
and a fully painted finish. The fuselage now has a scale number of stringers,
and there is more sheet round the nose
(It is bound to need noseweight anyway, so this is only putting in the
weight in a useful structural way).
This new photo was taken in May 2003 and shows that at least some progress has been made,
as the model now has an upper wing and a tailplane. The wing has twice the number of ribs
as the original Comet design (though still nowhere near as many as the real one!) and separate
ailerons. The tailplane has scale structure and the elevators will be hinged with
wire from sandwich bag ties.
This set of bones was pulled out of the cupboard again in 2011 after a 7 year hiatus - something of a record even for me.
As you can see I've managed to keep it moving and quite a bit of progress has been made. The lower wings have been constructed, as has the fin, the radiator and the underfuselage fuel tank.
Just about ready for covering in fact.
Still creeping along in December 2012 - hoping to get it finished for the Indoor scale Nats in April. All the covering is now done. The green paint you can see was used as an undercoat to check
what certain parts would look like under the final paint finish. The wheel pants have been made, and the fuselage radiator and headrest fitted, plus all those
exhausts from plastic tubing. The book shows the colour scheme I will be doing. Nice as the Snow Owl paint scheme is, everybody seems to do it (including me on my smaller P-6E),
so I fancied a change.
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!
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.
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.
Skyleada North American YF-100 Super Sabre
As you can see from the plan, this old Skyleada design is not overendowed with stringers, and begs the question, just how many sticks
of balsa do you need to reproduce a round fuselage?
One thing I could not live with was the square lower corners of the air intake, so I added a pair of stringers instead of just one, which
allowed me to break the corner. I also added a hollow laminated intake, which as well as looking more realistic, also gives you somewhere
convenient to hide noseweight.
Uncovered fuselage and wings show fairly light structure. Note some sheet in-filling round the nose, and under the canopy and spine.
Just the canopy and spine to add now. Test glides in the garden showed it to be very nose heavy (like the Skyleada Mystere was) so
I took the opportunity to cut out the tailplane and refit with more negative incidence. The result was
a much floatier glide. The last thing you want with these models is to have to add tail weight!
This photo shows the motor trough. The Rapier is mounted where the Jetex 50 is shown on the plan. The model is 14 inch span
with plenty of wing area, so I am hoping it will go alright with a standard L2 motor.
Here is the model in the state it was it before the first flights. As it turned out, I am glad I did not add any markings! Flight trials could be best described as "disappointing".
With the model balanced for a reasonable glide, under power, it began to stall, and this got worse and worse during the flight, to the extent that it started doing flick loops. Eventually the wing
to fuselage join gave way, so I have a bit of repairing and recovering to do. The conclusion I came to is that the motor is mounted just too far forward, so as the propellant
burns off, the model becomes more and more tail heavy. I will modify the model to move the motor mount further rearwards before I fly it again.
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 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.
This is a new self-designed open electric model to replace the Kamikaze. I originally drew the type up as a 1/24 rubber model, which had
a wingspan just under 16 inches. The original plane was very small for a two-seater - there are some good photos on the net and the crew almost look
too big for the plane! So, I redrew the plan, this time using CAD, in 1/20 scale, which gives a model big enough to suit an Atomic Workshop Voodoo 25 electric
motor. I've never seen a model of the SBU before, but the proportions look quite good, and you know how I am a sucker for yellow-winged 1930's bipes.
As it's the same scale as the P-6E, I'm looking forwards to seeing them parked next next to each other when finished.
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.