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.

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.

Here is the state of play in summer 2017 - the airframe components are covered in Esaki tissue and areas of white have been masked and airbrushed to act as a basis for the markings, which will be cut from painted decal sheet. The weight of the bits you see here is 9.6 grams.

Piper Tomahawk

This is the Airsail 24" span kit of the Piper Tomahawk which has been in my stash for ages, but I was inspired to build it after watching Mike Mulholland's build of the Airsail Pilatus PC-9 on the Hippocketaeronautics forum. Like Mike, I tried to get some weight out of the design, and I was helped in this aim by Avetek in New Zwealand (who took over the old Airsail designs) sending me a new laser cut set of lightweight formers - far superior to the die-crunched offerings in the original kit.

I'm intending to try and trim it unpainted first, so here she is ready to go, covered in white Esaki tissue. Upper and lower nose cowls are supplied as vac-form mouldings, but I added extra plastic card side pieces between them to remove the unsightly steps. With two lops of 1/8" rubber on board, the all-up weight is currently 48 grams, but test glides in the garden indicate that I won't need any nose weight.

Pistachio Scale Mr Mulligan

I'm sure it will end in tears, but here we go again with another attenpt at building a Pistachio scale model that actually flies. My two previous attempts have been failures, so this time I've chosen a high wing cabin monoplane in the hope it will be easier to trim.

I really struggle with tiny wood sizes, so this looks a little chunky for a pistachio, with 1/20" square fuselage box and 1/20 x 1/32" stringers. Weight of the bits in the photo is 0.89 grams.

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