Photo gallery 14 - my latest models

Peanut scale Mitsubishi J2M Raiden

The Mitsubishi Raiden was one of four peanut scale WW2 fighter kits released by Dave Diels as a set. I'd already built the Brewster Buffalo, and fancied a go at one of the others. The Raiden seemed a suitable companion to the Walt Mooney Ki 27, so that's the one I started.

As you can see, the structure is quite light. Perhaps unwisely I added hinged elevators and rudder. The first two fuselage bays were also filled between the stringers with soft 1/16" sheet. The 1/32" sheet gussets at the wing rib trailing edges were added to stop wrinkles.

I have detailed how I finished the model using pieces of decal sheet in the article here

The model is big for a peanut, and came out at about 15 grams without noseweight. With a big fat fuselage and fairly small wings trimming was never going to be easy. Initial efforts with a loop of 3/32" rubber haven't indicated any signs of sustained flight - I suspect I will have to move to a loop of 1/8" to get it going. No damage yet, thankfully, so I will persevere.

24" span Consolidated Fleetster

The original idea was to finish both big and little Fleetsters at the same time and in the same TWA livery, but then I thought it would be good to get the 24" version finished first so I could iron out any construction problems and see it I had enough dihedral for stability. I also decided I couldn't face doing such a complex livery twice, so opted for a much simpler Spanish War scheme that would be quicker to do. The 37" version will still be TWA though.

The model is covered in White Esaki tissue and airbrushed in Xtracolor enamels. These have a gloss finish, allowing good adhesion for the decal sheet markings, also stopping any silvering showing on the laser printed fin registrations.

When all the markings were on, the canopy was masked and the airframe given a light coat of Tamiya matt varnish from a spray can. It was the first time I had used this varnish and I was very impressed with how well it worked. Cabin windows were added last to save having to mask them. Weight came out at 45 grams without rubber. Using a 7" prop means I can do take-offs without hitting the floor and test flights will start with two loops of 1/8" rubber.

Ray Malstrom's "semi scale" Handley Page Herald

Now for a bit of nostalgia. Back in the 1960's I was fascinated by Ray Malstrom's design for a "semi scale" Handley Page Herald, which was published in Model Aircraft magazine, February 1964. I couldn't resist building it, but sad to say it never flew - probably a combination of lack of skill, heavy model shop wood and the fact that the model was designed around two Keil Kraft plastic propellers - the ones supplied in the flying scale range. I think most would agree that these were not the most efficient way to propel a model aeroplane!

While working on my twin rubber powered Herald (see "on the workbench"), the idea was born, how about giving the semi scale version another go to see if I could do it properly this time? It would also be fun to build two Heralds together. It didn't quite work out like that because the Malstrom design was a much quicker build, so was finished well before its bigger brother. The model is quite sturdily built so I was careful to use light wood and also cut some lightening holes where I could.

Instead of the KK props shown on the plan I cut down a pair of IGRA 6" props to 5" and gave them a good scraping to take some weight out of them. They looked a bit bare without the integral spinners of the KK props so I added plunge moulded spinners.

I used the model as a test to try covering with Martin Dilly's Japanese tissue for the first time. Now that Esaki tissue is no longer available I have been exploring alternative avenues. The verdict? Well, when using the traditional technique of coating the edges of the structure with two coats of dope, then attaching the tissue by flooding cellulose thinners through the tissue to reactivate the dope, the tissue went on very easily and I had no problems at all. However, unlike Esaki, the tissue possesses very little wet strength so I suspect there could be problems if using diluted PVA or tissue paste. I also think you would have to be more careful using a glue stick than with Esaki, again due to the lack of wet strength when pulling at the edges. One plus of this behaviour is that it seems to pull structures less than Esaki when water-shrinking. I didn't pre-shrink the tissue before covering the tail surfaces and they stayed completely flat after steam shrinking. I finished the model with two coats of banana oil which gave a nice smooth surface for the paint.

The model was then airbrushed in enamels with markings applied from painted decal sheet. All the markings were copied exactly from the plan, even though they don't exactly match the correct BEA lettering - it's all a part of the character of the model. I'm really pleased with how this quirky little "cartoon scale" model came out. The final weight was 53 grams without rubber and noseweight. I'll let you know how she goes.

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