Rapier-powered model gallery 6

Who would have thought I would be up to Rapier Gallery 6? - It is great that new models are still appearing, and we are getting new converts to the fold. I still think these small scale jets are the most fun per Pound (or Euro or Dollar) you can have with model planes!

Steve Bage has been at it again. Here is his superb rendition of a Hawker that might have been - the P.1121. A lovely looking aircraft capable of mach 2 that like many others fell victim to defence cuts in the 1950's. The prototype was apparently 85% complete when the axe fell. The colour scheme is based on the that carried by the full scale mock up.

The model weighs 25.1 grams and is designed for Rapier L2. It has had its first flight, which looked promising. The model needed quite a bit of noseweight, so Steve has sanded away inside the jet pipe to save a bit of weight at the back. This should allow some noseweight to be removed.

John Digby produced this excellent Miles M.52 from Richard Crossley's design, using the "Physics of Flight" short kit. I believe this was John's first foray into Rapier powered jets. I have seen the model in person, and must compliment John on the excellent covering and finish. All up weight with a new L2 motor on board is a very respectable 33 grams

John has also designed this little Horten XIIIb for Rapier L1 power. The fuselage has been simplified for a quick build as the model is really a proof of concept exercise for a larger fully scale L2 powered model. Weight is only 8 grams without noseweight or motor. The model had its first flights at the Old Warden scale weekend, July 2005, and it was a very impressive performer (I was watching!) I think we can expect the larger version before to long....

Derek Knight was kind enough to send me some photos of his latest jet models, one of which is this lovely Supermarine 525, the forerunner of the Scimitar. Wingspan is just under 12", and weight 39 grams including ballast. The fuselage on this model is carved from solid balsa, hollowed out meticulously - a real labour of love.

I am pretty sure this Grumman Cougar is the same one Derek was flying with an internal Jetex motor and augmenter tube, but it has now been converted to electric ducted fan, with two KP-00 motors driving the same fan. Wingspan is 17".

I really do like this one! Derek has chosen to model the Trainer version of the Hawker Hunter, in this case the T.7, rather than the usual single seater. A conventional stringered fuselage is featured, and the 13" span model weighs 30 grams without any ballast.

This is Pete Smart's Horten Ho XIIIB, the same type tackled by John Digby above. The full size plane was another of those German projects that never got off the ground before the war ended. Pete's example for Rapier L2 power, as well as John's simpler L1 version, seem to have proved the design a viable one, as I have seen both fly very well.

Steve Bage designed and built this 13" span Yokosuka MXY7 "Ohka", a late war, rocket powered Japanese manned flying bomb. It was not the easiest of models to get flying, showing an initial tendency to spiral in. Also, the short nose meant a lot of noseweight had to be added (about 10 grams!) and the final weight with an empty L2 motor casing came to no less than 39 grams. Nevertheless, after steaming in some washout, the model has now flown successfully using both standard L2 and L2HP motors.

Nice detailing at the rear to show the nozzles for the the three rocket motors.

This beautifully finished Bacham Natter is also by Steve Bage who enlarged Richard Crossley's design by 133% to give a wingspan of 8 inches. He also incorporated a shorter, steeper trough to produce more downthrust.

Despite the small size, it needs a Rapier L2 rated at around 120 mN to get it going, and Steve has had some good flights using these motors. He has also (rather bravely) flown it using an L2 HP, launched vertically with a catapult, which by all accounts gives spectacular, aerobatic flights.

Lindsey Smith sent me these photos of his Bell Airacomet built from an old Comet "Speedomatic" kit design. Wingspan is 18" and weight without motors just 21 grams.

The model is finished in the colour scheme of an example operated at Farnborough after they swapped it for a Meteor. The plan is to use two Rapier L2 motors buried in the nacelles.

This Mig 21 was built by Lawrence Marks from the Aerographics kit for Rapier L2 power. Very nice camouflage job - flight reports awaited!

Another lovely model from Sten Persson in Sweden (his excellent Saab J.29 is in gallery 5), a 1/25 scale Saab Lansen, with plenty of nice detail touches. It is a sizable model with a fuselage length of 18" long, and weighs 33g empty. Sten is planning to fly it with a Rapier L3 motor.

Steve Bage decided to try something a little different with this one! This fantastic X-15 is of all sheet construction, and beautifully crafted as usual, but what is really unusual is the fact that the motor is mounted right at the back in the tailpipe. This obviously gives a bit of a problem coping with the shift of the centre of gravity as the fuel in the motor burns off, and Steve's solution is an ingenious one.

The motor actually pivots during the flight, starting off with downthrust as shown here (adjustable with a stop, 15 degrees maximum). Once the model is launched, a Tomy timer in the nose gradually moves the motor back to a horizontal position as shown below.

Initial tests look promising, but 15 degress has proved too much, forcing the nose down too strongly at the start of the flight. Flight trials will comtinue when we get better weather, and I cannot wait to see it action first hand.

Another beauty from Steve Bage is this Bell X-1E for Rapier L2 power. The starting point was the Richard Crossley plan, but the model eventually evolved into a different design. I particularly like the fuselage to fin fairing. Steve has really gone to town with all the markings and stencils on this one, which are particularly effective on the white paint scheme.

This model was kitted in 2008 by Bluebottle Squadron products, featuring laser cut parts and all the decals you need for this scheme. I have seen Andy Blackwell's kit-built example in action, and can confirm it is a fabulous flier

Bryan Passey was kind enough to send me photos of his great looking Saunders Roe SR A/1 built from the old Wilmott Mansour plan, a model originally designed to be powered by two Jetex 50 motors. The model has been built faithfully to the original drawing, including the inclusion of the pendulum rudder, but will be powered by a pair of Rapier L2's

The airbrushed silver finish looks flawless, and really brings out those complex curves in the fuelage (or should it be hull?) I look forwards to hearing flying reports - the layout is pretty good for free flight, and having the two motors close to the fuselage obviously helps.

Roger Simmonds sent me these excellent photos of his new Rapier L2 powered Avro Arrow - a great subject, and very nicely modelled.

The fuselage is all sheet wood, but the wings are built up. All up weight is 30.2 grams for a 9" span and 13" length. Initial trimming indicated the centre of gravity was fine without any noseweight and a fine stable glide.

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