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pheonix

1/72 Otto Doppeldekker scratch built

21 posts in this topic

Posted (edited)

These are some pictures and a short history of a type which I will bet most of you have not heard of before. Nor had I until I saw one of these built from a vacuform by Steve Cox. Steve very kindly sent me a set of plans which I used as the basis for this model - for those interested there is a build log at http://airfixtributeforum.myfastforum.org/viewtopic.php?f=79&t=47162

 

Gustav Otto was a Bavarian engineer who established a factory for building aircraft in Munich in the years just before WW1. Unusually for German designers he focussed on pusher machines, and according to contemporary British sources these were copies of Farman designs. In fact this was a little unfair as it would be more accurate to say that he was inspired by the Farman designs as his machines were considerably different in outline and construction. Whereas most contemporary machines were built with wooden frames, Otto used steel. This was a very marked innovation for the time as was his use of elevators rather than wing warping which was common on most contemporary French and British designs. The engine was mounted on a platform above the rear of the nacelle and was an Argus of 100hp, again a more powerful plant than most of its non-German contemporaries. However the basic design went through many variations over time, as did many other contemporary designs, as Otto tried to refine and improve the basic idea. There were variously machines with four fins and rudders, twin two-wheel undercarriage units and various shapes to the nacelle. One photograph shows an Otto without any nacelle at all as on the Bristol Boxkite, with the pilot sitting fully exposed in the front of the aircraft and the passenger equally exposed behind. It would seem that by 1914 the design had settled to something like what I have tried to represent in my model, but I cannot be certain of all the details as there is little reliable information published in English.

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The military service career of these machines seems to have been limited to reconnaissance on the Eastern front by a very few machines. The Army did not like them because they were considered to be badly constructed and the Navy ordered several but these seem to have suffered from poor construction too. However some machines do seem to have been employed at least in the early months of the war before they were withdrawn from service.

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One machine was sent to German South West Africa in May 1914 to try to establish an air presence in the colonies. This machine was privately sponsored and sent by sea to the port of Swakopmund where it was unpacked and assembled before being flown to Windhoek the capital. The pilot Bruno Büchner demonstrated the machine to crowds in several communities where some people paid to have joy rides. He also carried post on a couple of occasions.

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In July 1914 Büchner had the aeroplane crated again and sent by sea to Dar-es-Salaam as he was unable to fly it to German East Africa because the South African government would not give him permission to fly over their territory. Büchner was in Zanzibar when he learned of the outbreak of war so he returned to Dar-es-Salaam and sailed to the meet the battle-cruiser Königsberg. On arrival, he offered his aircraft to Oberstleutnant Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck, the commander of the Schutztruppe. Von Lettow-Vorbeck ordered Büchner to undertake a scouting mission in the direction of Zanzibar. Flying along the coast, he spotted two gunboats which immediately opened fire. He was wounded in the arm. On landing, the plane struck deep sand and somersaulted. Büchner was thrown clear, but injured, and late in the evening he arrived at his base, utterly exhausted. While he was still in hospital, another Schutztruppe officer, Leutnant Henneberger, had the plane repaired and took off. However, when he was attempting to land, the aircraft clipped the tops of palm trees and crashed. The pilot was pulled out dead from the only lightly damaged plane.

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After his recovery, Büchner was ordered to fit floats to his plane and to support the Königsberg, which was then lying disabled in the Rufiji Delta. The aircraft was rebuilt and sheet-metal floats were attached. It was then found that there was insufficient petrol available, and the project was cancelled. The inventive Büchner fitted the aircraft's engine to a small-gauge railway goods truck and, with this much admired Schienen-Zepp (Rail-Zepp[elin]), undertook two goods transport trips to the inland town of Morogoro. Following the occupation by the British, Büchner and his wife were interned.

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The information about the East African venture was pointed out to me by Old Man and I would like to thank him for doing so.

 

P
 

 

 

Edited by pheonix
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Thank you for the potted history of this aeroplane, it's very informative. I've never heard of this one before, but it's quiet an appealing subject.

The skills you've displayed in scratch building this are first rate and have resulted in a fine model.

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great looking build and an interesting history, i was unaware of this german pusher.

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A fascinating story and a beautiful replica of this, to me, unknown aeroplane.

 

Top marks for story telling and modelling!

 

Kind regards,

 

Joachim

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Scratch build? Excellent work. Thanks also for the back story also - very interesting.

 

ATB
Rick

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Stunning work would be an understatement for a shake-n-bake Tamiya kit let alone a scratch build. Interesting back story and history too. My only criticism is that I'd have liked more posts on your build thread!

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Really very very good. Congratulations on a great outcome with this build. 

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Beautiful biplane, well done:)

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That's it; I resign as a modeller! Not only do I often have battles with bipes but I can never train a spider well enough to rig the thing for me.

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Oh dear, this is really quite lovely.

Well done Pheonix!

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My God.....That rigging!  :hypnotised:

 

Your spiders are exceedingly well trained.  :spider:

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Very informative, and a work of art. :worthy:

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If you heard a distant clunk it was the sound of my jaw hitting the floor.  What a fantastic bit of modelling.  Also not an aircraft I am familiar with so doubly interesting. 

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What did you use for the rigging?

It looks like fine copper wire... very striking.

 

On ‎1‎/‎4‎/‎2017 at 3:47 PM, pheonix said:

Image

 

 

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11 minutes ago, Howlindawg said:

What did you use for the rigging?

It looks like fine copper wire... very striking.

 

 

I too must know!! Incredible work. You must have some patience. Well done.

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- I will be unable to built such a model you have all my respect Sir

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Scratch building is the supreme discipline of modeling - hat off.

 

Cheers,

Michael

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15 hours ago, Howlindawg said:

What did you use for the rigging?

It looks like fine copper wire... very striking.

 

 

Yes I usually use 40SWG copper wire which I roll flat using a piece of brass strip and a block of wood. The lengths are measured from the model using dividers and the wires attached with CA. It saves drilling endless holes which can be nearly impossible on pushers (I have a penchant for pushers). I do sometimes use thread on larger biplanes (twin engine bombers or larger).

 

Thanks to all the rest of you who have dropped by and left such positive comments - I really appreciate them.

 

P

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Incredibly fine, masterful scratch building work, Pheonix -

 

One to be really proud of.

 

Regards

 

Dave

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