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Found 94 results

  1. I've lurked her a long time and thoroughly enjoy the WIP threads and take great modelling inspiration from them, so I reckon the time has come to start my own. Seeing as how this is (I think) an interesting subject which will have many modelling challenges I thought it would be a good first WIP. I do also have a wip thread on the Irish IPMS Forum which will be broadly similar, but then again might not be. This is my intended subject asn as luck would have it the SMER Bulldog has Decals for the black wavy line. The Gamecock was an improved Grebe which in turn was an improved SE5a, however I started from the Bulldog because they have (more or less) the same engine and the SMER kit was also available in quantity and at a low price, so I bought 2 with the intention of completing one as a Bulldog (maybe) and using the other as a donor for the Gamecock. So............ This is where I'm starting from. The SMER kit isn't terrible but like me it has some issues for example the markings are molded on (the kit not me ) . The engine , wheels and Decals are a definite part of the build and I'll see how much else can be beaten into shape as the build progresses. As luck would have it the upper wing isn't a million miles off and can be cut down to shape. Here it is with the markings sanded and scraped off and marked up for cutting. The lower wings and forward fuselage may also be good. It will definitely need a new tail and possibly a new rear fuselage, but I'll see as the build progresses. The upper wing cut and the left wing (confusingly the one on the right) cut to shape but not finish sanded.
  2. A build from 2008, 11 years ago: I bet you never heard of this one. 1919…a seaplane-glider...now, that’s a concept. Whatever the logics behind it, the result was as cute as cumbersome. A not well known Fokker apparatus that was also tried on wheels, apparently didn’t produce any remarkable results to assure a place in posterity…other than this one. Towed by a motor boat with and without a pilot, the flight performance was strangely about the same. It was reported that among fish and cattle some stress cases were developed but fortunately without major consequences. Same goes for the pilot. It is a small model in 1/72, with simple lines that render design and construction easy enough to be dealt with over a weekend.
  3. Here another build from 2010, nine years ago, with the same basic but not unfair take: Since I was at it with the Macchi M.C.72, I decided to also go for the M.67, which was a slightly earlier -1929- machine equipped with an Isotta Fraschini ASSO 18cyl in “W” of 1,800 hp. The particular configuration of the engine determined the shape of the front fuselage. Three machines were made and experienced the multiple problems associated which such complex pieces of engineering. Like the M.C.72, the M.67 was a pure bred racer seaplane, conceived to compete for the Schneider trophy. The lines and general arrangement are similar to those of the MC72, also having radiators on the wings, floats and struts, besides the fuselage sides and the oil cooler under the chin. It had a three-blade propeller that of course created some torque, so one float carried more fuel than the other and the wing was very slightly asymmetrical to try to compensate. The design was not fortunate due to technical problems, but one machine survives at the Vigna Di Valle museum. How to paint an Italian racer: You must know that the secret is in the tomatoes. The right ones will give the finished model that characteristic bright red racy hue. But seriously: The model followed the same methods as the similar MC72 posted here, one difference being the shapes created for the engine cylinder bank fairings. As it is sometimes the case, the carving and sanding of these particular parts and their fit over a compound-curve surface required some attention and time. Aeroclub vac floats were adapted removing a section and re-joining their front and back halves which matched the plans very well. A cockpit interior was created of which little could be seen once the fuselage halves were closed. The fuselage needed several sessions of puttying, sanding and priming. The fuselage side radiators were engraved on thin alu foil that was painted brass later on and added to the finished fuselage. Struts for the floats were adapted from Contrail streamlined stock. A leftover bomb from a kit was put to better use creating the conical spinner, and blades were re-shaped from a white metal prop. Spars were located on the fuselage to align and secure tail and wing halves. Decals, 77 of them, were home made The fantastic lines of this racer look like a sculpture influenced by artist Carra, Balla and Boccioni of Italian Futurism fame.
  4. A build from 2010, nine years ago: Looking apparently for a niche in the market for economical and affordable single seaters, Mr. Pierre Maubossin designed a plane that was built by Louis Peyret (of Peyret Tandem fame) The Peyret-Mauboussin PM.X all-wood, ABC Scorpion-powered cute machine was ready in 1929 and had a wingspan of 10 meters. A floatplane version, the PMH.X bis (H for Hydro) was later developed. A two-seat, beefed-up, slightly bigger machine -the Peyret-Mauboussin PM XI- made a remarkable flight from Paris to Madagascar! The cantilever long aspect ratio flying surfaces and the short tail moment made the plane look definitely elegant, with slightly awkward although ultimately charming proportions. The main components were basically built over a rainy weekend, quite small in 1/72 and simple enough to make the building process run smooth. The all-wood construction of the original and the absence of markings (using as reference one photo that so portrayed the plane) accounted for a relatively easy finishing. For that wood finish color information I am in debt with master scratchbuilder and famous Canadian Cycling Gremlin Alain Bourret. Mr. Mauboussin went one to produce a notable family of designs, but that’s another story. Au revoir, mes amis! (and don't start with "you have to make a beaching trolley for it")
  5. From 2014, 5 years ago, comes this strange creature: Back to weird, as it should be. After some wandering around toying with more plane-like subjects, the usual stints and dabbling into related fields (the cars and buses), is back to the roots time. For years all those who know me had to endure the shower of esoteric stuff upon their modeling heads. I am sure they miss it, so here it is some more of that. There is beauty and beauty. There is the predictable, boring, repetitive beauty of the known types that have been modeling far beyond saturation, and there is the gourmet, secret pleasure of the beauty hidden in more selective subject choices. I'll just say to you, as an example of what I mean: Farman Jabiru. A subject one day I hope to honor. Meanwhile today we gather to celebrate an even more arcane type: a winged creature born in darkness and shrouded in secrecy, but coming now to light in all its splendor, the Nungesser Hydravion. How strange in so many ways is this apparatus, regarding not only its appearance but also its provenance. Reportedly it was created by or (more likely) made for Nungesser, the famous French pilot -although no other sources than the Gallica archives state so-. Design-wise, is of the canard type; they probably thought that if a duck floats, then a "canard" -duck, in French- configuration would be optimal (or at least safer) for a flying boat. Interestingly enough, is a tractor canard, that is, the engine "pulls" from the front of the "fuselage" and therefore does not push from behind as in other canard designs. No details other than the ones that can be surmised from the very few photos are found or provided. Nevertheless, this extremely attractive weird ugly duckling surely deserves to come to life in model form. As usual, I started by having to draw the plans for it, very carefully studying the photos, comparing, and tracing, and erasing, and re-tracing, etc. This bird was all wood-covered, save a panel in the upper front of the "fuselage" that looks like formed metal sheet. Window-doors with three hinges each are seen in both sides, along with profuse windowing ahead and after them. The radial engine is fixed, as one can safely assume from the exhausts connected to the cylinders and gracefully curving out and back on both sides. I had the file on this subject for years now, waiting for the odd chance that more material will be eventually revealed, and although that was the case for many of my files that sat quietly in the dark, in this case the mystery remains. From the Gallica archives:
  6. These are all old builds, and in retrospect should have been posted at the beginning of these series. They often represent the first, hesitant steps on scratchbuilding. Here is another from 2008, 11 years ago (original text as posted then): The Coanda Jet Riding the Flames, The dawn of the jet era…in 1910! Romanian Henry Coanda of later “Coanda effect” fame found himself taking off the ground –involuntarily, I am afraid- during a ground test of his revolutionary creation. Given his reduced talents to keep the aircraft aloft, the flight was very short and ended in disaster –although he escaped unscathed- , but a careful observation of a strange phenomena –the flames exiting the combustion chamber adhering firmly along the sides of the fuselage- later became one of the most important contributions from Henri Coanda to physics, specifically to the dynamic of fluids, known as the Coanda effect, The mysterious engine was in concept similar to the one utilized, decades later, in the Caproni-Campini CC-2, that is, a “mixed” engine, with an internal combustion unit driving the compressor stage of the jet. His design, that incorporated a great deal of innovative features, went, for no reason, ignored by mainstream aviation history until recently. The elegant and futuristic lines of his design were hard to resist, so out again with the glue, styrene, filler, sanding stick and the metal bits. Available plans differ from each other and all of them differ from photos, so there you are submerged in the relentless fogs of scratch-building. Hopefully the images will give an idea of the materials and techniques involved in this attempt, but perhaps most important, will render a general sense of the gleaming beauty of the design. Seemingly flying away from a still of Fritz Lang’s “Metropolis” –by the way, a much later production- its proud pilot could well have been Little Nemo in Slumberland. Some of us are interested in aviation history, some others in the constructional aspects of modeling, and some just love these planes for their diverse, rich, alternative, disconcerting but immensely attractive aesthetics. Whichever the reasons that lead you here, I am sure you will like this first jet of aviation history.
  7. A build from 12 years ago: Yet another old effort that may be done better today, but here it is anyway for your amusement: The Flea that came from Scratchland What can be better for improving your scratching techniques than a Flying Flea? Henri Mignet used to play with an apple crate as many kids do. He first added wheels, then a dashboard, then a rudder, wings and by the time he was a grown-up he finally installed an engine and taught himself to fly. Or something like that. In any case, he helped to promote what is now the home-made aspect of aviation and the ultralight movement. Many amateurs around the world constructed Pou-Du-Ciels –or Flying Fleas-. His creation flew well, but had a sneaky inherent flaw that led to some precipitated landings. The flaw was later corrected but the design got some bad publicity and most Fleas got grounded. The Pou-Du-Ciel had a tandem-wing configuration of simple lines that accepted a wide variety of power plants, most of them from fields other than aviation. It is difficult to get an idea of its relative size, so in one image you will see a comparison with a clothespin. The graceful lines of the Pou can be reproduced with little effort. As raw materials you may use the tiniest of the scraps in your styrene box, some wire, stretched sprue and a few spares. What you will need in large amounts is good sight –not my case, I am afraid- and patience –neither my case here. I spent more time looking for parts that flew away to the great beyond than in the actual building. There are a number of Pou-Du-Ciels still jumping around or hanging from museum roofs, and most of the liveries are very attractive, so scratch that itch: it won’t take much of your shelf space.
  8. A build from 11 years ago, as promised more autogyros: A remarkable typology among the diverse world of flying objects is constituted by the strange-looking autogyro. Cross-developed with the helicopter, it contributed with many technical solutions later adopted by its still strong-going cousin. These remarkable machines flourished especially during the Golden Age of Aviation, but dwindled in numbers, for no apparent reason (given its performance-cost ratio) until almost totally disappearing nowadays. Pitcairn, De La Cierva, Kellett, are some of the most renowned brands. Hafner autogyros are not that well known, but the appearance of this one on itself merited at least a model of it. Rotor blades for the Hafner were made of Contrail streamlined strut stock. I ordered the Pobjoy from Aeroclub, together with the wheels. Stab halves are the usual styrene ribbed envelope, which allows for a later introduction of a spar to fix them to the fuselage. A pleasant interior was created before closing the two vac shells, being very careful since the styrene that the Mattel can handle is very thin.
  9. A build from 9 years ago: At the start of the 20’s it was realized in Japan that racing planes could be of great interest, therefore the first plane in the country designed for that purpose was built by Kawanishi and designated K-2. It was to be powered by a six-inline Hall Scott rescued from another plane. By 1921 the result of the endeavor was a very pleasing, modern –for the time- little plane of refined lines that showed promise. It was made mainly of wood and had a low cantilever wing of constant chord. The little fin/rudder area apparently gave a bit of trouble under some circumstances and minor problems precluded the building of more machines. The only K-2 built didn’t enjoy much development, but the plane flew with wire-rigged wings and later received airfoiled wing struts. Wheels had their spokes exposed or covered, depending on the photos. At least two different props can be seen on photos. The little plane eventually reached an unofficial speed of about 250 kph, not bad for the about 220 hp of the engine and for 1921. The boxy radiator, right on the face of the pilot, puts a sort of funny note to the design. Minute in 1/72 but with a definite racy appearance, the sort of art deco lines of the K-2 seem to make by themselves a statement about speed.
  10. A build from 11 years ago, as promised more autogyros: What is an autogyro? This unlucky cousin of the helicopter enjoyed a brief and well deserved moment of glory during the 30’s and for no reason its popularity dwindled. The Kellett K-2 had a Continental engine, while the K-3 had a 5 cylinder Kinner. The subject of this article started its life as a K-2 but was later given the Kinner. There were many other Kellets K-2s and K-3s: one went to Japan, another to Argentina, and the rest vanished in the mist of time save one restored airframe that now is in a museum. Coincidentally it has the same registration that my model. Scratch-building is indeed easy; the only issue is that is difficult.
  11. A build from 5 years ago (soon to be 6 years ago): Only a tiny little cute touring plane more, Mr. Creosote. I was in a modeling hiatus produced by traffic back-ups in the 405 freeway, delays in the distribution of the mail, a slight slow down of Earth orbit around the sun and possibly an impending invasion of Klingons, who certainly do not tolerate well hesitation. I couldn’t help myself and had to build a replica of this Mickey-Mouse sorta plane. A small cute little thing, and a relieving endeavor to be able to take a break from demanding builds. For such a minute model I was surprised I had to drill three holes for the prop and cylinders, two for the attachment of the wing struts on the fuselage sides, two for the stirrup, four for the LG struts, two for the tail skid, six for the control cable leads, two for the wing spar, three on the fin and stab for the rigging and four on the wings for the struts; twenty five in total! I felt like a mad texan, drilling holes everywhere. No decals for this one, but a hand-carved wood prop was made, and a reasonable cockpit interior. The resin cylinders were a courtesy of Matias Hagen, and the white metal wheels came from Aeroclub. The parts’ count should be around sixty, quite a bit for such a toy plane. I used the plan drawn by Bill Hannan, of Hannan's Runway fame. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dietrich-Gobiet_DP.VII
  12. An unusual but beautiful golden age "flying wing", a build from 3 years ago. The Golden Age of aviation... long distance or endurance flight records were being often beaten again even before the winning machines and pilots could fully enjoy their glory. Amidst this background that is my usual inspiration field, recently three designs caught my attention; they are similar in some regards but have distinctive characteristics. I am referring to the EMSCO (E.M. Smith and Co.) "flying wing", and the Bryant and Vance "flying wings". None of them is, actually, a real flying wing, but the term points out to the absence of a "real" aft fuselage, being this replaced by the twin-boom arrangement. So we have a fuselage pod, usually short, instead of the traditional fuselage to which all other members attach. These designs relied on refined aerodynamics and large, high-aspect ratio wings, associated with high lift capacities and the ability to carry a large fuel load. None of these three were particularly successful, a fact about which I give a rat's bottom. The Bryant had a push-pull twin engine arrangement. The Vance design was quite similar to the EMSCO, but with double vertical stabilizer instead of the single one. There is a lot to be said about these three machines in general and about the EMSCO in particular, but I will say no more; if you are curious, go find about them, they are very attractive and have juicy histories. You won't regret it, but I won't do it for you, enough work is for me to scratchbuild these belles. Suffice to say about the EMSCO is that it was designed by Charles Rocheville (the same designer of the Rocheville Arctic Tern that I built long ago). The EMSCO had two strange aerodynamic devices: the fuselage pod was a duct inside a duct, to channel the inner airflow from the NACA cowl aft of the engine. There was also another device that ingested air, located beneath the wing, and pumped it through slots on the aft upper airfoil, thus creating what we call now a blown-wing. These devices were to help the lift and speed of the plane. They worked very well, according to contemporary accounts. The model: Every scratchbuilding project is a challenge, for diverse reasons. There are always areas or parts that require some head-scratching, and that's part of the charm of scratchbuilding. In this case there is not even a plan, or a meager 3-view. So I had to work on a plan, or better said, a building sketch. Once the plan was more or less ready, work began on the model, and there a second challenge appeared: the fuselage pod, which was, as said above, a duct inside a duct. The inner duct surrounded the pilot and copilot stations, which were located therefore in a sort of bathtub. The air entered at the front of the NACA cowl, passed through the fuselage main section and then the aft cone which acted like a Venturi device and then the air was expelled at the narrow end. My thanks to Lars Opland and Alain Bourret who provided some additional useful pieces of information. Mika Jernfors came to the rescue with the decals I commissioned from his outfit, Arctic Decals. Enjoy your EMSCO flying wing
  13. A build from 12 years ago: This design was patented in 1917, and built in 1929. Now there you have an idea: make a super-sized dart-like paper airplane, bolt-on a Curtiss OX-5 engine and climb on board. Crazy? Well, in 1930 Mr. Scroggs, a tailor, test flew such thing at a height of 10 feet! The way he christened the machine, “The Last Laugh”, surely says something about the lesson he taught to the incredulous bystanders. For the curious here is a link to a movie of it: https://mirc.sc.edu/islandora/object/usc%3A30075 Hey, I just looked at it and knew I was in love. I can still hear Scroggs' laughter!
  14. A build from 5 years ago with the original text, as usual: Ah, the irresistible attraction of an out-of-the-beaten-path subject, obscure, arcane, esoteric...and why not irrevocably weird. Your odd model though will most likely not be destined to resemble the ones already populating the shelves and modeling contest tables, and, best of all, will bring to 3D life a subject that until then was never appreciated. That's a good feeling, isn't it? to bring to life a piece of aviation history that wasn't there before, the designs and hopes of sometimes ignored individuals, the shapes and configurations created by daring minds. Of course, you may get the occasional blank stare. That is perhaps unavoidable, and can actually be construed as a compliment: "Whozzat?" translated into proper language means "I see something new". But, who am i to judge, I have sinned in my youth too. There is a more difficult side in dealing with odd balls, though: you are almost surely bound not to find a kit to adapt or convert, or even a plan, or abundant photographic references. Research will take a little time, but man, will it be rewarding. So your little creation will grow from almost nothing to something, in your caring hands and brain. I must say, though, that in this particular case, I did find a 3view, although in some obscure crag in the Net, containing the pertinent issue of the French journal "Les Ailes", together with all the additional stats needed. The plan had to be corrected and refined, but it was a very good starting point. Considering the year when this creature was born, 1922, one can immediately see its pioneering solutions: cantilever low wing, sport -private- market orientation, a canopy to insulate the crew from the inclement elements, simplicity of design and -for the time- dashing appearance. A precursor no doubt of many other Farman future endeavors. Of the very few images I managed to find, a couple show the plane without the canopy, in a configuration that may suggest one occupant instead of the standard canopied two. This type should not be confused with a later model that also got the "F.200" denomination, a few years after. Contrary to the blurbs that are found on the Net regarding its performance (given as pour) at least one contemporary article speaks about many successful flights and good maneuverability. The deceivingly common appearance of this cantilevered low-wing beauty should not make you oblivious to the fact that it was built in 1922!, way before this configuration was widely spread and accepted. I'd like to thank some friends for their input: the Canadian Twins Malain & Alain, Mr. Xtmoxchs P. of Florida, Mr. Jaime Irregularis of Pugetland, Lars Abominable Snowman of Alaska and finally Helga, who stole valuable information from the vaults at the Volkano lair of the Zoenke Evil Empire Aktiengesellschaft. Accessories are from Aeroclub's stock. A flight magazine photo of it (lower half page): https://www.flightglobal.com/pdfarchive/view/1923/1923 - 0007.html?search=farman tourisme An Aerophile photo of it (upper half page: https://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/bpt6k6555017m/f19.item
  15. A build from 7 years ago: Have you seen those marine life documentaries depicting a seagull or similar seabird snatching the fish from the one that caught it in the first place? Well, in the early 30’s there was a French guy called Delanne who designed and built a plane named Delanne II, a side-by-side two-seater (baptized Ibis Bleu) powered by a 5 cyl Salmson 5Ac radial, later substituted by a 6 cyl radial Anzani and registered F-AJGB. He sold it to a partnership named S.F.R. which predictably enough re-named the plane SFR-10 and planned to turn it into a machine suitable for three people. The plane nevertheless is shortly after sold to J.M. Moreau, therefore becoming Moreau JM-10. Moreau hires Payen, who contributes to the design and installs a Renault 4Pb, which in turn is later replaced by a De Havilland Gipsy Major, and eventually by yet another engine, a Regnier R6. The plane receives a new registration, F-ANNI. It seems that Moreau was not preoccupied by the fact that the design was being attributed to him at this time. Attribution of the design varies according to different sources, but the one just described seems to be the right account. Monsieurs Delanne and Payen will become later on recognized names in the aviation field. The plane -and the story- do not end well. Moreau tries to sell the plane in civil war-engaged Spain and is murdered. The fate of the plane unknown. The design (especially the first incarnation) bears a certain resemblance with the Tunison Scout, a contemporary American plane. The almost organic metamorphosis of the plane involved a series of changes, besides the powerplants already described and the different noses thus created. Most noticeable are the canopy shape, the vertical stabilizer outline and the landing gear. You could build may be seven models that differ in something depicting the machine at different points in its life. I could not decide which of the planes I would like to model: F-AJGB with its greenhouse canopy, or the “streamlined” F-ANNI; so I went for both. If somebody ever tells you that it would be much easier to build a second model or variant of the plane you are building, do not believe them, it is not. As it is many times the case, no reference is 100% spot on, so you have to correct drawings, review the data and especially look at photos. Now, I have done a few 3 views, so I know it is a difficult task, especially with odd-balls for which there is little reference material; so I praise the guys that do it, but also keep a healthily distrustful eye on what they make. On the other hand, if you wait for perfect references to appear, very few plans or models could ever be drawn or built. Furthermore, as scratchbuilders know, the mere fact of producing a model dramatically increases the chances for references of all sorts to surface –notably after you completed your model-. As you can see in the photos styrene sheet and rod were mostly used for the build. Wood masters were carved for the two canopies and the engine cowl of the later variant and the vac copies were produced in the Mattel 60’s Psychedelic Machine. Wheels and pants came from the spare box and some lengths of Strutz brass material employed for the LGs. Props were adapted to fit the bill and a Ragnier engine scratched to spice-up the nose of the second plane, since the first one also got the exposed cylinders for the radial (thanks, Matias Hagen!). Colors in this case were either described in the references (F-ANNI) or implied in the plane’s name (F-AJGB, Ibis Bleu, which is a sort of cobalt blue hue). Thanks to my francophone friends Michel Barriere , Alex Bigey and Alain Bourret whom very kindly helped me with the research on this project. References: -Pierre Cortet article in "Avions" magazine issue #68. I realized that the cockpit photo in the article is wrongly identified as belonging to the Moreau, and Alex IDed it as representing a Couzinet 33. “Avions” #45 has another snippet on it. -Les Ailes, contemporary article by R. Saladin -Aviation Magazine, Nov 1983 -"Aircraft of the Spanish Civil War" -Flight, Dec 6th 1929 page 1284, and July 4th 1929 page 544 -L’Aero May 11th 1934 -L’Aero Aug 10th 1934
  16. Before we continue to enjoy our hobby -as he would have liked-, I want to make a brief homage to James (Jim) Schubert, who passed away just a few days ago. Jim was a very good friend, a Boeing engineer for many decades, with a long and successful career. He was as active at his 85 years old as he ever was, and regaled us all with his vast, seemingly inexhaustible knowledge on aviation and modelling and a plethora of other matters. I knew him for many years, and often, sometimes seriously, sometimes tongue-in-cheek, embroidered his name in my modeling posts, many times here at BM. He was a very, very, very good friend, to me and to many. Aviation and modeling is what gather us here, and that's how I met him, and he was an extremely important mentor for me (and again many others) in those matters. But there is something, for me far more important than his aviation career or knowledge, or his excelling modeling skills: he was an extraordinary human being, a classy gentleman, educated, polite, intelligent, humorous, witty, kind and always friendly and ready to help. His models are extraordinary, but what I admire the most is his true quality as a human being, sadly not very common nowadays. Dear Jim, your laughter and your incomparable, kind, warm, sometimes mischievous smile, will stay with us; even as you fly yonder. This is an old build, from 11 years ago, with the original text: Between 1929 and 1931, Mr. McClary developed a series of prototypes of which not much photographic evidence remains. The Model A is what you see here, according to Aerofiles. It seems that it was considered a motorglider. Unfortunately there is no record of it ever flying, but I am an optimist. Control was obtained mainly by fervent praying, but also through elevators and rudder, and some sort of ailerons protruding from the…-I guess I should say wing, although I am not totally certain. This sort of flattened zeppelin ,although simple in appearance, offers certain challenges, not being the lesser one the absence of 3 views. I concocted one in my periods of lucidity. Areas that will need attention are the engine (55 parts) the wheels (of the spoke type) and the various struts and protrusions. On the engine and its cowling aluminum sheet, styrene, solder and a home-made metalized vacuformed part were all used. Some generic interior was built into the pilot gondola too. It looked simple enough at the beginning, but after all the dust settled down the count of parts surpassed the 140 mark. Nothing a normal modeler can’t deal with. If we could only find a normal modeler. In 1/72 the model has a reasonable size, not too small, not too big, which makes handling easier. Nevertheless, a number of parts had to be made twice or three times in order to get a reasonable result. The unusual shape dictated equally unusual production of parts and assembly procedures, not to mention that you normally make the fuselage and then glue the wings to it, but in this case you make the (only) wing and glue the fuselage to it. Then you glue the tail surfaces to the wing too. Feels strange, but the same can be said of the plane, isn’t it? McClary went on to design other interesting places if on slightly more conventional lines. Is contemplating these kind of designs that I start to see fine art in aviation. A link to some photos of the real thing: https://1000aircraftphotos.com/Contributions/Shumaker/6191L.htm
  17. Two builds from 5 years ago: The Mercedes-Daimler L.21 was the winner of the Light Plane Class of the 1925 Rundflug. https://www.flightglobal.com/FlightPDFArchive/1925/1925%20-%200257.PDF The L.21 was a parasol plane for one person equipped with two two-cylinder Mercedes engines of 19hp each located on small nacelles on the wing leading edge. The design, if appealing, is nevertheless a tad odd, with a mix of refinement and some bluntness to it. I have been gathering material on it for a few years, but the call that brought the model to light came from friend and fellow modeler Sönke Schulz, who is involved in building one, but at the heretic scale of 1/48th. For such little model, it has a great number of details, and it is a veritable strut forest. Besides the four main wing struts, there are small eight of them to hold the landing gear, four very little ones to steady the engine gondolas, plus eight more for the cabane (that's for you illiterate the structure that unites the wing to the fuselage). 24 in total, for such visit card-size model. Small does not automatically translate into easy, as you will be able to see in this build. Decals are from Arctic Decals These TWO models are D622 and D623 ,the two planes that participated in the 1925 Rundflug. D622 was not completely finished at the start of the competition, therefore lacks paint in certain areas and some details that are however visible in D623 , which was fully painted and had details like the Mercedes-Daimler star on the nose, among other things.
  18. A model from 4 years ago, in a sort of wintery environment, suitable for the season on the Northern Hemisphere. Alexandrov-Kalinin AK-1 of 1924: Please notice that this Kalinin and the K-1 Kalinin are not the same, and should not be confused, being these Kalinins two different comrades. In any case, the AK-1 was a boxy and irresistibly cute nice little Russian passenger plane. One was built and it can be seen in photos at different times in its short life with different schemes and some mods. One photo shows the Lamblin radiators hanging underneath the fuselage, other shows the plane on skis with no visible markings, yet some others show a sort of complicated scheme with abundant lettering and symbols. Monsiuer Alain Bourret from Canada has already scratchbuilt a nice 1/48 scale rendition of the latter, so I thought I would go for a different version. By the way, you can see on the Net interpretations of its colors as being green, blue, red, metallic and grey. It is up to you, dear comrade, to pick one. The AK-1 was powered (the term may be excessive) by a water-cooled Salmson 9cyl. radial engine. It could carry four including the pilot, who weathered the elements in an open cockpit as Russians do to enjoy the breeze and temper their characters. Of these four people, a couple of fortunate ones rode inside in a well-appointed cabin that most likely included a samovar and had enough leg room to perform that strange dance that we see in movies in which they extend their legs in the air while crouching with their arms crossed on their chest. In any case, just bear in mind that the wings had a design that gives the deceiving impression of a gull wing, illusion produced by the thickness of the airfoil being constant from the root up to the point where the struts attach.
  19. A build from 4 years ago: Inspired by the reading of "The Pulitzer Air Races" by Michael Gough (a very thorough, intelligent book packed with information) I started this project, depicting the specially modified Loening M-81 that participated in that race. Racers have a special appeal, even if -as in this case- are converted existing airframes. For racing purposes the standard Loening monoplane got new wings of less span and chord and different planform, plus a refined elevator and other details. It did not fare particularly well (you may read its story in the book) but had the merit of being a monoplane -in a biplane supremacy time- with adjustable stab incidence, and had a squatty stance that had its charm. The wings were separated from the fuselage by a very small gap, and it had no dihedral whatsoever. I was aware of the existence of the an old kit by 12 squared (O.O.P. now), a nice model but with some minor accuracy issues, and the Pro-resin release of the "normal" versions, but I decided to go scratch when I found a nice plan and specs at the Dec 20th 1920 issue of Aerial Age Weekly. The procedures, materials and techniques are the ones I have been portraying here often. I used a Hispano Suiza white metal aftermarket engine -plus wheels and seat- (thanks, Armando Gil!) and the customary styrene sheets and rods. Home made decals were designed and printed as well.
  20. A model from 5 years ago Here is another Arup flying wing, this time the earlier -and smaller- S-2. There were at least three different configurations and color schemes; here I am reproducing the one without the wheel fairings. I have a great opinion of Bill Hannan and collaborators, my main source of info came via one article on Skyways magazine of January 1997, but I differ on the interpretation of the colors, and tend to believe, in spite of their explanations, that there were possibly three colors involved, red, black and aluminum. Just a personal interpretation, not more valid by any extent than theirs.
  21. A build from 9 years ago: The use of radial engines in small airframes tends to create very cartoon-like shapes of an undeniable appeal. Some of these stumpy, chubby, cute little bugs are well known (like the Gee-Bee racers or the Polikarpov I-15) while others are more obscure subjects. If this type of design was a monoplane (like the Bristol Type 72 Racer or the Polikarpov I-16), then the effect was even more notorious; but if on top of that we have a “flying wing” example, then the resulting aesthetics are just as fun as they are attractive. The BOK-5 was a Russian design proposal originated –as the designation states- at the Bureau of Experimental Aircraft (Buro Osovikh Konstruktsii) and the project was led by V. A. Chizhevsky. It had a Mikulin M-11 as its power plant and a span of less than 10 meters. It had metal structure and the flying surfaces were mostly fabric-covered. After initial flights and some adjustments the plane revealed itself as a very good machine, but notwithstanding its virtues didn’t go into production. The Scupley-made fuselage master fitted comfortably in the Mattel Vac-U-Form plate and promptly I had my two fuselage half-shells. The interior was furnished according to references and then the wing was fabricated out of styrene sheet and rod as per photos. A sort of Townend ring was created laminating styrene sheet on a metal tube–see also the images to follow the simple procedure- and an “Engine ‘n Things” Mikulin was retrieved from deep hibernation in the spares bin. This particular engine is not the best one I have seen from this manufacturer, being the back side well detailed and the front side marred by the area of the cylinders enclosed by the pushrods, which was a pool of resin. Some pinholes –or potholes- further enhanced the overall results. Wing and fuselage were mated, but no eggs were laid. Details on the fuselage were added and then the under-hanging control surfaces for the wing. Wheels came from Aeroclub and landing gear structure was a combination of assorted bits. Last details were the home-made wooden prop and a number (14) of photoetched control horns, which amused my ears with the “ping” sound they made every time they jumped to hyperspace from the tweezers. Finishing presented a dilemma. The original color was apparently either white or light grey, but I think that aluminum is a possibility as well. Some color reported as red –which will make sense being this a Russian plane- was applied to the nose ring, leading edges and to some trim lines on the upper fuselage. But for the annual parade a very original and psychedelic scheme was applied, a la Kalinin K-12 “Zhar Ptitsa”. This artistic scheme is represented in different ways by several sources. The usual heavily retouched Russian photos duplicated with hectographic gelatin in the cold basement of a Buro (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hectograph) did not help. That made me lean towards the original scheme. Few decals for this one: only the concentric circles for the wheels and the BOK triangular logo for the rudder
  22. A build from 6 years ago: The Ryan M-1 and its successor the M-2 were the ground upon which more streamlined and refined later types stood. Lindbergh’s very Ryan NYP was a cousin of this sort of clumsy-looking planes. Many of them worked for incipient airlines and plied the Air Mail air trails, as it is the case with the subject modeled here. There was a version equipped with an HISSO in-line engine, which can be seen today at the Seattle museum. The radial versions had different powerplants, but the Wright J-4 seemed a common choice. The chubby, stumpy, squarish, fridge-like lines have a unique charm, punctuated by details like the ice-cream cone-like landing lights and the exposed radial engine. I just posted the build of a kit by Greenbank or Greenbank/Castle. It is a little bit heavy-handed, and scarce, but caters for both the in-line and radial versions, and has decals. The kit is dated 1971, and one may say it is not that bad for that vintage. Every build present its challenges, and scratchbuilding more so. If the model is quite simple indeed, the polished swirls on the aluminum cowl and wheels are not easy to render. The nav lights, decals and other details required some attention too. I enthusiastically made a laminated prop that took a time, only to discover that the real prop wasn’t visibly laminated, so another one was carved. An interior was also added to spice-up the little boxy winged crate. The fuselage needed to be drilled in more than 20 places to accommodate struts, landing gear, control wires, etc. The visible tubular structure above the cockpits that supports the wing must be dealt with carefully. The plane fortunately is painted aluminum overall, but many areas should be treated with the previously-described burnished aluminum; that includes fuselage nose, upper cockpit area, front of central section of the wing and small square panels that cover the exit points of the wings aileron controls. Horns, cables, handles, nav lights, wires, coaming and the like were added to the exterior to make for a more realistic model. This replica of the nice little cute lumbering fellow can now fly home.
  23. A build from 5 years ago Another iteration of the Arup. The Arup family of planes had the goal of providing an economical, reliable, low speed machine that was easy to fly and simple to build and maintain. During the thirties there were a number of attempts by different countries to achieve that elusive goal. These series of flying wings (I just posted another two) is well known to the enthusiasts, but even general aviation buffs sometimes never heard of them. The model presented here is a nose tricycle modification of the S.4 model, powered by a 70hp LeBlonde engine and a span of 22 feet. Access was via a hatch that opened partially bellow the left wing and partially on the fuselage side. It could carry two people with dual controls and had the registration 14529. There is plenty on the Internet about the Arup wings, so if you feel curious use your fingers and look it up.
  24. A build from 2 years ago: This Arup, which has a tailwheel besides its front tricycle landing gear, is mostly seen in photos tail-sitting, thus no lead was added to the nose. The pilot's weight made it "seat right".
  25. A second Travel Air racer, also from 5 years ago: There were five Travel Air Mystery Ships built. Many went through several paint scheme iterations and a few minor aspect modifications, giving us modelers a pretty wide field of options regarding our personal choices. I won’t abound here in their story which can be easily found in good publications, the Net, the Akasha Chronicles and your crystal ball. As I said before, Skyways # 102 April 2013 has an article on the Mystery Ship that will give you a good idea. I have built as you know a model of Hawks’ RN1313 posted here, and I went for another. Since I had the wood masters for the spats and fuselage from the first model the work was not as hard. Having also already figured out the engineering, things went relatively easy. The possibility of a new livery was a breath of fresh air (I usuallydon't like to make the same model twice) and some research and additional work was done to represent it correctly. Here is as usual the photographic record.
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