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Found 105 results

  1. Finally, I've got some time to start the post on my next scratch build, a 1:48th scale Denny SGB, actually S304 Grey Fox, IWM picture below, at 145ft, the model will be ~36 inches long in old money. Warning, I expect this build to take a year or so. This time I really will try to make everything (apart from the split-pin stanchions), but some complex components will be 3d printed, though to my own drawings. I'm also going to have a go at the propellers, printed in wax and then cast, may as well go for it... My aim is to produce full drawings, components and etchings so others could build the same model if they wish. I will document it all here, mistakes and all I have two professional plans, one available on line by G Stone in 1:48th scale and one from model shipwright no 87 (March 1994) But as I do with all major builds, I also contacted the maritime Museum in Greenwich (actually the old brass foundry in Woolwich) who have the archive of all naval vessels since the 18th century. They claim to have an example of every type that served in the navy and they have a number of drawings of SGB's. I chose three drawings of SGB303 (the sister of S304), which include the GA and the shell expansion, a vital piece of the puzzle for plated models. At 36 inches long, the model is too large for my block infill so I'm going to plank it on frames and then plate the outside with aluminium sheet to the shell expansion drawing, rivets included. Shell expansions show stuff other drawings omit, like the water intake and outlet for instance. A section of the drawing is shown below and on it you can see the inlet is rectangular and on the centre line, I've not seen that detail before. This section also shows the layout of the outlet with the doubler plate etc. In other parts of the drawing is it clear that the portholes on port and starboard where not in the same place, again, where else could you find that sort of detail? From a scan of the lines (actually from the model shipwright drawing which looks a higher quality piece of work) I prepared a cutting drawing of the keel and frames. The frames have been set back by 2mm to allow for the planking. The keel is 5mm ply but the stem and the docking keel will be made of brass, inset in the ply as the former is sharp and the latter much thinner than the ply (poor quality copy below I started yesterday by cutting out the keel and setting in the brass, seen below on a temporary building board to keep everything straight. Keeping hulls straight is a real challenge as the planking can frames can easily end up twisted (I know this from experience) so I make a lot of fuss at this stage, sometimes it pays off... The hull will have a large slot in the deck for the deck-house. I'm not going to build a working model, but this could easily be done and then the slot would allow access to the motors battery etc. For me is helps to keep the deck house separate until very late in the build, then is will just slot in The frames were printed and mounted to 3 mm ply for cutting out Much later today... More timber to keep things straight. I've had to slot the build board as the boat does not have an exposed keel apart from the small docking keel at the back. I'll be planking it upside down, more detail later. The platform at the back holds the alignment holes for the rudders, you can also see the holes for the prop shafts (5" dia) After much fettling, I glued it up, tape is holding everything straight (I have a phobia about straightness....) So, we're off and running, sheer strakes going in tomorrow
  2. Another post of a model I complete some time ago. This was a departure for me in terms of scale as this is built to 1:12th scale and was intended to be a working model, though in the end I didn't fit the motor. I completed is around 2010 and it languished on a shelf looking a bit rough. In 2015, I re-worked it and these pictures are of it as it is today. The boat was entered into the 2016 Model Engineering Exhibition where I was fortunate to be awarded a Silver medal, I'm not really sure why. Below are the notes I prepared for the exhibition: Overview I found drawings of this boat in a book written by Uffa Fox, first published in 1937 titled Racing Cruising and Design and as Uffa himself says, what appealed to me was the hull shape which I quote as I couldn’t write it better: “The flare off forward, throwing the sea away from her decks, is washed out amidships, where her side is plumb, while aft the tumblehome takes any heavy look away from her transom, and besides this cuts down on the wind suction from the stern by that much” Studying the drawings (reproduced below) I could see that it needed to be a largish model, so I chose 1:12 scale, a departure from my normal 1:48th scale. Seaplane tenders were designed to transfer passengers and crew from the shore to seaplanes. This tender, designed, built and operated by Saunders (later Saunders Roe) was used in the Solent between 1920 and WW2, I have not been able to find out and operational history other that which Uffa describes. He says it operated for 25 years (before 1937) but as Saunders only entered the seaplane business in 1920, I have dated it from then. The tender dimensions were: Length overall: 36ft Beam: 6ft 6in Draught: 2ft 5in Displacement: 2.43 tons Max Speed: 15 knots The model is 3 feet long Sources As can be seen from the drawings, there is very little true detail and searching the internet, the only photograph I could find is reproduced on the cover. Again, this shows very little detail, but I did find photographs of a similar seaplane tender, fully restored and for sale, plus drawings of many components in a copy of Davey & Co’s fittings catalogue from 1961 (most fittings had not changed since WW1). The model was built using the following sources: The plan in Uffa’s book Various illustrations of boat and ship fittings from Davy’s catalogue Some additional detail from the photographs found on the internet Conjecture Originally, the model was intended as a working model and still contains a motor, battery pack and servo, however, I have completed it as a static model, supported on an acrylic stand so the lines can be seen unencumbered and surrounded by the inter-war seaplanes Saunders-Roe produced. The image below is the only one I could find that shows the launch, in action... For interest, I include below a drawing of a fast motor launch (found on-line) which is clearly different to this one and the one in the photographs but showing a distinct family resemblance (dated 1920) Construction notes The hull was a major challenge and the real reason I built the model. There is no parallel section, it changes continually. Because if this, it is planked with double layer of diagonally laid 1/32nd balsa strips, bending across the grain, glued to thin open frames to produce a strong, very light hull. The hull was then coated, inside and out, with clear epoxy to both strengthen the balsa and render it water-tight. It has a single bulkhead at the front of the cockpit for added strength as I guess you would see in full scale practice. A 1/16th inch ply sub-deck was then attached (to deck beams forward) to further reinforce the construction and the deck planked in lime-wood with calking from black card. The passenger area was then also planked on the inside and the crew seat built up to act as a storage place for the battery box (see picture below). Finally, the framing for the passenger deck and rear seat (which all comes out to allow access to the rudder servo) was built up. The gratings were home-made to be the right size, being such a prominent aspect of the passenger area, as was the engineering plate in the crew space (etching glued to aluminium). The column throttle was turned and capped with an etched ring. The silencer and exhaust are modelled as shown on the drawing, the engine would have been water cooled via the exhaust and so I added a water intake on the port side below the water line and a heat shield where the passengers sit. I added the lifebuoy as it seemed strange she could have operated without one and the Saunders-Roe logo because I wanted it represented on the model. Other Fittings The fittings were primarily made of brass, with some help from custom etchings (wheel frame and rudder top pulley). The seat cushions were made from Fimo. The rev counter was modelled on this photograph of another seaplane tender (further pictures in appendix). Mostly the details were scaled up from the drawing above but the following fittings were added from Davey’s catalogue illustrations: The anchor I chose was a folding one (built up from brass) all of which works and certainly looks the part in its galvanised finish (Davey's illustration below) Commercial Fittings The only commercial components used were: The propeller and shaft The anchor chain and rudder chain All other components were scratch built. The name plate was custom etched to my drawings and the ensign hand-painted. And here is it at rest in its case, the pictures under the perspex base are Sunders-Roe flying boats of the 20's and 30's
  3. I decided the Depredussin as my only 1/32 model is looking awfully lonely and needs a companion, another racer, again one that was largely ahead of it's time (but had many aerodynamic issues so never raced) the Bristol Type 72 racer . Should be pretty straightforward (construction is very similar to later WWI types but there's no rigging or visible cylinder heads), all except the undercarriage and the ducting around the nose, which will require a bit of figuring. Strange to think that only 9 years separates it from the Depredussin. Keel and formers for the Fuselage.
  4. From 13 years ago, another model of a vintage plane that precognized the future: Now, there you have an airliner. Almost an ocean liner, one could say. And, ladies and gentlemen, this was 1920. 32 passengers, mind you. Mister Vincent Burnelli developed a whole family of planes around the lifting body concept, -used much, much later in more contemporary machines. Its earlier interventions in the design field contributed to planes like the Lawson Airliner and the Continental KB-1, amazing creations on their own. Structural soundness, safety and many other qualities of the plane were sought after with the rational use of advanced design concepts. In a way, the “lifting body” is related to the flying wing, both searching for minimum drag, efficiency and structural advantages. Lifting bodies will appear much later, among other examples, in the NASA experimental planes that studied atmospheric re-entering vehicles. A similar line was pursued by French designers: De Monge (his De Monge 7.4 in 1924), Dyle-Bacalan (D.B. 70 around 1925) and Carpentier (C-1 of 1935). There is a wealth of material on the Net, so if you feel attracted to these types and concept do your homework and you will find many interesting stories and the planes and men that created them. For the purpose of this article, I would just say that this story starts in 1920, when Burnelli got associated with Mr. Remington (hence the “RB” denomination), and that there were two version of the plane, the RB-1 and the RB-2, but RB-1 got reincarnated at least once. Here we deal with RB-1's second life. You could have tons of fun trying to sort out which is which, as many of the photos on the Net are mislabelled, and some minor modifications were performed in the machines, even in the same versions. Here some clues: look at the wheels, vertical tail surfaces, engines, tapering –or not- of the aft fuselage and the protruding –or not- ailerons. And the best part as always is when sources contradict each other. The model: Boy, what a corrugated slab! It was love at first sight. A long haul enterprise, without doubt, proven by the fact that this model went on an off the building board for more than a year. After I reached the three hundred parts mark I decided that I was better off not counting them. Although it seems hard work, I can assure you that it is much worse than what it seems. All in all quite an adventure, including the hundreds of genuflections and push-ups performed to recover minute parts from the carpet, which rendered going to the gym redundant. And I’ll throw my gauntlet at the feet of the ones that dare to call it ugly.
  5. For some reason or another last weekend I did something I have in 25 years of modelling never done before - fired a scratch-built steam-punk type model together. I was actually working on a Tamiya Fw190 A3 and I think I was so bored with how well it fitted together that my hand went a wandering. The main body part is the fuselage ventral fuel tank from the Italeri B-58 Hustler chopped off. I started with the pilots station using the 1:48 pilot from the Tamiya Fw190 kit and some bits of one of Revells Stars Wars kit's. The tail unit is also for the B-58, the wing units form a Su27 (or Mig29) and the cable cutters are from the Revell Type VII C u-boot. After that it's a explosion of parts from the spares box and Everegreen. Parts still to come including modified side fuel tanks and ventral fins. I am going to call the pilot the Commissar of Grievance as there seems to be a lot of them about these days ;( The pilot is 1:48 Luftwaffe (needing Borg type interface with the control panel ) and 1:35 head from Takoms St Chamond tanker with face mask and with a respirator, trunk and mohawk added for good measure. Will post update again later when closer to painting stage Regards Brian
  6. Recently, during a brief spurt of house cleaning, I happened across a journal that featured seaplanes and floatplanes. On the cover there was a bright red profile of a Macchi Castoldi MC.72. A featured article inside on the Schneider Trophy Cup piqued my interest on floatplanes somewhat and moa and greggle's builds on, respectively, the Supermarine and Curtiss entries ramped it up even further. So, after researching the various entries, and being partial to those bright red Macchis, I started experimenting with the best way to build the floats for the M.39. After several attempts and a couple of A4 styrene sheets I got a result that I was happy with. I've since decided to build the other float and then continue on with scratch building the rest of the diminutive 1926 Trophy winner using the techniques found in Harry Woodman's book on scratch building in plastic card. This first photo is of the completed float in 1:48 scale. In successive photos I'll show how I went about plunge moulding the deck and keel and putting it all together. Welcome to follow along and comments and suggestions always welcome. Thanks for your interest, Dennis
  7. HMAS AE2 - World War One Submarine. About a decade ago I started idly dreaming about scratchbuilding a model of the famous Australian World War One submarine AE2. One year ago, almost to the day, a generous fellow modeller lent me a set of his plans for an E-class submarine. 11 months ago work started. Three days ago I finished the model. After what seems like a very long time and a great deal of fun, here's the result. Please enjoy! Those of you that have been following the WIP thread will know that the last week of this project was essentially a blinding sprint to get this thing completed in time for the Western Australian Scale Model Exposition (WASMEx). So how did I go in the competition? Well have a look at the photo below and have a guess which one won! Hmmmmm.... No real surprise! Yep - My little submarine came second in the maritime scratchbuilt class. This was what I expected all along because there's one guy here in Perth who is an absolute master of maritime scratchbuilding (lets call him GW shall we). I figured all along that he would win - that's his HMS Vanguard in the Perspex case! Scratchbuilt - from balsa of all things! Well - there's nothing wrong with being beaten by a true champion! Congratulations GW, a deserved win! In any case, I can't complain because it was GW that lent me the plans in the first place! So my submarine came second, which is fine by me, especially since there was a field of nine entries in the maritime scratchbuilt category. So it looks like maritime modelling in Western Australia is in good health. If you are interested in how this model was made please have a look at WIP log which can be found here... And if you will allow me to indulge in a small 'plug' - why not check out my next project - a scratchbuilt, 1/32 Avro 504. That WIP can be found here... All comments and critiques most welcome. Warmest Regards - Bandsaw Steve
  8. After many months it's finished a 1/48th scale scratchbuilt Gloster Gamecock in 17th Squadron colours. Wheels and upper wing from a Smer Bulldog, a Resin Engine but otherwise all scratchbuilt including home printed decals.
  9. These days I mainly specialise in inter-war aircraft models in 1/72 scale, but within that rather large field my favourite area is the 1926-41 'Golden Age' of U.S. Civil Aviation. This is a largely untapped field for models (and likely to remain so), which neatly combines my twin passions of scratchbuilding and historical research. Lloyd Stearman was one of America's foremost designers of civil biplanes. Having been the Chief Designer of both Swallow and Travel Air, in 1927 he left to start his own company, initially in California, but soon relocated back to Wichita, Kansas, then known as the 'Air Capital', for its concentration of civil aircraft manufacturers and suppliers. The fourth successful design of his own company was the Model 4 Junior Speedmail (an earlier model was the larger 'Speedmail'), which he described as 'the finest airplane I ever designed'. Intended primarily as a mailplane, only around half the 40 constructed actually saw service in that role (with American Airways and Canadian Airways). The rest were bought for corporate use, or by wealthy private owners. Top of the range were the 4E models with 400+hp P&W Wasp power and finest of all were the 3 specials constructed for Standard Oil of California and used by their flying salesmen up and down the west coast, 1930-35. Surprisingly, around a dozen of the Stearman 4s built survive, including 2 of the 3 SOCal planes. Latterly, I've been building most of my models in pairs, which I've found to be a more efficient and fun way of increasing my modest output. So here are my models of a Stearman 4EM mailplane of Canadian Airways (Eastern Lines), Montreal, 1931 and Stearman 4E Special 'Stanavo 4' of Standard Oil of California, San Francisco,1930. Models are 100% scratchbuilt and were completed in 2017. 4EM mailplane : 4E Special : WIP Parts spread: Cockpit parts: One of my favourite 1930s biplanes..........
  10. 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.
  11. Here is the little Gadfly. For the WiP go here:
  12. For those who have endured the WIP for this, it needs no introduction, so let me introduce my 1/48 100% scratch-built A7V tank and base (I may have got a little carried away with the 'basic' base which is also 100% scratch-built and cost me £0.00). It would have been nice to use some figures (preferably in 'running away' poses), but of course none are available in this scale. Thanks to anyone who has offered help and encouragement during the build and particular thanks to @SleeperService for giving me the idea. If you're interested this is the WIP thread. Gorby.
  13. This small early French airliner is now completed, it was among the firsts to provide restroom facilities for its passengers. It serviced a line that went from France to North Africa stopping on the way in Spain. It shows that undeniable charm of these pioneers, a bit ungainly but well-proportioned, that make them so attractive. Typical of many designs of the time, the cockpit (and pilot) are located in the aft fuselage exposed to the elements, while passengers traveled in relative comfort in an enclosed and fairly well-appointed cabin. It provided service for a time, but did not reach the popularity or production of other later Latécoère designs that will make themselves and their pilots famous, most notably in South America. Nevertheless, and considering that this was 1921, it its no doubt among the harbingers of the typical small airliner designs that would follow. The WiP can be visited here:
  14. The Latécoère L.A.T.8 or LATE 8 was a medium size early attempt for a passenger/postal carrier to ply some of the short routes with less demand. A sort of small airliner. In many ways, it resembles the later and much more successful Breguet 14T "cabine", used more or less in the same way. The Late 8 could carry five passengers with the luxury of a restroom -equipped with toilet, and so was proudly announced in contemporary ads. The pilot, like in many other designs of the time, sat quite back in an exposed cockpit on the fuselage, to the right of the spine, and had to access his position from the exterior. There is not much in terms or reference material, but it's clear the plane first had a pointy vertical tail with the legend "LAT8", and then a more rounded one. The exhaust went through three changes, as well as some other external details. Photos also show it with and without the F-ESDF registration. When those were applied, they went on the vertical tail and under the lower wing only. Decals as usual are form Arctic Decals.
  15. The smallish Gadfly I started life in 1929 as an ABC Scorpion-powered conventional monoplane of simple lines and conservative design. Soon after, though, its ailerons were deleted and instead a new device was installed, the so-called "oyster" rotary ailerons, becoming the Gadfly II. Gadfly III had a Salmson AD9 radial. This rather simple and small Gadfly is representative of an entry-level project, but there are plenty of other good candidates out there. I happened to have an old Aeroclub Salmson 9AD white metal engine (Aeroclub accessory), so I will be building the Gadfly III (G-AARK) that had that engine. Photos can be found of it flying with either "oyster" or normal ailerons, but I will do the "oyster" ones, since have never seen them on a model. The techniques and resources used for the build are far from being written in stone, and there are many ways to solve scratchbuilding engineering challenges. The build is meant to be only indicative of some basic approaches to the task, for those interested in scratchbuilding endeavors. The completed model is here:
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
  18. 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")
  19. 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:
  20. 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.
  21. 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.
  22. 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.
  23. 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.
  24. 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.
  25. 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
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