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Old Man

Short 827 (converted) RNAS Mesopoptamia, 1915, Scratch-Build in 1/72

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This is the machine being modeled:

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The photograph was taken at the Ma'Gil field, near Basra, after a bit of a pranging. The Type 827 was built as a float-plane, but at least two of the type operated by the R.N.A.S. in Mesopotamia in 1915 were had their floats swapped for wheels.

Here is the 'scratch-builder's kit' shot....

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References are awfully thin on the ground for this, and for some reason, there are fuller drawings of the Type 830 (the same aeroplane but with a radial motor), even though that was the secondary type, with the 827 being made in much greater number. I have, in an old issue of Cross and Cockade Journal, pretty much the whole photographic record of No. 822 in Mesopotamia, and have managed to track down a couple of profile drawings of the 827 at least (and the plane view is the same, except for a notch in the center-section leading edge of the 830 where the radiator is accommodated, the radiator is mounter more forward, and clears the wing entirely, on the 827).

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The wing blanks are made of 2mm sheet, sanded to an airfoil section, with heavy-grit sand-paper taped to a large pill-bottle being employed to get the curved camber of the under-surfaces. The fuselage pieces are the bottom and sides, and extend only to the fire-wall --- most of the nose panels were removed to improve cooling, so her there will only pretty much naked frame and the motor, an early Sunbeam side-valve V-8 (which I will have to contrive one way or another)....

Here is a picture of the earliest fuselage assembly

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I have since decided that, however convenient for a modeler, the raised wood floor is likely not accurate (all of this is conjectural and speculative), and I pulled it out. I then went to a bare skeleton for the floor (no picture), and finally decided on a thin, metal floor, riding right above the fuselage bottom's structural members, as seems to have been the case with the Short 184....

Here is the fuselage interior more or less completed:

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Shorts used a distinctive five-spoked Depperdussin wheel stick control, which has been scratch-built. Instruments and such are a simplified version of the arrangements for a Short 184 (it was being built at about the same time, so I think a 'family resemblance' not unreasonable). Bezels are 34 gauge brass beading wire wrapped around styrene rod, to make a short coil, cut into links with a razor knife, and lightly flattened in a pliers. Instrument faces are disc shaved off styrene rod, pressing into the bazals after these are glued to the panel. Seats are left-overs from various Eduard kits, trimmed down a bit (they probably should have some holes, but I figured I could skip that). The observer's seat is perched on a fuel tank: there was a gravity tank at the front of his cockpit, but it does not seem large enough to have been the only fuel store, and the observer's cockpit is about the only place a main tank could be put in this).

Here is the fuselage closed up....

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Forward decking is a piece of 0.015" sheet, bent into a curve and glued down, with cockpit openings cut in after attachment.

The turtleback is put on in two pieces: first, a piece of 1mm sheet, shaped to plan and sanded down in a taper to the rear, then a piece of 3mm sheet. The whole is sanded to plan, then to profile, and finally to section.

Nose is left unfinished; there will be adjustments when the engine assembly is dealt with, but that is still a ways off.



Here are a couple of looks into the cockpit....

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In my first run at the forward decking, the instrument panel dislodged, which I did not notice till I had the thing all shaped and trimmed. Only way to fix it was to strip off the decking, and by the time this was done, a fair amount of reconstruction had to be done in the pilot's office, and with the formers. All is secure now.

Here are the wing blanks trimmed pretty close to their final shapes:

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The ailerons will be made separately. They were rigged in the early manner, in which both drooped when the machine was at rest, and though I am not a fan of articulated control surfaces, I may make an exception here, I have not yet decided....

I used a new technique for putting in taped ribs, rather than the application of striping tape I have been using for a while on Great War scratch-builds.

After lining in the ribs with pencil, as usual, I scribed in on both sides of the line with a needle in a pin-vise, using a flexible piece of half millimeter sheet for a straight-edge guide. Then the area between the tapes is made to sag, using first a heavy grit 'swizzle stick' sanding stick, and then by scraping with the curved edge of a #10 blade, and final touches with a folded bit of medium grit sand-paper. I went fairly deep doing this, as this machine saw long service in tropic and desert conditions with sketchy maintenance, and its fabric must have been in pretty poor shape by the latter stages of its career. Just 'breaking the plane' a bit with the sanding stick and smoothing down the result would suffice for a newer machine. After this, the scribed lines are gone over again.

Here is the lower wing, mid-way through the process of putting in the ribs and fabric effects:

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Here is the upper surface of the upper wing, painted and decalled:

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Basic color is PollyScale 'Old Concrete', hit after application with dark brown wash, and lightened base color painted over the tapes. This machine was marked with the old 'red ring' marking of the R.N.A.S. (it was shipped out from England probably in March of 1915). I have never seen a picture from the early days of an English machine serving in the Middle East where the white paint of markings was not in very bad condition, and I have roughed up the decals accordingly. They began as Italian markings for a SPAD XIII, and after application I hit them very hard with a polishing pad, and chipped away some bits, too, with the point of a knife. Remaining areas were then painted over with a slightly greyed white. I left the ribs themselves white, as I think the flaking would be concentrated where the fabric flexed in flight. I added various shades of darker red to the ring to allow for the deterioration of the pigment under sun. Aftre work on the decals was done, the whole thing got another dark brown wash treatment.

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Dear heavens, this is incredible work.

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oyez oyez oyez

let it be known I am going to be aboard the thread for ever

I love

scratchbuilding

fabric representing

and Shorts aircraft

got me on all three counts

This is lovely work so far, I admire your technical ability on the fabric

Looks the absolute business

thanks for sharing with us

bill

Edited by perdu

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Wow is the only word I can think of.

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It's one of my favorite seaplane from those years ! Excellent choice.

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Thank you, Gentlemen.

I will be back to the bench on this starting tonight. The plan, anyway, is to get the wings done, and blanks made for the tail surfaces.

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Further progress, Gentlemen....

First, here are the wings, finished on both surfaces, with ailerons made but not yet painted or attached:

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Framework on undersurfaces is drawn in with ordinary pencil before painting, and painting is stopped while it still shows through. The roundel indication on the undersurface of the upper wing was put in by drawing with a red water color marker, which was then spread about with Future on a brush; this was done before frameword was drawn in, but after rib indications were scored in.

Here are the blanks for the tail surfaces:

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These are made from 0.30" inch sheet (0.75mm). They are just tacked in place temporarily to check that everything actually fits together before I put in ribs and such.

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Wow. Proper modelling. I am not worthy.

Most impressive.

Tom.

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Wonderful stuff Old Man, a man after me own heart, a few drawings, assorted bits of plastic, some string and a fair wind !... Look forward to progress..

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Thank you, Gentlemen.

Plan of action for the coming week is to assemble the wings, put in surface detail on the fuselage and the tail surfaces.

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Did not get quite so much done as intended, Gentlemen, but still, I did get the wings assembled and rigged....

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Here is a look at the fuselage and wings in something close to their proper relation....

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Just about everything in front of the leading edge of the wings will be the Sunbeam motor on its bearers and frames.

When the time comes, the center of the lower wing will be trimmed away with a razor saw, and fitted to the fuselage sides. Then the cabane struts will be added. This machine was a 'folder', with the wings constructed to fold back alongside the fuselage, hence the interplane struts alongside the fuselage sides. The struts were of oval section steel tube, without further fairing, and I think it most likely the naval habit of slathering grey paint on anything metal at sea would apply....

Putting in detail on the tail pieces and fuselage remains on the card for next week, but I will soon run out of excuses to put off doing the motor any longer.

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Decided to pile on into the nose here, Gentlemen: there is a schedule on this (it is my entry in an affair closing on 28 July), and so best to bite the bullet and tackle the hard part without further delay. The cowling panels were removed on this machine to facilitate cooling, so the forward bit of the machine is bare structural members and motor, along with various plumbing bits. The first step was preparing the forward end of the fuselage...

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After some consideration and a couple of false starts, I decided some major surgery was needed to get the transition to bare structures done right. I cut away everything in front of the passenger's cockpit opening down to the bottom of the fuselage, also removing temporarily the seat and tank it is perched on.

Reconstruction then began, the early stages of which are shown in the picture below. The bottom of the fuselage now serves as floor and the position of the tank and seat ensures that it will read correctly to the eye when you look into the cockpit opening (this is necessary because, as will be seen, the cockpit floor extends a bit into the bare structure area). The next step was to add the rest of the gravity tank, made of a piece of 3mm sheet, and then cheekpieces of 0.25mm sheet between this and the floor to fill in the fabric sides of the rest of the cockpit.

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Things got a bit hectic here, and I have no transition pictures from the above to the state of play at present:

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You may notice that the section of the front of the gravity tank has changed. It was at this point that I noticed in the photograph I was using for structural details that the top of the tank was flat, not rounded. This has happened to me before; when look at a picture for some specific information, other things in the picture do not always register. Fortunately, some excess plastic I had built into the fuselage allowed me to fix this without too much bother. The bottom piece of the fuselage I had made deliberately thick (1mm sheet), and the sides also (0.75mm). My intent had been to sand away excess on the bottom, and the fuselage was running, as anticipated, a bit tall and wide by measure. So I sanded down the top instead, and sanded the sides rather thoroughly, too. I had to do a bit of reconstruction on the very front of the passenger's cockpit opening, and some reinforcing here and there with CA gel, and the cockpit decking now awfully thin in spots, but better that then pulling the decking and re-doing it a third time. In sanding down the sides I destroyed the 0.25mm cheek-pieces, and had to replace them.

The bottom of the cowing remained intact on 822 (I suspect it is structural). The piece was cut from 0.75mm sheet,and bent to its curve. The accommodation for the passenger's feet was built up from 0.25mm sheet. The structural framework is 0.75mm square rod. Framework on the bottom was added first, and thinned down a good deal. The front-plate is 0.5mm sheet. The uprights on either side were added next, and then the top pieces bent and fastened to them, and the front-plate. Most of this was 'hot' work, on the model, with things trimmed as indicated by the look of the curves.

Next bit will be the engine. The backdrop in the last photo is of a Sunbeam Crusader(the proper motor for this, not the Nubian as often stated), preserved in the Brussels museum.

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Excellent modelling and I`m well and truly hooked!

Cheers

Tony

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Thank you, Gentlemen.

Engine and its bearers are now ready...

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Here is a picture of the engine bearers. Pattern is conjectural, but I cannot think of any other way they might have resonably been arranged.

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Finally, here are some pictures of the engine resting on the bearers....

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(background is a blow-up from a Sunbeam advertisement circa 1914)

Next step will be putting in surface detail on the fuselage, painting and mounting engine, and some of the plumbing and wiring, along with tail surfaces.

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These are skills way above my standing, I look forward to seeing the finished article!

Rich

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Outstanding work , this sort of stuff is way beyond my skill level . I have enough trouble putting a kit together without making all the parts first .

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Incredible. I will bookmark the thread for inspiration as opposed to reference as I couldn't equal this workmanship.

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That is beautiful work on the engine, use heatproof paint for when you start it up, won't you.

:)

The conjectural engine bearers look like 'the real thing' almost certainly would have IMO

I'm still loving it :thumbsup:

b

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The engine is looking particularly promising!

Martin

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