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Martinsyde S.1, Scratch-build in 1/72 --- Finished

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I will be doing this machine:


It is one of the two Martionsydes in this picture, taken in the field during Gen. Townsend's drive to Baghdad:


I will have to delay starting, however, until I finish a build for another WWI affair, which closes on July 28:


Edited by Old Man
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Thank you, Gentlemen. I am looking forward to getting started.

I have thought of trying a diorama as in the first photograph, but do not think I could pull it off, not in the time available anyway. Of copurse, it would save all the bother with the wings, and would be a striking item....

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  • 3 weeks later...

Have finished my Short 827 scratch-build....


More pictures and a bit of history can be found here:


And so I am now free to get underway on the Martinsyde.

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


I am using the drawings from old and extremely tattered Harleyford Fighters 1914-1918 book, supplemented by Mr. Bruce's Fighters Vol. I, and whatever pictures I can scrounge up, with an old issue of Cross and Cockade providing some detail on the particular machine, 4244/MH6.

Here are some pieces made up today:


Rectangles at the bottom are blanks for the wings: it does not show in the picture, but they have been sanded to airfoil section, with appreciable camber. They are a little over-size in chord, to allow for further sanding when the ribs are put in, and the final shaping of tips and center-sections is done. They are made from 2mm styrene sheet.

At the top is the blank for the horizontal tail surface. It is made from 1mm sheet, and will be sanded down appreciably. Vertical tail surface will not be made till fuselage assembly is done (or at least its rear portion is done).

The other pieces are blanks for the fuselage sides and bottom. The sides are made of 0.75mm (0.03") sheet, and were taped together when they were trimmed to shape. The go only up to the line of the upper longeron. The bottom piece is made of 1mm (0.04") sheet; it is underwidth by the drawing to allow for fastening of the side pieces. Upper decking of the fuselage will be added after these pieces are assembled; there are some oddities about the section, particularly in front of the cockpit, and of course the cowling will be interesting to do (I expect i will leave some of the upper portion solid).

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It is the start of a great adventure when you cut plastic to start a scratchbuild. I have done two so far, and it is one of the best things I have tried modelling wise. And the sense of achievement at the end...well.

You have my admiration Mr Old Man Sir, and I too am looking forward to seeing you progress.

Kind regards, Ray

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thank you very much, Gentlemen.

A good deal of progress has been made by now.

Here are the wings, with ribs put in and tips shaped:



At this stage, there is no need to differentiate between upper and lower wings, as span and chord are identical. When I choose which will be which, appropriate trimming to the center sections will be made. In the second picture, you can see something of how the 'tapes' stand out, and of the 'sag' between them. Ribs are first drawn in pencil, then scored on either side of the pencil line. The area between ribs is scraped with the curved edge of a #10 blafde, and gone over with a 'swizzle stick' sander (length of foam backed emery about 3/16" wide). Finally, the thing is swiped over a few times with a fine-grit sanding stick moved span-wise.




Here is the fuselage, with the blanks shown earlier assembled, and the rear decking and firewall put in.

For the rear decking, a backing piece was put in at the cockpit rear (what will be the cockpit rear, anyway), with a 'cap' put atop this to define the shape in front. Then a thin sheet of plastic was put down, from this to the very rear. The rear decking itself is two pieces of 2mm sheet, the first sanded to a 'wedge' shape before being attached. These were then trimmed and filed to match in plan and profile, then sanded to shape in section.

The firewall was put in the same way the cockpit rear was, in two pieces --- one between the sides and one 'capping it'. The portion of the fuselage bottom that is in front of the firewall will be trimmed out later, but for now remains to lend sturdiness to the cheek-pieces.

Next will be work on the cockpit interior....

Edited by Old Man
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got to ask how did you do the ribs on the wings?

Method is fairly simple, Sir.

Ribs are first drawn in pencil, then scored on either side of the pencil line. The area between ribs is scraped with the curved edge of a #10 blafde, and gone over with a 'swizzle stick' sander (length of foam backed emery about 3/16" wide). Finally, the thing is swiped over a few times with a fine-grit sanding stick moved span-wise.

I use a bit of thin plastic for a straight-edge when scoring; it bends to the curve, and a needle in a pin-vise for the initial cut, In scraping with the #10, I align its point with the lines for the first 'break' in the surface.

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  • 2 weeks later...

More progress here, Gentlemen.

First, the interior in progress:


Fuselage sides of the cockpit were plywood, not fabric. I feel reasonably sure the area behind the motor housed fuel and oil tankage, and that these slanted along the line apparent in photographs dividing plywood from metal; I doubt this will be visible, but still. Instrument panel is loosely based on that of the later 'Elephant', which shared a surprising number of characteristics with the earlier type. Bezels are brass beading wire wound around round rod (try saying that three times fast...), and instrument faces are thin slices of said rod. Note the panel leave room all around for the pieces of sheet that will build up the cockpit covering. Between the panel and the firewall, it will all be solid. A wobble-pump and air-pump need to be added.

Here are detail components under way:


Wicker seat, control column, and blank for the seven cylinder Gnome....

The seat had its holes put in with a pin and a bit of twirling a pointed blade.

The first step in the motor was making a slightly over-sized disc of 2mm sheet. This was then filed into a septagonal shape. A hole was drilled center of each face of this, and a short length of 1mm rod let into this. Over the rod, pieces of 2mm tube were slipped, after having been given some taper on their interior ends. Heads were then beveled a little. Circles of thin sheet were added to the front of the crankcase, and fins scraped into the cylinders with a pin-point.

Here is a picture of the front, with the motor very roughly in place:


When the nose is finally tended to properly, the cheek-pieces, which are 30 thou sheet, will be thinned considerably, which should allow the motor to fit with minimal attentions to the cylinder heads.

Next step will be closing over the fuselage at cockpit and front, and doing the final shaping and scoring of the wings, and splitting the lower wing.

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Thank you all very much. A good deal of progress to report now....



In covering over the cockpit, I used three pieces of thickish (30 thou) plastic, one for each side of the trtiangle, and a narrow one for the space between them. This was overthick intentionally, as there is a good deal of sanding it would have to stand up to. The area between the instrument panel and the firewall is a fairly complex shape. In profile, it rises towards the firewall, and as it does, it transforms in section from the flat-topped triangle at the panel to half-round at the firewall (one ferature the later Elephant shares with its 'Scout' predecessor). The fill in the area is a solid laminate, one layer 3mm sheet, the other 2mm sheet.

The cowling upper is only tacked in place in these pictures. It is one of those exercises in 'take some plastic and remove everything which is not the part' I resort to at times. It is made of three pieces of thick sheet, two 2mm and one 3mm. I placved the first sheet of 2mm against the firewall and traced its outline. I then cut away up to near that line, with a decided slant forward, to get the interior hollow underway, and then tacked it place temporarily to file it down to roughly the desired external shape. I then glued this to a second piece of 2mm sheet, and again trimmed away the interior void, and roughly shaped down the outside. Final step was a piece of 3mm sheet in front. Since at this point, the void is more vertical than not, I traced the interior of the front of what I had in hand already, and trimmed away a void in the thickness of the sheet. When I had done this, I glued the earlier assembly on, and did more internal shaping with 'swizzle stick' sanding sticks and curved edge razor knife blades. Them I tacked the thing in place, and filed it to pretty much its final external shape.

Here are a couple of pictures showing the 'interior' and the fit on the inside...



Here are a couple of pictures focused on the cockpit, with pumps and a couple more things added....



(this is a late production machine, earlier ones had an oddly a-symmetrical cockpit opening, which re-appeared in the later Elephant)

State of play has advanced a good deal since these pictures were taken. I have cut away the 'bottom' in front of the firewall, trimmed the cheekpieces projecting there considerably, attached the upper cowling piece, given it is final shaping, and added the 'strip' across the front of the cowling (a support for the motor, in part). I can report that, if no detail is put in on the cylinder heads which would be concealed within the cowling, the motor fits in its present state. I have also pitched in on the wings, scribing the ailerons and scoring rib indications on the undersurfaces. Still have not decided which will be upper and which lower, though....

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Thank you the kind words, fellows!

A bit more progress, but first, some catching up.

Here are some pictures from where things were left off before....



The motor is simply pressed into the cowling area. There are some underside bits to the cowling, but adding them will have to wait until the motor is detailed and in place, as I doubt I could get it in once they are added.



Here are the wings, still as more or less identical blanks, with the ailerons scribed in, and under-surface ribs and spars marked for painting.

From here, I put aside the motor and cowling and fuselage, to get onto the tricky bit with the wings:



Though it is not too apparent, dihedral has been put in. On the lower wing, it does not start quite at the root, so it was put in before the center section was removed. To put dihedral in, I simply scored along an upper-surface rib marking, and bent to suit. Glue does not seem necessary. Locator holes for the interplane struts are in, but not yet those for the cabanes. I will be assembling the cabanes to the fuselage first here, since there are some finishing elements where they attach I could not get to readily otherwise.

Here are things with the lower wings resting very roughly in place:


I expect on the next bound to get the engine and cowling finished, and some paint on....

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