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pheonix

1/72 RAF FE2b 11 Squadron RFC September 1916.

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I am posting these pictures following a request for them and information on the build in the WW1 aircraft section of this site. I am also including pictures of the scratch built Beardmore engine as this has featured as part of the discussion. There is a full build log for this model on Airfix Tribute Forum under conversion corner, and ww1aircraftmodels.com in the under construction section if anyone is interested. I have also included some notes on the type for those modellers who are not familiar with this aircraft.

 

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In the build logs referred to I used wings from the old Veeday BE 2c. This kit is a rare bird these days and anyway Airfix have now produced a first class model of this type and I would recommend it as the starting point for this conversion as the outer wing panels of the FE 2b and the BE 2c were the same. However the FE 2b had a greater span so I would either make new centre panels from card (as on my original conversion), or use pieces cut from a second Airfix BE 2c kit. The Lewis machine gun, wheels, struts and propellor could all be taken from the Aifix kit. The remaining parts would have to be scratch built as per the build log, unless that is you can find an Aeroclub Beardmore engine - another rare item these days.

 

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The FE 2b was designed and built at the Royal Aircraft Factory in 1915 in response to a request from the War Office for a "gun carrier" for armed reconniassance, escort and pursuit. The prototype flew in March 1915 buty problems in supplying engines meant that the first order for 12 machines was not completed until the autumn of that year. Later the type was only supplied slowly because of the shortage of engines. However it quickly proved to be superior to the Fokker monoplanes that were causing heavy casualties among the BE 2c reconnaissance squadrons, and the type helped to achieve air superiority (with the DH 2 and Nieuport 11) for the Allies during the summer of 1916. Even after the introduction of the early Albatros fighters in September 1916 the type could hold its own in the hands of a good crew: von Richtofen was famously hit by a bullet from his own side when he was involved in a dogfight with these machines, and German pilots Schaefer and Ulmer were shot down by gunners in this type. The problem for the RFC was that by 1917 the type was obsolete but was kept in service as an escort because there were no suitable replacements. After it had been withdrawn from daylight sorties it continued to be used as a night bomber until the end of the war. 

 

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Early FE 2b's had a complicated oleo tricycle undercarriage: this was modified in the filed to a simpler V and later replaced on production machines by an even simpler V. The type was deployed against Zeppelins in the UK but its slow rate of climb and poor ceiling made it unsuitable in this role. In all over 2000 of the type were built and it served in a wide variety of roles. It has had a bad press in the past from those who looked at it from the comfort of armchairs and noted the high losses suffered in 1917 when the type should have been withdrawn. In reality it was a good design for its time being strong, relatively easy to fly, and able to compete well against contemporary types: its rapid obsolescence reflected the pressures of war, not the deficiencies of the design itself or the crews who operated it.

 

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I built the engine using card, rod and stretched sprue  and based it on drawings in DataFile No 147 and photographs of the engine from Viling's WNW build on this site and the WNW website. I apologise for the small images but hopefully they will be useful to others.

 

This is the engine from the right side:

 

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This is the engine from the left side:

 

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These photos show the engine installed in the nacelle before I put the top wing on to the model.

 

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All markings except the serial were hand painted and the model is rigged with 40 SWG rolled copper wire. It represents an early machine operated by 11 Squadron RFC at Isel-le-Hameau  in September 1916.

 

P

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What a beautiful model! :goodjob:

And I admire your patience and skill - all those wires! :winkgrin:

 

Cheers :bye:

Hans J

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:gobsmacked::gobsmacked:Well tidy indeed

Edited by celt

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Nice to see this one again!

 For engines, I recommend contacting Choroszy. I have 3 RAF 1a, 2 RAF 4a, and 3 Beardmore engines that I bought from him on their own. Saves a lot of hassle scratchbuilding them!

 

Ian

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That is lovely. The engine is a work of art, but you've done an astonishing job with the rigging.

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Well-made build of an interesting subject for sure.  As a fan of rigging, I am giving this a 5 Star rating!  isn't it wonderful how rigging just makes the thing come alive!

What's next?

Edited by John D.C. Masters
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Amazing work.  Some real modelling skills on display here.  Pity there isn't a kit of this important aircraft available.  I'd really like one but don't have the skill set to do what you've done. 

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Thanks all for the kind remarks. This was one of my earlier attempts after my return to modelling so there are some elements which I would tackle slightly differently today iof I were to do this again. We live and learn (well I hope that I do!)

 

Meatbox: there is a Formaplane vacuform kit but it is probably getting a bit rare now and besides you may not like vacuforms (I do not). Stevehed has written an excellent build log for it on this site and Airfix Tribute Forum.

 

P

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Excellent work as usual, Pheonix.

 

Look forward to seeing your next work of art!

 

Regards

 

Dave

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Phoenix, after the discussion in the WW1 section, I'm glad to see your work...and very nice it is too. The rigging makes all the difference on bi-planes and especially so on the Fee, beautiful. The Beardmore looks awesome but I might just take Limeypilot's suggestion and have a look at Choroszy offering if they do one. :goodjob: 

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