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Moa

De Havilland D.H.89 Tainui, iMacRobertson air race, Heller kit modification

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Yes, that's right, besides the ongoing Argentinian DH89a based on a modified Heller kit, I just had to start this one too, whilst all the tricks remain fresh on my mind.

The modifications for this MacRobertson entry can be considered minimal, compared to the extensive ones on the other build.

They comprise: on the interior a long range-configured cabin with special fuel tanks and radio and navigation stations.

On the exterior some blanked windows, an emergency exit on the fuselage top, and a few gizmos here and there.

I will cut the door open here too, to allow a glimpse of the interior.

There is a wealth of images on this plane on the Net, accessible just by using a search engine with the proper terms.

 

Flight magazine has a rather basic sketch of the cabin that only shows the tanks, so I am appealing here to this esteemed membership for any photos or sketches of the cabin interior, stressing that I do not need any photos of the exterior or cockpit, contemporary to the race or modern, or walk-arounds, or anything else OTHER than photos or drawings of Tainui's cabin.

 

Work begins by raiding the spares bin and getting potential seats and equipment, plus making the basic structure of the fuel tanks, that hung from the upper wing spars:

40068779050_56616977f8_b.jpg

 

The cabin floor is covered with a thin veneer, the tank structure is wrapped:

40068778640_6edac2f1bb_b.jpg

 

Main parts are glued (nacelles, upper wing three components, some of the cockpit parts, made-up cylinders behind the engine front, etc.). All other parts are separated from the sprues and cleaned-up:

41833458362_38edf8ccdc_b.jpg

 

The fuel tank is given some braces:

28006880198_256b213a1c_b.jpg

 

 

 

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I will follow along with this build as I do with all your builds.  I now have an interest in civilian aircraft especially the pioneers and their rickety machines that they flew over great expanses of ocean.

Very brave people.

I am doing the bum at the computer as you suggested doing some research into Smithy's 'Southern Cross' very interesting and confusing.  I am going to do NC 1985.

 

Stephen

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43 minutes ago, StephenCJ said:

as you suggested doing some research into Smithy's 'Southern Cross' very interesting and confusing.  I am going to do NC 1985.

 

Stephen

Hi Stephen

Nice choice for the F.VII.

When I did the research form my model I had to wade through a lot of confusion, miss-captioning and mislabelling regarding the versions.

I may have some info for you -that I will have to retrieve.

Could you please drop a line to me using the forum mechanism so we are in touch directly?

Cheers

 

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Hello Moa,

I'll tag along, another great kit in the making !

Sincerely.

CC

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15 hours ago, StephenCJ said:

I am doing the bum at the computer as you suggested doing some research into Smithy's 'Southern Cross' very interesting and confusing.  I am going to do NC 1985.

 

Stephen

Hi again Stephen

Not sure how are you tackling the Valom kit, but perhaps the following will be useful, a quote from my own build (I did a somewhat arcane incarnation of the Southern Cross). Here some notes about the kit and the versions (summarizing that whatever version of Southern Cross you chose, you MUST modify the kit to match it, since the Valom SC is just the airliner version with other decals, which is not accurate.

And to avoid more digressions of the thread, we shall contact off-forum to continue this chat if you wish.

Hope this gives a general sense:

 

This "Southern Cross" version  VALOM released is supposed to cater for the US registration 1985 (the plane for the well-known flight) and the plane re-registered in Australia as VH-USU. Thing is, as the fuselage is presented, it needs adjustments to represent them (because mainly of the doors).
Besides, VH-USU had a number or incarnations that involved very visible changes.
Strangely enough, you could build an authentic VH-USU plane, as it was in 1933 (or 1935 according to Getty Images) (The memorable ocean-crossing flight was in 1928) in the Australia to New Zealand flight, with both doors as the kit is, but using the three-blade propeller on the center engine, and different exhausts than the ones depicted in the instructions (the ones that go over the wing for the external engines and two long ones for the center one), plus shields on the engine fronts; all these details visible in period photos. Not sure the decals will perfectly fit, since the lettering suffered modifications during the plane's life, but you can potentially build a Southern Cross WITHOUT MODIFYING ANYTHING, BY JUGGLING THE EXTRA PARTS OF THE KIT AROUND, just not the plane depicted on the box. For that you need some work.
Once again, if you want an accurate model that faithfully represents the plane intended, you will have to gather references and check the kit against them. In this case, I recommend it.
VALOM as you will see provides a number of alternate parts to cover many versions, therefore you get some spares bin fodder.
This concept of a flexible building with alternate parts also helps modelers that want to build other versions not in the market, or planes that were modified during their lives.
On the other hand, to make several versions from one mold and added parts, they have made some compromises.
The instructions are in general reasonable, better than many, but still in parts confusing; to quote just two: the way the rudder bar and pedals attach to the console is unclear, and US-registered 1985 had no passenger interior but a huge long-distance fuel tank and some custom interior arrangement with radio and navigator station, a very obvious and known fact. VH-USU had seats only in one of its incarnation (the version highlighted above).

 

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On the other model I am "deploying" the flaps, but Tainui was a DH89 (not a DH89a) and had no flaps, so they have to be deleted:

28025321958_1457cac30a_b.jpg

 

The door here is also coming out, very sharp new blade, very careful, restrained, controlled, easy-peasy passes:

40087695750_fec65bdaab_b.jpg

 

Door is out, cleanly:

28025321578_8f16d32eab_b.jpg

 

Take note that many of those windows will have to be blanked-off, and a drift sight created immediately after the door, as per photos of the original plane.

 

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Thanks Moa for your interest in my build.  I will start a WIP sometime today.

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Nice start! Looking good! :)

 

Håkan

 

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21 hours ago, StephenCJ said:

Thanks Moa for your interest in my build.  I will start a WIP sometime today.

😉

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Posted (edited)

Flaps deleted, rib tape re-traced lightly, nacelles glued on:

41218694094_e8b5f6dd87_b.jpg

 

Drift sight cutout:

27067351357_3528ac3272_b.jpg

 

Wind-driven generators for both DH89 models:

41218693844_07cfbc2de2_b.jpg

Edited by Moa
to correct typo

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I made new radio and nav. station seats, more accordingly to what can barely be guessed in the Flight mag. skecth. I also rescued from the spares bin and tidied-up a bit a generator that goes on the belly of the fuselage, in the center of a white circle that surrounds the race number 60.

Details, details, details:

28069335908_a1c80f24e0_b.jpg

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Oh! I just noticed that my profile now says "obsessed member".

Should I be worried?

Should I see a doctor?

Is there a cure? I see around many on the same condition...or even worse!

Are we going to be sent to some kind of asylum? can you build models there?

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You can change it in your profile settings.....I've been killing time for a while.  ;)

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Blimey anther one on the go.  This is great stuff. Lovely kit.  Great work and an interesting subject.   

All the best 

Chris 

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Posted (edited)
6 hours ago, Moa said:

Oh! I just noticed that my profile now says "obsessed member".

Should I be worried?

Should I see a doctor?

Is there a cure? I see around many on the same condition...or even worse!

Are we going to be sent to some kind of asylum? can you build models there?

No

No

No

Maybe & hopefully.  :)

 

Steve.

Edited by stevehnz

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8 hours ago, stevehnz said:

No

No

No

Maybe & hopefully.  :)

 

Steve.

Dear Steve

I see that your condition is much worse than mine, by far (Completely Obsessed Member? wow!)

 

Anyways, I feel now that I should honor the characterization bestowed upon me.

The clear parts are glued, same as in the other Rapide, but here the masks are applied on the inside only on the panes that will remain clear, so the paint will go over the ones that are blanked on the original:

41955542691_5655a4cf5f_b.jpg

 

Thinking about these, but my suspicion is that this issue was taken care of in a much more, how should I put it, prosaic and practical way, may be with a bucket:

41955542251_04f7210fc3_c.jpg

 

Still no diagram or photo of the compete cabin interior. I saw online that this book may contain such information.

It's out of print and extremely expensive, even used, so if one of you has it and could have a look at that piece of the puzzle, I'd be very grateful:

41237298254_0616066a0e_c.jpg

 

 

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3 hours ago, Moa said:

Still no diagram or photo of the compete cabin interior. I saw online that this book may contain such information.

It's out of print and extremely expensive, even used, so if one of you has it and could have a look at that piece of the puzzle, I'd be very grateful:

41237298254_0616066a0e_c.jpg

 

 

I have the book and all it shows is a Flight sketch of the cabin fuel tank  (in the DH 88/MacRobertson section) which you have seen already. (The book is a much better ref on the Moth types than the Rapide.)  Best Rapide books are the 2 Air-Britain volumes, which likewise have little on that particular aircraft, apart from a couple of photos. Best MacRobertson ref is an Australian Historical Society booklet which details all the participants, but I can't put my hands on it quickly. I think there was a Tasman NZ release of the Heller kit containing those decals and there has been at least one aftermarket decal set also. 

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1 hour ago, Roger Holden said:

I have the book and all it shows is a Flight sketch of the cabin fuel tank  (in the DH 88/MacRobertson section) which you have seen already. (The book is a much better ref on the Moth types than the Rapide.)  Best Rapide books are the 2 Air-Britain volumes, which likewise have little on that particular aircraft, apart from a couple of photos. Best MacRobertson ref is an Australian Historical Society booklet which details all the participants, but I can't put my hands on it quickly. I think there was a Tasman NZ release of the Heller kit containing those decals and there has been at least one aftermarket decal set also. 

Hi Roger

Thanks very much for that information! And will have a look at those decals.

Cheers

Interior base coat in a neutral grey, and fuel tank in a metal tone:

41243495594_7546f21932_b.jpg

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10 hours ago, Roger Holden said:

I have the book and all it shows is a Flight sketch of the cabin fuel tank  (in the DH 88/MacRobertson section) which you have seen already. (The book is a much better ref on the Moth types than the Rapide.)  Best Rapide books are the 2 Air-Britain volumes, which likewise have little on that particular aircraft, apart from a couple of photos. Best MacRobertson ref is an Australian Historical Society booklet which details all the participants, but I can't put my hands on it quickly. I think there was a Tasman NZ release of the Heller kit containing those decals and there has been at least one aftermarket decal set also. 

I'm wondering if the Tasman kit has any info on the tanks in Tainui, either way, there's a couple of them coming my way before long, one for Tainui of course & one for a RN one, I already have one for an RNZAF version.

Steve.

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I realized that the chairs were of "comfortable airliner seat"* size, so I made a few more at a smaller size:

(*For you, fledgling, a "comfortable airliner seat" is a thing that used to exist, even when you flew main cabin. Not anymore)

27115688507_70f6427a0f_b.jpg

 

Just for heck of it I prepared the kit's inst. panel, which looks decent enough if you don't want to use the P.E. one (I will), given its scarcely visible position. Also seen are very respectable radio and navigation consoles found in the spares bin.

On British planes the complex radio instrumentation was used exclusively to listen to the BBC. The "navigation" console was actually a disguised cuppa brewing machine:

27115688477_9bb7d37c10_b.jpg

 

 

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On ‎5‎/‎7‎/‎2018 at 4:15 PM, Roger Holden said:

I have the book and all it shows is a Flight sketch of the cabin fuel tank  (in the DH 88/MacRobertson section) which you have seen already. (The book is a much better ref on the Moth types than the Rapide.)  Best Rapide books are the 2 Air-Britain volumes, which likewise have little on that particular aircraft, apart from a couple of photos. Best MacRobertson ref is an Australian Historical Society booklet which details all the participants, but I can't put my hands on it quickly. I think there was a Tasman NZ release of the Heller kit containing those decals and there has been at least one aftermarket decal set also. 

As Roger mentions, the Aviation Historical Society of Australia published an expanded issue of their journal which was devoted to the MacRobertson Race. It's long OOP but copies do turn up very rarely on www.bookfinder.com. But for the purpose of modeling the DH89 *Tainui* it won't be of much use as the issue contains little on this plane.

The Tasman NZ release of the old Heller DH89 kit does contain decals for *Tainui* but there are some errors and omission on the decals.

The co-pilot of *Tainui*, Cyril E. Kay, published his flying biography in 1964 entitled *The Restless Sky. The Autobiography Of An Airman*. This book is long OOP but copies are cheap and easy to find. One of the chapters in the book is devoted to the MacRobertson Race and Kay does describe the cabin fuel tanks. He says they were oval and hung from the plane's ceiling and in order to get to the cockpit from the cabin he had to crawl on his belly under the tanks in the very small space available. I recommend this book as it's a good read.

The book *Magnificent Enterprise* does contain a period color photo of a DH90 Dragonfly with a tangerine color fuselage. This is most likely the shade used on the fuselage of *Tainui* and also most likely a Titanine paint color.

 

Cheers,

Tim

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Looking good! :)

 

Håkan

 

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1 hour ago, VH-USB said:

As Roger mentions, the Aviation Historical Society of Australia published an expanded issue of their journal which was devoted to the MacRobertson Race. It's long OOP but copies do turn up very rarely on www.bookfinder.com. But for the purpose of modeling the DH89 *Tainui* it won't be of much use as the issue contains little on this plane.

 

I dug my copy out and although it doesn't contain photos of use, it does contain some pertinent info. It says that although the third crew member has been described as a radio operator, according to Cyril Kay,he was actually a professional photographer taken along to film the race. It is not thought any radio was fitted. There were 3 fuel tanks suspended from the top of the fuselage. The article also refers to another one in Vol 18 no 2 of the same mag, specifically on the plane, which may contain more info.

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