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Heather Kay

1/72 Fairey Rotodyne: Heather relives her childhood!

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What a fantastic subject for a build and an entertaining and informative thread as well. I couldn't resist doing a bit of research on the Rotodyne (I'm a rabid historian) and one of the things that popped up was this from Fairey themselves - fascinating. I

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y9633v6U0wo courtesy of JRaero01

 

It looks like something out of Thunderbirds - jet engines on the ends of the rotors! No central fin in evidence but the twin fins seem to open up for flight. The Rotodyne was also part of the Farnborough show of 1959 (the year of my birth, no less).

 

Enjoying this immensely. Cheers, Mike.

Edited by Ventora3300

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There is an alternative for the rotors. They are a push fit so you could fit the hub assembly and just pull them out as needed.

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25 minutes ago, Ventora3300 said:

the twin fins seem to open up for flight.

Sort of. The fins were vertical for flight, but drooped after landing to prevent rotor blade strike.

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I didn't know about the tail fin folds, so this info has come just in time for me, as I am about to start building the Anigrand 1:144 version.

 

Thanks for the info. :winkgrin:

 

Mike

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Having reviewed the photos up-thread, I think the central fin was a late addition to the prototype. The photo in flight shows "Westland Rotodyne" on the rotor tower, so it was just before (or after) the merger between Fairey and Westland. As was also pointed out, the tops of the outer fins dropped outwards at an angle to clear the rotor blades. Once the rotor was up to speed, the fins were pulled back up to vertical for flight. Suffice to say, the Airfix kit doesn't feature angled fins, so it's going to be straight up and down. Some enterprising kit basher might adjust things, but not on this build I'm afraid.

 

Having got some domestic stuff out of the way, the rest of the day is mine to get some more work done. Watch for updates in due course. :thumbsup:

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Today has been mostly about trying to get the fuselage and clamshell doors to agree on something. Before further filling and sanding operations on the fuselage itself, I taped the rear doors, which I'd already joined together for simplicity, in place to see how things looked.

 

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Starboard side. Not too bad. Obviously those massive hinge holes will need to be filled. The kit hinges are nothing like the real thing, so once the gaping holes are filled I'll make up more accurate representations. I wasn't planning on super detailing, but having tried the kit hinges I decided they weren't at all correct. There's a slight gap at the top. How about from the top?

 

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Well, that doesn't look too bad. Some filling and sanding around the top edges and we might be good. Much rivet sacrifice will be made for the cause. How's the port side looking?

 

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Ah. Yes. Well, that isn't so clever. After some futzing about, I reckoned I needed to add about 40 thou in old money to one door to bring things into alignment with the side of the fuselage. I carefully parted the two doors and began operations.

 

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I backed the hinge holes with some scrap styrene sheet, which double as alignment strips to help glue the doors in place. On one door I added the extra thickness as you can see. Once set enough to handle, and after a quick whizz with files and whatnot, time to try another fit.

 

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That's looking more encouraging. 

 

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After further filing and sanding, I still had a small step on the starboard side, but that will disappear with more filler. By the way, this is actually the rear end of a rotorcraft and not a nuclear submarine.

 

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More scrap styrene was wedged into the various gaps and allowed to set. By now, I had decided that it was pointless trying to save any rivets. Once all the fiddling about is completed I will decide how much I need to reinstate.

 

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In between bouts of filling and sanding I made up the engine nacelles, cleaned up the props, wings and tailplane parts, and made a start on the rotor head. With luck, I should be in a position to give the main components a blast of primer tonight to see how much more filling and sanding will be needed before I can think about paint.

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Just picked up on this thread and have to follow this one! I had one of these beasts as a child, and think I made rather a mess of it!

 

Yours is coming along nicely Heather.

 

Cheers

 

Terry

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3 hours ago, Heather Kay said:

By now, I had decided that it was pointless trying to save any rivets. Once all the fiddling about is completed I will decide how much I need to reinstate

This is a surviving section of the aircraft. Barely a rivet to be seen except for that horizontal row at floor level. It looks like it was flush riveted and any imperfections filled and smoothed over.. 

 

Fairey_rotodyne_section.jpg

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I love that folk are digging up lots of pictures of the real thing. I'm still hoping to retain the rivetty goodness of classic Airfix, although...

 

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They don't last very long when you start serious sanding. I got a coat of grey car primer on, and it revealed - as it always does - that what I thought was a baby-smooth finish was anything but! Another round of filler and sanding, and this is the result. Still not perfect, but I'm going to say this is as good as it'll get.

 

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The front developed a split just above the cockpit, so that was dealt with using some CA. Plenty of fine scratches visible, but I shall polish those out before I try for some replacement riveting madness. 

 

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I couldn't resist posing the wings and tail just to make it feel like I am getting somewhere. The engine nacelles are a poor fit on the wings, and a deal of careful fettling was needed. There's still a smidgen of daylight visible which I'll try to get some filler into later. It's beginning to take shape.

 

No work on this for a couple of days now, as Real Life™ will take precedence.

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9 hours ago, Heather Kay said:

Having reviewed the photos up-thread, I think the central fin was a late addition to the prototype. The photo in flight shows "Westland Rotodyne" on the rotor tower, so it was just before (or after) the merger between Fairey and Westland. As was also pointed out, the tops of the outer fins dropped outwards at an angle to clear the rotor blades. Once the rotor was up to speed, the fins were pulled back up to vertical for flight. Suffice to say, the Airfix kit doesn't feature angled fins, so it's going to be straight up and down.

The central fin was added late 1960/early 1961 after the Westland takeover, but it flew into 1961 with the triple tail and Fairey markings, however by Farnborough show it had been re-branded the Westland Rotodyne.

The tail went through several phases, initial testing was done without the folding top sections fitted, they were then fitted with the original design which canted outwards 60 degrees from the vertical when up but this was found to give insufficient directional stability. They were modified to hinge vertical which improved matters, and then the third central fin was added.

Anyone wanting a good history of the Rotodyne with plenty of modeller friendly photos and drawings, including the BEA enlarged developement I'd recommend Fairey Rotodyne by David Gibbings

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3 hours ago, Heather Kay said:

I couldn't resist posing the wings and tail just to make it feel like I am getting somewhere.

oh but you are! It is looking good.

 

Terry

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+2 :) 

Caught up and following now Heather.

This is a model I'd really like but they're quite rare now eh? Having seen your great work on the old kit I'm not sure I'll be rushing to find one though...

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Another kit I’ve never dreamed of owning nor ever contemplated building. I’ll admit though, there’s something quite mystique about that strange shape and the way you’re wresting this classic kit together. Now I really don’t need to add another old and time hungry kit to my stash, so please Heather don’t make too good a job of it. Somehow I think you are going to disappoint me - aren’t you? This is looking great! 

 

Cheers.. Dave 

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I have this kit in the stash but keep putting off building it because... well you are dealing with the reasons! I remember as a small child in the early 60s this was the future of aviation and was in all my comics like Lion, Eagle and Tiger as "This is what the future will be". Sadly, reality and economics were more important than "The Future" as seen by technical innovators.

 

The noise generated by the blade-tip jets was indescribable and even though the developers said they could fix that (and probably could given enough time and new materials), the Powers That Be called it a day.

 

I shall be watching this with interest :)

 

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Thanks for all the lovely comments. I ordered a tinlet of Humbrol 14 Gloss "French Blue" which arrived today, along with some more boxes to add to my 1940 stash. I think I may need to do a little mixing and matching to get it to properly sit against the transfers. Thoughts are forming on how to paint this monster, and whether to go full on classic Humbrol (gloss white, blue and Silver Fox) or whether to use modern metallic paints for the undersides and wings. Decisions, decisions.

 

Having had a lovely day out with family and friends celebrating my sister's birthday, and being out all day tomorrow "playing toy puffers" at my club, I won't get a chance to do much more on this build until Sunday.

 

 

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It's coming along nicely, Heather.

I'd be tempted to delete the rivets altogether.

For years I had a mad WIF idea to add this fuselage to the wings and tail of a Mitchell.

Don't ask me why, it just appealed to me.

Yes, I do have a Mitchell in the stash. But no Rotodynes at the car boot sales yet.

 

Edited by Ventora3300

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Having come down with a dose of the lurgi, I decided to give the model railway club a miss this week. Once I'd woken up properly and felt vaguely human after breakfast and elevenses, I decided to press on with this build.

 

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The cold light of day showed filler shrinkage on all the hard work I'd done the other day. Out with the CA, great gobs of which ended up almost everywhere. Once I'd recovered from that, I reviewed the Airfix Acne.

 

The more I looked at it, and how much pimpleage I had already removed in seam tidying exercises, it became obvious that @Pete in Lincs was right. The pimples had to go.

 

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So, from this...

 

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… to this. An improvement? I don't know. We'll have to see. Sadly, attempting to retain the Airfixy Classic Pimples requires a bit too much reinstatement rather than preservation. I think the decision is a wise one. I know there are still some rivets on show. I'm hoping a little residual echo of the original pimples might remain after painting. They probably won't even show. I ought to do a spot of careful scraping round the portholes to clear that area.

 

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Something I did want to try and retain, though, were the various inspection and maintenance panels alluded to on the "conning tower". Rather than obliterate them and try and put something back later, I set about things with a fine Sharpie.

 

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Having marked where the panels and hinges went (and taken the insurance photos earlier to remind me what they used to look like), I carefully scribed with a variety of implements. Scribing on curving panels is always a pain, and I really need to up my game and get some better tools for this sort of job. I marked and drilled out the circular protrusions, intending to replace with styrene or brass rod later.

 

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Acne treatment later, and hinges and so on reinstated with various fine styrene strips and rod. It's not too bad. It's not perfect, but once it's a nice glossy white it should look alright. 

 

The wings and tail surfaces also got the treatment, various gaps in the nacelles have been filled, and I am virtually ankle-deep in styrene dust and shavings. The last act for this session has been to plug the toy-like kit clamshell hinges. I'm still pondering how I might mark the clamshell doors themselves, or whether to use a fine strip of transfer material to indicate the joins. Oh, and I still need to fit some ballast behind the cockpit bulkhead. Might do that now, before I forget!

 

More, probably, later.

Edited by Heather Kay
Missed a bit!

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Very nice embellishment of an old kit, excellent work.

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Thanks!

 

I am thinking it might be worth taking the window masking off and sanding them down properly. I think I can polish them back up again, though I'm not sure I'll go as far as polishing CA. That's something I need to experiment with first.

Edited by Heather Kay

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Nice work Heather, certainly giving the old kit some well deserved love :) 

I'm with you on polishing CA after The Baron's recent problems... I just use a Micro-mesh polishing kit and I find it's nice and easy.

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Actually polishing CA around windows works well when using the full range of Micromesh papers, then some rigourous polishing with a cloth and finish off with a coat of your favourite clear.  

 

Cheers.. Dave 

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Micromesh is something on my shopping list. I've made do with a selection of Flex-i-files and polishing compound. It looked okay last night, but I'll see what it looks like in daylight.

 

I washed the fuselage out under the tap and left it by our hot water tank to dry out overnight. I wanted to clear as much dust and muck from inside as I could before I seal it up with the cockpit and transparency. Before I dare get it back on the bench again, though...

 

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I need to deal with this lot. A spot of tidying and a run round with the DustBuster might be in order before anything else today!

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41994216524_ee92c00c7b_b.jpg

 

Ah, that's better. I can see what's left to do now. Let's inspect the polishing work.

 

41994216914_c37966b3bb_b.jpg

 

Not too bad. I'm tempted to say "it'll do", because it will have to. The little knot of hair probably comes courtesy of our cat. He's got a lot, and likes to share it.

 

41994215214_16440ca620_b.jpg

 

Now some shenanigans to avoid a tail-sitter. I temporarily taped the wings and tail in place, and perched the cockpit on the fuselage. Using a round pencil under the fuselage acting as a fulcrum, about where the main gear is, I added little bits of lead until the nose was resolutely downwards. I then added a soupçon more, just to be sure.

 

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Happy with the balance, I bashed the lead about until it fitted neatly to the rear of the bulkhead, and an insurance strip on the fuselage floor as well. I used a contact adhesive, sparingly as it's known to eat styrene, to stick the lead in place. It'll probably come adrift eventually. These things always do.

 

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On one of the other builds I looked over, it was made clear the cockpit assembly could be left out until quite late in the construction sequence. Now it was time to fix it in place. It became obvious, though, that with the nose gear doors open, there's a big 'ole right through to the cockpit. It comes up under the instrument panel. Apart from stuffing something in the nose wheel bay to prevent spray getting where it shouldn't ought, I thought it wise to glue a bit of scrap styrene sheet across the gap.

 

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I'll still plug the bay before spraying anything, of course. Let's see how the greenhouse fits. Earlier test fitting seemed to imply it wasn't that far off and wouldn't need much adjustment, if any.

 

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Well, there's a gap in the front step vertical. This appeared on both sides, so my first thought was to fit styrene strip shims. Then I thought it might be simpler to carefully sand the top rear of the moulding. This actually worked, though there was still a little fettling required under the nose.

 

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The various curves under the nose didn't quite match. A little gentle carving of the fuselage side of things let the transparency snuggle down better. Any further gaps could be filled with canopy glue when fitting.

 

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I find cutting transparency masking quite calming - when it goes right. I only slipped once while running the blade along an edge. It won't show. :whistle:

 

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I gaily fitted the masked transparency in place, then made the mistake of actually looking at photos of the real thing again. Something wasn't quite right. You see, I noticed there were runners on the fuselage side that allowed the main side windows on each side to be slid back. I wanted to add this detail - more details to come. In for a penny… - and noticed the runners didn't match the canopy lines I'd masked. :doh: I took the canopy off again, and decided the simplest expedient was to mask the correct area, and ignore the moulded panel lines. I wasn't about to spend an age scraping and polishing anything further at this point. This image shows the corrected framework. I had also decided the long instrument probe on the nose should be fitted, so I carefully drilled a suitable hole in the nose of the transparency. The real one appeared to be square in section, but I shall go with a round brass rod affair for strength. It can be fitted post painting, I hope.

 

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Runners on. I have some 1/76th scale etched wiper blades somewhere, which will be fitted to the windscreens later. Details, see? They creep up on you. What starts out as a simple out-of-the-box Saturday afternoon build ends up spiralling out of control on you!

 

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The more scale-ish clamshell door hinges. You can see what they replaced by the big areas of filler! With the fuselage windows given a coat of Maskol, and various orifices plugged, I think it's time to get the main components in some primer.

 

Now, this is where I'm trying to be clever, and will inevitably end up as a disaster. I am going to paint the fuselage separately to the wings and tailplanes. The latter are all over aluminium/silver/bare metal. To save on paint and masking, I have decided to prime the whole model with white acrylic car primer. This will, I hope, let me avoid having to paint the upper half of the fuselage again, while giving a nice undercoat for whichever aluminium paint I end up using. The original box artwork shows a lovely shiny bare metal finish, but I don't think I shall be able to achieve that. In fact, most photos show a rather dull finish, probably just oxidisation of the metal surfaces. I shall be happy with a good even aluminium finish, perhaps with a little weathering to alleviate the vast surfaces on the wings and tailplane. We shall see.

 

I think the paint shop is a comfy temperature, so time to rattle some cans!

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