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Jonners

Warbirds 1/72 Sopwith Snipe - my first vacform - finished!

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Hi folks,

As a slight change from my recent 1/144 interwar scratchbuilds, I decided to try something else that I hadn't done before and have a bash at a vacform. Now, I really fancy one of John's Aeroclub 1/72 Felixtowe F2As, but common sense told me to walk before I try to run: in other words, to try a smaller, simpler and cheaper kit first. 

 

The Warbirds vacform Snipe is a very simple kit, quite nicely moulded on a single small sheet of plastic with basic instructions. There are no decals or detail (eg white metal) parts, and all the struts are vacformed - hardly ideal, but straightforward enough to replace.

 

I've already done a bit of work on it, and this is how far I've got:

 

20190122_205309

 

The plan on the A4 paper is an image taken from the internet and scaled to 1/72. The wings (and tail surfaces) are single-piece so need quite a bit of sanding, but of course this removes the difficulty of making smooth mating faces. It also makes it easy to get sharp trailing edges. Some representation of rib tapes will have to be scribed onto the undersides in due course. 

 

The wheels are also only one-sided; I'll see what I can do with them (masochist...) but can always scratch them if necessary. I've added some interior detail, but I'm not going overboard on this aspect; getting used to vacform construction is my primary aim.

 

20190122_205519

 

The vacform one-sided engine doesn't cut the mustard so I've knocked up a quick scratchbuilt representation of a Bentley BR2:

 

20190122_205954

 

This will be another 'slow burner' due, as usual, to the distractions of real life...and the next 1/144 interwar scratchbuild that is lurking at the back corner of the desk!

 

Jon

Edited by Jonners

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Lovely subject and a vacform, lots to learn here. :book:

15 hours ago, Jonners said:

'slow burner'

...not too slow. :poke:

 

Stuart

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This is an amazing co-incidence! This was my first ever vacform build. Purchased 47 years ago from Modeltoys in Portsmouth. I think I plundered a Camel kit for th wheels, and engine. I shall be following this with great interest.

 

Martian.

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Love the build so far. I really need to add a snipe to my collection, maybe next year too many projects on atm (Gamecock, DH4a, FW190, Pfalz DR1, Snark, Fokker DR1, Ju87a and Gladiator, that's eight already, and I'm not counting two tigers, a Fury, a Bulldog and a Flycatcher that are earmarked for this year, oh and the DFW I bought last week , hmm )

 

I Think My first vacform was a Pfalz DIII purchased from HJ Walkers in (I'm going to say) 1980.

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I'll follow along if you don't mind! The struts on vacs are only meant as templates, I use Evergreen strip. Cut a small slot at each end and ca a small piece of brass rod as a mounting pin.

 If you have trouble finding wheels, I have some 10mm wheels available on my Shapeways site which I designed for exactly this problem - no more Aeroclub ones and plenty of vacs in the stash!

 

Ian

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1 hour ago, limeypilot said:

I'll follow along if you don't mind! The struts on vacs are only meant as templates, I use Evergreen strip. Cut a small slot at each end and ca a small piece of brass rod as a mounting pin.

 If you have trouble finding wheels, I have some 10mm wheels available on my Shapeways site which I designed for exactly this problem - no more Aeroclub ones and plenty of vacs in the stash!

 

Ian

Do you do anything to the strip to get the aero-section? And as for wheels on Shapeways, nice to know. Wish their were more engines available, a lot of work I should imagine.

 

Stuart

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11 hours ago, Courageous said:

Do you do anything to the strip to get the aero-section? And as for wheels on Shapeways, nice to know. Wish their were more engines available, a lot of work I should imagine.

 

Stuart

I do sand down the edges to remove the square section, it doesn't take long. I tape the strip to the edge of a metal ruler using double sided tape to make it manageable. 

Here's a link to my wheels

https://www.shapeways.com/shops/ibdetails

 

Whilst looking through other items there is quite a lot of good stuff, including a Siemens Halske rotary engine . Some very nice later era stuff too, such as B-52 wheels, a Gatling gun (A-10?), jet engine intakes etc. Worth taking a look sometime just to see what is available. Of course, there's no guarantee that they will be 100% correct or even correctly scaled, as @simmerit found out with his wokka parts, but if it's the only option, it may be worth a shot!

 

Ian

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I don't suppose you could scale those wheels up to 1/48. I find making wheels to be extremely tedious when Scratch building.

 

44247234822_aba6e1001f.jpg

 

31795256167_6e7bac1332.jpg

Finished up ok

Edited by Marklo

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I did say right at the top that this would be a 'slow-burner'...

 

Real life has kept me busy doing other things recently, but I've chipped away at the tiny Snipe now and again.  This is more-or-less where I'm at with the major airframe sections:

 

20190130_184453

 

The cowling, including the 'scallop' forward of the gun troughs, has been separated from the fuselage and shaped to regain its smooth curvature across the top, the cutout on the lower section is reasonably close to how I want it, but the circular front opening hasn't yet been completed (apologies for the rubbish pic):

 

20190130_184555

 

Rather annoyingly, my scratchbuilt engine is marginally too large in diameter to fit inside the cowling, so I will have to trim the ends that will be hidden inside the cowling:

 

20190130_184620

 

I've drilled partial-thickness holes in the wings to accept the struts and separated the ailerons on the lower wings, but the one-piece moulding means that there is no detail whatsoever on the lower surfaces.  I shall probably scribe a hint of rib tapes using side-by-side knife blades:

 

20190130_184535

 

Once the lower wings are attached to the fuselage then some filling and smoothing will be required to match the moulding to the real aircraft's shape.  Another very fiddly 'to-do' job is to fill and sand the undetailed side of the vacform fin and rudder:

 

20190130_184429

 

Fitting the wings to the fuselage will require some fettling in order to get a tight joint with the appropriate dihedral but no sweepback:

 

20190130_184358

 

Meanwhile, if you want to discover more about the Snipe, have a look at this 'Kermie Cam' video (and the follow-ons) from the fascinating series provided by the one-and-only Kermit Weeks in Florida:

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fUQCqSw-Yds

 

Upwards and onwards...

 

Jon

 

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Modeltoys. There's a blast from the past. I used to spend most of my Saturdays there or in Tip Top (?) along by Lake Road. Robin Thwaites in Arundel Street occasionally. 

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46894489772_7e8c804c9f_b.jpg

Don't know if I'm too late found this on leafing through my collection of ancient Airfix magazines (1983 afair) a nice mix of PC10 or Silver colourschemes. 

 

Edited by Marklo

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On 1/30/2019 at 9:27 PM, Jonners said:

Upwards and onwards...

Some good work going on here. Glad to see that you are showing the flaws and errors and explaining how you're getting round the problem.

 

Stuart

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6 hours ago, Marklo said:

Don't know if I'm too late found this on leafing through my collection of ancient Airfix magazines (1983 afair) a nice mix of PC10 or Silver colourschemes. 

 

Not too late at all, Marklo; I'm quite a way off the painting stage yet. Very much appreciated, as it will have a silver finish but I haven't decided which scheme to apply.

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5 hours ago, Courageous said:

Some good work going on here. Glad to see that you are showing the flaws and errors and explaining how you're getting round the problem.

 

Stuart

Thanks Stuart; unfortunately, as is usually the case, they mostly seem to be my scratchbuilding flaws and construction errors!

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More fettling (nature of the vacform beast) has led to this with the wings:

 

20190201_212052

 

Apart from a small leading edge gap on the port wing, which is easy to fix, I'm quite pleased with the result. A careful bead of Revell Contacta cement on the upper side joint with the fuselage has secured it nicely, but it will still need a small amount of filler (nature of the beast again). And yes, I snapped the aileron off...

 

I've had to hack away at the top of the engine in a fairly brutal manner in order to get it to fit inside the cowling. The firewall has yet to be painted:

 

20190201_212314

 

The battle scars will be hidden by the cowling. I've lost track of the number of times that the bottom, narrow section of the cowling has snapped already! Here it is dry-fitted:

 

20190201_212248

 

Hopefully I'll squeeze in some more fettling time tomorrow.

 

Jon

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Dear me. Progress is glacially slow (as briefed - see Post #1!), but it is at least taking shape.  The cowling is on, courtesy of superglue gel for all-round strength with a bit of filling action, and the horizontal tailplane has been fettled and fitted:

 

20190204_193012

 

I managed to get a drop of cement on the starboard rear fuselage so had to wait for it to dry before sanding it smooth again; hopefully I'll be able to reinstate the appearance of stringers by scraping with a No11 blade.

 

The tailplane has had its underside, along with those of the wings, lightly scribed to give the impression of rib tapes. If, however, it is laid straight onto the kit fuselage then its angle of incidence is too great (ie. its front edge is too high), so I glued a thin piece of 10thou plastic card onto the tailplane mounting point and, once dry, carved/sanded it to create a gentle wedge shape so that the tailplane now sits more-or-less correctly.

 

20190204_193043

 

The cockpit opening seems to be slightly wonky, though I haven't decided yet whether to fret about it or ignore it. I'm tending towards 'ignore' as my main aim to to finish a vacform kit successfully, and I don't think it will be too obvious anyway. I need to reinstate the small scallop at the top of the cowling, which should be pretty easy with a small amount of filler, then general fettling prior to a primer coat to check the finish. 

 

I'm not holding my breath as I'll be busy for the next few days, including an all-expenses-paid trip to Norway...which isn't as great as it sounds as I'll be spending most of the daylight hours strapped inside a flight sim for my 6-monthly checkrides.😩 Ho hum.

 

Jon

Edited by Jonners

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At least you're only in it once every 6 months. I work for CAE! But it's a lot warmer here in Abu Dhabi. 😉

Have fun!

 

Ian

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Checkrides completed - satis. Astonishing how many systems stopped working at awkward times, though...

 

The Snipe has sprouted some struts:

 

20190214_215321

 

...which have been made from cocktail sticks mounted into shallow drilled holes using superglue gel. This method might not be everyone's favourite, but it works for me. I've also obviously done some priming and subsequent sanding, especially around the cowling.

 

As it's my first vacform, I've decided - in a moment of masochistic bloody-mindedness - to try to use as many of the vacform parts as I can. I filled the hollow side of the propellor with CA glue and bicarbonate of soda, then a touch of filler, and I'm confident that it will be quite useable. The undercarriage struts had CA run into their hollow sides; once this had set I got handy with the wet-'n-dry which resulted in this:

 

20190214_215301

 

It's early days yet, as I've done absolutely no clean-up or detailing, but I think it's passable. The horizontal axle fairing is just a piece of scrap plastic card and needs the half-shafts adding to the top side, then a representation of the bungee/retaining bar suspension will need to be created.

 

The top wing has had rib tapes scribed onto its underside (to my annoyance, after gluing the lower wings to the the fuselage I noticed that I had forgotten to scribe the underside of the starboard lower wing - curses!) and the centre-section cutout has been, er, cut out. Dihedral was created by scribing chordwise at the outer edges of the centre section, bending the wings to open up the score line, then sealing it with liquid cement. Once it sets only a smear of filler should be needed:

 

20190214_215235

 

Although I had measured the strut lengths against plans, a quick dry fit shows quite clearly that they are actually too long by a couple of millimetres. This will be a faff to correct now that all the struts have been glued into the lower wing, but with a new X-Acto blade the job shouldn't be impossible:

 

20190214_215349

 

A month or so ago I seemed to have a fair amount of time in which to commit plastic surgery, but just recently my modelling has been limited to a few snatched minutes here and there. How some BM'ers manage to commit the time necessary to create some of the masterpieces that are often showcased here is simply beyond me!

 

Jon

Edited by Jonners

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A very interesting thread as I have never attempted a vacform (and never will now as scratch building is my modus operandi). I do like the idea of cocktial sticks for struts and am very impressed with the CA filler in the u/c struts. As for the engine: been there, done that! In all a very tidy little model in the making here - looking forward to seeing more.

 

P

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Funny how everything fails when you're in the sim, it's almost as though it's planned! Still a pain though!

 Nice work on the wings. I don't even bother with any scribed detail under the wings, I just paint it. 

 

Ian

Edited by limeypilot

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Well, it looks like an airplane model now!

I really admire your daring effort!

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Quote

A month or so ago I seemed to have a fair amount of time in which to commit plastic surgery, but just recently my modelling has been limited to a few snatched minutes here and there. How some BM'ers manage to commit the time necessary to create some of the masterpieces that are often showcased here is simply beyond me!

Funny I seem to have gone the same way too. I barely got to make some new struts for the PUP and milliput the new wing over the weekend and yet I got a whole model built bwtween new years and the 19th of January, ho hum Life I suppose.

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Magic work so far Jonners. I love vac form builds.

 

To Martin, wasn't Modeltoys the best ever shop to visit, I used to travel down from Manchester to my is in law in Fareham but go straight to Modeltoys on the saturday morning. Mike Silk was always amazed I made the pilgimage.

 

Johnners, what happened to that mega crane build ou were doing? I do hope it was not abandoned!!!

 

Colin

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On 2/18/2019 at 6:45 PM, heloman1 said:

 

Johnners, what happened to that mega crane build ou were doing? I do hope it was not abandoned!!!

 

Colin

Not me, Colin, though I do vaguely remember seeing a crane project here somewhere.

 

Well, the glacier has crept forward by another thousandth of an inch - I'm far too 'otherwise engaged' with work this month. 😔

 

I removed the forest of struts and shortened them all before replanting them on the lower wing. I also tried to create the undercarriage half shafts and retaining bars, though to be honest they look a bit gash as the half shafts should run smoothly into the fairing:

 

20190220_110125

 

The vertical tail surfaces and vacform propeller, small as they are, are ready for painting. I eventually abandoned my attempt to make the one-sided vacform wheels into something useable (a shame, as the single side is nicely moulded), and one of them has disappeared anyway, so I'm repainting a pair of wheels salvaged from a Sopwith Salamander kit. I've finished the usual repetitive prime - rub down - prime process, so this is what it looks like with the top wing dry-fitted:

 

20190220_110145

 

Anyway, I'm going back to work in 20 mins to give the glacier the time to slide another thou down the valley.

 

Jon

Edited by Jonners

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