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Akaflieg B1 Charlotte, Scratchbuilt 1/72

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A build from 10 years ago:


Why not an unusual glider to break the routine?


At the beginning of the 20’s German students grouped in associations to promote gliding.

One of those was located in the Berlin area and gave birth to a number of designs, the fist of which is presented here.

It is not clear if this tail-less design had such economy of materials because of the tough after-war times or perhaps due to the influence of the Etrich zanonia-type gliders.

In any case the attractive lines of “Charlotte” were enough for me to have a go at her.

I was introduced to this remarkable lady by fellow modeler and friend Sönke Schulz.

The number of gliders in my collections tends to increase noticeably, perhaps –besides their undeniable aesthetic qualities- due the fact that they do not have engines, propellers, wheels... or tails as in this case. But do not fool yourself; this one is made of more than fifty parts.

Fellow modeler and friend Jim Schubert from Puget Sound told me that indeed the Akaflieg B1 was designed after the experience of WWI, when pilots had their enemies attacking almost invariably positioned at their tails. The absence of such tails, says Jimmy, would have deterred enemies from attacking. Hum.


Being this a small article I will compensate by passing on some modeling wisdom in the form of 12 ½ suggestions:


1) Forget about what you painfully learned with your previous models. There is always room for invention –and oblivion.

2) Collect a reasonable number of references. Don’t even look at them until you are finished.

3) If you want to try something risky, and you got that very complex and time-consuming model almost ready, now it’s the time.

4) Write-down a suitable sequence for painting and gluing parts that will alleviate your burden during building and save you time. Leave it underneath some reference books and forget about it (see 2)

5) Very sparingly glue the interior parts. Knock the model against a hard surface when close to completion. You will get a very pleasant, maraca-like rattling effect.

6) Set-apart the more delicate parts in a separate container. Go and do something. Anything will do. Come back and sit on top of them. That’ll teach’em.

7) For painting your painstaking, beloved masterpiece, choose a windy, dusty day. Do it out there, on the balcony or out the garage. Ah, fresh air. You may feel as if you were Lawrence of Arabia making models in the wild dunes. And you will probably obtain alike results.

8 ) Do start a model and once you are half-way, meticulously store the thing in the darkest crag of your closet/cabinet. Come back to it by the time you have forgotten all the insights you had regarding construction and ways to correct/improve it.

9) Scratch-build that nightmare that you always wanted, and carefully finish it by the time a kit is finally mass produced and on the shelves for a ridiculously low price

10) Need the right tool but is out of reach? Nah, use the other one that’s just on the table. It won’t work the same, or probably won’t work at all, but in the process you will manage to ruin the part. That will give you the chance to get more practice time doing it all over again or even learn how to scratch-build it!. A similar procedure could be used for materials and almost all modeling supplies.

11) Get carried away and glue all the pointy/fragile bits before you are completely finished, let’s say before painting or decaling. Then look at the model in a state of dismay until the next season (see 8).

12) Run out of the paint you were using in the middle of the job? May be you can use that suspicious other one at the bottom of your drawer; then you will achieve two things: the colors will never match and the coat underneath will crackle/blister/melt and/or otherwise produce remarkable –although not necessarily desired- special effects.

13) back to 1)




















Edited by Moa
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Lovely stuff Moa - both the model and the words of modelling wisdom! I recon I've done nearly all of them at some time or other!


At least this one was simplified a little having no engine or tailplane - unless of course you looked at your references too late to add them!





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Nice one... some of the wisdom I've learnt too over the years... Instead of scratchbuilding a part, save the money for an expensive resin kit... when you have finally bought it, a plastic kit of that vehicle will be announced...

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For a scratch build that looks relatively simple: but then in scratch building everything is relative. Still a first class model in every way though.


Just one point you missed in your list: make some small complicated parts and put them on one side for use later. Forget you made them and make another set. Find the first lot after the second have been attached to the model.





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8 minutes ago, pheonix said:

Just one point you missed in your list: make some small complicated parts and put them on one side for use later. Forget you made them and make another set. Find the first lot after the second have been attached to the model.





There are so many more...I have been known to make a series of very small and delicate parts (let's say a series of aileron scissor actuators) and lay them down carefully aligned on the mat.

Only to come the next morning and "clean all the debris" on the board before starting to work again.

So where did I leave those little things...? (the trash truck purring away sound can be heard on the distance...)


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