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Ex-FAAWAFU

Sink the Bismarck! HMS Ark Royal, 26 May 1941

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There will be a lot of people: 43 aircrew, for a start... if you read back through the early stages of this build you’ll see that the weather was so bad that they added extra deck handlers from the Ship’s Company to stop the Stringbags from sliding over the side while being lined up... and they knew that they were dangerously close to Luftwaffe range from Western France (indeed they attacked shortly after Ark recovered the unused strike after Bismarck sank the following day), so the lookouts and at least some of the weapons need to be manned... and the bridge... 

 

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11 hours ago, Ex-FAAWAFU said:

specifically to fettling some 1/350 figures

You gotta be kidding me .... :gobsmacked:

 

That microscopic biplane looks incredibly good even when magnified :worthy: :worthy: 

 

Ciao

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This is amazing! I know this isn't adding a lotnto the conversation but I had to say it!

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A bit more on the teeny-weeny Stringbag this evening.  A couple of steps forward & one back, alas, but it will pay off in the long run; this particular Swordfish is probably only a spare (I need 15 and own 18).

 

Getting the upper wing of bi-planes exactly right and secure can be a challenge even in 1/48, let alone at this scale so, as I said last night, I’m constructing a jig.  
 

Here we are with the upper wing balanced in position.  You might be able to see that Merit / Trumpy mould a lug on the underside of the upper wing, which fits into the fuselage roughly where the cabane struts are.  Not a silly design by any means; it helps the fore-& aft and lateral positioning, certainly, but getting the angle of attack right is next to impossible with only PE outer struts.  
 

Plus, as I have already indicated when I last played around with unfeasibly small Swordfish, in the Summer, I plan to at least experiment with rigging one of these to see whether it looks any better than PE rigging.  To even attempt a nutty thing like that, you MUST have solid & secure struts, ideally before the upper wing is fixed in place - so I need a jig.  

49421658932_6efa86a3a3_b.jpg
 

Here we are with the upper wing removed again: I think I’ve managed to play around with styrene and TET to the point where the 3 elements are in position: correct distance out from the fuselage; correct rake of the struts (Swordfish outer struts are not vertical).  You can kind of see those two - the third dimension, which you cannot see here, is getting the struts at the right fore & aft angle - Swordfish struts aren’t parallel with each other seen from the side, either!

49421659087_da90aee16a_b.jpg
 

If you’re not sure what I’m on about, this might help: you can probably see here that the outer struts lean outwards away from the fuselage, and the front outer strut diverges from the rear one (and its accompanying aileron strut)

48106571266_f0b868b960_z.jpg

 

Anyway, I think my system should work; we’ll find out a bit more tomorrow, once everything has cured properly.


Those of you who are still paying attention will doubtless have noticed that the tail has parted company since yesterday: butt joints are just as weak in 1/350 as in every other scale.  After a bit of head scratching, a realised that the fuselage already has a hole in it, so I’ve added a metal ‘spar’ from 0.2mm Nickel Silver rod; here you can see the starboard horizontal stabiliser / elevator refitted, with the spar poking through awaiting its port twin.

49421659132_d1a324845c_b.jpg

 

You can see the half-finished jig in the background, too.  Believe it or not, that lot took me 2 hours of experimentation, dead ends, false trails and bodges, before I hit on something that might work.

 

More soon

 

Crisp

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Nice work Crisp and the jig sounds like a good idea if you have more to do :) 

 

Of course once I’ve looked at the modelling in people’s posts I have another look for new tools. 
What’s this blue topped bottle I thought. 
Plastic Magic? Hmmm. 
What’s the difference between that and Tamiya Extra Thin (TET) and do I need some? :D 
 

Edit: Well, if Phil Flory likes it too I think I’ll get some! Slightly slower than TET and less ‘hot’. 

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Mr Flory knows what he is talking about.  Like him, I acquired it as an experiment - and I now use it for styrene where I reckon I’m likely to need some wiggle room.  It’s good

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The crazy, wonderful, beautiful, extreme modelling continues .................

 

:clap2:

 

Kev

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Good glue tip; I use ordinary Uhu cement and a general Bison kit thinner + fine brush and this may be a good replacement for both.... need to order DSPIAE circle cutter at Flory's anyway...

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18 hours ago, Ex-FAAWAFU said:

You can see the half-finished jig in the background, too.  Believe it or not, that lot took me 2 hours of experimentation, dead ends, false trails and bodges, before I hit on something that might work.

 

now if you had a 3D printer, you could just have printed the jig.  Come to think of it, you could just have printed the stringbags too - but where's the fun in that?

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If I’d had a 3D printer I’d only have wasted even more time...  

 

Groundhog Day!  Last night’s jig failed utterly on first use, so back to Square 1.  Though it is frustrating, I need to find a way to get this right, because 15 Swordfish will drive me completely / further [delete to taste] insane unless I find a way to build them securely.  
 

So, jig mark 2, this time (since the points of failure were at the joins) fettled from a single piece.  The challenges to be fixed - essentially all at the same time, thus requiring about 6 hands - are:

 

- the vertical height of the upper wing above the lower;

- the lateral position of the upper wing (not that hard);

- the correct angles (fore & aft and sideways, as described yesterday... when I didn’t even mention the inner pairs) of the struts;

- holding the upper wing (correctly positioned as per the 3 points above) steady while fitting said struts & allowing glue to cure; and

- rigging the bloomin’ thing.

 

So here’s today’s effort, and it’s definitely an improvement:

 

49426584241_93882afcdb_b.jpg


...and here with the upper wing in position:

49426113308_cccf1da39a_b.jpg

49426809612_6bdf4af357_b.jpg

 

[At least yesterday evening’s tail spar bodge seems to have worked OK, as you can see].

 

This is getting there, but still not completely right.  I think I’ll probably carve a second one to go over the for’d cowling and under the front of the wing - probably much narrower to allow room to work between wings with the jigs still in place.  I also need to adapt the wreckage of the Mk 1 jig to provide a clear indication of strut angles when seen from the side.

 

Eventually I will get to a place where I can fix struts (0.4mm brass rod seems to match the White Ensign PE struts perfectly) to the lower wing with enough confidence that the upper wing will subsequently fit on top - probably by gluing only the bottom of each strut and using the upper wing as an aid to alignment while it cures.  Then I can sort the rigging - Plan A Ushi line, Plan B White Ensign brass.

 

And do it all safely enough to repeat the process 15 times without losing my mind.

 

Not very well explained, I fear - but I think I know where I’m going with this, and this evening definitely represents progress.

 

This cannot fail, or I’ll end up with Ark turning into wind... to launch a strike from an empty flight deck!

 

Day off on Friday, so probably no more work until next week.  
 

Thanks for sticking with me while I experiment in public!

 

Crisp

 

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I wouldn't worry too much about completely losing your mind Crisp. You'll need to be bonkers to paint the crew to a standard that will satisfy you...

Looking marvellous so far. I'd be quite chuffed if I could make a 1:48 Swordfish look that good.

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Great stuff. Time spent on this experimental stuff now will pay dividends I'm sure. Progress is clearly being made!

 

Terry

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10 minutes ago, Kirk said:

Looking marvellous so far. I'd be quite chuffed if I could make a 1:48 Swordfish look that good.

I’ve been rude enough about Merit / Trumpeter numerous times during this build - and no doubt will be again! - but credit where credit’s due; these wee Swordfish models are really nicely done.  Missing out the oil cooler was an avoidable error, but the bottom line is that they provide the raw material to produce some really nice Stringbags in due course... provided I can sort out how to get the upper wings sorted out!

 

The truly Eagle-eyed will already have noticed that the poor test mule (which is becoming increasingly battered and will definitely not feature in the final 810 / 818 / 820 air group) was once painted in an attempt at the shadow compensating scheme.    The final aircraft will not have this scheme - but the amount of handling which this airframe is undergoing at the moment demonstrates yet again that @Jamie @ Sovereign Hobbies’s paints are fabulously hardy, as well as great colours.

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Nice work Crisp :)

 

Here's a thought - why not glue some bits of rod to the jig in an 'L' shape to position the top of the struts too?

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8 hours ago, CedB said:

 

Here's a thought - why not glue some bits of rod to the jig in an 'L' shape to position the top of the struts too?

Ced, as recently as last night I was thinking along exactly those lines (since the jig must be robust enough to work 15 times, pondering whether a brass and solder version might be the way ahead...), but this morning I am not so sure.  If the upper wings are going to be robust (enough), they need proper locating holes and a solid gluing surface - and Merit’s wings have clear indentations for that purpose.  
 

So the thing that matters with the struts is actually that they fit securely into both wings, even if that means that they are (I think you will find) a couple of degrees out in comparison with plans.  This is 1/350; even if I wanted to (& trust me, I don’t), there isn’t room or enough styrene to withstand filling Merit’s holes, drilling replacements 0.5mm away and all that jazz.  

 

So the jig’s primary purpose is evolving; it started out as a means of getting accurate strut positions and angles consistently across 15 aircraft (& all exaggeration aside, it will still provide that in the end), but now it’s becoming a means of holding the upper wing steady enough and close enough to the right position to allow me to fit the struts solidly.  Even if I end up deciding that this entire rigging idea is insane (OK, it is insane, so let me re-phrase that... even if it proves to be impossible), I’ll still need a jig to fit the PE struts / rigging: PE is nothing like robust enough to hold the wing in place on its own.

 

Incidentally, it hasn’t been that obvious in many of the pictures, but Merit’s solution to this is a central styrene plug under the upper wing that fits into a socket on top of the fuselage; that’s what gives the solid join, and the PE struts have almost no structural function at all.  Not even I am seriously thinking (any more...) about removing the plug and building 15 tiny pyramids of cabane strut... but the Merit plug isn’t really long enough; the upper wing sits too low when the plug is snugly fitted into the slot on the top of the cowling - at least on the poor Test Mule.  So I think I’m edging towards keeping the idea but replacing the plug with some rod (probably brass, 1mm or more).  
 

And for that to work OK, guess what?  I need a jig.

 

I am thoroughly enjoying this build, but 1/350 sure as Heck ain’t 1/48 when it comes to solving engineering challenges!

Edited by Ex-FAAWAFU

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All good points and understood :) 

 

I've looked at the photos again to try to get some perspective. I thought I was doing a tiny model but crikey matey, looking at that bottle of GG (and assuming you haven't found a source of big bottles) this is, ahem, on another scale (duh).

 

:worthy:

 

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If the plug isn't long enough, could you put a shim of plasticard in fuselage slot to raise the top wing up a little up a little?

Tom

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11 minutes ago, Modelholic said:

If the plug isn't long enough, could you put a shim of plasticard in fuselage slot to raise the top wing up a little up a little?

Tom

Yes, I could - but it would be hard to do that and still retain the structural stiffness (snort), which is why it’s there in the first place

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True, I could.  If I asked nicely, I might even persuade one of the home-brew PE alchemists on here [@Fritag ears burning, no doubt] to etch them for me.  
 

I’d have to experiment to see whether it’s worth the effort, since any PE cabane structure is going to have to work round the ‘plug’ discussed above; I suspect that the need for structural integrity of the upper wing might make any form of accurate cabane pretty much impossible.  But it’s worth a try... I could even incorporate the torpedo sight.

 

But for now I am going to concentrate on attaining a single Swordfish that looks the part and doesn’t fall apart as soon as you breathe on it.

 

Jigs.

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Following this with amazed interest.

Just a thought on the cabanes and- erm- jigs. Razor thin (eg JLC) saw cuts across the fuselage would allow insert of pe inclusive of the now missing cross sections. A similar method could be applied to the wings , slot fitted to the upper undersurface and aligning with the Merit dents on the lower. This assumes you are in contact with your local flea circus for  appropriately skilled fitters.

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I had in mind a single-piece cabane system consisting of a solid panel either flat or to be rolled to match the fuselage top, with fold-up cabane struts. These would either be with or without another folding plate to span the top of the struts both setting their distance apart then giving a contact area for the top wing. You'd then lose the moulded plastic cabane "plug".

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You have to love a Stringbag at any scale but there is a sublime delight in watching you tinker with such this fragile Swordfish pupa Crisp.

 

How are the eyes holding up - I'd be drinking Optrex by now...

 

As to rigging, if you leave the aircraft in the loft for a couple of weeks and let the spiders do their thing, you can then cut away any surplus web and leave yourself with a beautiful rendition of the rigging in scale silk....

 

 

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On 1/23/2020 at 12:57 PM, Jamie @ Sovereign Hobbies said:

I had in mind a single-piece cabane system consisting of a solid panel either flat or to be rolled to match the fuselage top, with fold-up cabane struts. These would either be with or without another folding plate to span the top of the struts both setting their distance apart then giving a contact area for the top wing. You'd then lose the moulded plastic cabane "plug".

Thinking further about this, I don’t think I’m going to go down the PE cabane struts route - mostly because pretty much all the PE I’ve ever used lacks structural strength, and if the wings struts aren’t providing it, the strength has to come from somewhere.

 

However, you have given me an idea, Jamie - along with something @hendie taught me aeons ago (ironically, on my Ark 5 build), namely that it’s much stronger to make something out of a single piece of metal (bent into shapes or not) than to try to join separate things up.  It sounds like a statement of the bleedin’ obvious phrased like that, but a Hendie observation (and when Hendie observes you should listen, particularly when he is talking about brass) transformed something that had been driving me nuts into something that was easy to make.  Sometimes we can’t see obvious things, especially on our own builds.

 

Anyway.  I am not going to say what this idea is at this point - I want a test run first, and I can’t do that until next week.  But if it works, the cabane plug is history.  Watch this space.

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28 minutes ago, Ex-FAAWAFU said:

However, you have given me an idea, Jamie - along with something @hendie taught me aeons ago (ironically, on my Ark 5 build), namely that it’s much stronger to make something out of a single piece of metal (bent into shapes or not) than to try to join separate things up.  It sounds like a statement of the bleedin’ obvious phrased like that, but a Hendie observation (and when Hendie observes you should listen, particularly when he is talking about brass) transformed something that had been driving me nuts into something that was easy to make.  Sometimes we can’t see obvious things, especially on our own builds.

 

WOah..... my name got mentioned and I'm not getting the blame for something  :penguin:

 

I have with mine own eyes made another observation which resulted in the old brain mechanism cogitating a bit and since I'm always up for making stupid suggestions thought I'd throw this one into the ring and see what happens.

In all the photos of the ever evolving transmogrifying jig - the aircraft is on the horizontal plane (sic).  Would the jig (or construction) be any easier if the aircraft was aligned in the vertical direction?  or even angled 60° or so.

My  thought process being that if the aircraft is positioned vertically nose down, then you just need a surface(s) positioned at the right height (relative to the lower wing leading edge) for the upper wing to drop the leading edge onto - gravity does the rest - and it may be a lot easier to see what you are doing. That way you only have to worry about controlling the gap for the struts - maybe a couple of small blocks?  With gravity holding the wings in position it may be a lot easier to maneuver struts etc into position 

I hope you can visualize what I'm trying to explain - it's a bit hectic here otherwise I'd try and sketch a quick diagram

Edited by hendie

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