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DMC

Colour of Rigging Wires

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Some weeks ago a BM member stated in a WIP thread that the rigging wires on RFC aircraft were,  say, on a Camel were Japanned,, or lacquered black. I’d always thought silver, or NMF.  I’d appreciate any input on this matter

 

Dennis

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I don't know about WW1, but it seems to be true that many, if not most interwar types had black rigging.

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Camel would be RAF streamline wires (still available on order from Bruntons of Musselbrough) and would be natural metal. It would be the same for SE5, Pup and anything not done with spliced cables. 

 

Spliced cables tend to pick up a LOT of castor oil which collects a lot of dirt so would look very black  close to where the oil gets thrown, and more natural metal outboards.

 

Also remember that streamline wires are opposite threaded and turned to tension, so no turnbuckles. Stranded cables are tensioned with turnbuckles.

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16 hours ago, melvyn hiscock said:

Camel would be RAF streamline wires (still available on order from Bruntons of Musselbrough) and would be natural metal. It would be the same for SE5, Pup and anything not done with spliced cables. 

 

Spliced cables tend to pick up a LOT of castor oil which collects a lot of dirt so would look very black  close to where the oil gets thrown, and more natural metal outboards.

 

Also remember that streamline wires are opposite threaded and turned to tension, so no turnbuckles. Stranded cables are tensioned with turnbuckles.

So which, if any, WW1 RFC planes would have had black rigging wires, and was that indeed the norm between the wars?

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2 hours ago, spaddad said:

What about rigging  during w.w.2 ?

Sure, that too, but the OP was asking about RFC, which kind of implies pre-WW2 at least.

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2 hours ago, Seawinder said:

Sure, that too, but the OP was asking about RFC, which kind of implies pre-WW2 at least.

Yeah, but it’s ok. Very likely to have been stainless on streamline wires. 

 

Incidentally when modelling my Rearwin Cloudster in 12in to the foot scale, the tail wires were originally 4130 steel (the aeroplane was 1939 vintage) and were replaced (by Bruntons, the same people that made the wires for the WW1 aircraft) and I had them done in stainless. Hurricanes are braced internally with stainless streamline wires ( within the structure, why streamline?).

 

The control wires on The Rearwin were stranded but were liberally coated with Lanolin to get into the windings to prevent corrosion.

 

again, I believe, standard practice WW2

 

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Thanks all, apologies for late reply.  Eye treatment at Queens Hsp yesterday.  Display and iPad keyboard still a bit of a blur.  I’ll be back.

 

Dennis

 

 

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3 hours ago, melvyn hiscock said:

Hurricanes are braced internally with stainless streamline wires ( within the structure, why streamline?).

Would a twist indicate an unequal amount of thread engagement in the clevises ?

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Okay, I've browsed a few threads and found one discussion at a WW1 site that seemed to support the notion that most RFC WW1 planes had natural metal wire, but some had black. I've also found photos of Bristol Bulldogs and Fairey Flycatcher biplanes with pretty clearly black rigging. Is this an accurate assessment?

Edited by Seawinder

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14 hours ago, Seawinder said:

Okay, I've browsed a few threads and found one discussion at a WW1 site that seemed to support the notion that most RFC WW1 planes had natural metal wire, but some had black. I've also found photos of Bristol Bulldogs and Fairey Firefly biplanes with pretty clearly black rigging. Is this an accurate assessment?

 Possibly, but metal is your better bet. It will look black when being photographed depending in the light. Remember also, they did not have a long design life, so long term corrosion protection was not likely to an an issue, unless it was possibly maritime based. 

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22 hours ago, Aeronut said:

Would a twist indicate an unequal amount of thread engagement in the clevises ?

Possibly, but only by about one thread. You can also imagine a scenario when truing the the fuselage might leave one with a twist to even the tension on its opposite. I’ll have to go through my Hurricane pics and check. 

 

It IS easier to adjust streamline wires as you twist and lock, whereas with turnbuckles and cable you tension, then wirelock the turnbuckle, an art in itself and locking wire is notorious for making painful holes in your fingers (been there, got the Tshirt etc)

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Thanks everyone. Plenty of information and suggestions here. Idle curiosity is not my reason for asking.  Over on WIP I have a Revell 1/28 Camel on the go and sooner or later I’m going to have a bit of rigging to deal with.  My first attempt.  

 

 

If you’re not familiar with the kit, it comes with rigging thread and pre-drilled holes for same (not sure about using them).  As it comes, the thread is limp, probably too thick and just a bit rough for metal look rigging.  However, with an application of plastic tube cement it smooths right down and stiffens up considerably: second sample.  The third sample has a light coating of Vallejo aluminium on it if a NMF is required.

 

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I aware there are several types of rigging material available and every modeller has his preference and this thread might not be one.  I think, however, that I’ll give it a try.  It was just the black or metal finish that I was unsure of.

 

Again, many thanks for all the input.  Very much appreciated.

 

Dennis

 

 

 

 

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2 hours ago, melvyn hiscock said:

It IS easier to adjust streamline wires as you twist and lock, whereas with turnbuckles and cable you tension, then wirelock the turnbuckle, an art in itself and locking wire is notorious for making painful holes in your fingers (been there, got the Tshirt etc)

I had my first physical dealing with RAF wires recently when assembling a Tiger Moth for static display, Oh what fun it was making sure the aircraft was rigged correctly whilst at the same time the wires had no twists and ended up pointed in the right direction to be streamlined.

As for locking wire in the fingers my T- shirt is an XL. I also have one for split pin injuries.

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The wooden ship model community has a neat trick for tidying up thread. Run the thread across the corner of a block of beeswax and then over a heating element of some sort. Back in the day, an incandescent light bulb was used.

 

I used this technique for the ramp release cables on a 1/48 LCM last year. For a heat source, I ran a heat gun until it got to temp and then run the thread around the still-hot metal nozzle. 

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19 hours ago, Seawinder said:

Okay, I've browsed a few threads and found one discussion at a WW1 site that seemed to support the notion that most RFC WW1 planes had natural metal wire, but some had black. I've also found photos of Bristol Bulldogs and Fairey Firefly biplanes with pretty clearly black rigging. Is this an accurate assessment?

Not black, AFAIK.   The streamlined Raf-wires were stainless steel, so a bright silver when new, fading to a a silver-grey in service. German WW1 were usually stranded steel cable and probably greased, so a gunmetal/metallic grey colour.

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2 hours ago, Aeronut said:

I had my first physical dealing with RAF wires recently when assembling a Tiger Moth for static display, ........

As for locking wire in the fingers my T- shirt is an XL. I also have one for split pin injuries.

The REALLY annoying thing about both locking wire stabs and split pin injuries is the almost mathematical precision where you can stab yourself twice in the same hole!! How is that even possible???

 

(The Rearwin was five years, three months and nine days, not that I counted).

 

When I was assembling the carb, I was working late one night and managed to get myself in the end of the finger. The Warner Scarab is an oily engine and so I was lying underneath the front, reaching to try and lock everything off and my hands were getting greasier and greasier, so, being a boy, wiped t shirt, jeans, face etc, and carried on. I got it done just as it was about dark, stuck the tools in a box under the nose as I was going to be back the next day and went home. For some reason my hands were still greasy, then I saw myself in the car mirror as the door light came on! 

 

I had managed to stab stab a blood vessel, only a small one, but it was dripping even then. Think the beat of the hand claps on ‘we will rock you’ by Queen, so not massive drippage but there was blood everywhere! 

 

The next morning i realised it looked looked like a murder scene. I may have only lost less than a thimble full of the red stuff but tools were caked, there was blood on the floor, and blood is corrosive, so there was a big clean up.

 

This is the stuff no one warns you about when you buy an aeroplane ,complete and ready for reassembly (yes, after an every last nut and bolt rebuild).

 

oh, and as an aside, my Hurricane book ‘Hawker Hurricane Inside and Out’ could also have been called ‘Fifty Metres of Ceconite and a lot of paint’ as that was what covered the Rearwin!

 

And don’t even get me started on how stingy scratches from trimmed tie wraps can be. They give you those jagged zig zaggy scratches that sting out of all proportion.

 

oh the fun we had.......

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I have a similar experience gardening Melvin.  

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On 2/16/2020 at 12:25 PM, Roger Holden said:

Not black, AFAIK.   The streamlined Raf-wires were stainless steel, so a bright silver when new, fading to a a silver-grey in service. German WW1 were usually stranded steel cable and probably greased, so a gunmetal/metallic grey colour.

I'm not intending to beat a dead horse, but the rigging wires on the restored Bristol Bulldog at the RAF museum (lots of online photos) appear to be unquestionably black. Was this then simply a decision made by the restorers, or does it in any way reflect actual period practice?

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7 minutes ago, Seawinder said:

I'm not intending to beat a dead horse, but the rigging wires on the restored Bristol Bulldog at the RAF museum (lots of online photos) appear to be unquestionably black. Was this then simply a decision made by the restorers, or does it in any way reflect actual period practice?

 Have just looked at good in-service close-ups of Gauntlet, Gladiator, Gordon, Heyford, Vildebeest, Valentia and every one is clearly NMF (dull silver).  Only one i can find which *may* be painted is Woodcock. Painting seems like a complete waste of effort as corrosion-resistant material. Possibly the restored plane has non-functioning wires made from ferrous material (?).

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They are stainless steel.

Ever tried to get paint to stick to that?

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39 minutes ago, Roger Holden said:

 Possibly the restored plane has non-functioning wires made from ferrous material (?).

Quite possibly, think of the set up cost for a set of one-off Bristol Bulldog wires in stainless when there is no guarantee the drawings even exist. Making them from rolled mild steel would be much cheaper. I could walk you around that museum and show you restoration decisions that would make your eyes water

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7 hours ago, melvyn hiscock said:

Quite possibly, think of the set up cost for a set of one-off Bristol Bulldog wires in stainless when there is no guarantee the drawings even exist. Making them from rolled mild steel would be much cheaper. I could walk you around that museum and show you restoration decisions that would make your eyes water

Bruntons still know how to make them, I believe 

http://www.bruntons.co.uk/

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24 minutes ago, Work In Progress said:

Bruntons still know how to make them, I believe 

http://www.bruntons.co.uk/

Bruntons feature above, the Memorial Flight Association in France bought the SE5a wires from them but it is down to whether they have the drawings still. They don’t AFAIAW have everything they used to but they supplied a LOT of types 

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