Jump to content

RAAF Westland Wapiti - in Doug McHard's footsteps


Recommended Posts

To my eye that collector ring looks bang on - nice work!

 

Cheers,

 

Roger

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

G'day Pinback,

 

In answer to your query on the 'tween wars forum, re finish of struts: in the 1930s, the RAAF specified three varnishes for use on aircraft. They were:

1).  K3/74. External wood work on seaplanes. (BESA 2x17).

2). K3/141. Copal pale exterior varnish for external woodwork. (BESA 3x6).

3). K3/142. Copal pale interior varnish dyed red, for internal woodwork. (BESA 3x7).

 

IF the RAAF followed its own specs, the interplane struts would have been varnished wood. This appears to be the case on some aircraft, but some also appear to have been lacquered' possibly with the same finish used for propellers.

 

A few comments re A5-12, the aircraft in the photo in your first post. That photo was taken in very late 1939 or early 1940. It is not representative of the earlier aircraft that you appear to want to model. By this time A5-12 had been converted for target towing duties. If you examine the print, you will note the cable visible under the fuselage. Additional equipment has been installed under the wings and in the rear fusselage and, the Scarff ring removed from the gunners position. The aircraft was being operated by the recently formed Communication Flight at that time and carries that unit's code letter, 'Y', just visible ahead of the roundel. A better print is attached below.

 

fc09a646-2e80-4902-ab2b-00f22d1671ce.jpg

 

 

 

A5-12 was received by the RAAF in June 1929. In November of that year she spent a short time with No. 1 Sqn at Laverton, Vic, before, at the end of the month, going to No.3 Sqn at Richmond, NSW.In May 1932 she was flown by Flight Lieutenant Alan 'Wally' Walters to victory in the 1932 NSW Aerial Derby. It would appear, that at this time it still had a Jupiter engine without an exhaust collection ring. Also of note is the faired over rear cockpit, complete with streamlined fairing behind the pilot's head.

7360b8b3-93e0-4f35-b7bd-dc24c5f435c5.jpg

 

 

 

 

In October 1934, A5-12 returned to No. 1 Sqn. The next year she participated in a fly by salute over HMS Sussex when the Duke of Gloucester returned to England. The two shots below show several differences compared to the earlier shot above. It would appear that she has had a 'major'. She now sports an exhaust collector ring, a message hook, full set of nav lights, and the serial number in a new style, indicating a 're-bagging'.

 

A point to note in these shots is the shade of the paint on the upper fuselage decking. RAAF aircraft did not use Nivo paint. A grey paint was used. Ian Baker believed it to be similar to FS.595a, 26173. A small sample in my collection is a little bit darker than that, somewhere near RAF Dark Sea Grey. I believe that colour could be K3/69, Grey, Battleship, (BESA 4x2), which was a paint held in RAAF stores at the time. Perhaps one of our UK researchers may be able to give us an idea of the hue of BESA 4x2.  The photos above were taken utilising Orthochromatic film and those below utilising Panchromatic film - note the shift in the reproduced tones of red and blue in roundels and rudder stripes. I would expect there to be some tonal shift for green between the two film types, but there is little, consistent with the colour on the upper decking being a grey with little or no blue in it.

b2d187a5-3c46-4cab-9240-ebbcf3e85503.jpg

 

1f754670-9c2f-4693-b61a-75b598764537.jpg

 

 

 

Finally a, (not very good), shot of A5-12 in her dotage.

d7d21478-89ae-407d-9844-2b50df9f5415.jpg

 

Hope I haven't muddied the waters too much!!

Peter Malone

  • Like 7
  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Fantastic engine. The bend on the exhaust pipes is really subtle and beautifully captured. I think a lot of us are aware of this potential conversion and even of the article itself so thank you for making it happen for us!

 

Regards,

Adrian

  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Pinback,

A few more shots that may help with the details.

Are you planning to arm your model or configuring it as a trainer? 

Peter M

 

 

This one gives some good detail of that rear fuselage upper decking.

1d095f23-661e-496a-9a83-44860039e5f4.jpg

 

 

Prop, collector ring, oil cooler and undercarriage. Note that A5-12 had her oil cooler on the port sid of the fuselage, not under as on this late A/C.

001a1aad-df40-4bd3-943a-bc78816bb2b9.jpg

 

 

Tail skid and sliding door under fuselage.

088fc673-27a2-4f5f-87a3-6e76705814df.jpg

 

 

 

Anothe underside view. Once again sliding hatch, rails etc. Note offset to port. Also aileron and elevator cable runs.

156db277-d097-4e48-96e5-7ec7a70bf8e1.jpg

 

 

 

 

Top of wings. Aileron cables. Covered section over aileron. LE. Slats. Note that roundel is not painted over slats.

00518d21-b2b8-4a2d-aa9e-8c3ce080cb4f.jpg

 

 

 

And last, a nice shot of A5-34, with the lot, about to touch down. Nav lights on wings and rudder, message hook, LE slats extended. 

85fd3242-a4ea-4b07-b1aa-07462fc300ab.jpg

 

 

 

 

  • Like 7
  • Thanks 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
14 hours ago, Magpie22 said:

Hope I haven't muddied the waters too much!!

 

12 hours ago, Magpie22 said:

Are you planning to arm your model or configuring it as a trainer?

 

Hi Peter.  First of all a big thank you for your help with this, its really appreciated. I bow down in your general direction (which is roughly North West from here) and raise another VB ! :)

 

The photographs are wonderful! Rather than muddy the waters, they give some extremely helpful views of the main undercarriage, tail skid, top wing....where do I stop? I also did not realise that the front fuselage could buff up to be so shiny. The exhaust collector ring in the second shot of the second lot of photos is causing me to have a rethink on its finish.

 

When I started I was going to base A5-12 on how it looked in the first photo on the first set, thinking it to have been taken when it was a trainer at Point Cook. (wasn't sure if there was a blind flying training hood showing right behind the pilot?)

 

Anyway, for starters will now repaint the top decking a dark grey thanks to your advise:)

 

Pinback

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 3 weeks later...

Hi - More progress on the Wapiti.

  • the upper decking and struts were repainted (thanks for the advice @Magpie22),
  • a scratchbuilt tripod bracket added to the port side of the fuselage that will hold a wind driven generator 
  • the upper wing has been fitted

Upper wing fitting gives me the wobblies when looking at two bay biplanes.

 

Rigging biplanes? No problem. Two bay biplane wing fitting (alongside using yellow paint)? Spawn of Satan.

 

For starters I cut out some clear plastic to roughly the upper wing size. I then marked with a compass where the strut attachment points should be with it placed on the  underside of the upper wing and its edge aligned with the wing leading edge. The marks were then drilled through and highlighted with marker pen. My eyesight is not what it used to be🙄

 

spacer.png

 

I usually muck things up at this point. The struts have a top and a bottom. To prevent any faffing around at the gluing stage these were laid out with the right orientation.

 

spacer.png

 

The struts were glued to the lower wing and the clear plastic template used to align them. The clear plastic makes it fairly easy to do however the template was too cumbersome in one piece so was cut into two, one for each wing. I will deal with the fuselage cabane struts later.

 

spacer.png

 

Four struts can be adjusted with one hand and you know they will match the upper wing attachment points together. You just need to make sure the two wings align. The plan and your Mk 1 eyeball should ensure that... hopefully.

 

spacer.png

 

The glue was left to dry overnight...

 

spacer.png

 

The next day the upper wing went on with minimum fuss. I was a bit gobsmacked.

 

Other progress- I have started scratchbuilding the wind driven generator and oil cooler (on the peg). I have also marked a piece of wood so it forms a jig for the undercarriage. The little box lower right is for minute bits such as upperwing lights (attached to masking tape so they don't go flying when it gets opened).

 

spacer.png

 

I was originally aiming to finish this by Christmas but then thought I would aim for finishing before the three peregrine falcon chicks took flight. No chance. This shot was taken a couple of hours ago. All three are still alive (the third is asleep at the back). This ledge is over 30 stories up and they aren't in the least bit fazed.  They are nearly fully moulted so I think Christmas is the better date to aim for.🙂. Stay safe.

 

spacer.png

 

Pinback

 

 

 

 

 

  • Like 12
  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Excellent progress on this with the upper wing on . I will have to pilfer, I mean use that idea for some double bay biplanes I have in the stash.  I can't wait to see the rigging go in .

The chicks are growing quickly and look cute although slightly funny with their hairdoos,  amazing creatures.

Chris

  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

That Wapiti is looking good!

 

When I saw those falcons, I first thought they had frost on their heads and there was snow in the ledge.

 

Then I remembered that you're in Melbourne and are probably not that familiar with frost and what I thought was snow is bird poo.

 

 

 

 

Chris

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Fantastic looking build and a great subject.  I was very interested to see your clear upper wing template.  I had been planning to use the same method on a project I've been working on and its very encouraging to see that it works :)

 

You seem to have solved on of life's mysteries with the peregrine falcons too.  I didn't realise there were any living here in Melbourne's CBD, but one may have been responsible for an odd incident a couple of years ago.  I was walking up Queensbury St on a clear sunny day and up ahead saw something falling out of the sky from a great height.  It must have been 70-80 metres up when I first saw it and was coming down fast.  It hit the pavement of an otherwise deserted street not 30 metres away with a resounding "thok".  Upon inspection I found it was a pigeon.  Very much dead.  Do you think a bird of prey might have dropped it for some reason?  I've always wondered what on earth happened that day.  

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
On 11/8/2020 at 7:59 PM, bigbadbadge said:

The chicks are growing quickly and look cute although slightly funny with their hairdoos,  amazing creatures.

 

On 11/9/2020 at 6:37 AM, dogsbody said:

Then I remembered that you're in Melbourne and are probably not that familiar with frost and what I thought was snow is bird poo

 

13 hours ago, Putty Animal said:

Do you think a bird of prey might have dropped it for some reason?

 

Hi some screenshots taken a short time ago- I am surprised all three have survived so far.  The chicks are at the North end of the ledge and one of the parents is sunning it on the south end. I think they all will be gone shortly.

Yep @dogsbody its bird poo!

Hi @Putty Animal Quite possibly. If it was a bird of prey I suppose they may have just dropped it in error.  There is a You Tube shot of a pigeon laden peregrine here misjudging its landing and hitting the  side of the building. Pilot error! They have certainly got through a lot of pigeons

(There is progress on the Wapiti - cabane struts fitted last night - no picky though!)

 

 

spacer.png

 

spacer.png

 

  • Like 5
Link to post
Share on other sites

More progress on the Wapiti and peregrine falcons.

 

I have started rigging the Wapiti. There are various methods of rigging. This is the way I am comfortable with. For me rigging should should be a bit subtle in 1/72 so I use invisible thread. That's just me.

 

The holes were drilled at the very start of the build at the angles to which the thread meets the wing.  Now its time to make sure all the holes are clear and not gummed up with paint. There are over 50 holes to check. The black shoe box top on the right is used to lay the batches of invisible thread on prior to gluing. It means I can actually see them otherwise the threads are very hard to see. (I'm blind as a bat so every little helps :))

 

spacer.png

 

The threads were first superglued to the lower wing holes and then threaded through the corresponding upper wing holes.  Clothes pegs were used to add tension when the glue had dried and superglue was then applied to the corresponding upper wing hole. Capillary action took the glue through. I do the gluing from the underside to keep the more viewed topside as clean as possible.

 

Its not as huge a task as it looks. Superglue dries quickly. I glued in batched of four and once you get a rhythm up you soon get through it.

 

spacer.png

 

Here is how it looks now. The excess thread will be trimmed right back, the holes carefully filled and then a coat of paint applied. There is no excess glue showing topside. (and not much underside either!).

I have also attached the scratchbuilt wind driven generator. Rudder stripes have been painted so its nice to see a bit more colour:)

 

spacer.png

 

The peregrines flew early Friday morning. There are now five (mum and dad and three females) flying around in the vicinity of Collins Street right in the centre of Melbourne. The young will eventually drift away once they get confident at hunting for themselves. Watch out pigeons.

This is the last youngster having one last practice and then launching off for the first time.

 

spacer.png

 

Here we go! In my wings I trust! Yikes!

 

spacer.png

 

Stay safe

Pinback

 

 

  • Like 7
Link to post
Share on other sites

Great work,  looks great with the wing on and rigging done, I use the same method mostly .  

It is very strong once set .  

Good to see the Peregrine family and god to see all the chicks survived and on the wing.

Chris

  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Lovely rigging the PB, that method makes it look quite easyish & is similar to something I have book marked to try one day. Nice to see the Falcons on their way, it is easy to see the fascination they have had for people over the centuries.

Steve.

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 1 month later...

Hi  - Well I actually sort of completed it before Xmas. I wanted to add a little more rigging to the front and control lines to the tail but that may be a step too far at the present time.

 

Thank you everyone for your support - its really appreciated. Special thanks to @Ed Russell of Red Roo Models who donated the markings (I will use the Scarff ring!)  and @Magpie22 for the advice and photos. I will post shortly on the RFI.

 

The undercarriage took a bit of time - the jig was definitely needed.

 

spacer.png

 

This is how she turned out.

 

spacer.png

 

...and now, to keep my mojo going, I need to do something completely different...

 

spacer.png

 

  • Like 11
Link to post
Share on other sites

Bravo!  
 

I live in Salisbury, whose cathedral has had a pair of Peregrines breed high on the spire for about 10 years now.  They are amazing, mesmerising creatures - though some of the more delicate elderly matrons that life in the cathedral close are unenthusiastic about the butchered pigeon remains that drop from the sky at certain times of year!

  • Thanks 1
  • Haha 3
Link to post
Share on other sites

Ob boy that is lovely,  what a great thread and you will have had us all going to our stash and getting the Frog/Novo Wallace kit out through this build.  Your model looks fantastic.  Great work and thank you for sharing this and the Peregrines too.

All the best

Chris

 

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

I’m in Wexford and had a Peregrine fly into my garden during the summer, needless to say scattered all the small birds from our two bird tables. A beautiful and rare sight.

 

The Wapiti looks great btw.

  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Model looks great! 🙂  I'm rigging a 1/48 D.H.9, (RAAF of course), at the moment. Those control cables to rudder and elevator are a pain, not to mention the aileron cables that run along the LE of each mainplane. I'm too hamfisted and blind to even attempt it in 1/72. 😧

 

I'm lucky here. Often, early in the morning, I see falcons circling above a nearby lake. Sometimes, even the odd sea eagle. I've been down there more than a few times to watch them catching the fish. Pure poetry in motion, they way they can manoeuvre, hover, and control their dive pullout so that they just skim the surface of the water and grab their prey in their talons. Then I think about our clumsy human endeavours at flight. 

 

Kepp up the modelling, let us know when your falcons finalyy leave the nest, and, most of all, stay safe,

 

Peter M

Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, Magpie22 said:

 

Kepp up the modelling, let us know when your falcons finalyy leave the nest, and, most of all, stay safe

  

Thanks Peter for your posts . They were  a huge help. I hope the DH9 comes out well . The falcons have flown. Might have to do another WIP next year when the nest is re occupied:)

 

23 hours ago, bigbadbadge said:

Great work and thank you for sharing this and the Peregrines too

 Thanks for your support Chris! :)

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 3 months later...
On 10/3/2020 at 3:29 AM, Pinback said:

Modellers have been converting the Frog/Novo Wallace into Wapitis for over fifty years. I’d  been contemplating starting my attempt for what seemed nearly as long.  The danger I faced was that I would have carked it before I’d even glued part 4 (port fuselage) to part 5 (starboard fuselage) and started the sawing, cursing, drilling, cursing, sanding and more cursing. (I love this hobby).


Then I came across an article from the May 1966 edition of Meccano Magazine by Doug McHard detailing his conversion. (Other features for that month included an electronic metronome and plans for a schooner.) Doug's piece gave me the impetus to carry on with this tradition before the anticipated Dora release makes this perhaps a bit of a needless exercise. So thank you Doug for giving me the push I needed. (and thank you @Ed Russell of Red Roo Models for your welcome suggestions)


I never met Doug McHard who was, by all accounts, a popular man. He was involved with Model Aircraft Magazine and Meccano Magazine back in the 50s and 60’s. In the late 70’s he set up Somerville Models making high quality die cast model cars. Sort of upmarket Dinky and well sought after.  His primary interest however was always model aircraft, both flying and static. He was a major figure with the RAF Model Aircraft Association for decades. He died at a competition being held at RAF Honington in 2002 aged 73.

 

Not a name I was familiar with, but a belated thank-you to the late Doug McHard.  I recall reading that article in the library of my junior school (I would have been about 8-9) and it, together with similar MM articles like building a Mistel from the FROG Ju 88 and Bf 109, opened my eyes to the wonderful world of kit conversions.  My parents and girlfriends might take/have taken a different view. 

 

PS I see he had quality support from JWR Taylor with the historical blurb and Ian Stair with the drawings.

PPS Is this the first attested literary reference to the use of monofilament thread for rigging biplanes?

  • Like 4
Link to post
Share on other sites

The reference to monofilament thread for rigging sent me back into my files.  I have found Alan W Hall's June 1965 Airfix Magazine article "A Change of Hart" in which he converts the Airfix Hart into a Hector.  It contains the single line "Add bracing wires made from fine nylon thread."  Maybe he meant the same thing?  He seems to have been on the same path and it stopped me raiding Mum's sewing cabinet for black cotton.  

 

The Hall articles were aimed at beginners - ie, me - and were also very useful in nudging my thinking in the right direction.

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...