|What's New on the Building Board|
October 30th, 2017
Here's the XP-40Q in its 1947 Thompson Trophy racer scheme. Very pretty - working on preliminary construction drawings now. There's also an O.D. military scheme with a sharks mouth on the nose that I'm contemplating.
October 23rd, 2017
Starting preliminary construction drawings for what was arguably one of the prettiest fighters of WWII, the Curtiss XP-40Q. I'll be doing it in both military and 1947 Thompson Trophy race schemes.
May 28th, 2017
Finishing up preliminary scale and construction drawings for a Kellner-Bechereau 28 VD 1933 Coupe Deutsche racer. LOTS of wing area, and a skinny fuselage to keep the aft end light. Iiiiieeee LIKE it.
May 13th, 2017
Finishing up a preliminary scale drawing for the Pacific Standard C-1 racer, soon to be a No-Cal plan. LOTS of wing area on this one, and a very simple structure. Looking forward to it.
March 25th, 2017
Hmmm . . .
I wonder if this will fly . . .
October 17th, 2016
The tentative plan to order up some black Esaki for an FK55 flight test No-Cal in the markings shown in the last post has come to an abrupt halt, because while I was searching for a tiny lost nose landing gear leg for a 1/200 scale F-117 model, I stumbled across this in an old box ---->
It's 'DEEP BLACK' fabric dye, and if it can indeed turn white Esaki 'DEEP BLACK', the all-black FK-55 No-Cal is ON.
Concurrent with the Westland Whirlwind No-Cal, of course.
October 8th, 2016
The flight test FK-55 had several color schemes during its short life, ranging from an all-silver roll-out scheme seen in pictures of engine run-ups, to a dark fuselage with a white prototype 'P' on the fuselage, to a late scheme with dark upper surfaces and light undersurfaces (in one reference, O.D. on top, and light blue on the bottom). However, there was a much more interesting scheme that appeared on the official FK-55 display model that was exhibited at the 1936 Paris Air Salon - all-black with dutch insignia. This is a picture of the very model that was displayed at the 1936 Paris Air Salon.
Here's my version of that model's scheme. Note the difference in the canopy ouline and shape between the black model of the FK-55 above, and the all-silver version in the last post. I think I might just have to order myself a couple sheets of black Esaki tissue!
October 8th, 2016
The Koolhoven FK-55 flight-test version (not the 1936 Paris Air Salon prototype) joins my No-Cal build list. This aircraft was intended to have retractable gear, but for test flying, it had fixed gear. The FK-55 flight-test aircraft flew once before the aircraft was shelved.
October 6th, 2016
Blackburn Skua L2925 flown by Lt. William Lucy. Lt. Lucy was the Fleet Air Arms first ACE, with seven victories (with a Skua!), and the Distinguished Service Order for leading his Skua squadron in the sinking of the Konigsberg. Lt. Lucy was killed in a battle with an He-111 in May 1940. His achievements flying the Skua are a tribute to the character of British pilots that had to go into battle using obsolete aircraft.
October 2nd, 2016
The Blackburn Skua joins the No-Cal building queue. I've been wanting to do a Skua for a long time, and finally got a great reference for it. Here it is in target tow markings. Also coming is the color scheme for Lt. Lucy, who became the Fleet Air Arm's first ACE flying Skua L2925.
August 18th, 2016
May 2nd, 2016
Luscombe Model 10 No-Cal Final Assembly.
Now that all the parts are covered, we can start the final assembly of this little cutie. The first step is either installing the stabilizer, or attaching the motor tube to the fuselage. If the stabilizer shape allows you to simply slide it into the stab slot, then I attach the motor tube first. If the stabilizer shape requires special attention, I install the stab first. The outer chord of the stabilizer on the Luscombe Model 10 is too big to allow it to simply slide into the stabilizer slot, so we'll install the stabilizer first.
First cut the rudder off the covered fuselage by cutting betweeen the two vertical rudder posts - you'll end up with two parts that look like this . . .
. . . then slide the stabilizer into the stab slot. Glue the rudder back on, trapping the stab in the slot, but DO NOT glue the stab in place yet.
When the glue is dry, place the fuselage on a flat surface with the stabilizer hanging over the edge. Place the motor tube (or motor stick as the case may be) in the proper location on the fuselage, and make a small mark above and below the motor tube on each upright. Apply glue to each upright between the marks, align the motor tube between the marks, and set into the glue. Use small weights to hold the motor tube flat on the fuselage until it dries, as shown here . . .
When the motor tube/fuselage assembly is dry, the stabilizer can be fixed in place. For this model, only the leading edge of the stabilizer is permanently glued. The rear is left free so that the stabilizer incidence can be adjusted for glide-testing. Prop the fuselage up vertically by placing identical objects with vertical sides on each side of the fuselage. I have used bottles, cans, jars, pieces of square-cut wood or metal - anything that you have two of which are identical so that the fuselage is perfectly vertical.
Slide the front center point of the stabilizer out of the slot, apply a dab of glue, and slide it back in, making sure that the stabilizer centerline is aligned with the fuselage centerline. Prop both sides of the stabilizer up with identical blocks so the stabilizer is held perpendicular to the fuselage while the glue dries. If you use C/A, make sure the rear of the stabilizer is in the middle of the slot at the back so that the C/A does not wick along the top or bottom of the stabilizer and glue it to top or bottom pieces of the slot.
Time to attach the wing. Press the wing into the wing slot, and prop up the fuselage vertically with your favorite items. I used four identical thinner cans this time. With the fuselage straight, carefully tilt the wing until two identical objects placed under the tips give the wing identical dihedral on both sides. When everything is perfectly aligned, I use C/A along the wing root to fix the wing in place. It dries quickly, and won't warp this critical joint like some other adhesives. Here's a top view of the wing being attached to the fuselage.
When the wing is dry, glue the piece of the bottom of the fuselage that fits under the wing root in place, and the wing installation is complete.
Now we're ready for the last step, glueing the landing gear in place.
From the diagram you can see that the front and rear uprights of the landing gear create a saddle for the piece of 1/16" sq. balsa strip glued to the landing gear wing rib.
This gives positive alignment both fore and aft on the wing and in the side view.
Before glueing the landing gear to the wing ribs, I set up vertically-sided aluminum blocks and small drafting triangles to keep the landing gear straight while the glue dried.
I used Testor's wood glue (green tube) to avoid getting C/A on the wing tissue and to give me time to properly align the landing gear before the glue dried.
Once the glue is dry, we're done! What a spiffy little sport plane!
April 21st, 2016
Covering the Luscombe Model 10 No-Cal.
Since I don't have enough hands to both cover the model and take pictures at the same, a simple overview of the covering process will have to suffice. Since the tissue has already been decorated, it's now just a matter of adhering the tissue to the structure. Here's the steps I take when covering:
1) Apply adhesive to the structure.
When I first started building No-Cals, I used butyrate dope and thinner for an adhesive. Then a newsletter suggested using a glue-stick, which I tried once. I immediately switched to a glue pen, the liquid from the pen being much easier to spread than the sticky glue from a glue stick. Then I learned the trick of using spray adhesive, and I have been using it ever since.
Here's how I do it:
1) Spread newspaper out on the floor (use LOTS of newspaper - you don't want adhesive overspray on your floor).
2) Lay the piece of structure on the newspaper. If it is a particularly light-weight piece of structure, use a very small piece of adhesive tape to hold it in place.
3) Shake the can of adhesive well, and spray a LIGHT even coat of adhesive on the structure.
4) Move the piece of structure onto a clean piece of paper on the ironing board, close to where you do the ironing.
5) Turn the piece of decorated tissue upside down and iron flat. Note the location of any alignment marks on the tissue, and using those alignment marks,
6) Press the structure onto the upside-down piece of tissue. Your structure is now covered. At this point, I move the structure to a harder flat surface and press again to make sure the tissue is adhered to all parts of the structure.
BUT! You say . . . What about the wing? It's not flat! I can't press it down flat!
True enough. Not only is it not flat (the dihedral has already been set), but it also has a curved upper surface, which makes things even more interesting.
Here's how I handle it.
a) First, trim the decorated wing tissue parallel with the root rib centerline so that there will be about 1/8 inch overlap of the root rib. This will help minimize tissue wrinkling at the leading and trailing edges of the root rib. If you like, small diagonal cuts can be made in the tissue at the root rib centerline to further minimize tissue wrinkling.
b) Now place the wing structure on the newspaper, and
c) Tape a piece of newspaper over one of the wing halves so that only one half is exposed to the spray adhesive.
d) Apply spray adhesive to the exposed half, and then
e) Move the wing to the ironing board and place on a piece of clean paper, so as not to get adhesive on the ironing board fabric.
f) Place the decorated wing tissue UPSIDE DOWN on the ironing board.
g) Iron the tissue flat again.
h) Align the tissue with the root rib center line aligned with a straight side of the ironing board like this . . .
i) Iron the tissue flat again.
j) Turn the wing structure upside down and line the wing leading edge up with the leading edge alignment marks on the tissue, press the leading edge into place, and then gently roll the wing onto the tissue, pushing down lightly on the inside of the ribs as you roll it.
k) Turn the structure over, and gently press the tissue down on the leading and trailing edges to assure a good bond. Run the wingtip between a finger and thumb to do the same. Do likewise with the root rib and each wing rib, and then set it aside to dry.
l) When dry, trim the excess tissue with a razor blade, and you're done!
Here's a shot of all the covered parts ready for assembly . . .
Next up: Assembling the parts.
March 8th, 2016
The Luscombe Model 10 No-Cal build continues with . . .
7) Decorating the tissue.
Using the stabilizer as an example, iron the stab tissue flat again, and using small pieces of tape, tape the ironed-flat piece of tissue over the plan drawing so the markings and panel lines can be traced onto the tissue. The silver paint will be so thin, you'll be able to see right through it to trace the markings.
At this point, you will quickly discover just how effective the iron is at shrinking the tissue. If you tape the tissue down directly after ironing it, within less than a minute or two, the tissue will be loose. That is because the tissue has absorbed enough moisture right out of the air to expand. Ignore this looseness as best you can, being carefull not to tear the tissue as you apply the markings. The looseness will make the markings less precise, but when it is applied to the structure, nobody will ever notice.
8) Time to apply the markings. I use straight edges and drafting triangles to keep the lines straight. Here I've shown the markings applied to the stabilizer tissue. To allow for some placement error, always extend any line that goes to the edge of the structure well past the edge of the structure so that when the tissue is trimmed, the marking line won't stop before it reaches the edge of the structure.
Don't Forget to add alignment reference markings so that the tissue can be properly aligned with the structure when covering!
In this picture, I've circled the alignment marks in red. They represent the front of the leading edge of the stabilizer. I also add a centerline in the middle of the stabilizer (it will be hidden by the fuselage structure after assembly).
I usually color in solid markings on a model after I've covered the parts, but the red trim lines on the fuselage would be much easier to apply and fill in before covering the structure. After spraying the tissue, I pulled the Tamiya Yellow (masking) tape off, ironed the tissue again, and taped it down onto the drafting board so I could get the red trim lines as straight as possible. Using a straight edge and a red fine-tip felt pen, the red trim was carefully applied. Here's the result . . .
Panel lines and control surfaces were added to the rest of the pieces of tissue in the same manner as the stabilizer and fuselage - iron the silver-painted tissue, tape it over the plan, and trace the panel lines and markings onto the tissue, including the 'N' numbers on the wing and tail, and the tiny 'EXPERIMENTAL' on the fuselage under the canopy (not yet added when this picture was taken).
Next up: Covering the structure.
March 5th, 2016
My Luscombe Model 10 No-Cal project continues with . . .
6) Coloring the tissue
Unless you've got some of that very old and ultra-rare silver Japanese tissue (and no, I don't mean white tissue that's been painted silver on one side, I mean actual SILVER-dyed Japanese tissue), representing a polished aluminum color scheme is neither easy nor light weight. The easiest and lightest-weight approach is to just cover the model with white Japanese tissue and pretend it's silver. Other methods include dying the tissue, or painting it. I've done both.
A long time ago, I air-brushed a No-Cal Bell XFL-1 Airabonita with heavily-thinned silver paint, which resulted in a very gratifying shiny metallic translucent finish that was actually a good representation of polished aluminum that didn't add too much weight. This is the approach I decided to take on my Luscombe Model 10 No-Cal.
A quick check of my paint stocks however, revealed that sadly, the bottle of paint I had used, my treasured bottle of FLOQUIL #110101 BRIGHT SILVER (on right side of picture), was all dried up. Worse, I found it was no longer even being made. With the knowledgable assistance of Emil, the proprietor of SKYWAY Hobby shop, I decided to try MODEL MASTER SILVER CHROME TRIM (left side of picture) as a replacement.
As a test, I thinned it about 5 to 6 parts thinner to one part paint, and air-brushed a VERY light, even coating on a piece of ironed tissue and let it dry.
This produced a very satisfactory translucent metallic color, but a test coloring with the red felt-tip pens showed that they didn't work well over the silver paint. The red color was rather flat, and the paint rubbed onto the pen's tip, diminishing it's effectiveness. I would need to mask the tissue off to keep the silver paint off the areas where the red felt-tip pens would be used. This involved masking off parts of the fuselage, tail, and wheel pants with a tape that would not tear the tissue.
I tried the relatively low-tack Tamiya Yellow Tape, but while it works fantastically on plastic models, it didn't do quite as well as I'd hoped, pulling a small amount of the fibers off the top of the tissue when I was finished. This was not enough to affect the tissue while covering or decorating, but I would recommend leaving it on only long enough to do the painting, and then immediately removing it. Another option is to use Friskit Paper, which is a low-tack masking material. I'll try that next time.
To mask off the tissue where the red coloring would be, I stuck a piece of Tamiya Yellow Tape to a clean hard surface, cut out paper patterns of the markings from the plan, traced them onto the tape, and cut them out. Here are the two nose designs cut from the tape. ------>
The next step was to trace the locations of the fuselage markings onto the tissue. A piece of tissue was ironed flat, taped down over the fuselage plan, and the marking outlines traced in the appropriate color ink. In this case, all the red trim designs were outlined in red, and the canopy outline was outlined in black, like this . . .
Until quite recently, I used Koh-i-noor drafting pens and india ink to apply my markings. Now there are a variety of fine-tip felt pens in many different widths that make the task easier for those without a drawer full of drafting implements. Here are the pens I used on this project. ----->
Tape masks for the canopy, nose scallops, nose logo, fuselage stripes, tail stripes, wheel pant stripes, and logos, have been applied to the tissue . . .|
With the fuselage and wheel pants tissue masked off, all the tissue pieces are ready for painting.
The silver paint was thinned so that it produced a barely visible silver sheen on the tissue. I didn't measure it, but I believe it was about 5 to 6 parts thinner to one part paint. The thinner evaporates while air-brushing, and this produces a very nice even metallic effect, very like polished aluminum, while still leaving the tissue translucent enough to trace the markings onto it, and not adding too much weight.
Next post: applying the rest of the markings, and covering the structure.