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The Peter Buckingham Column Part 33




I mentioned last week about the very enjoyable Southern Expo model show my club (Medway Modellers) had attended. There were some wonderful models on display from all over the UK and when you see the expertise some of these guys impart onto their models it makes the heading of my weekly column seem almost unattainable. I am terrible on people's names, but there was a Dutch modeller who had a number of models I just drooled over, and I wasn't that surprised when he received First Prize for his superb Wingnut Wings LVG C.VI - the one with the lozenge camouflage. A very worthy winner.


Those of you who have been following my escapades with the Wingnut Wings Sopwith Pup will know of my worries about the rigging. Wingnut Wings leave this up to the builder to use what ever he is happy with, but with their expertise in the model kit making business, I would have thought that a dedicated rigging system could have been produced to fit the bill. I know that I am not the only one with reservations on this subject. I did ask the worthy winner about his rigging and he had used Lycra thread which looked very good to me and very neatly adapted to the wings and fuselage fixing points. He was fortunate though not to have the dreaded 'double' wire rigging that the Sopwith Pup and the SE.5a have, because this causes some extra problems with alignment and correct gaps.


Not wishing to bore the pants off you dear readers, but I have been giving this problem a great deal of thought over numerous cups of 'thinking' tea! There are excellent PE kits of rigging wires from Radu Brinzan (which I have) and there is also a Rigging Wire Stretchers and Brackets set from Eduard (which I have). Both these excellent 'kits' produce attachment pieces to which the PE scale size wires are superglued to. This is fine if the aircraft you are modelling has these fairly lengthy and variously patterned attachments. The Sopwith Pup doesn't. The flying wires of the Pup do have adjusters (almost the same size as the wires) where they disappear into the airframe but nothing like the samples that Radu and Eduard have produced. I even thought about cutting their PE attachments down to a more scale like size but, in my view, they still wouldn't look 'right'.


I know that this model is not a 'true' scale model in the strictest sense of the term - it would take a model engineer to produce that, and I am not one by a long chalk - it is 'merely' a representation of the original, but one that should at least look the part. By the way, some time back, I purchased a wonderful book from Amazon called, "The Master Scratch Builders" by John Alcorn, and it is well worth the investment because it contains some very useful information on scratch building by the experts in their field and these guys ARE truly model engineers. There is a very interesting chapter on the author's scratchbuilt DH9a in which he decribes the rigging process with pictures and diagrams over eight(!) pages. He took something like 348 hours to complete the rigging to his exacting standards and it was only at the third complete re-rigging was he satisfied. Now this is a true scale model and nothing like the attempt I am doing, but the problems are the similar.


I was talking to another guy at the Southern Expo who had used PE flying wires on a Supermarine S6 and his model has experienced wire sagging and bowing due to different atmospheric conditions. Indeed, while at the show I noticed that one wire had bowed alarmingly.


However, I have been experimenting with the Radu PE wires and attachments together with Eduard's offerings plus a 'home made' system I am seriously considering. These experiments were carried out on the spare top wing from the Wingnut Wings kit. As I have said before, I am not going to rush into my final decision. The Pup is now finished in every department (including the decalling) apart from gluing the top wing onto it's struts and, of course, the rigging. The reason I did the decaling was to avoid extra handling of the model after the rigging (yawn!) - hopefully before the 2012 Olympics have taken place. I jest.



So just to recap, I am going away from the idea of using PE wires and attachments as I believe the attachments are not the type used on the Pup and would look incorrect. PE wires can also bow in varying atmospheres. Lycra thread is a possibility, but there will be a problem of attachment under tension where the 'wires' disappear into the airframe. I have mentioned of late the wire and tube products of Albion Alloys, and I am a fan. At this moment in time (I hate that saying) my preferred system is one I have thought out using Albion Alloys products.They do 0.2 nickel wire and something they call 'turnbuckles' but which are actually machined lengths of 0.4 micro tube with an internal diameter of 0.2 with a very handy length of 3mm which are a perfect slide fit onto the 0.2 rod - minute, but 'tailor made'.




I have 'road tested' my idea on a piece of rigging on the spare wing and it looks and works OK. I will try and describe my system - you will be asked questions later.


Bearing in mind that once the top wing has been glued to the struts, ease of attachment for the rigging wires is paramount as there will be very little room for manoevre. Plan 'A' at the moment is supergluing small lengths ( length not yet defined) of 0.2 rod into all of the rigging reception holes on both wings at roughly the correct angle of the rigging wires. This is not too critical as the wires can be easily adjusted to angle by bending. Next, using a set of dividers, measure the full distance between the reception point holes. Reduce that distance by 3mm and cut a length of 0.2 rod to this length. Then, superglue a turnbuckle (which is 3mm in length) 1.5mm along each end of the rod thereby leaving a 1.5mm free length inside each turnbuckle to fit onto the reception wires. This completed flying wire assembly can then (hopefully) be slid onto each reception wire with enough 'play' for adjustment. There are dangers with this system such as mis-handling the wire by bending or kinking it, but it is adaptable for length by trimming the fixed reception wires for tension. Trying to find the hole in the turnbuckle tube will not be easy but certainly achievable in very good light.




There is another version of the foregoing which is virtually identical except that the long length of 0.2 rod is replaced by Lycra thread. I mentioned last week that I had bought a spool of E Z Line from the Little Cars stand at the Show and this actually threads through the turnbuckle tubes quite nicely. I also mentioned last week that the line was round in shape - on closer inspection it isn't. It is flat like ordinary Lycra thread but it is black. So this is also a possibility.


So, there we have it. The thoughts of a 'saddo' on the problems of WWI bi-plane rigging. Meanwhile the little Honda 50 'racing' motorcycle kit I bought for £5 at the Show is coming along nicely with the all the parts now painted and awaiting assembly. I don't think I showed a picture last week of the finished wheels complete with their tyres.




I will carry on with this little job while I make my final decisions on the rigging - over more cups of tea of course. What was that old saying? "I used to be indecisive, but now I'm not so sure"! There is also another saying about the best laid plans....................


More next week - I feel another cup of tea coming on!


Peter Buckingham