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The Peter Buckingham Column Part 34





(On the blocks at the moment: Wingnut Wings Sopwith Pup and Aoshima Honda 50cc Motorcycle)


If you wish to catch up with the motorcycle build, last weeks Column detailed the wheel modifications - cutting all the plastic spokes away from the 'nipples' (steady lads!) on the rims and from the hubs. These were replaced with more scale like 0.2 nickel rod from those very nice people at Albion Alloys. I love their wire and tube products in sizes that are very relevant to model applications.



My main concern about re-building the wheels was that I may have 'dished' the hubs out of alignment but I felt there was enough 'give' in the assemblies for the axles to self align the wheels in the front and rear fork/frame attachment points.


It was time for some organising of parts into paint spraying assemblies. The engine would be done in a couple of shades of Alclad to provide a bit of colour contrast and the mudguards, petrol tank and side cover panels were also earmarked for the Alclad experience.


You might be asking yourself what this bloke is doing! He has a beautiful Wingnut Wings Sopwith Pup (RNAS version) kit on the go and he takes time out to build a motorcycle. Well, the reason is quite simple - I was in a wing rigging dilemma and I needed time to really think out the problems and come up with a workable solution. This was rather a special build in that it is the first WWI aircraft I have attempted and I obviously wanted to get it right. I knew that I was not alone in this dilemma because I had been speaking to modellers at the Southern Expo on this very subject, one of whom was doing a build review for one of the magazines and he too was undedcided what to do.


Anyway, back to the motorcycle. After using Alclad White Aluminium on the 'cycle parts' (tank, mudguards, panels and the top half of the front forks) I turned my attention to the engine and gear box assemblies. I used the same Alcad on the cylinder and head, but used a mix a Magnesium and White Aluminium for the remaining cases which showed a subtle difference in tone. While the White Aluminium was in the airbrush I gave the hubs a quick blast to tidy up some of the spoke work in that area. The frame and the bottom half of the front forks were in bright red so I used Tamiya Flat Red and when dry oversprayed with Tamiya Clear Red which is a gloss finish and gave a pleasing result.


The turn indicator lenses and rear light lens are in clear plastic but the addition of Tamiya Clear Orange and Clear Red worked wonders and the results are very realistic. The exhaust pipe and silencer are moulded as one piece and I sprayed this with Tamiya Nato Black which I think is a more realistic 'scale' black and, when dry, one brushed coat of 'Klear' overall produced a very subtle semi matt appearance and just right in my view.


With a motorcycle, everything has to be painted before assembly which is totally opposite to basic aircraft construction and, once painted, the items have to be handled very carefully to protect their finish. Careful alignment during assembly is the order of the day, especially when fitting the engine into one half of the frame and then making sure all is well before supergluing the frame halves together. I recommend at least a 24 hour curing time before attacking the assembly again (ask me how I know!).




The little Honda came together very nicely and my fears about wheel alignment were unfounded and when the axles (in fact they are two screws) were fitted they pulled the whole package together very nicely. Vinyl tubing is supplied in the kit to replicate cables, but I did add one more piece of 0.2 rod as the piece of clutch cable that emerges from the engine end of the cable into the gear box. It is not shown on the kit and, as a motorcyclist of many years, this was a glaring omission. Just a small thing, but something that I thought was required. The instructions give exact vinyl tubing lengths required for each application and these are very accurate.


One bonus is that most owners of these types of motorcycles keep them in absolutely mint condition so little or no weathering is required, although I did drop a black wash around the cylinder fins to give a sense of depth. This little Aoshima kit is a real gem, and if you can find one as I did from a fellow clubman at the Southern Expo, I would certainly recommend it.




While all this motorcycle building was going on over a week or so, I was still giving much thought to the rigging of the Pup. It isn't just the wings of course that require rigging, it is also the tailplane and equally importantly, in the case of the Pup, the undercarriage.


You will notice that the heading of this column has a sub heading 'With a sting in the tail'. Oh Yes! A calamity occurred. Some might say it was a Senior moment. Some might say it was pure stupidity (it was probably a mixture of both) but what I called it is unprintable. Suffice to say, the air was so blue in my workroom that the cat disappeared like a bullet through the cat flap and my wife hasn't spoken to me for days!


If you look at my build of this model in previous Columns, you will see that it comes together in modules. The kit is so good that everything comes together very nicely indeed. The undercarriage assembly is such a module, consisting of the 'V' frames, the sprung axle and it's fairing and of course, the wheels. I was particularly pleased with the way it had turned out, especially the finish on the wheels and tyres.


"Undercarriage - before disaster"


The only thing required was to fit the module to the fuselage and do the rigging of the undercarriage. My model workroom is a spare bedroom and is carpeted. I had the fuselage, wings and the undercarriage module on the bench. The scene is set.


I sit on an office chair with rollers which makes for ease of movement from the bench. Perhaps you are beginning to imagine what happened? Unknown to me, the undercarriage assembly fell silently onto the carpet, and yes, I pushed my chair back to get something and my office chair complete with the weight of said idiot, roller wheeled the module into a flattened oblivion!


I immediately e-mailed the good people at Wingnut Wings in New Zealand, told them of my plight and I felt sure I could here some sniggers coming all the way from NZ! They arranged for some spare parts to be sent ASAP. However, with the Icelandic volcano problems and the ban on flights, when the parts will get here is anyone's guess.


It was only last week, reading a Forum on the Britmodeller website, that I was laughing at the antics of a modeller having a bad day 'at the office' with a list of calamities that make mine pale into insignificance. The 'piéce de resistance' of this poor chap was accidentally knocking his scalpel off the bench and as an immediate reaction (and we have all done it!) closed his thighs and knees in an effort to catch the thing. His bad day ended with the scalpel embedded to the 'hilt' in his calf. The joys of modelling.


More next week.


Peter Buckingham