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The Peter Buckingham Column Part 36

IN PURSUIT OF PERFECTION - A PLEASANT SURPRISE!

 

 

I was slowly getting over my modelling disaster of Titanic proportions (writing off the Wingnut Wings Sopwith Pup undercarriage module with my office chair - see Column 34 and 35) by busying myself with a full resin kit in 1/32 of Paul Fisher's Sea Fury T20 trainer. This was slowly coming together with quite a bit of adjustment necesssary to make the wing, fuselage, engine cowl fit and align satisfactorily. You will see from last week's column that the +/- 2mm gap had been filled and alignment was now correct.

 

 

In the meantime, I had received the spare parts from Wingnut Wings in New Zealand to make a replacement undercarriage for the Pup. Considering all the problems with flights into this Country because of the Icelandic Volcano, they had arrived pretty quickly. The Sopwith Pup is my first effort at a fully rigged bi-plane and I had been using the excellent Albion Alloys 0.2 nickel rod with a slide fit into their 'turnbuckles' which are 0.2 ID x 3mm tube. I made up the required sets of flying and landing wires and, in principle, the system should have worked OK, and it did............in a way.

 

 

What I hadn't realised was that even with the top wing firmly glued onto the cabane and wing struts, there is, in scale terms, an enormous amount of flexing even in very gentle handling of the model, such as just lifting it from the bench.

 

 

Because of that, my system that should have been perfect, wasn't. I'm glad that I wasn't alone in this. I mentioned a couple of Columns ago about that wonderful book, 'The Master Scratch Builders' by John Alcorn, in which he describes the problems he had rigging his 1/24 scale DH9A. His first effort was thought to be OK and after a gentle ride in the car with the model suitably 'comforted', when he arrived at his destination, the rigging was a mess mainly due to the flexing. John's model, of course, was 'as near as dammit' a very true to scale model. It took him three complete rigging attempts to get the problems sorted.

 

 

I realise that my model is not in that league and, as such, is just a fair representation of the original viewed from a respectable distance. The rigging didn't look too bad, but it didn't have the required 'tautness' in the wires at all times. Port wing correct, starboard wing not.................Starboard wing correct, port wing not!! After a considerable amount of thought, there was nothing for it but to carefully snip the rigging off just above the turnbuckles, and replace this with Lycra EZ Line I had purchased at the Southern Expo from the Little Cars stand. This thread stretches 700%, is black, and was attached with superglue to the small pieces of 0.2 wire I had left protruding from the turnbuckles. This was the only way I could see of overcoming the flexing problem. There will be modellers out there reading this probably 'tut-tutting' at my antics, but this is my part of the bi-plane rigging learning curve. I will know how to improve on this when I build the Wingnut Wings SE5A.

 

 

Once this was done, it was then a case of fitting the ailerons with their respective controls, the tailplane rigging, the Lewis gun mounting and the rudder. What I did with the rudder is what I wish I had done to the four ailerons. Because of just three very small gluing points, I decided, for security to drill the rudder and the rudder post very carefully with my smallest micro drill and I superglued three small lengths of Albion Alloys 0.2 nickel rod to the rudder allow a much stronger attachment. All of these finishing operations went relatively smoothly. One other thing I have learned from this build is that it fast forwards handling a model such as the Pup into the Premiership of handling leagues. One has to literally think, and then think again, before moving the model from one position to another. I brought into play various polystyrene packing jigs with strategically placed cocktail sticks during the course of this project more so than on any other build so far.

 

 

Unfortunately, what was turning out to be my most satisfying finish on a model to date, had now had the 'icing' removed from the cake, so to speak. In the end, the rigging of the Pup turned into one big compromise - Lycra thread for the main rigging (with Albion Alloys turnbuckles and a smidge of 0.2 nickel rod), Lycra tailplane and rudder control wires, Radu Brinzan 2BA scale PE rigging for the tail plane, inter-wing aileron joiners and wing/cabane/undercarriage strut cross bracing with Albion Alloys 0.2 rod for the aileron controls. It looks OK, but it is not as neat a finish as I would have hoped. I have learnt a great deal from this build and I guess that this is really what it is all about. Bring on the SE5A! or perhaps the Fokker D7! later this year! There is an old saying that there are many ways to skin a rabbit and with model rigging of bi-planes, this appears to be the case. Whatever floats your boat.

 

 

I gave the whole airframe my usual sprayed matting coat of Gunze Matt Klear diluted 50/50 with water - works for me! The only things that need to be done now are toning down the shine on the propeller and applying a small amount of wash weathering on the cowl and the aileron joints.

 

 

In between sessions on the Pup, I was in email conversation with the very helpful Thomas Genth in Germany who has a wonderful website which includes a virtual 'history' of the German Sea Fury T20's during the 70's with some excellent full colour reference photographs - just type 'Zieldarsteller' into Google and that takes you straight into the T20 pages. As I mentioned last week, I had decided to build the German version of the T20 as it was very different to the RNAS Sea Furies. The Deutsche Luftfahrt Beratungdeinst (DLB) had purchased 18 T20's and converted all but one into tug aircraft which had a Swiss made propeller (air driven) winch fitted on the starboard side of the fuselage. Basic parts for the winch are supplied by Paul Fisher for this version, although other towing 'accessories' would have to be scratch built and I was enthused by this concept.

 

 

Thomas was very helpful in sending me some enlargements of the towing gear underneath the fuselage of D-CAMI which is the aircraft featured in Paul Fisher's kit - it can't get much better than that. One thing I did spot was the winch on D-CAMI was in a slightly different location to those very detailed measurements (to drill a locating hole) in Paul's instructions. So I filled the hole I had previously made, and drilled another to suit my model. I also noticed that there were two more holes to be drilled on the same fuselage side - one was an emergency 'break glass' hole for the canopy release handle with a German language stencil, and another was a similar sized hole for a tube vent. Unfortunately Paul does not supply the stencil in German on the decal so I will have to get one made.

 

 

Everyone likes a happy ending! If you noticed the sub-heading this week, you will see that it says, 'A Pleasant Surprise'. Those of you who haven't been with my column or Graham's Relish Models site for long, may not realise that what started off as just 9 'articles' to illustrate the problems encountered by a beginner during his first year in plastic modelling, has now developed into a more detailed weekly insight of the continuing problems encountered by the same, sometimes cack handed, sometimes pathetic, sometimes clumsy beginner now in his third year of modelling. Some people quite ridiculously think I get paid for writing this rubbish. I don't - I just quite enjoy writing about my experiences. How sad is that?

 

 

Anyway, the 'pleasant surprise' in the sub-heading was that the well known Yorkshire entrepreneur, good egg and genial host of Relish Models, one Graham Endeacott, was so heart broken to read about my office chair demolishing the Sopwith Pup undercarriage, he emailed to say that he was sending me something to ease my embarrassment. He wouldn't tell me what it was, apart from saying that it was not in my normal sphere of things modelling. I was intrigued.

 

 

Being a Yorkshireman (and for the information of those not from this green and pleasant land, not normally known for giving much away!!), Graham, bless him, cruelly made me wait to build up the excitement and sadistically said that he could carry this on for weeks! Eventually, a large parcel arrived with a note "to 'do the business' on this one, Peter". I ripped the paper off the enormous box and it revealed the 1/32 Revell EuroFighter Typhoon and Engine! Now this is one very large model and is definitely not in my normal sphere of things. It will be another 'first' for me in that it is a modern jet fighter - how do those things fly without a windmill on the front?

 

 

Seriously though, thank you Graham, that was very nice of you and much appreciated. I am looking forward to having a go at it once I have sorted out Mr Fisher's T20!

 

 

More next week.

 

Peter Buckingham

 

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