Thursday, July 18, 2013

Flying Scale Models 12/2012

The elegant, unmistakably French fighter biplane received by the American 95th Aero Squadron in February 1918 was the first of some 297 purchased by the U.S.A. in World War One to supplement its limited supplies of SPAD 13C.1s. It was the shapely Nieuport N.28C-1 and, although it was to achieve a degree of fame in the hands of a few outstanding pilots (Lufbery and Rickenbacker to name but two), as a fighter it was flawed from the outset and rejected for front-line use by the French Air Service, considering it inferior to the SPAD, which had been ordered into full production as their principal fighter aircraft in 1917. (What a way to treat your new-found and much needed Allies!) The Nieuport 28 was the culmination of a design evolution whose origins lay in a successful series of sesquiplane fighters by Gustave Delage, of which the little Nieuport Model 11 of 1915 was the first to win fame in combat.

Flying Scale Models 11/2012

Mike Conrad's Bowers Fly-Baby Biplane isn't meant to be a Class One scale model, there is no pretence of having absolutely scale fittings, it doesn't have a cross axle (to prevent tripping in the grass - although you can fit one if you wish) and it has ailerons on both the lower and top wings. It is what one would term as a 'character' scale model, look at it closely and you can pick a few scale holes in it, but in the air it is a 'Fly Baby' through and through. It has that hard-to-define authority when flying. But over to Mike.
It is usually early on in January that the urge to build a new model suddenly strikes me. But, of course, it takes me at least another month to decide which full size subject to tackle. Mind you, who am kidding? It was always going to be a biplane and, however much I looked at the World War I selection, I really could not find something that had not been done before.

Flying Scale Models 10/2012

There are some prototypes that defy the rules of aesthetics, yet still manage to deliver a fascinating aircraft. The Blackburn R-l is one such type. It is a miasma of rigging, portholes, double struttery, tanks, louvres, and grills. Yet, overall, the effect is magnificently individual. The Blackburn R-l 'Blackburn' was conceived in 1922 as a carrier-based reconnaissance aircraft for both fleet spotting and gun spotting duties. Blackburns entered service at Gosport in April 1923. It was loosely based on the earlier Blackburn Dart-it spanned 45 feet 6 inches (13.87m), weighed 3,929 lbs (1786 kg) and was fitted with Napier Lion engine. Designed for a crew of three comprising pilot, navigator and rear gunner, the pilot's high seat was on top of the wing. The navigator sat inside the fuselage, with the gunner firing from the rear of the fuselage cabin. The pilot's position was so high that landing must have been exceptionally difficult, even though portholes were provided. The two-bay wings folded for storage on the carrier.

Flying Scale Models 09/2012

I've always had a bit of a thing about Taubes, ever since seeing an old free-flight plan for the Rumpier Taube back in the early 1970s. So, when asked to design a few more fairly small models, and since Taubes were a topic that had come up recently, I armed myself with the Albatros Datafile and set about drawing a plan for an electric powered, R/C model. In order to keep it relatively simple, the Rumpler Taube was the type chosen. Although there is nothing particularly complicated about the build, there are rather a lot of wing ribs to cut. Therefore, I strongly suggest you arm yourself with the set of laser cut parts before starting to build the model. However, for those who insist on 'going it alone', the second sheet of the plan provides all the patterns that would appear as a cut part set laid out on wood size panels. Copy this sheet, cut out the panels and LIGHTLY spray-mount them to the wood to create your own print-wood style kit. Once the parts are cut out, because you only lightly stuck the patterns in place, the paper can be peeled away.

Aviation News 08/2013

The F-4Fs were joined by 40 visiting aircraft made up of numerous German military aircraft and some international, most arriving on Friday morning. From other nations came a Danish AF SAAB T-17; two RAF Tornado GR4s and a 208(R) Squadron Hawk TIA; two Belgian F-16BMs plus a single F-16AM in special markings; and a Spanish EF-18M and EF-18BM Hornet from Ala 12. Unfortunately, a Hellenic Air Force F-4E AUP from Andravida-based 338 Mira became unserviceable in Italy while en route so did not make it. A small number of historic aircraft attended and Saturday morning's flying programme saw several take to the air as well as a German Army Aviation Bo105P and one of the six Wittmundhafen-based A-4N Sky hawks, operated by BAE Systems Flight Systems, which provide aerial targets. The display everyone had been waiting for started at 14:00: the flight of four specially painted F-4Fs on the unit's last operational sorties. Unfortunately, 38+33 had a technical problem during start-up, so its crew hurriedly settled into spare aircraft 38+28. The jets taxied past the crowds, backtracked to Runway 26 and took off individually.

Airforces Monthly 08/2013

SEVENTEEN PEOPLE have died in a US-controlled unmanned aerial vehicle attack in the North Waziristan tribal region of Pakistan. Most of the dead were reported by locals to be members of the militant Haqqani network. Pakistan's recently-elected Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif, protested and described the attack on July 3 as a violation of the country's sovereignty and territorial integrity. US President Barack Obama is on record saying the strikes are a legitimate part of the campaign against terrorism. The security situation in Afghanistan is still in a parlous state. Much of the carnage is said to be the work of insurgents, many of whom are reported to enter the country from the Federally Administered Tribal Areas in north-west Pakistan, home to the Muslim Pashtun people who inhabit both sides of the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. The region is known to be a stronghold for AI Qaeda and Taliban fighters. The United States continues to use unmanned aerial systems (UAS) in the region, against the express wishes of Sharif.

Military Illustrated Modeller Issue 28

The M1A1 Abrams is the main weapon of the US Army, Army National Guard and the United States Marine Corps. Its development is the 3rd generation of tanks post WW2. In recent years the M1A1 and M1A2 Abrams fleet have been going through a complete overhaul programme to bring them back to a 'like new' condition. In addition to the overhauls, an armour package has been developed for urban activities; TUSK, or 'Tank Urban Survivability Kit'. There are two versions of this system; TUSK I, commonly found on the M1A1 and TUSK II, found on the Ml A2. There are several kits to depict the TUSK Abrams and Tamiya has just released the TUSK l/ll in plastic. Perfect Scale Modellbau along with Legend Productions offer resin upgrades for the Dragon Abrams kits. Because there is no plastic kit of the M1A1 with TUSK I, I choose to use the Dragon kit with the Perfect Scale resin conversion. I like to depart from the regular instructions and assemble, mainly so small parts are not damaged during the fitting of non kit-parts like the large resin bits. The Dragon kit is one of the best kits but still requires checking and re-checking of parts to insure proper alignment. Once the main kit parts are in place I start in on the resin parts.

Flying Scale Models 08/2012

The tailplane and elevators are built flat over the plans using strip stock, some formed parts, and laminated leading edges. After building the structure, strip material is applied to either side of the ribs allowing sufficient thickness for sanding to a streamlined profile. Pockets are provided for aluminium tubing that will house carbon fibre rods at assembly. The plans show the carbon fibre rod attached to the fuselage during its construction, but I chose to install aluminium tubes in the fuselage that the cyano glue slid into after the fuselage finishing was completed. The fin and rudder are built in the same fashion, with the fin being fully sheeted. After shaping and smoothing everything, slots were cut for CA hinges, and the parts were ready to cover. Wing structures are typical spar-and-rib construction, with the exception of particularly wide bass trailing edge and tip pieces, which make for a very rigid wing with good attachment for the trailing edge of the ribs. The top wing is built in two pieces and joined flat at the centre section with plywood joiners. The centre section is sheeted on top, and the cut-out over the cockpit is laminated using sheet material and sanded to shape. I made a cut-out for the radiator that fits between the two spars by removing sheeting on top and boxing in the opening for reinforcement.

Flying Scale Models 07/2012

When times are hard, it takes considerable self-belief to abandon employment with an established aircraft producer to set up in business to create a new aircraft for which no likely customer, either military or civilian, has implied a need. It would take a brave man indeed, particularly so at the start of the 1930s when the world had been plunged into a Depression that showed no sign of easing. Arthur Thornton had worked at the Blackburn Aeroplane & Motor Company, a~id designed the all-metal Blackburn Bluebird single engined, twin-seat biplane light trainer/private touring aircraft in 1924 and also the Uncock single seat lightweight fighter aircraft in 1928. Thornton was convinced of a market for an advanced aerobatic aircraft that could also be used as a fighter trainer and for bombing training. So he left Blackburn in early 1930 to form Arrow Aircraft (Leeds) Ltd. where he set to work with associate Sidney Oddy to produce their first aircraft, a diminutive sequiplane type, with rearward, manually folding wings and Cirrus-Hermes IIB inverted inline engine.

Flying Scale Models 06/2012

If you intend to fly your model outdoors, you may wish to ignore this section and build it with the gear retracted. Using thin-nose pliers, bend the 1mm dia. wire components to shape using the plan as a guide. The inner legs are made up from one piece of wire; start bending from the wheel end and work your way up - you will need to slip the two sections of aluminium torque tube on the wire as you progress. Next, bend the outer sections, slipping into place the tube before you make the final bend at the top. Ensure that you make a left hand and a right hand leg. Bind and solder the three sections together. Mount the undercarriage into the model, epoxying the aluminium tubes to the wing plates (you will have to remove a section of tissue from below the wing, and patch in later). Note that the assembly also epoxies to the rear of F1 A. Thicken the gear legs with sanded scrap balsa and use thin strips of paper around the balsa to replicate the oleos etc. Use soft balsa block for the 'square sectioned' outer legs and fashion the doors from thin card.

Flying Scale Models 05/2012

The Focke-Wulf Fw190 Würger (or 'Shrike' - known also as the 'Butcher Bird') was one of the classic fighters of WWII, designed by Kurt Tank in the late 1930s. Tank decreed that "it was not to be a racehorse, but a cavalry horse". Using the air-cooled, 14-cylinder two-row radial BMW 801 engine (of eventually 1,677 hp), the Fw190A had ample power and was able to lift larger loads than its well-known counterpart, the Messerschmitt Bf 109. The '190 was used by the Luftwaffe in a wide variety of roles, including day fighter, fighter-bomber, ground-attack aircraft and, to a lesser degree, night fighter. From 1941 the Fw190 wrested air superiority away from the RAF, until the introduction of the vastly improved Spitfire Mk.lX in July 1942. The Fw190 was well liked by its pilots - some of the Luftwaffe's most successful fighter aces claimed a great many of their kills while flying it.

Model Airplane International 02/2011

The interior is made up of plastic and etched parts and the moulding quality is almost equal to equivalent resin examples. The eagle-eyed readers among you may have noticed the different colour seat compared to John Wilkes impressive Spitfire (See lss.50), as in this instance the type had an all-metal version. A dark brown wash was given to the interior as I find enamel paint has a finer pigment than oil paints. During building I frequently study the later stages for any snags and this was fortunate because when I test-fitted the horizontal stabilizers (parts C29-CI9) their location holes did require some filing to get a snug fit. This would have been difficult if I had already closed up the fuselage. Finally, after dry-fitting, the cockpit and fuselage were permanently glued together and set aside to dry. Later I found a slight step along the nose section, so to correct this I sprayed light coats of Xtracolor matt base along the seam and allowed it to dry before sanding it smooth. It takes a couple of applications to get right but I was pleased with the results. A dry fit of the lower wing section to the fuselage showed a rather large gap.

Model Airplane International 01/2011

Inside the end-opening box there is a bag containing two grey sprues, the parts on these being well moulded but suffering from a bit of flash, which can only be expected from short-run kits. A separately bagged canopy, small but adequate instructions and a nicely printed set of decals complete the package. Detail on the parts is very nice indeed, fine engraved panel lines and a few very tiny rivets in places. The plastic is very soft so be careful when cutting or sanding, it's easy to remove too much. Comparing the parts with my plans showed things to be bang on but the tailplanes didn't look right. The cutouts that allow the rudder to move are far too small, and correcting these to match the plans makes things look a lot better. The cockpit needs to be assembled first; the seat has an annoying ejector pin in the seat pan, the only way to remove this was with the Dremmel and a grinding bit. The result was a bit rough but once painted and with a few lead foil seat belts in place it would be invisible through the tiny canopy. The interior needs a bit of fiddling to get it to fit, if you follow the instructions, the 'floor' ends up being too low and the lower wing won't fit. The fuselage halves go together well but remember to rub the mating faces on a sheet of wet 'n' dry first to make sure they are flat.

Model Airplane International 12/2010

A Airfix have produced both an FRS.I and FA.2 as separate kits, both of which are brand new toolings. Although fundamentally similar it is good to see that there have been no shortcuts taken regarding the differences between the two versions. The fuselage and wings are specific to each version with the relative differences in radomes, fuselage lengths (the FA.2 is longer) and wing leading edges all correctly depicted. The later version also includes AMRAAM missiles as well as Sidewinders. Surface detail consists of engraved panel lines, which at first seem a little heavy handed but under a coat of paint look fine. Internal detail is adequate for the scale but does leave the way open for the aftermarket to go bananas [Pavla Models have already done numerous sets for these kits - Ed]. The instructions are fine with colour notes throughout linked to the Humbrol paint range. The full colour paint/decal sheets are very well done with three basic options in each kit. The decals are excellent and are now being printed by, I believe, Cartograf.

Model Airplane International 11/2010

This brand new kit comes in their standard white cardboard package and inside the parts are grouped in several sealed poly bags including the photo-etched, vacformed canopies, canopy masks and decals. Most of the parts are cast from a cream-coloured resin to the usual high quality we have come to expect from CMR; the amount of flash and pinholes is limited to an absolute minimum, so cleaning the parts with a soft sanding pad takes a matter of minutes. The weight bearing landing gear parts are supplied in black, tougher material and although the flash is more apparent it can be quickly removed using a fine scalpel blade. Two vacformed canopies are included, which are made by Rob Taurus workshop and I feel these are an improvement over standard CMR canopies as the items are just beautiful, being thin and crystal clear with perfectly defined framing. The rear solid part of the canopy is supplied in cast clear resin, as this apparently makes the canopy assembly easier. The pre-coloured etched from Eduard offer details mainly for the cockpit, however, for some odd reason one set of lap seat belts is omitted? The decal sheet by MPD, it is printed in register with good colour and on close inspection there is an improvement over their older decals.

Flying Scale Models 04/2012

I first came across the Vega Gull whilst visiting the Vintage Aircraft Flying Weekend in Mat 2003, at Kemble, the ex-RAF base that once was home to the Red Arrows display team when they flew Folland Gnats, and I was immediately captivated by its clean attractive lines. I took numerous photographs and I returned home to read up on the type's history. I discovered that it was built by the Percival Aircraft Company based at Maidstone in Kent and it first appeared in the air in 1935. It was one of the final versions of Percival's 'Gull' series of civil aircraft for private owners, developed from their first aircraft in 1932. I also discovered that the Vega Gull was named after a bird that inhabits the north-eastern area of Asia and is the equivalent to our herring gull. Percival's aircraft were sturdy and robust, but nevertheless economical and reliable, powered the de Havilland Gypsy series of engines. In 1934, one of their Gull series of aircraft was piloted by Jean Batten and reached Australia in less than five days.