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Old Oct 31, 2005, 08:34 PM
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SoarScale
United States, WI, Wind Lake
Joined Nov 2004
814 Posts
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Well, I decided to post some pics here and describe my building process as I believe, at least for the wings, it's a little different that normal - so here goes!

Why a P61? Actually, I had decided to build a scale, engine based aircraft about mid last year. I wanted something that looked nice, a twin specifically and something that handled relatively well (as well as twins can handle!). I searched for plans and found Ziroli. Since I have traditionally been a large scale sailplane builder, Ziroli and his plans were new to me. I ordered the B-25, P-38 and P61 plans and finally selected the P61.

Prior to actually selecting a twin aircraft to model, I had already decided on the engines. The laser 300 V-Twin has a reputation of excellent reliability – especially when converted to electronic, spark-based ignition from glow. C&H ignitions were consequently selected and through further publication research, so was the P61C.

Since the 300 V-Twin was a marginal fit inside the cowls of the Ziroli P61 (made for the A and B versions) – especially with a spark plug and cap on each head, the P61C/D versions really lent themselves to this engine setup due to the air intake “scoops” on each cowl. This meant a custom set of cowls or custom parts to add to the existing Ziroli cowls. The later was chosen as you’ll see later.

Additionally, since I am a fan of the “true scale look”, the lower supercharger scoops below each cowl with their deisgned exhaust outlets at the rear really leant themselves to a muffler system that would be internal to the aircraft and would exit where the real one has the exhaust exit. A perfect solution – no holes in the cowl for cylinder heads or mufflers, great cylinder head cooling (through the side scoops and internal baffles) as well as muffler cooling (through the opening in the lower scoop)!

This was also my very first, scratch bulit “stick and sheet – built up model”. My sailplanes have always been foam winged aircraft with fiberglass shell fuses. So, this model was essentially a test bed for me to learn new building techniques.

Since I now had the engines and the specific model I wanted to replicate, what was next? The research from widely available P61 Black Widow documentation showed me that, while the Ziroli plan, was capable of producing a “relatively” accurate scale representation of the P61, it was not complete in its representation. The three-views of the P61 showed many “subtleties” that were simply not on the plans. I therefore proceeded to add these items to the plans BEFORE starting the build and ensuring that all the supporting features for these additions, if any, were added prior to starting the build. Once I was happy with the additions to the plans, I started the construction process.

The construction order was as follows:
1). Center wing section
2). Wing tip panels
3). Center Fuselage
4). Stabilizer/elevator
5). Nacelles
6). Rudders

I will cover each section in separate posts with pictures.

Note also that my initial plan was to cut very part out by hand. After reviewing how many parts there were (lots!!) and actually starting the hand cut parts process, I decided on a different approach and purchased a laser cut kit of the Ziroli P61 from Precision Cut Kits. The kit was complete and really sped up the build process. I believe that this kit is created directly from the plan so any inaccuracies in the plan led to inaccuracies in the parts. There were a few that had to be corrected during the build.

I started this build in March of this year – it is now ready for priming, surface details and final painting
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