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Old May 25, 2015, 03:10 PM
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Build Log
Vic Smeed's "Merbaby" for the SOS Build Off - Finished 28/05/2015

After doing three fairly intense electric R/C builds over the last six months - the "Airknocker", "Hummingbird" and the just finished KK "Bandit" I decided that I wanted a simple "fun" build for my first entry to thee SOS Build Off, so decided on the little rubber powered F/F "Merbaby". This 20 inch profile floatplane was published as a full size centre spread in the October 1955 "waterplane special" issue of "Aeromodeller", the plan and article are in the attached PDF.

Given the simplicity of the model this will not be a long build log - after all how complicated can a model with a material list of three strips of 1/8" square and half a sheet of 1/32" balsa be?

However, there will be a couple of departures to make use of later technology - the covering will be 10 micron metallised mylar and the float struts will be carbon fibre rod. I cut out all the bits and built the flying surfaces in half an hour this evening - a photo tomorrow - and expect the whole thing to take a couple of hours spread over the next day or two. So much for the easy part - then I have to (a) remember how to trim a rubber model for the first time in 20 years and (b) assuming I CAN trim it, find a way of keeping it out of the trees which seem to cover 50 percent of the Haute Vienne! Could be fun - which is the aim after all!
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Last edited by Sundancer; May 28, 2015 at 02:47 PM.
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Old May 25, 2015, 06:06 PM
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Hi George>!!!
Nice to see you building a rubber moder. As you, 3 nights ago i was very boring, and looked my plans to see what i had. choose a Pacific Ace reduction, to get a 20" wingspan. now is ready for trim.
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Old May 26, 2015, 03:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sundancer View Post
After doing three fairly intense electric R/C builds over the last six months - the "Airknocker", "Hummingbird" and the just finished KK "Bandit" I decided that I wanted a simple "fun" build for my first entry to thee SOS Build Off, so decided on the little rubber powered F/F "Merbaby". This 20 inch profile floatplane was published as a full size centre spread in the October 1955 "waterplane special" issue of "Aeromodeller", the plan and article are in the attached PDF.

Given the simplicity of the model this will not be a long build log - after all how complicated can a model with a material list of three strips of 1/8" square and half a sheet of 1/32" balsa be?

However, there will be a couple of departures to make use of later technology - the covering will be 10 micron metallised mylar and the float struts will be carbon fibre rod. I cut out all the bits and built the flying surfaces in half an hour this evening - a photo tomorrow - and expect the whole thing to take a couple of hours spread over the next day or two. So much for the easy part - then I have to (a) remember how to trim a rubber model for the first time in 20 years and (b) assuming I CAN trim it, find a way of keeping it out of the trees which seem to cover 50 percent of the Haute Vienne! Could be fun - which is the aim after all!

Very cute. From memory Applehoney built one of those many years ago.

How about the Miranda? Anybody ever built one of those beside me?
Built mine in 1971 and still have it with a Testor.049 in it.
Was very unstable until I cracked the wings out a bit and made them into polyhedral.
Flies well and ROWs magnificently.
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Old May 26, 2015, 05:30 AM
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Yes Gossie, in fact I built a Miranda twenty-odd years ago. It was F/F with an AE 1 cc diesel and never got flown off water. It did fly OK from a hand launch, but as you say was a bit spirally unstable, so I can see why you modded your dihedral layout.

Maybe I'll appeal to Jim (Applehoney) for help then if I can't trim the Merbaby - he'd like that after getting the inevitable comment about me being a radio flyer out of the way that is!
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Old May 26, 2015, 06:19 AM
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Cute little bugger.
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Old May 26, 2015, 11:00 AM
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George that looks like a fun one !

Be sure to R.O.W. and carve a balsa prop...

Best Regards,

Jeff
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Old May 26, 2015, 01:19 PM
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> the inevitable comment about me being a radio flyer

Now, George .. would I be so crass as to be disparaging about your choice of flying?

However, I'm happy to see that the wheel is nearing full circle and that you are finally emerging from the Dark Side and back into the world of your roots.

The Merbaby was built for a postal event for water planes once run from the UK. though ROW was not required. Despite all the drag and weight of the floats it could be coaxed over 60 seconds on occasion and was a cute little fun flyer. As for trimming, as far as I recall it was pretty basic, the movable wing mount being useful in establishing the CG and incidence.

I still have the floats assembly up on the workshop pegboard ... dunno why I've kept it. Heck, it was at least 15 years ago when the pic was taken. Sure wish I looked the same now....
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Old May 26, 2015, 03:00 PM
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Hi Jim, it's nice to hear that the Merbaby flys OK, so maybe even I will get it to perform. Not as much as 60 seconds though I hope as I don't think I have a patch here without a tree well under a minute away, and I'm too old for tree climbing now. Sorry to disappoint but this is definitely only a temporary reversion to my "roots", I enjoy the practicality of my electric R/C too much for it to be otherwise.

I am enjoying the simplicity of this little model though, managed a relaxing hour after a hard days gardening this evening so that the basic framework is all finished and I drew up the necessary sketches to enable me to build my modified carbon fibre float undercarriage.

Sorry Jeff, no balsa prop I'm afraid, haven't got a suitable piece of block, but I do have a very nice, light and efficient plastic 8 inch one.
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Old May 27, 2015, 03:46 PM
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Another hours enjoyable light entertainment in the workshop today resulted in completion of the fuselage sheeting and production of three floats complete with carbon fibre legs - total weight 5 grams. In the building article in"Aeromodeller" Vic Smeed says " bear claw floats of this size need no internal structure". Well, due to the need to integrate the carbon fibre U/C legs I am using in lieu of wire, mine do have a former, and I have to say it made assembly a lot simpler; assembling all those bits of 1/32" balsa edge to edge without it would have been much more tricky - and without the use of CA, which didn't exist in 1955, VERY much more tricky. Goes to show Vic Smeed was a better builder than me - but I knew that already!

I also covered the fin (both sides) and tailplane (top only) with the 10 micron metallised mylar; the fin is fine but I am not happy with the tailplane which has a few too many wrinkles, so will probably re-do that tomorrow. It is tricky stuff to use, more difficult than the transparent I find, but it has three virtues for this application - (a) it is light (b) it has a "soft" shrink so doesn't pull and warp the minimalist structure and (c) it is waterproof - well it is a float plane!
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Old May 27, 2015, 03:48 PM
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Looking good, SD.
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Old May 28, 2015, 02:41 PM
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Finished....

....well, apart from fitting the rubber motor, but that will have to wait until I can find some rubber lubricant. In any case flying will be delayed until the silage cut is taken off my flying field, at present the grass is four feet high everywhere except on the tractor track - no problem with radio where I can land back on the track, but I can just envisage this little F/F model disappearing into the jungle never to be seen again!

After a little experiment I discovered how to cover the flat plate flying surfaces with the metallised mylar without getting wrinkles (first two photos below); just cut a piece of mylar oversize and pin it down over the wing or tail using a couple of pieces of scrap balsa then seal it around the edges. Don't shrink it yet, unpin and invert the surface then using a scrap piece of 1/8" square as a guide trim off the edges to leave 1/8" all round, iron down the overlap all round then turn it back over and shrink tight. As expected the gentle pull of the mylar has left the surfaces dead true, no induced warps at all.

Fuselage and floats are covered in Esaki Liteflite tissue with three coats of thinned dope and the weight without the rubber is 21 grams/3/4 ounce.

Just a bit of fun really, but Ali likes it - "it's got boots!" she said.

It is damned difficult to photograph using flash due to the very reflective covering.
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Old May 28, 2015, 03:18 PM
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That was quick! She's very cute!
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Old May 28, 2015, 05:19 PM
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Very quick indeed. You'veknocked that together in the time it's taken me to sand a noseblock and half finish a wing.

Building wizard you are.
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Old May 29, 2015, 06:16 AM
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Nice one
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Old May 29, 2015, 02:03 PM
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It may not get flown for a while but.......

.....at least it floats!
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