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Old Jul 08, 2004, 10:01 AM
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Albuquerque NM
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A6M2-N "Rufe" Conversion

The opportunity presented itself awhile back to convert the GWS "Zero" to an A6M2-N "Rufe". Since I've never been able to get past modifying anything, I thought it might be a fun project, so I jumped right in.
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Old Jul 08, 2004, 10:07 AM
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Building the Main Float

I thought about cutting the central float from foam and skinning it with fiberglass, or balsa, but I figured it could be built lighter from wood. The basic structure is built around a keel and frame, and skinned with 1/16 balsa sheet. To keep things from twisting out of shape, the curved forward keel is laminated from 3 layers of 1/16 X 1/8 balsa, where the spine and aft keel are 1/8 X 3/16 balsa. The chines are 1/8 sq, balsa.
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Old Jul 08, 2004, 10:11 AM
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Strut Mounts and Hard Points

The hard points for the main forward mount and aft support struts were added before the sheeting went on. I can see now that the rear strut points can be improved, and will be before the plans are finalized, but what's there will work just fine on this one.
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Old Jul 08, 2004, 10:17 AM
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Skinning the Float

Once the inside was all buttoned up, the entire float was skinned with contest grade balsa. Ultimately the float will be glassed with light cloth and painted. The bottom was sheeted using firmer balsa since the model will spend most of it's time landing on grass and I didn't want to risk it being too delicate and prone to landing damage.
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Old Jul 08, 2004, 10:22 AM
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Main Mount and Support Struts

The forward mount strut was fabricated from a 1/32 ply core, skinned on both sides with 1/8 light balsa and sanded to an airfoil cross section. The rear support struts are 1/32 ply with 1/16 X 1/4 balsa on both sides, sanded to an airfoil shape.
Slots were then trimmed into the top of the float and bottom of the wing where the float will be permanently glued in place and faired in with Epoxy and Micro Balloons.
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Old Jul 08, 2004, 10:24 AM
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Nashville Metro, Tennessee, United States
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Very cool, Pat, but it's cruel to tempt me like this...I'm assembling a GWS Zero as we speak

Glenn
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Old Jul 08, 2004, 10:29 AM
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mu2, So far the conversion has been a fairly simple matter. And you gotta admit, it will be just about the most unusual model in the air.
PAT
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Old Jul 08, 2004, 12:42 PM
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Great idea and job. I was admiring the GWS Zero the other day - if you can get past the material, the scale outline is actually excellent.

Are you going to do anything to improve the basic airframe? Where do you get your balsa from?
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Old Jul 08, 2004, 02:30 PM
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Greg, All I'm doing is building and setting up the float system, it will be up to the customer to finish the model.
The balsa I'm using comes from the laser cutter in Baltimore. He sends me the stuff that's too soft, or too warped to cut succesfully in the laser.
PAT
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Old Jul 08, 2004, 09:59 PM
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Let me rephrase then - how would you finish it if you were doing it?
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Old Jul 08, 2004, 10:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by P. Tritle
mu2, So far the conversion has been a fairly simple matter. And you gotta admit, it will be just about the most unusual model in the air.
PAT
Yep, Pat, without a doubt! But I got mine as a higher performance trainer, so for something that may get some abuse this mod's more work than I care to do...right now. Down the road a bit? Well, I'm just 5 minutes from a really big lake...and I've been thinking some water flying might be a blast

Say, a right dumb question about the kit itself, if I might ask. The GWS instruction manual shows one simply slipping in the main LG mount to the slot in the wing...but what appears to be that LG mount has a big squared off area under it rather than just a tab; it would require surgery to itself or the wing to get it in there.

Given GWS' normally high degree of prefabrication, am I missing something? Nothing to stress over, as I'll be flying off grass for now, but I'd like to put the capability in should I happen upon a decent runway to practice ROGs from.

Am I missing something here?

Thanks!

Glenn
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Old Jul 10, 2004, 07:41 AM
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mu2, I'm not sure you're missing anything, but as I see it, the instructions for mounting the gear are marginal at best. It appears that they want you to glue the 2 plastic plates (LG mount plates) into the wing and then tape the main spar into the slot. I am guessing that if you use the GWS retracts that a bit of surgery would be in order to get them hooked up. As to adding the float, it doesn't look like there will be any interference from the spar to the float mount, but if there is, trimming a small notch into the main mount strut would cure the problem.
PAT
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Old Jul 10, 2004, 07:51 AM
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Greg, Oops, I missed your point, but that's OK, I'm awake now
I would finish the float in light fiberglass cloth, like the old Dan Parsons .6 oz and West Systems resin. I would be tempted though to use 2 layers of cloth from the step forward 3" or so since that's the area that's going to get the most abuse.
The model itself will be sanded as smoothly as posable to eliminate the majority of those ugly little "round things" and painted with Model Master Acryl or Poly Scale. Actually, If a guy wanted to get right down to it, you could fill the surface with thinned spackling paist and sand to a nice finish, or even glass the whole thing. The downside is the weight penalty, but with brushless and Lipoly, if you're careful it might just come out OK.
PAT
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Old Jul 10, 2004, 08:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by P. Tritle
mu2, I'm not sure you're missing anything, but as I see it, the instructions for mounting the gear are marginal at best. It appears that they want you to glue the 2 plastic plates (LG mount plates) into the wing and then tape the main spar into the slot. I am guessing that if you use the GWS retracts that a bit of surgery would be in order to get them hooked up. As to adding the float, it doesn't look like there will be any interference from the spar to the float mount, but if there is, trimming a small notch into the main mount strut would cure the problem.
PAT
Thanks, Pat...I figured I had all the parts I was going to get, and there weren't any magic words gonna change that they didn't seem to match the manual or wing mounting area. I just cut a rectangle of foam out. The gear plates and wing spar dropped in and were glued with GWS contact cement included with the kit...good stuff, I used it for almost everything in construction.

The plane's done, markings on and a coat of matte finish to hide the press on markings' shine and seal the surface a bit.

Nothing fancy, but from 3 feet away it looks pretty nice, all I could want in a $30 fun foam ship.

I'm off for a nap and will get the radio installed and set up later. Should be flying this afternoon or tomorrow.

Glenn
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Old Jul 10, 2004, 01:55 PM
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Very, very cool. I've had two float planes in mind, the first being an OS2U Kingfisher, always liked the looks of those. But last year, I was looking theough a Spitfire book, and there was a Spitfire seaplane! They only made a few prototypes, but they looked great. They used two big floats instead of a main and outriggers. They also used cantilevered struts, just one for each float.

Although the Kingfisher would be cool, If I do anything it will probably be the Spitfire, there are a lot of kits out there that could be easily modified (compared to scratch-building a Kingfisher)
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