Brian Milsom's blog View Details
Posted by Brian Milsom | Feb 18, 2014 @ 10:08 PM | 3,749 Views
Hi All,
My sincerest apologies for dragging this out for so long. I ran out of steam for a while and am now trying to rekindle my interest to finish the project and get the bird in the air. I have partially finished an article on painting issues which I will post when I get done. Here are some recent photos. I hope there is still some interest out there. The actual weight is at 8 pounds, 7.5 ounces. Flying weight will be less than 10.5 pounds with two 5000mAh battery packs on board. Cheers, Brian
Posted by Brian Milsom | Mar 08, 2013 @ 10:35 PM | 3,400 Views
My apologies to all those who were following this blog. My attention has wandered from this project for a while so I thought I would reassure everybody that all is still well on the home front and the B-17 is still chugging along and near completion. Here are a few photos to bring you up to date.
Posted by Brian Milsom | Oct 30, 2011 @ 11:58 AM | 3,589 Views
My apologies to all those who have been encouraging me to continue this project. This last summer has been very busy and the B-17 construction has been on hold. I will have an update shortly. In the meantime here are a few pictures to bring you up to date.
Posted by Brian Milsom | Jan 29, 2011 @ 05:13 PM | 4,043 Views
I decided some time ago to take a break from building to plan ahead for the ultimate final push to get the B-17 completed and painted. Painting can ultimately make or break the final outcome and I felt that I needed to do some experimenting with paints and spraying techniques to be sure I got it right before I made a mess at the end. Part of the saga was to figure out how to make four exact engine cowls so I’ll start with that first.

When I built the Albatross I spun two foam cowl plugs on my drill press using a cardboard template to get the shape as close as I could. I then laid up fibre-glass strips from back to front to allow the cloth to contour the shape of the leading edge of the cowl. Each strip of cloth had to overlap the other and about four layers were used. I allowed the epoxy resin to cure between layers and then had to sand out the overlaps to smoothen the outer surface. This process was a never ending, labour intensive full time occupation for about a week. Once the final sanding was completed I burned out the blue foam plug with acetone and ended up with two very nice cowls. The thought of doing all this with the B-17 was a bit overwhelming so I decided to try another route.

Since I had adapted my Shurline lathe for foam and wood turning I decided to turn one foam plug, detail and resin it, and then cast it in No.1 Potters Plaster. Here is where the adventure begins. I built a small casting box from MDF and finished it with water based acrylic...Continue Reading
Posted by Brian Milsom | Oct 31, 2010 @ 03:44 PM | 9,459 Views
The wing construction was pretty much as per the plans and instructions. All of the plywood in the plan was replaced with balsa. I used 3/32" balsa ribs and added 1/8" plywood doublers to the ribs on either side of the landing gear station so as to spread the gear loading the full depth of the wing cord. Because I was using Spring Air retracts I had to design the gear mounting plates to allow for the gear to swing forward and up into the nacelle. In order to keep the weight down I tried to avoid adding massive amounts of lumber and elected to firm up the mountings with plywood gussets to spread to load to the plywood ribs. In order to get this all to work and to get the gear to swing to the exact scale locations (up and down) I had to draw a duplicate plan and then determine precisely where the gear mounting plates would sit. Once they were epoxied in place there would be no going back.
I prebuilt the trailing edge sections ahead of the ailerons to allow for Robart hinges and glued them in place and adding small 1/4" balsa doublers at each hinge position.
Skinning the wing was the most satisfying part of the whole process. I used the plan templates and prebuilt the lower skins from good grade 3/32" balsa and CA'd them in place starting from the lower main spar rolling the wing back toward the trailing edge and then forward to the leading edge. I then put marker holes so I could easily find the exact cut away positions for the engine nacelles. In order...Continue Reading
Posted by Brian Milsom | Sep 23, 2010 @ 01:02 PM | 4,456 Views
As with the rudder and vertical fin, The horizontal stab and elevator were made the same way. First the trailing edge of the stab, sanded for curvature of the elevator leading edge, was slot joined to the ribs, skinned with 3/32" balsa, LE and tips added and sanded. The elevator was done the same way as the rudder and sanded to shape. Robarts hinges were used.
Covering:- I have tested both Coverite (Ironex) and Balsaloc and the water based Balsaloc is the clear winner here. I fond the bond much better. I used Sig super coverall (I think). It's the one with the iron on glue included. As an added insurance, I carefully epoxied the seams and ends so they can be sanded smooth and then re-epoxied them again. Remember, once you have applied the resin, ALWAYS blot of the excess with a roll of toilet paper, otherwise you'll be sanding forever!!! After all the fitting and final sanding was completed, the next step was fiber-glassing. I'm sure there are all kinds of methods out there but I have never found one better than this:
Tools: 1) A soft bristled artist's brush (about one inch wide)
2) Toilet paper (on rolls) mounted on a roller handle.
3) 99% pure Isopropyl alcohol (do not use anything less than 99%)
4) Two Part epoxy resin.
5) 3/4 ounce per square yard glass cloth (smooth weave)
6) Acetone:- for cleaning only!!!
Step one: Sand everything to the desired finish.
Step two: Lay your glass cloth on the surface with a little extra all round.
Step three: Mix your...Continue Reading
Posted by Brian Milsom | Sep 23, 2010 @ 12:54 PM | 4,752 Views
Hi Guys,
Ok! You've convinced me to carry on with this B-17 thread. I'll try to answer questions to individuals shortly. This project started after I realized what satisfaction one can get from "scratch building". I had almost always built kits in the past and the Albatross was my first serious effort at a scratch built model. Having flown for nearly 42 years as a bush pilot and airline pilot I have always had a fascination with the B-17 and after the success of the Albatross I decided to have a go at more engines and retracts. One of our club members had a set of plans from the Royal kit along with some of the plastic parts so this became the logical choice.
I started by having the plans copied so I could cut them up for templates. I then had a war with myself trying to decide whether to start with the wing of the fuselage. The fuselage and tail group won! I knew from looking at the plans that C.of G. was going to be an issue and the plans called for a lot of plywood that I needed to eliminate. The first issue was going to be the vertical fin. I also have a fetish with scale-like hinging so I just had to complicate things by designing my own hinges for the rudder. Initially, I tried to laminate the leading edge curvature of the fin with balsa and white glue but after it had hardened it was too heavy, so I scrapped that idea and used the plans instead. I started by making the vertical tail post and sanding in the curvature for the rudder. I eliminated the plywood "spline" from the plans and simply slot mounted the ribs into the vertical post, added the leading edge, and then skinned it with 3/32" balsa. The rudder itself was done with a balsa spline and strip ribs and sanded to shape. Then, lots of sanding!!!

PS. This post is just a copy of the entries I've made in the scale electric section.
Posted by Brian Milsom | Sep 16, 2010 @ 01:57 PM | 5,448 Views
Sorry this blog entry is so late in getting started. I've just been too busy to get around to it. The plan for this project was to build this B-17 from the old Royal plans and modify it as I went so that it would come in at about 8 pounds. Four Himax 3510 - 1100 outrunner motors with scale size props will provide more than enough power for this model. Hindsight is always 20/20 and if I were to do this again I would blow the plans up to about 90" wingspan. That being said, I have stuck to the original size and all seems to be well. I won't go into much detail here other to let you know that the fuselage and tail group (all sheeted with 3/32" balsa and glassed) are at 22 ounces and the wing (as pictured, servos and wiring installed) is about 3 1/2 pounds. I'll get into all the construction details later. For now I'll be interested in seeing if there is any interest in this project.

Please Note: I have now started a post on Scale Electric Airplanes for the B-17. Cheers, Brian
Posted by Brian Milsom | Apr 25, 2009 @ 11:31 AM | 4,514 Views
I have started a new scratch built project from old Royal plans for a 77 inch wingspan B-17. Seeing as I am new on this site it will take me some time to get familiar with setting up this thread. Once I see how it works I'll post some photos and comments.
Just a brief update, The B-17 is well underway and I will try to bring this up to date shortly.