Another Peter Rake Albatross DIII - RC Groups
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Mar 03, 2009, 08:57 PM
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Pete Thomas's Avatar

Another Peter Rake Albatross DIII

After purchasing and flying the Electrifly Fokker DVII and Sopwith Camel as well as the Maxford Albatross DIII, I wanted the challenge of building my own WWI biplane from a kit. I wanted something that is easily transportable (42-48 inch wingspan) and enough weight to fly in light to moderate winds. I want a plane that is scale, yet it must still be a good flyer (a few non-scale compromises are permitted). After reading Pat Lynch’s build thread on the Peter Rake Albatross DII as well as Brian Allen’s build of the DIII, I decided to give the DIII a try. A short kit and plans from Manzano Lazer Works (a Peter Rake reseller) would only set me back $58, so the financial risk is minimal. I began searching the web for an Albatross DIII prototype that I wanted to model and was amazed at the variations of paint schemes. The Germans were quite creative with their bright color schemes (almost anything goes). I decided on the prototype depicted in the attached picture below. I liked the purple and green scheme on the wings and the medium brown natural wood finish on the fuselage. I will copy Pat Lynch and sheath the fuselage with stained 1/64th hobby plywood. I also found the ideal shades of purple and green at Home Depot. Both paints are from the Rustoleum Plastic series colors. I will use “Grape” and “Hunter Green” for the tops of the wings and tail. I sprayed a test pattern on a sheet of paper and it looks quite accurate. I also found a great shade of slate gray for the underside of the wings, tail, and landing gear. I plan to add as much detail that I can without compromising the flying weight.

Rather than repeat a lot of the build techniques that are included in Pat and Brian’s builds, I will focus this build thread on the things that I did a little different or that were unclear to me in the previous two builds. I want to commend Pat and Brian for the outstanding job that they did on their models. It inspired me to give this a try.

I decided to start on the fuselage because I was anxious to see how difficult it would be to work with the 1/64 birch hobby ply. I found a Minwax stain call “Red Mahogany” that would give me the shade of medium brown that I was looking for, using only a single application. I started the sheathing process on the upper half of the fuselage. I used the fuselage formers to start my first panel. Before attaching the first panel, I used it to trace the adjacent panel lines that would be attached to either side. This really helped in lining up the panels with virtually no gaps in between.

I will post additional build photos over the next few days I have been taking pictures all along but have been somewhat lazy in getting this build thread started.

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Mar 03, 2009, 09:09 PM
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Pete Thomas's Avatar
I decided to pre-stain all of my plywood panels before using CA to attach them. I initially tried it the other way around and found that the slightest mishap with getting glue on the surface would prevent the stain from covering evenly. I also cut each panel section slightly oversize before staining. After staining, I trimmed them to the correct size using curved lexan scissors. This process eliminated the dark panel lines that occur on the edges of the panel during staining as seen in the attached photo. The panel was removed and I started over.

Mar 03, 2009, 09:26 PM
Übung macht den Meister..
Deuce's Avatar
I like the choice of camo! I was reminded of this 1/72 scale plastic DIII kit I've had in the closet for years! I've always like that purple/green scheme as a "less-modeled" scheme. It's also simpler!

Mar 03, 2009, 09:35 PM
a.k.a Maltone
Pat Lynch's Avatar
Good luck with the build Pete - I'm sure you will find plenty of better ways to do stuff than I did - I like your curled ply - should work well. The less stress on the glued joint, the better. Having said that, I haven't had one let go yet Pre-staining to avoid glue marks is good - but the effect is reciprocal - try not to get stain where you are gluing. I found the CA didn't stick But that may depend on the stain.

The choice of DIII colour schemes makes me envious - the DII was relatively drab.

Mar 03, 2009, 09:49 PM
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Pete Thomas's Avatar
Thanks Pat. I was very careful not to get stain on areas where I apply CA. That is why I cut each piece slightly over-sized before staining. After trimming to fit, there is nothing but bare work to glue to. I currently have the entire upper and lower fuselage covered with no problems. Some specs that I didn't mention in my first post:

Power - E-Flite 480
ESC - E-Flite 40 amp
Battery - Align 11.1, 2150 mAh, 25C
Radio/Receiver - Spektrum DX7 with AR6200 receiver
Rudder, Elevator, and Ailerons all pull-pull controls
Hitec HS65 for rudder and elevator
Hitec HS81 for ailerons (2)
Wing covering will be with Polyspan. I've never used it before so I am open to all tips and techniques.
Last edited by Pete Thomas; Mar 06, 2009 at 03:12 AM.
Mar 03, 2009, 10:42 PM
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portablevcb's Avatar
Nice job.

I also like the pre-curled ply. For some reason, even though I've done that with balsa, doing the same with ply escaped me.

Mar 04, 2009, 02:33 AM
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Pete Thomas's Avatar
Thanks. I chose plywood over balsa due to its hardness. Long-term durability is important to me. I was concerned that a balsa covered fuselage would eventually become subject to lots of small dings and scratches from fingernails, tools, general transport, and the like. However, I am using balsa in a few areas that will be painted silver as well as the rudder fin. From six feet away, it's hard to tell if the stained wood is plywood or balsa.

Mar 04, 2009, 06:35 AM
Departing at 'O' dark 30
Cass's Avatar
Well darn it,

this is a recession you know! I just talked myself OUT of purchasing this kit and now you go and show me a way i might be able to complete it successfully. Thanks....Thanks alot.....

......where did i put my wallet.....oh yeah, im sitting on it.....

Nice, i gotta go find a way of hiding some money from the 'very significant and sometimes angry that i spent money on models, other'

Mar 04, 2009, 06:44 AM
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Pete Thomas's Avatar
That's why I love my wife so much. She never asks "how much?".

Mar 04, 2009, 09:22 AM
North East England
Originally Posted by Pete Thomas
That's why I love my wife so much. She never asks "how much?".

Wow! - when they perfect human cloning, I hope they make a few million like her
Mar 04, 2009, 04:31 PM
Registered User
I found sellective deafness to work quite well. My wife no longer bothers to question what I spend. A bit like I gave up asking what she spent on clothes. I knew the answer would be a downright lie. It was great fun to watch her squirm though.

Mar 04, 2009, 04:57 PM
It flew once before...
jofrost's Avatar
Pete T ,

Great looking build thus far . Eagerly following along .

Peter R ,

Perhaps someday we may see an IPS version of this one ( hint , hint )

Mar 04, 2009, 06:36 PM
No Wind
65Chevelle's Avatar
John: I definately second an IPS version, oh yeah.
Seeing if Pete has any more small models in the works
Mar 04, 2009, 07:31 PM
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Pete Thomas's Avatar
OK. I give up. What is an IPS version?

Mar 04, 2009, 07:45 PM
It flew once before...
jofrost's Avatar
Pete ,

The "IPS version " were designed about 24-30" WS for the popular GWS IPS ( Indoor Power System ) AUW around 6-8 oz . I did the Hergt Monoplane a while back and is a great little flyer .


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