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Jul 22, 2009, 12:40 AM
a.k.a Maltone
Pat Lynch's Avatar
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Peter Rake's BE12a

After a long break from building (for me) I've taken the plunge and have started thinking about another Rake design.
A year or two back I'd suggested to Peter that I had always liked the look of the BE12a - its messy, fragile appearance, miles of complicated rigging and the usually war-weary character. Peter quickly whipped up a plan at a scale that was a little smaller than I'd originally envisaged but probably more practical. It works out at about 49" span and should be a 'floater' if the weight is kept below a couple of pounds.

As part of my research, I found a copy of Paul Hare's book "Aeroplanes of the Royal Aircraft Factory" published by Crowood. The RAF (not to be confused by the later Royal Air Force " was government aeronautical reseach agency setup in the days where balloons were the only aerial military craft. But things changed rapidly and the RAF became a research and repair facility for the British army and started to modify Bleriot, Farman, Cody and other flying machines to better suit requirements. One of its earliest original designs was the BE (Bleriot Experimental) 1. Employing a certain amount of subterfuge to stay within its government guidelines, the BE1 was designed and flown by Geoffrey DeHavilland - ostensibly as a repair to a Voisin pusher but only the 60 hp Wolseley engine from the Voisin was used!

The BE1 is certainly identifiable as the precurser to the BE2 and later BE12. A slim, lightweight fuselage with an exposed aircooled V8 engine perched up front and the crew sitting rather exposed between the wings. It also employed wing-warping. That later BE2s and BE12 were equipped with ailerons. but still retained the fragile, lightweight look of the original design.

Although the BE12 was envisaged as a single seat fighter/bomber version of the BE2, it was too stable and became noted as a home defence plane with a major role being as a Zeppelin Killer. Whatever its shortcomings in any role, A design which started in 1911 and which was still being used after the war has something going for it. Even if only as a subject for another Peter Rake build.

It'll be a while until the overloaded Charlie/Vicki team get a kit of parts to me so I can decide a few things about the build at my leisure

Pat (who has infinte leisure)
Last edited by Pat Lynch; Jul 22, 2009 at 01:48 AM.
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Jul 22, 2009, 01:59 AM
North East England
As a confirmed 'BE' fan, I'm looking forward to this one, Pat. Will be well worth the effort to really build this one light - even though I'm sure you'll find it hard to resist those details

I think it was Eric Coates (a noted modeller from way back) who had a free-flight version which won many contests due to it's realism and stable flight.

Jul 22, 2009, 02:41 AM
Registered User
Dan Parson's Avatar

I hope you got a deal on that book, I was just up on and it ranged from $40 to $163!

Looking forward to the build.
Jul 22, 2009, 03:34 AM
Registered User
A scan of the book is available as a free download from

20 July 2009

Loads of other unobtainable books - hope it's legal.

Jul 22, 2009, 04:02 AM
a.k.a Maltone
Pat Lynch's Avatar
Thread OP
Originally Posted by expat flyer
Loads of other unobtainable books - hope it's legal.
Probably not.........
Jul 22, 2009, 05:53 AM
Light and floaty does it
Work in Progress's Avatar
Looked at end-to-end, the operation certainly isn't legal under EU law. Parts of it are less so than others. The blog, , is of course Google-hosted, and Google can be complained to fairly easily, But the Google-hosted site in itself is only marginally infringing by reproducing covers and short extracts, and may be able to get away with a 'fair use' provision. The smoking gun is the site holding the scanned books, , which is Cyprus registered. Rights holders in the pirated work are unlikely to get much response from there, but should certainly have a go. Cyprus has come under pressure in the past from the US government amongst others to do something about the booming part of its economy based on theft and piracy.
Jul 23, 2009, 01:09 AM
a.k.a Maltone
Pat Lynch's Avatar
Thread OP

One Small Step for a Man.......

I found it amusing that the first small steps for building a model of an aeroplane conceived in 1911 should be made on the 40th anniversary of a man stepping on the moon. Progress........

A little bit of progress here too - it will be a while before the laser-cut parts arrive, but plenty of bits can be made such as the tail frames. I used three different weights of balsa - hard for the elevator spars, medium for the 'ribs' and some softish 1/16 sheet to laminate the outlines. I just soaked the 3/16 X 1/16 strips in water for a few minutes and when pliable wrapped them round some pins on the plan and left to dry overnight. The centre strip then had PVA (white) glue applied each side and the strips put back in the pins. The ribs etc were added later using medium CA.

The elevator has a VERY slight change from Pete's design - I made the two hinge spars continuous which allows me to fit the wire U-link while they are in alignment. The middle bit can be cut out later. Same with the tip parts - they are made one piece and split at the hinge line when all the sanding and shaping is done.

Since the surfaces are 3/16 (about 4mm) thick, I'll sand them to a slight airfoil section for a better scale look.

Pat (in near-freezing Oz!)
Last edited by Pat Lynch; Jul 23, 2009 at 05:57 PM.
Jul 23, 2009, 01:12 AM
Registered User
Dan Parson's Avatar
Looks like you need to utilise some overhead space!
Jul 23, 2009, 01:21 AM
a.k.a Maltone
Pat Lynch's Avatar
Thread OP
Dan - I'm lucky in that my models live in another room (whew) - there are about 20 of them in mostly flyable condition. I was prepping those three for a Sunday flying session. (It got too windy so it didn't happen).......

Jul 23, 2009, 02:29 AM
North East England
I love those BE rudders - they always look like someone designed them as an afterthought and just drew a vague shape (which may well have been the case, who knows?). Very characteristic of the type though.

20 models now? Wonderful!

Jul 23, 2009, 02:51 AM
Registered User
All I have to say, before you shape the tail surfaces, is rudder horn plate.
Jul 23, 2009, 12:49 PM
Which means "what" to me?
invid66's Avatar
Not familiar with the BE series. It'll be iteresting to watch this one take shape.
Jul 23, 2009, 05:55 PM
a.k.a Maltone
Pat Lynch's Avatar
Thread OP
Pete - yes I will put the horn plate in! It might be a laser cut part but since they need to be 3/16" thick, I wasn't sure so making them myself.

Invid - the BE series was an early (pre-WWI) design that evolved over the course of the Great War but was never really brought up to date and so was relegated to lesser duties than SE5s etc.
The photo shows the aspects I like - the spidery look and the patchy forward fuselage showing its dual cockpit heritage. The wings are different lengths and use king-post struts to support the upper outboard sections.

My intention with this model is to produce a stable, lightweight park flyer model but to try and capture that early, fragile appearance.

The model will be powered by a Park 450 - and a 10-11" 4 blade prop. I hope I can find room for a 2200 LIPO in there somewhere!

Jul 23, 2009, 06:19 PM
It flew once before...
jofrost's Avatar
Pat ,

Very unique subject . Will be following this one with interest . Hmmm I have a homeless Park 450

Jul 23, 2009, 06:51 PM
Registered User
Yes mate, there is a small sheet of 3/16 balsa parts, including the rudder and elevator horn plates. Seeing that you'd fitted the elevator ones, I just didn't want you to get the rudder all nicely shaped only to have to fit the plate.
Doesn't look as if you'll actually need any of the cut 3/16 parts, you're already past that stage.


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