"Britain First": the Bristol 142 - RC Groups
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Aug 09, 2012, 02:47 PM
Slip the surly bonds...
Sopwith Mike's Avatar
Build Log

"Britain First": the Bristol 142

Thanks entirely to Jeff Spring's Bolingbroke thread, I have finally got my Balsacraft Blenheim kit out of the loft and poised near the building board. After re-reading Jeff's first few posts, I too got out the ruler and some plans and found the discrepencies in outine and scale proportions that everyone else has commented on. This isn't a criticism of the designer: he was limited to Speed 600 motors and NiCad cells and made the best of a tricky situation. I've seen one of the originals fly and it still looks like a Blenheim!

My Blenheim is going to be 1:11 scale all over. I may use the kit wing but will change the fuselage and engine nacelles completely. Oh, and build it as "Britain First", the Bristol 142, an elegant design with none of the compromises that limited the performance of the military versions.

I'll start a thread in the next few days, but to whet your appetite:

Blenheim Mk 1 dimensions

............................Full size.............. Kit.................... 1:11

Span..................56'4" ....................60" ....................61.45"
(actually, the kit wingspan of 60" is 1:11.26 scale, but this isn't going to be a rivet-counting build!)
Length ..............39'9" .....................39"....................44.5"
(Britain First had a longer nose by a foot at 40'9", hence the slightly long model fuz)
Nacelle Dia ...... 5' appx .................3.75" .................5.3"
(The huge difference in nacelle size will change the look of the model competely)

My aim is to build it to the same flying weight as the kit and include electric retracts, but not flaps or any other extras. I'm a fan of Ivan Pettigrew's lightweight structures, so may not use any of the kit components - perhaps I can sell it on after the build!

I haven't decided on motors yet, but to answer Jeff's first question, the covering will be the lovely semi-matt Solartex silver on the control surfaces and semi-gloss Profilm silver on the rest. They are both easy to apply and the Profilm is not so glossy as to be toy-like.

I've drawn up the fuselage with a completely different structure from the kit, and will get going as soon as the Olympics have finished, with a standard ladder frame with semi-formers for the 1/16th balsa sheeting.
Last edited by Sopwith Mike; Sep 14, 2013 at 05:28 PM.
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Aug 09, 2012, 05:22 PM
Complete the Illusion!
35Mhz's Avatar

A most unusual build!!
Aug 09, 2012, 07:20 PM
What's 3D?
trumps's Avatar
tagging along and looking forward to the ride!

Aug 09, 2012, 09:31 PM
Registered User
Kiwi's Avatar
Ooohh, thats tempting, in my "someday" pile I have a .Balsacraft Blenhiem kit with just the wings built that I picked up a couple of years ago
Will be watching in eager anticipation
Aug 09, 2012, 11:35 PM
Registered User
vonJaerschky's Avatar
Nice airplane, Mike. Definitely something different!
Aug 10, 2012, 10:30 AM
Oh no, not again!
jhspring's Avatar
You're going to make me feel badly that I didn't re-size the fuse and nacelles, aren't you, Mike. Greatly looking forward to following along. Sub'd.

Last edited by jhspring; Aug 11, 2012 at 10:17 AM.
Aug 10, 2012, 03:24 PM
Registered User
Jugjock's Avatar
Dialed in on the frequency, Mike.
Aug 10, 2012, 04:01 PM
It's a fine fiddly business.
Robert R's Avatar
I am along for the ride as well.
Aug 17, 2012, 07:56 PM
Registered User
Zephyr41's Avatar
Mike, here's another drawing.
Aug 17, 2012, 10:00 PM
The "pro" in procrastination
Steve85's Avatar

I'm subscribed! I visited my brother this summer while on vacation, and he volunteers his time and considerable restoration skills at the Canadian Forces Base Greenwood Museum in Nova Scotia. They're restoring a Bolingbroke, and I got a look at the ongoing work. The fuselage was surprisingly narrow and cramped, and I certainly take my hat off to the crews who climbed into these to do battle with the foe. Perhaps I'll add one of these to my "one of these days" list...

Aug 18, 2012, 09:21 AM
Slip the surly bonds...
Sopwith Mike's Avatar
Originally Posted by Zephyr41
Mike, here's another drawing.
Hi Rich - what a great drawing - thank you! Is it from a book I should have read? It looks as though the artist has had second thoughts about the top of the fin, but it does clear up a number of issues that were not so easy to spot on the photos and rather limited 3-views.

Wendy and I spent a few days off up at Cambridge, and (naturally) a day of that time at the IWM Duxford. I was passing thought the Blenheim exhibit (just a Mk IV nose section on display at the moment) and there was a previously unseen picture of the 142 at the top of the display stand. The flaps look really good in this picture, but I had decided against them...

Just so that you can see I have not been completely idle during my week off, I have framed up the fuselage sides and made a set of formers which are pegged together while I spend some time working out where the various bits and bobs are going to go. Some slight progress, then!
Last edited by Sopwith Mike; Aug 18, 2012 at 09:22 AM. Reason: speling (agen)
Aug 19, 2012, 02:46 AM
Registered User
Zephyr41's Avatar
Mike, I found the drawing on the internet and don't know its origin. It looks to me like the style of 'Aircraft of the Fighting Powers' though. I suspect a number of their better drawings, like the Britain First, were done by Eddie Riding.

Aug 19, 2012, 03:13 AM
Tally Ho Chaps!
Chompwat's Avatar
Aug 27, 2012, 09:28 AM
Slip the surly bonds...
Sopwith Mike's Avatar
Nearly 10 days since I put the fuselage together, and a little bit of work each day has got me to the stage where the tail feathers are nearly finished.

I really like laminated balsa outlines, even though they take a long time to dry. They are very easy to plane and sand to section because the grain is always in the right direction.

The hardware is ordered from HK, and I shall start on the wings next, and get these major components right before doing any more to the fuselage.

I should correct one error in my scaling sums at post #1: the nacelle diameter of the full size was about 5', not 6' (the small part of my brain that does sums for me decided that 60" was 6').
Sep 29, 2012, 12:57 PM
Slip the surly bonds...
Sopwith Mike's Avatar
A month now since the last post...I have been doing a little every other day and making progress. The basis of the wing is complete (well, OK, apart from the port side and even that is framed up by now) but it looks pretty bare without the nacelles to give it form and function.

I do have a small excuse in that I finished off: my GWS Corsair foamie with a 2812 brushless and it flies really well; my 13-year-old Sopwith Churchill which has been hanging in the roof space all that time and the only slightly younger DH2 which has been brushlessed-up after languishing silently with a geared speed 400 all this time. I don't expect there was anything wrong with the old brushed motor set-up, except that it was heavy and underpowered and needed 7 NiCads to balance it. The new motor is much more powerful and only needs a 1300mAh 2-cell under the pilot's seat.

Flying weather has been rare in southern England but we did get one or two days recently and there may be one at the end of next week!

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