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Mar 07, 2013, 04:42 AM
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Build Log

Sopwith Snipe 1/8

Hi all,

I am building a Sopwith Snipe 1/8 scale, and thought I'd share...

I have always been fascinated by the early era of flight, especially WW1, because that was a time of very rapid aviation development, and as far as war was concerned, it was, on some part, still a time when chivalry was present among some soldiers.

Sopwith Snipe was developed very late in the first world war and therefore saw relatively little action, but action it was, and therefore is eligible to be used in a ACES combat event, which is the goal for this airplane.

It is relatively big, compared to other fighter airplanes of the time.
A fokker DVII in 1/8 scale would have 111cm wingspan, a S.E.5a would have 101cm wingspan, and Sopwith Snipe has a 118,5cm wingspan.

Here is a link to wiki about this particular plane:

The bigger, the better, right? It should be easier to fly in windy conditions than S.E.5 (that I also built), it's got quite a lot of dihedral, so it should be stable...however reaching 7 minutes of flight in combat on 3300mAh or less will probably be a challenge - if the plane becomes heavy.

Anyway, it took me almost 2 months to hunt down some pictures, low resolution plans, other information on the plane and to draw my own plans.

Here is a really low resolution, since the size limit is a 100KB:
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I then had the pieces laser cut and it took 2 day to sand the charred 432 pieces that I drew. Having gone through half of them I was thinking if I was sure this was the plane I want to build.

Finally I got to start glueing the pieces together.

Fuselage halves half made:
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Vertical stabilizer and rudder:
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Horizontal stabilizer and elevator:
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This is how far I got.
I'll post more as I go along.
Last edited by abadon; Mar 11, 2013 at 09:08 AM.
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Mar 07, 2013, 09:28 AM
Oh no, not again!
jhspring's Avatar
So nice that you are doing not just a Snipe, but Barker's Snipe. I just finished reading his biography. I reckon his last combat flight qualifies for "action" by anybody's definition.

Watching with interest,
Mar 07, 2013, 04:37 PM
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yes, I was intrigued reading about that fight also.
Hopefully I can make an airplane that flies as good as it should.

Should take me until the end of may to have in flying condition.
We'll see.

Mar 11, 2013, 09:23 AM
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Thread OP


It's been a couple of days and I am glueing, sanding, glueing, sanding....and also modifying my plan.
I have re-thought my original idea of how to mount the ESC and got to the conclusion, that I'll need a top hatch for ESC as well as the bottom one for the battery.
Since I am building the hatch, it makes sense to use the sam access panel for servos. That way I will need less weights to balance the short nosed plane.

Anyway, here is the progress:
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Without the round parts, it didn't appear to be so scarily fat, I am now considering naming it "fat boy"

I also added "firewall stoppers" just in case the firewall would want to fly without the rest of the airplane.

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The rest is yet to come
Mar 11, 2013, 12:39 PM
Taranis Tyro...
MattyB's Avatar
Very nice indeed - I've always loved the Snipe! Great building skills too.
Mar 11, 2013, 03:06 PM
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Well thank you.
This is only my 4th plane to build from scratch, but I am learning.

I have seen many build logs of people who have skills far superior to mine and since this plane is meant for combat I am sorry to say, that I will not go into building a detail replica with pull-pull and other really detailed stuff.
Mar 11, 2013, 04:34 PM
CH Spring
I always enjoy watching builds like this. I too think you've chosen a good subject. I'll be keeping tabs also.

Barker was killed not too far from where I live.

Good luck with the build.

Mar 11, 2013, 07:26 PM
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I decided that I REALLY need this fuselage to stand on its own, so I started building the wheels.
Since it still falls into a park flyer category, I think I can get away with Peter Rake "easy" wheels.
Ply and balsa sandwich and some cardboard, and presto: 2 wheels
Still need to find a 10mm or so round foam, preferably in black to make the tyres.

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Thank you all for cheering.
Any and all information on the snipe details is welcome.
Anyone have any inventive ideas on building a vickers machine gun?

Mar 12, 2013, 06:59 PM
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Ok, so undercarriage will wait for another day, but I managed to get a battery "deck" into the fuselage, spacers for the rear end of the undercarriae in, and, the most important, the tail drag is done.

Admittedly, not the best set of springs ever made, but they do their job.

I have seen many people do a really scale tail drag mechanism with the bungee cord, but what happens if the bungee tears after the airplane is fully covered?
Strip the tail and redo the bungee?

So I came up with the idea of 2 1.5 mm springs, glued side by side so the tail drag doesn't turn, glue everything on a plate and, for good measure, use some screws, just in case.
This type of tail drag has worked for me in the past. I have flown a fokker D.VII with it, and it endured quite a few rough landings.

This way you get a tail drag with a resistance of about 2.5-3kg (5-6 pounds).

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Mar 12, 2013, 07:05 PM
Warbird crazy!
new2rc's Avatar
Very cool and interesting.

So that's a Snipe


Mar 12, 2013, 07:20 PM
Taranis Tyro...
MattyB's Avatar
Originally Posted by abadon
Any and all information on the snipe details is welcome. Anyone have any inventive ideas on building a vickers machine gun?
Not personally, but this guy made some nice alternative machine guns on the HK Spad thread...

Last edited by MattyB; Mar 13, 2013 at 01:42 AM.
Mar 12, 2013, 07:42 PM
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Thread OP
Originally Posted by MattyB
Not personally, but this guy made some nice alternative machine guns on the
HK Spad thread...

thanks for the links, checked it out.
I also got a plan of a vickers gun and have some more research to do, find some materials....

I know that wright brothers make relatively cheap kits, and I have one of their lewis guns for the S.E.5a, which I never mounted, because I still ocasionally flip over, and don't want to break it.

I did their spandau, but the paper thingy is not really what I would call resistant to touch.

So I'll make this one from some plastic tubing, balsa etc....

Mar 14, 2013, 05:47 AM
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Called every shop I could think of to get the neoprene backer rod for the tyres of my wheels and I finally found it

Bought 12mm thick, 5m (16 feet), just in case they stop selling the stuff and I decide I want to make more wheels. Really nice stuff, and ----- it's black.

cut to length, epoxy...

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Also tried to do a undercarriage all in 1 piece + axle...yeah, right. It's there, it would work, but it's 2cm too high. Where did I go wrong?
Oh well, back to the calculator and correct the problem.

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Mar 15, 2013, 03:04 AM
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Undercarriage, part 2....

So I got the height of the undercarriage wrong the first time.
I cut the bottom of the V and bent the existing piano wire based on a new calculation. Sand, tack, measure, measure some more and then, just in case I was wrong, measure some more.
Got it right this time, but it's not as neat as it could have been if it were in 1 piece.
Bound in thin copper wire from a cat5 network cable and soldered.
Added a guide and stopper for the axle travel.

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Also added the rear cabane strut, which will be epoxied in place after the front is also "sewn" in and both are correctly positioned.

And yes, my desk is a mess at this time, from glueing, cutting, soldering, sewing, everything you could imagine to need at a hand's reach is probably there.
Last edited by abadon; Mar 15, 2013 at 07:37 AM.
Apr 02, 2013, 04:10 AM
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Thread OP
Hello again,

I have been absent for a while, sorry about that.

Before I could continue working on the fuselage I had to star working on the wings.
Why? Because the mounting point of the bottom wing on the fuselage has to have a contour following the top of the bottom wing.

Here's the right part of the bottom wing
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The wing is constructed of left, right and center part.
Each wing has 2 "shoulder" spars - 1/3 and 2/3 from the leading edge. The center part is glued to the sides with 3 mm ply just behind the front and first shoulder spar and in front of the rear shoulder spar.

I managed to glue together both wings, that still need sanding (the only part I really don't like doing is sanding wings - spars take forever, and it's sometimes unavoidable to break a rib or 2, if you are clumsy)

I am now in the process of doing the contour on the fuselage for the bottom wing.
More pictures will follow shortly.

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