Wedell-Williams by Aerodrome RC prototype build - RC Groups
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Aug 24, 2004, 10:40 PM
Trampling out the vintage

Wedell-Williams by Aerodrome RC prototype build

Early this year Kurt Bengston at Aerodrome RC and I discussed the Wedell-Williams model 44/45 racer. Kurt was kind enough to let me build the prototype. It is a fascinating, well done kit and deserves a build thread so here goes.

The Wedell-Williams racer was one of the most successful racing planes of the 1930s, winning the '33 and '34 Thompson Trophy air race. It's a great scale subject due to its historical importance, handsome design, and can be finished in several different schemes.
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Aug 24, 2004, 10:49 PM
Trampling out the vintage
This kit is currently offered as a "workshop" kit by Aerodrome RC Span is 52.4" which works out to about 1/6 scale. Tim Morris is also building this model and he and I are swapping notes on it. Rather than step on his build thread I am starting this one.

One of the more colorful schemes available:
Aug 24, 2004, 10:51 PM
Registered User
theres a great book called Wedell Williams Air Service available--it shows all the different planes..

Aug 24, 2004, 11:01 PM
Trampling out the vintage
Yes Tim I need to get another book or two on this plane. I am using "Race With the Wind" as my main reference.

One of the most destictive features was the cowl which housed the huge Pratt & Whitney radial. I started by drilling and joining the front and rear formers with some 1/4 spruce scrap to keep everything aligned. The wood screws can be removed when the cowl's done.
Aug 24, 2004, 11:04 PM
Trampling out the vintage
Those little balsa circle segments in the previous photo are glued together to make the front of the cowl. That assembly is glued to the front cowl former then the whole thing is wrapped in 1/32 ply. Mark the former positions on the ply and wet it so it bends. This piece of ply was too short but you see how it all fits together.
Aug 24, 2004, 11:05 PM
Trampling out the vintage
The cowl is pretty easy and fast to build and a good way to start the model. All it needs is a lot of sanding and an airframe to go on.
Aug 24, 2004, 11:08 PM
Trampling out the vintage
The tail pieces are simple. Pop out the pieces and build them over the plan. As rudder and stabilizer are built the same way, I'll just show one.
Aug 24, 2004, 11:22 PM
Trampling out the vintage
Kurt did a wonderful job designing the wing. It is a little unusual in that it has a big square piece of 3/4" balsa for the leading edge. The wing is straightforward to build, but the sequence of the build is important.

The wing is built in three pieces - two outer panels and a center section. Build the sections and join them later. Start by building the center section. The spars are 1/4" balsa, as that big leading edge gives so much strength that neither spruce nor shear webbing is required for strength. For the center section, everything pins to the board, and is simple.
Last edited by 4 Scale; Aug 24, 2004 at 11:45 PM.
Aug 24, 2004, 11:48 PM
Trampling out the vintage
Now start on one of the wing panels. Pin the ribs, trailing edge and bottom spar in place and glue. Don't add the leading edge or tip parts yet. The center most rib is angled to allow for dihedral, and the kit includes a template to set the dihedral angle.
Aug 25, 2004, 12:01 AM
Trampling out the vintage
Remove the partially finished panel from the board and add the leading edge. Note that the leading edge protrudes a bit below the ribs - you can't add the leading edge with the panel pinned to the board.

Once the leading edge is on, shim up the entire wing panel off the building board with scrap 1/8" balsa and re-pin the panel (that now has a leading edge) to the board. This shimming is necessary so the leading edge clears the board, allowing the whole wing panel to be pinned down again.

Add the tip rib and the wingtip support part. Note that these are angled upward slightly. A balsa angle template is included with the kit so you can get the angle right. Please also note the bottom spar will need to be cracked and bent upward to accomodate the upward angle of the tip rib. Go slowly here, this is the only part of the wing assembly where you need to be a little careful. While the wingtips are built with the wing pinned to the board, I have lifted them up here for the photos so you can see how the assembly should look.
Last edited by 4 Scale; Aug 25, 2004 at 12:22 AM.
Aug 25, 2004, 12:11 AM
Trampling out the vintage
With the wing panel pinned to the board, glue the curved wingtip piece to the end rib, leading edge and trailing edge, being careful to give it the correct angle as shown on the balsa template included with the kit. Again, go slow here and make sure you are happy with the alignment before you glue anything. Crack the top and bottom spars so they come together at the wingtip and glue in the spars. Presto, you are done with one wing panel. Repeat for the other panel.
Aug 25, 2004, 12:14 AM
Trampling out the vintage
When the other wing panel is done, the three wing parts must be joined. Pin the center section in place on the plan, line up everything, and shim up the wingtips as shown on the plan to get the proper dihedral. Epoxy the ribs where the ribs meet and let dry.

We will sheet the center section later for strength and to make sure the epoxied joints hold firm. The sheeting is shown on the plan and is easy, the 1/16 balsa easily bends to the slight curve of the dihedral.

For now here are the parts that are done. Next is the fuselage.
Last edited by 4 Scale; Aug 25, 2004 at 12:17 AM.
Aug 25, 2004, 08:39 AM
Designing on the edge
AerodromeRC's Avatar
Nice work! Great photos.
Thank you for doing the build.

Aug 25, 2004, 04:30 PM
Registered User
the information you have posted is very helpful to me Greg, the wing was starting to making sense , due to Kurt's guidance, but the pictures and explanations you posted really are nice to avoid confusion. i can proceed with confidence now..

Kurt has really made a great kit here..

i am thinking i dont need the spruce spars due to what you have mentioned about the leading edge being so strong. it seems like that would save some weight using balsa instead.

Thanks for doing this build Greg!

I am looking forward to more pictures when you get a chance..

Aug 25, 2004, 10:12 PM
Trampling out the vintage
Tim your build looks pretty good too, I like your jig on the fuse especially. Kurt you are welcome, I'll be the first on my block to have one of these.

Here is a photo of the sheeted wing, top and bottom. I sheeted the top and bottom with 1/16 balsa. On the bottom, I only sheeted the joints with the center section.

Kurt designed the wing to have most of its weight and strength based on the big 3/4" square leading edge. That was an excellent idea, because this model has a very short nose and needs as much weight forward as possible for CG placement. The finished wing is amazingly strong and weighs about 7 oz. I like to joke that it could be used as a billy club.
Last edited by 4 Scale; Aug 25, 2004 at 11:07 PM.

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