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Sep 11, 2016, 01:58 AM
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'What IF?'-Scale 1930's Military Biplane


I've always been fascinated with biplanes and more recently the 1930's era military biplanes:
the Hawker Hart & Fury series...the Fairy 'Fox' and 'Fantome'...Gloster family ...Curtiss, Arado, Heinkels, Koolhovens, WACOs, Bleriot-SPADs, Czech Avias and lesser-known Japanese Aichi and Yokosuka-types.

Instead of picking a known, scale subject to model, I decided to 'approximate' the look and feel of one. Combine some of their most appealing aesthetic character in a 'made-up' design...like the drawings I made in my school notebook margins. Epic air battles that '..may have taken place..'.

I also let this be my opportunity to try a construction approach that has been on my mind for a long time:
Could I use generic, household items to form a crutch, over which I could create a proper model fuselage?

Something with more character than a combat SPAD or slope soarer--the simple plastic, 'Whiffle Bat' & cartoonishly simple proportions.

After looking through web images from various companies and countries that built prototypes and actual production aircraft, I sketched up something that took advantage of some of the shapes I had lying around the house.
Detergent & toiletry bottles and beverage cups.

The goal is a stable, solid plug that I can detail, wax and create 'layered-up' monocoque shells with vacuum molding/bagging...something light, attractive and 'potent-looking' when done.
In an Imperial War Museum way...[..see profile diagram..]

It will be a two-seat reconnaissance or fleet fighter bomber; with aft-facing gun mount on a 'Ring Mount' and rigging.
I learned about the history of Armstrong Siddeley Aircraft and their Aero-Engines Div...their attempts to make an 'inline radial' series named after Dogs, versus their successful 'Cat' series engines(..Puma and Jaguar..).

In this case, I'm supposing their compact 'Hyena' or 'Terrier' engines were developed and used; justifying the narrow diameter, yet 'non-pointed' cowling, versus an inline 'Kestrel' of the Hawker family. [..See 'A.W. 21/28 HYENA Project' vintage diagram..]...

I've been reviewing composite lay-up and vacuum bagging discussion on & off for some months...have acquired the basic, bagging tools and a pump...plus experimenting with my own home-brew, polyurethane resin laminating mixtures and fabric matrix combinations.

Ultimately, I'm hoping for a ~33 - 35 inch span x 25.5 inch long...unequal span, staggered single bay wings...weighing 10 - 13 oz...using a 2S if I can get away with it, or a 3S battery...1100 - 1300 kV motor and R/E/A control.

My plug is almost finished and I am plotting out the wing/struts & empennage details to go with it.

I've had this project 'back-burnered' for a long time(..years!..) and in a couple different forms; micro components and brushless out-runners have gotten so much better.
Time to push toward that reality!
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Sep 14, 2016, 02:04 AM
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This is awesome! I love seeing someone take what is essentially 'nothing' and make 'something' out of it!
Sep 15, 2016, 03:54 AM
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Thank you, Rampage.

It takes a 'vision'...which I think we nurture and grow the longer we ponder our infatuations.

Like looking at clouds...especially as R/C enthusiasts are people who '..See..' airplanes and favorite vehicles in everyday objects and materials:
"..Now what could THAT be used for OR represent in miniature scale?...How HARD could it BE to get if to FLY?.."

I have long had my eye on household plastic bottles and containers: 2L soda bottles, soap containers and lady's shampoo/conditioner, lotion and perfumes. These always have swoopy, 'sexy' shapes--very reminiscent of the streamlining seen in classic aerodynamic structures.

Even the large, 64 - 96 fluid oz., square-ish, family-size juice containers and olive oil jugs have a rough, core shape that--to me--approximates the blunt nose of an SE5a and the truss box central to a DeHaviland Tiger Moth behind its engine bearers.
OR even a barrel-shaped GeeBee, if we're talking a squat, round bleach jug!

I have most of a scale Czech Avia B-534 sketched up...based around a large, Walmart 'Cranberry Juice' jug; between it's cabanes as far aft as the cockpit. I think the wingspan worked out to 64"; the rest of the structure to be fleshed out with major formers and stringers, supported on a crutch.

Also, a Nieuport 28 based on a huge, 3L soda from the Dollar stores has been on my mind.

I have a 22" high, cylindrical glass vase in my house...shaped like a stretched football or 'cod liver/Vitamin D'-gel capsule, slightly tapered towards its ends. I've measured this and superimposed it upon a rough drawing of a Lear Fan fuselage.
God willing, this WILL happen....

In most cases, I intend to use these geometric shapes as 'core forms' or plugs; to build the rest of the plane around until the desired shape becomes self-supporting. Then these bottles will be removed.
However, some are quite compatible with remaining as part of the actual structure. Plastic-type...PETN soda bottles versus HDPE detergent containers-->plays a big role in how easy it will be to use adhesives or fasteners to keep it all locked together.

There is a kit car builder on Youtube; he became popular a couple years back for taking inexpensive, generic domestic sport-styled cars and 2-door sedans...
...and turning them into 'fantasy concept' sports cars. Akin to Lamborghinis, Ferraris and Maseratis, with aggressive, aerodynamic sculpting, low skirts and blended/flared doors & wheel wells.

He used corrugated cardboard formers on frame steel hard points to superimpose his design; then body sculpted & filled using expanding spray foam, carving...sanding, then glassing and finish painting.

Creative headlight shells, spoilers and mag wheels topped them off.

I see crafting models the same ways: as simple shapes awaiting character & monocoque construction to avoid weight.


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