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Sep 02, 2020, 06:39 PM
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Stephen M's Avatar
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Discussion

VK Camel and Tissue over laminating film questions


I picked up an old VK Camel kit from Martin Irvine a few years back. There is a guy in our club who loves to build and uses it as a stress reduction tool. Since I am back in the hobby after a few years away, have a couple planes to wrap up first and figure having him do a lot of the build with my input on some details, building some areas etc. I might be able to get this plane in the air next year. I have the started Dolphin which is going to sit until I finish the other two planes, and review, with Evvo's assistance, the Dolphin fixes and issues he found in the kit a few of us have.

I have a few questions about the VK Sopwith Camel and using tissue over doculam. I searched this forum but found little on the Camel and way too much on doculam. So if anyone would please post links which answer my questions that would be appreciated. If you do not have links but can answer direct that would be preferred.

I am under the impression that Proctor "updated" the VK kits with additional details such as flying wires, etc.. If anyone knows about this please let me know. In any case I sent an email to Proctor asking the same thing and inquiring if he does include additional details about availability of some sort of upgrade kit.

Of course electric. I have a few motors in the 400 to 500 kv range which I have bench tested that look suitable. The present plans are a 15" prop and a 4S2P A123 pack. The planes to wrap up have flown, one extensively, with 600 kv motors, approximately 1/6 scale WWI planes and 3S2P Li-Po power systems swinging 14 x 10 to 14 x 11 props. So I am very comfortable with similar combos and feel my leanings will give the kind of results I have already experienced and be successful. I would like to keep much of the area ahead of the firewall open in order to install a scale rotary motor (that is where I have been stuffing my battery packs on the other planes). I think having it rotate would be cool but impractical. My present planes have the battery packs in the cowls, either side of the motor. They are permanently installed, work well and haven't been an issue for the decade I have been flying the one and the couple years the other. I would like the A123 pack(s) to sit immediately behind the motor or above if I can pull it off. In my Nieuport 11 I have the rudder and elevator servos over the motor. They are either HS81s or HS85s so very light but all weight forward. I do not know how practical getting all this ahead of the firewall will be as I want things out of sight.

So has anyone built a VK Camel and if so what hints, tips and changes would you suggest? If the ideas are ideas and not implemented please state so. I will not ignore them but will probably reduce their "power". My understanding is the tails are very heavy. I have very good luck on the N.11 keeping the tail light and feel I can do similar with the Camel. Basically I used 1/16 sheet for the ribs, decent balsa for the spars and leading edges and for the outlines I eschewed the laminated technique and instead used rattan cane. Backing up the rattan I used 1/16 sheet which filled the space to the last ribs and spars. The result was very light, strong and warp free. The other possibility is replace the laminated bass strip outlines with laminated balsa. I also have to review the Camel construction in detail but I can see some weight reduction possibilities (less weight means less structure needed in areas such as tail skid mount plate(s)) at the rear end. The quick review showed the fuselage is braced with wire in the bays. The wire included (I assume that is the small bundle of wire in the kit) seems pretty thin and therefore light but could some other material be substituted? I am thinking some form of fishing line. Does anyone have experience with bracing line which can be glued with something akin to carpenter's glue as opposed to CA? I have built up an allergy to CA and try to avoid it if possible. I assume wood glue would not work with (nylon?) mono-filament but maybe something such as PVA glue would.

Of course the obvious comes to mind such as for non structural wood I will try to replace heavy with less so and I should be able to eliminate most of the firewall. Unless I can use that nose weight later. Much of the detail wood is die printed so it may be pretty easy to replace if needed.

Now for the second area. I saw this idea decades ago in one of the English publications (QFI, EFI ?). Covering the plane first with clear laminating film then doping light weight tissue over that giving sort of the effect of fabric (not pristine smooth surface) at much lower weight than standard fabric covering. I also saw this, again a couple decades ago, on a (1/8 or so) Fokker D.VII at a meet. The effect was very good, only a little wrinkling behind the wing LE which bugged the hell out of the owner/builder but I felt it didn't look bad, and it suited the Fokker as he was able to print lozenge on the tissue giving an excellent effect. Now he must have used traditional dope as I assume with any of the water based dope alternatives the ink would have run. Now that I think about it I am sure that is what he told me then. For the Camel I will be painting it after covering so a water based dope shouldn't be an issue. So if anyone has done tissue over laminating film or seen a thread which covers details such as things to be considered, avoided and to go with, that would also be appreciated. I am very keen to try this and develop skills as I see this, for me, an good solution.

So there you have it. I spent last Sunday at the field with a bunch of like minded guys who helped me get my MOJO for flying back. I have been down due to the political BS wracking our club for the past few years and the only flying, or reason to keep flying, has been Martin's Kingston electric meet. I have been pushing hard to get my BUSA Eindekker 40 (masquerading as a Pfalz E.II) back in the air and re-install all the details which were wiped off over the years of flying. After that finishing the 1/6 N.11 (from Martin's unpublished plans) will take the rest of the winter in addition to my work on the Camel. Thank you all in advance.
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Sep 02, 2020, 07:42 PM
Senile Member
Lnagel's Avatar
Stephen, here's a link to a fokker DVIII I built a few years ago. Starting at post #122 is a short description of how I applied silkspan over litespan, a plastic covering similar to doculam. I used dope to adhere the silkspan to the litespan. Not a whole lot of info, but it shows that it can be done.

Larry
Sep 02, 2020, 07:57 PM
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Stephen M's Avatar
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Lnagel

Thank you. Do you remember what you used to apply the silkspan with? Any other tips and suggestions you can recall?

I assume for the fuselage you went with printed lozenge then painted(?) the markings. What kind of paint? I ask as I use enamel for almost all my model work. I know I am a dinosaur but when I tried water based paints "back in the day" the first ones left much to be desired so I kept on with enamels ever since.
Sep 02, 2020, 08:38 PM
Senile Member
Lnagel's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stephen M
Lnagel

Thank you. Do you remember what you used to apply the silkspan with? Any other tips and suggestions you can recall?

I assume for the fuselage you went with printed lozenge then painted(?) the markings. What kind of paint? I ask as I use enamel for almost all my model work. I know I am a dinosaur but when I tried water based paints "back in the day" the first ones left much to be desired so I kept on with enamels ever since.
You assume correctly. I printed the lozenge pattern onto the silkspan with an inkjet printer. I attached the silkspan to the plastic covering with butyrate dope so the ink would not run. I then used hardware store water based enamel to paint the markings.

Larry
Sep 02, 2020, 10:37 PM
Still the "Pro"-crastinator...
Steve85's Avatar
Hi Stephen,

Since you seem to know Martin quite well, you may also know Brian as well (both members of the Kingston RC Modellers). Brian has been building a 1/3 (I think) Fokker DR.I for awhile now, and has impressed a bunch of us at the club with his scratch-built Oberursel. IIRC, it's mostly built of PVC pipe, but set up so that it can spin in the slipstream of the propeller. It's very convincing and probably adds some needed weight ahead of the CG. If you don't know Brian, I could try to put you in touch.

Steve
Sep 03, 2020, 11:00 AM
Registered User
Stephen M's Avatar
Thread OP
I know Martin very well but the only time I visit your club is for his electric fly. I may have met Brian, and yourself, at some time but don't remember now.

A spinning rotary would be a goal but realistically anything from a picture of a motor behind the cowl on up would be a big improvement. Thank you though.
Sep 03, 2020, 08:55 PM
Registered User
Martin Irvine's Avatar
Hi Stephen,

I'd consider making the tail surfaces removable and build two - one scale size and another 10-20% larger. The larger tail will be marginally heavier but will allow you to move the CG aft. For details, see Gordon Whitehead's book, (or magazine article). Then if you want to change it later to a more scale version, you have the mounting already set.
Most people won't notice, unless they know the Camel very well. My 1/4 scale version has a larger tail but I rarely notice, and I do know the Camel pretty well.

Pete McDermott did a number of planes with a tissue covering first, doped to airtight before adding a layer of silk over top. This was applied with wallpaper paste so as not to stick to the doped tissue. The silk stretches and shrinks well, and gives a very scale appearance. You could substitute the laminating film for the doped tissue. Silk is available from Thai Silks for reasonable prices.

For cross bracing, if you are going to use thread of any kind, make the holes in a ply gusset in the corners. Otherwise, it will rip through balsa structure.

The spinning engine can be made to work but it will add weight. I wouldn't bother at this scale.

Good luck with the project!

Martin
Sep 04, 2020, 08:58 AM
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Stephen M's Avatar
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I assume 10% to 20% on area. Sounds like an idea.

Silk, hmmm hadn't thought of that. The tissue I have is silkspan, or some knockoff. I bought it from some free flight outfit I seem to remember being in upstate NY. Can anyone think of which it may be? I can't find it in my bookmarks, don't remember the name, nothing on the package and wonder if they are still around. Would you use wallpaper paste or dope? Old school dope or some of the newer water based stuff?

The kit includes ply (1/64 I think) triangles for cross bracing already. That and the roll of very thin wire I ASSUME that is what it is for. Haven't read everything yet. It does show cross bracing on the plans though.

As I said the spinning engine would be cool, but I am trying to be realistic with this build and not get all Walter Mitty. There are a couple things I would like to try in order to learn new techniques but I have to limit myself.

Still looking for hints on this build in particular. I know some of the guys on here built it in the past, even as glow. I might ask in the glow section. As for the tissue over film is there a potential site anyone knows of from the UK with similar input? I ask as the first time I saw this technique was an English magazine and have it in my head someone from there might have been more inclined to experiment that way.

Thank you all for any input.
Sep 04, 2020, 01:05 PM
Registered User
E-Challenged's Avatar
My flying buddy and I both had stall/crash experience with the IC powered version and electric conversion of the same VK Camel. Make sure model is not at all tail-heavy. You may need to learn to start turn with rudder and then use ailerons etc., to avoid falling off on one wing ( we never did learn proper rudder/aileron, etc., flying technique ) Model with tail-skid is more controllable in grass during take-off than off of paved surface.
Sep 04, 2020, 06:19 PM
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Stephen M's Avatar
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E-Challenged

Any idea of your overall weight? I was thinking and reweighed the Nieuport and Eindekker. The Nieuport is 3 1/2 lbs but has yet to gain a pilot, gun, and some other details and finishing. My guess is it should come in under 4 lbs maximum. The Eindekker is 4 lbs 14 oz. It may gain an ounce or two with the details I am looking to add. I have yet to work up a weight on the Camel but think 6 lbs MAY be attainable. Opinions?
Sep 05, 2020, 09:16 AM
Spad Driver
parkcityskier's Avatar
I use Spider Wire fishing line for cross bracing and also for pull/pull control surface leads. The green 65 lb test size has worked well for me and really weighs nothing. Any place where you tie off a piece should be hit with a drop of thin CA to keep the knot from slipping. It's available on Amazon and other places.

Jim
Sep 05, 2020, 09:26 AM
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Stephen M's Avatar
Thread OP
Quote:
Originally Posted by parkcityskier
I use Spider Wire fishing line for cross bracing and also for pull/pull control surface leads. The green 65 lb test size has worked well for me and really weighs nothing. Any place where you tie off a piece should be hit with a drop of thin CA to keep the knot from slipping. It's available on Amazon and other places.

Jim
Please see my first post about CA allergy.
Sep 05, 2020, 04:49 PM
Still the "Pro"-crastinator...
Steve85's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stephen M
Please see my first post about CA allergy.
Then use 5 minute epoxy. You can't expect readers trying to help you out to keep track of what you can't or don't want to use. The Spider Wire suggestion is a good one and certainly no cause for being ingracious.

Steve
Sep 05, 2020, 05:33 PM
Registered User
Stephen M's Avatar
Thread OP
Sorry, not trying to be ungracious. Just figured I mentioned it right off the bat.

My understanding is epoxy allergy is even worse than CA allergy so I try to limit it as well, but can't avoid either entirely. I was hoping for something that could be glued with carpenters glue or PVA. Long stretch but figured someone here would know of a possible product. Can spider wire be glued with the above, or just CAs or epoxies? Before I start trying to sort things out as best as I can.

Seems like the target weight for the VK Camel (on the Proctor web site) is 6 lbs. So, hoping to use batteries, etc. to keep the weight forward (no lead like glow versions need) does anyone think 5 lbs may be a realistic weight? Especially with some wood substitutions and care? Or am I being way out to lunch?
Sep 05, 2020, 05:41 PM
Big gov never Works
St. Martin's Avatar
Finger nail polish. It's one of the few lacquer products that woman seem to put up with, as far as smell goes. Thin it down with nail polish remover, so it flows into the knot. By using an improved clinch knot, the more turns in the knot, makes it look like a furrel. Then use silver or grey polish to seal the knot. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Improved_clinch_knot

Fuzz


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