Adding scale detail to the Dancing Wings Stearman

This is a follow up to my review of the Dancing Wings Stearman showing the scale additions that I added to the basic build

Splash

Why?

The Dancing Wings Stearman is a model that flies very well and is well engineered as an ARF. This made it a great candidate for some added scale detail. The basic model as I reviewed it is semi-scale. After the modifications that I made, it is still a semi-scale model, I am not trying to enter a scale competition, just adding some detail that makes me feel good.

Things that I wanted to upgrade

Dummy Motor

The stock dummy motor that came with the Stearman was a very simple vacuformed plastic part with little detail. To me this was a major problem as the motor is not in a cowl and is the predominant feature of the front of the airplane. The stock motor is quite light, but I needed some nose weight to balance anyway. I located a service that 3D prints a 1/5th scale Continental, a perfect choice for the Stearman. The company is Boost3DPrinting and is located on Etsy. The owner is Nick B and my experience with him in purchasing this motor was positive with good communication. Like many 3D printed products, the motor has a textured surface finish but from only a short distance away the look is quite impressive.

Upper Wing Roundel

The wing roundel decals that came with the model are of nice quality but all 4 are the same size. This size was appropriate for the bottom of the lower wing but too small for the top wing. I determined that a 7" diameter roundel was needed and cut a pair using a Cricut vinyl cutter.

Wheels

The stock wheels are foam and about 3-1/4" diameter. They are quite light and adequate for use, just not nearly large enough for a scale look. To more closely replicate a full scale Stearman I located the DuBro 5" Treaded Lite Wheel. It is quite a bit heavier than the stock wheel but looks great on the model. It will fit the stock axle without modification. I added a hubcap to the wheel for added scale appeal. The hubcap was cut from some 1/64th ply and skinned with some white vinyl.

Pilot

For me a pilot figure is a must and it is especially important for an open cockpit model. Fortunately there are choices available. Depending on your budget you can choose from a full body 1/6th scale pilot or one of many pilot bust options. I used the WarBirdPilots 1/6th scale Navy WWII Gunner. He looked like the best choice for the Stearman N2S Navy trainer

Other Stuff

There is no end to the noodling around that can be done with a scale model. At some point you don't finish, you just stop. For now that is where I am with the Stearman. If at some future date the wild hare strikes, there are several other areas that I might work on. One would be the N struts. The stock ones are square edged, it would be a simple matter to sand the edges to an airfoil shape prior to building. I would have done this originally but felt that I needed to do the original review as stock as possible. Another would be to make the flying wires even a bit more scale. This wouldn't be too hard but would require that I purchase new wire as the existing versions would be too short. I might add some other small detail pieces like the pitot tube on the port N strut and the visual gas sight gauge under the center wing section.

Is it all worth it?

This is a completely personal question. To some the answer is a resounding no, they are perfectly happy with a great flying model that is sort of scale. To me the time and money was worth it, I just like the more scale appearance. There are some drawbacks that come along with the looks. The model is heavier than in its stock form. It still is a great flier but I can feel the additional weight in the air and notice it primarily on landing. Not a huge deal to me but a reminder that you don't get something for nothing.

Conclusion

One thing that I love about modeling is that one size does not fit all. Each modeler has their own likes and dislikes and the great thing is you get to make your own choices. With the Dancing Wings Stearman you start off with a well engineered model that flies great when built properly. It provides a great base for added detail if that is your desire. I hope that you enjoyed this update and have a great experience in building your models.

Additional Photos

More flying photos to come, need to go shoot some

Last edited by Jason Cole; Jan 06, 2022 at 10:56 AM..
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Jan 06, 2022, 10:58 AM
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See Mike's review on the PT-17 here https://www.rcgroups.com/forums/show...Stearman-PT-17
Jan 08, 2022, 12:10 PM
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E-Challenged's Avatar
Very nice detailing of DW PT-17. I am finishing final cosmetics on my Dynam PT-17. I added spark plug wires to the dummy cylinders and painted the crankcase, exhaust headers and firewall, used chrome elastic cord for wing rigging, painted tail blue, and painted wheel hubs and wing struts yellow. Painted prop to look like wood and glued on some Sensenic prop logos. I painted the edges of cockpits and added a Wms Bros pilot bust. Had to cut some of shoulders off to fit cockpit. Not a lot of extra work but it does make the model "pop" without much added weight. I will make scale-like wing "walk-ways" out of black wet or dry sandpaper and add fuel tubing locks to all clevises.
Last edited by E-Challenged; Jan 08, 2022 at 12:17 PM.
Jan 11, 2022, 07:58 AM
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Stunning


I love the enhancements you did. Very well done. I have a question about a comment you make at the end. “With the Dancing Wings Stearman you start off with a well engineered model that flies great when built properly.” Specifically the last three words “when built properly.” I’m about to start my build and it sounds like there may be some pitfalls to following the instructions or things to pay particular attention to. Can you expand on this? Thanks,!
Jan 11, 2022, 08:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AZFoxes
I love the enhancements you did. Very well done. I have a question about a comment you make at the end. “With the Dancing Wings Stearman you start off with a well engineered model that flies great when built properly.” Specifically the last three words “when built properly.” I’m about to start my build and it sounds like there may be some pitfalls to following the instructions or things to pay particular attention to. Can you expand on this? Thanks,!
Go read the review I linked to in the first reply above. Mike covers those things there.
Jan 11, 2022, 09:59 AM
Registered User
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason Cole
Go read the review I linked to in the first reply above. Mike covers those things there.
Thanks for jumping in to answer. I did read it as you provided a link to it in the post. I didn’t pick up that it was the same guy. I got the graphics and flying wires tips and the fit issues with the carbon joints and cabana struts. I don’t understand the motor mount piece but figure I will when I get to this in my build.
Jan 11, 2022, 12:10 PM
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Jason Cole's Avatar
Mike is recovering from a surgery so not likely to be online for a bit, but I'm sure he'll chime in and be happy to answer any questions as soon as he is able to.
Jan 11, 2022, 02:19 PM
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Ok, thanks. Hope he gets better soon.
Jan 11, 2022, 04:00 PM
Registered User
Thread OP
E-Challenged, nice job on the details. It's pretty cool how much of an improvement can be had with fairly minor tweaks. Looking good.

AZFoxes, I watched a video review of the DW Stearman where the builder mounted the motor to the center of the motor mount. Of course this will work but after you add the right and down thrust to the assembly, the location of the prop adapter will be to the right and down from center of the dummy motor if it was mounted centered in the fuselage. The solution to get the prop shaft to end up in the center is to move the opposite end of the motor/motor mount assembly to the left and up (as seen by the pilot). That is what happens when you mount the motor centered on the pre-drilled hole in the motor plate.

I hope this explained it better. If not, let me know, perhaps I can add some visual aids. In any case, I hope that you enjoy your build. It probably took me about 20-25 hours but that was taking photos and all that. Dry fit and double check as you go and you should be good to go.

Thanks, Mike
Jan 11, 2022, 06:15 PM
Registered User
Mike, many thanks for the additional motor mount details. My wife and I plan on starting the build this weekend. It looks like it will take some time but we would rather do it right so we will take our time…measure twice, cut once. Thanks again and good luck with the recovery. roy

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hiflyer
E-Challenged, nice job on the details. It's pretty cool how much of an improvement can be had with fairly minor tweaks. Looking good.

AZFoxes, I watched a video review of the DW Stearman where the builder mounted the motor to the center of the motor mount. Of course this will work but after you add the right and down thrust to the assembly, the location of the prop adapter will be to the right and down from center of the dummy motor if it was mounted centered in the fuselage. The solution to get the prop shaft to end up in the center is to move the opposite end of the motor/motor mount assembly to the left and up (as seen by the pilot). That is what happens when you mount the motor centered on the pre-drilled hole in the motor plate.

I hope this explained it better. If not, let me know, perhaps I can add some visual aids. In any case, I hope that you enjoy your build. It probably took me about 20-25 hours but that was taking photos and all that. Dry fit and double check as you go and you should be good to go.

Thanks, Mike


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