Manzano Laser/Peter Rake Thomas Morse Scout Prototype Buils - RC Groups
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Jan 26, 2007, 02:12 PM
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Manzano Laser/Peter Rake Thomas Morse Scout Prototype Buils

Seems I have been given the opportunity to follow in the footsteps of a number of very excellent modellers, most of whom are better qualified to be doing this than me. At least that's what Peter and Charlie told me when they offered me the chance to proof build this prototype model. No truth to the rumors that all the over slaves had died of overwork and underpay then....

So we'll start with a little bit of history about the fullsized Tommy......

The Thomas company was founded by a young Englishman, W. T. Thomas, who emigrated to the United States and obtained a position with Glenn Curtiss at Hammondsport, New York. He was later joined by his brother Oliver, and they set up the aircraft firm of Thomas Brothers at Hammondsport, where an experimental pusher biplane was constructed in 1910.

The firm then moved to Bath, New York, where a number of types were built; one of these gained the world's altitude record in 1913. Shortly before the outbreak of war in Europe, B. D. Thomas--no relation--joined the concern; he had worked for both the Vickers and Sopwith companies in England. His first design was the T-2 tractor biplane , twenty-four of which were supplied to the British Admiralty in 1915.

After a second move, to Ithaca, New York, the firm began to produce aero engines, one of which was installed in their next design, the D-2 tractor biplane. During 1915 two seaplanes and the D-5 landplane were built for the U.S. Navy and Signal Corps respectively; further seaplanes and a flying boat appeared in the following year.

In January 1917 the firm merged with the Morse Chain Company of Ithaca, and the concern was reorganized as the Thomas-Morse Corporation. The first Thomas-Morse aeroplane was a trim little single-seater biplane, the S-4. Its 100 hp. Gnome Monosoupape 9-B rotary engine was partly enclosed by a circular open-fronted cowling, which was faired into the flat-sided fuselage by triangular fillets. The staggered wings were constructed of wood, wire-braced and fabric-covered; the top plane was flat, the lower plane had slight dihedral. There was a semicircular cut-out in the trailing-edge of the top wing, which carried the ailerons; these were operated by vertical rods. Single-bay wooden interplane struts, braced by wire, were fitted; the center section struts were slightly splayed outwards. The fuselage was a wooden wire-braced box girder, with a rounded top decking; the whole structure being covered with fabric. The neatly shaped empennage was of wood and fabric construction. Wooden vee struts formed the undercarriage legs. the wheels were sprung with rubber cord.

As it could be easily converted into a seaplane, the S-4 was offered to both the U.S. Army and Navy. The prototype was tested at Hampton, Virginia, and as a result of these trials fifty modified machines, known as S-4Bs, were ordered shortly after the United States entered the war.

This order was increased to 150 to cope with the increased need for training aeroplanes. Meanwhile a similar model with twin floats, the S-5, was put into production for the Navy Department.

The last fifty machines ordered had shorter-span wings and were designated S-4Cs. Further orders were placed for this version, with the 80 hp. Le Rhône 9-C rotary, built by the Union Switch and Signal Company of Swissvale, Pennsylvania, in place of the Mono-Gnome; the fuselage of the Le Rhône 'Tommy' was slightly shorter.

In all 447 Le Rhone versions were delivered, and they were widely used as advanced trainers. The final model in the series was the S-4E aerobatic trainer; it had shorter tapered wings and a mounting for a synchronized gun.

Thomas-Morse S4c Scout
Top Wing span:
26 ft 6 in (8.07 m)
Bottom Wing Span: 25 ft 6 in (7.77 m)
Top Chord: 5 ft 6 in (1.67 m)
Bottom Chord: 4 ft 3 in (1.29 m)
Gap Between Wings: 4 ft 6 in (1.37 m)
Length: 19 ft 10 in (6.06 m)
Height: 8 ft 1 in (2.46 m)
Empty: 961 lb (435 kg)
Gross: 1,354 lb (614 kg)
Maximum Speed:
100 mph (160 km/h) @ Sea Level
Service Ceiling: 15,000 ft (4,572 m)
Fuel Capacity: 27 gal (102 lt)
One Gnome Mono 100 hp (74 kw) 9-cylinder Rotary type
One Le Rhône 9-C 80 hp (59 kw) 9-cylinder Rotary type.
Synchronized machine gun.

Oh well, enough waffle.......

With brand new 10 megapixel camera on standby the first task is to open the box.........
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Jan 26, 2007, 04:19 PM
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Welcome aboard mate. None of the other builders actually died due to overwork, I just nagged them into early retirement. That's why we're reduced to second grade labour mate.
Seriously, whilst we need this one finished by the end of the week, you take your time and enjoy the build. Openning the box is always a good starting point. You'll find step two is harder, getting the bits out of the polythene bags.

Genuinely though mate, it is important that you get pleasure from the build. Then, just possibly, you might feel inclined to repeat the experience.

Jan 26, 2007, 05:14 PM
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Com'on open the box already, I'm waiting here with baited breath. Actually am interested to see if the lower wing incidence called for is 3deg. pos., whilst the upper is at 0deg.(negative decalage).
There is a wide difference of opinion on this and after many posts, the people discussing it more or less came to the conclusion that it didn't make a huge difference if the decalage was positive, negative or neutral so long as the incidence wasn't too large. I hope this post is in keeping with the topic as I've built a similar type with the aforementioned set up, and was wondering what to expect on the maiden. I'll stop talking now and start listening (reading) and enjoy the ride.
Jan 26, 2007, 06:28 PM
Registered User
You don't need to wait for the box to be opened, I can answer that one for you - IT ISN'T. Both wings are at the same angle of incidence, roughly 1 degree. Now, before anyone says it isn't enough, the plan built version flew extremely well.
It also has a similar amount of positive incidence on the tailplane.

Jan 26, 2007, 10:06 PM
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portablevcb's Avatar

Welcome and hope you like the build. The nice thing about posting in here is it motivates you to keep going. Cause if you don't keep posting there are plenty of us to nag you

Jan 26, 2007, 11:07 PM
Registered User
Thanks for the reply Peter, you the Man. I'm happy with that answer. Since mine is glued up, I won't change it unless I rekit it.
Jan 31, 2007, 12:15 PM
Crash and Build
dpoles's Avatar
The Tommy is HIGH on my build list, my desk is about 100 yards from the old Tommy Morse factory.
I will buy this kit when it is released.

I saw one all naked at the Fantasy of Flight museum near Orlando last week and took these pics.
Jul 16, 2009, 10:15 PM
Which means "what" to me?
invid66's Avatar
So what happened next? The story ended right in the middle of the first chapter.
Jul 17, 2009, 03:14 AM
Registered User
Absolutely nithing, that was the guys ONLY post. However, the model has been proofed and is in Charlie's listings.

Jul 17, 2009, 12:08 PM
Which means "what" to me?
invid66's Avatar
OOOhhh. I know its proofed I've got one sitting on the closet shelf waiting for me to finish my DH-6 and F2B. I was just looking for more building info
Jul 17, 2009, 01:42 PM
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Have you checked out the link at the bottom of this page, plenty of info there.
Jul 18, 2009, 10:35 AM
Registered User

Yanks Museum

Thought these might motivate you. It is being restored to fly at the Yanks Musem in Chino California

Not much help to a modeler at this scale as it mostly shows the construction.

Best of luck on the project.

I'm off to cut the grass and the HUNNYDO list.
Jul 18, 2009, 11:30 AM
Registered User
Martin Irvine's Avatar
These are great!!
I have a 1/6 scale Tommy Morse 3/4 drawn but got stuck on several points. These photos help.

Jul 18, 2009, 12:21 PM
Registered User
I have around twenty or so large format shots of the one in Chino. If anyone wants them drop me a PM here with your email address and I will send

I will be on travel with my job next week to the Tucson area so it will be the week after next when they go out.

I have to send from my work as I have dial up here at the house

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