Shop our Airplanes Products Drone Products Sales
Thread Tools
Mar 09, 2007, 02:29 PM
Things are looking up...
mechrick's Avatar
Thread OP
Build Log

Pfalz DIIIa – Completed 36” BlueCor FFF Build


To me the Pfalz DIIIa is the prettiest World War I plane made. I love the lines, and though underpowered compared to the similar looking and far more numerous Albatros, it was a more sturdy and (I think) cleaner design.

I have been watching a couple of super detailed ¼ scale Pfalz build threads in awe, and since most of my fleet is foam (GWS of BlueCor scratch builds) I would like to build the 41” Aerodrome Pfalz DIIIa. But that will be a time commitment and build space requirement I do not currently have. So to satisfy my desire for a DIIIa, to get more experience flying biplanes, and to prep for an eventual laser cut build, I decided to begin parallel FFF “quick” builds on an Albatros and Pfalz, and see which one gets ahead and built.

I built a simple and crude little (24” wingspan) Fokker DVII way back:

https://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=368341

using http://www.fiddlersgreen.net/ paper plans, and have no fear of BlueCor (just love the stuff):

https://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=422890

I have the WWI and WWII Fiddlers CD’s, and found a nice Albatros plan, and to my surprise a Pfalz DIIIa. It is NOT on their website, as it was removed to be updated (more on that later)**. It was nice to find a ready simple plan for me to start with.

I learned a lot from this effort, so I thought I would post a bunch of pictures of the completed build. Maybe it will give someone else some good ideas (or what NOT to do).

Rick

** Edit: The Pfalz DIII plans are back up on Fiddler's, and it is at a discount price while they update it!
Last edited by mechrick; Mar 10, 2007 at 07:48 PM.
Sign up now
to remove ads between posts
Mar 09, 2007, 02:31 PM
Things are looking up...
mechrick's Avatar
Thread OP

Making Plans


Most if not all DIIIa’s came out of the factory in silver color, with the wood paneled fuselage covered in clothe. I found a nice lithograph of a Jasta 56 fighter with yellow nose and tail, white rudder, and lozenge pattern on the wings (!!). It is a nice color combo. And minimizes the need for large areas of uncovered (I would not be glassing the BlueCor skins) silver paint. I was not sure the acrylic silver would cover well, so reducing that AND forcing myself to do lozenge seemed the right challenge.

The Fiddler’s plans are very simple, with three rolled cones making up the fuselage. Wings and tail surfaces are straight forward. For biplanes I like simple single thickness foam rolled to give a slight under-cambered wing with a spruce spar for strength. I cut out and shaped the Pfalz and Albatros fuselages and wings, and the started on the detailing for the Pfalz, and never got back to the Albatros.

I did not take any pictures of the cut and build of the fuse, as this was supposed to be a quick build and I gave no thought to documentation, but the fuselage of the Pfalz turned out so nice I started taking pictures then for club friends. I made a quick sketch here of the bulkheads to give an idea of placement and access. I built a separate 5-sided vented battery box out of BlueCor to be held right behind the motor and through two bulkheads. The cockpit is traditional placement for the tail servos, with a three piece foam “H” structure dropped in to the rear cone. The oval shapes and sizes for the bulkheads were just shaped and trimmed to fit. I wanted the center two large bulkheads to serve as attachment points for the lower wing so they were spaced within the fuselage wing opening.
Last edited by mechrick; Mar 10, 2007 at 07:49 PM.
Mar 09, 2007, 02:34 PM
Things are looking up...
mechrick's Avatar
Thread OP

Fuselage Details


The battery box has a removable panel that slides up to allow access to the GWS 2212 motor for removal, and puts some small cushion between the battery and motor in case of a crash. The GWS outrunner motor bracket is mounted on the inside of a spruce forward bulkhead, and then the motor mounting screws drop in from the front side of the bulkhead.

There are two little vents on the real plane, so I made “close to scale” ones to get some cooling air into the fuselage. I used a couple of vacuum formed domes that actually came from the pilot figure alignment part of an unbuilt Great Planes Fokker DVII.

Three #8 nuts were bonded to the backside of two spruce spars attached to the center bulkheads and fuselage sides. The lower wing will be attached with 3 nylon screws to the fuselage, and two nylon screws to the outer wing struts.

And sometimes you walk around not knowing what you are looking for, but knowing it when you see it (like most of my trips to Home Depot). When I was doing some cable replacement on a TV it hit me to try and strip the coax and use the flexible cover for cockpit coaming. It is not the lightest material, but it looks the way I wanted it to.

No wing fillets in the paper plans, and I always fear making them, but with some trial and error paper pattern cutting, they were pretty simple to make from foam and came out pretty good. They really firm up the join between the wing and fuselage.
Mar 09, 2007, 02:35 PM
Things are looking up...
mechrick's Avatar
Thread OP

Completed Fuselage


And here is the completed fuselage.

Spruce cabane struts (fit to indentations in the finished upper wing) are very sturdy. The Pfalz DIII “a” has the guns on the outside of the fuselage (on the insistence of von Richthofen himself), so I needed guns. Simple rolled paper around round BlueCor ends, and a foam breach and ammo feed. While a little fragile, they are protected by the wing. Servo rod tubes make nice barrels.

The Fiddlers plan is a DIII, not DIIIa, so the horizontal stabilizer is the wrong shape. Easy to fix, if not exactly to scale. The Fiddler plans also had the wrong shape on the lower wing tip (maybe why they currently have it off the site).
Mar 09, 2007, 02:37 PM
gpw
gpw
“There’s no place like Foam”
gpw's Avatar
Mech... Being an old Albatross/Fokker builder... you may want to enlarge the tail surfaces ... they fly so much better at our "scale"
Looking GOOD , Dude!!!
Latest blog entry: Lost plans
Mar 09, 2007, 02:37 PM
Things are looking up...
mechrick's Avatar
Thread OP

Landing Gear


Since the lower wing needs to come off, so do the gear. And it is nice to have them removable for “repairs”. I fashioned some front fittings by bending 0.062 wire and epoxying small washers to act as stops. The gear is one piece, and hooks into the forward fuselage to rotate back and be held in place by the wing attach screws. I put a small foam stop behind the screw heads just in case the gear slips out, so it can not move back and come off in flight (but can collapse rearward in a hard landing).

Paper cone covers complete the gear. The wheels are a little heavy, but should help with stability and balance. They are also the only thing I had to buy for the plane, as everything else (foam and wood) was in my stockpile.

The tail skid is a simple spruce ply-form trimmed to profile using an inboard picture and sanded to shape.
Mar 09, 2007, 02:38 PM
Things are looking up...
mechrick's Avatar
Thread OP

Strut Attachment


Nylon screws also hold the wing struts to the lower wing. It is a simple arrangement; with a #8 nut embedded in a box shaped lower strut construction. Lucky for me the Pfalz struts form a “V” at the bottom. The spruce construction is very strong, and is simply epoxied into the upper wing in rectangular holes cut in the lower surface.
Mar 09, 2007, 02:40 PM
Things are looking up...
mechrick's Avatar
Thread OP
Quote:
Originally Posted by gpw
Mech... Being an old Albatross/Fokker builder... you may want to enlarge the tail surfaces ... they fly so much better at our "scale"
Looking GOOD , Dude!!!
LOL - No problem with the tail surfaces being too small - more on that later (hang in there). And thanks for checking in!

Rick
Mar 09, 2007, 02:41 PM
Things are looking up...
mechrick's Avatar
Thread OP

Aileron Control Rods


It worked so well on my DVII I used the same setup again. Holding the foam up to a light, I used a slightly flexed wire rod to “drill” from the aileron to the cockpit area (rotating it 180 to change direction as I worked it along). Then I installed 0.056 wire from the inside out and bent the end to insert in the traditional paper hinged ailerons. The aileron servo is located right behind the dummy engine, so it is accessible for adjustment and maintenance.
Mar 09, 2007, 02:42 PM
Things are looking up...
mechrick's Avatar
Thread OP

500th Post


500 posts. Woo-hoo! A mini milestone for me. And in my own build thread – cool. Next up, the big 1000 (in two more years).

Rick
Mar 09, 2007, 02:43 PM
Things are looking up...
mechrick's Avatar
Thread OP

Spinner


It looks a little too much like an Albatros spinner, but I had to go a little bigger in diameter due to the larger than scale front bulkhead. The 2212 motor fits snugly in the inner diameter of the nose, so I’m glad it is not any smaller, but you know – scale not exact. The vent holes look like little nostrils or shark eyes, depending on your point of view. I put a couple of degrees down and right thrust in the engine bulkhead.

The spinner is the end off a 3” foam egg from the craft store (drat – another purchase of $0.50). If it makes it to spring, maybe I can find a plastic Easter egg to make a better looking spinner (all the plastic eggs I could find were 2”).

GWS 1047 then 1080 props will be tried first.
Mar 09, 2007, 02:44 PM
Things are looking up...
mechrick's Avatar
Thread OP

Guns, Cabanes, Cockpit


The guns tuck nicely under the wing and cabane struts. You can see the spar clearly here. Hopefully the CG will be right there.

The aileron linkages look like part of the guns, and a removable little seat (or pilot figure) will hide the tail servos.
Mar 09, 2007, 02:45 PM
Things are looking up...
mechrick's Avatar
Thread OP

Dummy Engine


What a perfect way to hide the battery, and to provide easy access. The Pfalz and Albatros engines sticking up make nicely removable bay doors.

A few minutes cutting little (non-scale) parts, and it adds a ton of detail and “realism”. The dummy motor hooks in to the front edge of the fuselage, and rotates back to squeeze under the aileron servo mounting block. I may add a magnet if necessary, but it is a pretty tight fit.
Mar 09, 2007, 02:47 PM
Things are looking up...
mechrick's Avatar
Thread OP

Completed Foam Bird


I love the lines of the Pfalz, and here they are. I am very happy with the form of the Fiddler plans. For only 3 conical sections, it approximates the torpedo shape of the fuselage pretty well. It helps that the fuselage section lines are somewhat hidden by the wings. I stripped the covering from about 1.5 inches at the nose, and +/- 0.5 inches at the joint lines, and then sanded a little more torpedo shape into it.
Mar 09, 2007, 02:58 PM
gpw
gpw
“There’s no place like Foam”
gpw's Avatar
It is a real BEAUTY!!!!! Too nice to fly really !!!
Latest blog entry: Lost plans


Quick Reply
Message:

Thread Tools

Similar Threads
Category Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Rave BlueCor/FFF glider? supi7 Sailplane Talk 15 Apr 23, 2009 07:20 PM
Build Log One sheet Bluecor FFF, Build & Fly madfisherman Foamies (Scratchbuilt) 38 Jan 22, 2007 07:16 AM
Build Log 36" WS P-38 Single Pusher FFF Build snolord1 Foamies (Kits) 26 Jan 23, 2006 06:39 PM
Does anyone ship Dow BlueCor FFF? Waldo Pepper Foamies (Kits) 15 Nov 16, 2004 03:49 PM
Any build an air boat out of bluecor fff? Daddy-O Dock Talk 1 Aug 05, 2004 05:59 AM