Bleriot XI 1/2 scale build - Page 9 - RC Groups
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Nov 13, 2012, 12:58 PM
Bleriot's R Us
xairflyer's Avatar
As can be seen from shot below there is a lot of bracing and turnbuckles. I originally braced the fuselage using Stainless aircraft locking wire which was .7mm The fullsize bracing is from 2mm solid wire with crimped ends, the wire I used just looked too thin & shiny, I couldn’t look at it any longer so I took to it with the snips!

Found an excellent wire in pound stretchers, £1.99 for 10M it is used for tying up plants, it is a galv wire 1mm thick (perfect ½ scale) and bends easily but doesn’t break if you bend it back and forth, ideal really for what I wanted. It will probably discolour too over time which will also be good. It took me nearly a week of evenings to replace what I had done, as I also had to go and cut another 150 or so 8mm long bits of copper tube for the crimps!

The wire bracing as mentioned in the early part of this build is tensioned by the Bleriot turnbuckle which are U bands in each corner. As you tighten these down they also tension the wire.

It appears that over the years the Old Warden Bleriot has had conventional turnbuckles added in areas to make things easier or maybe as bracing was replaced.
From looking through all my pics there appears to be two different styles of turnbuckle used. A type with nuts that when tightened, prevented the ends from turning, by squeezing the slotted ends of the barrel, and the more common type that required wirelocking. See fullsize ones below.

For the normal barrel type I bought some of the 3mm ones from DB models and just re machined the barrel to look like the bleriot ones. For the other style I found another similar size turnbuckle from a model ship suppliers which had a thicker barrel which was better for machining to look like the version with the nuts.
I made the nuts from hex brass stock and just turned the barrel down to a size that I could basically score some threads on it with a Die.
The majority will just look like the nut works, but I will have to make 8 fully working versions like the fullsize for where the tail section is removable.
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Nov 15, 2012, 06:05 AM
Bleriot's R Us
xairflyer's Avatar
I needed a stand to support the front of the fuselage while I worked on the front undercarriage and decided if I made a proper one it would be useful for rigging the aeroplane when it is finished as well.
Started out being a couple of hours job like a simple saw horse, then it got out of hand and taking a few evenings with sanding, staining, using brass screws, and then I thought be nice to engrave some writing as well
Probably went over board but it looks the part and very authentic.
Nov 22, 2012, 06:34 AM
Bleriot's R Us
xairflyer's Avatar

I started making bits for my cockpit (seat/floor) but still not certain how it should be.
My fullsize cockpit pics are limited as it was all removed when I took my pics during the restoration at Old Warden, so I have been scratching my head over the seat.
I have some pics from mick reeves and also Alan (pupcam) was kind enough to send me some he took for me at OW.

I think looking at all the pics, there is effectively two seats, the old original one which may have looked like pic below (without sides) with a basket weave type base, as you can see it through the holes in the seat, and a new one which just looks like a piece of ply with holes drilled in it that was probably added in later years on top to strengthen it up.

Also not certain about the seat supports/legs, they first looked like alum box section but I think now they are just a channel section which is going to be difficult to bend without cracking or creasing.
Nov 22, 2012, 06:39 AM
Bleriot's R Us
xairflyer's Avatar
Spotted the mesh matt below in Poundland (UK shop) being sold as a pizza mat, ideal for simulating the weave on my seat.

I Cut out the two seat layers from ply to the best shape I could establish from the pics. pizza mat trimmed to fit inside, as it appears to be fitted.

I have the arm rest to make now from my Kooboo cane.
Nov 23, 2012, 09:12 AM
Bleriot's R Us
xairflyer's Avatar
The legs or frames for the seats are made from alum channel which are bent to shape. Bending channel is not the easiest thing to do without cracking or wrinkling.
Fullsize seat leg/frames shown in first picture below.

I got some 13x8 alum channel in B&Q and decided best way to try to bend it was to make a former using a similar idea to a pipe bender, but make it so the channel section would slot into it.
Hopefully then when bending, it would prevent the material from wrinkling or kinking as the material would effectively have no where to go.

The former was made from 60mm dia steel, the inside turned to the depth of the channel and a parting off tool ground to the exact width of the material 1.3mm, so to cut two slots for the sides.
My lathe is a bit small for this size of steel so I roped in my mate Stanley to make it for me on his lathe and he made a perfect job of it.

I tried a test piece by simply clamping in the vice and pulling it around by hand and was pleased to see it worked!! So to get more accurate bends I modified the handle of my piano wire bender, to include a nylon roller I turned up on the lathe. This would hold the channel tight against the former, so I could pull the channel around to the same mark for each side.

The two channels bent round really well with no signs of distortion other than a bit of the anodising coming off which I can sort with a bit of paint.
From what I can see from the fullsize pics, they are simply bolted to the longerons by cutting out a tab on the channel and bending it back.
This tab on my test piece was easy to crack/break, so I drilled a couple of relief holes and bent it very slowly!
Nov 23, 2012, 12:01 PM
Registered User
I'm not usually a fan of planes from this era, though I think this one looks nice, and I love that you're building your model as closely as you can to the way the original was constructed. This is a work of art!
Nov 23, 2012, 01:34 PM
Bleriot's R Us
xairflyer's Avatar
Thanks, I am amazed at the level of craftmanship when into these old planes and some parts that I havnt got to yet, are specially cast in aluminium, so molds etc had to be made first as well. Nowdays on homebuilts they just weld bits together!

Anyone in the USA live close to or get to visit the old Rhinebeck Aerodrome Red Hook NY?
Nov 24, 2012, 01:58 PM
Supersonic Engineering
GordonTarling's Avatar
xairflyer - That's some lovely work you're doing on that model! Can I ask what stain it is that you're using on the wood to get that 'antique' look? I've visited Old Rhinebeck - was there something you needed to know?
Nov 24, 2012, 07:20 PM
Bleriot's R Us
xairflyer's Avatar
I am using Antique Pine wood dye made by a UK Brand called Colron one coat is all that is needed, gives great results on different wood types, dries very quick. On top of it I am using Ronseal hard gloss varnish which takes about three days to dry properly.

Regarding the old rhinebeck, I would like to get some pictures of their Bleriot.
Nov 26, 2012, 08:36 AM
Bleriot's R Us
xairflyer's Avatar
I made the upper seat frame itself from kooboo cane which as I mentioned before is very easy to bend to shape, and ideal fro this application. A piece of ply is glued and screwed to the cane for the back support

As can be seen in the pics in post 123 above, the bent part of the arms on the chair have what looks like a black plastic cover on them, I could do this with heatshrink but it tends to be a rubbery grey black rather than what is shown, it would probably look ok just painted with gloss paint. I have to take the seat apart again when I receive my 3mm brass counter sunk screws so will sort it out then.
If anyone has came across that glossy plastic heat shrink that you somtimes see, let me know where it comes from.

It is difficult from all the pics I have posted to get a size of this machine, when I get the front undercarriage built I will be able to take it outside, but for now to get an idea, the pilot sitting in the seat is ¼ scale
Nov 26, 2012, 10:46 AM
You know nothing....
Stuart A's Avatar
Put that chair in an upmarket London gallery and you'd sell enough to pay for your build!
Btw I'm glad I'm not the only one lurking in Poundland
Nov 26, 2012, 12:16 PM
Bleriot's R Us
xairflyer's Avatar
Pound/Bargain stores are great, I am always watching for things that can be adopted into something else, seen some nice pre-bent garden bambo hoops during the summer, and thought wonder what could I make from those
Mar 01, 2013, 06:58 AM
Registered User
The PIPE's Avatar

There IS a 130 cm3 three-jug radial mill from Germany that someone made...

Dear XAirflyer:

The PIPE from New England USA here...with what I think is my "post no. 800" here at RCGroups...and I just spotted (on the 'Net) a nicely completed, home-brew 130 cm3 displacement petrol-fueled spark ignition radial mill from Germany (I think) running in this video...

...and as the four-hours from me by car OLD RHINEBECK AERODROME in New York State's Hudson River Valley has a restored Bleriot XI (the Western Hemisphere's oldest flyable aircraft) powered with a 120º-angled three-jug radial Anzani pulling it along on short "hops"...

1909 Bleriot XI (0 min 52 sec)

...if I ever modeled ORA's amazingly restored Bleriot, I'd be thinking of powering a more practically sized 1/4 scale example with, say, the 32 cm3 displacement glow ignition Saito three-jug radial mill available through Horizon in North America.

Hope these videos inspired you a small bit...

Yours Sincerely,

The PIPE....!!
Last edited by The PIPE; Mar 01, 2013 at 07:03 AM.
Mar 09, 2013, 07:37 AM
Bleriot's R Us
xairflyer's Avatar
Thanks for the post, would love to get some pics of the ORA Bleriot especially the engine installation as I now own this (yes 1/2 scale) for my project it is not just icing on the cake but the cherry on top of the icing
Last edited by xairflyer; Mar 09, 2013 at 06:40 PM.
Mar 09, 2013, 05:01 PM
Registered User
The PIPE's Avatar

I KNOW I've got an "album" of photos of N60094 around somewhere...

Dear XAirflyer:

The PIPE Here again - just got through earlier today with snow-blowing away some 18"/45 cm deep worth of BLIZZARD snow that hit southeastern Massachusetts during the day on Friday (08.03.2013)...I had to wait until Saturday morning before using the snowblower to plow away the driveway and walkway, as the storm lasted from Thursday morning through late Friday afternoon over here !!

That looks like a great half scale Anzani mill there...and I did a Google search for you, for photos of the engine ON ORA's Blériot XI, which wears American registration N60094.

I KNOW that I've also got a photo album I took quite a few years ago of that very aircraft AT ORA, in planning on building one as an RC miniature version someday. I took those photos with my now-"ancient" Pentax K1000 SE "film burner" SLR camera, which was joined some seven years ago by a "more 21st century-worthy" Pentax K100D digital SLR, and true to the "tradition" of Pentax SLR lens "backward" compatibility, the K100D can use ANY of my K1000 SE camera's lenses with no problem at all...something that's not as easy to say about Canon, Nikon, or almost any other brand of camera that's been available in both film and digital SLR versions for the average amateur photographer. I'm hoping to scan those for storage on my hard disk, and I'll be sure to share whatever of those you might be looking for, especially if the photo(s) cover an area on the aircraft you're looking for...and there's some great photos in my "Return to Rhinebeck" book of N60094, and with my flatbed HP ScanJet 3C scanner, those could be shared with you as well.

For "the present", though, I've attached one photo I found on the 'Net of a nose-on view of the ORA Blériot with SOME detail on its three-jug Anzani radial mill...hope it whets your appetite just a bit!

Time to head to the kitchen to get dinner...

Yours Sincerely,

The PIPE....!!

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