Thursday, 25 December 2014

45" Wingspan Wakefield (FF08)

Christmas present this year was a 45" Wingspan "Easy Built Models" Wakefield. This rubber powered plane apparently has achieved 28 minute flights, so I think I may need to find a larger field to fly it in once I've constructed it.

Can't wait to get building..

Saturday, 20 December 2014

Unknown Vintage Model Plane

While rummaging through my parent's old photo box we stumbled on a photograph of a vintage model aircraft made by my mother's late brother. We believe he made this some time in the late 1930's. We have no idea of the size, but it does look rather large.

Monday, 15 December 2014

Miss Canada Senior, now completed

Covering the Miss Canada Senior took me a little longer than I anticipated. The kit supplied enough red tissue for me to cover the wing and tail surfaces and I chose to cover the fuselage in white.

I used a very watered down mix of PVA wood glue to attach the tissue and when dried, I shrunk the tissue with a fine water spray. I left this to dry overnight and then I applied two coats of a 50/50 mix of cellulose thinners and cellulose dope to shrink and tissue further. Now all I need to do is wait until the Spring to give this a test flight!

Saturday, 13 December 2014

Miss Canada Senior, Ready for Covering

Nearly 7 months since I started on this kit, I have now completed the construction phase and I'm now ready to cover the plane. This week I managed to find a spare couple of hours to shape the nose block, glue in the undercarriage wire and do some final sanding..

Sunday, 7 December 2014

Miss Canada Senior, Fuselage Part 2

I was able to grab several hours of free time this weekend to finish the construction phase of the fuselage of the Miss Canada Senior.    All I need to do now sand the fuselage down and add in the undercarriage and shape the nose block, then it will be time to cover it.

 The 3/32" sheet balsa fillets to the nose were surprisingly accurately printed and they fitted perfectly first go.  Normally I need to tweak these with a small amount of sanding, but this kit was spot on.

To ensure I had a rigid box fuselage, I constructed rectangular frames in the under-wing sections to give me a near perfect square frame to start with. The rest of the frame was constructed with carefully cut 1/8" cross pieces and some temporary scaffolding to hold the frame square during the drying process.  The final box frame turned out warp free, which was a relief.

Sunday, 30 November 2014

Miss Canada Senior, Fuselage Part 1

I've now moved onto constructing the fuselage of the Miss Canada Senior. The original kit did not have longerons long enough for the bottom of the fuselage and required splicing two 1/8" strips together, however, I cut my own from 1/8" sheet balsa so I didn't have to do the splicing.

I also added extra diagonal strengtheners in on the nose and under-wing sections of the fuselage to add more rigidity; the extra weight was minimal. Next step is to put these together to complete the box fuselage.

Sunday, 23 November 2014

Miss Canada Senior, Wings nearly complete

Since receiving the Miss Canada Senior 36" wingspan model kit back in May I have been distracted and not been able to devote much time to model building.  However, this weekend I found enough time to sand down the tail and wing surfaces and finally glue the main wings together.

My main quibble with the main wing design is that the left and right wings really require more strengthening when joining them together with the required dihedral, and I am still wondering if I need to put ply supports in just to make sure the wing is fully rigid at the centre.

I need to just to add the triangular wing fillets to ensure the wings won't warp and then they are ready for covering.  I think I will do the wing tips, tail and stabilizer in red with the rest of the wing and fuselage in white.  

Sunday, 5 October 2014

Autumn flying

Autumn has arrived and the afternoon weather has been perfect for a spot of flying.  We gave the West Wings Sapphire (in yellow) and West Wings Aries (in white and blue) for a quick spin.  My 11 year old son took some photos and video of the occasion...

Attaching the tailplane to the West Wings Sapphire
Ready to fly..

Attaching the bottom wing to the West Wings Aeries

..hmm, will it fly?

..shoved in some packing to reduce the lift!

 ..after a lot of trimming, we got a short flight. I didn't want to over-wind the rubber as it was starting to show signs of ageing.

So, fortunately we didn't destroy any of the aircraft today which is always a bonus to some successful flying.  Next time I'll equip the planes with some new rubber so I can crank up the winding to get some longer duration flights...

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

36" Wingspan Miss Canada Senior

My previous balsa kit build was a rather diminutive scale model.  To make a change, I decided my next kit would be a large free flight aircraft, this time an EasyBuilt 36" wingspan vintage Miss Canada Senior.   This is a typical box fuselage rubber powered model with a rugged and rather chunky design.  I'm not sure about the aesthetics, but I think the flying performance may show some promise.

The balsa appears to be well graded and chosen carefully, the only minor quibble was the slight damage to the tip of the propeller, but I am sure I can work around that.   I will report back as I get to grips with the construction of this vintage gem.

Sunday, 23 February 2014

Astronomy Matters

I've been toying with the idea of acquiring a reflector telescope for quite a few years and so I finally took the plunge and bought a Celestron 130SLT telescope.   I am definitely an absolute beginner, so this is a useful device as it has fully computerized Altazimuth mount and a finderscope to help with alignment and location of objects.

The computer allows uses three bright celestial objects to determine the telescope's alignment.   One can then select an object out of a 4000 item database and the telescope will move and align itself to the object and also slowly track it.   The telescope can also identify objects in the sky too. 

So far I have been observing the clouds on Jupiter and the four Galilean moons, some easy to find binary stars and a couple of nebulae.   I also acquired a moon filter so I can observe the full moon in detail as this telescope can gather 345 times as much light as the human eye.

I'm very pleased with this piece of kit and I'm now looking to purchase a 2 x magnification Barlow lens to aid viewing.

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Bird Dog covered and ready for flying

I've now covered the Bird Dog and it's almost ready to fly.  I've omitted the oleo and wing struts as these only get knocked off with heavy landings.  I just need to put on the cockpit windscreen and add in the rubber.  As it stands, the plane balances correctly and I just needed a little tweak to the tail plane to bend out a slight upward warp that occurred during the doping process.

Sunday, 9 February 2014

Bird-Dog build now complete!

After a week of cutting, gluing and sanding I completed the construction phase of the Guillow's Bird-Dog.  This 18" wing span monoplane is a relatively easy build.  I added some of my own small modifications, such as some wing strengtheners and gussets as well as hand carved balsa nose as the vacuum formed plastic version was rather flimsy.  Instead of using card for the fillets around the cabin I used 1/32" balsa sheet.   The next task is to cover it with tissue..

Sunday, 2 February 2014

Free flight rubber powered scale plane

I thought it was timely to have another go at a free flight rubber powered scale aircraft.   I've been looking at the range of scale aircraft from Gillows for quite a while, however, I've been reluctant to purchase  any of these as I'm not familiar with the kits and I try purchase UK products rather than imported kits where possible.  However, this weekend I took the plunge and purchased a Gillow's 1/24 scale "Bird Dog".

This has an 18" wing span and is relatively easy starter scale kit.  The balsa quality is reasonable and my only complaint about the kit is that the instructions are printed on the reverse of the plans which makes construction a little tricky at times (unless one has a photographic memory!).

So far so good, I've got the initial construction completed on the fuselage (apart from the final sanding and finishing).  If I can get some time this week I will attempt to build the wings and tail.

Monday, 20 January 2014

Ready for flight!

I've now completed the West Wings Aries and I'm quite pleased with end results.  The nose block was a little soft for my liking, so I am holding out to see how well it lasts, and I'm not entirely sure a yellow propeller matches the white and blue colour tissue.

I am hoping to rebuild this as a monoplane with a couple more inches of wingspan just to see if this configuration will also work well.  I just need to find a supplier of propeller blades as my local hobby shop does not supply these.

Roll on Spring and calm dry weather - I can then get some flights in and report if this is a decent flier!

Sunday, 12 January 2014

West Wing Aries - Covered

This weekend I found a couple of spare hours to cover the West Wing Aries.  The hardest part was getting the tissue on the wing tips to pull tight without any wrinkles.    During the the final stage of completion I accidentally damaged the back of the fuselage, so that required some careful re-patching of the tissue.

I just need to now finish off the nose block with the 20 cm propeller and the plane is ready to balance, trim and fly...

Sunday, 5 January 2014

West Wings Aries

I've been cracking on with the construction of the West Wings Aries and I now have the majority of the aircraft now completed.  I just need to accurately drill some holes to hold the dowels in place and add a few more gussets in the wings for extra strength.

To make the fuselage more rigid I added some sheet balsa to the underside of the nose and made the box framework between the wings stronger.  This only adds a small amount of weight and hopefully will result in a tougher airframe.

So a few more hours work of final touches and the next step will be the covering...

Friday, 3 January 2014

West Wings Aries

West Wings Aries
I received a West Wings Aries for Christmas to keep me busy during the Winter months.  This is a relatively easy model and promises to be a slow but steady flyer.   This kit is almost identical to the West Wings Topaz, apart from the additional wing.  If the Aries works out well, I may tweak the plans and build an Aries from scratch.

The balsa wood is cut well, however, this kit was missing the trailing edges for the wings and tailplane which was a big disappointment.  Fortunately I have plenty of sheet balsa spare, so I can cut these myself, however, I did feel a little let down by this lack of quality control.

I've constructed the tailplane and I'm now working on the fuselage which I hope to complete by the end of this weekend.   Onwards and upwards!