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Sciabola or Italian Sabre

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Posted by Steve McLaren on 13/11/2019 22:54:21:

Thanks Al. Very informative. I will refer back to this later. I think I will try to do more of mine by painting this time. I will see if I can get hold of some of this Oramask 810. I assume that for those of us who don't, have Vinyl cutter, we could put it through an inkjet printer and cut out with a scalpel?

Steve I've only just seen this, so sorry for the late reply. I guess you could print an outline on the backing paper of the Oramask. It would have to be a mirror image if it was text of course. I'm not sure printer ink would stick to the masking film itself. As with Dirk, if you want a set of masks making then just let me know. No charge of course!

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  • 1 year later...

Time for an update!


My Sabre has been on, then definitely off again, then maybe back on!


I planned to start on 1 November 2019, but on 31 October I ruptured my Achilles and tore my calf muscle in one leg!

That put paid to standing in the workshop until around February 2020, but in the meantime, I had to build and equip a new workshop.


I was well on the way to completing the workshop, when in April 2020 I caught Covid and was laid low until Mid-May. 


The next plan was to defer building until November 2020, but that was disrupted by the worldwide Balsa shortage.


I finally bought the wood in April this year, but didn't start work until June.


So here we go....

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Right from the start I decided I didn't want to plank the fuselage and, because of the work we all did with the mass build Hurricane fuselage, I felt it would be possible to use ammonia to get balsa sheets to conform to the curves of the structure.


In order to size up the sheets required, it would be necessary to deviate from the plan of building the fuselage in two halves. Instead, I decided to build much more like a boat by erecting the keel and frames vertically off the building board. That way, I could take paper templates of the sheeting sizes directly off the framework.


So here is the first step:




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Anyone who has built a model boat hull using the hard chine method may well be familiar with the next part: Using brown paper to rub over the stringers gives an accurate outline for a balsa panel. I decided to aim for the initial or key sheet to cover three stringers to avoid longitudinal joints on the sheeting.


Below is an example of the brown paper laid over the framework and you can see the impression made by the stringer edges.


When cutting out the balsa sheeting, you simply offset the template outline by half the stringer width to give a join to the next panel that is mid-stringer thickness.



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After cutting out the balsa sheet, it is soaked in Ammonia and then held in place on the fuselage with masking tape while it dries. It thus takes up any double curvatures and the internal stresses in the wood relax, so that the dried, pre-curved sheet can be glues on with Aliphatic glue to allow sandability at the edges if needed.


Here' one of the pre-curved sheets showing the scraf joint towards the tail due to using 36" long sheet:



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I built the wing in parallel with the fuselage work. The full-size aircraft I am modelling was a fighter-bomber, so I had to devise a bomb pylon and release system that went in as the wing was built.


I love the jigged system that Martin and Gordon designed. Very quick to use and guarantees a true wing!


I used a very fine (0.032" diameter) version of the Sullivan gold-n-cable snake system (part number 577) as the release cable and ran it to a central 9g servo that fits within the wing root profile. Nice and light!


I had a bit of a dilemma with bomb pylons. Should I fix them onto the wing, where they might catch on landing, causing damage to the wing, or make them "knock-off" with magnets where they might scrape along the wing on landing, causing damage?


In the end I went with making them magnetic!



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  • 3 weeks later...
  • 2 years later...

I suppose I can finish this thread off now with a successful conclusion. 

After finishing the model in primer, it was successfully test flown in October 2022. I then left it alone until this spring when I painted it and it was flown again at the first PSSA event of the year at the Great Orme. 




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  • 2 months later...

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