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 So I’ve been able to spend a couple more hours tonight on the beaufighter! 
More filling and sanding on the port nacelle - the lower rear most section is solid balsa carved to shape so that’s been done as well- I’d cut the battery hatch out last week so I’ve fitted some dowels on the front that fit into the ply firewall and a spring catch at the rear so the hatch stays nice and secure but is easy to remove for fitting batteries etc… 

move also started planking the starboard nacelle - time consuming but if you break the project into smaller sections it stays enjoyable as you can move from one to the other when one gets a bit tiresome! 

Hopefully will get more of the starboard nacelle planked over the next couple of days… then on to covering the wings! 😀

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Posted (edited)

A little bit more progress today - and a lovely set of cowls arrived in the post courtesy of Sarik! Only a little bit of planking left to do now so I’m feeling pleased with myself! 

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Edited by chris meek 1
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1 hour ago, leccyflyer said:

404 Sqn RCAF - niiiiice one. 😎👍

Yep got to admit, if you read ‘the strike wings’ by Roy Conyers Nesbit - 404 sqnbdid outstandingly well! The 2 tone squadron codes add a nice bit of colour to the fuselage as well! 

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18 minutes ago, chris meek 1 said:

Yep got to admit, if you read ‘the strike wings’ by Roy Conyers Nesbit - 404 sqnbdid outstandingly well! The 2 tone squadron codes add a nice bit of colour to the fuselage as well! 

The Strike Wings have been a bit of an obsession of mine for the past thirty odd years, since I accidentally happened upon RAF Dallachy on an evening drive. It's a long held ambition to fly a Beaufighter at Dallachy - I didn't know at the time that there was a model club there, but have since flown other models at one of the Dallachy club's excellent fly-ins. They operate from one of the perimeter tracks adjacent to one of the remaining runways and you park your car in one of the dispersal pens. It's the 80th Anniversary of Black Friday on 9th February next year, so that's another date to put in the diary.

 

As well as Roy Conyers Nesbitt's excellent tomes on the Strike Wings, I recommend Andrew Bird's "A Separate Little War" on the Banff Strike wing, with added Mosquito loveliness.

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3 minutes ago, leccyflyer said:

The Strike Wings have been a bit of an obsession of mine for the past thirty odd years, since I accidentally happened upon RAF Dallachy on an evening drive. It's a long held ambition to fly a Beaufighter at Dallachy - I didn't know at the time that there was a model club there, but have since flown other models at one of the Dallachy club's excellent fly-ins. They operate from one of the perimeter tracks adjacent to one of the remaining runways and you park your car in one of the dispersal pens. It's the 80th Anniversary of Black Friday on 9th February next year, so that's another date to put in the diary.

 

As well as Roy Conyers Nesbitt's excellent tomes on the Strike Wings, I recommend Andrew Bird's "A Separate Little War" on the Banff Strike wing, with added Mosquito loveliness.

Yep got that as well! 🤦‍♂️I think the strike wings are sadly overlooked by historians- I’m planning on either the john  Ranson Beaufighter next, or maybe the Brian Taylor mosquito- only thing with that is the retracts are probably beyond my modelling abilities! 

Either way it’ll be in a Banff or Dallachy scheme… 

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38 minutes ago, chris meek 1 said:

Brian Taylor mosquito- only thing with that is the retracts are probably beyond my modelling abilities!

I wouldn't worry about the retracts, there are a few pairs sitting around in dust in modellers dens, in unfinished airframes,

that's where I got mine from in the 1990s for a snip.

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1 hour ago, Paul De Tourtoulon said:

I wouldn't worry about the retracts, there are a few pairs sitting around in dust in modellers dens, in unfinished airframes,

that's where I got mine from in the 1990s for a snip.

Thanks Paul - if anyone knows of any unwanted retracts for the 72inch Bryan Taylor Mosquito can you let me know!! 

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So, haven’t felt like finishing the planking today - so concentrated on the torpedo. 
it may not be scale ( the ‘flying’ tail on the original attached to the rear of the torpedo fins to stabilise it in flight then broke off when it hit the water and I’ve used some artistic licence on the colours) but it’s been useful in practicing some of the techniques for panel lines and rivets I want to use on the airframe. Not too shoddy even if I say so myself! I went for red vertical fins as a way of finding it… 😥

The torpedo is basically a balsa dowel with ply formers with a section of plumbers insulation foam to give it shape - then a balsa nose cap and the tail cone out of balsa sheet - all covered in brown paper.


I don’t think 404 squadron ever operated as ‘torpbeaus’ - more often bomb/rocket armed but hey, I wanted to try making a torpedo! 

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Last thing this week was to have a go at vac forming the navigators cupola….. not a great success but wasn’t expecting it at the first attempt! 
Couple of questions ….

 

once I’ve carved the mold is it best to cover it in something like a varnish to get the smoothest finish? If so - what do most people use? 
 

secondly - to heat the plastic is it best to stick it in the oven or use more direct heat like a heat gun on it? 
 

First attempt failed - the only acetate I could get my hands on was too thin and ended up splitting when I pulled it over the mold. Also the frame I’d attached the acetate to to pull it over was too tight to the vac former so took too long trying to position it, by the time I’d managed it the acetate was cooling rapidly! 
 

 

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I used 0.8mm pteg which is the French denomination for it in the first picture one with bubbles from being overheated, my mould is f/g polyester with a white gel coat

 

with a good brilliant finish, I normally leave the blue printed side of the film on the pteg on it as this will stop any imperfections of the mould like scratches from coming through, as you can see I didn't this time as the mould was perfect I also moulded my pilot at the same time, 'light is right'.

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Edited by Paul De Tourtoulon
correcting my 1960's english
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9 hours ago, chris meek 1 said:

Last thing this week was to have a go at vac forming the navigators cupola….. not a great success but wasn’t expecting it at the first attempt! 
Couple of questions ….

 

once I’ve carved the mold is it best to cover it in something like a varnish to get the smoothest finish? If so - what do most people use? 
 

secondly - to heat the plastic is it best to stick it in the oven or use more direct heat like a heat gun on it? 
 

First attempt failed - the only acetate I could get my hands on was too thin and ended up splitting when I pulled it over the mold. Also the frame I’d attached the acetate to to pull it over was too tight to the vac former so took too long trying to position it, by the time I’d managed it the acetate was cooling rapidly! 
 

 

Vac forming can be a bit hit and miss, with success on one pull and abject failure on the next one - the state of sag of the plastic and the timing of the pull is critical, as well as leaving sufficient room around the plug not to get too severe webbing - raising the plug from the base a little helps too. . I don't have the option to put the plastic in the oven, so out of necessity use the heat gun. For clear items I typically use 0.5mm -0.75mm PETG, depending on the size of the item being vacformed, whilst for things like exhausts and scoops I'd use white styrene in those same thicknesses. I found with some pulls that my covering heat gun didn't have the umpf to heat the plastic to a saggy state quickly enough, so employed the Black and Decker heat gun, which is a bit more ferocious. For my small Deacon Beaufighter canopy, I made a plaster of Paris mould of my HVP Beaufighter's canopy and used that as a plug, which worked beautifully - that's a bit smaller than your example though.

 

Having used varnish and sanding sealer on some carved plugs I would say that it is best to avoid it if at all possible, especially on clear items as the heat can cause it to degrade a bit and mark the plastic. Perhaps an epoxy finishing resin or some form of fibreglass might give better results, but I have not tried that personally.

 

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I made a plug for my Blackburn Firebrand out of balsa laminations as it is quick and easy to shape but not cheap 😢. I gave it several coats of dope which gave a good smooth finish after sanding.

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I mounted it on a balsa spacer for the vac- forming.

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5 hours ago, leccyflyer said:

Vac forming can be a bit hit and miss, with success on one pull and abject failure on the next one - the state of sag of the plastic and the timing of the pull is critical, as well as leaving sufficient room around the plug not to get too severe webbing - raising the plug from the base a little helps too. . I don't have the option to put the plastic in the oven, so out of necessity use the heat gun. For clear items I typically use 0.5mm -0.75mm PETG, depending on the size of the item being vacformed, whilst for things like exhausts and scoops I'd use white styrene in those same thicknesses. I found with some pulls that my covering heat gun didn't have the umpf to heat the plastic to a saggy state quickly enough, so employed the Black and Decker heat gun, which is a bit more ferocious. For my small Deacon Beaufighter canopy, I made a plaster of Paris mould of my HVP Beaufighter's canopy and used that as a plug, which worked beautifully - that's a bit smaller than your example though.

 

Having used varnish and sanding sealer on some carved plugs I would say that it is best to avoid it if at all possible, especially on clear items as the heat can cause it to degrade a bit and mark the plastic. Perhaps an epoxy finishing resin or some form of fibreglass might give better results, but I have not tried that personally.

 

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Yes that’s what I found with mine - I’d used filler and sanded it then put several coats of Eze Kote on as an experiment - lovely smooth finish to it but it couldn’t stand the heat when I put it in the oven and ended up degrading… now I’ve got some more sanding smooth to do! I think I’ve got some two part finishing resin I’ll give a go… thanks for all the help guys! 

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20 minutes ago, chris meek 1 said:

Yes that’s what I found with mine - I’d used filler and sanded it then put several coats of Eze Kote on as an experiment - lovely smooth finish to it but it couldn’t stand the heat when I put it in the oven and ended up degrading… now I’ve got some more sanding smooth to do! I think I’ve got some two part finishing resin I’ll give a go… thanks for all the help guys! 

Why did you put your plug in the oven? I heated my plastic sheet held in its frame in the oven until it sagged (wife was out!) I switched on the vacuum cleaner and smartly pulled the frame holding the plastic over the plug. The plastic cooled very quickly once formed on the cold plug, so didn’t have time to damage the dope finish.

Edited by Piers Bowlan
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A good aircraft the Beau flown by courageous crews, it did have an issue in that it did not ditch well as noted in poem from the time.

                   WHEN A BEAU GOES IN.

When a Beau goes in, 

In to the drink,

It makes you think,

Because, you see, they always sink

But nobody says poor lad,

Or goes about looking sad

Because, you see, it's war,

It's the unalterable law.

 

Although it's perfectly certain,

The pilot's gone for a burton,

And the observer too

It's nothing to do with you

And if they should go

To a land where falls no rain nor hail or snow-

Here there or anywhere.

Do you suppose they care?

 

You shouldn't cry

Or say a prayer or sigh.

 In the cold sea, in the dark 

 It isn't a lark.

 But it isn't an Original Sin-

 It's just a Beau going in.

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7 hours ago, Piers Bowlan said:

Why did you put your plug in the oven? I heated my plastic sheet held in its frame in the oven until it sagged (wife was out!) I switched on the vacuum cleaner and smartly pulled the frame holding the plastic over the plug. The plastic cooled very quickly once formed on the cold plug, so didn’t have time to damage the dope finish.

Piers I’ll be honest it was a mix of impatience and never having done it before! I’d tried heating the acetate by itself first but looking back probably didn’t get it as warm as I should so it cooled before I could get it to the vac former - so in went the vac former with everything in place and the hoover tube sticking out the front of the oven! 
 

We only ever learn from our mistakes I suppose! 🤣🤣🤣🤣

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