by Hugh Beyts

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Kit: Roden (1:48)

This is the excellent Roden kit with a few tweaks which I could not resist: I modified the tailplane, reducing chord and reshaping the tips in accordance with Windsock drawings. Internally I added bracing, control cables and a new seat and cushion but little can actually be seen. I swapped the inner and outer wing struts so the broad chord ones are correctly positioned in board. This necessitates removing all the pitot tube detail and regluing the one of your choice outboard. To get the correct sit and alignment of the U/C it is necessary to remove 3mm from the bottom of the front legs and then remodel the lower end of the struts. I replaced tip skids and flair holders with finer gauge wire for appearance sake and added such things as fuel pipes, part of the gun raising mechanism and bomb release gear. Underside the ribs are counter shaded but not too much (Nigel belongs to the same club, too much and I'd never hear the end of it!) Rigging is invisible thread, all wires equally tensioned with two self closing tweezers (60grams/~2oz)and control cables are from knitting-in-elastic. Final touch was adding the rigging turnbuckles: a blob of superglue and overpainting with black paint looks about right in this scale.

Sopwith Baby

Kit: Scratch (1:72)

I originally built this model in 1978 using the wings and engine from the Airfix Sopwith Pup. The rest was scratch built using plasticard. I was inspired to have a go when Ray Rimmel who was the Editor of Scale Models in those days announced a photographic competition of WWI Aircraft Models and also asked readers to submit the type they would most like to see kitted. The results were published in SM January 1979. The original model was rigged with rolled copper wire, cut to length and glued with PVA wood glue. The wings although having their tips replaced still exhibited the starved cow appearance of the kit originals. Markings are from the illustration in The Pocket Encyclopaedia of World Aircraft in Colour (Bombers....1914-1919) by Kenneth Munson. The Blackburn logos on the floats were drawn in pencil and scratched onto the fin with a pin to reveal the white plasticard underneath. Much to my surprise and delight I took joint second place but only discovered this when I browsed a copy of SM on a newstand in Houston. Truly SM deserved the title 'International' and Ray has done much to encourage WWI model buffs. The passage of time took its toil on the model, first the rigging was lost when a dunk in warm water to remove dust revealed the water soluble properties of PVA (which makes it great for holding temporary jigs in place when constructing difficult tripes, bipes and floaters. Wings and floats separated later and finally the bits were place in a poly-bag whilst I got on with things like a career and family. Having discovered the likes of strutz, tension rigging, superglue and knitting-in-elastic I finally rebuilt the model a few years ago, closing my eyes to some of the inaccuracies inherent in using Tabloid plans to create a Baby; Hey,they were all I had in 1979! Gone are the cow ribs; the wings were thoroughly sanded and tapes added from sanded 10 thou strip. Struts are from strutz, soft soldered to create the float attachment. Markings are slightly changed. I had lost the excellent Lewis gun which I think came from Airfix's DH4 so replaced it with a cleaned up Aeroclub item as is the prop. So much thinning and sanding resulted in some paper thin sections, very weak around the fuselage so rigging is low tension knitting-in-elastic, which also enables the creation of the javelin and above centre wires between the floats to be easily realised. This feature is noticably lacking in my original. The bomb came from the same DH4 that yielded the lost Lewis gun, though years of engrained training from Airfix means that the weapon is black!

Gnome Monosoupape 100hp

Kit: Scratch Built (1:48)

This engine is mainly scratch built with a wooden hand carved propeller. It uses the white metal crankcase from the Bluemax Vickers FB5 "Gunbus" and my own resin cast cylinders cloned from another kit. Detail is from fuse wire, brass tube, photoetch frame offcuts & plasticard etc. Including the six prop laminations it consists of 155 parts. Ultimately the engine will adorn my FB5 which uses the Bluemax kit as a basis; purchase kit and discard contents and whilst admiring the box-art scratch build 95% of the airframe.

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