This is the 1:48 Blue Max kit.
This is the 1/48 Blue Max Airco DH2 built with Tomasz Gronczewski's wonderful brass set and...ahem...considerable further modification.
Fuselage/nacelle is scratched. Heatsmashing the nose and engine cowling was an exercise in anger management. After burning through
about twenty bucks worth of plastic stock, I finally got good results with .4mm Evergreen sheet. Lewis drum bins are scratched from ..125mm
sheet, using "Dr.Tom's Amazing Boiling Water Heat Smash Method." Upper lip rimmed with very thinly stretched sprue. Seatbelt (barely
visible here) is early RFC type from the Eduard RFC belt set (48303). Coaming is lead foil.
Tail boom is from the kit, with struts cut from .5mm brass rod-cored flattened brass pipe and soldered in place. Vertical stab and rudder are
built around Tomacz's framework skinned in .25mm Evergreen.
The Monosoupape is scratched around cylinders purloined from the DML Fokker Triplane kit (which is still too far down the "to do" pile to
worry about right now...). Datafile photos were invaluable in this venture. Pushrods are stretched sprue, cylinder heads are punch'n'die'd
Evergreen sheet and chopped Evergreen planking. Engine block is disks cut from 1mm Evergreen sheet, garnished with punch'n'die'd rivets
and .3mm solder wire bent into circles (this stuff kicks butt for bungee suspension, too, btw).
Wingtop fuel tank is scratched. The top lid rim is stretched sprue glued around the circumference of the tank.
Rigging is mostly magic-markered monofilament with the previously explained "Hashimoto turnbuckles" (Fraser May's "biplane rigging meets
fly tying" methodology is close to this), then given a final coat of Modelmaster Gunship Grey applied by brush. This paint takes very well to the
monofilament after the rigging has been hit with some flat overspray.
Areas I felt would not take the stress of monofilament rigging -- such as the aileron control horns alongside the nacelle and rudder-- were
instead rigged with stretched nylon pantyhose thread.
I'd like to thank everyone on the list who helped me with this project, especially my "sensei" and initial inspiration, the Man With The Golden
Tweezers, Dr. Tom Morgan. A special thanks also to Tomasz G. for the brass, to Stephen Mudgett for selling me the Blue Max kit in the first
place, to Stephen Perry and Bob Laskodi for wing help, to Sanjeev Hirve for Lewis gun guidance and to Roger Fabriconi from Hyperscale for
sending me a much needed rigging diagram from the Eduard kit.
Sopwith Triplane was probably the second-most difficult kit I've ever built!
Struts are teak, like the actual Sopwith planes. Prop is sandwiched
light/dark strips of teak cyanoacrylated and carved. Finish is meant to
simulate the somewhat browner, 1917 RFC/RAF dope. I used Gunze Sangyo
Mahogany mixed with Dunkelgrun (about 1:3) to achieve this color.
Undersurfaces are Gunze Sangyo Sail Color. Upper surfaces are highlighted
with Tamiya Acrylic Khaki, and all "doped" surfaces are oversprayed with
semi-gloss clear. The cowling and wheels are done in chamois-buffed Tamiya
Enamel Flat Black.
The DML Spad XIII went together so easily I had to pinch myself to make sure
I was actually building a WWI plane and not just dreaming all of this. After
building all those Eduard jobs for the last few years, though, I guess
anything seems to go together like Lego in comparison. Anyway, the machine
in question here is ADJ Jacques Roques' clear doped linen early SPAD XIII.
Note curved wingtips, which were an easy little conversion project made
possible by following diagrams in the SPAD FIGHTERS IN ACTION
Squadron/Signal book. Decals are from Aeromasters SPAD Fighters sheet put
out a couple of years ago. Finish is Gunze "Sail Color" with light brown
pastel rubbed between the ribs, then glazed with gloss varnish (which
eventually had to be toned down with flat just a notch for proper "scale
gloss"). I think it's very effective in expressing the doped fabric look, as
well as in giving a nice "scale light" shadow intensity to the ribbing.
Rigging, as usual, is CA'ed fishing line and/or stainless steel wire. The
set of inner "mid-wing" struts on the DML kit are PE steel, so they are a
little too thin for scale. I got around this by building them up with layers
of CA, being careful to avoid the rigging holes, then sanding them down
level and smooth.