[WWI] RFC/RNAS Queries

Rick Geisler ragfokker at hotmail.com
Sat Feb 10 13:37:55 EST 2007

Chris asks: ( major snip)

>After a long hiatus modeling just about everything but
>WWI a/c, I’ve come back to early warplanes with a
>vengeance, particularly RFC/RNAS machines.  Having dug
>out  accumulated books and references, and rapidly
>filling out my library, I still have some basic
>questions.  Your patient tolerance of a relative
>newbie, and your advice, are gratefully appreciated.
>My questions:
>4) Most WWI a/c have half-moon shaped footrests or
>stirrups on the fuselage sides, often simulated in kit
>form with nifty PEB pieces.  I assume these were
>actually cut outs; what were they backed with?  It
>looks like there should be a fabric bag, or at least
>gusseted fabric, but I haven’t found any illustrations
>of this detail.

I forget where exactly,(maybe the Smithsonian Albie book?) but I saw a photo 
of the inside of an Albatros D type . It showed this to be a simple wood 
horseshoe shaped structure. I guess other manufacturers may vary but wood 
would be my guess.

>7) A recent build by Neil Pinchbeck of Revell’s S.E.5a
>kit in SAMI v. 12 iss. 12 suggests that cockpit
>interior sides were finished in red oxide primer.  All
>my references for S.E.s and Sopwiths point to
>varnished and often stained wood finishes instead.
>Any ideas on red lead primer?

I am going to answer with a question, To what purpose? The service life of 
these aircraft was usually measured in weeks. Spars and longerons being shot 
through and crashes were far more frequent causes of aircraft being written 
off than old age. For the purposes of protection of the wood, varnish seems 
to be more practical and I would think less costly and time consuming. 
Pictures of crashed and captured SEs in High in the Empty Blue clearly show 
that fabric peeled away from the fuselage in the cockpit area is a light 
color consistant with what one would expect of CDL. I have not made a study 
of Camels ( Sopwiths or Mammals), but I would think they would also be 
varnished wood. Purely SPECULATION  but I can think of one instance where 
something like this anti corrosive paint would perhaps be practical. What 
about Camels intended to be launched from lighters or Battleship turrets? I 
must emphasize this is RANDOM THOUGHT!

Rick G.

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