[WWI] Turnbuckles

Thayer Syme thayers at flyrc.com
Wed Feb 21 16:33:13 EST 2007

At 03:03 PM 2/21/2007 -0600, you wrote:
>>From: Thayer Syme <thayers at flyrc.com>
>>at 1/48, you are looking at .104x.010. Certainly more reasonable. I 
>>like the stretched tube or insulation tips.
>In the book "On Miniature Wings", there's a few models where this 
>method was used and to me, it just looks like a bit of tubing 
>slipped on the wire, and not at all like a turnbuckle. I even once 
>tried taking this method one step further with a piece of hypo 
>tubing. I ground off the sides so it had that open center. And when 
>I put it on the model, it looked like a bit of hypo tubing with the 
>sides ground off and not really like a turnbuckle. I guess it looked 
>better than nothing but not good enough to make enough to rig a 
>complete biplane.

But honestly, what are the options? Are you going to machine 
turnbuckles in 1/48 or 1/72? Me neither.

Now I am not a static modeler, so take everything I say with a big 
grain of salt. I see a lot of RC models where someone has overdone 
the texture of the detail so much so that in my view it really 
detracts from the model. I regularly seen rib stitching that, when 
scaled up, would look like it was done with clothes line, if not a 
garden hose. The diameter of real rib stitching cord is at most .050. 
Even at 1/4 scale we would want little more than fine thread. The 
funny thing is, I know some of the modelers in question have walked 
the line at Oshkosh, or at least at the local airport. From more than 
a few feet, you have to look pretty hard to see rib tapes, rib 
stitching, and from a few more steps back, flush rivets and even most 
panel lines. I have joked with a very well known and respected scale 
modeler at trade shows about the pounds (yes, I used the word 
"pounds") of India Ink used to detail the rivets and panel lines on 
what was probably a 1/8 or 1/6- scale WWI warbird entered into static 
competition. It seems such excess can best be described as "Cartoon 
Scale." Unfortunately, working at 1/48, and 1/72 especially, avoiding 
overscale details seems difficult, if not impossible. Especially  if 
you want to actually see the details on the model.

Most of the models shown on this list are exceptional, and far beyond 
what my skills could carry, even with a lot of practice. I don't 
claim I can do better, but it is still easy to see that many details 
are too heavy. I agree that tubing slipped onto the rigging probably 
does look like tubing slipped onto the rigging. In the same manner, a 
folded PE part, or dab of glue or paint will look like what they are 
as well. The trick seems to be to add details that are subtle enough 
to add to the overall presentation, yet without demanding your 
attention enough to distract you from the whole. But now we have 
crossed the line into real art.

Perhaps the best option is to try some tests, then ask another 
knowledgeable modeler what results look most pleasing. The creator is 
often too close to the project to judge it effectively.

Just the idle musings of someone who recklessly throws his creations 
to the whims of the air. If it looks right putting by at eye level a 
few yards away, that is usually close enough for me.

Thayer Syme
Editor, Fly RC Magazine
Maplegate Media
650 Danbury Rd
Ridgefield, CT 06877
203-431-7787, ext 119  

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