[WWI] WWI List Re: Hyperscale W29 build - strange lozenge

Karen Rychlewski krychski at earthlink.net
Fri Jul 29 16:27:03 EDT 2011

On Jul 29, 2011, at 1:22 PM, Rob Stewart wrote:

> DSA has an article on the subject, complete with references over at the Aerodrome.
> http://tinyurl.com/3tua3rv

I'll muddy these waters a  bit more: 
The article referred to by Rob was posted in January '09, and on page 2, the last paragraph says the printed 3-color fabric has "...irregular hexagons measuring 15.5 x 20 centimeters and skewed five degrees in the filling direction, (width)." This interesting opinion was more fully explained by DSA in an article in WWI Aero, November 1991, in which he states that he examined what appeared to be an actual sample of the printed naval hex fabric and concluded, among other things, that the pattern was actually printed with a 5 degree lean/tilt/skew towards the right—which would be the direction of the length of the fabric bolt, not its width. That would make the hexagons "irregular" only in the sense that the 'flat' sides of the hexagons wouldn't be parallel with the width of the bolt, not in the sense of 'lozenge' hexagons. Pictures are worth those 1000 words, so in the diagram below, the red line marks the flat sides of the hexes:

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AFAIK, everyone agrees that the wing surfaces were covered chordwise with lengths of the fabric. If this is true (and it seems to be by my reading of all the blurry photos), then printing the hexes tilted like the above would definitely NOT be the same as laying each strip of fabric (or decal) on the wing at a 5 degree angle. Neither one would keep the 'flats' of the hexes in a line parallel to the leading edge of the wing.

Also AFAIK, no decal manufacturer has ever followed DSA's conclusions; every naval hex decal sheet I've seen has the 'flats' of the hexes parallel to the width of the fabric bolt. So the Hyperscale W29 has the wings covered correctly.

However, both Peter Grosz in DF 55 and Dr. Merrill on the text sheets accompanying his decals agree that the ailerons, top rear fuselage decking, float tops, and possibly the tailplane and elevator surfaces were covered with the fabric laid lengthwise—which makes more sense since these surfaces could then be covered without seams. If this is true, the Hyperscale W29 appears to be correct although I can't quite see the tailplane and elevators well enough to determine which way the hex 'points' are pointing. Ray Rimell's profiles on DF 55, the cover painting, and the drawings inside seem to have gotten the fuselage decking covering going the wrong way.

Nobody agrees on the exact colors so I won't even go there...

And, last but not least, what about the rib tapes? Were they there? If yes, what color? It's been suggested that lengths of the printed fabric were cut for rib tapes to exactly match the pattern below—seems like a LOT of work to me for no really good reason except aesthetics. I did a bit of research on this question some years ago when I found a photo of, I think, an Albatros W4 that seemed to have non-pattern matching rib tapes but I can't find the photo now so we'll continue to wonder...

Apologies if this horse has been beaten to death over on the 'drome, but I haven't visited those guys in a while. Youse guys have a better sense of humour...


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