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Author Topic: Miller "Little Gem" build for FAC Goodyear mass launch  (Read 6908 times)
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MKelly
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« Reply #25 on: June 15, 2017, 11:21:35 PM »

Thanks John.

After fitting the cheeks around the wings it seemed like there should be something supporting the tissue where the cheeks rest against the wing.  I added a fillet on top and a bit of sheet to the lower surface of the wing to provide a more positive mating surface.  This should (hopefully) also help avoid wrinkles at this joint when covering.

With the cheeks and wings fitted it's time for the obligatory bones shot.  After what seems like weeks of carving and finagling this feels like a bit of a milestone...

Still have to carve and sand the canopy top and wheel pants, but I'm now motivated enough to start collecting images for the tissue.  Found the STP, Bardahl and Champion logos on the web.  I've got a semi-useable picture of the "Ole Tiger" lettering and tiger that I may be able to clean up enough to use.  The original Shorty's Basement kit for this came with a decal sheet, but I bought a short kit on clearance that did not include that decal sheet.  If anyone has it and could share a scan of it, or if anyone has any color pictures of the sponsor decals or "Ole Tiger" logo I'd be most appreciative.

Cheers,

Mike
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Mark Braunlich
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« Reply #26 on: June 16, 2017, 09:55:21 AM »

A couple of pics of Denny Sherman's "Little Gem" before purchased by Bob Downey, repainted and renamed "Ole Tiger".  Photos by eminent air race photographer, Robert Pauley.
Both photos reportedly from 1957, the first at Danville, NY, the second at Ft. Wayne, IN.   Note change in wing planform and tail surface shapes.
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Mark
MKelly
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« Reply #27 on: June 16, 2017, 04:09:30 PM »

Great pictures - thanks!  I love the blue & gray color scheme in the Danville picture, and I like the look of the airplane with the straight wings and rounded tips.  Comparing the two pictures it looks like the Ft Wayne photo has the new wings and tail.

Thanks again,

Mike
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MKelly
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« Reply #28 on: June 16, 2017, 10:45:50 PM »

More carving and sanding - got the canopy top and wheel pants done today, and added a strip of 1/8" to the lower longeron between the gear wire and the former behind the cockpit to replicate the lower fuselage contour.  Couldn't resist another couple of frame shots - the pants make it look fast!  Not bad progress for a month into the build (for me, anyway).

Mike
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BG
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Me with F1B - epic retrieval (flew 10km after DT)




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« Reply #29 on: June 17, 2017, 03:20:52 PM »

looks great! what is here weight?
B
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F1B guy but its not my fault, Tony made me do it.
MKelly
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« Reply #30 on: June 17, 2017, 04:43:46 PM »

Thanks!  Kinda chubby, 12.4g as pictured.

Cheers,

Mike
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Bingo Fuel
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« Reply #31 on: June 18, 2017, 01:28:48 PM »

Hi Mike,   It sure looks great.  You might want to consider the all black and white version as it looked in very late 50's and early 60's.  It won the first Reno race in 1964 with owner pilot Bob Porter at the controls.  Still always number 14.   Many of these Goodyear and Formula 1 models end up nose heavy so you might consider moving the rear rubber hold location back another bay. Just an idea.  Can't wait to see it finished.  Bingo
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Bingo Fuel
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« Reply #32 on: June 18, 2017, 01:37:10 PM »

Mike.  The lower cowl is the same on the black and white version as on the "Ole Tiger" version.  Bingo
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MKelly
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« Reply #33 on: June 18, 2017, 05:41:34 PM »

Bingo,

Thanks for the info - googled around a bit and came up with three pictures of #14 Little Gem in 1963-64 on the Sherman Aircraft Sales website (http://www.shermanaircraft.com/our-history/). 

I like the black and white scheme a lot.  One of the pictures shows the carb air scoop and lower cowl quite nicely, clearly showing that I have it completely wrong...  rather than the lower cowl rising up over the scoop as I've done it the scoop actually fairs out to meet the fuselage sides with a smooth, slightly rounded lower surface.  No worries, a little surgery and some more carving and sanding and all will be well.

The pictures show the sides and lower wings pretty well, but I haven't yet found any pictures that show the upper wing.  The pictures also show that at the race in 1964 the team had added lettering and sponsor markings that weren't on the relatively clean 1963 picture.  I'll keep looking to see if I can document that better; if anyone knows of pictures or drawing that show the upper wing and details of the race day markings I'd much appreciate a copy or link.
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Mark Braunlich
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« Reply #34 on: June 18, 2017, 10:10:28 PM »

From the Society of Air Racing Historians page on FB.  Bob Porter in Little Gem at the pole position for '64 Reno start.

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10203690211438675&set=oa.784967138277069&type=3&theater
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« Reply #35 on: June 18, 2017, 10:49:30 PM »

Thanks Mark!  That's on a closed page, so I've put in a request to join so that I can see the picture.

Mike
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Mark Braunlich
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« Reply #36 on: June 19, 2017, 11:28:28 AM »

Sorry 'bout that!
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Mark
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« Reply #37 on: June 19, 2017, 05:31:40 PM »

Mark, thanks much - that is a perfect picture!  Looks like the top wing is marked just like the lower wing, with 14 on one side and the N-number on the other.  This scheme should be relatively easy to print on tissue (but I may need the XL black cartridge...).

Thanks again - that pic helps a lot!

Mike
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Bingo Fuel
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« Reply #38 on: June 19, 2017, 11:16:45 PM »

Great pic Mark.  That is Denny Sherman hanging on to the tail.  Bingo
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MKelly
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« Reply #39 on: June 23, 2017, 05:34:11 PM »

OK, so I spent the week fixing the canoe (lower cowl).  I cut off the incorrect canoe, leaving the 1/32" center plate as a reference to locate the parts for the corrected canoe.  I decided I might as well improve the hodge-podge of sheeting I'd installed to provide anchors for covering, so I took out the sheeting and stringers back to the diagonal running in front of the wing plate.

I cut and fitted an upper plate out of 5lb 1/8" sheet using a paper template for a guide.  That got sanded a lot to round the fuselage profile under the cheek pods - more like the original.  Once the sanding was done I cut out most of the center area of the plate to reduce weight and keep everything clear of the motor.  I added and trimmed a 1/16" plate below the upper plate to provide a backstop for the sheeted sides.  I also trimmed about 3/16" off the vertical center plate to make room for the new lower plate.

Next I fitted a lower plate from 5lb 3/16" balsa, hollowed out on the inner side.  I put small triangular plates on the upper surface at the leading edge of the plate and cutouts aft of the scoop so the sheeted sides could begin above the scoop, then extend down the sides of the lower plate further aft.  I cut and fit a paper template for the side sheeting, then cut the sides from light 1/32" sheet and glued them to the plates.

Once that was dry I added a frame of hard 1/16" square stock to form the front of the scoop, then fitted strips of 3/16" sheet on either side of the scoop running about 3/4" back on the sheeted sides to form the side fairings for the scoop.

Finished up with an hour or so of shaping and sanding.  I'm happy with the end result - looks much more like the pictures than what I'd built before, and with the new structure the fuselage is 6/10ths of a gram lighter and a bit stiffer!

During various glue-drying interludes I've created the artwork for the flying surfaces.  Still have to do artwork for the fuselage, but covering may commence this weekend.

Cheers,

Mike
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« Reply #40 on: June 24, 2017, 07:39:23 PM »

Nice work Mike. Building the cowl/front area on the full size must have been fun.

John
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MKelly
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« Reply #41 on: June 25, 2017, 09:35:19 PM »

Thanks John.  From what I've read the airplane flew with both aluminum and fiberglass cowls.  My sheet-metal skills would not be up to forming those cheeks...

Still working through details before covering.  I've struggled before getting accurate and durable joints for LG strut fairings to wheel pants, so I thought I'd try something different.  I attached the pants to the LG wire, using a small u-shaped brad from scrap wire to tie the vertical part of the LG wire to the pants (the laser-cut parts had two tiny holes for this purpose; I replicated them in the lighter parts I cut) and secured the pants to the wire with tape.

I took a smaller x-acto blade, layed it on the LG wire, and cut a slot in each pant where the LG wire intersects the pant.  Then I cut new strut fairings from 1/32" sheet using the kit parts as a guide, but adding a v-shaped tab on the pant end.  I glued two additional pieces of 1/32" sheet to the lower side of the strut fairing leaving a slot for the LG wire.

The tab on the strut fairing got pushed into the slot on the pants, and the top end of the strut fairing got trimmed and sanded to match the fuselage. Once I was happy with the fit I sanded the strut fairings smooth and rounded the front and rear edges.

This feels pretty solid even without glue, and the pants look to be aligned well.

On to the next bit of minutia...

Mike
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MKelly
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« Reply #42 on: June 26, 2017, 04:35:34 PM »

Mark Braunlich,

Thanks again for the link to the Society of Air Racing Historians Facebook page - added today and spent about three hours perusing all the pictures, posts and comments - fascinating!

Mike
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MKelly
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« Reply #43 on: June 26, 2017, 10:09:44 PM »

Turned wheels and a spinner mold today.  Wheels are good to go, so glued in aluminum tube.  The spinner is still a bit oversize compared to the noseblock, but the light's not good enough in the garage to finish it off tonight.
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MKelly
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« Reply #44 on: June 28, 2017, 05:04:33 PM »

Fun with baby boomer toys!

Dug out the Mattell Vac-U-Form that I got at a flea market in the '70s - hadn't used it in probably 25 years, but it still heats up and pulls vacuum.  Rummaged around and finally found a pack of .015 styrene from my high school plastic modeling days.  Took a couple of tries, but I got a decent pull on the spinner, trimmed it up and it's ready to go on the propeller.

Also brushed some balsa fillercoat on the sheeted areas, cheeks and pants, then sanded that smooth.

Cheers,

Mike
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« Reply #45 on: June 28, 2017, 07:09:07 PM »

The spinner looks spot on Mike - you and AUD Mike make vacuum forming look simple. What did you do in plastics at high school?

John
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MKelly
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« Reply #46 on: June 28, 2017, 09:01:54 PM »

As a kid I built many plastic models, mostly airplanes.  I still have a trunk full of unbuilt/partially built kits from the '70s and '80s, but I've probably only finished one plastic model in the last 30 years.  Now using the tools (and some of the paint!) from that era to build balsa...  Last use of the Vac-U-Form I can remember was to make a canopy for a peanut Sea Fury (from Model Builder plans) back around 1986.

Cheers,

Mike
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« Reply #47 on: June 28, 2017, 10:33:13 PM »

Mike I know this spinner is great, and the entire project is a masterpiece. Thanks for sharing.
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MKelly
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« Reply #48 on: June 29, 2017, 05:00:37 PM »

Thanks Allen.  BTW, in the '65 Homebuilt annual you loaned me there is a nice picture of "Little Gem" on the starting line at Reno - looks like it was taken just after the pic Mark shared here.

Mike
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« Reply #49 on: June 29, 2017, 05:23:58 PM »

That's looking rather lovely, look forward to seeing it completed. Those cowls and cheeks etc would have probably finished me off as stuff like that is beyond my current skill set.

I remember the first time I saw pictures of the real thing, I totally blanked on just how tiny it was until I saw the next picture with the pit crew guys next to it, I think my jaw must have dropped a little!
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