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Author Topic: Curtiss Robin 'Lady Rolph' BUILD  (Read 5676 times)
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Pete Fardell
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« on: May 05, 2013, 12:12:16 PM »

This is my new project for rubber. It is a Curtiss Robin which was used for an endurance record flight in 1931. The plane was refuelled during flight and managed to stay aloft for 5 days or so, flown by aviatrix Bobbi Trout and co-pilot (and early movie star) Edna Mae Cooper. There is an excellent newsreel movie of this flight here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qJugj62heF8
Also, a very interesting website about Bobbi Trout here: http://www.bobbitrout.com/

In many ways it's a very similar aircraft to the Farman 190, but advantages include scale dihedral and a bigger tailplane. I shall probably not start actually cutting wood until my Polikarpov is nearly finished, but will keep gathering information in the meantime. I already have a good Curtiss Robin C-1 5-view drawing and a couple of clear photos of this particular plane. The movie clip shows a lot of other details too, such as the wing lettering and topside. Colours are the biggest headache. The aircraft was apparently red but in the photos, and in the movie especially, it seems that the wings and tail were a lighter colour- possibly silver. Any help here, greatly appreciated!
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Curtiss Robin 'Lady Rolph' BUILD
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Bryanair
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« Reply #1 on: May 05, 2013, 03:00:39 PM »

I have 3 different 3 views, Granger, Nieto and scaleviews.com.  Which one are you using?
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Pete Fardell
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« Reply #2 on: May 05, 2013, 03:07:37 PM »

Mine is by A. Granger. Looks good at first glance.
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Bryanair
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« Reply #3 on: May 05, 2013, 03:22:20 PM »

I agree,  The other 2 show the wrong number of ribs in the tailplane, should be six each side.  I have followed Bill Dennis's advice and overlaid the Granger 3 view onto a good side view of NC292E and found that the fuselage is much slimmer on the photo. The 3 view will need a bit of modification and submitting to the scale tech committee. I am looking to build a 41" rubber model of NC292E as there are lots of photos on the internet and I plan to use Williams Bros engine cylinders and wheels. I'm afraid I can't help you with colours for yours.
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Re: Curtiss Robin 'Lady Rolph' BUILD
Re: Curtiss Robin 'Lady Rolph' BUILD
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billdennis747
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« Reply #4 on: May 05, 2013, 03:24:57 PM »

I have an authorised 3 view of the Robin with the OX5 engine if it helps
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Bryanair
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« Reply #5 on: May 05, 2013, 03:29:56 PM »

Yes I think that would be a great help then all we would need to do would be to graft on the radial engined front end and submit that drawing.
Thanks Bill.
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Pete Fardell
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« Reply #6 on: May 05, 2013, 03:49:27 PM »

Thanks Bill (and Bryan)! I must admit I'm still not sure about this business of spending ages rehashing a drawing and submitting it to the Scale Tech Commitee. I know it's the way to be competitive, and the proper way to go about it, but it sort of takes the fun out of it a bit for me. So thanks for the drawing offer. I may still just use the rather appealing drawing I've got as a basis though, and make any adjustments as I start building (such as the slimmer fus- thanks Bryan for findng that out). I fear I may always be a little bit of a 'that'll do' kind of modeller at heart, much as I know it may damage my competition prospects!
Incidentally, I think the Robin is a far better looking aeroplane with a radial engine than with the OX5.
« Last Edit: May 05, 2013, 04:12:40 PM by Pete Fardell » Logged
billdennis747
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« Reply #7 on: May 05, 2013, 03:53:41 PM »

Barrie Hotham did a nice one for electric. No good for a diesel though.
I rarely re-draw. If the errors are minor, just point them out, or draw on with red ink. But with some drawings it gets past the point of no return
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Pete Fardell
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« Reply #8 on: May 05, 2013, 04:25:36 PM »

That's reassuring to know, Bill. I suppose for some people redrawing is very enjoyable, but whilst I don't mind a few tweaks it's a bit of a chore for me. Technical drawing was never my strong point at school- lots of errors and rubbing out!
My model will be 27" span by the way, which is 1/18 scale. Slightly larger than the Farman, but probably still with less wing area. I don't know how I'm going to find out the wing colour for certain. If only I'd made it ten years ago I could have asked the pilot herself as Bobbi Trout only died in 2003 at the ripe old age of 97!
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Graham Banham
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« Reply #9 on: May 05, 2013, 06:46:21 PM »

Great subject Pete,

My concern is the colour refs are going to be the stumbling block. There is a painting of the Robin and the refuelling aircraft, but this is from behind and distant, and so is too vague. Also, it shows the aircraft all red, which it clearly isn't. Earlier Bobbi Trout aircraft were red and gold, but without evidence on the Robin, this fact is useless.

Still, a 27" span Robin will be excellent , regardless of colour scheme.

I scanned the 'scale views' from my copy of Nov/Dec '63 Air Progress a while back, and got together several photos of NC263E if you wanted them, although this is an OX-5 engined aircraft. 
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Re: Curtiss Robin 'Lady Rolph' BUILD
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Mark Braunlich
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« Reply #10 on: May 05, 2013, 06:53:52 PM »

Here's the Harold Osborne 3-view from the January, 1972 Model Builder.   I can supply a larger version if interested.  
And the painting of the Lady Rolph already mentioned if it's of any help.

Good luck with this project!
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Re: Curtiss Robin 'Lady Rolph' BUILD
Re: Curtiss Robin 'Lady Rolph' BUILD
« Last Edit: May 05, 2013, 07:17:18 PM by Mark Braunlich » Logged

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Pete Fardell
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« Reply #11 on: May 05, 2013, 07:22:36 PM »

Thanks Mark, that's good to see. I'm probably okay with your attached drawing and the drawing I already have for now, but might get back to you for an enlarged version when I'm ready to start building. Graham, that's a very good photo which I didn't have. Where's it from? It shows the refueling paraphenalia on the top much more clearly than the movie footage does so thanks! Interesting about earlier Bobbi Trout aircraft being red and gold too. I'd already thought gold to be a likely candidate. If you look at the pic in my first post, the fin and wings look quite metallic, but a bit too dark for silver. Red and gold would certainly look good! I'd seen that painting too and there's also a first day cover showing the plane as all red. As you say though, it's clearly not. In the end I shall still make this model and it will probably fall down on the colour evidence. Never mind; building something which interests me over many weeks is worth far more than placing a bit higher at a comp over one weekend next year (great fun though that is!).I shall still search for colour evidence though. There are quite a few archive newspaper reports to trawl through. It was was a big story at the time. No luck yet. I'm also in email contact with Nanette Malher, a pilot who runs the Bobbi Trout website and knew Bobbi in later life. She's very helpful and interested and though she couldn't enlighten me on the colours she may yet turn something up.
« Last Edit: May 05, 2013, 07:36:18 PM by Pete Fardell » Logged
Graham Banham
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« Reply #12 on: May 06, 2013, 07:36:29 AM »

Pete,

Good that you're intending to build the Robin anyway. Hopefully someone somewhere over the past 80 odd years has written something on it along the lines of "the red and gold ship took off on it's record breaking attempt". Find that and you might get away with colour refs, and, as has been said before, colour is only a few % of the marks. In any case, I know i'm guilty of building stuff I can document, and dismissing attractive subjects because there's not enough references on them, so get building!

I'll try and find the source for the photo: at present i'm completing the Cessna C-37 plan, and making a vain attempt to do some of it on my new laptop, which runs on the black art and deepest mysteries of Windows 8: maybe its just me, but its a bit of a learning curve!
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« Reply #13 on: May 06, 2013, 08:24:12 AM »

Pete,

I love the Curtiss Robin. One is on my 'to-build' list also. I'm sure you're going to do a wonderful job with this - regardless of the final colors.  Wink

In the meantime, have you heard of the Yahoo group called 'Wings of Peace"? This is primarily a plastic modeling group, but an unbelieveable resource of knowledge when it comes to all planes non-military. You might want to see if anyone there can help.

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/wingsofpeace/?yguid=181697013

Good Luck.  Wink

john
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Pit
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« Reply #14 on: May 06, 2013, 09:37:51 AM »

I'll second the "Wings of Peace" mailing list Shocked!  What those guys (many of them members here) dig up is amazing, especially on real oddballs!
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« Reply #15 on: May 06, 2013, 11:36:00 AM »

I'll third that!  The Wings of Peace membership have an unrivalled collection of information. 
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« Reply #16 on: May 06, 2013, 12:48:42 PM »

I'll forth it Grin They've been very helpful in the past.

Looking forward to your build Pete...
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Pete Fardell
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« Reply #17 on: May 06, 2013, 01:01:53 PM »

Thanks! I've just joined that group, so once I'm approved I'll see what they can come up with.
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« Reply #18 on: May 06, 2013, 04:08:05 PM »

Pete

Please be very careful if you assume that a photo is accurate and a drawing is not in overall outlines.
Camera lenses can distort an image subtley as well as by large amounts.  They can cause "barrel" and "pin cushion" distortion so an image can look fatter or thinner than it actually is.

John
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Pete Fardell
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« Reply #19 on: May 06, 2013, 04:19:34 PM »

That's a very good point John, although the words "rock" and "hard place" are now springing to mind!
Hopefully judges are pretty good at assessing possible photo distortion. Of course the message I'm receiving loud and clear from Mr Sephton and co is that the photos will take precedent over the 3-view.
« Last Edit: May 06, 2013, 04:36:30 PM by Pete Fardell » Logged
Pete Fardell
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« Reply #20 on: May 06, 2013, 05:34:47 PM »

A little bit of progress in the colour hunt today. Not a lot, but still quite excited as it's the ONLY colour description I've found. It was in a photo of an an article here: http://www.dmairfield.com/people/trout_bo/ written by Bobbi Trout herself. Here is a pic of the relevant passage. So I'm now looking at maroon, for the fuselage at least.
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« Reply #21 on: May 06, 2013, 06:04:05 PM »

Case in point re. photo compression.
The opening photo and the first photo in reply #3 are taken a appox. the same perspective, but different distances.  The fin/rudder in #3 appears much larger than the one on "Lady Rolph".  The "Lady" also seems VERY chunky with MY first impression that a resizing error happened somewhere - more along the X-axis than on the y-axis, which (to me) seems to be substanciated by the very slight oval shape of the wheels.

On the orange/yellow one, the wheels appear perfectly round and the lettering/numerals are not at all distorted.  The distance from the camera can also cause distortion, more marked in earlier photography.  The parked "Lady" was taken from a lot closer, maybe with a wide angle lens, which will have definitely distort the image (IIRC, wide angle lenses were then available, tho "newfangled") and the distortion was compensted for in the printing process - accuracy was dependant on the guy doing the printing and the memory of the photographer.  Tele shots, as in the photo in reply #3, can also suffer from distortion, the final result again dependant on the final "printing".

Facit: Photos with measurements taken from the actual aircraft to be modeled are what you REALLY want, but are rarely able to get/find.  Use the best one that you have of the subject, and try to point out the perspective inaccuracies to the judges (if such a thing is possible).

Monique, being an active Photog/artist, will be better able to provide up-to-date info.  My practical experience is VERY rusty ('62 - '85 vintage).

Pete
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« Reply #22 on: May 07, 2013, 03:37:24 AM »

On the subject of photo distortion, why is it that  pictures of model biplanes show that the wings on the far side seem to have greater gap than the near side? Seems counterintuitive.
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Pete Fardell
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« Reply #23 on: May 07, 2013, 05:35:28 AM »

I don't know the answer to Bill's question, but by way of comparison to the photo in my first post, here is another. Taken on the same occasion by the looks of it, but from a slightly different angle.
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« Reply #24 on: May 07, 2013, 08:40:49 AM »

Hi Pete,

what might be a very good source of info is the american magazine "Aviation" of the period. It is the equivallent of "Flight" or the "Aeroplane" with contemporary reports. It often mentioned the colors as well. You might have to try through libraries but it is worth it. The event must have been well documented.

A query at the NASM might also be a very good idea. They have a huge photographic archive. Cost depends, but you may find quite a lot of information.

George
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