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Author Topic: DPC Models Kit Scale Pfalz D.III  (Read 7455 times)
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abl
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« on: December 19, 2017, 09:35:04 AM »

I usually plan to build something over the two-week Christmas break every year (keeps me off the streets) and as this is a relatively simple Kit Scale project, I stand at least some chance of getting it completely finished in time for the first indoor sessions of 2018.

So, the subject of this year's build was going to be a VMC Camel or Sopwith Triplane - couldn't stop myself buying the kit - but it suddenly occurred to me that I hadn't seen anyone with an equivalent free flight German aeroplane from the great War; I suppose the fact of the matter is that there are many more British and - to an extent - French indoor kit scale sized models generally available than German ones; the old Keil Kraft and Veron ranges (which are now available in plan form) only had a Fokker DVIII as their sole representative of the Imperial German Air Service.

This, together with a natural national propensity to channel Biggles has led to sports halls the length and breadth of the British Isles being overrun with Sopwiths and S.E.5s; a VMC Camel flies around the local hall on a dawn patrol1 as though it owns it, which I suppose it does as there's no opposition of any sort; well, there might be the odd arcane peanut but at the last count there was nothing in kit scale.

Well, someone ought to make a start at correcting this sorry state of affairs and - to misquote Terry Pratchett - I suppose it might as well be me.

So, this is my Christmas Build of a DPC Models Pfalz D.III; the colour scheme isn't set in stone but at the moment - unless I have a major attack of confidence and bravado - it's likely to be a factory-based something similar to photo #1; it's possible to do something better with multiple colours but I want to use ordinary tissue (Peck Polymers Silver-grey in this case) without too much paint.

I've made a start on the tail surfaces; the fin/rudder outlines are laminated from 1/32" x 1/16" which I was a bit doubtful about but it turns out that if you soak the wood in very hot water for a few minutes and then run a thumbnail down one side to compress the fibres a bit and get it to start curling, you can run a narrow bead of Titebond down one side and it just fits together as normal, with a lot less mess than if it was made from multiple 1/64" strips.

I was going to thumb my nose at the kit scale judges because I'm laminating an outline and they can't touch me for it, but fortunately remembered just in time that I'm adding a movable rudder which will cost points, so it might pay to be nice to judging community. I did think long and hard about the consequences, but there is a definite need to re-trim for competition where the available flying area is two or three times that normally available, and the alternative (a rudder trim tab) is just too unreliable and of questionable effectiveness. And it's unsightly.

The tail surfaces should be dry later, I think it'll be wings and struts next...


1. Well, I say "dawn"; Neville's Camel often arrives at about 11 a.m. on flying days; Captain Neville usually claims that there was "a heavy evening at the bar of the officer's mess"...
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DPC Models Kit Scale Pfalz D.III
DPC Models Kit Scale Pfalz D.III
DPC Models Kit Scale Pfalz D.III
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skyraider
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« Reply #1 on: December 19, 2017, 01:14:34 PM »

Abl,
   Your off to a great start. So I'm asking myself, how is it that everyone's builds
are much more cleaner than mine?  Just don't get it but that's another story. I think
your process of thinking on choice of subject is a good one. Personally I think the fokkers
have been done to death unless its like a D6 or the Spin or V25. Of course there are some
other lesser known types that deserve more attention too. There's just so many out there.

Your tail feathers look really well done. I got away from soaking my strips several years
ago when a good fellow showed me a much easier method that I now use. Its simply a rolled
strip then placed around a form. Its really simple and can be used on any model at any size.
This is the process I used on my Pfalz D7/8.

Skyraider
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tom arnold
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« Reply #2 on: December 19, 2017, 01:37:27 PM »

VERY cool! Have you ever attempted to make "ring formers" for a fuselage using this method?
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Jack Plane
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« Reply #3 on: December 19, 2017, 01:42:04 PM »


1. Well, I say "dawn"; Neville's Camel often arrives at about 11 a.m. on flying days; Captain Neville usually claims that there was "a heavy evening at the bar of the officer's mess"...


Hah! Well.... as everyone knows - aside from the fact that rotaries spit out a huge amount of castor oil which necessitates the consumption of similar volumes of alcohol to restore the body's intestinal equilibrium - Neville's is in fact a night-fighter squadron!

Of course the damned fool opened up too fast too early last Saturday - blinded by unusual sun no doubt - and his Camel's decent to the hard floor, having just ascended somewhat dramatically to clout a roof-girder, was 'plumb' to say the least.  His mount is currently at the back of the hangar waiting for the repair crew to re-attach all four wings, strut by every frigging strut, to their correct locations!  Shocked

Good call on the DPC Pfaltz D.III, Mein Herr.   Grin
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strat-o
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« Reply #4 on: December 19, 2017, 03:12:20 PM »

Tom, I think that is a good idea about using this approach for ring formers.  Might I suggest something I've been thinking about?  Instead of making a positive ring to form against, consider a negative ring.  That way you can choose to vary the thickness of the formers as needed without having to resize the former outline and you will always be guaranteed the exact shape.  You can do it the traditional way where you pin down the tool and then pin the balsa against the tool or you can try an alternate approach where you arrange the balsa inside the tool and insert a balloon inside the balsa ring and inflate it.  After inflating you should be able to adjust the balsa strips (not for cyano glue, obviously)  The inflated balloon should provide enough even clamping pressure for the former to dry for good strength.

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Re: DPC Models Kit Scale Pfalz D.III
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packardpursuit
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« Reply #5 on: December 19, 2017, 04:01:27 PM »

OOOH, a goo....No, STELLAR idea! Consider this notion stolen, although it should be called "the strato former method".
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abl
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« Reply #6 on: December 19, 2017, 04:42:26 PM »

... I got away from soaking my strips several years
ago when a good fellow showed me a much easier method that I now use. Its simply a rolled
strip then placed around a form.

Ah! <lightbulb>  Smiley What a great idea! I'll use that in future.

Good pictures and description too, thanks.

A.
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skyraider
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« Reply #7 on: December 19, 2017, 05:54:50 PM »

Abl,
  Glad to be of help and looking forward to your build.

Tom,
    No I haven't tried this for making formers. But I would assume that it would
make the process much easier and also following along the lines of what strat-o
suggested. Now I'm thinking of possible subjects down the line...like a Nieuport 28.
Just need to work out a crutch to align the formers for the stringers.

Skyraider
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Sky9pilot
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« Reply #8 on: December 19, 2017, 11:14:33 PM »

I've used reed to make the circular formers around foam board that has worked well for me.  I used a foam jig for alignment allowing placement of the stringers on the formers keeping them all aligned.
Here's a link to the S&T site that shows the formers, jig and addition of stringers: Click Here towards the bottom of the page.  I actually got this technique from the FAC Newsletter several years ago and can't remember the author of the article. 

I like the rolled balsa for the vertical and horizontal stabs!!
Tom/Sky9pilot
« Last Edit: December 20, 2017, 12:04:40 AM by Sky9pilot » Logged

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abl
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« Reply #9 on: December 22, 2017, 09:56:42 AM »

Haven't had much time to focus on this over the past couple of days but the wings are well on the way to being done, and it hasn't taken long.

Photo #1 shows the basic structure, it looked as though the easiest way to put it together was to glue the ribs to the TE with tiny dots of odourless cyano and then fill-in the rest of the outline, gluing parts together with Titebond. When that was dry the LE and TE were cracked and the spars added with the wing tips propped-up to the right dihedral (photo #2). Actually, there looks to be quite a lot of dihedral which is presumably so that it will fly outdoors; it might be possible to reduce this for indoor use but I can't do it in this case because of the Kit Scale rules - it would be marked down because the dihedral would not be as specified on the plan. Of course, if the plan said that dihedral could be reduced for indoor flying, that would be different...

Am planning to fly it to the left because the ceiling of our local hall isn't that high, so the top wing and port lower wing will have - hopefully - no wash-in/washout, the starboard lower wing will have a guesstimated washout value of 1/16" to keep the right wing down for the initial power burst, if I'm lucky it might even keep the take-off reasonably straight. There'll be enough left rudder to get it to glide left and maybe three degrees of right thrust (+ a two or three degrees of down) to almost balance off the rudder which should keep it circling left.

Christmas being what it is I may not get much done over the next few days, hope to get back to this properly by about Wednesday next week.
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abl
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« Reply #10 on: December 29, 2017, 01:22:39 PM »

Quick update - wings are done but not sanded.

I've made a minor change; the struts are all balsa and plug into wing ribs and the plan says to use short strips of card either side of ribs that receive struts. However, I have a dim memory that (with this arrangement) what happens when there's a crash is that the struts pop out of the sockets and tend to take a thin strip of tissue with them as they come off, because the tissue isn't really supported that well. So I've used little bits of 1/16" x 1/8" instead of card, which should give the tissue something to attach to.

It all looks a bit rough at the moment, the appearance should improve after sanding.
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Jack Plane
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« Reply #11 on: December 29, 2017, 03:21:19 PM »

Smart move Herr Schwartzburn  Wink
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abl
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« Reply #12 on: January 04, 2018, 09:10:36 AM »

The fuselage is proceeding, albeit slightly slower than expected. There's no wire bending with this kit (hooray!) but there are a fair number of struts to make. The landing gear struts are also balsa and they do look a bit vulnerable so I spent a long time finding the heaviest 1/16" wood in my extensive wood collection, I think the heaviest balsa I found was about 13.5 lb cu ft so that was used in the undercarriage; unfortunately, the indoor Kit Scale rules penalize most departures from the plan and that includes replacing balsa struts with Spruce or Basswood.

The plan does have a cautionary note along the lines of "the fuselage frame is very fragile during construction" and recommending "care when installing stringers". Naturally, I ignored all that until I managed to break F3 at a particularly narrow point, and I think I've managed an addition three breakages so far, mainly by being clumsy when taking pins out. One additional thing to think about if you strip your own slightly lighter stringers (as I did) is that it will pay to make sure that the new stringers fit correctly in the former slots before gluing to the keel. I didn't do this and there has been much use of needle files and a lot of bad language.

[P.S. - Happy New Year!]
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dorme
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« Reply #13 on: January 04, 2018, 10:55:52 AM »

My DPC Pfalz D3 at Geneseo.  Nice flyer.

https://screenshots.firefox.com/IYHqEe308Z7as5B2/www.flickr.com
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« Reply #14 on: January 04, 2018, 12:25:20 PM »

I've often laminated Silkspan or even Tissue to Obviously Fragile formers. 
It works.
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« Reply #15 on: January 04, 2018, 01:33:39 PM »

Easiest fix for formers with those problems is to glue a little piece of 1/32 cross-grained over the weak sections. Fast, easy and weight addition is minimal. You can cut it to shape after the glue dries.
ian
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abl
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« Reply #16 on: January 05, 2018, 03:42:51 AM »


Nice!  Smiley  I don't suppose you remember anything about the weight, rubber size, prop and duration, do you?

I've often laminated Silkspan or even Tissue to Obviously Fragile formers.  
It works.

Easiest fix for formers with those problems is to glue a little piece of 1/32 cross-grained over the weak sections. Fast, easy and weight addition is minimal. You can cut it to shape after the glue dries.
ian

Thanks for the advice, gentlemen. I used to laminate formers with lightweight modelspan tissue many years ago, mainly when stringer slots were really close together and had to be manually cut from printed sheet; however, these formers are laser-cut so I thought I'd be ok. If I could find some carbon tows (I know I've got some but don't quite know where they are) I'd consider cyanoing a few tows around the inside of each former, but I think PB_guy's fix with the 1/32" balsa cross-grained is probably the way to go.
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danmellor
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« Reply #17 on: January 05, 2018, 04:24:10 AM »

Such a great subject! See you in Kit Scale at the Indoor Nats?!

Cheers,

Dan.
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abl
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« Reply #18 on: January 06, 2018, 01:16:15 PM »

Such a great subject! See you in Kit Scale at the Indoor Nats?!

Cheers,

Dan.

That's the plan, hoping to do a bit better than last year.

A.
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abl
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« Reply #19 on: January 07, 2018, 10:36:38 AM »

The right-hand side of the fuselage is done, most of it was glued using odourless cyano which I don't like doing - you have to be so careful with the amount of glue because unlike PVA/aliphatic, none of it is going to evaporate.

The fuselage is now structurally complete - sort of; it still needs the various infilled sheet areas for motor peg, struts, etc and I think I'm probably going to infill between the first two formers, mainly because that's where a lot of the handling loads will be and in any case it'll probably need some nose weight. It also needs the various little former-stringer gaps filled with little wood triangles and sandable glue so that nobody will suspect that anything might have gone amiss during construction.

The nose laminations go together reasonably well, I'm going to use an adjustable (Knight and Pridham) nose bearing and I think I might add a small amount of 1/32" ply to the front of #2 to make the seating a bit more reliable.

There's a bit of potential for some very modest engine detailing, although I can't go overboard because of the Kit Scale penalty points. The kit has a 1/16" sheet profile engine and I think that - for the sake of Good Form - we need maybe another 1/8" lamination each side to make it look a little bit more Mercedes-like; it'll cost a few static marks but I like to think that I'll have Done The Right Thing. The intake and exhaust pipes are all laser-cut but I'm not sure I'll have the skill (or patience) to go through the seal/sand/seal/sand/seal/sand process without breaking something and I don't know how robust they're going to be, so I'm thinking that a few bits of plastic tube or scrap sprue might be pressed into service.

I've discovered that my resolution to keep the colour scheme simple is weakening - I got a copy of Windsock Datafile 107 for Christmas and have been looking closely at Robert Karr's nice cover painting; given that the finish will be mainly coloured tissue, I think that colour scheme might require about 12 additional pieces of black tissue and 12-16 pieces of red tissue to reasonably replicate... I'll have to see what the structure weighs because a lot of that decoration is behind the c.g.

After the fuselage and nose is fettled, it'll be on to the wheels, for which I have a cunning plan stolen from Mike Midkiff's 18" SE5a that was kitted by Aerographics a few years ago - last image explains all.
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abl
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« Reply #20 on: January 15, 2018, 10:53:36 AM »

Just a quick update to prove that something is in fact going on; wheels are done apart from the thin card cones for the outside faces; I need a new electric drill as the chuck on the one I have is slightly off-centre.

The K&P adjustable thrust button fits in a square recess, empirically-sized at about 9 3/4 mm square so that it can be lined with 1/64" ply - should be a good fit after a couple of coats of sealer or thinned epoxy.

I couldn't leave the cockpit coaming off so it was added in the approved manner; first time I've done that and it's worked out OK. Fuselage is now "plan complete" apart from engine details which I'll do next, but I'm also going to a) relieve the formers between the stringers - in the usual way - to enable slightly smoother covering, and b) fill-in the between the first and second former with 1/16" sheet because it's going to get quite a bit of handling in that area and it'll probably need noseweight anyway.

Speaking of weight, I've (so far) resisted the urge to put everything on the scales...
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« Reply #21 on: January 15, 2018, 11:58:29 AM »

As I remember it is around 16 gms flying wt. with a 6" prop. I covered it in Esaki and chaulked the inside of the tissue with green chaulk.  Significant downthrust and 2-3 degrees of rt. side thrust. Weight added to nose.  Washout of 1/16" in all wingtips.  I create washout by the Paul Stott method....crack the TE 1/3 to 1/4th from tip and glue it 1/16" up.  Easier than steaming and rarely needs to be corrected by tabs.
Use 3/32" rubber indoor and 1/8" outdoor (2 loops).  1 1/2 length will give me roughly 30 sec run. Photo of indoor setup w/o wt on nose.
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abl
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« Reply #22 on: January 20, 2018, 09:56:46 AM »

As I remember it is around 16 gms flying wt. with a 6" prop... <snip>

 Shocked

I don't mind admitting that I was a bit shocked at that, thinking there's no way I'd get anywhere near it, but see below. And, thanks for the set-up info.

Anyway, it's more-or-less structurally complete, not counting the dummy engine detail and sundry other minor details. If I'm honest, I did put off the nose infill for a day or two, but in the event it wasn't too bad; see picture #1.

I always try and do an "assembled uncovered structure" picture because that's what "Aeromodeller" magazine had in the 1970's; felt a bit like a one-armed paper-hanger when putting it all together, but after much use of tweezers, tiny bits of masking tape, bad language and - I'm afraid to admit - a very few tiny, tiny dots of cyano it stayed together long enough to get some photos. I'm quite pleased because the overall weight at this point is about 11.3 grams; well, I say "pleased" but "pleasantly astonished" is probably more accurate. I'm hopeful that the final ready-to-fly weight might be less than 20 grams.

The weight breakdown is as follows:

Fuselage, nose button & tailskid5.5 grams
Top wing1.5 grams
Bottom wing1.1 grams
Stabiliser0.2 grams
Fin & rudder0.1 grams
Undercarriage2.3 grams
Struts0.5 grams

The wheels are supposed to run on a couple of pins, which I haven't got, so I've used a 1/32" wire axle. The wheels required about a 3mm spacer to get them to sit properly and run without binding - see photo #3.

I'm unsure about whether to do my usual thing with the undercarriage and toe the wheels inwards a couple of degrees to keep the take-off run straight, or use a locked axle. I don't think I've ever used a locked axle but the advantage with toed-in wheels is that the take-off run can sometimes be tuned by changing the amount of toe-in, and it can lengthen the take-off run slightly which might help with the flight realism points. I'd welcome opinions from people with experience in these matters.

Finally, I've tried not to indict myself with my own photos but to the casual observer it might look in photo #4 as though the 1/16" balsa tailskid (which will probably not survive the first take-off, never mind the landing) might have been replaced with a 1/64" ply core clad on both sides with thin balsa and then sanded back to 1/16" thick; obviously, if then had been done then strictly speaking it would be a departure from the plan and might therefore be liable for penalty points. But the alternative would be to cyano it back after every flight, assuming that the broken bit can be found before being accidentally stepped on, so if that had been done - and I'm not saying it has - then I suggest to the jury it would probably be a decent points/practicality trade-off.
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Re: DPC Models Kit Scale Pfalz D.III
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« Reply #23 on: January 20, 2018, 12:14:30 PM »

Abl,
    Very nice indeed!  Your building skills far surpass mine. Excellent weight
so far. Following with great interest.

Skyraider
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« Reply #24 on: January 20, 2018, 12:35:24 PM »

You've got my attention locked on you.

I'm gearing for WWI Cook-up 2018, and have chosen a 24" plan from Sierra Nevada Models for the Pfalz D-XII http://www.hippocketaeronautics.com/hpa_plans/details.php?image_id=9379&mode=search/Pfalz D-XII, a development of the D-III after 1916, to revive the design's competitiveness. This laminated curve technique of yours is the Wiz.

A Sopwith Dolphin http://www.hippocketaeronautics.com/hpa_plans/details.php?image_id=9377&mode=search from the same source will follow if possible, and if that challenge is achievable, then their Bristol F2B http://www.hippocketaeronautics.com/hpa_plans/details.php?image_id=9373&mode=search has the draw on me.

Greg
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