A different FEE: 1/72 scratchbuilt FE 2d

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4 months 1 week ago #267 by Stevef
Evening All,

I seem to have lost my mojo of late - if anyone finds it can you please pm me and I will send you my address so that you can send it back. Winter is never a good time for me and I seem to be suffering a bit from seasonal lack of energy. I have ideas for several possible projects but frankly I cannot get the motivation to start one. Instead I am going to try to pick up on a long term project which I have been tinkering with for too long - not quite a shelf queen but a stop-start affair which I have decided to bring to a conclusion sooner rather than later. Unfortunately I have temporarily mislaid some of the photos of the stages which I have already completed, so I am having to trawl through my photographic library to find them. (I had no idea about how many photos until I started to look for photos relevant to this project. Normally I create albums straight away but for some reason I failed to do so for this model). Updates will be a little sporadic as I

a. find the photos of the stages completed thus far,

and b. hopefully continue with the model until it is finished.

Many modellers have an FE2b in their collection - WingnutWings have produced two variants in 1/32 scale and Aeroclub produced a 1/48 scale kit many years ago. There is a vacuform kit, (rare I believe), in God's Own Scale, but I chose to convert an old Veeday BE2c and some parts from the Airfix DH 4 into an early FE 2b. If I had waited for a couple of years I could have used the Airfix BE 2c as the basis for the conversion. (The FE 2b and BE 2c had common wing components which meant that I only had to make the centre section of the wings for the FE 2b: alternatively wing parts from two kits could have been used). This was made shortly after I had returned to modelling after a 30+ year break about 7 years ago. The result of my efforts look like this:





This will be the subject of this scratch build:



The FE 2d differed from the 2b by having a Rolls Royce Eagle engine in place of the Beardmore, a different radiator, modified nacelle, four bladed propellor and in the case of the subject I have chosen the Trafford Jones undercarriage (as shown on the cover above).

I have made the wings and flying surfaces, (and found the photos), in the usual way: 30 thou plastic card which had been immersed in boiling water in a 4 inch diameter pipe was the basis for the wings. These were cut to plan shape and the ribs added by cementing Evergreen 10 x 20 thou strip. This was lightly sanded to smooth the edges. The tail surfaces were also cut form flat 30 thou card.





I have also made the nacelle parts using the push mould technique. I had hoped that I might be able to use an FE 2b nacele and modify it but that was not practical so I made a new set of moulds. This image shows how I had started to cut out the observer's cockpit:



More updates will follow in due course.

Thanks for looking.

Stevef.

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3 months 3 weeks ago #268 by Stevef
Evening All,

Did I write that my mojo had gone on a wander? Well it does not seem t have returned in spite of attempts to whistle it back...!

However I have pottered around a bit and at last have something new to show. The cockpit assembly is now finished - it is simplified from the original as I do not have the patience to fiddle any more with cut-out windows for the pilot and holes in the pilot's seat. Anyway most of that kind of detail is lost in this scale when everything is assembled and besides I do want to finish this before the turn of the next millenium.

Here is the cockpit - the wood effect was obtained with oils (mix of burnt and raw sienna). All of the parts are made from 20 or 30 thou card bent and filed/sanded to shape.





The engine has been a headache. I also forgot to take photos of the assembly sequence (I am having problems remembering even more important things at the moment), but what matters is that it represents an early Rolls Royce Eagle, which was a 12 cylinder V with lots of pipes and paraphernalia on the top. Fortunately the DataFile on the FE 2d provides a drawing and there are good photos of kit Eagle engines from WingnutWings, so I did my best to replicate most of the details from those sources. This is again simplified - it could not be otherwise in this scale, and given that it will be largely hidden under the top wing and few people know what it is supposed to look like, I am satisfied with what I have achieved.

I built the sump block from laminated card, the cylinders from rod and the pipework from stretched sprue and wire from a telephone cable.





I completely forgot to put in a scale for both, but the engine is approximately 5/8 inch (1.5cm) and the cockpit assembly is 7/8 inch (2cm), which means that they are a bit small. To help I have photographed the cockpit against the fuselage moulds and you can see that I have also added the engine air louvre panels on the sides of the fuselage.



More when I have joined the fuselage halves and done a good deal more filling and sanding.

Thanks for looking.

Stevef.

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3 months 1 week ago #269 by Stevef
Evening All,


I made the radiator from 30 thou card. I scribed two pieces of 20 thou card to represent the shutters.





The cockpit sub-assembly was added to the fuselage parts which were joined and the radiator added behind the cockpit. The lower edges of the nacelle moulds are rounded whereas on the original machines these were square. I used a method which I learned from another modeller who made vacuforms, (and whose name I cannot remember), which was to glue a piece of stretched sprue along the corner which I wanted to modify.





Filler was then plastered into the gaps formed between the sprue and the side and bottom of the nacelle: when this was dry I could sand the filler back to form a square corner. Unfortunately when I did this I found that the bottom of the nacelle was slightly assymetric so I have had to add more filler to the bottom to try to build up one side to balance the other. This has now been completed and the nacelle is complete. The lower wings were glued to the nacelle sides and a gravity tank which had been made from laminated card and sanded to shape was added to the top wing. I have also drilled holes for the struts in both wings.








I have also made the wheels from two discs of 60 thou card and tyres from 40 thou rod. I wound the rod around a paintbrush handle and held the rod in boiling water for about 10 seconds, drew it out and waited for it to cool. The diameter of the coiled rod is smaller than the discs so that when a piece of rod is cut off it will clamp firmly to the disc and hopefully not leave any large gaps.








The wheels are ready to have axle holes drilled in them:





The next stage will be to use the end of a round file to make grooves in the trailing surfaces of the wings so that I can epoxy the booms to them. I will make the booms from florists wire. More on that next time.


Thanks for looking.

Stevef.

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2 months 3 weeks ago #270 by Stevef
Evening All,

Well while I have been waiting for paint to dry I have decided to make the propellor which in this case was a four bladed type. Basically I have varied the technique which I use when making a two bladed propellor: I have used a single strip of hardwood and carved a double bladed prop first. I then carved separately two single blades which were fractionally too long at the root ie where the blade is to be attached to the central boss. I offered the blades individually to the boss and used a round file to make a shallow groove so that when the blade is glued in place there are no gaps.



Superglue was used to fix the bldes in place with the following result:



Thanks for looking.

Stevef.

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2 months 3 weeks ago #271 by Stevef
Evening All,

The Fee Dee saga continues - and continues to test my patience a little. I will not belabour you with the painting - it was a pain for a variety of reasons and took much longer than it should reasonably have done. But it is done now - in acrylics with hand painted markings. I have found that I do not have suitable letters or numerals for the serial so the rudder will remain blank and the model will represent a type rather than a specific machine.

Normally I try to take photos of the stages of putting on the top wing and struts, but again because this model has been a pain, I only took the photos when the top wing and many struts were in place. This is what happened: I fixed the booms (florists wire) to the wings before I started painting. To do this I use two-part epoxy for the wing joint and CA at the V at the rear. I use a simple method to get the angle of the boom to the wing right:

a. from the side elevation drawing I draw a line under the wing which touched the leading and trailing edges and runs to the rear;

b. on this line I measure a distance - eg 4 cm rearwards from the trailing edge of the wing (distance x);

c. I measure the vertical distance between the boom on the elevation drawing and the line which has been drawn under the wing (distance y);

d. set up a simple jig so that the boom parts are laid on a support which is distance x from the trailing edge of the wing. The height of the support will be y. The upper and lower wings need different jigs but they are quick and simple to make.

After painting I usually I fix the rudder on to the v of the bottom boom and then put two outer forward struts into the lower wing. This makes a three legged triangle which is stable if I lower the top wing on to the struts and rudder. Well I did so - only for the rudder to drop out!! I managed, just, to get the rear outer struts in place while holding the wing - don't ask how! I decided to add the middle pairs of struts while I could - and for once the plan worked - again don't ask how or why!! Finally I added the forward inner bay struts and left the b@**%!@ thing alone to dry out overnight. In the morning the top wing was rigid so I took the opportunity to take a photo before the model could fall apart:







So I had a structure which was stable enough for me to be able to add the boom struts, remaining wing and cabane struts and the b@**%!@ rudder.







Needless to write the cabane struts were also a pain to get into place because the exhaust has got to fit around them later and so I had to keep offering the exhaust pipe to make sure that it will do so.

Next update should include the Trafford undercarriage.....

Thanks for looking.

Stevef.

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2 months 2 weeks ago #272 by Stevef
Evening All,

At last I have fitted the Trafford-Jones undercarriage. This was not a long task - it was just that in order to try to restore my mojo a little I have been toying and practising with some ideas for my next project, of which more later at an appropriate time and place. When I did get around to this one things went smoothly for once.

The undercarriage of the FE series went through three stages: the first was a complex affair with a nosewheel to stop machines tipping over when taking off or landing on the rough grass strips that acted as runways in the very early days of aviation. I have represented this on my 1/72 scale model of the FE 2b at the start of this thread. This layout was both heavy and drag inducing on a machine that had plenty of other headwind built into it, so aircrews were eager to try to remove both weight and drag in order to gain speed in the air. A relatively simple solution was devised by Trafford-Jones who removed the small wheel and bracing struts from the undercarriage - this is what I am putting on my model. For completeness of the record, later machines were either converted or built with a simple V undercarriage: this allowed an extra 5 -10 mph gain in airspeed over the original design, demonstrating the importance of weight and drag on these early aircraft's performance.

Construction was simple enough as I had already built the more complex design as described above. I made two sets of legs with oleo springs by shaping two pieces of 30 x 60 thou and 20 x 40 thou strip and cementing them together to form the main legs. These were drilled at the end to take a 20 thou length of rod which forms the axle. The axle was inserted into the holes in the legs and the legs cemented to pre-drilled holes under the nacelle. Two pieces of 30 thou rod were cemented to the axle where it joined the main legs, and another set of holes in the underside of the nacelle. This was allowed to harden completely:





Two lengths of 30 x 60 thou strip were cut and shaped and cemented into a third set of holes drilled in the nacelle - these had to form a V above the axle so a bit of trial and error was employed to get these right. Liquid cement was used to secure the apex of the V. I had already cut and shaped two more pieces of strip to fit between the ends of the axle and the apex of the V - these were also fixed with liquid cement and the sub unit set aside to harden again:





I have also made the tail skid but the structure at the rear is both complex and fragile so that will only be fitted when I have almost finished the model. I will paint the undercarriage next and then start the rigging.

Thanks for looking.

Stevef.

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2 months 1 week ago #273 by Stevef
Evening All,

I have finished the painting, rigged it with 40 SWG copper wire, added the horizontal tail surface, propellor, tail skid, Lewis gun and wheels.



I will post some more pictures and a bit of history later when I have time to write up the notes and get the photos organised.

Thanks for looking.

Stevef.

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2 months 1 week ago #274 by Stevef
Evening All,

Many people will know of the FE 2b: that aeroplane that looked as though it had been designed in the Jurassic and had somehow survived mass extinction events to pop up in 1915 in time for WW1. Not so many will know that its performance was such that by late 1915 its performance with the original 120hp Beardmore engine was becoming a problem because it had a slow rate of climb and overall slow speed - it could not persue and catch the new tractor types coming into service in the German air arm. A more powerful 160hp beardmore engine was under development, but was presenting huge problems and was being unavoidably delayed, so a stop-gap measure was looked for. It was suggested that the new Rolls Royce 12 cylinder V engine, rated at 250 hp should be fitted to existing FE 2 airframes, so a prototype was built in April 1916 which immediately demonstrated a big increase in performance.. The nacelle had to be modified to take the new engine, and the radiator which was moved and mounted above the upper longerons to improve airflow.



300 machines were ordered but in the end only around 250 were delivered as the 160hp Beardmore engine finally became available in late 1916 and plugged the gap that the 2d had been designed to fill. The other problem was that the pusher concept was also becoming obsolete by late 1916 as newer faster and more heavily armed tractor biplanes were being rapidly introduced.



The type was used on the Western Front in 1916 and reamained in service there until the autumn of 1917 when it was finally withdrawn. 40 were sent to training schools but they were not kept for long as the engines were too useful to be used in this role, and there was little need for pilots of pusher machines.



23 machines were posted to Home Defence squadrons but by 1917 their rate of climb and speed were such that they were of almost no value in intercepting Zeppelins, and these too were not kept in service for very long.





There is no serial on the rudder as I did not have suitable transers, so it is a generic representation of the type as it would have appeared in the summer of 1916. It is brush painted (as usual for me) with acrylics and all markings are hand painted.



If you have got this far, thanks for looking. Now on to something which will hopefully cause fewer problems!




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