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Eddie Rickenbacker and his Spad
(circa 1918 AD)
(2001 for model)

 

The model was assembled using the Modern Method. This would seem to be more practical than the folding or "umbrella" method. I hesitate to say; "impossible." If I were to do so, I have some traditionalist friends who would do exactly that-- to prove a point!

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"Rick" seems to have quite
a bit of pride in his bird

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There were three major sub-assemblies in the process. The lower wing was first inserted into the bottle. It had eight struts and a segment of the fuselage attached, as well as one end of each of the "wing wires." The fuselage segment had a hole bored in it to receive a locating pin from the rest of the fuselage.

Next the fuselage and rudder assembly was epoxied to the lower wing. The fuselage had the cabin or "cabane" struts attached. These struts were used to align the three major components.

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The completed project

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The upper wing was then added. It had eight holes bored in it to receive the struts from the lower wing and four holes in the center section to receive the cabane struts. The upper wing was epoxied to the cabane struts and the wing struts.

The wing wires were glued to the upper wing at appropriate points.

The minor sub-assemblies were the landing gear and elevator-stabilizer components, these were added last.

The base was made of five plywood planks that were keyed to each other and a reinforcing crosswise slat. Model railroader's artificial turf was used for the landing field. The turf was smeared with brown paint to represent the mud on the air field.

When this part was finished, the base was moved into its final position and glued down. 

~ Details ~

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Forward end of the fuselage showing engine, cabane (cabin), struts, cockpit and one exhaust pipe.

 


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Overhead view of upper wing, cockpit and nose. The lower wing is in place (not glued yet), and the struts are being aligned using the lower wings and an auxiliary part as fixtures.



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Rear view of midwing section. Steel weights press struts into sockets in upper and lower wings. Epoxy is in lower wing sockets only, to secure the struts. Steel blocks provide moderate force to hold assembly together. This process will be repeated within the bottle with epoxy in upper wing "strut sockets".


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Front view of above procedure. The "grass" is from model railroad layouts. The floor is made up of 5 planks with crosswise "slats".

 


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The finished lower wing assembly. The odd shaped parts on the upper wing (rear) are fixtures to aid in aligning the wings. They were inserted into the outer wing sockets while the epoxy was hardening on the cabane and inner pairs of struts. The "angled" piece on the upper wing was an auxiliary fuel tank, apparently added as an afterthought on the original plane. It proved useful to me. A steel pin was inserted through the upper wing, through this tank, and into the fuselage to provide an aligning point for the assembly.

 

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Component parts prior to assembly in the bottle. The steel pins on the tail skid and wheels went into holes in the floor where epoxy held them secure. I have had problems with my "wheeled" models coming loose. Hopefully this is a solution!

 

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The point of no return -- almost. epoxying the fuselage to the lower wing burns a bridge. These two pieces were aligned with dowels. Small rubber erasers are used to protect the model's paint and form a padded region of contact between the wings and the floor.


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The upper wing was added using the steel weights and more epoxy. The wing "wires" were wound around the upper roots of the struts using "micro gater" electrical clips to hold them taut. A simple overhand knot is usually tied at this end, and a little glue stakes the knot. The other ends of the "wires" are fastened outside the bottle. The circular base is very easy to re-position to expose the model to the neck at appropriate angles.

The landing gear is now added, the model is flipped over, and the tail skid and wheel wires are inserted into the epoxy-filled holes in the floor.

 

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Rick 'n' me, France 1918

If you believe the above caption, I have a bridge in New York I would like to sell you. 

The figure was made using a steel wire or armature bent into the rough skeletal form of the pilot. The wires were bent into the position of the man, covered with clear epoxy forming a fat figure. The figure was then carved, using the "skeleton" as a guide. It was finally painted. One of the figure's leg wires was extended to go into the base to reinforce the glue holding the figuring to the base.

 

Built by Ralph W. Preston.
Photos by Ralph W. Preston.

1998-2007 Ralph Preston / Web Design & Maintenance: Nate Orshan
~~~ Hit the bottle! ~~~