Perhaps a bit out of this groups remit, but has anybody built an Aerographics balsa and tissue Swordfish (really a flying model)?
I just bought it out of interest mainly as a large scale model (26" span which my maths equates roughly to 1/21). The balsa/tissue seemed appropriate for the Stringbag in particular. It is intended to fly on rubber power, although I'm not sure exactly what I'll do with it.
I'm thinking along a number of lines:
1) Build it just as a balsa skeleton
2) Build it as a static model (probably needs lots of detail)
3) Build it as flying model
If anybody has built and flown one, I'd be interested knowing if it flies well enough to justify going down this road. As a static model it's never going to be 'true scale' (always having that 'freeflight' type look to).
I built a balsa/tissue free flight plane before (didn't fly too well!), but after opening the box, just a few bits of wood, plans and a few other bits and pieces was a bit of a shock to the system!
I haven't built that kit, but I've had my eye on it for a while. (I hope you get some good responses!)
Over on Yahoo, there's a group called "Free Flight Cook Up" (FFCU). It is a group of stick and tissue builders, mostly scale, who share tips and techniques, and in theory we sometimes build the same model together. Cookups are loosely organized to run run every It is a low-key group, interested in building for fun. Some of the modelers there are both FF and plastic builders (myself included)
You can find out how to sign up at Yahoo.com- just follow the groups link.
Your reply sounds like it is from someone who has experience with stick and tissue kits from Guillows, Sterling, etc.
This makes your observation pretty accurate. Guillows kits, for example are generally very over-engineered, with too much structure to make a good flying model. Built stock from the box, most Guillows and Sterling scale models will be too heavy to fly well as a rubber powered free flight model. Weight is the enemy of good flight performance, and these kits have a lot of it. Too much structure, heavy plastic detail parts, and very heavy balsa all add up!
Don' take this as a slam against these kits-- Guillows kits make nice display models, and they can be converted to decent control line flyers. They are also enjoyable to build. They are just designed to emphasize scale appearance and ease of construction over flight performance. Guillows. Sterling, etc. kits usually have die cut parts, with plastic pieces for the detail parts, and the larger ones are designed to be converted to engine power (for Control line flying) fairly easily.
There are many fine looking FF scale models from other companies (generally smaller firms) that are also good flyers. I am currently building a DPC 16" span Sopwith Triplane. It is a very nice kit, with laser-cut parts. The kit has a much lighter structure, and it is built with lightweight balsa. DPC kits have a good reputation as being decent fliers. Other scale kits with similar reps as good fliers include Golden Age Reproductions, Diels, and Dumas. I don't have any first hand knowledge of the Aerographics kits, but I have heard that they are also good, flyable kits. Keep in mind that a lot of these smaller firms' kits are not precut, and include printwood. (A sheet of balsa with the parts printed on it, and you have to cut each pice out.) Also, these lighter kits typically have fewer detail parts, requiring the builder to scratchbuild details out of balsa and other lightweight materials. Also, these kits generally will need some beefing up before they can take the stresses of motor-powered flight.
Yes, I have done several. They are optimized more for flying than the Guillows. The Guillows models are heavy and loaded with plastic detailing, so they were never intended to be good flyers. The EB models are lighter and less detailed, and are reasonable flyers, but you need to do more work to make them a good exhibition model. Certainly not impossible, just a bit more work. About the only thing you need to do on Guillows models is to replace engine on radial engined planes, and do minor cleaning up and altering of vacuformed cowlings and fairings. AND, of course, replace tissue with card or plastic on metal surfaces for which no vacuform pieces provided. You will need to do a bit more on EB models.
SO what exactly is dope (besides a herbal product-extract that comes in a role of tin foil and is procured from a dubious looking character in the last washroom stall of a dingy bar after 11pm) :-) Not that I know anything about these matters of course..
Dunno exactly, to me it's just liquid stuff that shrinks, seals and glues tissue to the balsa frame. Others probably know a lot more about it than me, I just bought some of the stuff years ago from a model shop (asking for 'dope').
When I built stick and tissue models 25 years ago, the standard covering/finishing method was:
1.Put a coat of full strength clear dope on the wood structure, everywhere the covering would later be touching. Let dry.
Apply the tissue using dope thinned 50% with thinner. Let dry.
Use a fine water mist to moisten the tissue. When it dries, the tissue would shrink tight.
Seal the tissue with several coats of the 50% clear dope.
Use colored dope sparingly-- it adds a lot of weight.
I've recently returned to stick and tissue modeling, thanks in large part to the Yahoo groups "Free Flight Cookup" and "Guillowsbuilders". Last winter, I built my first stick and tissue model (Guillows Fairchild F-24), and I tried th "new" techniques that folks are using these days:
Use better quality tissue. There are two types of tissue available- doemestic(US) and Japanese tissue. Domestic tissue is inexpensive and available in lots of colors. It is also heavier, and has very little strength when wet, which can be a problem when covering and shrinking. Serious free flight modelers looking for maximum flight times use Japanese tissue. (You can get it in the US from Peck-Polymers, and other FF suppliers.)
Apply the tissue using a glue stick. (Elmer's, etc., found in the school supplies section.)
Shrink the tissue with a fine water mist. (Some folks use rubbing alcohol to lessen the shrink, some pre-shrink the tissue before applying, and then shrink it a second time on the model, to protect against warping delicate structures.)
Seal the tissue with Krylon clear spray paint. Krylon does not have the shrinking power of dope, so you're less likely to overshrink the tissue and introduce warps.
For color, airbrush with hobby acrylics. Use sparingly, as color coats will add weight.
I've found that the new techniques work as well or better thant the old, and are a LOT less nasty in terms of fumes and odors.
If you're looking for more info about this, I strongly recommend joining one (or more) of the yahoo groups....
Real aircraft (fabric covered variety) also use dope for coating covering. One can use full size aircraft dope on models. I used to buy dope thinner at airport 'cause I used so much of it and it was much cheaper by gallon at airport.