Ta 152 (oz11389)
About this Plan
Ta 152. Rubber scale model German WWII fighter. Constructed of polystyrene foam, sheeted in balsa.
Quote: "For the past three years I have entered the Annual Flightmasters Jumbo Rubber Scale event. The first two years I won the meet with a semiscale Puss Moth. The plane was successful, but did not entirely fit into the spirit of the contest - it flew too well! The third year I decided to build to the other extreme. Though it did not win, it proved that this type of plane can be built and flown successfully.
The Focke-Wulf TA 152 H-0 was chosen because of its good proportions. The construction technique was developed to produce a strong, light, simulated metal finish without the problems of planking a typical former and stringer structure. Its strength can best be illustrated by the pictures of the finished plane taken after it had been flown approximately 35 times and escaped two tangles with parked cars!
Construction methods will be stressed in this article, so if you have a pet plane you would like to build, all you need is a good three-view and you can build it in the same manner as the Focke-Wulf. This plane will also make an excellent 1/2A Gas Scale model with very little modification.
The plane has several unusual features: removeable motor tube with return gears (which keeps the rubber well forward and helps balance the plane); Trexler air wheels with modified hubs; sliding canopy; fiberglass cowl and spinner; the planked polystyrene foam fuselage and wing (the basis for the whole plane); and the pilot, complete with his custom-made leather flying helmet and coat.
Those who feel the project is a bit ambitious will be pleased to note that this is the first time I have ever hot wire-cut foam, planked foam or used return gears. So don't be discouraged, just roll up your sleeves and start!
Construction: Fuselage: Obtain two 1 inch thick polystyrene one lb per cu ft bead board. (I found it at the local builders' supply.) Place two layers together and push a 1/8 dowel in through the tail and nose to keep the halves together while you carve. Trace the top view and side view on the block. Cut to shape on a band saw or with a hacksaw blade. Make cardboard templates for the various fuselage station cross sections. Carve to rough shape using a sharp X-acto carving blade or similar knife. Make sawing motions with the knife in order to keep from tearing up the foam. As you carve, use the X section templates as a guide. When you get near the proper X section, use very coarse sandpaper and file off the excess material - 320 grit sandpaper will give a smooth final finish.
When the outer surface is finished, pull out the dowels and separate the fuselage halves. Hollow out the fuselage with a hot wire. I did it in the following manner: Form a half loop of wire about three inches in diameter out of .032 wire; hook up to a Variac and set at a position just hot enough to melt the foam (5-10 on a full-scale 140). Now with the hot wire just scoop out the foam until you have about 1/4 in wall left. The TA 152 foam fuselage weighed 1.35 oz when finished. Other methods for heating wire could employ a DC power supply, automobile battery or an auto battery charger.
With the foam fuselage all hollowed out and the outer surface finished, glue the two halves together using Titebond or a water-base rubber cement. (Do not use any solvent-base cements or your foam will disappear rapidly!)
Planking is the next step. Select light, straight grain 1/32 balsa, 3 in wide. Soak the wood in a water-ammonia mixture approximately 1-5% for about 15 min. The wood will appear to darken up as it wets; remove and rinse thoroughly. Place the 3 in wide strip on the side of the fuselage with the bottom edge slightly below the wing rib base. Trim off the excess wood and, using 1 in wide masking tape, secure the wood in place with a gentle but firm pull. Don't be afraid to use lots of tape - about every two in. You will be surprised how much the wood can be formed.
Allow to dry for several hours. Heat may be used to speed up the drying process, but don't go to more than about 120°F or the foam may melt or distort. When dry, remove the tape carefully to avoid tearing the wood. Trim off excess wood on the top and bottom of the rear end. Remove the formed sheet from the foam fuselage; then form the other side in a similar manner. Before trimming off excess wood, place the first half on the form and line up the area to be trimmed to match in areas where the two sheets overlap. Next, glue one side on at a time. Spread on even but thin film of Titebond on all wood surfaces. Place on the form (foam), position carefully and tape in place using masking tape. When dry, remove tape and bond on the second side after making sure it matches all joints with the first half.
The top and bottom planking on the nose are done in a similar manner using sheets 4 to 5 in wide. Splice this sheet by placing the seam down the center of the top and bottom. Be careful when water soaking - excessive soaking can cause the seam to come apart.
After these two pieces are formed, carefully trim to fit and bond in place. The turtle deck and rudder can be formed next. Soak the sheet as before, overlap the side sheeting slightly and trim to approximate shape..."
TA 152, American Aircraft Modeler, October 1973.
Direct submission to Outerzone.
Supplementary file notes
Article pages, thanks to RFJ.
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