About this Plan
Spitfire. Radio control sport-scale l WWII fighter model, for .20 engines. Wingspan 41 in, wing area 300 sq in.
Note this plan and the Me 109 (oz12350) appeared together in the same "Dogfight Double" 3-part article starting in RCME, August 1977.
Quote: "Dogfight Double. Classic Double Act of Me109 and Spitfire for 20 cu in Motors and Three or Four Function R/C. Design By Ian Peacock. Part 1 of a 3-part pull-out plan feature.
THE Spitfire and the Me 109E have long been popular subjects among modellers and will probably remain so for many years to come. Nowhere in the annals of aviation history has so much been written of two such famous combatants. The legendary 'Few' and the Battle of Britain will fill the story books and historical journals for a long time to come. The background stories of these machines and the biographies of their creators are there for all to read, and who can fail to thrill to the sight and sound of the Spitfire when flown at displays and demonstrations. To many it provides the highlight of events such as those held at Sywell and Biggin Hill causing more modem creations to pall almost into insignificance.
The decision to produce models of these two aircraft is not taken lightly; many successful versions have been flown and many have failed.
This particular version was inspired by the Club 20 class for pylon racing and long before it was decided to add scale and aerobatics to the Club 20 bag I had formed the opinion that .19 motors and thereabouts offered much to the average modeller. There can be few of us without an engine of this general size kicking about in the dust of the workshop.
So the die was cast; first steps were to produce a 'near scale' Spitfire to meet the existing racing class. Some of you may remember the photograph in DB's column last year. This model had thin symmetrical wings to the racing dimensions and despite a hefty 26 oz/sq ft wing loading, the model was quite fast powered only by an ageing OS 19. Regrettably no washout was incorporated and the thin sharply tapered elliptical wing produced a model that was difficult to control at slow speeds, although at higher speeds, handling was quite satisfactory. Due to the foam wing construction, drastic changes to the wing would have been difficult - and were soon rendered unnecessary when the model was written-off at a flying session at DB's field.
Subsequently a change of wing section plus the added safety factor provided by washout has removed most of the handling problems although it should be said that neither model is really suited to the novice. Low-wing models with such a high wing loading are not that easy to fly but anyone with an average amount of low-wing experience should have no difficulty flying these.
Presented here then are two quite lively and 'very near scale' models with relatively simple construction. They are one piece models (ie the wings do not come off - at least not deliberately!) and both will fit into most small family cars. Only in one or two places has the scale outline been 'fiddled' and these are shown on the drawings to assist those of you brave enough to attempt to build to an even 'nearer scale'. Probably the most noticeable non-scale area is the undercarriage. The wheels have been brought forward and spaced wider apart for better ground handling, but even so take-off's and landings are difficult on rough surfaces.
For use on grass fields I would recommend unscrewing the undercarriage and fitting the optional 'drop tank' under the belly, this serves as a useful handle for hand launches, and also as a belly wheel for grass landings. Both models look better in the air without the wheels-a-dangling anyhow. The drop tank (or bomb if you so desire!) is virtually to scale, although the tank support bracket is not. Scale tank/bomb racks are fiddly and probably would have insufficient strength to handle landing shocks.
The marks of Spitfire and Me109 chosen, actually place these two models at a time when they probably would not have met much in combat. They were chosen both from practical considerations and to satisfy personal whim. The very squareness of the E variant of the Me 109 appeals to me and seems to capture Teutonic approach to aircraft design. The later versions, being more rounded do not have the same attraction for me. Interestingly, more Me 109s were built than any other fighter throughout all of WWII and the E version was favoured by many of the Luftwaffe aces.
The Spitfire Mk IX was chosen because of its longer nose (to house the improved Rolls Royce Merlin) and because I like the pointed, broad chord rudders often fitted to later Mk IXs. Incidentally the Mk IX was an interim version, brought about by the delays in getting theMk VIII into production. It evolved by the marrying of the larger engine (from the Mk VIII) with the airframes of the Mk V currently rolling off the production line, and was therefore intended purely as a stop-gap design. So successful was this 'marriage' that more Mk IXs were produced than any other version.
The more eagle-eyed amongst you will notice that the models and the drawings do not quite tie up. There are several unnecessary errors in the models, most of which crept in during construction. These have all been rectified on the drawings. The most noticeable error on the Me 109 is the curve on the top nose cowling, it is much too gentle. Such errors as these are easy to avoid if one keeps strictly to the drawing. For editorial reasons (largely to do with the layout of the series to get maximum information in minimum space) it was decided to feature the Spitfire first, followed by the Me 109. Apologies to all Luftwaffe fans but you'll get your turn next month.
Construction: Because there is much in common to these models, construction notes are offered as a fairly broad guide throughout this and the next two months. Areas of overlap occur and a general guide covers both models - individual notes will be shown where major differences are apparent.
Most modellers have a preferred starting point for any new project, some start with the wings and some with the fuselage. In this instance the wings are dealt with first, not for any personal reason but for the fact that the fuselage is built onto the finished wing.
Wings are veneered foam yet maintain scale outline (even on the Spitfire) and are scaled to give 300 sq in of area. Note that this in fact produces a pair of models which are not to the same scale.
Stage 1. Cut from card the wing planform and separate the LE, TE and tips. Retain these parts for later. Cut the foam core blocks to size using card template as a guide. Cut each core blank in half producing inner, outer left, and right hand panels. Using the root and centre, then centre and tip templates, cut inner and outer panels to section. (Note 10° washout appears as 5° at centre point). Glue inner and outer panels together with 5 min. epoxy and lightly sand joint when dry. See diagram below.
Stage 2. Carefully sand the root ends of the cores to the dihedral angle and cut the slots to fit the undercarriage block. Note that the undercarriage block acts as a dihedral brace and no other form of stiffening is needed. Check that the wing cores fit together with the undercarriage block in position and that the washout is correct. (I have made one wing with wash-in before now - it makes a good propeller but a lousy wing!).
Stage 3. Cut the veneer slightly oversize and coat it with Copydex (see notes in foam wing article elsewhere in this issue). Similarly coat both sides of the cores. When completely dry, veneer the top and bottom of both wing panels and trim off the excess veneer. Check that the washout is still correct, it can disappear if too much uneven pressure is exerted during the veneering stage.
Stage 4. Using the card templates produced earlier cut the balsa leading and trailing edge parts and Wing tips. Add the LE and false TE and fit the aileron torque rods. Add the TE (Suitably grooved) and the aileron. Finally tilt the wing tips and sand the whole wing to taper and section all over. Check that the washout is still correct, and that the aileron and TE follow the correct angle.
Stage 5. Join the wing with undercarriage block in place using 5 min epoxy. Check the alignment of the wing halves. When the join is dry mark out and cut the holes for the broom handle sections. Cut and drill these sections carefully and epoxy into place. Sand smooth all over with fine garnet paper.
Stage 6. Cover the entire wing with lightweight tissue applied with clear dope. Use the dope sparingly and check that there are no gaps or cracks in the veneer before doping. Such defects must be filled with epoxy, white glue or Polyfilla and sanded smooth before doping. Dope will dissolve the foam if it comes into contact with the foam core. Apply additional coats of dope or sanding sealer, sanding between coats to produce a satis-factory smooth surface. Hinge the ailerons with nylon or mylar strip. When completely satisfied with the finished wing, the fuselage should be commenced.
Stage 7. Left and right hand sides are cut from 1/8 medium sheet and the doublers are fitted. MFA Mirralyte was used for doublers on the original but 0.8mm ply would be satisfactory. Doublers are bonded into place with Evo-Stik or a similar contact adhesive. The doublers are fitted with a 'rolling' action (top to bottom of fuselage) with the result that the fuselage sides adopt a curved profile. This is an easy but essential step as there is little internal stiffening in the way of formers. Mark the positions of the formers on the inside of the fuselage sides and make F1 from 1/8 ply and F2 and F3 from 1/8 balsa.
Carefully mark a centre line on the wing and the centre lines on the formers. Using a slow setting adhesive such as PVA or Aliphatic resin, assemble the fuselage sides and formers onto the wing. Check carefully that the centre lines of the formers coincide with the wing centre line and for general 'squareness' of the assembly. Fasten in place with pins, masking tape, rubber bands, G-clamps, etc., and allow to dry.
Stage 8 When dry check again for alignment then pull in the rear fuselage sides to the stern post. Add the rear fuselage bottom sheet. At this point it is better to fit the nylon tubes (one for the elevator linkage and one to route the aerial) anchoring each end firmly. Bend the tail wheel leg and insert through the bottom sheet - epoxy into place.
The top decking is made from 1/8 SOFT sheet soaked in warm water and rolled to suit. Hold in the rolled state with masking tape or rubber bands and place in a warm place to dry. (I found that 30 minutes on top of the hot water tank in the airing cupboard was ideal). When dry you will find that the rolled shape still remains when the tape and bands are removed (see photo). Fit the top formers and drop the decking over them. Mark the top of the fuselage sides onto the decking and trim it to fit. Glue to the top of the fuselage when you are satisfied with the fit.
Stage 9. Sand the lower rear fuselage to blend with the lower wing surface and fit the wing fairings. The bottom of the fairing is 3/32 medium hard balsa. Top fairing is cut from 1/16 soft balsa and trimmed to fit, gently paring off the edges with a knife to achieve the correct result. Fast setting glues such as ZAP are a help here as one can hold one edge in place whilst trimming the opposite edge. Polyfilla may be used to make good any defects but use it sparingly as it can add a lot of weight..."
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