Brandenburg C1 (oz15041)


Brandenburg C1 (oz15041) by Bill Dennis 2000 - plan thumbnail

About this Plan

Brandenburg C1. Free flight scale model German WWI biplane. Wingspan 35-1/2 in, for .75 to .80 engines.

Quote: "Nats Winner, Bill Dennis describes his delightful Brandenburg C1 Free Flight Scale Biplane.

The Brandenburg C1 was designed by Ernst Heinkel of the German Hansa and Brandenburgishche Flugzeugwerke and subsequently also produced under licence by the Austrian Phonix and UFAG companies. A remarkably sleek machine when judged against others of the time, the Brandenburg came into service in early 1916 and remained a mainstay of the flying services until 1918, hauled along by a large variety of engines, enclosed in a similarly varied style of cowling. At the beginning of its career it was used as a long range reconnaissance machine but was later adapted to other roles, including artillery spotting and bombing.

The Brandenburg has an almost ideal layout for a free flight model, and yet I have only ever seen one other model, an indoor Peanut. Perhaps the reason is the documentation; the available three views do not inspire confidence and there are a confusing number of variants. Nevertheless it is an interesting subject and makes a challenging building project. It certainly takes off and flies beautifully and is a very practical model.

With hindsight, it could have been a little larger - maybe 40in span for a good Mills .75 - because I had to fly mine with the wick turned well down. A PAW 55 would be suitable (apart from the needle valve), but here it is as built. Mine only weighed 14 oz -don't go much higher than this or you will lose the slow flying characteristics that are the appeal of free flight.

My particular version is an early model, shot down by Barracca. It has a different rudder and side panels to the cowling which make it easier to conceal the engine

Fuselage: The essential starting point is to buy two identical sheets of bendy 1/16 balsa; you will find these lying next to one another in your model shop. Cut the sides in pairs to match the grain; it is important to do all you can to keep the fuselage straight at this early stage, and soaking them in ammonia solution will help. On my model I had tried to build the sides right up to F1 but the curve was just too much and the extreme front end distorted. To rescue the fuselage I cut the front off at F2 and replaced it with block as shown.

During assembly use plenty of jigging triangles to keep things true but of course this is complicated by the bulge in the middle of the fuselage. Don't be put off, this is the only tricky part.

At an early stage you must decide if you are going to panel the fuselage in ply. Some machines were painted all over and in this case you will be able to leave the fuselage all balsa - much easier, but less rewarding. If you are going to do a varnished machine, note that there is no balsa sheeting to the top or bottom of the fuselage; the ply alone is plenty strong enough. The rear sides can also be largely cut away but don't do this until the last thing.

Scrutiny of photographs shows great variation in the top decking on the forward fuselage and this area is not easy to reproduce using conventional techniques. In the end I tack-glued soft balsa to the top forward fuselage and carved and sanded this to shape. With this block still in place I heated up sheets of plastic card and pulled them over the former. The resultant mouldings were trimmed and cut away for the various apertures, cockpit, engine etc. They are sufficiently strong to need little internal structure; just a 1/2 in former F5 to separate the engine bay from the cockpit, which you will see is largely open space.

With this task done, the decking can be removed until a later stage. Add the engine bearers, U/C and lower wing dowels, plus the cabane wires. By their nature, being integral with the wing dowels, these need very careful bending and be prepared to throw a few away. Bind a length of 16 swg between them and spend a lot of time checking all the angles before soldering the joints. I usually tack glue strips of wood to the fuselage to act as datum reference points. Get this wrong and the model will not work properly!

Make up a cowling block, tack in place and shape. Remove and finish, then make a plaster cast and lay it up in fibreglass. There is little room at the front end and you wiull need to refer to the phtoographs..."

Direct submission to Outerzone.

Brandenburg C1 from Model Flyer, March 2000.

Supplementary file notes

Article pages, thanks to RFJ.


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Brandenburg C1 (oz15041) by Bill Dennis 2000 - model pic

  • (oz15041)
    Brandenburg C1
    by Bill Dennis
    from Model Flyer
    March 2000 
    35in span
    Scale IC F/F Biplane Military
    clean :)
    all formers complete :)
    got article :)
  • Submitted: 29/12/2023
    Filesize: 1219KB
    Format: • PDFbitmap
    Credit*: Circlip, RFJ
    Downloads: 592

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User comments

I was pleased to see this one reappear because I didn't have a copy and wanted to build another. It was one of my favourite models, although with hindsight it is better-suited to a 0.5cc at that size. It shouldn't have weighed 14oz; 10 should be achievable
bill dennis - 11/01/2024
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