Heinkel He51 (oz15329)


Heinkel He51 (oz15329) by Jim Latham 1990 - plan thumbnail

About this Plan

Heinkel He 51. Free flight scale model for CO2 power.

Quote: "This neat between-wars fighter is just right for CO2 power. Heinkel He51, by Jim Latham.

THIS pretty little biplane caught my eye when I saw it in the Salamander book 'Fighters', for it seemed to be just right for CO2. Three models later it still seems an ideal subject. Let's go!

Fuselage: This is of conventional former-and-stringer construction except for the front end which employs foam cut from food containers. Cut pieces to size and glue between the formers using PVA glue. When thoroughly dry, carve and sand the foam to shape using the formers at templates. Using foam in this fashion gives a rigid structure which is lighter than balsa - and cheaper, too.

Mark formers for undercarriage (U/C) tubes, lower wing location strip and tailplane location peg before assembly. Formers E and H are slotted before assembly, but formers D, F, G and I are fretted on the model using a hacksaw blade to cut a 1/32 in slot, lining up the stringer slots with a straight edge or by eye. This ensures straight stringers. Insert the U/C tubes and epoxy in place; fit U/C wires and bind and solder together. Cover the wires with foam and carve and sand to shape. Fair in with Polyfilla or similar. Cover with Jap or other lightweight tissue using PVA glue on the foam portions. Sand lightly, re-covering any foam areas which are exposed.

Spats, spinner and ventral radiator are made from tissue pasted over moulds. The spinner is glued onto the prop so make a few spares for the inevitable prop change. Vacuum form or buy 1-1/8 in diameter wheels.

Wings: The wing construction looks fiddly but it is very strong and light, and very suitable for a wing which is tapered or possesses a variety of sections. Make the rib moulds first. If you do not have a handsaw then make the male portion of the mould by carving it to shape from a block of wood. Build a box around this portion and pour in glass resin well laced with inert filler powder of talcum powder. When dry separate and trim up. Cut 1/32 balsa slightly oversize, wet, and and sandwich between the halves of the mould. Apply pressure with rubber bands or strip rubber. Sand the leading edge (LE) of the rib section flush with front of mould. When dry slice to thickness.

Pin down LE, trailing edge (TE) and wing tips. Glue lower ribs in place using a minimum of glue, as a blob in the wrong place can effect the fit of the top rib. Glue in spars and allow to dry thoroughly. Fit upper ribs. When sanding the wing check by eye to ensure that there are no flats sanded in.

If you wish to incorporate ailerons glue two balsa strips 1/16 in apart either side of the aileron line. Sand to shape, checking with a cut rib until they fit. Add top ribs and when the wing has been sanded separate and trim off the rib protusions. Glue soft balsa strips to aileron and wing and sand down. Ailerons add a bit more weight and are a bit more of a fiddle but they improve appearance and may be adjusted for flight trim.

Tailplane and fin: No problems here as the construction is perfectly straightforward. The model has a fairly long nose; thus there is a tendency towards nose-heaviness so it is possible to build in a bit of a strength without penalty.

Assembly and rigging: Cut cabane and interplane struts oversize. Make holes in the fuselage and insert cabane struts, gluing in position with PVA or epoxy. Before the glue sets, offer up the upper wing and check that all looks good. Slide lower wing onto location strip and glue in place. Add root fairings of thin card and fair these in with Polyfilla. Do not omit, for these fairings add to the strength of the joints. Ensure that the lower wings are square and that there is no dihedral. Fit uppper wing and when dry spring the wings apart and insert the interplane struts. Patch the tissue around the struts if necesary and rig the model as shown. This is also fiddly but it makes a strong job.

The colour scheme is R.L.M Hellgrau with black trim. My model is painted in the colours of J.G 132 Richthofen. Pages 12, 176 and 177 of 'Hitler's Luftwaffe' from Salamander Books give excellent examples of this and other colour schemes. Other references are found in 'The Birth of the Luftwaffe' by Hanfried Schielphake, published by Ian Allan.

Flying: Trim for right hand circles under power and glide. The model is docile and no problems should be experienced. Happy Heinkeling! "

Supplementary file notes



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Heinkel He51 (oz15329) by Jim Latham 1990 - model pic


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