DH Vampire 1/5th Scale prototype - Kit

Re: DH Vampire 1/5th Scale prototype - Kit

Postby barrierussell » Sat Dec 05, 2015 12:34 pm

Greeting Brian, Fantastic work, you're even a lot quicker than me !! I spy that piano type hinge on the hatch, could you tell me the dimensions of it and do you have a supply address ?

Many Thanks, Barrie R.

Re: DH Vampire 1/5th Scale prototype - Kit

Postby DH100 » Sun Dec 06, 2015 12:12 pm

Hi Barrie

Slow is a word I seem to understand well!
I have to tell you that the hinges are home made. I silver soldered some 1/16 OD Brass Tube to a piece of 1/32 Brass Strip, marked it out accordingly then did the rest (carefully) with a cut-off wheel, finishing with a needle file. Once you get started it doesn't (seem) to take that long.

Cheers ... BB

Re: DH Vampire 1/5th Scale prototype - Kit

Postby DH100 » Mon Jan 18, 2016 7:22 pm

Well been AWOL for a while. No all wasted time but more a matter of diversity!
So a lot of what I’ve done recently has been re-hashing work done previously but all around the modified top fuselage section hence not a lot of pics. One of the biggies was to try blowing a canopy and I regret that at this stage I’ve put up the white flag on that one. Here are some of pics of the set-up I worked with, alas not up to spec.
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Set up the base on the Vac former

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The ill fated clamping plate

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One of the positive results

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The previous was turned into a pluc for a female mould.

I will get back to it however in the meantime I have made one of the two female moulds as per our old Airsail Piper Tomahawk and Neil Schrader’ Sptifire canopy mouldings. Result is OK and I’m being told I’m too fussy by some. I have yet to make the second mould for the outer skin and will do so shortly. The blow moulding will work and as you see I have some minor encouragement but the engineering, the clamping pressure and the air control are the critical aspects and in my haste I was wide of the mark. Also, I really want to use Acrylic (Perspex) as it polishes beautifully, where PET-G just doesn’t.
So, I’m working rearwards along the fuselage with a view to painting the fuselage pod this month. I have the canopy rails sorted, the little side doors all fitting well and the Fuel Cap cut out done and dusted. The top rear hatch is next and that will probably be the first item to be painted.
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The first reasonable moulding from the female mould. Next is the outer skin, essentially a slightly larger canopy bonded to the inner one.
Apart from that my bench is crowded at the moment with the resurrection of my sport jet and some further mods to the Miles Hawk .. this time adjusting the thrustline and the horizontal stab incidence. Not enough hours in the day.

Re: DH Vampire 1/5th Scale prototype - Kit

Postby DH100 » Wed Jan 20, 2016 2:33 pm

I managed to get some colour on the hatch, anything to encourage oneself to do more. I'm pretty pleased with the result so far, but my pictures of the full size demonstrate the need for some serious weathering and there’s the latch cover plates to be fitted.
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I’ve come to the conclusion that the best way to render something removable is to make them as a separate item then add them later.

I plan to attach them with good old F2 contact adhesive. The quick release fastener heads are yet to be attached.
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Re: DH Vampire 1/5th Scale prototype - Kit

Postby DH100 » Sun Jan 24, 2016 7:57 pm

A little like painting by numbers here but it’s the way I like to do things with an airbrush. As you see I have the Dark Sea Grey on the tail cone area and also the under side PRU Blue on the gun access panels. It’s all to glossy at the moment but it will change.


A good friend passed on an unused Power Box Light controller today ..what I lucky man am I then! That will fit very nicely into the Vampire works. Thanks you Craig A.

Re: DH Vampire 1/5th Scale prototype - Kit

Postby DH100 » Tue Feb 09, 2016 9:17 am

The underside of the fuselage is now all PRU Blue so I’m looking forward to getting the topside dealt with.

As a reward I decided to tackle a detail item that’s highly visible under the canopy, namely the Hydraulic Fluid Reservoir, which was/is situated immediately behind the pilots armour plate.
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It has an array of pipes with lock wired nuts so it's not a five minute job - regrettably!

Re: DH Vampire 1/5th Scale prototype - Kit

Postby DH100 » Tue Feb 16, 2016 1:48 pm

I came back from the Tokoroa Jet Spectacular suitably inspired. 10 flights with the newly restored Bullfrog got things working again after a year off jets!
So, on to the Vampire again and some progress on it’s the emergency Hydraulic Reservoir.
The basic body was primed and the various supply and return tubes made from plastic rod bent with the heat of a candle. Regular nuts were added with spacers and the lock wires added from fine copper wire that I’ve had for about a hundred years! Painted matt black and dry brushed to highlight things it’s looking OK.
Hyd Res.JPG

Not quite there with it yet and then there’s also an equally prominent electrical junction box of some sort along with cables and leads. All good fun.

Re: DH Vampire 1/5th Scale prototype - Kit

Postby DH100 » Thu Feb 18, 2016 2:40 pm

I fabricated what appears to be some sort of electronics box located behind the armour plate on the starboard. This was made from pieces of G10, Balsa, Litho plate, Ali Tube and Plastic rod. I have no idea of what it did but like the reservoir it’s very visible.
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Next will be the Shoulder Harness anchor point along with the Armour Plate .

Re: DH Vampire 1/5th Scale prototype - Kit

Postby DH100 » Thu Feb 18, 2016 3:03 pm

I thought I should put this up so it looks like I know something of what I'm doing!
Wangaratta Rear Shelf 1.jpg

Re: DH Vampire 1/5th Scale prototype - Kit

Postby Warwick » Sun Feb 21, 2016 10:49 pm

I have been off line for a while! It was a pleasant surprise to see the progress. Fabulous work Brian. Soon be time for the test Flight.

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Re: DH Vampire 1/5th Scale prototype - Kit

Postby DH100 » Sun Feb 28, 2016 9:33 pm

I made up the armour plate from balsa laminated with G10 both sides. I added some detail including the shoulder strap tensioning box. A busy little place behind the pilots head.

Also spent a lot of time prepping the fuselage for its Dark Green and finally got that on. There are some touch-ups to do but it’s starting to look as I hope it would. There’s an uneven level of gloss or otherwise and it had yet to be matted right down and properly weathered.


Neil Schrader has all the stencil files so my mate Gwyn will be doing me some 0.04mm ply “spray-through” stencil masks …no rub downs here. I’m going to put a super thin clear over first in case I don’t get it in one shot! It’s all getting quite exciting.

Re: DH Vampire 1/5th Scale prototype - Kit

Postby mauricej » Tue Mar 29, 2016 9:28 pm

Great to catch up with you both at the Nats, and subsequently to "find" your build thread. What an awesome project. Your detailing is amazing.

I will continue to follow with delight

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Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2016 6:59 pm

Re: DH Vampire 1/5th Scale prototype - Kit

Postby DH100 » Fri Apr 01, 2016 10:52 am

Two weeks off due to a family wedding and the National Championships. My trusty twelve year old Miles did the job for me in variable weather.
Hawk 2016 Nats.jpg

The last round was flown with light drizzle setting in. R/C Scale is in the doldrums here but the company and camaraderie is always special.
I now have the tailplane with all it’s colour on as well as the booms as well as the fin flashes.
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I devised my own “computer cutter” from a pair of dividers modified for the job. One side was ground so as to form a mini blade while the other was shortened to compensate for the dimple centre pin from my old drafting set.
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A bit of fiddling here and there, but a very neat job in the end with much less hassle than hand masking with fine line tape.
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Next in line the squadron markings. These are yellow diamonds within a red bar on each side of the roundel.

Re: DH Vampire 1/5th Scale prototype - Kit

Postby DH100 » Fri Apr 01, 2016 5:31 pm

Today was a good day. As you see the aircraft now has a squadron identity ..but no serial as yet. Now getting slightly ridiculous about that matter, the original came to New Zealand with it's RAF serial, most probably brush painted, on the booms and under the wings. The paint team here painted over that with a silver panel, then the NZ serial was applied using spray-through stencils. If I was totally mad I would paint the RAF serial first, then do as they did in 1956! So, what to do? :lol:
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Re: DH Vampire 1/5th Scale prototype - Kit

Postby DH100 » Sun Apr 03, 2016 9:43 pm

I set about making the NZ Serial number Stencil for the booms this morning. I bought a very swivel blade knife about 2 years ago and haven’t really used it with serious intent until today. So using a photocopy of the image, I covered it with yellow paper tape then away I went - all very easy. The tape offers more body to the plain white paper and I will put some of the reverse side as well, set back from the edges to stand the stencil off the surface. All the straight horizontal cuts and vertical cuts followed by the curves and the result will be seen tomorrow, after a test run of course.

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Re: DH Vampire 1/5th Scale prototype - Kit

Postby DH100 » Mon Apr 04, 2016 8:57 pm

I masked the silver panels and got those down first - then had to adjust the top line!!! The trouble with this aircraft is there are no “original” drawings so all the markings are transposed from photographs. As well as that, the original aircraft had only the roundels and the silver panel carrying the serial number for some time. The squadron colours came later.
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However, I set the stencil mask in place after testing it on a piece of card, then the black applied with the airbrush. Actually, it took two strikes for the port boom even though I hate to say so!(Lots of mumbling and grumbling to myself). Hmmm. I also sprayed a super thin coat of clear as the paint film is really very thin and requires the clear to hold it down.
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Anyway the outcome was as good as I had hoped and while it’s given me a bit of a lift, I look at the cockpit which has cobwebs in it …no kidding … and I still see a way to go until it looks like this below.
NZ5762 1956 (Small).JPG

Re: DH Vampire 1/5th Scale prototype - Kit

Postby DH100 » Tue May 10, 2016 9:46 pm

Nothing much happening in recent times here I regret, mostly due to my total frustration with the double skin canopy. I’ve gone round and round with this and am hoping that a “Erueka” moment I had last week will supply the answer. I happened to be out with Gwyn Avenell looking at a Mosquito wing under construction - talk about acres of plywood and thousands of brass screws – and we got talking about the dreaded canopy. As a result he took me around to Composites International, a company down the south of Auckland. Rob Treaynor is modeller as well as a supplier of mouldings to the aviation industry here. He also blows canopies! See the set up for a full size Spitfire bubble canopy.
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So now I’m headed down a track I’ve been down before, but with all the best info about techniques. I’ve also managed to purchase some small sheets of 1.5mm Perspex out of Australia. So what you see here is what you might call the blowing chamber. It will have a air inlet and be perforated with small dia holes.
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The heated Perspex is draped then clamped with a purpose made clamping frame, air applied and hey presto. That’s the theory which will be but into practice at Rob’s establishment once I’ve completed all the tooling.
In the meantime I have most of the small stencils laser cut, a couple of which I’ve put to good use.
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The RNZAF Museum and Neil Schrader had a hand in the prep work and Gwyn’s clever laser cutter did a great job on thick card.
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More on the canopy tooling tomorrow I hope.

Re: DH Vampire 1/5th Scale prototype - Kit

Postby DH100 » Thu May 12, 2016 9:21 pm

It doesn’t look all that exciting but progress is progress. In my stash of items that Ive had forever, I found exactly what I required to give me a spacer for the clamping frame in the form of some 1.5mm self adhesive wax sheet. It’s a product that was and perhaps still is used in the pattern and model making arena.
Blowing Chamber Spacer.JPG

So, with the wax spacer in place I set about making the first clamping ring, which essentially the frame of the canopy.
Clamping frame stage one.JPG

Calmping frame stage two.JPG

That was all yesterday and I’ve cleaned it up and made a small adjustment after slight lifting on one side.
Clamping frame released.JPG

Next is to complete the locating pins and finalize any strengthening and to securely mount the blowing chamber to a baseboard. It still has to have the airholes drilled and to be covered with soft cotton to diffuse the air even further. My 1.5mm Perspex arrived this morning so I have every reason to push on. It all looks like a puzzle but I have high hopes.

Re: DH Vampire 1/5th Scale prototype - Kit

Postby DH100 » Sun May 29, 2016 5:36 pm

I spent a good deal of time completing the set up for the canopy moulding and then finally the day arrived and ended with a good result and a lot of optimism. After a little trail and error along with 4 pairs of hands the magic happened without too much drama.
1 Canoy blow.JPG

So what you see here is the master of blowing ceremonies showing me how it’s all done immediately after the placing of the heated Perspex followed by some frantic activity clamping the ring in place prior to the application of air pressure. A joy to watch and I was told I had an appropriate smile on my face!
2 Canopy cooling.JPG

The result was a perfect inner canopy moulding with a clarity that is simply outstanding. Two outer canopy shells were also done however that is gong to be revisited as there were some minor issues of the Perspex slipping from under the clamping ring and so not a true moulding.
3 Canopy Inner shell in place.JPG

All in all it has surely been a mission but absolutely worth the effort and there has been some learning along the way. Many thanks are due to the people at Composites International for the tutorial and assistance.
Stencil nose Cone.JPG

Stencil port Boom (Small).JPG

For a little light relief over the last week or so I’ve added some stencils. There is still a lot more to go but the spray through the card stencil masks is as good as anticipated.
Cabin Ventilation Heater Tube.JPG

Cabin vent tube ready for fitting.JPG

Also on the list of things done is the de-misting pipe that runs around the edge of the cockpit from the windshield to the bulkhead at the pilots back.
Cabin Vent tube drilling jig.JPG

I made a little jig to space the holes evenly and keep them in a straight line. Love the detail stuff.

Re: DH Vampire 1/5th Scale prototype - Kit

Postby DH100 » Mon Jun 13, 2016 4:23 pm

You will all remember the movie “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly”. These three shots tell the story of a weekend of despair.
I set about bonding the two canopy shells together. Initially all went well however it wasn't to last!

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IMG_2193 (Medium) (Small).JPG

The front edge is acceptable apart from where I applied the wrong CA to fill a small gap. No pink blushing here, just pure white.
The area between the rear end of the rails and where the tailcone fits is downright ugly, much worse than Mr De Havilland could ever have done. After a little research I used a gap filling Acrylic Solvent and it looked okay for the first hour or so but then as it dries - and it does so really quickly - it just sucks in the air. Low Shrink it said! My attempts to address it have failed. To make matters worse, tired and frustrated I managed to knock the unit off the bench onto the concrete floor. Crack.
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So while the white flag is not up, I just have to carry on and get this machine in the air – warts and all. I guess the best thing I can take out of the exercise is that I know what went wrong, or should say the three things that went wrong. I now know all the answers and I will put these very difficult lessons to good use, but not right now.


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