DH Vampire 1/5th Scale prototype - Kit

DH Vampire 1/5th Scale prototype - Kit

Postby DH100 » Sun Sep 16, 2012 1:20 pm

I've been working away for longer than I care to remember with this Vampire project. Time to start to put all things in order and There's been some pretty significant progress in the last little while.

The start was difficult but I didn't realize how much more difficulty there was really going to be. I intended initially to use Kerry Sterner plans. There's a couple of variants flying in NZ and while they fly very well they are not very accurate at all. In fact for the "purists" among us the shocking.

I searched for the best 3 views available, settling on those from Alfred Granger and those supplied with the "Warpaint Vampire" publication. It wasn't until I was way further down the track than I would have liked to have been that good solid info came via the RNZAF Museum Restoration crew. The net result as you will see was a series of modifications to both the prototpye build and later to the mould. One step forward and two backwards in an understatement of massive proportions.

Anyway ..this is how it all started and I hope it will be of interest.
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Re: DH Vampire 1/5th Scale prototype - Kit

Postby ash » Sun Sep 16, 2012 5:53 pm

Pictures of moulds/moulding would also be of interest at some point if you have any.

What paint system/brand do you use?
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Re: DH Vampire 1/5th Scale prototype - Kit

Postby DH100 » Sun Sep 16, 2012 9:43 pm

Hi Adrian

Yes ... I'll get there. Understand that the model is not yet complete and it's been ...still is a long haul. I'm working to put things in order so it has some continuity. Finding some of my early photographs and remembering exactly what I did is an issue during the early stages.

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

Postby Toast » Mon Sep 17, 2012 8:06 am

Great to see you posting this Brian. I have heard many "stories around the campfire" about this model. Its starting to become legendary! :D

Will be watching with bated breath!

Cheers
Brett
CORSAIR Brotherhood # 76 - If a jobs worth doing, its a job well worth having done.
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Re: DH Vampire 1/5th Scale prototype - Kit

Postby DH100 » Mon Sep 17, 2012 10:27 am

Hi Brett

The only thing I can say is that the campfire must have beem burning for some long time.

Anyway, to progress a little ..the next issue was to have a mould made. To this end I contacted Alan Ladyman who is a professionl in the Fibre glass business. We talked about the various steps and in the passage of time a mould was produced.

Next a former set was made, some buy computer and some buy trial and fit. I had the basic design set in my head ...now that's a dangerous place... so converting to reality was not so difficult.

Gwyn Avenell then worked his Autocad magic and I now have all these shapes sorted to the point of having Gwyn laser cut future requirements. As with most development projects some changes were inevitable. At least things were going forward.
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Re: DH Vampire 1/5th Scale prototype - Kit

Postby DH100 » Mon Sep 17, 2012 9:24 pm

Ok ...so things don't really move this fast but here's the top moulding.

The mould and mouldings were done by Alan Ladyman. The mouldings are epoxy/glass with a primer sprayed into the mould, hence the grey colour. Being the pro that he is all is very neat with the correct ratios of resin to glass.

The formers and ribs are assembled on a jig and dropped into the bottom half of the mould and the top closed and bolted down. Alan indicated that there was some minor adjusting required which was done of course prior to adhesive being applied to the woodwork for the final fit.

You can see in the previous photograph that the intakes have been located but not the carbon wingtubes. These are captured by the laminated main bulkhead ... the slots for the tube can be seen. There is a Kevlar strapping at the outer ends of the tube to enhance structrural integrity. The loads are carried right across through the fuselage via this former ...exactly like the full size.

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

Postby DH100 » Thu Sep 20, 2012 2:13 pm

Further to the last picture ... I should have said that one of the original booms shows up in the foreground. Sadly the mould had to be binned and a fresh start made. I decided to build the new prototype booms from 0.4mm ply with balsa formers and four stringers. At this point I han't taken a lot of photgraphs so there's not a lot to see regards the actual construction ofthese units.

However, I do have a set of MDF CNC cut boom blanks which were done by Gary Graham. They await my attentions after I've completed this particular model. I've told myself I should have done all the kit work first, but it would have been a nigtmare regards accuracy, so completing my own model first was in fact the sensible direction to follow.

Here's the two units ... the original set has a very slim boom section, is too short and the fin and rudder assembly is too tall!


I'm working with Gwyn Avenell to produce what will be the most accurate set of 3 views of the Vampire available, a result of Serive and Maintainence drawings and measurements from the full size. I'm also writing an article about Kiwi Vampires and colour schemes. There are a couple of surprizes there too!

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

Postby DH100 » Mon Sep 24, 2012 2:13 pm

Having got the fuselage moulded it was cleaned up along the part line which is horizontal. The mould is a little complicated around the intakes but the result is that the intake extensions on the fuselage sides are moulded in place.

The top access hatch to the turbine is a separate moulding as is the removable section of the nose cap …just like the full size. There are cut outs on the fuselage side just below the canopy rails. I will be making use of these spaces one way or another.

At this stage the original booms were partially completed and the method of attaching them finalized. My original intention was to make the booms removable not only from the inboard wing “stubs” but also to make the tailplane removable as well. All this was to ensure a small package for any journey overseas. I have subsequently decided to fix the booms to the tailplane. The disassembled model will be a smallish package anyway.

008.Boom.set.up.jpg
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Considerations were given to retracts early in the piece. I looked a Sierra units produced for the Sterner Vampire but again I regret that they not up to the mark particularly in terms of geometry. It seemed the only way was to look at producing custom made units with all the “quirks” of the full size. The mains are not particularly challenging but the nose leg is a nightmare. In full size the aircraft is steered with brakes, the nose wheel has a self-centring unit inbuilt. All too difficult in model form, so the nose leg had to be steerable. I made a mock up of the nose leg to check how things would fit and it was going to be very tight in that little snub nose. I now know why people prefer the two-seater!

The attachment 007 Proto Mains.jpg is no longer available


I did however feel I was getting somewhere at this point but the trials and tribulations of developing this model into an accurate, commercially acceptable product seemed to be fraught with difficulty and while not being happy about time spent at least progress was being made.
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Re: DH Vampire 1/5th Scale prototype - Kit

Postby ash » Mon Sep 24, 2012 2:37 pm

That's an extremely attractive leg.
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Re: DH Vampire 1/5th Scale prototype - Kit

Postby DH100 » Wed Sep 26, 2012 3:30 pm

Hi Adrian and all

Version 2 of the retract system is more interesting and the leg itself has yet to be dressed up somewhat. But to press on ....

The full size Vampire features some resemblance to the Mosquito in the way the forward fuselage is built … a ply/balsa/ply laminate. The rear fuselage section is all metal with much of it being removable panels including the entire tail cone assembly. The finish on the front wooden section seems to vary almost from aircraft to aircraft, particularly regards restorations. Obviously some attention was paid to the surface finnish with the application of filler prior to painting as well.

However to cut to the chase ..... given the plywood front was covered with fabric and featured pinked tapes I decided the best idea was to cover the glass moulding with silk. The moulding features some panel lines but not a lot of other surface detail. I found after a couple of test patches that the pinked tapes looked more in realistic when applied prior to covering with silk. (Adhesion was not a problem thanks to the primer being applied to the mould prior to laminating.)

I used Mick Reeves paper tapes, sprayed them lightly with water then coated with full strength dope. They were then laid in place, “squeezed” onto the surface and allowed to dry. Before the silk was applied the tapes were sanded lightly and coated with sanding sealer. The silk was ironed to be crease free then doped on giving a very pleasing result.



I also took the time to indulge in a little more detail …. I like that much more than building and it all has to be done. This is the start of the access panels … you can see the pinked tape as yet uncovered with silk.

Brian
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