/ Model Kits / Display Model
Kits / D-08 Bristol Beaufighter
written by Malcolm
Campbell – January, 06
The vertical orientations of the fuselage side formers
are not indicated. On formers 4, 5, and 6, the second notch (which
accommodates fairing #16) is toward the top. On all others, the
single stringer notch is closest to the bottom. (Fig. 1.)
There are short, curved parts similar to #15
(on the cowl) identified as 5 and 14. I used the 5's next to 15’s
on the cowl (they are identical to 15) but found no need for the
14's. There are two pieces needed to complete the cowl shape (on
either side of the 5’s) but the 14's aren't right for that
so you have to make these. Fig. 2 shows them before shaping.
It’s difficult to see individual stringers
on the plans but the former notches pretty well define them. Note
in Fig. 2 the extra notches near the bottoms of the top segments
at F-3 and F-4. The lower 1/16 sq window frame fits here; the full-length
stringer fits in the notch in F-4 just below this one.
Also note (Fig. 3) the extended vertical at the end of the fuselage
where the stringers terminate. This extends 3/8” above and
below the frame.
The instrument panel needs to be reshaped
to fit the wind-shield provided. (Fig. 4.)
I added a 1/16 sq support for the panel
to make it easier to position it as shown in Fig. 5.
It can be seen in Fig. 2 that I left the front
edge of the instrument panel about 1/32 above the surface of the
cowl so that the canopy could be positioned against it. Fig. 6 is
a photo of the completed fuselage structure less the wing fairings
(#15 & 16.) These pieces are not included in the printed pieces
and have to be cut from outlines included on plans. Do not install
15 and 16 or cover the fuselage until the wings are built and ready
to be fit.
I also later cut the center out of the top
of F-3 and added a floor between F-3 and F-4 to stylize the cockpit
as shown in Fig. 7. Add and shape the nose and sand the fuselage
The plans call for 1/16 sq spars but the ribs are
printed for 1/16 x 5/32 spars. As can be seen in the construction
photos, I used 1/16 sq. After covering and sealing, I discovered
that the spans were too long for the 1/16 sq to support the tissue
shrinkage without bowing. I had to later remove some covering and
reinforce the spars in several areas to get rid of the bow. USE
1/16 x 1/8 SPARS.
Build the wings flat on the bottom spar, installing
the ribs, then the top spar. (Figs. 8 & 9.)
Trim the ends of the ribs and
pin the trailing edges of the ribs to the plans. Install the trailing
edge. Install the leading edge from inboard to the middle of R-3,
then another piece from there to the tip. (Fig 10). Block the leading
edge of the tip up 1/16 and install the tip pieces. (Fig. 11). Add
the internal wing supports and fillets. It was not clear on the
plans where the internal supports were to be attached. I ran them
from the bottom spar to the trailing and leading edges. (Fig. 12).
Now, notch the top of the leading and trailing
edges and top spar at the out-board edge of W-3. Cut the bottom
spar clear through at the outboard edge of W-3. Pin the trailing
edge down from W-1 to W-3 and lift the tip 1-7/16”. Block
at this height. Add a piece of scrap to fill the gap created in
the bottom spar. Apply glue there and to the notches in the leading
and trailing edges and the top spar. I don’t have a photo
of this, but Fig. 13 recreates the configuration with part of the
covering on. Taper the edges and tips. Blend the tips of the ribs
into the edges. Do not cover at this point.
FITTING THE WINGS (Preliminary)
To assure that both wings are positioned the same,
install the fairings (#14 & #15) around them rather than installing
the fairings first. Start by making sure the notches in F-4, 5,
& 6 are such that the wing can be inserted in them and the forward
tip of W-1 positioned ¼” from the rear of F-9. If not,
open the notches as necessary.
Then extend the notches in the lower portions of
these 3 formers to allow fairing #15 to sit flush with the stringer
below it. (Do not install #15 at this time.) Position the wing and
pin in place as shown in Fig. 14. Shape #16 so that it fits snugly
between the top of W-1 and the upper notch in the formers. Glue
in place. (Fig. 15) BE CAREFUL TO NOT GLUE THE WING. Remove the
wing and shape the lower edge of #15 to fit to the stringer below
the wing notch and glue in place (Fig. 16). Do not fit #15 to the
wing at this time. The fuselage can be covered at this point. Wait
to cover the wings until the nacelles are fitted.
These are tricky to build true to shape, which is
important since the fit to the wing is critical. After several tries,
I had success with the following procedure.
NOTE: Observe the “bottom” notation
on the two halves of N-4 when assembling them. (The printed sides
have to be reversed.)
To begin with, fill in the centers of N-1& N-2
with a circle of 1/16 or don’t cut the centers out and patch
where they overlapped on the printed sheet.
Locate the centers of these and drill a 1/8”
hole in each. Thread a #6 machine screw through N-1 & N-2, hold
them together and cut the notches so that they match (Fig. 17.).
Using a long #6 machine screw, 3 nuts and 4 washers, space the two
formers per the plans (Fig. 18).
Install 12 #12’s, adjusting the notches if
necessary so that each parallels the center screw. (Fig. 19). Remove
the screw and sand the ends of the #12’s flush with the formers.
Roughly shape the outer edges.
Cut the notches in N-3 to match those in N-2
and glue to the back of N-2. (Fig. 20). Pin N-10 & N-11 to the
plan. Add a piece of 1/16 sq glued between them at N-9. Add a piece
of 1/16 sq to the end of N-11 to extend it vertically 1/16”
(Fig. 21.) Mark the positions of N-4 through N-9 on the top of N-10
and the bottom of N-11. Fold the plan over a square edge at the
rear edge of N-3. Glue the N-1 – N-3 assembly to N-10 &
N-11 making sure the pieces are square. (Fig. 22) Add a gusset between
N-10 and N-3. When dry, remove from plans and add a gusset between
N-11 and N-3. You now have a good, stable backbone for the rest
of the construction. (Fig. 23).
Making sure that it is properly orientated
top and bottom, slide N-4 over N-10 and N-11 and use scrap to space
it the proper distance from N-3 and to keep it parallel to N-3.
(Fig.24). Glue in place. Remove the spacer. Add the remaining formers
at the positions previously marked. Make sure they are perpendicular
to N-10 and N-11. Remove the support at N-9 before adding N-9.
Install the two short stringers between N-3 and
N-4 at the wing tip positions and the forward half of the two just
above those. (Fig. 25). The second halves of these are installed
after N-13 and N-14.
NOTE THAT N-13 AND N-14 ARE REVERSE-IDENTIFIED
ON THE PLANS. Wet and pre-form the bends in N-13 and N-14. (I rolled
the inside surfaces with a rotary cutter prior to wetting to make
them easier to bend.) (Fig. 26). Glue N-13 and N-14 to N-4 and N-5/6
on both sides. (Fig. 27). Pinch the ends of the two N-13’s
against the tip of N-10 and glue there and to the remaining formers.
Do the same (but on N-11) with the two N-14’s. Both of the
N-13’s and - 14’s may have to be trimmed at the ends
so that they meet at N-10/11. Do this before gluing. Install the
rest of the stringers. (Fig. 28).
On each cowl, add a piece of 1/8 x 1/14 balsa
on the rear side of N-3 on either side of the spar. (Fig. 29.) Sand
to blend with N-3. This provides material in which to mount the
Sand the stringers flush with the front of
W-1 and add the cowl block. Shape the cowl and smooth the nacelle
as necessary. The nacelles can be covered at this point.
FITTING THE NACELLES
Temporarily, cover the tops and bottoms of the W-2
– W-3 bays on the wings with bond paper. This provides a fairly
rigid surface to fit the nacelles to. Slide the nacelle on the wing
from the tip. Sand or carve N-13 and N-14 as necessary to get them
over W-3 and into position on the bay. Note any significant gaps
between the nacelle and the wing covering and glue small pieces
of 1/16 to N-13 or N-14 at these locations. Sand or carve to make
a good fit. Remove the paper covering. The wings may be covered
at this point.
Add 1/16 x 3/16 pieces to bottom of stabilizer frame
to provide attachment for the horizontals. (Fig. 30.)
WING FITTING (Final)
After the wings are covered and painted, trim the
upper edge of fairing #15 to allow the wing to slide freely in place.
Some re-shaping of #16 may also be necessary to accommodate the
Start the main gear by assembling the wheels and inserting a piece
of 1/16 dowel for the axle. Trim so that the axle is barely wider
than the wheel. (Fig. 31). (The wheels may not come out to the same
width so make both axles the length necessary for the wider one.)
Measure the axle length with a caliper and cut two pieces the same
length for each side of the gear.
Cut the two vertical struts to the length shown
on the plans and pin against a square corner on wax paper with the
two axle-length pieces separating them. Position the center piece
at the distance from the end of the struts shown on the plans. (Fig.
32.) Glue the center piece only to the struts. Break a short piece
of dowel (do not separate), position against a square edge (Fig.
33) and glue. Make two of these for each side. Cut the legs of the
right angle pieces to fit between the struts on either side of the
horizontal piece and glue in place (Fig. 34.)
Paint the assembly and glue to the axles.
After the model is completely assembled, drill 1/16” holes
at the appropriate locations in the material behind N-3 on the underside
of the cowl and insert the struts to the proper depth and alignment.
Glue. For each gear, cut two pieces of dowel to the dimensions on
the plans for the support struts. Glue them in place and paint.
(Fig. 35.) The tail wheel is a circle of 1/16 with two pieces of
soft wire glued to either side, shaped per plan and glued in a hole
behind F-11. (Fig. 36.)
The cowl flaps were formed by cutting a strip of
printer paper ¼” wide and a strip of cardboard from
a writing tablet back 1/8” wide. Glue the cardboard strip
to one half of the paper strip (Fig. 37.) Wrap the strip around
the nacelle with the cardboard down and facing to the rear. Trim
the ends to meet with no gap and glue in place, smoothing the paper
down towards the front and sealing it to the covering. (Fig. 38.)
This was the first balsa and tissue model I’ve
built using cyanoacrylate glue as the primary adhesive
rather than Testors Model Cement. It does save a lot of time but
can be a pain to work with. Debonder
was a life-saver on more than one occasion! glue accelerator
was also very handy to instantly cure an application
that was too heavy to cure itself quickly.
I also tried the UHU Stic
Glue Stick as an alternate to white glue for installing tissue.
I still think the white glue (50/50 dilute with water) is much easier
to work with because it dries slowly and allows ample time to position
the tissue. In addition, joints can be smoothed with a wet finger.
The one great surprise was my first use of Canopy Glue.
Not only did it not cloud the canopy material
but it was a great bonding agent for almost anything, and it cures
nearly instantly with the application of a heat gun.