Cosmic Wind

Up / terug

Midget racer created for the National Air Races by Lockheed engineer Tony LeVier. A very rare color picture..

With human figures as a reference the small dimensions become evident.

Now for the model, picked from the Veron “Tru Flite” series of stand-off scale models aimed at beginners, a large collection of diverse subjects engineered by Phil Smith and today available from the Vintage Model Company in laser cut format. My kit stems from the early 90's and can be regarded as “original”: mediocre wood quality, silly plastic propeller and a outrageous crude rubber band instead of proper rubber strip. Phil Smith was no longer involved, I am sure.

A useful item is this mobile building board that permits doing some evening construction in the dining room versus going out to the shed. When the sandman comes around you just slide it under your bed.

No laser cut but X-acto labor – quite therapeutic and good practice for the models that I want to build from plans.

The sheet wood is acceptable but the strip wood needs substitution for the greater part. All the bits have been cut and filed out and construction may begin!

Intended for “Kit Scale” competition (British Model Flying Association rules), the build strictly follows the kit instructions which is sometimes painful because of the personal best practices that one is obliged to ignore.

Always in the mood for an experiment, I decided to create the bubble canopy using a method described on the internet. Better than my trusted “plug and hole” method? Hmmm not sure...the paint stripper is probably not the ideal heat source.

The simple model is turning into a bit of a nuisance. The black tissue*, combined with the novel water-based dope, is not satisfying to work with. The fuselage was completely re-done and below you can see the results of the second attempt – covered wet and not yet doped. The wings have been doped and have a plastic-like appearance. I do not think that I will continue to use the newstyle dope in future, in spite of it's convenient characteristics e.g. no nasty solvents.

* In the building instructions the color scheme is clearly specified as black with silver trim. Apparently there were no color pictures available to the manufacturer in the 1950's!

I cannot help implementing small improvements to the design. In this case, the shape and mounting of the undercarriage. Without these changes, damage will soon occur. Unfortunately some old lessons are forgotten until it is too late and then improvisation is required. For example, I omitted to let the undercarriage into the fuselage and now stringers have to be placed over it..

The “Minnow” is completed and 31,5 grams empty but not satisfactory. The water-based dope, thinned about 50%, seems to have reacted adversely with the tissue paste (“Perfax” wallpaper paste), resulting in a “barn find” finish that is sticky to the bargain. If it flies, then I will forgive myself but otherwise a recovering exercise will have to be performed using good old smelly nitrate dope. This is a honest website that also presents failures! At least the homemade decal process did not fail me: vintage gummed paper tape that has been doped and painted after which the lettering is cut out with a sharp modeling knife.

The Cosmic Wind on one of its first flights over a field

Taking off at the UK Nationals after a quarter circuit run

The 2017 IIFI event at Nijmegen did not go well. During the trimming session “Minnow” was involved in a air-to-air collision and later my own clumsiness pressed the trailing edges of the wings into the winding stooge. Field repairs got the model through the competition flights but the time had come to replace the tissue covering entirely – a task that had long been forthcoming as the existing finish was unsatisfactory.

Re-doing the tissue means an opportunity to improve related items. Here a new cockpit canopy / headrest is pressed out of clear plastic sheet. The plastic is clamped over a small sheet of plywood and this is heated in an oven for around 3 minutes at 200° C until the plastic becomes visibly soft. Directly after withdrawal from the oven, the wooden mold is plunged through the hole in the plywood, taking the soft plastic with it.

The plastic sheet has now been separated from the plywood and the canopy can be cut out and trimmed. The dust on the plastic is easily brushed off.

Instead of waterslide transfers the silver trim is achieved by chalking the back of grey tissue. I am beginning to like the enhancement of colored tissue by using chalk powder but am not sure that I would want to use it for larger areas.

After the canopy replacement came the undercarriage. In the initial form the long spats damaged the underwing tissue as they swung back in bad landings. The new spats are mounted on springs and should rotate.

Only a air intake under the nose remains to complete the rebuild.