Sorry for not being active here for a long while now. Surgery and recovery had to take the upper hand in life for the past month. The surgery i did beginning of April was successful, surgeons cut some of the shoulder bone off and reshaped and shaved some others and i got my ligament stitched back. Recovery is still ongoing and relatively smooth and i am quite surprised at how quickly i regained full range of motion, like somebody had removed a 'stop' from between cogs of a mechanism. Physiotherapy is ongoing and will continue until mid June when i am hoping to be released again to go fly. I got a bit tired from staying home in Beirut with all the hustle and bustle, and friends being at work all day, my daughter busy with school and not much to do, so i got the green light from the therapist and got on a plane and flew back to Doha under the guise of having to check on the apartment. In reality i was in need of a bit of peace and quiet and use the downtime i have at the bench to push on with the albatros build. I haven't managed to achieve all i wanted in the timespan i had allocated but alot has been done. I have noticed that the stretches i spent at the bench daily during my 9 days here has brought back some pain which i suspect is because i was overusing my right shoulder. Apparently it hasn't completely healed like i thought and this is why i suspect the doctor gave me the sick leave till mid June. Either way, i am back on an airplane tomorrow morning to fly home to continue with the treatment until my sick leave ends so no more benchtime until then. I am hoping to use the time i have for another model related project though!
Well, back to the Albatros in no specific order. To be honest i don't exactly remember where we left off but vaguely at the engine. So on with that. I had scratchbuilt the valves by wrapping thin wire to shape on a conical sander. Added styrene punched discs for the valve spring covers. I had rummaged through my ww1 aftermarket stash but i had run out of Taurus resin valves and overhead cam so i ordered some online. By the time i came back to Doha they were there but i then realised i had ordered the set for the mercedes D3 and not the D3a where the rocker arms are at a different position so i ended up using the contraption i had built. Taurus resin spark plugs and modelkasten rubber thread was used for the plug and attachment. I used albion alu tubing for the distributor tube and ezline for the tube to magneto connections. I used Meng styrene hex bolts to close off where the priming cups are installed (or not) as i decided to have them not present on the kit i was building. The intake manifold was partially enhanced with scratchbuilt items. I used teflon tape due to its thinness to simulate the asbestos wrapping and used lead sheet to simulate the top covers on top of the intake manifold. The covers where left in their natural state with no painting done to those. I formed straps using the same lead sheet and used Meng styrene bolts to tie the straps together. The engine got most of its piping and ancillary wiring done using different gage fly fishing wire. I also added half the assembly of a Taurus models resin priming cup to simulate the drain at the top of the air pump on the front of the engine. Engine was painted using different alclad colors, tamiya colors, weathered with oils, some salt fading and prismacolor pencils (starting to become my favorite way to add little subtle scratches short of chipping the thing).
The guns are the Master models brass jackets. As usual the photoetch was a nightmare but i got used to the sequence of assembly so i had the guns completed in half a day. The jackets got burnished in the Ammo Mig liquid along with the pe fret. Assembly is a bit tricky. The gun bodies got painted alclad gunmetal then drybrushed with buffable iron from Mr metal color Gunze and buffed and then another drybrush of silver to the edges. I weathered the guns with oils, and did some basic heat staining to the jackets with hotmetal sepia from Alclad. a quick dash of semigloss from mrp gave a nice sheen to the gun bodies.
The wings got the Aviattic lozenge treatment and boy oh boy how i love Richard's products. The wings really look like fabric and every time i use them i have a big smile on my face. They are not the easiest but of late i have found that a hairdryer does magic on decals in general. The wings got the anchor points for the turnbuckles completely sanded away and marked for reference and then the new ones installed but more on that below, and all the hatches sanded and removed. I scribed the line where the wing to stub is connected (in reality the wing slips on the wingstubs) as wingnut wings represents this as a raised line. The wings got painted white with the area around the topside ribs shadowed and the ribs themselves darker at the bottom. Glossed. Decals on. A filter of sand brown was put on and it changed the tint of the wing to a nicer richer brown. I also added different filters in different areas to give some variation making the inner side darker. Sealed everything. PE hatches from a spare albatros HGW pe fret were used for all the hatches and i drilled them and will add photoetch fasteners to the hatch covers once i finish all the rigging. i preinstalled the regular type C metal gaspatch turnbuckles which are no longer produced unfortunately (they switched to resin and to be honest i don't know what to think). I added Micromark resin rivet decals for the nailheads around the wingstubs as they are more pronounced that the HGW ones and it helps show them in a small area like this. I also added some sort of drain pipe that is visible on a photo, from the fuselage on the right down to the wing stub.
Now the meaty part. In relation to the mounting points for the turnbuckles on the wingstub. Let me first explain how the anchor points work as far as i personally understand. The Turnbuckle has a ball shaped end and the ballshape end in held down by a dome with a slit. My friend and fellow ALM Studios member Imad designed the cad drawings based on the dimensions and limitations of the SLA 3D printer. Working at this small size tuned out to be quite difficult with very little tolerance. We initially tried to work with a thickness for the dome that kept everything in correct proportions but we kept getting a dome that wasn't walled correctly so end of the day we printed the parts the smallest we could go. Back in doha i tried them on the wing and found them to be too big to my taste. Thinking it over a friend of mine tossed around the idea of burnishing tin from a coke can into shape and doing the base out of styrene. Brilliant, i love when modelers get together over a problem and find solutions. Next day i tried but to be honest i wasn't really satisfied with the strength of the burnished dome can so i went back to the drawing board. For the base below the dome, i wanted to do two sheets of styrene cut to size with the upper dome holes punched and the lower sheet with wider dome holes to be able to leave a lip on the dome so it could rotate freely in the base assembly and be locked between the wing and the top sheet of styrene that makes up the base. Another problem is as hard as i tried i wasn't able to get a consistent replication of the base styrene pieces in terms of hole alignment, corner curvatures and sizes. Back to the drawing board and lightbulb moment. I decided i was going to use the silhouette plotter for the base and i was going to thermoform styrene for the domes. I vectored the base shapes and surprisingly the silhouette plotter worked a treat without a hitch. The thickness of the sheet styrene was quite thin so i reckon this helped. I dont think it would be any good say on thicker styrene other than to scribe but then youd have to cut the parts out yourself. I also built a jig out of thick styrene which i drilled at 2mm and thermoformed domes by heating styrene sheet and burnishing it while soft into the jig. The domes just popped off with a good push with a beading tool. The domes got then the slit cut out using a sharp exacto blade and the domes slipped under the two sandwiched base styrene 'slices'. I added 4 bolts from Meng and omitted the two bolt outboard and front and back where they might interfere with the function of the turnbuckles. I hope i was able to clearly explain what i did.
Added the drain tube for the fuel tank at the bottom from two albion tubes and a valve handle from bent brass rod
Beyond that point, but not in the photos in tonight's update, i already painted and weathered the struts, installed them, installed the engine and the oil tank and wired it, the landing gear assembly was attached and rigged and i added the anti chaffing disc between the rigging lines from punched disc and the radiator was painted. I also painted and weathered the Rexx exhaust and basically i am left with the top wing job and the rigging and we can see this build through but that will be in the timespan of a month when i am back at the bench and at work here in Doha.
The photo posts are going to be a bit on the heavy side but i do hope you enjoy tonight's update!
I thank everyone again for the well-wishing notes you left and for the kindness.
Stay safe and as always happy modeling