This update has been long overdue and i apologize for this. Some bad news so i will jump straight into it. I have been grounded since last week with no flying ahead foreseen for at least two months. I have abused my right shoulder for too long between injuries, and i am at a point in time where my condition cannot be sustained as is, any longer. The shoulder is partially frozen with a very limited mobility range and the pain is insidious, constant and sharp. I was told by my treating surgeon that i have to undergo surgery the earliest possible and have booked myself in for this week. I have been grounded from all flight duties and will have to have my shoulder balljoint fixed and one of the badly fused bones from previous incidents sanded off, the ligament reconstructed and 6 to 8 weeks of heavy physiotherapy. After that everything should go back to normal hopefully. No modeling for some time, which will allow me hopefully more time to follow everyone here and read up on books i have been wanting to read, and spend time with my daughter. I don't know how much mobility i will have straight after the surgery but i intend on trying to build something (probably armor as i have no desire to embark on an airplane adventure and leave my albatros waiting in Doha) with my friends here in Beirut by perusing their benches and getting the extra help for the items that are either too small and fiddly, until i feel i am well enough to handle work on my own.
With this out of the way, here's tonight's update which will probably be the last one for the next month at the least, the 7th work in progress update here Karim carves his first veneer propeller amongst other little delicacies!
Since our last update i have added and completed the decaling of the fuselage and added further shading with oils on some areas of the fuselage. The big step in the build was the modification of the landing gear aerofoil section and the gear legs. Wingnut wings have the parts with the retainers molded on so i sanded those away and scratchbuilt my own using lead sheet, styrene and styrene bolts from Meng. The aerofoil was sanded devoid of details and the correct paneling of the wood was scribed in, the clamps were added on the back section using stretched sprue rod cut to size. The front part is supposed to have six metal hinges which i added initially with stretched sprue cut to size then with lead sheet cut and draped over it then burnished to give the shape of a hinge. The wheel axle was then drilled to hollow it out (although it will be inserted in the wheel and not visible). The wheels have had the same done, the center of the hub was drilled hollow and a small piece of stretched sprue inserted to simulate the retaining rod that wingnut wings partly molded in. The wheels were painted with different blacks and weathered with oils and pigments. The tires were my own mix of two part Tamiya XF19 and one part XF57 buff to give a cream gray natural rubber color (as an aside, by 1917 some of the tire manufacturers had already switched to putting additives to get black rubber tires so i do not know which is historically correct but i do like to do my tires of the era in this grayish color). The aero foil was weathered with a filter, a wash and then the bottom had oil streaking. The top surface received a mix of Ammo Mig engine oil and Ammo Mig fuel stains thinned at different ratios. The gear legs were painted with a mixture of MRP RLM2 and some tamiya Xf76. The chipping was done with Prismacolor pencils and the discoloration was done with postshading and oils. Back to the fuselage, the bottom drain points were added from albion alloys brass tubing cut to size. The real ones are supposed to have a washer and be almost flush but at that scale that would not show very well and i had planned to have punched rings of leadsheet that i would glue down, but at the end decided against it and went the artistic way. The weathering on the bottom of the fuselage was started all the way back in the painting stages and now i added gray oils and black oils for streaking and then locked those in with a coat of lacquer clear then added the oil streaking and staining using the Ammo Mig products. Now the big first for me was to carve my own propeller. Initially i got in touch with the kind people at ProperPlane but then i thought why not try it out myself and that's what i did. I started by drawing out the outline of the Niendorf propeller on paper using the kit prop, and armed with a good photo i found on the net i counted 7 laminations. I had bought around a year ago a huge box of veneer samples off a seller on ebay and have been using those on and off for little additions on other kits i built, but their initial purpose was for carving my own propellers, so i went through the carton of veneers and found two colors that seemed to fit the online photo i was using as reference. The veneers were doused with thin ca then clamped together and doused with accelerator and left to dry. Be careful as the chemical reaction produces some heat. I then glued the paper outline on the laminations but i found it easier for me to draw it straight onto the laminations because the glue spray kept pulling off and i didnt want that to happen while working on the prop. Out came the dremel this time with a drum sander (i keep the proxxon for the more delicate work as the variometer can go much slower in terms of rpm) and i started rough carving the shape. Once that was done it was time to start carving the aerofoil section of the prop which i initially did with the dremel too but at the lowest speed and using all the time i needed to get the general shape. After that i went manual with 320 grit sandpaper, then moved to finer grits once the shape was tuned down to what i thinks looks like a Niendorf. I used micromesh pads to smooth everything out until the surface was super smooth and symmetrical. The prop then received multiple gloss coats with sanding between them. To be honest i am really proud of how the whole thing turned out. I never expected it to turn it out this 'good' to my eye and i think on the long run this is a skill definitely worth investing time on. The hardest part i foresee would be the propeller boss and getting things symmetrical and well defined in that area. Thankfully i have a prop spinner on this build so i can hide my 'okay' prop boss but i am sure this is something i can improve on in the next times i will be carving props. The spinner got the rivets added to the reinforcement areas around where the openings of the props are and painted as per kit instructions. The red circle on the front of the spinner was painted MRP Russian Red for covers by placing a circular template on the front of the spinner and airbrushing directly over it. No paint bleed. i used the .8 circle. The spinner was weathered by overpainting the red part with very thinned tamiya red by brush to look like chipping and the white areas received a thinned filter of gray oils and chipping was done with pencils.
I also got a basic start on the engine. Going through the 'black' stash where i keep all my ww1 aftermarket i was unpleasantly surprised to find i had run out of Taurus timing gears for the Mercedes D.3 engine and had multiple sets for the Gotha G.V engine the D.4. Ebay to the rescue and 5 sets are on the way so i do not get caught off guard again with the other albatri i have in the stash. Meanwhile i decided to try to scratchbuild whatever i could since i will be away from the bench for a while. I cut off the molded valve springs and replaced them with wound fly fishing wire on the end of a round sander and cut to size and the end of the rocker arms received a punched out styrene disc that sits on top of the valve springs. I added the wiring to the front of the engine and predrilled some other locations for details that will be placed at a later date. I also started on the intake manifold and did the asbestos wrapping using using pipe wrapping tape made of teflon and did the heat shields using lead sheet and the retaining bolts are from Meng. I also used Bo's 3d printed gun synchroniser that attaches to the back of the engine. I suspect this will never be seen after the placement of the wnw photoetch part on top of the guns, but it is a good exercise for me and i am happy to say it looks really good once installed. This part will be wired before installation of the engine in the fuselage. To finish things off the tail was permanently installed and the elevators control lines placed. I also added two photoetch chains from the brand Hauler from Czech Republic, in 48th scale, for the retaining pins on the ammo feed chutes.
I think overall that is pretty much out progress up to this point. I hope you enjoy!
You have been warned this update will be picture heavy.