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You can't get enough Yellow Wings - Part 1 : Fisher Ryan ST-M.

Hubert Boillot

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Hello all,


As a part of finding my modelling mojo back, I did not intend initially to make a WiP for this one, just go to the RFI when it's finished. But then, I am getting so much from reading others' WiP threads that I thought that maybe, if I could help juts one fellow LSPer, then a WiP was needed. Unfortunately, some of the work is done and has not been recorded on pics, so you'll have to take it from where it is !


I start by doing some side-stepping around my personal life, because maybe it can also help fellow LSPers relate to what I have been living though, and understand why sometimes they have their own blocks in modelling.


I have been on LSP for some time now, but I have so far failed to finish anything. There are plenty of (bad) reasons for it, the first one being that I could really spare little time for modelling for many years. To be precise, I was forbidding myself from any modelling as long as other priorities were not ticked over first, starting with taking care of the wife, the home, the companies I manage, including for some the tedious accounting records, etc...


Then my life changed somewhat since the summer of 2011. I decided that bringing a stop to my then long-lasting marital life was in the end an inevitable - but better for me - decision. Then I met Patricia :wub: , whilst the divorce with my estranged former wife was dragging along. We bought a new home beginning of 2013, in which we undertook major works (I mean, really major ones :mental: ), then I bought new premises for my company, in which again I undertook major works ( :mental:  :mental: ). Both build works were finished in the late summer 2013, just in time for 1) our wedding and 2) moving the company to the new premises ... all within 2 weeks in September 2013  ( :mental:  :mental:  :mental: ). Needless to say there was simply no time available for any modelling duting this period :frantic: :frantic: :frantic:


This is when the old body decided to flash a big red warning light, and for a good measure say "Sir, you're burnt out !" I finished September 2013 in Intensive care :oops:  :help: ... Not quite the honeymoon Patricia had envisioned :deadhorse: ...


Since then, I have been very very very slowly coming back, whilst in the meantime catching up all the bacteria and viruses the environment could throw in my path. Needless to say this has left me with no energy for modelling during all this time ! Which means I had not finished any kit for the last 8 years :BANGHEAD2: , to the point where it has become a running joke with my buddies of "La Comète" :beer4:  (some of whom are members here, like Warbird, Frankey or SuperMario :punk: )


So I have really come back to active modelling in the last few weeks, and decided I needed a "small" project I would finish. I have others unfinished projects scattered around LSP, but they will come later. At least, the good news for them is that they are on the Shelf of Doom, not in the Bin of Doom ... (can you imgaine that when I started my scratchbuilt Aichi "Hansa", the WnW W-29 was not even a rumour ... :doh: )


End of the background story, and thank you for bearing with me and being the group LSP has always been since I joined : friendly, heart-warming, and always nice to others !


So my"small" project was going to be Paul Fisher's lovely Ryan ST-M / PT-20. The idea was that it would be an OOB build, a real mojo mender.


It's a very nice kit, and others like Kevin and Eric have shown how great it can look when finished. Because I love Yellow Wings, it will be finished as an Army trainer. And for a good measure, I'll have a go at foiling the fuse.


Paul has done a good job with his kit, but he has in some areas re-used the work for his former (just as great !) PT-22, which in real life was based on the ST-M (PT-20), and this is not always accurate for the PT-20.


For instance, the control sticks of the ST-M were not S-shaped, like on the PT-22, but straight, and of chromed steel. I used pieces of sewing needles to represent the sticks, with handles made of white Milliput, suitably turned to shape with files after inserting the new sticks in the chuck of my mini-drill.


As the fuselage is now all buttoned up, this the best pic I can show you of the new sticks :




Of course, I never managed to butt-glue the new sticks to the kit's original support bar. I had to fabricate one, using a 1mm dia brass tube. Where the sticks were affixed to the bar, I sleeved on a bigger diameter (1.3 mm) tube, thinned-down from the inside with a 1mm drill. To ensure a good solid joint, the tubes were drilled transversally (carefully, as drilling a 1mm hole at 90° to a 1.3 mm tube is  an interesting exercise :mental: )


On the upper right corner of the seats, you can also discern another chromed bar. This is the flaps control lever, which has been forgotten by Fisher, but is a prominent feature of the ST-M cockpit. It was also chromed steel on the real ST-M and they were done with a suitably bent 1mm piece of needle.


The instrument panels did not match the pics I had. I made new ones in thin plastic card, duly punched according to my reference pics. The dials are Airscale's ones (you may notice that, as per original, the artificial horizon is not located in the same place on the front and rear IP), and the bezels, painted gloss black, come from an old Photocut PE set.


To replicate the cracked-paint effect of the IPs, I first painted them silver, then applied with a paint pen some thick black paint, which was stressed before it was dry, using a very stiff paint-brush. A clear acetate film (the kit's one) was used to replicate the dials' glass.




Sorry for the not-so-good pics, guys. On top of my unremarkable photographing "talent", it is not easy to get something from very close with my bulky camera without creating a shadow with the camera lens.


I am not sure the ST-Ms has a wooden floor, but with the solid wing, there is no real way to represent the fuselage, and it would have made fixing the (very nice) seats very complicated anyway. So I used the kit's floor, painted then weathered to represent stained and dirty wood.


The foot-pedals need some brake-pedals added at their inner extremity. Done with thin plastic strips and punched micro-discs.


The whole interior was painted Interior Green on a silver base, and worn and weathered using a fiberglass-eraser, and some brown and black pastel chalks' powder.


The seat-belts are HGW's "US Navy" belts (132085). They are good, but in fairness this particular set is lacking on the instructions' side. It took me a trial set to guess more or less correctly how to assemble them.




Other mods have been done on the kit: the ST-Ms did not have a padding running all round the cockpit openings, as on the PT-22. The padding was just on the front of the cockpit sill, under the windscreen. I scraped the superfluous part of the paddings, but, as there still are some difficult seams to fill, I will probably remove them completely, to make new ones out of a Milliput roll.


After assembling the fuselage halves, there were some seams to fill. I used some CA, then Mr Surfacer 1000 for a first round. There are still more seams to clean up, especially around the wing to fuselage joint. I want to make the best use of the way the kit is designed, i.e. paint the wings and stabilators before assembly, and foil the fuselage seprarately. This requires however that the seams are taken care of as best as possible before joining the wings to the fuselage. A critical area is the front lower fuselage to wings leading-edge joint (See Kev's own build if you want some pics of the area). To ensure a good mating of the wings, the cockpit floor is a hindrance, pushing the wing down. Fortunately, there is enough material to remove from the center wing, and this is what I'm working on right now.




Finally the flaps and ailerons have been glued to the wings. On the kit, the flaps protrude behind the (virtual) trailing edge, when there should be a straight line with the ailerons and the rest of the wing. I scraped the extra material from the flaps trailing edge, and sanded them back to the proper thickness, being careful not to destroy the very fine surface rendering of the kit.


The wing has been primed with Tamiya's spray-can white primer, a fantastic product.




That's all for now, folks.


I'll try to take pics of the future progress in the proper spirit a WiP thread for the future posts.



Edited by MostlyRacers
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Guest Peterpools


An amazing story and sometimes life has a strange way of taking hold and going it's own way. Glad you have your health back, found happiness with Patricia and the mojo is back as well. Terrific start on the little Ryan and will be following with great interest as my STM/PT-20 keeps calling my name.

Keep 'em coming


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Great work so far Hubert, and glad to see you back in the saddle! The only part of my build that I didn't really enjoy was the rigging, but that's mostly because I'm a numpty at it. I'm sure you'll do fine! Looking forward to more.



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Nice Hubert!

The Ryan build you mentioned other than Kevs was mine, Eric took the pics that made me look good :-)

It's a great kit and you are doing a fine job!!




Please accept my apologies, Brent. Is grand age (read precocious senility) an excuse enough :rofl: ?


Anyway, you're right, it's a great little kit.


Thanks for stopping by and being supoortive, Peter, Tomek, Kevin, Brian, Jack and Brent. I realise the pics do not really show what I'm talking about, and are just plain crappy. It also shows that there is not much to see through the cockpit openings.


I'm working on an improved engine face right now. will post (hopefully better) pics later on.



Edited by MostlyRacers
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Glad to see you're feeling better and life is back on track Hubert. Without good health, all these little bits of plastic we play with are moot.


This kit is in my stash so I'll be following your build and taking notes. Looking forward to following along.




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  • 1 month later...

About the trials and tribulations of trying to represent an air-cooled engine, that won't be seen in the end !


I have continued work on my ST-M / PT-20. Not much apparent progress, but a lot of learning experiences I will share with you.


But first, I got a new, less buly camera. This is the best shot I could make of the assembled fuselage and cockpits with the new one. I still need a proper set-up with better lighting to achieve better results.




Now on to the engine. Paul Fisher has made a simple, half-diameter representation of the engine's first cylinder. For most, as can be seen by the builds here, this is enough. But I felt maybe more could and should be seen, and I wanted to try if I could replicate an air-coooled engine with more-to-scale finesse.


The ST-M's Menasco C-4 engine has a specific appearance, especially around the head. I finally found a maintennace manual which had pics and more importantly line drawings of the negine (in scanning the pages, the ditor of the manula had them all crushed in proportions, and I had to rework the drawings to get truer ones). It was ordered, but I started without waiting for it to arrive.


I initially decided I would turn the cylinder out of a plastic rod, with scribing the fins with a sharp end of #11 blade.


But for the head, I wanted to try piling thin discs of the aluminium on top of each other to simulate the fins. The aluminium came from an alu food container and is approximately 0.05 cms thick.

The small discs I punched using my Punch n' Doe set, the larger ones, using a 5.5 mm dia punch.


The result was not ideal … the head fins were not aligned.




Plus I then found that the cylinder was of a larger bore than I thought initially, hence my truned cylinder was too small, and the head as well, as a consequence. Next step was using a home-made 6 mm dia punch n' die, and brass only, of 0.09 mm thickness .





Then I made a fairly simple jig to get a better alignment of the fins.




As the quick and dirty home-made punch n' die was not terribly strong, the larger fins were cup-shaped initially; flattening thme out on a hard surface (the back of an alu square) with the back of a punch was enough for that...




I was not totally happy still ...

This is when I received the maintenance manual, and the line drawings opened my eyes? The cylinder was even larger than I had guessed from the pics, with a conical shape, and the head fins were oval, and finally I coudl understand the shape of the valve actuators covers.


So back to square one, and go for another try !

Edited by MostlyRacers
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Back in the summer 2013, I had bought a Silhouette cutter. The problem is that all I went through afterwards (see above) I had never taken the time to learn to use it, even though teh software is pretty simple and intuitive.


This was thetime to break the spell, and try this machine at last ! It is a really fantastic tool, not cheap admittedly, but about the price of two big (say WNW) kits (not two Felixstowes !) kits, and I can see how it is going to be put to great use in the future. Accuracy is very good (about 0.05 mm), and I managed to cut concentric circles with a 0.4 mm wall thickness, without any accuracy or cross-cut problem.


So I drew the parts for cylinder, the head and the valve actuators fins. The idea was to use paper. To avoid fluffiness of the edges, I tried reinforcing the paper with acetone-diluted CA glue. Too much dilution, I guess, as my paper went all wavy. I also tried a special product for reinforcing paper (if you ask me, it really looks like white-glue) and it ended up with the same waviness.




My first trial with ordinary 80 grs paper was not totally successful. The paper was not enough quality, and started delaminating when lifting the parts from the Silhouette backing sheet. In the end, I resorted to high quality 100 grs paper, without any kind of reinforcement. This is something I need to work on in the future, for even better results.


The benefit of the Silhouette is that I could also cut a center hole for a guide: alignement problems solved.


A 2mm rod was then chucked in the vise, and the paper cicrcles stacked up :




I found out after a first trial that, for better results, I needed to stack two small diameter circles between each fin. In the process, I unstacked an already assembled cylider, and mixed-up two fins (remember they are conical? It was no problem to draw circles in 0.05 mm dia increments). You can see it on one of the photos below, but not much when all is in place in the engine cowling.

The fins were individually colored in black with a Sharpie pen paint (a Posca or Marabu one to be more precise) on both sides, one on the sheet afetr cutting, and the other side after stacking along the rod.




Et voilà le résultat ! The cylinder is next to the new backing plate and front block-engine, made of plastic card and some Milliput for the upper block. Ther is a bit of paper-fluffs on the edgesn but I am pretty ahppy for an engine which will be visible only through a fairly small opening in the cowling. The un-finned base of the cylinder is a 4 mm dia piece of plastic tube, peinted silver with a Posca silver-paint pen.




On the pic, you can also see a new cylinder block I had turned in plastic, achieving the fins by using a RB saw against the rotating plastic rod. It was however discarded when my paper cylinder was finished.


And now the finished product, after painting the blacking plate … black … with a Posca pen, adding the valve actuators heads, and passing a soft graphite pencil on the fins. The engine block was painted Menasco's blue (an old Revell KLM blue pot), and weatered with graphite and pastel powders. The connecting rods are simple pieces of polished pin. They should be vertical, but my locating holes holes in the engine block were too close together. It does not really show when in place in the cowling though. Next is the Fisher's original part.




The cowling was thinned from the inside with a burr in the Dremel, and a 3 mm dia opening drilled on the right side of the front face. It is on Paul Matt's drawings, and the photos of C-4 engines show the intake pipe for the carburetor in this position. However, it is not on many photos of ST-Ms I see. It's there anyway. I can always fill it if needed at a later stage.


The intake pipe was simulated by using a 3 mm plastic tube, thinned from the inside with a jeweller's round file, and painted bleck inside and outside, and sanded flush with the cowling face.

You can see the cylinder in place in the cowling, and a probing eye will see more details though the opening. Finally, although the cowling was thinned from the inside, I had to crop the valve actuators heads to fit, but they can be seen from the bottom opening. Finally, the air-scoops around the prop plate were thinned down and drilled for more depth.




Mission accomplished ! A lot of work, many trials and errors, for a result taht is in the end barely visible (but I kow it's here !). And a great learning experience for future projects !

Now on to the fuselage to wings joint, to prepare as smooth a joint as possible, so that foiling the fuselage will not create a major headache when adding the wings.


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So glad to see you doing a WIP mate

Thanks Loïc. Well I have been working on this one in the last weeks, interspesed with some week-ends with the family or for Valentine's day or in Venezia last week-end.



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Guest Peterpools


Since to see your making progress and some terrific work on the engine.

Keep 'em coming


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  • 2 weeks later...

Glad to see you are picking the hobby back up after such a difficult ordeal, this gives you something to look forward to and brings motivation to get better. Your engine work looks great, am interested to see some of the scattered projects you mention.

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