Author Topic: The Tommy  (Read 12264 times)

Offline kensar

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The Tommy
« on: November 24, 2019, 05:46:39 AM »
Time for full disclosure!  I have been planning a 1/32 Thomas Morse S4C for some time and now I have started the build.  My Dad passed away numerous years ago and going through some papers he had saved, I came across line drawings for a Thomas Morse S4B and C which he had saved from Model Airplane News, May 1957.





I don't know why he saved these, along with some drawings of a Fokker D.VII, a couple of Neiuports, and a Chance Vought from between the wars.  Maybe they were just from issues of MAN he bought.  I did some research on the Tommy.  There are no 1/32 scale kits of this plane - good reason to scratch one.

The Tommy was intended to be America's first scout plane, but performance wasn't comparable to the contemporary planes from Europe, so it became an advanced trainer.  Most all American aviators trained during WW1 had time in one, so I believe it is a significant plane.



The Gnome Monosaupape was installed in the S4B and the first 50 S4C.  Then the LeRhone became available and was installed in subsequent S4Cs. 

I have already built the Gnome engine.  Vector resin helped out here.  A tea ball is handy when washing small resin parts.





Of course, we can't build anything OOB, can we?


RB Motion helped out here, with the bolts.




Finito!



Next, I need to make a cowling that will fit around the engine.  From there, the firewall and fuse can be built and everything will fit together.  I had good results with aluminum on the Hanriot, so here we go!


First setup in the lathe - carving out the inside.


Now I needed to cut the inside of the curved front end of the cowling.  I went one step beyond the Hanriot cowling, and made a lathe tool to cut the inside curve.  Its nice to be able to make custom tooling.






New tool in action.  The radial lines on the inside are from the tool chattering when cutting.  It is not stiff enough to stay rigid when cutting such a large surface at one time.  It worked anyway.




Results of first lathe setup.




Second setup - file the outside curve on the front of the cowling by hand, checking the shape with a pattern.



Finished cowling and engine.


It fits! (But what did you expect?).


This is where I'm at currently. 
Get buckled in - polystyrene, here I come!






Online RLWP

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Re: The Tommy
« Reply #1 on: November 24, 2019, 05:52:41 AM »
Wow - that cowl is pretty brave. When I try to do thin stuff like that the tool eventually digs in and a razor sharp thing goes flying past my ear

I vac form them instead

Thomas-Morse significant - doesn't matter. Your model is significant because there are no kits of it

Looking forward to this

Richard
Hendon for flying - the fastest way to the ground!

Offline bobs_buckles

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Re: The Tommy
« Reply #2 on: November 24, 2019, 05:52:44 AM »
Superb engineering, Ken.
I do envy you boys with all the toys  :o

vB



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Offline Juan

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Re: The Tommy
« Reply #3 on: November 24, 2019, 06:34:42 AM »
Simply amazing Ken.  Looking forward to your progress (Credit will go to you if WNW, CSM or other releases this kit)   ;D ;D ;D
« Last Edit: November 24, 2019, 07:10:33 AM by Juan »

Offline RAGIII

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Re: The Tommy
« Reply #4 on: November 24, 2019, 06:36:05 AM »
Superb engineering, Ken.
I do envy you boys with all the toys  :o

vB

Agreed Bob. That being said if someone gifted these tools to Me I still don't think I could do what Ken is doing! Looking forward to this one Ken, Although I would Love to see it in Erroll Flynn Markings from Dawn Patrol  8)
RAGIII
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Offline Alexis

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Re: The Tommy
« Reply #5 on: November 24, 2019, 09:08:15 AM »
Nice mill work Ken  :)



Terri
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Offline kensar

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Re: The Tommy
« Reply #6 on: November 24, 2019, 10:11:41 AM »
Thanks for all the comments.
Richard - I have found thin parts need to be chucked up securely to prevent flying shrapnel.  In this case, for the second lathe setup, I have a supporting disk shaped piece tucked inside the back end of the cowling for a secure grip in the chuck without crushing the piece.  I may need to get a vac form setup put together for this build.  The 'turtle deck' has a complex shape.

Bob - all those toys were collected over a lifetime!

Juan, Rick, and Terri - thanks for looking in and posting.  I will likely do a rather plain, common training paint scheme - all khaki.

I still need to grind out the exhaust ports, so there's still a chance this cowling will come to ruin.


Offline Edo

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Re: The Tommy
« Reply #7 on: November 24, 2019, 06:34:12 PM »
hey ken!
this is a terrific job!
got my pop corn ready for the show!
ciao
edo

Online RLWP

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Re: The Tommy
« Reply #8 on: November 24, 2019, 08:35:34 PM »
I'll take some pictures of my sophisticated vac-forming kit for you

Suffice to say it consists of a very cheap vacuum cleaner, an equally cheap small oven, two hand made steel rings and a disk with a lot of holes that goes on the vacuum cleaner nozzle

You could also clean the floor and cook food with it!

Richard
Hendon for flying - the fastest way to the ground!

Offline Bughunter

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Re: The Tommy
« Reply #9 on: November 24, 2019, 08:48:56 PM »
Wow Ken, what a fantastic start on a great project!

Some weeks ago I added a resin kit of this aircraft in 1/48 to my (already huge) stash, so I looked for references.
I can highly recommend the Windsock Datafile 166! Fantastic detailed drawings, rigging plans, great pictures (contemporary in b/w and also in color from a restoration).

You can also find some high resolution pictures here:
 https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Category:Thomas-Morse_S-4

Happy modeling!
Frank
Wikipedia says: A model is a simplified representation of reality.
So I create downscaled originals.

Offline Gisbod

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Re: The Tommy
« Reply #10 on: November 24, 2019, 10:42:05 PM »
Beautiful stuff.

Way above my pay grade!

Guy
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Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.”

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Offline lone modeller

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Re: The Tommy
« Reply #11 on: November 25, 2019, 06:04:41 AM »
A superb piece of milling there. Just wish that I had some of those tools too, and the skill to use them of course. Oh well I will just stick to my tray and files.... As for vacuforming - try push moulding instead - much simpler and no sophisticated tools required!

I completely agree that no kit is the best reason for scratch building one - after al that is what we scratch builders are here for aren't we?

Offline kensar

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Re: The Tommy
« Reply #12 on: November 26, 2019, 01:23:09 AM »
Thanks for weighing in, folks.
Glad to have you along, Edo and Guy.
Stephen, push molding is why I don't have a vac former already.  I started building one, but got around it by push molding.
This time around, I may have to have one.  Ready for those pictures, Richard.

I did grind out the exhaust openings in the cowl without destroying it.  The small piece across the back edge of the cowling will have to be replaced by a simpler strap, as on the actual planes.  Looks like the oval opening needs the edges thinned.




The upper longerons have quite a curve in them.  I am trying to construct them using a laminate of 3 plys of 0.020" styrene so they will hold their shape.


Many challenges, little time.

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Re: The Tommy
« Reply #13 on: November 26, 2019, 04:40:32 AM »
Ready for those pictures, Richard.

You won't be impressed...

The frame hold the plastic sheet:



Which is heated in a very cheap oven:



Before applying to the vacuum thing:



which links:





To an equally cheap vacuum cleaner:



Does that give you ideas?

Richard
Hendon for flying - the fastest way to the ground!

Offline lone modeller

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Re: The Tommy
« Reply #14 on: November 26, 2019, 07:10:00 AM »
That vacuform machine looks far too sophisticated for me. However at that size I would be able to mould most of the parts that I would need. That is certainly a way to go forward.

Stephen.