Author Topic: Handley Page V/1500 scratch build (slowgress report)  (Read 8045 times)

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Handley Page V/1500 scratch build (slowgress report)
« on: April 18, 2020, 11:46:58 PM »



Starting out

A long, long time ago, when I was 15 or so, I bought an Airfix kit of the Handley Page O/400. After working on it for several weeks, it eventually ended up in the trash bin. The wings kept sagging because I couldn’t get the rigging right. Two weeks ago, I bought the kit again when I visited a model builders store in Groningen. A few days later I found the exact same kit I had as a boy (the old box) on Ebay and I couldn’t stop myself from buying it. So now I have two.
 
I have taken a special interest in the aircraft that were used in a war for the first time. The development of aviation in general and that of war planes in particular. I even did a paper in high school, titled “The significance of military aircraft in the Great War”.

I am preparing to build a 1/32 scratch built model of a Handley Page V/1500. This undertaking is insane for several reasons:
 
1 - I have built a lot of aircraft from kits, but I have never built a scratch built model before
2 - it will be about 4 feet wide and 2 feet long
 
The latter is rather scary, but it would give great detail. I had the Windsock plans enlarged to 1/32. When I picked them up I broke into a cold sweat. This monster is going to take shape on the kitchen table inch by inch. Or rather foot by foot. My wife does not know how big this model will be. I think I'll feed her snippets of information on a need-to-know basis. It will show soon enough since my workshop is the kitchen table…
 
Nevertheless, I see this undertaking as a (huge) challenge of both my skills and my patience.

I was hesitant to start this build log, because (for me) it is a huge trial-and-error project and it will take years to complete, if ever.  In addition to that I it has been decades that I did a serious kit build, my (non-permanent) workshop is the kitchen table and this is my first scratch build. In my defense I can say that techniques and materials have developed like mad and the build logs of fellow modelers (thank you Krow113) are invaluable.

So, [deep sigh] here I am.

Why the Handley Page V/1500? It may not be as sleek as a B2 Stealth, or as fast as the Valkyrie, or as sturdy as the B52 or as iconic as the Memphis Belle, and I can't even say it is beautiful, but it has a certain appeal. The box shaped fuselage, the enormous wings, the 4 uncowled engines and the overall size. It is a beautiful monster.

Research

Once I had chosen the V/1500 as my subject, I started collecting information on all three members of the Handsome Threesome (the O/100 and O/400 as well. The O/400 and V/1500 were not the same, but share many similarities. It didn’t take long to find out that information on the construction of the V/1500 is scarce. Fact is also that there were differences in details, because they were built by different manufacturers and new insights.

Three aircraft were delivered to No. 166 Squadron at RAF Bircham Newton (Norfolk) during October 1918. Most of the orders were canceled, because of the armistice of November 11 1918.
In comparison, 600 of the /100 and O/400 were build and delivered.
I collected books and magazines, just about anything that contained information about these aircraft.
A lot of information I found comes from the Internet, which is a big help, but unfortunately a good part of it is also contradictory. From the start I made a filing system with all that information. I scanned all text and photographs, and used OCR to convert everything into Word for the text and IrfanView to set up a picture gallery.

I studied a score of build logs, both from kits and scratch, to determine the pitfalls. And then, in November 2018, out of the blue, Wingnut Wings announced that they prepare to release both the O/100 and O/400 in the first quarter of 2020. Both of these kits are on my “badly wanted” list and have a span of 95 cm. In January 2020 I downloaded the instructions of the O/100. This helped me to determine the building sequence for my V/1500.
I have been trying to find drawings for almost 5 years. I have mailed numerous private persons, archives, estates and museums and have obviously been overlooking the obvious: The RAF museum.

After filling out a standard inquiry form I was sent an Excel document that lists some of the documents that were transferred from the IWM to the RAF museum. This particular document, that was kindly mailed to me by the staff of The Collections Inquiry Team, relates to drawings of the Handley Page V/1500. It turned out that there are more than 1100 original design drawings.
So I planned a visit to the Reading room of the RAF museum and spent 1 ½ day viewing these drawings. That is to say a few hundred of them.  Frankly, it was so much, I didn’t know what do to with it.

The drawings were in surprisingly good condition, knowing they are over a century old. They were rolled in bundles and some were deformed and crumpled which made it difficult to make good photographs.
The first drawing I viewed took me by surprise. I was a detailed design of a dual control arrangement, and it was drawn in 1919.
Both Owers and Bruce mention that “…there was, surprisingly, no dual control….” That leads me to believe that both authors did not see these drawings.

In fact there are so many drawings, it would take a lot of time to study them in detail and index and catalog them in detail. The staff informed me that there are no plans to digitize the drawings anytime soon.
If I lived in London, I would do it for them. for free. I told the staff ‘this is not a reading room, this is a treasure room!’
Back home again, I started sorting the photographs and look for the details I need for the model.

Development

The Handley Page V/1500 was the answer to the German Gothas that attacked London. With a range of 1,300 miles it should be able to reach Berlin from bases on the East coast of England in the northern part of Norfolk, refuel in Czechoslovakia or neutral territory if fuel was insufficient and return to England. The O/400's range of 700 miles restricted them to bases in France. Besides, the railway clearances in France were not large enough to transport spares for the V/1500.
Because it was bigger it needed more power. In November 1917, Handley Page O/100 No. 3117 was equipped with four 200 hp. Hispano-Suiza engines mounted in two tandem pairs. I may have been a test to determine the effect of slipstream of propellers in close proximity of each other. 

Scale

Calculating wingspans in 1/72, 1/48 or 1/32 scales, that would be either about 53 cm, 80 cm or 120 cm. The latter is rather scary, but it gives great detail.
For comparison: the French Nieuport 11 'Bébé' had an upper wingspan of 7.52 m (24 ft 8 in), the aileron of a HP V/1500 had a length of 8.51 m (27 ft 11in)...
 


So I had the Windsock plans enlarged to 1/32. When I picked them up I broke into a cold sweat. This monster is going to take shape on the kitchen table inch by inch. Or rather foot by foot…
About that: I will be using metric dimensions throughout. For converting to feet and inches I would use https://www.thecalculatorsite.com/conversions/common/cm-to-feet-inches.php
Since this is my first scratch build ever, I may have bitten off a little more than I can chew, but we’ll find out as I go along.

Willem
« Last Edit: May 12, 2021, 12:34:39 AM by Rookie »

Offline Old Man

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Re: Handley Page V/1500 scratch build (slowgress report)
« Reply #1 on: April 19, 2020, 02:38:25 AM »
Best of luck, Sir.

Wood core with plastic covering strikes me as the best way to go for the immense wings.

If recollection serves, on was used in the Third Afghan War in 1919. That might make a traceable subject....

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Re: Handley Page V/1500 scratch build (slowgress report)
« Reply #2 on: April 19, 2020, 05:26:00 PM »
Best of luck, Sir.

Wood core with plastic covering strikes me as the best way to go for the immense wings.

If recollection serves, on was used in the Third Afghan War in 1919. That might make a traceable subject....


Thank you Old Man. I have been given the same advice by several other modelers and it seems the right way to go. Not sure about which aircraft it wil be, but I think one of the three that were ready to bomb Berlin.

Tailplane

Because this was my first scratch build, I wanted to start with something simple. So I started with the rudders. Which, as it turned out, was not as simple as I thought.
If you take a cross-section it is actually a flattened rhombus with a leading and a trailing edge. Should I make rhombus shaped ribs? Or build it up from a few layers of styrene sheet and then shape it? What to do with the pivot point?
After some experimenting I now have the shape I am happy with and I will use it as a positive for a mould, so I could cast 4 identical rudders. The ribs and control horns will be added later.
I also cut out the rest of the tailplane and the elevators. There is a lot of styrene going into this project and I’m sure the Evergreen company will be pleased.
The tailplane will give me some room to experiment as it is almost as big as a Nieuport 11.
I will now be giving a little thought to how to construct the struts for this (and also the wings later on) I think I will make mockup tail fuselage section to try out some things.

Stay safe, keep modelling and thanks for looking in.

Willem







« Last Edit: August 23, 2020, 05:54:12 PM by Rookie »

Offline Europapete

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Re: Handley Page V/1500 scratch build (slowgress report)
« Reply #3 on: April 19, 2020, 09:57:48 PM »
Yikes!!!! and I thought the Felixstowe is big! Kitchen table eh? I assume you have one of those huge long sturdy ones that come in Viking Long Houses.  I also see many TV dinners and restaurant visits in your future. Awesome project, well done. Regards, Pete in RI.
 ps, you had better call Richard at Aviattic now, he is going to need a LOT of lead time to print all the sheets of PC 10 or NIVO you will need to finish this beastie.

Offline Alexis

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Re: Handley Page V/1500 scratch build (slowgress report)
« Reply #4 on: April 19, 2020, 11:26:09 PM »
She is going to be a good size , looking forward to your progress on this one if you don't mind me tagging along for the ride .



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Re: Handley Page V/1500 scratch build (slowgress report)
« Reply #5 on: April 20, 2020, 12:22:56 AM »
Thanks Pete and Terri,

Well, we're plate-on-lap-in-front-of-tv eaters anyway, so that won't be problem. And I'm going to airbrush it, no decals. I got 1 mm strippers made by Bob from Bob's Buckles (they are brilliant!) and I don't think strippers and decals work well together, but correct me if I'm wrong.

Willem
« Last Edit: August 23, 2020, 05:54:38 PM by Rookie »

Offline lone modeller

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Re: Handley Page V/1500 scratch build (slowgress report)
« Reply #6 on: April 20, 2020, 06:59:57 AM »
I thought that some of my more recent scratch builds were large, but they are dwarfs when compared with this monster. I agree with Old Man that wood cores skinned with plastic sheet are the best structures for the wings, byut you may also need to consider brass bar for reinforcement - they are long and might sag. I also suggest using brass bar as the basis for the fuselage - soldering is easy and as the joints will be concealed they do not need to be too neat, but the structure would be strong and would support the weight of the wings.

This is going to be a fascinating project - when i saw a scratch built 1/32 O/400 I was blown away. I heave recovered since only to be blown away a second time by this one!

Good luck with this and please keep us posted.

Stephen.

Offline bobs_buckles

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Re: Handley Page V/1500 scratch build (slowgress report)
« Reply #7 on: April 20, 2020, 04:58:59 PM »
You're going to need a bigger spray gun  :o

This will be a fun watch.
Cheers,
vB




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Re: Handley Page V/1500 scratch build (slowgress report)
« Reply #8 on: April 20, 2020, 05:28:39 PM »
@ Bob:

…and I need to have a talk with Tamiya. Maybe they can send a tanker filled with PC10 or Olive drab my way.

@ Stephen:

Thanks for the kind words. I asked the late Des Delatorre for advice in March 1916 and this is what he said: "....As you have already mentioned the wings will be of main concern, depending on what materials you decide to use will determine if the wings will sag or not. Regardless of your building method I'm sure the lower wing will require some type of metal reinforcing manufactured to the correct dihedral. A one piece metal spar which would be fitted inside both bottom wings and through the fuselage would ensure rigidity in the wings which in turn would take a lot of tension off the rigging...."


 
I started sketching a brass box-shaped constructions of the Cc section to support the wings a while ago, so I guess we're all on the same page there.

I also considered carbon fiber rods (used for kites) in the length of the wings, since this is very stiff and strong and it is lighter (and cheaper) than brass.

And then there are still plenty of pictures of Handley Pages with the wings resting on trestles... 

By the way: I’ve changed my forum name to Rookie, which is what I am. 

Offline lone modeller

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Re: Handley Page V/1500 scratch build (slowgress report)
« Reply #9 on: April 21, 2020, 09:23:26 AM »
By the way: I’ve changed my forum name to Rookie, which is what I am. 

I think not. I just think that you are very ambitious and I really like what you are doing. I also think that the comment made by Old Man recently in my thread could also apply to you, but I will leave you to decide if it is appropriate!

Stephen.

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Re: Handley Page V/1500 scratch build (slowgress report)
« Reply #10 on: April 21, 2020, 06:07:31 PM »
I read Old Man's comment in your thread. I am frequently called that, but not in relation to scale modelling  ;)

Willem

Offline RAGIII

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Re: Handley Page V/1500 scratch build (slowgress report)
« Reply #11 on: April 21, 2020, 09:53:57 PM »
This is certainly an ambitious project!  I will follow along with great interest. You have made a great start...small though it may seem compared to the overall size of the project!
RAGIII
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Re: Handley Page V/1500 scratch build (slowgress report)
« Reply #12 on: April 25, 2020, 02:41:29 AM »
I did a little work on one aileron. It doesn't look like much yet, but don't worry, I'm going going to fill it, sand it, fill it again, sand it again and polish it. Times 4.







I learned not to use clamps the hard way, resulting in deformed parts. So now I use heavy objects to press two glued parts together.





Tomorrow I'll make an early start and try to finish all the parts of the tailplane.

Willem
« Last Edit: August 23, 2020, 05:55:42 PM by Rookie »

Offline lone modeller

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Re: Handley Page V/1500 scratch build (slowgress report)
« Reply #13 on: April 25, 2020, 09:01:15 AM »
One advantage of making small parts like this is that if things go wrong (as they invariably do....) they are good learning experiences and do not take up too much time or materials. You also build up a stock of easily stored small parts which are then ready for use when the much larger units are readt to take them. That is how I go about my scratch builds.

Stephen.

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Re: Handley Page V/1500 scratch build (slowgress report)
« Reply #14 on: April 25, 2020, 05:24:47 PM »
I certainly agree on the statement that things invariably go wrong. A good part tof my Evergreen already ended up in the scratch stash box. The bends of the 2x2 mm styrene are a good example. The first batch I force-bent around a file handle, fed the copper wire trought the holes holes and poured boiling water over them first and than cold water to keep the bend. But somehow they got twisted. The second batch I softened first in boiling water, THEN force-bent them around a file handle, and THEN poured boling water over them again. Much better results.

@ Europapete: No the table does not come from a Viking Long House, but you're close..... It's from Ikea   ;D



And I try not to spend to much on tool storage. My plier rack is a converted spice rack that cost less that €3,00 and the glue and filler storage in the back is a rack for office accessoiries.

Willem






« Last Edit: August 23, 2020, 05:56:31 PM by Rookie »