Author Topic: Donnet-Lévêque Type A, Libramodels, 1:72  (Read 5254 times)

Offline IanB

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Donnet-Lévêque Type A, Libramodels, 1:72
« on: September 16, 2017, 02:35:30 AM »
Aaaaagh! I give in, I'm going to have to do this! Despite still being in the middle of the Ilya Muromets build, I'm afraid I've succumbed to a seaplane GB on another forum, so I'll post that build here as well!

 First a little background. The firm of Donnet-Lévêque was established in 1912 when French designer Denhaut and Swiss engineer Donnet got together. They built a 2 seat tandem flying boat based on  earlier design of Denhaut's which had been built by Levasseur. This later machine was designated the Donnet-Lévêque flying boat and the company was formed to build Denhaut's designs.
 The original Donnet-Lévêque (the Type A) was a single-bay wing warper, and was powered by a 50hp Gnôme. The later B and C models had ailerons, and were fitted with 70hp and 80hp Gnômes respectively. The C also had a larger wing enabling it to carry 3 people.

  The Type A won the Belgian Coupe du Roi (King's Cup) for seaplanes in 1912 and was later produced under licence by F.B.A. (Franco-British Aviation) as the FBA Lévêque, (or FBA Type A) although from what I can find, the FBA types had a normal boat style prow, instead of the blunt nose of the Donnet-Lévêque. The FBA Type B and C were slightly larger 2-bay aircraft and had a side-by-side instead of tandem seating arrangement.

 Austro-Hungary purchased 4 Donnet-Lévêque aircraft in 1912 for evaluation: 2 Type As and 2 Type Cs. All entered service in January 1913. They were so impressed that they copied them: 3 were built in 1913 with Gnôme engines, enlarged fuselages and longer wingspan, 4 more in 1914.

 The kit will be built as one of the original 4 Austro-Hungarian aircraft, Number 10 (actually the decals supplied are for this aircraft). My reference (French Aircraft of the First World War by Davilla & Soltan) states that this aircraft was a Type A, but the one pic I have found of it clearly shows ailerons, so that's how it will be built. That reference also states that Number 10 was damaged in a crash on 6th December 1913, although it doesn't state whether it was repaired or not.

 This was such an important aircraft that I feel I have to include it in my collection. The design was of course developed further by FBA, and any cursory glance at Austro-Hungarian seaplanes from the period clearly show design similarities (particularly the curved tail) -  and they were copied in turn by Macchi for their series of small seaplanes.

 So, what do I have to work with?

Here's the pic I found online:


and here's the kit:







 I don't have measurements for this specific aircraft, and those that I do have show the wings as far too long, so I'll see what "looks right". Fortunately the pic is taken from almost exactly front quarter so I should be able to get relative lengths of fuselage to wings from that
 The fuselage will need some major work. The rear is flat on top instead of triangular, and the top deck of the nose is wrong, but nothing that should cause too much trouble.

Now to get the bits out of the sheet!

Ian
« Last Edit: September 19, 2017, 06:49:29 AM by IanB »

Offline lone modeller

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Re: Donnet Lévêque Type C, Libramodels, 1:72
« Reply #1 on: September 16, 2017, 04:21:44 AM »
Great news Ian: I am so glad that you have succumbed and I for one will be following your build.

I am sorely tempted to add this one to my list of scratch builds too - would need some drawings first though.

Stephen.

Offline IanB

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Re: Donnet Lévêque Type C, Libramodels, 1:72
« Reply #2 on: September 16, 2017, 06:13:53 AM »
Thanks Stephen, glad to have you on board!

This afternoon's progress....all the major parts removed from the sheet and cleaned up....



It doesn't look as though I'll have quite as much correcting to do as I'd first thought. There is work to be done on the nose, but filling the front with Miliput to make it thick enough to sand, and adding more miliput on top to enable me to flatten it out, should suffice. The big area is still the upper side of the rear fuselage....

Ian
« Last Edit: September 19, 2017, 06:53:31 AM by IanB »

Offline RAGIII

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Re: Donnet Lévêque Type C, Libramodels, 1:72
« Reply #3 on: September 16, 2017, 07:27:07 AM »
A really unique subject! I had never eard of this one but it looks to be really cool. I am looking forward to your build!
RAGIII
"A man has to know his limitations": Harry Callahan

"Don't slop it on" Lynda Geisler

Offline Dirigible-Al

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Re: Donnet-Lévêque Type A, Libramodels, 1:72
« Reply #4 on: September 17, 2017, 02:23:49 AM »
Hi Ian
I am so pleased you are building a Donnet-Leveque. I cannot help think this manufacturer has been grossly overlooked in the modelling world. I will be following with great interest.
Alan.

Offline IanB

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Re: Donnet-Lévêque Type A, Libramodels, 1:72
« Reply #5 on: September 17, 2017, 06:20:59 AM »
Thanks all!

Today I decided to tackle the wings. My logic for starting there is that I will then have accurate references for cutting the top off the fuselage....

So...bearing in mind that the drawings I have don't match any of the quoted wingspans, but do match the fuselage length, I decided to stick with them as it does at least "look" right. First up then, adjusting the chord of the wings.

Here we have them marked for cutting. You can see how much needs to be removed from the trailing edge, and that will of course mean more sanding to get back to the nice thin edge I already achieved.....



That pic also shows the amount needing to be removed from the upper wing centre section......

Having done that, and the sanding (another nice fine trailing edge on both wings!), I cut the upper wing in half, removed one rib's worth, and stuck it back together. With that left to dry, I removed the centre section from the lower wing, and marked the two halves for length....



With the tips shortened and reshaped, I could now rejoin them and make sure the gap was correct (yes, I had made sure I marked the tips with the correct spacing in the middle!). I used .030x.040 strip for the spars, and cut slots into the wings to insert the strip so it had a better grip.



The last job for today was to open up the rear centre cut-out on the top wing, mark the correct outlines for the ailerons, and then splodge Mr Dissolved Putty on the spar joints and kit strut location marks.



That's all now drying, and since I have to work tomorrow it should have plenty of time!

Now I just have to figure out how to tackle the fuselage. I'm toying with the idea of crash moulding a new upper cockpit section, we'll see....

Thanks for looking in!

Ian

Of course, if I'd thought about it, it would have been simpler to have removed the ailerons before cutting the wing up, then I wouldn't have had to alter them, just cut the new location out......
« Last Edit: September 19, 2017, 06:54:36 AM by IanB »

Offline lone modeller

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Re: Donnet-Lévêque Type A, Libramodels, 1:72
« Reply #6 on: September 18, 2017, 04:02:12 AM »
If you do mould a new fuselage, why not try scratch building a complete model - as per the Bleriot XI? Go on you know that you would like too.............!

Stephen.

Online lcarroll

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Re: Donnet-Lévêque Type A, Libramodels, 1:72
« Reply #7 on: September 18, 2017, 07:02:50 AM »
    Beautiful subject Ian, these little flying boat fighters all had such beautiful lines! Nice work thus far, and she's going to be a real attractive model when complete. I also suspect the scratch built composition of the project will increase as you progress with the Build!
Cheers,
Lance

Offline IanB

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Re: Donnet-Lévêque Type A, Libramodels, 1:72
« Reply #8 on: September 19, 2017, 06:38:35 AM »
Thanks Stephen, I know there will e scratching involved, but I want to see how much of the kit is usable!
Lance, I totally agree, these were very aesthetically pleasing machines!

 After getting the wings to a state more akin to what they should be, I started to examine the fuselage a little closer today. I decided it would be a good idea to get my reference points sorted out first so to that end I looked at the underside. The shape is pretty good, but the step is too far aft - it should be right under the leading edge of the wings.

Easy enough to sort out!
 The step part itself is separate, so it was shortened at the front and thinned to give a flush mating surface. It was also a little too shallow, so I added a couple of pieces of .020" strip to the rear edge to push it down a little, then to ensure it was in the correct position, strips of .040" were added to the fuselage underside to bring the step position forward.





That will do for now, it'll get properly tidied up when the halves are mated.

 Now I had a good underside shape to get all the rest of the detail in the correct place, so I measured it out and marked it in pencil so i could see what I needed to do.



 The dot on the upper rear fuselage is the point where it becomes triangular, so the flat surface aft of there needs to be removed and the sides brought together - they are also a little too tall, but I suspect not tall enough to be able to do it without reskinning the sides.
 The smaller slightly curved triangle in front of that is the rear of the cockpit decking where it slopes down to the tail. The top surface between the rear of that part and the triangular section tail is flat.
 The cockpits themselves are not as bad as I'd thought, being almost correct in depth, but just a little too curved from the side - the top should run flat. This is not too much of a problem since most of that area is open, so I can simply sand the edges down. The front part is a little more awkward but a piece of card glued inside the front upper hull section should give me enough plastic to sand that part flat and in line with the rear.
 The last part is the bow.



 You can see that it is very sharply defined at the front edges, indicating to me that part of it was flat. The kit is not....



 Another fairly easy fix. I made a saw cut in from the front, then marked out the bits I needed to remove.



 Those corners were cut out with a scalpel, and a piece of .010" card inserted into the slot.



 Again, that will be properly tidied up and fine tuned once the fuselage is together.

 That's all drying now....So that just leaves the difficult bits.......

Oh, and I gave in again, and bought a Smallstuff engine for it!

Thanks for looking in!

Ian
« Last Edit: September 19, 2017, 06:55:51 AM by IanB »

Offline NinetythirdLiberator

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Re: Donnet-Lévêque Type A, Libramodels, 1:72
« Reply #9 on: September 20, 2017, 05:10:26 AM »
Wow!  NICE start and great mods.  Truly a vac to be proud of!

Nice one, Ian.

Dan

Offline IanB

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Re: Donnet-Lévêque Type A, Libramodels, 1:72
« Reply #10 on: September 20, 2017, 06:22:50 AM »
Thanks Dan!

Today's progress was mostly in sitting and thinking about how I wanted to go about the rear fuselage mods. I was contemplating how relatively simple such mods have been on injected kits due to the thickness of the plastic when it suddenly dawned on me that all I really had to do was recreate that thickness so I could sand it to the right shape....out with the Miliput!

 Before I did that, I cut out the cockpit openings and added the three bulkheads, plus some tabs to help glue the halves together. I then filled the rear end with Miliput, making sure it is full and the two halves can be glued together. I may even sheath it with .005" sheet when it's done just to be sure.
 A false floor has also been added with .010" sheet to hide the seam.



 That's it for today, nothing too exciting I'm afraid but a few potential problems hopefully sorted. Now I can start detailing the cockpits.....

Ian

Offline NinetythirdLiberator

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Re: Donnet-Lévêque Type A, Libramodels, 1:72
« Reply #11 on: September 20, 2017, 09:00:06 AM »
I love putty!  I do the same thing all the time (with injection kits too) if I need to change a wing profile etc.  Stuff it with filler and sand, sand, sand...

Still looks good.

Dan

Offline JamesAPrattIII

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Re: Donnet-Lévêque Type A, Libramodels, 1:72
« Reply #12 on: September 20, 2017, 11:30:27 AM »
Looks cool! Any idea where I can get this kit?

Offline IanB

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Re: Donnet-Lévêque Type A, Libramodels, 1:72
« Reply #13 on: September 20, 2017, 11:36:01 AM »
I picked it up on evilbay a couple of years back. Unless anyone here has one they want to part with, I'd say that's your best bet. Just a case of watching and waiting....

Ian

Offline IanB

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Re: Donnet-Lévêque Type A, Libramodels, 1:72
« Reply #14 on: September 21, 2017, 07:18:15 AM »
Hi all, here's today's update.

 Today I've mostly been cutting plastic strip into tiny pieces. I used .010"x.020" (.25mm x .5mm) plastic strip for the majority of the cockpit framing. Fortunately there are some good pics online of the prototype in the Musée de l'Air, including a couple of cockpit shots. With no reference available for the particular aircraft I'm modelling, these are a very good second best. There is no instrument panel (not uncommon in those early machines), so I have simply added the wooden framework, aileron control linkages, and the seat support frames.







 I have no idea whether the interior of the Austrian machines was painted or not. The prototype is the same colour as the exterior - green, the alternative is bare wood, which will be the outer colour for this model. So for a bit of contrast I will paint the interior green as per the prototype. I see no reason that it shouldn't have had some sort of protection from the elements/salt water, etc.

 If anyone has evidence to the contrary please shout, I'd love to get it right!

Thanks for looking in!

Ian