Author Topic: Seemoos, Lindau, Lake Constance, April 1917  (Read 167 times)

Offline lone modeller

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Seemoos, Lindau, Lake Constance, April 1917
« on: January 09, 2018, 09:12:55 AM »
Evening All,

I have recently completed a 1/72 scale scratch built model of the Zeppelin - Lindau (Dornier) Rs II flying boat for the Flying Boats and Seaplanes GB and I now need somewhere to put it. I do not wish to keep it in a large box in the roof, (why all the effort to scratch build the model if I do that?) and as the aircraft was launched and retrieved from Lake Constance on a trolley on rails, the trolley is an obvious feature to mount the model on. The size of the model is also important - it has a span of approximately 17 inches (42cm), and a length of 14 inches (35cm), which means that it will not fit into the display cabinets in which I usually keep my models. Consequently I have bought a perspex covered base and I want to put in it a small display for the aeroplane. The aircraft model will sit on the carriage on a turntable which was built outside the front of the hangar/workshop at Seemoos on Lake Constance which was an old Zeppelin shed in which Claudius Dornier's early flying boats were built when he was working for Graff Zeppelin. I will include a short section of the ramp along which the flying boats were taken to the lake for launching and retrieval, and part of the hangar floor. The display will be based on photographs taken between mid 1915 and late 1918 and published in Windsock DataFile no 136: Dornier Flying Boats. One set of photographs in particular, taken in May 1917, will be used for some specific details as it is clear that there were changes made between 1915 when the turntable and ramp was built and 1918 when the last of the photographs was taken. I am not trying to make a 100% accurate replica: rather this is simply to set off the model aeroplane in a realistic context. This is the first time that I have attempted anything scenic so it will be a steep learning curve for me and I do not doubt that I will be making mistakes along the way, but as the person who never made a mistake never made anything, here goes.

First here is the base which I bought from Just Bases (I have not included the perspex top):





The dimensions of the display area of the base are 21 inches (53cm) x 13 1/2 inches (33cm) which will be large enough for the model aeroplane to sit in it and leave space to put the perspex cover over without hitting it.

When I told to my brother and a member of my modelling club of my intention to mount the aircraft on the turntable, they both asked would the latter be motorised! I have to admit that this was not my original intention, but it happens that the turntable was built on the top of a steep bank, so I investigated the possibility of putting a motor under the scenic base. Careful measurement showed that it would be possible:



This is my working plan for this display: it is 1:1. The square is where the motor will be ie under the turntable. The two arcs on the top left are part of the platform that surrounded the turntable ,and the other lines represent platforms and a shed, steps, hangar workshop floor, etc, all of which have been drawn to scale based on the photographs mentioned. The right side of the display area will be left clear so that I can put some explanatory notes about the aeroplane and setting for viewers. The various notes on the plan are for ideas that I have concerning how I might make this - I may of course change some things as I go along. Having a turntable motor would have an advantage that I had not forseen. The aircraft model is quite heavy as it has a wood hull, brass boom at the rear and a large wing made of laminated 60thou plastic card sheet. If this was to be mounted on a railway trolley it would need something fairly strong to hold it in place. By drilling a hole in the bottom of the hull and inserting the turntable shaft, I would have a hidden strong and stable support while the trolley would be what the viewer would see. I drilled the necessary hole in the underside of the hull when I was making the model, after one model railway turntable kit had been purchased:



Testing of the gear assembly for this kit showed that the gear drive to the vertical shaft, which is plastic, would be too weak and would quickly wear. Given that this motor is not going to be accessible when the base is finished I decided that the gears would be better if they were replaced with something more durable: some of my brother's old Meccano gears were therefore pressed into service. (Well he suggested motorising in the first place so he could help find a solution to a problem that motorisation raised). Here is the unit, showing the gears on the vertical drive shaft and original plastic gears inside the clear perspex box of the motor. You can also see that my brother and I have built a stronger and more stable perspex surround (blue) so that this unit can be screwed to the display base:







Now I have to fix the motor to the base and some wood strips which will have holes drilled into them to hold the ends of dowels which will represent the posts which supported the various platforms.

Thanks for looking.

Stephen.

Offline lone modeller

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Re: Seemoos, Lindau, Lake Constance, April 1917
« Reply #1 on: January 17, 2018, 10:38:23 AM »
Evening All,

As promised there have already been some changes! After a couple of trials my brother and I decided that the plastic gears in the motor might wear too quickly and as this will not be accessible in any way when complete we decided to buy a second motor and replace all of the gears, inside and out. We also made a new perspex box. I am not showing a photograph of the modified gearing - it looks the same as in plastic except that the gears are now brass. I have been carefully measuring and calculating where the motor should go. There are two important factors to consider:

1. The vertical shaft of the motor must be exactly at the mid-point of the width of the base because the wings of the model will have to fit inside the clear perspex cover;

2. the shaft also has to be in a precise position in relation to the length of the base because the nose and tail of the model have also got to fit under the cover.

When I ordered the base I allowed a couple of inches (approx 5mm) clearance between the extremities of the model and the perspex cover, so there is little room for error. Fortunately the turntable at Seemoos was on the edge of a bank and it happens that the top of the casing of the motor is just about the same as the ground level of the top of the bank. This means that I can cover the motor case with plaster bandage, build the slope in front of the motor, and level the ground at the base of the bank to coincide with the edge of the base frame, and it will be very close to scale. The motor has been screwed to the base. The lines on the board mark where the various platforms will be, and the top and bottom of the bank slope.



The battery holder, switch and wiring are at the back of the image.

Another structural element that has had to be measured and planned is the location of the posts and beams that will support various platforms including the turntable, between the hangar and turntable, slipway and a side platform from the turntable. There was also a platform immediately in front of the hangar. To ensure that the posts will be in the correct positions and stable I decided to drill holes in a wood plank which I found in my garage. I cut it into lengths and drilled the necessary holes and then screwed the wood bases to the display base, and I have made one queen post from dowel and obechi which is visible in this image:



The gap in the front of the base is where I will be putting an information board: the edge of the landscaped section will be marked off by a vertical sheet of plywood.

I have also been experimenting with plaster bandage as I have not used this material before. I wanted to create a bank with a level surface on each side of the bank. I used some scrap expanded polystyrene which I had glued together to create an uneven slope which I then covered with the plaster bandage:





When this had dried out I smeared a layer of plaster filler to fill the holes in the bandage. Finally I used some diluted PVA white glue and scattered some sand over it. This is the result which I think is not bad for a first attempt:





I am thinking of using sheets of expanded polystyrene covered with plaster bandage for the groundwork because it is very light and I have quite a supply of it.

Finally I have been trying to make the turntable and surrounding platform. The turntable consisted of a thick wood planks which seemed to have been fixed to some form of frame, the details of which are unknown to me. In fact just how the turntable was constructed and held in place is also a mystery to me, so I am using modeller's license to make something that will look plausible but also be practical. The circular platform around the turntable also consisted of a series of wooden planks but these were spaced and seem to have been supported by queen posts with horizontal beams between the queen post supports. This would be very difficult to replicate accurately, so instead I intend to cut a ring of plywood and glue wood strips to it. I can cut a turntable base from the disc centre of the plywood ring. I have cut a circle of plywood but am not very happy with the result because I have had real problems with the outer edge and I am not sure how I can get a clean edge inside too.



I am in deep thought about this at the moment and am considering using some other material, perhaps thin basswood sheet.

More mistakes and changes to come!

Stephen.

Online Des

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Re: Seemoos, Lindau, Lake Constance, April 1917
« Reply #2 on: January 17, 2018, 10:46:24 AM »
I'm really looking forward to seeing how this diorama turns out, it sounds very interesting.

Des.
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Offline Manni

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Re: Seemoos, Lindau, Lake Constance, April 1917
« Reply #3 on: January 17, 2018, 05:50:04 PM »
Yes, I am also very curious what will come up next.
Bye,
Manni
"Ich hab' da mal was vorbereitet.": Jean Pütz
"Warum noch mehr Bausätze?!?": meine Frau

Offline IanB

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Re: Seemoos, Lindau, Lake Constance, April 1917
« Reply #4 on: January 18, 2018, 02:22:20 AM »
A very interesting display idea Stephen, but I'm a little confused. You say the base is 21" x 13.5" yet the wingspan is 17" - it won't rotate without hitting the wings against the sides! Or is the 13.5" the height of the box?

Ian

Offline lcarroll

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Re: Seemoos, Lindau, Lake Constance, April 1917
« Reply #5 on: January 18, 2018, 02:36:21 AM »
Stephen,
    You've taken on quite a complicated challenge here, a dynamic diorama so to speak! I don't have the Dornier Data File so I'm having a bit of trouble visualizing the scene you are creating but it sounds like a perfect setting with lots of relief and different finishes. I'll be following your progress with great interest!
Cheers,
Lance

Offline lone modeller

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Re: Seemoos, Lindau, Lake Constance, April 1917
« Reply #6 on: January 18, 2018, 05:06:01 AM »
Thanks Des, Manni, Ian and Lance for the positive comments.

A very interesting display idea Stephen, but I'm a little confused. You say the base is 21" x 13.5" yet the wingspan is 17" - it won't rotate without hitting the wings against the sides! Or is the 13.5" the height of the box?

Ian

Ian: the model will rotate but only when the perspex cover has been taken off. I intend to build the display so that the battery holder and switch will normally be hidden beneath the hangar floor at the rear and will only be accessible via a hole in the rear vertical face if the cover has been taken off. Normally the display will be static and the battery/switch will not be accessible.

Lance: I hope that as the project progresses more will become clearer. Basically the rear will be the hangar floor, with a platform in front. The turntable will be near to the front of the display and will sit over sloping ground. The other platforms lead to and from the turntable and they will become clearer when I start putting in the support posts.