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Building Tony's Sunderland


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Hi All,

I have had a liking for the Sunderland ever since I was a boy when I built a lot of Airfix kits and the Sunderland was one of them. Well 5 decades later I am about to embark on building another but a bit bigger, Tony's 72" (1.8m) wingspan. Having looked back through the forum there are a couple of threads on the TN Sunderland that started but never went to completion. I aim to carry this through to the finish with lots of photos as we go. Last September, I was sent to work in Pembroke Dock for three months. This was cruel/temptation as I saw pictures of Sunderland's on the wall of the building I was working in, driving past the maritime museum which had a wing float in the grounds and of course the aircraft hangers in the dock every day. So this has given me the push to start building.

 

 

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There are nine Sunderland's in this picture can you spot them

 

Back in 2016, I purchased the CNC plan & wood pack pack along with the cowls, turrets and canopy with the intention of building it one day, and it has sat on the bench ever since with the odd sheet of balsa "borrowed" and later replaced.

 

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The box of balsa and ply, the magazine article and I just had to have another Airfix kit too

 

 

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There is a lot of balsawood there

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and a lot of lovely CNC machined parts. 

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CNC wing ribs and nacelle parts

 

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Cowls, turrets and canopy

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You can't have too many pictures of a flying boat.

Yesterday, I  ordered the motors & speed controllers from 4 Max so they should arrive later this week.

Today, I have made a start on marking up all of the CNC parts and finishing a Mustang off to make way to start building later in the week.

 

That's all for now.

Regards

Robert

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Hi All,

It's been a busy week with work bit I have had a tidied up the bench and got my Cambrian 55" Mustang off the building board and she is waiting to be fuel proofed and engine re-install and setting up all of which can be done off the bench.

 

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The motors and speed controllers with props arrived during the week

 

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I have made a start on the Sundereland and cut out all of the parts for the fuselage and giving them a light sanding, joined the sheets for the side and blended in the aft sheeting to the fore sheeting, with the aft being 3mm balsa and the fore sheeting being 4.5mm, this is to aid bending the sheeting to shape, that's the fun of flying boats they do have very rounded hulls at the rear end.

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Buying the CNC pack saved a lot of work cutting these out

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The box of Toupet at the back right of the picture is a powder filler that I have found to be excellent so far it sands at the same rate as balsa and the 2kg box should last years or until it goes off, i have used another product called "easifill" for dry wall construction but it comes in 10kg bags!!!

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Former positions marked out

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The sides have been cut to shape and the first formers glued in position

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Second side glued on and all squared up, I might struggle to get the two servos in place and the flight pack (not), it is a big fuselage, the deepest I've built so far.

This is progress up to date,

Next the fuselage will be transferred into my SLEC jig so the other formers can be added, water bottle at the ready.

That's all for now 

 

Regards

Robert

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Hi All,

Made some progress with the fuselage this week, this weekend seems to have been booked by Mrs P for gardening duties. Still it's nice to get the green off the slabs and get rid of all the weeds and trim back the undergrowth.

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All straight and true

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This is a big fus

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I took the opportunity to make the battery tray now as once the bottom is sheeted and the top sheeting on there would be little chance to fit the tray

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Inverted, and time to pull in the sides around the rear formers, plenty of water and let it soak for half an hour worked well and then pin and clamp up and add the keels.

 

Next, the hull will be sheeted in two stages from the centre to the nose and then centre to rear, with the last section being 9mm sheeting

 

That's all for now 

Regards

Robert

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I've built two of these, they fly really well.  It will slither and slide off grass but I built a dolly to make take off not quite so scary.  It has a mind of its own as it picks up speed over the grass and many take off's were aborted when the direction was wrong.

My batteries were in the nose to achieve the balance, I have the two inners linked together and the two outers.  If something fails I still have some power.  

Flying off snow meant that water got in and I stripped off the film and glassed the lower hull.  It's a great looking plane that lumbers around the sky and looks the part.

Sorry, I can't find any photos on this computer.

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Hi All,

Started sheeting the hull and progressing well.

 

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I only had to wet the two front sheets, using the heaviest sheet from the balsa supplied 34gramms for the front

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and the mid-section sheeted with 28 gram sheet, I know not much of a difference but it does all add up over the whole model.

Next, the rear section is sheeted using 9mm sheet with a wedge fillet at the back of the step down and then cut, plane, and sand to shape.

 

That's all for now

Regards

Robert

 

 

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Hi All,

The hull is now complete and she's the right way up in the jig and the stringers are now gluing in place

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9mm sheet added to the tail section with a sold block fillet in place

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That's the rough shape

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All sanded and blended in.

Time to flip her over and make a start on the top side

 

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There was one thing I had not noticed about the Sunderland and that was how the fuselage tail area curved downwards in to the fuselage.

The front end too is very curvy too, I had to soak the longerons quite a bit to get them to twist and bend around the formers

 

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The clamp is to stop the back end of the front formers from spring out

 

Next, top sheeting which I think is going to be a bit of fun. I may reduce the width of the sheeting to 50mm

 

That's all for now 

Regards

Robert

 

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Hi Robert,

 

Thats an excellent job your making, very nice work!

 

for bending your sheeting, have you tried ammonia?  Its far superior to water.  I brush it on neat and have never noticed any swelling.  I then clamp/pin to the formers and leave overnight.  I did the length of my concorde this way (2 halfs from the top center stringer down to the wing).  When I realeased it from the formers and the ammonia had evaproated it held the shape perfectly ready for glueing

 

Craig

 

 

Edited by Craig Carr
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As Craig says ammonia is a much better route.

Ammonia actually breaks the bonds between the fibers, reforming when it evaporates, water doesnt alter the bond but softens the fibers.

Sometimes water is enough, but you can bend balsa double using ammonia, but it doesnt half make the eyes water.....

Cheers

Danny

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi All,

It took a while to get the ammonia but ended up with Amazon.

Whilst I was waiting I joined some sheets together and glued them to the sides, it seems a lot to bend and not only simple bends but both convex and concave.

Easter came and went without any modelling activities and then the snow came for a couple of days so today I made a start on bending one side. I applied a couple of coats of ammonia, working outside for this bit and PPE having read the warnings on the bottle, and set aside for 20 mins for it to soak in.

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Sides glued on ready

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Temporary bench set up outside, this stuff really takes your breath away when the wind stops, two coats applied

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Well, I started at the rear which was too tight a curve and the sheet split a bit, a spot of cyano and started in the middle slowly bending it over the formers and working equally forwards and backwards until I got to the cockpit area and cut the sheet just in front of the cockpit opening and again the sheet split but not too badly again a spot of cyano and whilst that set I concentrated on the rear which was rolled around the formers.

IMG_20210408_113420.thumb.jpg.a206ede50261c40833f2c40bd6a1a454.jpgThe split is where the purple pin is.

 

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A couple of splits here but not too bad.

 

This is the first time I've used ammonia to bend balsa seems ok but should I have left it longer to soak or am I missing something.

 

Slightly of topic I took the wife and daughter to a garden centre that we had not been to for some years, and as turned into the trading estate I saw this and my wife said drop us off and we'll catch you up.

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mmmmmmmmm how many servos,

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Stuck in a factory car park

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In need of a post flight clean up...........

A nice treat and totally unexpected after sooooooo long of being deprived of anything aviation other than my work bench

 

That's all for now

Tomorrow I'll glue in place this side and start on bending the other side.

 

Regards

Robert

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19 hours ago, Robert Parker said:

Slightly of topic I took the wife and daughter to a garden centre that we had not been to for some years, and as turned into the trading estate I saw this and my wife said drop us off and we'll catch you up.

DSC08688.thumb.JPG.5e02e6150e4fb9367ed72f75f951ee8b.JPG

mmmmmmmmm how many servos,

DSC08687.thumb.JPG.21366b5d87e75676c2bba6241f604cbd.JPG

Stuck in a factory car park

DSC08685.thumb.JPG.837d420e36d8dd8b5b7e6967274315fe.JPG

In need of a post flight clean up...........

A nice treat and totally unexpected after sooooooo long of being deprived of anything aviation other than my work bench

 

That's all for now

Tomorrow I'll glue in place this side and start on bending the other side.

 

Regards

Robert

I know it well!  It's a very good fibreglass replica.  Its owner runs a major airport ground support business.  A friend of mine collects and delivers his Porsche for servicing and when its not being driven he displays it on a turntable in his office!

 

Anyway, Sunderlands...  A late friend of mine built one from the TN plan/pack and while it flew very well, it sat very nose-down on the water, when balanced for flight.  In taxying trials, it tended to 'submarine', unless the throttle was whacked open with full up elevator to get it on the step.  Not a recipe for a successful water take-off, we thought, so it only ever flew off a dolly.  I suspect, looking at the 'lines' that the afterbody (between step and skeg) wasn't sufficiently waisted, i.e. it had to much volume, hence buoyancy, which pushed the tail up.  Pictures of the full size show the rear fuselage tucking in quite noticeably down to the skeg, while the model always looks fuller in this area.  We did consider packing out the forebody with foam sheet, to increase buoyancy forward, but never got around to it before he dumb-thumbed it into the ground...

 

BTW Robert, it looks as though we might be in the same area - so where are you planning to fly this?

 

 

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