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The Warbirds Replicas Macchi C.202 is Landing!

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Brian Seymour12/02/2017 16:10:17
153 forum posts
437 photos

Macchi C.202 Folgore (Lightning)

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The Macchi C202 was an Italian designed and built front-line fighter aircraft that predominantly served in the Italian Air Force (Regia Aeronautica) during WWII. Powered by a Daimler-Benz DB601 engine built under licence by Alfa Romeo and denoted RA1000, the C.202 outperformed almost all other fighters powered by the same series of engines including the deadly Bf109E. She was a formidable foe for allied fighters of the time scoring victories against such aircraft as the Spitfire, Hurricane, P40 and P39 and during the defence of Malta only the Spitfire Mk.V’s were encouraged to engage it in combat.

Origins – The Italian Spitfire?

The Macchi C.202 was designed by Schneider Trophy winning designer Mario Castoldi drawing a distinct parallel to the Spitfire which was design by R. J. Mitchell also a Schneider Trophy winning designer. Where Mitchell won three consecutive Schneider Trophies thus putting an end to the competition, Castoldi designed only one winner but to even things out he also designed the Macchi M.C.72 which set the world record for the fastest piston engine seaplane, a record that stands to this day. The C.202 retains its racing heritage with the narrow chord wings, compound curved fuselage and a cockpit fairing that could easily have come straight off a racing plane. In combat the C.202 was a very good match to the Spitfire Mk.V , the C.202 the more capable flyer and Spitfire better armed.

The Model

With CAD design and the impressive abilities of modern laser cutting, recreating the sweet surface profiles and shapes of the Macchi has been considerably simplified. The model uses traditional balsa and ply construction with a handful of vac formed components and, just to stamp modernity on the design, several 3D printed scale details. Precision laser cutting has been taken to extreme lengths to create self-jigging assemblies that be slotted together, aligned and glued. The fuselage is strip-planked to give a rigid lightweight monocoque naturally reproducing the sweet compound curves of original aircraft. All control surfaces have been design to have shrouded hinges which result in a visually and aerodynamically clean airframe. As per the original, the control surfaces have faithfully spaced ribs which show through the covering film.

It is cracking subject to build and fly, the proportions lend themselves almost perfectly to produce a model which flies very nicely and the long snout makes balancing the model a breeze. There is wide a variety of colour schemes and squadron insignia to choose from which are predominantly free-hand painted. Check out these models to see what can be done:- **LINK** **LINK** **LINK**

Model Specs.

  • Scale – 1:7
  • Wingspan – 158cm
  • Power – from 700w to 1000w 50mm dia. Outrunner *
  • Weight – 3.1 to 3.4kg.
  • Functions: -
    • Rudder
    • Elevator
    • Aileron (2 servos)
    • Throttle
    • Flaps (2 servos, reverser required)
    • Undercarriage
    • Undercarriage doors (can be operated by retracts)

* Prototype had a peak power of 800w using: SK3 5045 450kv motor, 80A ESC, 5s4000 flight pack and 16x12 APC-E prop.

The kit is being produced in collaboration with Warbirds Replicas and will soon be available as kit from Warbirds Replicas. It is an evolution of the Macchi C.202 model that I built a couple of years, the design has been updated with quite a few improvements and adaptations to better suit production, simplify construction and make it more robust to handle the stresses of everyday flying. This is a video of one of the early flights: **LINK**, this video shows her taxiing and taking off: **LINK**

These following pictures of the model were kindly taken by Jon Harper at one of the club’s Warbird Wednesday meetings:

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This blog will feature the pre-production prototypes that Richard, Vic and myself will be putting together so expect to see Richard and Vic chipping in. You almost all know Richard so needs no introduction. Vic is an expert modeller and self-confessed rivet counter, having seen pictures of his other models, I am really looking forward to seeing his build. Vic is based in one of the most picturesque areas of North Eastern Italy.

Jon - Laser Engines12/02/2017 16:18:52
5009 forum posts
200 photos

I really enjoyed flying the prototype and am looking forward to giving the MkII version a go

Dwain Dibley.12/02/2017 16:23:24
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1270 forum posts
1265 photos

Very nice, looks great.

Vics' build should be "riveting" then !! laugh

Looking forward to it.

Cheers

D.D.

Colin Leighfield12/02/2017 19:28:58
avatar
5969 forum posts
2494 photos

Very nice, great subject. It would be very easy to create the MC205 Velcro from that as well, primarily a bit of work around the cowl and a bigger spinner.

Jon - Laser Engines12/02/2017 19:38:08
5009 forum posts
200 photos

i agree Colin, a couple of coolers and other bumps combined with a more rounded spinner and its a 205.

Colin Leighfield12/02/2017 20:04:04
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5969 forum posts
2494 photos

Stick a radial engine on the front and it's a C200 Saetta! That's where it came from, although I can imagine how Castoldi must have felt when he had no choice but to stick a radial engine onto the front of a design like that. A bit like the Spitfire though, in that the basic design was so sound that it could benefit from such progressive increases in power.

My son has got the VQ artf Veltro, which although a bit loose in scale interpretation doesn't look too bad in the sky and flies extremely well with an ASP70FS. That is around 1/7 nominal scale and well-suited to that size of motor. Not a patch on this one of course, but it has been a good taster.

Brian Seymour12/02/2017 21:47:41
153 forum posts
437 photos

I'm pretty sure that sums up the differences between the 202 and 205. With a bit of luck Vic will chip in on this as I think that he will be making his kit into a 205.

The VQ models are pretty reasonable to fly, I got the Fiat G.59 as my test-bed for the anticipated power and radio setup on the Macchi. She is little over 1/2lb heavier than the Macchi despite having an identical power and radio setup, this drains the flight pack a little more quickly and makes her a bit fussier in loops and the like but is still fun to fly.

Victor Arcudi13/02/2017 07:49:50
6 forum posts
6 photos

G'day folks, first off I'd like to say I'm honoured to participate in this build. As an Aussie I'm tempted to build a C.205 which in 1943 was captured in Sicily personnel of No. 450 Squadron RAAF and subsequently serviced by the squadron's fitters.81_1.jpg

Bob Cotsford13/02/2017 10:05:26
avatar
8131 forum posts
449 photos

The Italians know how to design a sweet looking machine. What does 1:7 make it, around 59"? A bit more practical than my 78" MC200.

lightning 75913/02/2017 11:38:12
avatar
148 forum posts
10 photos

looking forward to this ,could possibly be another on my wish list

andy

Jon - Laser Engines13/02/2017 12:42:47
5009 forum posts
200 photos
Posted by Bob Cotsford on 13/02/2017 10:05:26:

The Italians know how to design a sweet looking machine. What does 1:7 make it, around 59"? A bit more practical than my 78" MC200.

Model Specs.

  • Scale – 1:7
  • Wingspan – 158cm

Thats just a shade over 62''

For those who are curious, if there is sufficient demand i will give Brian and hand with sorting out a few mods for an ic version suited to something like a 70 4 stroke (the model is very light). The Laser 70 is a very good fit and will probably be shown on the plans if it all comes together, but i will make sure other brands of engine can be used as well as i know many will already have a 70 4 stroke in their stash!

Victor Arcudi13/02/2017 12:52:28
6 forum posts
6 photos

For whoever's interested, here's a link to a virtual tour of the Italian Aviation museum located near Rome. There's also a few pics of both the Macchi C.202 and 205. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1hHwUsPj7Z8#t=157.930521

Brian Seymour13/02/2017 22:58:10
153 forum posts
437 photos

It looks like it won't take a great deal of effort to build the kit as a 205, the RAAF scheme is cracking with the toned down hoops.

Having laid the Laser 70 drawing over the plan there was a reasonable amount of space for it so shouldn't be too much like hard work to fit.

Having not done any serious building since April last year I decided to ease myself into the build with the simple exhaust fairings.

The exhausts double up as an aid to cooling by channeling fresh air into the front of the motor via the aperture in the front of the fairing and drawing air out from behind the motor through the exhaust stacks. On the already built Macchi the stacks were made from folded litho plate which was quite a nice job but it's fiddly and easy to crack rather than bend so not really practical to kit, on this one they have been drawn up to be 3D printed. 3D printing the exhaust stacks and fairing as one component seemed like a good idea but it involved a lot filament, time and added weight so the fairing was redesigned as a laser cut balsa assembly.

The fairing is little more than a balsa box made from light 1/16" balsa with a 1/4" thick slab at the front which is sanded to shape. I found it best to build them in 3 stages, glue the components shown in the 2nd picture and let the glue grab before adding the other fairing side and leave that little lot to set. The next stage requires a bit of clamping so I left the assembly overnight before adding: the air dam, which ducts air into the front of the motor, and the 1/4" thick top slab, it was clamped up and left overnight before sanding the front to shape.

It all went together just nicely and has come out weighing just 3g so well worth suffering the pleasant building experience.

 

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3D Printed exhaust stacks and fairing in one piece, they came out a bit heavy at 29g each side.

 

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Internal ducting of the fairing, an air damn is fitted at the front of the two upright parts and channels the air to the front of the motor.

 

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The completed and sanded exhaust fairing.

Edited By Brian Seymour on 13/02/2017 23:00:08

Victor Arcudi14/02/2017 09:01:46
6 forum posts
6 photos

Looks easy, just the thing for either a newbie or a dyed in the wool balsa basher!

Brian Seymour14/02/2017 18:02:38
153 forum posts
437 photos

Indeed, it's like an ideal post pub lunch afternoon skive job, nice and easy and there is scope for a little artistic licence with the sanding which is just enough to make it interesting without being a ball-ache.

Apologies for naff picture, here's a better one:

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The 3D printed stack is one that I printed so it's very rough compared to the ones that Richard & Glynn print. I won't be fitting the stacks until the painting has been done to save having to keep it masked.

Brian Seymour16/02/2017 22:01:00
153 forum posts
437 photos

Next on the easy jobs list is the tailplane. The tailplane is build up one side at a time on a core plate which also acts to jig the ribs.

The laser cutting capabilities are put to the test with the core plate as it is 4 butt joined pieces to give a cross grain base made from soft balsa with a hard balsa leading edge which is made from two parts the keep the grain as long as possible. First job is to pin down the 4 parts of the core plate butting up to each other and glue the ribs and hinge post onto it: and then run a bead of adhesive down the join lines of the core plate.

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Whilst that was drying I repeated the above process for the other tailplane half and butt joined the balsa sheeting.

By the time I had got that little lot done the adhesive on the first tailplane half had cured, so it was released from the board and the ribs etc. were added to the opposite side. The tailplane uses a symetrical section so it's the same view as the above picture except that it isnt' pinned to a building board.

This was a nice little building sequence as the glue dried quickly enough that one tailplane half had dried by the time I had finished assembling the other. Next task involved sanding so I decided it was best to leave the assemblies over night to fully cure.

The hinge post needs a little work with the sanding block to blend it to the shape of ribs. The ribs also benefit from a once over with an abrasive to get tops in-line with each other. The discolouration from the laser cutting provides an excellent guide as to how much has been sanded:

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The sheeting isn't too much like hard work to fit and doing both side of the tailplane half at the same time makes sense, it just gets a bit tricky avoiding touching the glue. The sheeting was clamped in place starting from the leading edge at the root, working to the tip clamping every inch and then along the trailing edge back to the root pulling the sheeting tight to the ribs as I progressed. The sheeting over-laps the trailing so that the hinge can be shrouded.

After leaving the halves over night and sanding the leading edges to a nice shape it's all over bar the hinging and finish sanding with the elevator in situ:

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It's time to stop procrastinating - next job is the wings, the plan is on the board ready to go.

 

Edited By Brian Seymour on 16/02/2017 22:04:36

Brian Seymour19/02/2017 08:59:54
153 forum posts
437 photos

I have got going on the wings, there a bit of prep to do with laminating and sizing spars, laminating the rear retract plate and building up the laminated wing tips.

The main spars are a lamination of spruce and balsa, the spruce for the strength and the balsa to make sanding easier and were laminated using epoxy and clamped flat and straight to set.

The wing is built up on the lower spar arrangement so the spars have to be sanded to thickness to enabled the jigging tabs to work as intended. Both the spruce and balsa strip were marginally thicker than the nominal thickness so when assembled before sanding the jigging tabs did not sit flush on the building board (and my board is dead flat). I made up a bridge to assist sanding the spars to thickness, the bridge is held over sand paper and the spar pushed too and fro under the bridge until there is little resistance. Using 80 grit aluminium oxide paper the spars were quickly sized and then buffed up with wet and dry.

The lower spar arrangement is complicated by the need for a recess for the retract so the retract mounting plate forms a structural link between two spars. To aid assembly and lining up the spars there are upper and lower laser cut rib jigs, the lower one sits upright on top of the lower spars and the ribs are located in notches.

The first proper assembly stage is to glue the ribs either side of the servo bays and fit the servo mounting rails. The the flap servo is mounted between the same ribs that go either side of the retract. This little assembly is a bit of a Chinese puzzle requiring:

  • the spars to be pinned down
  • the retract plate placed on top
  • the lower jigging spar fitted on top of the retract plate
  • the ribs are slid up to stop faces on the jigging spar whist guiding the retract plate into slots into the ribs
  • the flap servo rails fitted into slots in the ribs
  • the ribs set perpendicular to spars and the board

It's a bit tricky but humanly possible and forms an inter locked "strong box" which transfers the load. The aileron servo bay is breeze in comparison requiring the ribs to be located the jigging spar, the aileron servo rails located into slots in the ribs and then the ribs set perpendicular to the spars and board.

To assist the line up the front false leading edge assembly has locating slots so was dry fitted along with the top jigging spar.

That little lot was left pinned and clamped over night to set.

 

The lower spars, jigging spar and retract plate ready for the ribs to be slid on from either side.

wing stage 2-3.jpg

 

The assembled flap/retract bay.

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The assembled aileron servo bay.

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Edited By Brian Seymour on 19/02/2017 09:00:32

Brian Seymour20/02/2017 19:26:38
153 forum posts
437 photos

With the servo bay ribs glued in place and the adhesive thoroughly cured, yesterday saw a sterling rate of progress.

The next stage is to fit the ribs that locate in the false leading edge and glue the flap rail. I was still careful to go with the basics of making sure that the ribs were perpendicular to both the board and the main lower spars. The top jigging spar was dry fitted to ensure alignment and it was left for the glue to cure.

stage 3a upload.jpg

The flap hinge rail was fitted which tied the trailing edges of the ribs up to the aileron into line - not that any were out of line.

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Once that was dry the rest of the ribs were fitted along with the bracing for the wing bolts. As there was no reason not to glue the top spar jig, that was also glued on and then the laser cut inter-spar webs were also fitted.

p1020847.jpg

stage 4 upload.jpg

 

Whilst that little lot was curing the tip end of the top spar was shaped to feather out. The rear spars were fettled to some extent to ensure that they didn't protrude beyond the upper and lower surfaces of the ribs. There are also link spars which go from the root and join the main rear spars with a scarf join which was planed and sanded to make a nice fit.

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By the time the spars were prepared the glue for the webs was dry enough to glue the spars in place and glue on the wing tips on.

It was a nice little day's progress, I even got out flying in between stages.

Edited By Brian Seymour on 20/02/2017 19:31:50

RICHARD WILLS21/02/2017 20:06:08
avatar
393 forum posts
51 photos

Looking fabulous Brian , I'm thinking of getting one ...

No ,.....Wait ...... I have one in the secret cupboard !

Once I can get the 110 out to the chaps , I can get started .

I cant help noticing that you don't employ puppets to help you build .

Does that slow things down ?

Richard

Colin Webb 221/02/2017 20:43:34
19 forum posts

Nice looking aircraft I will follow along if thats ok.

colin

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