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Memory lane DB 1/4 Sopwith Pup

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Chris Freeman 320/01/2020 12:08:39
353 forum posts
525 photos

In 1989 I was a young man who was about to get married so I had a very limited budget for my hobby. Living In South Africa during these years resulted in fewer kits being available as it was the apartheid era of sanctions. Working for South African Aiways communications department required me to go on my first overseas trip to London of all places. Many of my modeling mates placed order asking me to get hobby stuff for them whilst in London.

I got a meal allowance and as I was traveling with much more senior people than I we stayed at a very good hotel, The Churchill if I recall correctly, the meal allawance was vey good. I calculated that If I ate cheaply I could treat myself to a nice kit. When in Londan I managed to get to the great Henry J Nichols 308 Holliway shop. This was a great experience for me and on the shelf was a DB Pup.

Food or kit was not much of a choice so I was soon the proud owner of this great kit. When I got back home my one buddy who was a lot older than me and also financially better off than I was loved the Pup and wanted it. As Colin and I flew togeather I decided to build the Pup for Colin. We powered it with a Kalt 22 which is actually a Zenoah. Colin did some machine work on the motor and the mounts for it and I built the airframe and covered it in Solertex. Soon it was ready to fly and we had some issues with spark related interference but got it resolved.

The Pup was a great flying aircraft, very scale like but Colin always wanted more power. After about 10 years of flying Colin took out the Kalt and gave it back to me a bout a MVVS 26 for the Pup but never installed it.

Colin started to get the shakes a few years ago which resulted in him flying his old timer aircraft more and then about a year ago he stopped flying. A few weeks ago he said I must come and collect the Pup and a Fournier as the must go back to their father as I had built them. On Saturday I went to collect the airframes and a few other pieces to go with the airframes.

The Pups wings had been stored on a rack wrapped in a sheet. The wings had got wet over the years and the sheet had deterioted and stuck to the covering and the moisture and weight of the wet cloth distorted the wings. The fuselage is fine as it was kept in Colin's machine shop.

When I got home my first task was to try and clean the 20 years of dust off the airframes and then see what the damage was. I managed to cut the edges of the covering and peel the top covering off and use weights keep it flat on a building board. I then used water amonia in a spray bottle to wet the structure so that it can soften the wood.

The plan is to restore the Pup and see if the Kalt can be revived as it was in the house fire but does not appear to be badly damaged. will post some pictures tomorrow.

Chris Freeman 321/01/2020 09:58:27
353 forum posts
525 photos

pup5.jpgThese are the picturesthe lower wing is the worst and lucky the water was maily near the tip so the wing can be saved. I plan to re use the coveing as the coveing and paint appear to be in good condition.pup1.jpg pup3.jpgpup4.jpg

Chris Freeman 323/01/2020 04:39:24
353 forum posts
525 photos

Once the wing was dry I checked and the bow in the rear spar and trailing edge was gone. I then placed the wing back on the board and added more shear webs and gussets to keep it straight. Once sanded I then brushed Sig Stix-it to the ribs and spars so that I could re use the covering. I was not sure that it would work as it is 30 year old Solertex that was painted! To my surprise the covering worked and could be shrunk again. The plan is to use some Olive Drab Solertex and tear rib tapes and then add them to the wing which will tide the areas that had the paint damaged when ironing down. I am very happy with the result and am now busy with the top wing.

Chris Freeman 323/01/2020 04:44:09
353 forum posts
525 photos

I always forget to load the pictures to the album before posting.


Top wing now being staightened.


View of the trailing edge showing the bow.


Michael Barclay23/01/2020 10:29:24
145 forum posts
55 photos

What a nice story. Good luck with re refurbishment.

George P.23/01/2020 11:28:58
73 forum posts
23 photos

Great work. I'm sure it will be quite something to see it fly again.

Chris Freeman 327/01/2020 08:46:23
353 forum posts
525 photos

This weekend I spent some time adding some detail to the Pup as it was very plain and I neede to see if I could improve the covering that had been re used. I had some old Solertex Olive Drab and the Antique that matched what was on the airframe. I tore the tex into strips that would be used as rib tapes and made up the dummy rib stitching like what was used on the Fly Baby. The process is very slow but I think that it does improve the look of the wing and also hides all the areas where the paint was damanged when the covering was ironed down and the gap in the edges. I am very impressed how well the old Solertex can still be ironed down and shrunk even after all these years.

pup10.jpg pup11.jpgpup12.jpg

bert baker27/01/2020 09:40:18
1614 forum posts
332 photos

Nice work,

Last year a visit to the Grahame White factory at RAF Hendon proved very informative.

Up stairs in the office over looking the workshop floor on the tables were a selection of aircraft plans.

It just so happened that there was a plan of the layout for wing stitching on a Pup wing.

Chris Freeman 329/01/2020 06:51:15
353 forum posts
525 photos

Thanks Bert

I managed to Visit to Hendon about 20 years ago. What a great museum and a real privilidge to be able to see aircraft that I had only seen in books before that. In Africa old aircraft are not preserved and any of value tend to be sold overseas. I am not trying to make it very scale but rather just more finished as it was very plain. Strange how our standards have changed over the years, I recall when I was still a schoolboy my father and I would drive a long way to see a large Spitfire fly or a twin engined scale aircraft and now it is no longer so much of a challenge. You can even get them as ARF'S.

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