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Westland Wyvern Build

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DaveB123/11/2020 21:19:51
31 forum posts
18 photos

Returning to the hobby after literally 40 years away, I’ve enjoyed building and flying a couple of power planes but hankered to get back to slope flying which was my passion as a teenager. I scratch built a modified version of a Phase 5E last year, which with prop removed got me some delightful sessions back on slopes and a thirst for more. I then came across this amazing forum and have been really inspired by the PSS creations.

So here goes, but what to model. I like unusual or unique models and wanted something a little different so after some research into British aircraft I found the Winged Dragon, Westland Wyvern – a contra rotating beast of a machine that saw very short service as a Naval Strike fighter, but should prove an interesting model. Sarik have a fabulous 65” span 1/8 scale plan from Graham Hughes that will be the basis of this adventure.wyvern 3 view.jpg

DaveB123/11/2020 21:37:33
31 forum posts
18 photos

My modelling occupies only a few hours a week and I spend as much time pondering as building, so don’t hold your breath, this will take a while.

1st problem – I have no Balsa ! and don’t want to just sit and wait / hope that the current situation resolves itself, so am planning a foam / glass build, which will be a completely new method for me – I’m sure I’m going to need much advice.

So here goes. I plan to build the fuselage using foam slices, so the first stage is to adjust the former spacing to suit the foam thickness and redraw the them interpolating between the plan shapes. A few hours tracing, some lining paper and 30 mins on the scroll saw and all the nose templates are done.


I’ve also built a foam hot wire cutter with a baseboard, frame, nichrome wire and adjustable power supply.


set up.jpg

Good Grief - It works laugh


Alan Gorham_23/11/2020 21:39:36
1415 forum posts
147 photos

Haha! Great minds think alike Dave.

Due to the current balsa shortage I am looking to build some models from blue foam and have been working on a drawing of a PSS Wyvern.

Only 38" span this one. Can't wait to see progress on yours. Perhaps see you at a PSSA meet next year and we can get them in the air together?

wyvern ga.jpg

Colin Leighfield23/11/2020 21:45:07
6086 forum posts
2557 photos

I’ve always loved this plane. They had a problem with fuel flow being affected by the sharp acceleration when using the steam catapult. This happened in a catapult launch from HMS Eagle, the Python turbo-prop didn’t pick up and the Wyvern dived into the sea in front of the carrier. The pilot ejected from under water just before the plane was cut in two by the Eagle. He was recovered from the sea and went on to fly again. It’s the only recorded successful ejection from under water.
The Wyvern was originally powered with a Rolls Royce Eagle H-24, 3,500 hp, like a bigger Napier Sabre. The Wyvern on display at Yeoviltown is one of these, it’s never been flown.

DaveB123/11/2020 21:56:09
31 forum posts
18 photos

Great stuff Alan, I think the Wyvern will make a great model and it would be good to get both in the air together - Don't hold your breath though !!

Alan Gorham_24/11/2020 08:44:04
1415 forum posts
147 photos

Dave I will be very interested to watch your model come together at whatever pace you choose. As you say, sometimes the thinking takes the longest.

I have chosen to make my fuselage from longitudinal planks of foam that are laminated and then the fuselage sanded to shape. Contrasts well with your method and I may well it your way on a future build.

alan p24/11/2020 08:50:42
356 forum posts
28 photos

Many years ago we had a ex FAA pilot in the club who delivered Wyverns from the factory to the stations. He said if the fan at the front stopped the only option to survive was to use the bang seat. They had the flying attributes of a very heavy brick without the engine running. One of his friends tried to belly land one and didn't walkaway.

DaveB125/11/2020 22:22:08
31 forum posts
18 photos

A couple more sections done - it's going to be a pretty large fuz ! It's going to need a bunch of filling / sanding though

I'm still making this up as I go along, but I'm going to follow some of the plan arrangements and have a removable nose, so I'll retain a double former in the position below, and will build a nose structure to support the inner engine spinner. This would also leave the possibility to replace this nose with a powered version in the future.

nose 2.jpg

Eric Robson26/11/2020 00:16:59
568 forum posts
129 photos

My commiserations when it comes to sanding the foam Dave, if it's anything like pink foam it is a slow job. Iam building a Seafury from depron sheet mainly but for the front of the cowl I had some odd pieces of pink foam. Sanding them down took forever. Following your build. Good luck with the fuz.

Eric r.

kc26/11/2020 16:18:35
6955 forum posts
175 photos

My experience of sanding white foam & blue foam was that a brand new sheet of coarse glasspaper worked well but a sheet that had been used on other material was hopeless. It needs to have really sharp 'glass' to work.

Dave have you seen the articles on foam construction by Chris Golds that were in RCME decades ago? It's still on my computer from when I scanned it for someone else if you want it. One of the things he used was a breadknife to carve the foam. Hand breadknife that is but I suppose an electric carving knife might work........

Toni Reynaud27/11/2020 15:46:27
460 forum posts
88 photos

I'm working on a Hurricane (based on the Tony Nijhuis plan) using a similar method, but using half formers and expanded polystyrene - it's much lighter that the blue foam I used for a previous build of the same model. What is the black foam you are using, and how does it compare weight wise, please?

DaveB103/01/2021 20:24:23
31 forum posts
18 photos

So, I lost my Mojo with this build - or more accurately with this foam method for a fuz. I just don't think I'll be able to do it accurately enough to do justice to a scale aircraft. Having pondered for ages, New Year, new start. I dug out the last of my balsa and spent a very enjoyable afternoon tracing, cutting and building up formers. Much happier to be working with balsa again. Just hope I'll be able to buy more soon.


I will try foam again for the wings. I managed a few power flying sessions over Xmas and wrote a couple off ! so I will practice with foam on wings for a replacement power hack, prior to the Wyvern.

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