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1/3 Scale Sopwith Triplane

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Pup Cam20/06/2014 20:41:40
44 forum posts
89 photos

As a couple of forumites have mentioned my Triplane I thought I would give you a bit of background and post some photographs of it's progress as it edges it's way towards joining in the fun of Dawn Patrol flying.

As I mentioned in my introductory thread, I won't do a full blown build thread here as I have a well established one elsewhere and I haven't got the stamina to do it all again!

But a bit of background; it started a long, long time ago (2008 IIRC) as a Belair 1/3 Semi kit. This is the Mike Booth 1/4 scale plan photographically blown up and parts cut from those enlarged drawings. Basically you got all of the ribs and riblets (there is a lot of them!), strut blanks, firewall, formers, side cheek and top decking formers and fin, rudder, tailplane and elevator cores and I think that was about it.

As normal with semi kits you have to provide all the other materials yourself. In the end I used the ribs, riblets, strut blanks, firewall and main formers and discard the remainder (for a variety of reasons). I chose to use Cyparis for the longerons and wing spars and (because I'm very silly) I routed out things like the spars as per the full size for inner beauty - any weight saving is negligible!

Oh yes, just in case it comes out over 20kg I registered it in the LMA's Over 20kg scheme although hopefully it will be lighter than that and so the paperwork won't be required.

Shortly after acquiring the kit I got hold of a set of drawings for the full size - utterly fascinating but oh so dangerous to progress! As a consequence, much of the aeroplane has been re-engineered to make it a more accurate representation of the type and I think it is true to say that it's really a scratch build although I got some chap with a laser cutter to cut out the wing ribs.

I have attempted to follow the full size approach (just seems to turn out better that way) and consequently I have designed and made a lot of metalwork to hold it all together. Generally this is in the style of the original but adapted to suit the non-scale basic design and materials. Anyway, kit or scratch build - you decide!

When it's finished it will be powered by a Zenoah 62 with a Mick Reeves Torque Master reduction drive and will be finished in the colours of "Blymp", the mount of leading Australian Ace Captain Bob Little of RNAS 8 Squadron.

I'll be back just as soon as I find out how to upload images here!


Pup Cam20/06/2014 21:17:37
44 forum posts
89 photos

side cheek stringers 2.jpg


fus structure 2.jpg





anti drag 2.jpg


antidrag tie 1.jpg

elevator fairleads (6).jpg

incidence adjuster (14).jpg

incidence adjuster (16).jpg

strut bracing (4).jpg


strut plates (6).jpg

rear machine gun support (4).jpg

top decking (4).jpg

top decking (2).jpg

Edited By Pup Cam on 20/06/2014 21:20:04

Colin Leighfield20/06/2014 23:51:50
5993 forum posts
2503 photos

A master at work. Absolutely stunning build of a really iconic plane, it's going to be brilliant, without a doubt.

Wiltshire Flyer21/06/2014 03:00:55
1565 forum posts
477 photos

Omg!!!! Perfection 👍

Pup Cam21/06/2014 12:53:07
44 forum posts
89 photos

Thank you for the comments smiley

So, onto the wings and their transportation...

aileron detail 2.jpg

middle wing centre section 5.jpg

middle wing centre section 3.jpg


completed tip.jpg


picture 7.jpg

comp strut 1.jpg

strut fixing 1.jpg

outboard strut 3.jpg

wing rack (2).jpg

wing rack (3).jpg

Tail end next .....


Edited By Pup Cam on 21/06/2014 12:53:45

Stefan Hafner21/06/2014 13:11:21
382 forum posts
15 photos

This looks superb, will be watching with interest

Pup Cam21/06/2014 14:33:20
44 forum posts
89 photos

As mentioned previously, I didn't bother with the cores for the tail component and instead went for a "true scale" construction so, for example the fin and rudder are fabricated form metal tube (in this case aluminium rather than the steel of the full size. I did wonder how to make the tailplane incidence adjustment mechanism functional but in the end decided to go for a cosmetic version.   

On the original, the cylinderical aluminium device in front of the fuselage stern post is essentially a screw jack that adjusts the height of the tailplane trailing edge and thus the incidence.   The screw jack is operated via a hand wheel in the cockpit rotating the  jack via a looped cable.   The really clever bit on the full size is the way the bracing wires attach to mountings that are free to slide up and down vertically and thus maintain the correct tension irrespective of the angle at which the tailplane is set. 

The tailplane itself comprises a routed spar with thin cap strips for ribs, again, as per the original.   The tailplane incidence on the model can be adjusted, hence the front mountings are pivoted, but this has to be done with the bracing wires slackened off and then re-tightening once the incidence has been set.

fin & rudder 1.jpg

fin & rudder 3.jpg

fin & rudder 11.jpg

rudder bracing 2.jpg

tailplane mounting (4).jpg

tailplane mounting (2).jpg

tailplane forward bracing.jpg

elevator (2).jpg

elevator (3).jpg

empenage (3).jpg

tailplane mounting.jpg





Edited By Pup Cam on 21/06/2014 14:42:44

Edited By Pup Cam on 21/06/2014 14:50:04

Edited By Pup Cam on 21/06/2014 14:50:51

Pup Cam21/06/2014 16:34:40
44 forum posts
89 photos

And so to the extensive collection of metalwork. The general principle has been to do a scale drawing of each component from the full size drawing and then adjust to suit the scale inaccuracies in the original model. The drawings are done in PowerPoint which enables good drawings of adequate accuracy to be done quickly. The drawing is printed out full size and then stuck to 20swg mild steel sheet with spray mount. Any holes are drilled before cutting the component out using a fret saw with a 32 tpi metal cutting blade. Actually, that should read blades - I'm nearly at the end of my pack of 100 and will need to more soon no doubt! The following photographs show an assortment of the metalwork which is cut and formed using only simple tools like the saw, files, small vice, hammer etc even though some are quite intricate. The photos show an example sequence of making one of the wing mounting brackets - all relatively simple stuff, some just need a bit of thought when forming so that you can always hold the item whilst forming the required bends. Generally, the steelwork is finished with Satin black Hammerite spray paint from Halfords. I have a love/hate relationship with this paint; when it's done it forms a hard, tough, smooth coating which is just the job but you have to put it on with numerous very thin coats and it takes an age to dry and even longer to harden.



top drag bracket.jpg


anti drag 1.jpg

flying wire bracket.jpg

drag bracket 3.jpg


form 3.jpg

form 4.jpg

form 8.jpg

form 10.jpg



Edited By Pup Cam on 21/06/2014 16:43:24

Edited By Pup Cam on 21/06/2014 16:45:22

Colin Leighfield22/06/2014 00:43:12
5993 forum posts
2503 photos

Amazing workmanship. I used Smoothrite on a black Norton Featherbed frame a while ago and found out how tricky it can be, not always straightforward.

Pup Cam19/09/2014 23:17:47
44 forum posts
89 photos

Bit of an update, all a bit random I'm afraid!

I've sorted out the ties across the undercarriage spreader bar with some Bowden cable, aluminum ferrules and a turnbuckle.

Next I've finished off the rear elevator fairleads and installed them, made the fairleads that take the elevator cables under the pilots seat and forward. On the real thing, they would of course be connected to the stick, in my case they go to the two elevator servos. Talking of which, these are mounted, along with the rudder servo, on a folded steel frame which then bolts to the rear of the firewall. I've made a functional replacement rudder bar which will be used as the crank for the rudder and tail skid wires. This will be operated by a short push rod to the rudder servo.

I've done the padded coaming around the cockpit opening on the top decking. I've secured the centre interplane struts with wooden blocks and aluminum plates as per the fullsize and I've overed the taiplane and one of the elevators (must do the other one!).

I've made a start on the dummy le Clerget (if only I could have a working 1/3 scale le Clerget, how fantastic would that be!)

It's had a couple of outings to the Shuttleworth Collection with the DP gang this year and taken the opportunity to sidle up to the Collections Camel. Well, it would have been rude to miss the opportunity and it will be at the LMA Gaydon show at the end of October if you are going.


axle tie (5).jpg

fairleads (11).jpg

fuselage cables (11).jpg

fuselage cables (2).jpg

fuselage cables (4).jpg

coaming (6).jpg

coaming (8).jpg

Pup Cam19/09/2014 23:22:26
44 forum posts
89 photos

strut plates (10).jpg

dummy engine (12).jpg

servo mounting (2).jpg

new rudder bar (3).jpg

new rudder bar (6).jpg

covered tailplane (1).jpg

covered tailplane (4).jpg

tripehound & friend.jpg

dp ow ww1  (2).jpg

Pup Cam20/09/2014 18:36:55
44 forum posts
89 photos

Hot off the press .....

I've made some progress with the dummy le Clerget today

engine (7).jpg

engine (2).jpg

john stones 120/09/2014 18:59:00
11455 forum posts
1516 photos

A lot of impressive work there Alan, love the metalworking


Pup Cam30/11/2014 17:28:07
44 forum posts
89 photos

A bit of an update on slow but steady Tipehound progress.

It now has the full complement of fairleads to take the control wires under the seat.

under seat (5).jpg

The functional rudder bar is complete (although the top bearing for the pivot has still to be fitted)

cable ends (4).jpg


It enjoyed a couple of trips to OW and Gaydon this year. Here it is in the mist at OW in October.

ow mist 1.jpg


ow mist 2.jpg

And, following inspection by my LMA inspector, the fuselage covering has commenced

covered fus (5).jpg


covered fus (6).jpg

This includes functional stitching to the rear lacing plates and also functional rib stitching on the tailplane

covered fus (7).jpg

It might get finished one day - hopefully!


Edited By Pup Cam on 30/11/2014 17:29:50

cymaz30/11/2014 18:17:02
9197 forum posts
1186 photos

Utterly convincing , you must be utterly chuffed yes

Dave Hopkin30/11/2014 18:54:44
3672 forum posts
294 photos

Oh c'mon, fess up you've nicked real one and dismantled it for the photos haven't you...... wink

Gobsmacked at the workmanship

Pup Cam30/11/2014 19:20:56
44 forum posts
89 photos


Not actually nicked the real one but I have to admit I've taken advantage of the fact that the real one is indisposed at the moment and taken a really good look at it!

fullsize fus 3.jpg

The structure looks so familiar, just a little bit bigger.

fuselage cables (10).jpg


cymaz30/11/2014 19:26:16
9197 forum posts
1186 photos

As Craig Revel Horwood would say...


Andy Shailer30/11/2014 19:33:28
377 forum posts
401 photos

Stunning Alan, stunning.


Pup Cam01/05/2016 22:34:54
44 forum posts
89 photos

I was just checking out Jez's progress with his lovely Tiger Moth on here and I realised that it's been over a year blush since I updated my thread. Unfortunately I can't match Jez and his lightning build speed but some progress has been made nevertheless!

The detail work on the ailerons (all six of them!) is underway

wings 5 (1).jpg

made the brackets and mounted the throttle and choke servos

throttle & choke (5).jpg

and I've made the cowling side and top panels

top panel (4).jpg

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