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Classic Airframes' 1/48 scale
Supermarine Walrus

by Chas Bunch

 

Supermarine Walrus




Classic Airframes' 1/48 scale Walrus is still available online from Squadron.com
 

 

Introduction

 

I had this kit in my stash for quite a while before finally getting to it. I'm a big fan of Classic Airframes, as they are the only source for some of my favorite subjects in my scale. 

I was intimidated by this one at first because of the engine hanging on struts between the top and bottom wing, but after reading John C. Valo's Walrus build article here on HyperScale, I decided to get on with it.

 

 

Construction

 

I began this project by amassing all the information in the way of photos and drawings from any source I could - mostly the internet - as the kit instructions were pretty vague in some areas.

I started construction with the interior.  I dressed up the panel with Mike Grant instruments and added some goodies to the cockpit from photos.  Then I joined the fuselage halves.

Next, I thinned the trailing edges of the wings and tail surfaces.  I inserted a brass tube for a spar in the lower wings to fit in a hole I drilled in the wing root of the fuselage for added support.  At this point I realized that I would need a construction jig to keep everything in alighment, so I built a cradle from wood scraps to hold the fuselage level and installed the lower wings with 4 degrees of dihedral.  The wing roots needed a little filler and sanding to take care of some small gaps.

 



Next were the tail surfaces.  I cut off the elevators and drooped them, as photos all showed drooped elevators on the ground.  I had to make new stabilizer support struts, as the kit struts were too short.  I made the struts by squeezing aluminum tubing in a smooth jawed vise, then filed it to a streamlined shape.  I made a rudder trim tab per kit instructions, and added a tail nav light per photos.  The kit instructions do not mention nav lights, landing light, mooring rings, pitot tubes, or many other details I ended up scratch building from photos and drawings.

Then the top wing.  I taped the center section to a flat surface and attached the outer panels by using shims under the tips to give it 4 degrees of dihedral, then taped it in place to dry.

I then painted and detailed a Quickboost resin engine.  The kit engine lacked the great detail that Quickboost offers, from intake tubes to the finest detail of individual valve springs.  I added ignition wires to the stubs representing spark plugs and exhaust stubs from styrene tubing.  I also drilled out the center and installed a piece of brass tubing, and installed a brass rod on the prop for a free-spinning prop, and crimped a short piece of tubing on the forward end to hold it in place.

 



Now the fun part - getting the wings on straight with the engine in between.  I set the hull and lower wing assembly in the jig after drilling small holes in all the strut locations.  I then drilled the ends of the struts and inserted short stubs of wire to assist in holding them in place during assembly.  I put the engine support struts in place and temporarily taped them down to dry fit the engine nacelle with the 5 degree offset to starboard, cutting and shaping the struts to fit.  Then I taped the nacelle to the struts and set the top wing in place in the jig, using the inboard wing struts to get the correct height.  I then dry-fitted the braces between the top of the nacelle and top wing center section.  Once I was satisfied that everything would fit, I cemented the braces to the center section.  Once dry, I removed the top wing, drilled holes at the approximate correct angles for all the rigging wires, and painted and decalled the top wing, engine nacelle, and hull and lower wing assembly. 

 

 

Then I installed the engine nacelle to the center section and added the rigging wires and fuel lines between the sump drains and nacelle.  Then, the hull went back into the jig.  I installed the rigging wires between the engine support struts - hard to do later with the top wing on.

Next, I set the top wing in place and epoxied the nacelle to the support struts, and glued the wing struts in place - an easy task with the wire stubs in the previously drilled holes.  Once dry, I removed the model from the jig and had a biplane ready for rigging. 

Rigging was done with .009" stainless steel wire.  The previously drilled holes were slightly oversized to give me some wiggle room to prevent binding and kinking.  Once each wire was in place, a drop of CA glue held it.  I found the jig (more like a cradle) useful to hold the model in various positions while rigging and attaching small parts like antennas.  Also, great for transporting the model without breaking fragile stuff.

 

Click the thumbnails below to view larger images:

[../../photogallery/photo00030297/real.htm]

At this point I attached the engine and prop to the nacelle, and discovered that the prop tips would not clear the top of the fuselage.  The choices were to cut a groove in the fuselage, shorten the prop, or raise the engine.  I raised the engine a couple of millimeters and nobody knows the difference.

I decided to open the side windows, so I carefully cut them off the canopy with a razor saw, leaving the frames on the main canopy intact.  I made new frames for the side windows from styrene strips to replace the material removed by the razor saw, and made rails for the side windows from photos.  I found that the canopy had a small gap at the front of the windscreen, so I added a piece of styrene strip to the rear of the canopy for a shim, and it was a perfect fit.  A little paint touch up with a brush took care of the shim.

 

 

Painting and Markings

 

I used Testor's Model Master paint and kit decals. 

 

 

I chose the desert scheme from a unit in Egypt just because I thought it would be different - a flying boat in the desert.
 

 

Additional Images

 

Click the thumbnails below to view larger images:

[../../photogallery/photo00021912/real.htm]

Model, Images and Text Copyright 2007 by Chas Bunch
Page Created 19 November, 2007
Last Updated 24 December, 2007

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