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I spoke with the German goomer at the Scale Wings display: he explained that molds have the flush rivet outlines in them, and the entire female molds have been polished to the extent that there is minimal mold release required, and no sanding of the exterior surfaces. The downside is that you need to be extremely careful in the build so you don't scratch or warp anything, as filling any boo-boos will cover up the rivet lines.
 

TFF

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A couple of years ago I came upon a full size one off composite Spitfire. They didn’t tell me it was composite. I start looking at it, and something was wrong. Almost a little disconcerting being smooth as it was. It was wrong organically. Like it was devoid of a soul that a Spitfire should have. It was a masterpiece on one hand, and on the other it needed gloppy paint to take the smoothness off.

I don’t think rivets are required, but panel lines would have been good, just hints. It’s not a plane for the Lancair crowd but over doing it always looks bad too. It’s the RC scale modeler in me. There is a look where you should see stuff at a distance, but should not be campy up close.
 

pylon500

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Saw it at Sun n Fun; and agree that it is an impressive airframe, but it is plastic, and I would prefer no replication of rivet heads. Awaiting more experience with the FWF package before being impressed with the powerplant.

You can see rivet heads on all-metal, flush rivets unless they were set deep, then filled and sanded smooth.

BTW, contrary to popular belief, the standard military P-51 did not achieve significant laminar flow.


BJC
I think this is where the term 'Warts and all' comes from, gotta love that sense of realism.
This said, that work would have easily doubled the development cost of this project, which no doubt reflects in the cost of the kit.
 

Cardmarc

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I saw the German Scalewings P.51 kit at OSH, VERY impressive. They sold for $265K at the show. Two of my neighbors bought them each one, but they both are going for the BMW 12 cy engine, not the Rotax. But even the Rotax model is impressive.
 

Riggerrob

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"A couple of years ago I came upon a full size one off composite Spitfire. They didn’t tell me it was composite. I start looking at it, and something was wrong. Almost a little disconcerting being smooth as it was. It was wrong organically. Like it was devoid of a soul that a Spitfire should have. It was a masterpiece on one hand, ... "
I wonder if that composite Spitfire was built in molds for a static-display Spitfire.
In the aftermath of World War 2, many Spitfires were put on outdoor display as gate-guards at air bases. When the asking price of airworthy Spitfires exceeded $1 million, many of those gate guards were replaced by full-sized, fiberglass mockups and the originals were restored to flying status.
 

TFF

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No it was made with a home grown sandwich. I wish I payed more attention. Allison from a P-40. Threw me the first I saw it because I could only see the spinner and uncowled engine. I thought it was a P40. Saw it do a static run. Haven’t heard anything since I saw it. The builder was old. I didn’t see how he was going to test fly it at his age. This was about his tenth homebuilt including a a Thunder Mustang and a couple of Lancairs. These were not for customer builds. The guy had the funds to do just about anything he wanted.
 

ScaleBirdsScott

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So on one hand I don't want to get into the other replicas on the market but they were cool things to see at the show for me, so I'll put in my hopefully fair and worthwhile thoughts on things having been thinking about these things for a while now.


It's interesting that there's the SW-51 and the S-51 fairly 'new' and happening this year, and both kits are in that 190-230k range for something that will look pretty decent but with a few caveats. I feel the SW is going for that exotic car angle of the P-51 and so it needs to look like it came out of a McLaren production shop. And I don't know if it lives up to that level of detail fit and finish, but that's what they seem to be going towards. Fake and fun Rivets are one thing but for that money I expect every. single. detail. inside and out, whether visible or not, whether structural or functional or cosmetic, to feel like it came from a NASA clean room and was created by master artisans and a team of brain-trust engineers; a team who know how to finish every corner and edge, every bolt and stitch and switch exactly as it needs to be for aesthetic perfection. And conversely a real P-51 fighter is really more of a NASA project in the sense of having a ton of systems crammed into a tin can, than it's an immaculate deep-space instrument. The SW falls somewhere in the valley between and I hope in time it finds itself to one side or the other.


The Stewart is decidedly more of an engineering passion project that captures the nature of these fighters being packed with more tubes than the London Underground. It goes a little far for what it is if anything, and I'm sure there's some prolific and driven builders with the budget to feed the beast that want to make those works of art but it probably won't light the world on fire just off the numbers of those willing to go down that road. I hope they can at least break even on what they've put into resurrecting that project from the brink. I truly respect what's going on and think it's a great machine. That all said, I feel like seeing their kit parts out on the table really opened my eyes a bit on what level of finish is expected for a kit of that magnitude, and makes me wonder just how big the gulf is between say a 30-50k kit and a 250k kit. Is it just a few hydroformed bulkheads? A crate full of machined and/or forged parts? For the $225k or so they were talking about that wouldn't even include the flat sheet aluminum, only the formed parts. You'd have to get the flat sheet and cut those panels on your own! Not sure how that computes, cuz I certainly wouldn't want to save a few bucks on shipping in exchange for just getting everything pilot-drilled on a CNC. He did say there was still some question as to whether that was part of the kit or not. I see the Stewart less as a big-money enterprise in the sense the SW is trying to be, and more a project/support group for those who either already started on, or have dreamed of working on one.

An unsung but consistent contended in the replica world is the Flying Legend Tucano replica. They seem to be bringing new ones to each show each year, and so that suggests they're moving some kits. I'll be honest there's a lot to like about it, but some stuff I wish was cleaned up a little better. Ultimately a lot of that may be builder-dependent because the kit itself looks awesome but they offer a lot of different levels of kit so some builders may be skipping on detail where others labor endlessly to make every door perfect. Ultimately I remember looking at it and the prices aren't that out to lunch compared to an RV, so guess it comes down to how many people want a Tucano? Cuz if you want a fast-looking, fairly clean, all-metal 2-seater that can run on a Rotax or similar with retracts and all, this thing has all that.

Of course Timber Tiger's got the 1930's version of the Tucano with the Ryan replica and ultimately with one example it's hard to say how the average joe will do with the kit but obviously we can say the initial one looks excellent along with what I've seen of kit parts, and I think the price is more than fair considering it can do most of what the SW-51 can do with a Rotax and with similar if not more class. I'm looking forward to see what TT does next, and what the ST builders make of the kit.

The Sling High Wing is the new design I liked the most at the show. It actually delivers the level of interior finish and overall quality that I'd expect for the budget. I'm not 100% on every detail of it, certainly some stuff I'd try doing different. But, I won't knock it. They flew two of em across the Atlantic it seems, so it works. The aileron hinges remind me of what I was working on for the Hellcat. Honestly I feel like Sling is innovating and pushing where Vans is riding a bit. Curious where they'll be in 10 years. Probably will have a new tent by then at least.
Seeing the Team Rocket taper wing they're working on is cool. I think that's going to be a mean machine with that wing. I feel if there's one spot Vans could up their innovation game it'd be by offering more advanced wings and such. An official taper wing kit for the 7, 8, 9 would probably get a lot of builders dusting off the bucking bars and oiling their air-tools. But, to offer it would be to admit the Choco-Taco wing isn't the end-all option and create a lot of FOMO negative waves amongst the community so I can see where maybe they don't want to endorse any such 'folly' in the name of solidarity.

I think for the money there's something to what Sonex is doing with those jets. I mean, the more I look at 'em the less I care that it's an aluminum shoebox with a little flaming ducted-fan strapped to the back. Itz a jet! Honestly as much as I dream of building some mini A-10 or F-15 or F-4, a little homebuilt jet doesn't need to be any sort of replica if it's a jet that looks, and in fact does, gotta go fast.
 
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Biggles40

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Tasmania Australia
A couple of years ago I came upon a full size one off composite Spitfire. They didn’t tell me it was composite. I start looking at it, and something was wrong. Almost a little disconcerting being smooth as it was. It was wrong organically. Like it was devoid of a soul that a Spitfire should have. It was a masterpiece on one hand, and on the other it needed gloppy paint to take the smoothness off.

I don’t think rivets are required, but panel lines would have been good, just hints. It’s not a plane for the Lancair crowd but over doing it always looks bad too. It’s the RC scale modeler in me. There is a look where you should see stuff at a distance, but should not be campy up close.

Where can I find out more about that composite spitfire? I assume moulds must exist somewhere? Then I just need to find a cheap Merlin engine . .
 

TFF

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