LiteFighters: P-40/P-36 and beyond

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ScaleBirdsScott

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Hi HBA, so some of you might have caught on that my project, ScaleBirds, has been working on a new thing. I thought I'd make a thread for it, instead of trying to shift the topic of some other thread.

We put up a news item today that is showing the latest with our new development:

The Frontal Assault

You can also read some older articles and see a little bit of the progress if so interested. Or, if you're like me, that page may not pass your work filter. So I'll link a few of our images here for those who can see the HBA at least.

In short, we're working on a single-seat LSA-qualified light fighter replica, the idea being that if WWI replicas can do well with simple, affordable single-seat replicas then there has to be at least a few tin knockers who want in on that game vs the tube and fabric boys. In general, even the tube-and-fabric guys will be right at home with our construction method. In keeping with our whole ScaleBirds concept, we're building a tube truss frame that can accept various skins to take on various shapes. We used an aluminum tube and gusset construction held with stainless pull rivets. After seeing the builds of the Airdrome replicas, it seems like a viable method for this level of homebuilding.

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The first model is being built a P-40. And it is designed for a Rotax 912 under a nice composite cowling I've labored countless nights over. And of course it would look good with teeth and eyes and a massive spinner:

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But the plot thickens! Since getting a new Rotax 912 is quite expensive, and our options for getting an affordable pre-owned model locally have not gone as we originally planned, we're looking at this Verner 5Si radial engine we just ordered to put on airplane #2(which was to be a Zero, then changed to being a Hellcat, and for now is in limbo)

IMG_0865.JPG


And now its got us thinking "well, we have an airframe going together and we have a sick engine on the way, maybe we need to make something of these two?"

Or, at least I'm thinking that, since P-40 Warhawk + Radial Engine = P-36 Hawk. And I happen to think the P-36 = Super Awesome Looking Warbird. But apparently because it was an early war fighter that was superseded by more famous planes, it's not the best 'marketing' choice to make a P-36... figures.

Even so, it may well be a thing we do before we find a viable 912 to put on. I mean I control the CAD right? So that gives me a bit of veto power. And anyway when we do get a Rotax and it's P-40 time, just would be a case of swapping engines and cowlings and the other tweaks should be minor. Now, the only other technical challenge, is all of our aero has been done assuming the pointy nose; and so for that reason it may be that we need to stick to the in-line option full-stop. But I'm still rooting for the radial. Even if the cowling took only minutes to draw (and not weeks). I mean, just look at it:

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So I'd tweak a few things, this was a quick mockup. We'd add guns to the cowl and proper scoops and vents, and the fuse forward of the windscreen would get provisions for the 'machine guns' up top, and we may flare out the fuse a bit to better match the round cowl up front. But that's all minor stuff. I just wanted to get a sense of how the Hawk would look and I love it.

Now, speaking of radials:

The other thing I figure I'd share, is we are now signed on to be dealers for Verner Motor in the USA. We ordered our own engine and it will arrive next week, and I'm really excited to see this thing we've been dreaming about for years now; I've been following these motors since the ScaleBirds project started, basically. Back when all they had was a radial for helicopters and this Scarlett 7 engine was a new thing, we were hoping to see more come of the Verner line. And, well they are starting to really get moving in Europe. But it is still a new product line especially here in the USA. So while discussing our engine order, both parties agreed that if ScaleBirds wants to be using these motors in our potential fighter fleets (and we do!) then it makes a lot of sense to be able to source them directly. And, more than that, we want to help grow this emerging market of small, general aviation radial engines. Because they are cool. Because they are actually pretty darn good engines. And people agree, as the demand is obviously there; and companies like Rotec are doing a great job demonstrating to the world that these are still real things that can power an airplane. And now there are more options for a round-engine fix especially at the low-power end which is always a good thing.

We are just starting this deal, and only just in the next few days getting hands on with our own engine; and so some things are still being ironed out, and I don't want to say anything I'm not supposed to yet. But, by Oshkosh I'm hoping interest in these engines really jumps off. That all is mostly for a different discussion in probably another section of this forum, if at all. Anyway, I'm just excited for this, for real. And thanks for checking it out.
 

cluttonfred

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I love the idea of marrying your P-40 project with a Verner radial to create a stand-off scale P-36. Unlike the P-40, the P-36 has rarely if ever been offered in replica form, plus as a very popular export fighter in pre- and early WWII years, the P-36 was used by lots of countries so you get lots of potential color schemes to choose from, many of them colorful interwar patterns. Check out these profiles WINGS PALETTE - Curtiss P-36 Hawk/Hawk 75 and the number and variety of options in this list:

Curtiss P-36 Hawk/Hawk 75
Argentina [6]
Brazil [1]
Great Britain [9]
Germany (Nazi) [2]
China (Nationalists) [8]
Netherlands [6]
Norway [4]
Peru [2]
Portugal [2]
USA [21]
Thailand [5]
Finland [17]
France [22]
France (Vichy) [10]
South Africa [4]

On a self-serving personal note, I would dearly love to get some independent data on the quality and reliability of the little Verners as I have lots of ideas for replicas and original homebuilts that would be so much better with a little radial.
 

ScaleBirdsScott

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I do love the black with orange accents of the Netherlands' H-75. If I was building one for myself I'd be tempted to start with that scheme.

We've been looking forward to pushing these Verner engines around a bit to see what they do. Everything we've seen is pointing to good things, but, proof is in the doin'.

I just bought a new camera that shoots quality 4k, a decent microphone setup, and intend on training it on these motors for all to benefit.
 

cluttonfred

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Indeed, will definitely need the guns. I also like the fixed gear spats and it makes sense for this having fixed gears.

Great news on the gun ports, but I am going to cast a dissenting vote on the gear. I don't think you need or want retractable gear, but I do think that fixed gear styled like it could retract would be a hoot. It need not be too complicated, just cantilever steel tube gear legs like a Jodel with a dummy underwing fairings and matte black wheel wells painted on the bottom of the wing. Ron Wanttaja and I had a long exchange one time about simulated machine guns using LED pseudo-strobes in dummy barrels synchronized with a digital recording of actual machine guns firing. It may be time to dig up that thread!
 

Wanttaja

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Ron Wanttaja and I had a long exchange one time about simulated machine guns using LED pseudo-strobes in dummy barrels synchronized with a digital recording of actual machine guns firing. It may be time to dig up that thread!
Don't think it was here, I think it was on the FAA Forum. I've attached a PDF of my design.

Like the Hawk 75 idea, myself.

Ron Wanttaja
 

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ScaleBirdsScott

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Seems the response to a Hawk P-36/H-75 is stronger than was assumed. That's great! I always knew it could be a nice looking plane, and I think it has a lot of nice features that just yell 'I'm a fighter' to people.

I'm going to assume that for this type of bird no-one's going to be too upset if a P-36 had a P-40E windshield, because that's what we've built. The purist would want the canopy without front structure to match the original P-36 but, I'm not a purist about this, and the extra strength of the steel frame forward is reassuring.

The fixed gear on this one probably will not have fairings or wheel pants, but, it certainly could be something I model up and have molds made for if we could offer a kit, for those who whish to use them.

As for the faux machineguns, I like the idea of some kind of flash. I guess using some kind of gas-guns or electrical speaker+lights setup might actually make some sense, and unlike the WWI guys the guns don't have to look like anything so it's really easy to just stick the mechanism onto a board and have a module we can install or remove easily. And there's plenty of room, as we have nothing else going on up front, where a header tank might go, as our main baggage tray is behind the pilot and the space up front is more of an auxiliary space. It can be baggage or it can be computers or maybe a parachute stowage, maybe a bit of all of the above since the guns wouldn't be that big and the computers are all pretty small.
 

ScaleBirdsScott

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Sorry to revive an old thread but I did start it, and I have some relevant new content to post:



The project is no longer an expensive pile of metal, it's an expensive pile of metal that makes the spinny thing go. And so we're finally truly within eyesight of the first flight, provided nothing pops up to block that view.
 
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Sorry to revive an old thread but I did start it, and I have some relevant new content to post:



The project is no longer an expensive pile of metal, it's an expensive pile of metal that makes the spinny thing go. And so we're finally truly within eyesight of the first flight, provided nothing pops up to block that view.

woooo Hooo.. Congrats
 
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