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Biplane Rigging
Topic Started: Sep 29 2016, 10:30 PM (559 Views)
lolwatson

I remember once hearing someone talking about making a biplane model and they reckoned that to make a decent biplane model you needed to invest about 60% of the effort on the rigging. Well that certainly isn't the way I do it. In fact I'm always looking to find the quickest and most efficient way possible of doing it. So here I'll try and summarise the methods I use for rigging my models.

The question I'm most often asked is what material do I use. Well, it's this...

Posted Image

The product is called knitting-in elastic. You can buy it at haberdashery stores and its proper use is for creating elasticated collars and cuffs on knitted jumpers. Essentially it's a smooth lycra thread. It comes supplied white and you can colour it using a felt pen. In the past I have used a black Sharpie pen to colour it but more recently I've been using a dark grey art pen. Or you can use a silver pen if silver rigging is appropriate to your subject. It's a few years ago since I last bought a roll of this and I probably spent less than £2. A quick look on the internet tonight shows Ebay sellers offering it for £5+ but I think you should be able to get a bobbin for about £2 in a haberdashery shop. And a single bobbin will last you for ages.

A few years ago Aeroclub used to sell a product called Aeroclub lycra rigging filament. They charged about £4.00 for it. It was actually identical to the knitting-in elastic bobbin shown above. In fact even the label on the end of the bobbin was the same. There is also a product called Eezi Line(?, not sure of the spelling) which sells for about £11 a roll. I've not looked at this myself - I suspect it's a similar thing, though it does seem to come pre-coloured.

NB there is also a product called sewing elastic which looks similar but is not the same thing. It's thicker and has more of a string-like texture. The item you want is knitting-in elastic.

You attach it to the model with superglue/CA glue. Fix it at one end, stretch it and secure it at the other. Because it's elastic, it's really easy to get good tension by stretching it before you fix it. I find fixing and securing it with superglue relatively easy but you do need a good surface area for it to bind to. I know some modellers are able to attach it using just the very tip of the thread but I've never had much success with that. Others drill a shallow hole at the attachment point to provide a more secure location for the thread - I've never had much success with that either. Drilling holes all the way through the wings at the attachment points is a method I have used with success in the past - you can pull the thread tight through the holes and secure by twiddling a cocktail stick with a spot of superglue in the holes. Of course you're then left with what to do about filling the holes left on the other sides of the wing, a subject which would probably form the basis of another discussion! I've struggled to find a really good method of filling in the holes. Plus drilling all those holes through the wings in the first place can prove a bit tiresome. Which is why, more recently, I've instead tried gluing the thread directly to the model, wrapping it around the bases of the struts. I did that with my recent Be2c and was happy enough with the results although the technique still needs some refinement. The best approach would perhaps be a combination of both these methods.

I did a tutorial on rigging my Airfix Albatros so I'll find that and add it to this thread later. Also I have the Re8 from Collectakit - how about I build that without rigging and then take it to some shows and use it to as a rigging demonstrator? We could also maybe take the chance to film some of the process for future upload?

Lol.
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peebeep
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EZ Line is not really like knitting in elastic. I've looked around for alternatives to EZ Line but not found any, not that I would bother now. Last February Jen Wright bought her BE2c that she built for Airfix Model World to Yeovilton. It's rigged with Uschi van der Rosten thread, which quite simply blows all the rest into the weeds. It comes in various gauges, it is elastic, is hideously expensive, but is the most convincing rigging material that I've seen for cable rigging.

Link

peebeep
Edited by peebeep, Sep 29 2016, 11:08 PM.
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ColinM
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I think IanW used the Uschi thread on his Titanic and Boxkite models, if so it was to great effect. But that isn't the point. Many modellers, me included and many visitors to our tables don't know how to rig a biplane, whatever the medium. If Lol is willing to demo rig at shows using an affordable elastic I look forward to seeing it. I've seen his models and they are first class.

The lighting at Yeovilton isn't very camera friendly Lol but it would be worth talking to Mark before hand to see if he can capture a video there.

Colin

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peebeep
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ColinM
Sep 29 2016, 11:46 PM
Many modellers, me included and many visitors to our tables don't know how to rig a biplane, whatever the medium. If Lol is willing to demo rig at shows using an affordable elastic I look forward to seeing it. I've seen his models and they are first class.



Absolutely, on all counts. Lol had a very nice line up on the Revell SIG table at Farnborough.

peebeep
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IanW

The Uschi thread does appear expensive at about £8-9 a reel but you do get an awful lot (150 ft) on a reel and if you are really parsimonious, as it stretches by at least 100%, you could probably rig all the Airfix multiwing aircraft kits even produced and still have plenty left over...
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lolwatson

Thanks Paul and Ian for clarifying re the EZ line and Uschi thread options. I've never handled or used these materials myself but there's no doubt they deliver excellent results.

There's no risk of me having the Re8 ready in time for the Yeovilton show but it would be good to discuss the options on how we might put together a demonstration.

Another question I was asked a couple of times at the Farnborough show was which kit to try if you've never done rigging before and want to give it a go. My thoughts were the Fokker DVII (only rigging to do is the undercart and tail, but no Airfix kit at present) or the Fokker Triplane (cabane and undercart only but it's a small model) or maybe the Roland CII (no cabane struts and solid interplanes - a nice, solid and reasonably-sized model to work on). Plus the new Eindecker of course. Any other thoughts?

Lol.
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ColinM
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I think I might struggle with 1/72 rigging for my first attempt (I think RSI is starting to cause me problems). One kit I do want to make though, and what might be a good model to demo on is the Airfix 1/48 Fury. It is a little bigger than the 1/72 kits but not that big and not that expensive. The rigging looks fairly simple and the kit might offer more space for fat fingers.

Just a thought.

Colin
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IanW

1/48 is probably a good scale to start - having just rigged the Fury I agree it would probably make suitable subject for a first attempt. Will be bringing it to Ellesmere on Sunday, so you can see what is involved. If you want any Uschi thread I have plenty...
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ColinM
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Thanks Ian!

Colin
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fred

I would support doing the 1/48 Hawker Fury as both a first try and for a demo.
Although the Eindekker looks simple its actually complex in its rigging.
The 1/48 Fury is also, I think, rather easier to obtain as it was until recently available whereas the older 1/72 kits can be a bit harder to find.
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