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Thursday, January 16, 2014

Scratchbuilt 1/72 Albatros L.60

-This is the building article, the completed model can be seen here:

The albatross is an unwilling character of the infamous Monty Python sketch, and also a nice cute little plane of the early 20s.
After some information gathering and much mulling over photos (found not a lot, but enough to get a sense) one of the plans was selected as a guide (plans are never, ever, correct, although they are of course much welcome especially for us, suffered scratchbuilders).
I would like to provide you with a lot of information regarding historic context, similar designs, underlying design concept, the type variants, materials used, number of machines, their uses, the evolution from the L.59 into the L.60, some details in the photos that are a must to consider and so forth, but I won't.
I happened to find in my magic little boxes a suitable pair of wheels, a very nice little engine that Master Modeler Matias Hagen from Argentina once gave me, my own scratchbuilt laminated wood prop made with extremely thin plywood planks and a couple of generic seats from some forgotten kit. So prepared, I proceeded to stare at the building board, a Zen meditation technique that brings relaxation, inner peace and universal acquiescence, but doesn't do much in terms of the practical issue of putting together a model:
Day two
Today more staring is done, not just at the plan but also encompassing the general vicinity and my own hands. The staring was interrupted to sip some Argentinian yerba mate and eat facturas, a pastry of the same origin. Not much actual modeling was done, but a great happiness was achieved nevertheless; i am starting to understand why people do not build models, and why some of them even actually specialize in unmodeling.

Day three
the first fruits of meditation: the inner realization that the Power of Staring does not cut through styrene sheet.

Day 245
The Power of Staring showed the firsts positive effects, at least it cuts trough paper:
Stardate 13.4.45-35
The  Power of Staring is developed until it cuts styrene:
 The parts start to assemble by themselves. The teachings of Schmyoda were not in vain:
A geological era went by
 One eon later
 Two big bangs after
In a parallel universe on a parallel time:
Interior parts are fabricated and the upper deck is covered in sections:
 A male wood plug is fashioned to vacuform an engine fairing:
The interior in place with decal intruments, and the covering of the cockpit bay:

The engine shield vacuformed part is carved to allow for the cylinders:
 Since the plane had small inspection panels made of metal, a decal paper was sprayed with metal color and then small circles cut to be used on the model after painting:
The wing of the Albatros shows a distinctive feature where the external panels join the central one: a "bump" that increases the thickness of the wing profile. In order to recreate it, first the location of the "break" is marked:
 Then thin strips of styrene are glued in place. Later on, these will be tapered flat with the leading and trailing edges. They have to run above and bellow the wing:
 The associated panels are created. The crease in the middle will go over the styrene strip, and the edges on the sides should be treated with liquid putty and sanded to match the normal wing surface:
Metal control horns are added to the tail surfaces:
 A tailskid is fashioned from airfoiled brass Strutz:
The general view
Locations for the rolling cage rods are drilled on the fuselage front. The tail feathers are also drilled for the struts. It is worth noting that one L.60 (D406) had inner diagonal LG re-enforcements that connected with the fuselage bottom while the others had also outer ones that locked on the wings. Study your photos.
Cage and diagonal struts are absent from photos of the L.59, which shows in photos spoke wheels. Also visible are the masks for the wing join "humps", in order to spray some primer to smooth their outer edges:
As usual, I proceeded to print my own decals. I found only one registration for the L.59: D 632, and three for the L.60: D 314, D 406 and D 438. I printed the last three, just in case. Photos show them on the fuselage sides and rudder in the three cases, but no photo shows the regs painted on the wings, even when the wings are reasonable exposed to view:
After a brief interruption product of the enjoyable watching of a few Fellini movies, the locations of the landing gear legs were drilled and pegs were prepared for their alignment:
An enamel natural color is airbrushed as a base for the wood decals, whilst an aluminum color is applied on the engine shield and pantaloons:
 The wood decals are designed, printed and sealed. The different hues will be combined to add realism:
The method works very well, but you have to be careful and patient:
 Each panel has to be measured, cut, trimmed and applied:
 Then you have to wait for them to set properly before further ones are added:
 The effect is very realistic:
But you have to go step by step:
 The cockpit openings are covered, and then once the decal has set with a new blade the film is removed:
The progress is slow since I am doing short sessions applying a few panels at a time:

If you get small areas that you have to touch-up, mix the correct hue, apply as if it were  wood grain, and even the gloss with Future:
 The wings follow:
 Again proceeding one decal at a time:

The registration decals are placed over the wood ones:
 A strip of metal was in the leading edges of the control surfaces, these were replicated with painted decals:

 Metal reinforcements, steps and inspection panels are added. So far the count is above 110 individual decals!
The parts are assembled:

The diagonal braces for the tail and landing gear are installed:

Still to go: the two windshields, the nose-over cage, the nose sub-assembly, control leads, wheels, etc.
See you in the completed model posting.

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