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Friday, May 11, 2018

De Havilland DH89 "Tainui", MacRobertson entry, modified Heller kit

 (this is the building article, for the completed model please go here:

Yes, that's right, besides the ongoing Argentinian DH89a based on a modified Heller kit, I just had to start this one too, whilst all the tricks remain fresh on my mind.
The modifications for this MacRobertson entry can be considered minimal, compared to the extensive ones on the other build.
They comprise: on the interior a long range-configured cabin with special fuel tanks and radio and navigation stations.
On the exterior some blanked windows, an emergency exit on the fuselage top, and a few gizmos here and there.
I will cut the door open here too, to allow a glimpse of the interior.
There is a wealth of images on this plane on the Net, accessible just by using a search engine with the proper terms.
Flight magazine has a rather basic sketch of the cabin that only shows the tanks, but other than that I wasn't able to find a good photo or drawing of the modified cabin.
Work begins by raiding the spares bin and getting potential seats and equipment, plus making the basic structure of the fuel tanks, that hung from the upper wing spars:
 The cabin floor is covered with a thin veneer, the tank structure is wrapped:
 Main parts are glued (nacelles, upper wing three components, some of the cockpit parts, made-up cylinders behind the engine front, etc.). All other parts are separated from the sprues and cleaned-up:
 The fuel tank is given some braces:
 On the other model I am "deploying" the flaps, but Tainui was a DH89 (not a DH89a) and had no flaps, so they have to be deleted:
 The door here is also coming out, very sharp new blade, very careful, restrained, controlled, easy-peasy passes:
 Door is out, cleanly.
Take note that many of those windows will have to be blanked-off, and a drift sight created immediately after the door, as per photos of the original plane. 
 Flaps deleted, rib tape re-traced lightly, nacelles glued on:
 Drift sight cutout:
 Wind-driven generators for both DH89 models:
I made new radio and nav. station seats, more accordingly to what can barely be guessed in the Flight mag. sketch. I also rescued from the spares bin and tidied-up a bit a generator that goes on the belly of the fuselage, in the center of a white circle that surrounds the race number 60.
Details, details, details: 
 The clear parts are glued, same as in the other Rapide, but here the masks are applied on the inside only on the panes that will remain clear, so the paint will go over the ones that are blanked on the original:
 Interior base coat in a neutral grey, and fuel tank in a metal tone:
Interior masks removed:

I realized that the chairs were of "comfortable airliner seat"* size, so I made a few more at a smaller size:
(*For you, fledglings, a "comfortable airliner seat" is a thing that used to exist, even when you flew main cabin. Not anymore)
Just for heck of it I prepared the kit's inst. panel, which looks decent enough if you don't want to use the P.E. one (I will), given its scarcely visible position. Also seen are very respectable radio and navigation consoles found in the spares bin.
On British planes the complex radio instrumentation was used exclusively to listen to the BBC. The "navigation" console was actually a disguised cuppa brewing machine:
 Assembly proceeds:
 I don't think they used these, most likely a bucket:
 The interior is progressing:
 The photo-etched components are added:
A battery seen in the Flight magazine sketch is also fabricated:
Fuselage halves are united, family (of parts) photo:
 The more accurate spinners and the modified blades attached:
These are the windows (painted from inside) that have to be blanked off from the outside. Photos show a not very taut canvas cover. I may reproduce it with some thick liquid putty:

I wanted to replace the kit's nose light, so I made a few "lenses" with punched aluminum sheet and resin:
 A bit of polishing and enhancement of the curvature with a spherical tool:
 Resin on and to wait for it to cure now:
I have lost some time debating the fact that "Tainui" had a radio as I incorporated in the build. Well guess what, it did, as I thought, and here is the proof.

Some misc. parts for this and other ongoing builds being painted:
 A better fuel tank:
 canopy on and masked:
The skins for the top and bottom fuselage are prepared:

 The kit's nose light is glued and blended-in, since Tainui as said above had no nose light:
The stringered bottom of Tainui is glued on with 7-minute epoxy, a maneuver that requires some dexterity:
A bit of primer is applied:

The top wing is glued, and the veneer applied. Some details are added to it:
The horizontal stabilizer is sanded down to erase the rib relief, that is angled incorrectly. New "ribs" are engraved. The angle of the root rib is changed to better fit the fuselage sides, avoiding the swept-back angle that the kit renders otherwise.
The front knob, that was removed to alter said angle, is drilled and replaced with rod.
Now ready for priming:
Base color applied to airframes and ancillary parts:
Some parts for both DH89 models are given a base color:

 The aluminium color is applied. It'll masked for further color application:

The Arctic Decals masks go like a charm:
 Once all the aluminium areas are masked, the orange paint is airbrushed. Then further masking will ensue to apply the green on the nacelles and struts:
I went to paint the nacelles green, but realized that I had forgotten to paint the area where the orange bands go on the sides of the nacelles the same color as the fuselage. So I used the green already loaded on the airbrush to spray the struts, and then applied orange to those areas on the nacelles.
In turn, they will be masked before the green is later applied there and to the other side of the struts.
The model at this point is so wrapped-up on masks that it could have been the plane of a  fancy mummy:
The green is painted on the nacelles, the masks removed:
The black bands with silver edges will be next on the nacelles:
Silver bands are applied to the nacelles as the base for the black bands. 
Only partially was the frame of the windows metal color. The Arctic Decals "metal" frames are applied:
 The blanked windows on the plane had a somewhat sloppy surface, so that was replicated.
The black bands are on the nacelles now, leaving just the edges of the silver strip to show:
Notice the window for the drift instrument:
 Decals are applied to represent the seams of the stitching. A nav light was added:
Tail rigging and rudder control cables in place too:
Sometimes certain Humbrol colors will take about a week to dry. Is this something that happens to other modelers too?:
Another source of masks for those interested, in black vinyl:
A number of small circles are punched to be used as fuel caps and the like:

 The Kuivalainen set also includes a door handle:
Each of the three models in progress has its own portable hangar with notes about details:
Struts on:
Rigging, aileron linkages and door are added, decaling commences:
The decals are very good, and behave splendidly:
Just four more little tiny mints...

Completed model here:


  1. O-M-G, you are casting resin ... it's another one of the signs, it's got to be.