Bi-plane Terminology

ENGINE DETAILING

In this demonstration I will show how I detailed the Hispano Suiza engine which will fit into the Wingnuts kit of the SE.5a.

I am replacing all the pipes on the manifold which sits between the two banks of cylinders with copper wire. Instead of painting the plastic pipes in a copper colour, I will polish the real copper. I measured all the pipes and found the same size copper wire, the first one here is 0.9mm. Very carefully measure and draw the pipes you are about to replace to make sure the copy is the same size and shape. Bend the copper wire to the correct shape and lay it over the original pipe to check for accuracy and size. It is a good idea to sand and polish the wire at this point. Be very careful when drilling the 0.9mm holes as there is not a lot of meat there, the resulting walls are very thin, don’t drill too deep as it will weaken the entire assembly. Once the three pipes are made, temporarily fit the assembly to the engine checking for alignment and fit, make any alterations at this point. Once you are happy with the fit and appearance, place a drop of CA on the three points at the forward end, don’t glue the rear of the centre pipe at this stage. The photos on the left show the temporary fit of the pipe assembly, a buff and polish will bring the copper pipes up to a very high shine, far better than what could ever be achieved with paint. I have made the hose clamps from 0.08mm aluminium sheet, cut to a width of 0.2mm. Find a drill bit the same size as the pipe you want the clamp to go on then wrap a piece of the cut aluminium around the drill bit to form a little circle. Trim off the excess then slip the aluminium circle over the pipe.  

Slide this clamp along the pipe until you have it in the desired position, a very small drop of CA will hold it in place. The photo on the right shows six of the clamps fitted, the rubber connecting hoses still require a final painting. It is a good idea to fit all the hose clamps before attaching the sub assemblies to the engine, it does make the job a little easier.

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These photos show the progress through the stages of adding the copper wire, fitting small plastic tube and the fitment of the hose clamps. It is very time consuming and very intricate work but also very rewarding. When fitting the hose clamps it is important to try and keep them straight, 90 degrees to the pipe on which they sit, it is a hard thing to do seeing they are so small.

These three photos show the manifold and plumbing assembly nearly completed. I made four small priming taps from brass tube and fitted them to the manifold. Also, in the centre section is another small tap also made from brass tube. All the hose clamps are fitted and the copper wire has had a slight polish, I will polish the copper a lot more once the whole assembly is installed and more secure.  I repainted the rubber hoses, they were originally black but they looked too stark so I painted them with a very dark grey. The manifold has been painted using Humbrol Aluminium, I still need to buff this section. Photo on the right shows how small this part is and how little the priming taps are, it is very intricate work and requires steady hands.

The next step are the spark plugs. Cut off the kit moulded spark plugs, drill a 0.5mm guide hole in each spark plug, 16 in all, try to drill in the centre is possible. Before doing anything else to the spark plugs, the cylinders need to be painted, I will be spraying with Humbrol Satin Black. Photo on right shows the painted items, crankcase and cylinder blocks were air brushed, manifold was brush painted.

This photo shows a dry fit of all the components so far. I will be doing the spark plugs next along with the tubes that the spark plug leads run through. Note that the mounting flanges on the cylinder blocks have been painted aluminium colour.

I made the spark plugs using 0.8mm brass tube cut to 6.15mm long, then I cut 0.4mm brass tube to 8.2mm long and lastly I cut a piece of steel wire to 9.35mm long. Insert the 0.4 tube into the 0.8 tube making sure the exposed ends are equal, add a small drop of CA to each end. Now insert the steel wire into the 0.4mm tube and again making sure you have equal amounts exposed at each end, another drop of CA will hold it together. Enlarge the 0.5mm guide holes to 0.8mm holes through all 16 spark plugs on the cylinder blocks. Insert a completed spark plug assembly into the hole and push it through so it is exposed on the other side, adjust so there is an equal amount on both sides of the cylinder block. This method saves the extra work of having to make 16 individual plugs. The small amount of exposed 0.8mm brass tube simulates the main body of the spark plug, the 0.4mm section will be painted off white to simulate the insulating material and the 0.2mm steel wire gives an anchor point for the spark plug leads. When cutting the brass tube always cut it a little longer than what is required, it is then a simple matter of sanding lightly and consistently measuring until you reach the desired size, electronic digital calipers are ideal for this.

This is a photo of an old Lodge spark plug, I used this to obtain all my measurements. This particular plug was used in motor bikes and I used it for many years in my 1929 BSA Sloper. All the measurements on the photo are in mm and have been calculated down to 1:32 scale. I don’t know how similar this plug is to those used in WW1 aircraft but for the purpose of the exercise I think it is close enough.  

The tube for the plug leads to pass through is made from 0.8mm brass tube, three 0.5mm holes were drilled, one in the centre and the two outer ones at 2mm in from the ends, the tube is 14.5mm long. I made brackets for the tube from scrap brass sheet bent around a 0.8mm drill bit. The plugs are now fitted and glued in place, plug leads are next on the agenda.  

These four photos show the completed plug leads running from the plugs back to the magneto. I used 0.13mm copper wire heated over a candle then bent and fixed in position, the leads are painted using Humbrol  Satin Red Brown No. 100. To fix the leads into the magneto I drill 0.2mm holes and fixed the leads with CA. The centre manifold assembly is also fixed in position, I will polish the copper pipes once the engine is completed. The two photos on the right show the plugs very well, you can now see why I made them the way I did, the 0.8mm tube looks like the main body of the plug, the insulated part with the off white paint looks better then full white which I feel is too stark, especially against the black cylinder blocks.

These two photos show the bottom end plumbing. I replaced all the kit supplied plastic pipes with 0.65mm copper wire bent to the correct shape. The pipe at the rear of the engine is 0.8mm brass tube. I cut small pieces of small plastic tube and slipped it over the copper wire to simulate rubber hose connectors. The brass colour painted on the bottom was done using Gunze Gold.

Below is a series of photos showing the completed engine. Wingnut Wings have produced and supplied a nicely detailed and well moulded Hispano Suiza engine which, if assembled as supplied, would make up to be a very good looking engine - BUT - look at the difference a little bit of extra effort makes to the overall appearance of the engine. The added detail certainly brings it alive and will definitely enhance the look of the completed model, especially if it is going to be displayed with the engine cowls off. If you have any questions regarding this engine detail log, please contact me here.  

Here we have an 11 cylinder rotary engine

a  V12 engine

an inline 6 cylinder engine

a 9 cylinder rotary engine

And detailed above a V8 engine

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des.delatorre@bigpond.com