Jeannin Taube
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I will be scratch building a 1:32 scale Jeannin Taube based on the restored example
A.180/14. I will attempt to make the model as authentic as possible and will follow
the plans and information available in the Windsock Datafile 104, I will also be using
a book James Fahey has lent me which gives a coverage of the restoration of this
particular aircraft, The engine for this plane will be a Mercedes D.I, no kit of this engine
is available in 1:32 scale so I hope to modify a WnW Mercedes D.III.

I am using 0.9mm Evergreen plastic round rod to make the fuselage frame, it glues very well with plastic glue. To make the rigging attachment brackets I used 0.5mm plastic card, I punched 2.5mm discs then cut them into quarters, into each quarter I drilled a 0.3mm hole for the rigging attachment. I applied a small amount of plastic glue to the fuselage frame where the brackets are to fit, then using a pair of tweezers I positioned each bracket into the corner of the fuselage joint. Once the glue was dry I applied a very small amount of CA onto the bracket for added security. The two fuselage photos show the rigging half completed, I still need to do both sides, the rigging adds a lot of strength. For the rigging I am using 0.12mm Maxima Chameleon Monofilament, the little brass connectors are 0.5mm brass tube cut to a length of 0.5 - 0.75mm, these are held with CA once the mono has been looped through them and pulled tight.

I have completed most of the fuselage frame rigging, this was time consuming and a little tedious. Keeping the fuselage frame square and straight was most important as too much tension on one line would pull it out of shape. The close-up photo shows the small brackets fitted at each frame intersection to take the rigging lines, they are very small but hold the lines very well. I have painted each line using Mr Metal Color Stainless and once dry it was lightly buffed using a soft brush. Next step is to make the cockpit and observers internal fittings including the pilot seat, fuel tank, instrument panel and observers seat.

The pilot seat is now ready for painting, a seat cushion has been added. The fuel tank has been fitted with the filler neck and cap and is ready for a coat of brass paint. I made a seat cushion for the observer, this sits on top of the fuel tank. The bulkhead which forms the instrument panel will be wood grained, the three holes are for the instruments. The control column is fitted with a fairly large spoke wheel, behind the wheel is the large pulley for the wing warping control cable, this cable then runs down to the two smaller pulleys then out to the wings, the unpainted brass tube is for holding the assembly while painting and will be removed. The rudder bar will be painted black and the foot pads will be a leather colour.

The bulkhead/instrument panel has been wood grained using oil paints then over sprayed with a matt clear. Instruments are made from brass tube with Aeroclub bezels fitted, the instrument faces are from the Airscale decal set. The two small switches are made from plastic round stock with brass tube levers fitted. I made the starting magneto from spares in my spares box, the winding handle is a piece of brass tube bent to shape, it is fixed to the bulkhead using two part epoxy resin. I made the floor from 0.5mm plastic card scribed to simulate boards, then wood grained with oil paints, the floor has now been fixed In place. The control column has had the cable fitted to the pulleys, this cable is for the wing warping, once fitted to the cockpit the control column will have the cables for the elevator warping attached. The fuel tank has been painted with Alclad Brass and the observers seat cushion fitted, as can be seen in the photos there was not a great deal of space for the observer. I have also fitted the rudder bar, the rudder control cables still need to be attached. The pilot seat has not been fixed in position yet. The air pump is made from brass tube with smaller brass tube used for the plunger and handle, the brackets to hold the pump to the frame is flattened 0.4mm brass tube which has been folded around the pump. Next step is to fit the control column to the cockpit.

I have completed the interior. The observers pit has a small shelf hinged on the front bulkhead, the fuel tank is fitted and the two fuel tank stays are also fitted, the observers seat cushion is fitted to the top of the fuel tank. I fitted the control column and attached associated rigging lines, for this I used 0.12mm mono and painted it with Mr Metal Color Stainless. I also made a throttle quadrant and mounted it to the left side of the cockpit, the pilot seat is also fixed in position. I have not seen any photos which show seat belts fitted, so for the time being I will leave them out. As can be seen from the overhead photo, the observer had very little space, he would have been quite cramped and sitting directly behind the engine would make his position extremely uncomfortable. Photos I have seen show the timber throughout the cockpit and observers pit as being different shades, so I tried to simulate the effect. As with most WW1 aircraft, once the coaming is fitted a lot of the interior detail will be hidden.

I have commenced work converting the Wingnuts Mercedes D.III engine into a Mercedes D.I engine. I needed to make paired cylinders so for this I used 5.45mm plastic tube, one side of the tube was sanded flat then the two tubes glued together, the sanding gave me the correct width of the paired cylinder. I used a length of 4.0mm aluminium rod for the bottom of the cylinders, this fitted perfectly inside the plastic tube. I still need to fill the gap where the two plastic tubes meet, the indentation is too deep and needs to be filled and smoothed out. I am using the top of the crank case from the Wingnuts engine, it will need to be highly modified but gives me a good starting point. Firstly I removed the moulded bottom cylinder sections and sanded it smooth, the two outer holes are in the correct location for the first two sets of paired cylinders, so I will drill a 4.0mm hole here to take the extended aluminium rod. This will be quite an involved process doing this engine conversion. The picture with the dimension (sorry, it is a bit messy) shows what I am working from, I have a Taurus 1:48 scale D.I engine which I am using as a reference, measurements of that engine are being converted to 1:32 scale hence the two sets of figures.

I used an epoxy putty to reshape the bottom of the crank case, it is a totally different shape to the DIII engine, I used the same putty to fill the hollow between the cylinders. I added the water pipes to the exhaust side of the cylinders by using brass tube, these were CA’d in place. The inlet and exhaust manifold flanges were cut from the cylinders of a DIII engine and glued in place. A trial fit of the inlet manifold shows it to be a perfect fit in the flanges and the crank case, cylinder height is exactly correct. I also made and fitted the cylinder mounting plates to the bottom of each pair of cylinders, small nuts and bolts are also fitted to the plates. At this stage the cylinders are not fixed to the crank case as more work is needed to complete the bottom of the crank case. As a tip, the epoxy putty is excellent, once mixed it is a fairly firm consistency, this allowed me to place and shape the putty without it sagging or spreading, I had up to two hours before it started to go off to do any further shaping. It is fully cured after 16 hours when it ends up as a very solid, easy to sand putty

The front and rear engine mounts needed to be modified slightly and two new mounts added more central on the crank case. I made the mounts from 0.5mm plastic card, new bolts will be fitted to the appropriate positions. I also added some extra details to the bottom of the crank case using brass tube and brass wire, the nuts on the side of the crank case are RB Motion brass nuts. I now need to do the engine mounts on the other side of the engine.

The crank case has been painted with Humbrol 27001 Aluminium and the cylinders painted with Hobby Color H77 Tire Black. I had to modify the carburettor and extend the inlet manifold pipes, the pipes are painted with a mixture of Gunze metallic paints. The cylinders are now fixed to the crank case, this was done using five minute epoxy resin. I have also fitted the spark plugs and the ignition lead tube, the tube is made from 0.9mm round plastic rod, I drilled six 0.4mm holes for the ignition leads and a 0.7mm hole in the end of the rod to take the six leads which will come from the magneto, the same will be done on the other side of the engine. As can be seen in these photos, the new engine mounts and the modified front and rear engine mounts are different to what is on the D.III engine, I also fitted new nuts and bolts around the join line of the crank cases.

The engine is now nearly complete, just waiting to put the water pipes on. I also made the little Mercedes badges which are fitted to each side of the engine in the front engine mounts. These are made from 0.18mm copper wire, the outer circle is 2.0mm in diameter, then I cut small pieces of the same wire to make the star to fit inside the circle, it is all held together with very small drops of CA.

I have made the engine bearers and fitted them to the airframe along with all the bracing supports. The engine is only sitting here for photo purposes and also to see if it was going to fit, it did. I still need add some more bracing wires under the engine.

I have started to cover the fuselage, I am using 10 thou (0.3mm) Evergreen sheet. The two holes are cut using a very sharp scalpel blade, they are done free hand and being thin sheeting one pass will cut through with no problems leaving a nice clean edge. The thickness of the sheet also makes it very easy to bend giving the desired fuselage shape.

Most of the fuselage frame is now covered, it went on very easy. The padding around the cockpit and observers openings are done using a piece of 0.9mm plastic tube, this is just electrical wiring with the wires removed. The plastic tube is placed around the edge of the opening and held in place with drops of CA. The inside of the ‘fabric’ is painted with Gunze Radome H318 to give the linen look.

The upper mast has now been fitted, it is made from left overs from my spares box and the stays are made from 0.8mm brass tube. I still need to add the rigging connection plate which will mount on the top of the mast. Once the glue had dried the whole mast assembly became very strong.

This is a trial fit of the auxiliary fuel tank, it is made from a left over bomb from one of the Wingnut kits with the fins removed. I will add the filler tube and cap plus the plumbing and tap under the tank. The rear of the tank need to be rounded off and the detonator at the front will also be removed. A check with reference material shows a variety of shapes used for the auxiliary tank.

I have made and fitted the plate for the wing rigging, it is now fitted to the top of the mast. I added the water pipe which runs along the top of the engine, there will be two pipes connected to the rear of this pipe which will go to the radiators. There are two small stays which hold the top water pipe in position. I also added the water pipes which connect to the bottom of each of the paired cylinders. I fitted a fuel filler pipe to the top of the auxiliary fuel tank, there will also be a feed pipe and tap fitted to the bottom of the tank. Once the engine is fitted to the airframe I will fit the throttle rod.

The exhaust pipes are made from 1.5mm brass tube bent to the appropriate shape around a piece of 14.0mm brass rod, they were then cut to the correct length. Because there was very little to locate and hold the pipes (there are no stays or brackets) I fixed them to the cylinders using five minute epoxy resin. Once the epoxy was dry I reinforced the join by adding CA. I will leave it for 24 hours to allow the glue to fully cure before painting the pipes

The nose has now been shaped and sanded ready for paint. I firstly glued strips of 0.3mm plastic card around the nose section, over this I applied Humbrol putty (in a tube) and shaped it by sanding. I found the Humbrol putty dries way to quick so I dispensed the tube contents into a jar, to this I added lacquer thinners and stirred it well, I kept adding more thinners and stirring until I had a nice thick creamy mixture, this makes the product very useable and slows the drying time. It will dry in a very short time and becomes very hard and easily sandable. After each sanding I added more putty where needed and did more sanding until I was happy with the shape, I also shaped a piece of plastic on my lathe to form the propeller extension shaft, this was glued to the nose using five minute epoxy resin.

I have sprayed the completed nose with Gunze yellow just to highlight any irregularities, once dry this will be lightly sanded then sprayed with an aluminium colour paint. The propeller is just sitting there for fit purposes but it is the propeller that will be used on this model. The engine bay opening is large enough to allow the fitment and removal of the engine without breaking anything off, this was of great benefit when shaping the nose, a trial fit of the engine could be made then the engine removed so sanding could continue.

I have painted the nose section using Humbrol Polished Aluminium 27002, I still need to add the swirls, I am contemplating on how to achieve that task.

The main fin and rudder support is made from 1.0mm brass tube, the fins are made from 1.0mm thick plastic card, the rudders will be fitted next.

The swirls have been painted on the nose section. I firstly painted the nose with Humbrol Polished Aluminium 27002 the I painted each individual swirl using a very fine tip brush and Mr Metal Color Chrome silver. The propeller was base coated with Gunze Yellow then oil paint was used for the wood simulation, the propeller boss is painted with Mr Metal Color Stainless, the prop still requires a gloss clear. I added the steps to the bottom of the fuselage, two at the front and two behind the cockpit, these where bent from 0.6mm brass tube and CA’d into 0.6mm holes drilled in the correct locations. The wing mounting brackets are made and fitted, these will take the two main wing spars and will hopefully support the wings, the rigging will play a large part in holding the wing in the correct position. The fuselage is now ready for painting.

The two rudders have been painted using the colour I have mixed to match the photos I have of a restored Taube, I presume it is the correct colour when they restored the original aeroplane. I used Humbrol No.154 Insignia Yellow, I then added a little Ferrari red to give it the orange colour, a tad of black was added to darken it a little then white was added to give it the correct balance, compared to the photos it is fairly close.

The undercarriage is now fitted, it is painted with Gunze 334 Barley Grey, I also added the bungee suspension cords using soft brass wire. The upper mast is painted with the same grey paint as is the foot steps and the hand hold just behind the cockpit. I painted the auxiliary fuel tank with Alclad Polished Brass, I made and fitted the tap and fuel line to the bottom of the tank which is fastened to the forward mast strut. The black fabric reinforcing patches are made from 0.13mm plastic card and were glued to the fuselage before painting. I painted the fuselage with the same paint mix as with the rudders.

The tail plane is made from two layers of 0.5mm Evergreen sheet glued together then cut and sanded to form the tail shape, the scallops at the rear were done with a fine round file. The ribs are 2.0mm wide 0.25mm plastic strips, the two outer ribs are 1.0mm wide. All the eyelets are glued into the tail plane awaiting rigging lines. I glued the tail to the fuselage using plastic glue with CA as reinforcement, this has formed a good strong bond. The decals are home made and printed on my ink jet printer, they were then sprayed with clear lacquer to seal them prior to applying to the aircraft. Once the decals were dry I sprayed the entire model with Humbrol Satin Clear, this protects the decals and the paint work, especially the aluminium nose with the swirls. I have also added the two water pipes to the rear of the engine, these run down the inside of the engine bay and will exit just below the leading edge of the wing to be connected to the radiators. The rigging on the tail of this aeroplane is quite complex and will require turnbuckles to be fitted to every line, so my turnbuckle production line is in full swing at the moment. I will be using Maxima Chameleon 0.12mm Monofilament as the rigging medium, it will be painted with Mr Metal Color Stainless once each line is fitted.

I have started the tail rigging, I did the fin rigging first then did the rigging lines which run along the sides of the tail. Each line has it’s own turnbuckles which slows the rigging process quite considerably. The turnbuckles are made from 0.5mm brass tube with 0.13mm twisted copper wire eyelets, they are held together with small drops of CA. The tiny brass connector sleeves are also from 0.5mm brass tube but are only 0.5mm long, once the mono is looped back through a small drop of CA holds the sleeve and mono very well.

I have completed the tail end rigging. The eight lines running down to the elevator were very awkward to tension, as each line was made taut the lines either side became slack, so it was a matter of re-tensioning each line until all eight lines were equally taut. Turnbuckles were added to each individual line and positioned close to the elevator as per photos I have of the original aircraft. All the rigging has been painted using Mr Metal Color Stainless. The small triangular plate where all eight lines join was made from thin brass sheet, the eight lines were super glued to one plate and when dry the second plate was super glued on top to form a sandwich, a 0.4mm hole was drilled at the top to take the line coming from the pulley. This may appear to be quite a bit of rigging but it was relatively easy to install and apart from the tension issue it posed no major headache. The side on photo shows both top and bottom rigging lines, a very complicated arrangement for such a simple operation but it must have worked well at the time. As can be seen in the photos I have painted all the metal fixture with the grey paint as mentioned earlier.

I have made and fitted the two radiators. The radiator cores are made from 0.4mm brass plated copper wire, this wire is available from craft/bead shops and is very easy to use. The top and bottom of the radiator are nade from plastic card and the pipes on top are from 0.9mm round plastic stock.  A small spacer was fixed in four places at the back of the radiator to hold it away from the fuselage, I used 0.75mm square stock for this purpose. The strips running down the face of each radiator is Tamiya tape cut to the appropriate width, stuck to the radiator then painted. A small drop of CA on each of the spacer blocks holds the radiators to the fuselage. These radiators are copied from photos of the restored Taube, so they are pretty close to what they are supposed to look like.

I have made and fitted the lower wing rigging mast which also incorporates the brake. The brake is a very crude assembly, just a length of bar with a hook on the end, this hook digs into the dirt and hopefully stops the aircraft. I have also made my first ever laced spoke wheel, for the spokes I used 0.1mm invisible thread, this was CA’d to my jig and each spoke was fitted around the centre hub. The hub has a 1.5mm brass tube centre with a small washer fitted either end to support the spokes. I used the split rim method so when the two rim halves are sandwiched together it forces the spokes to form a conical shape, CA holds the rims together. I will use an o-ring for the tyre, the tyres on the Taube are quite large so an oversized o-ring will be good, I will flatten the inside of the o-ring so it sits flat on the rim.

I used a good quality o-ring to make the tyres, I sanded the inside of the ring using a drum sander on my Dremel, this sands it down very quickly and keeps the surface flat. I left it a little smaller than the size of the rim so it would be a tight fit eliminating the use of glue. I also gave the entire o-ring a light sanding with wet and dry paper to take the gloss finish off. The rims and spokes have been sprayed with a mid grey colour, once dry the tyres were fitted onto the rims. The wheels have now been fixed to the aircraft.

Work on the wings has commenced. I’m using 3.0mm plastic card, it is first cut to shape and sanded smooth, I then sand the leading and trailing edges of the wings down to the required thickness, the leading edge is rounded. I obtain the airfoil shape by bending the wing in a jig using aluminium rods and clamps, then I pour boiling water over the wing followed by cold water, the wing then retains it’s shape. The ribs are 0.75mm x 0.5mm Evergreen strips glued directly onto the wing upper and lower surface, I then spray the entire wing with multiple layers of primer/filler. Once this is dry I sand the ribs and the section between each rib to get the hollowed fabric look, depending on how it looks I may have to apply more filler. Wing mounting is by two small pins, this will not provided adequate support so the rigging will have to play a huge part in holding the wings in the correct position. Naturally, the ailerons still need to be added which will have a permanent washout at the tips. The cross is only printed on paper and positioned to verify the size, this has been done on my computer and will be printed onto white water slide decal paper with my ink jet printer, they will need to be clear coated before they can be dipped in water. You will also notice that I have added the HGW fabric seat belts to the pilot seat, these are excellent products and are easy to use. I also added the radiator over flow pipe, this runs to the top of the rigging mast, unusual that it exits right in front of the pilot but going by all the photographic evidence I have this is the correct position for this pipe.

Both wings are now made apart from the washout warping ‘ailerons’. The wings are not fixed in these photos, they are being supported just for photo purposes.

These photos show one wing nearly completed. The wing warping section was constructed using two layers of 0.5mm styrene sheet, these were cut to shape then glued together. While the glue was wet I applied the washout, this was held in position until the glue set, the washout was then retained and became very rigid. I fitted the section to the wing then fixed the rib tapes, this was done using 2.5mm x 0.5mm Evergreen strips. Once dry the strips where sanded down and the trailing edge thinned out. The photo taken from above demonstrates the beautiful bird like shape of the wing, this is what makes the Taube stand out from other early aircraft designs.

I needed to fit a solid mounting pin for the wings, the wings are quite heavy and would put too much strain on the rigging wires. I found a place at the rear of the observers station where a pin could be fitted without causing too much of an issue. I decided to use a 2.0mm chrome plated steel rod, this is very strong and has very little flex. The rod was passed through the fuselage then I made it long enough to protrude 12.0mm into each wing, the red line on the first photo shows the position of the rod. The second photo shows the wings supported with the rod, no glue is used at this stage and the wings sit nearly dead level and are quite solid. The wing thickness where the rod is inserted is 3.0mm, so drilling a 12.0mm deep hole 2.0mm in diameter was not a problem. The second wing now has the warping section fitted but a lot of sanding is still needed before paint can be applied.

Both wings are now nearly completed, final painting is taking place. The washout on the right wing can be clearly seen on the photos looking from the back of the model, this is a feature indicative of the Taube. Once final painting has dried I will add the wing decals, these will be printed from my drawing program onto white water slide decal paper with my inkjet printer. The final stage of the build will be to add all the wing rigging, which there is quite a bit, but again, this was typical of monoplanes of the era. The bird like wing and tail were the things that inspired me to build this model, I feel it is one of the most beautiful looking aeroplanes ever built.

Completed Model

The wings went on quite easily, I used five minute epoxy to make sure I had a very strong join. The rigging of the wings was not difficult, just that there was a lot of it. I used 0.12mm monofilament with 0.5mm brass tube turnbuckles and connectors, CA holds everything together very well. This has been a very interesting build but I thoroughly enjoyed the experience, breaking new ground is always exciting. I am very pleased with the way the model ended up, it is quite a large model as can be seen by the comparison with the Albatros.