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Douglas TBD-1A Devastator

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Old 12-13-2013, 09:00 PM
  #1
chistech
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Default Douglas TBD-1A Devastator

For some reason I just got the urge to build something different again even though I have lots of kits already to build including my Marutaka Rufe. I saw this plastic kit for sale and did a little research. Found the Dick Katz 1/12 version to my size preference and ordered a set of plans from Scale Plans and Photo Service. I received my plans and looked them over. It is powered normally with a .40 TS in land configuration, has a generous chord, and pretty thick airfoil. Though the Katz design seems more simplistic than my Brian Taylor Kingfisher, the characteristics of the two airframes seem very similar. I believe in the float configuration it would be a nice compliment to my OS2U. Again a .80 FS would most likely be more than adequate as long as I keep the weight down. The floats will have to be either built up or foam and seeing since they appear to be basic EDO's I might go the foam route for simplicity.

I have contacted Joe at Kit Cutters and will be sending him my plans for him to make me a short kit. He told me by end of Feb. or beginning of March he could have my short kit done and shipped to me. I will be going that route. Is anyone familiar with this airframe in this configuration and have they seen one fly?
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Old 12-15-2013, 06:48 AM
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Cool project again,
I'm curious why do you have to send him your plans if he has it listed on his site already?
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Old 12-15-2013, 07:35 AM
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Yea, that is what I thought too. Don't really know why but even though he has the plans listed he no longer sells them, you have to buy them from Scale Plans. Not sure if he has the laser file already or has to create it but you would think he already has it considering he used to offer these same plans. But either way, I'm going to get the short kit done. Already ran it by Gerry and he's pretty excited about another different project. He's already got his wheels turning on how we can duplicate the corrugations on the wing and stab. Won't start it for a while as I'm still working on my Blazer restoration but I hope to be done with it by the end of March.
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Old 12-15-2013, 12:25 PM
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Oughtn to be a very cool project.

Ran across this picture of the Devastator on floats:
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Old 12-15-2013, 06:34 PM
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Considering that it was a one-off there is a pretty decent amount of photos available on this plane. The appropriate thing about it is the sea trials done on it were done on the Rhode Island torpedo range which is about 35-40 minute drive from my house or a 20 minute flight out of our local airport. I've started gathering a little info on it as I hope to start on it by April. Will try and take some pictures of the plans and post them. Thanks for the above picture. Have to order the plastic kit next as they are great for reference.
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Old 12-18-2013, 04:01 PM
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Here are some pictures of the plans. I have them ready to ship out tomorrow to Kit Cutters. Thinking of having him do 2 wings so I can make a land version and a float plane version. Just an idea. Would have to add a tail wheel though.
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Old 12-18-2013, 11:09 PM
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I'm curious to know if the prototype ever got off the water with the added weight and drag of the floats. The production version of the plane was so underpowered that it needed a full deck run just to get airborne when carrying a "fish". I know, at Midway, the Japanese couldn't figure out why the Devastators didn't make a high speed "dash" to get into position for an effective attack. What they didn't know is that the only "effective" torpedo planes they faced were the first ones to attack at around 7:00am, six new TBF-1 Avengers and four modified B26 Marauders. Of these 10 aircraft, only one badly damaged Avenger made it back to Midway. The rest were shot down by Japanese fighters, losing two of their own in the process, as the Avenger and Marauder gunners took down a fighter each and almost destroyed the Akagi's island when a damaged Marauder just missed flying into it prior to going down

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Old 12-19-2013, 04:36 AM
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There are pictures of it airborne and it was no slower or any less underpowered than the OS2U Kingfisher and everyone knows how good of float plane the Kingfisher was. There's no doubt that the Devastator name was an oxymoron by the battle of Midway. Funny, the Avenger "avenged" the losses of the Devastator. They should have called it the "sea dog". Not sure if it got any nickname like the B24's "flying coffin". Still, it should make an interesting float model. There is no sub fin nor does there seem like an enlargement of the dorsal fin. Possible reason for this is the Devastator's tail seems to be up high as the fuse bottom drops and lowers the center line of the wing in regards to the stab. Possibly this keeps the large fin in clean, undisturbed air where it can be more effective. Looks like I'll have sea trials of my own when it comes time!
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Old 12-19-2013, 12:00 PM
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Ted,,
you going to make a plug and pull the canopy yourself or is there a source??
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Old 12-19-2013, 03:48 PM
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I'm going to make the plug and use a buddies vac machine to pull the canopy. Will have to do it in two pieces but that will be OK as I might leave it open at the rear. I do have a larger skin packaging machine with a 18X24 vac table and frame. I need to do some work to it but it might end up working good for the larger canopies in the future. It is 3ph though and I will need a phase converter to get it up and running. That's a whole other project!
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Old 12-22-2013, 02:56 PM
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Got an email from Joe @ KitCutters yesterday telling me that he will only need the plans for a short time and can return them to me before the kit is cut. I will get them back so I can start working on the plug for the canopy and possibly the cowl. It shows a wood cowl but I'm planning on building up a glass one.
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Old 12-24-2013, 05:26 AM
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Possible he just wants to confirm the scale and you have the plans that match his cad files. cool
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Old 01-22-2014, 07:48 AM
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Been working a lot on my 84' K5 Blazer so it will be done and I can start building again. Kit Kutters notified me that they have started making my short kit. My Blazer has some interior work left to do and the top needs painting then the top will go back on until the summer. Once the top goes on it will be finally done. Here are some before shots and where the rebuild is now.
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Old 03-04-2014, 12:29 PM
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My short kit is on the way. Turns out the wing ribs shown separately on the plans do not fit the plans drawing of the built up wing so they re-cut the ribs to fit the drawing of the assembled wing. If they didn't when the wing would be built over the plans the parts would not line up with the drawings. (hope I explained that correctly). Got my Signal Squadron book in and have been going over that. Turns out a float version was designed for overseas sales to Denmark and it had a enlarged fin that looks pretty cool. Not sure if I'll build that version but if I do it will only be a proposed prototype as it was never built. Not sure of colors or markings so it would kind of be a fantasy plane.
The original was flown for over 4 years at the RI base and had a reputation as a good flyer. There was some mods made to it and and it was rebuilt once during those 4 years of service. It's main job after the rebuild was to help solve problems with the torpedo the US was using at the time. The airframe used for this plane was the first production TBD off the line and once those 4 years of service were done it was just scrapped. The two EDO floats were the largest ever attached to a single engine aircraft at the time.
Hopefully mine will fly as good as the prototype did. Will get some pictures up once the short kit arrives. Still finishing up a Jemco PT 19 and a Davey Ind. P47 right now. Got to get those off the bench first before the Devastator gets started.
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Old 03-04-2014, 01:00 PM
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I'll be watching this build. Here is my Jemco PT-19. It is 10 years old now with just under 300 flights. I love scale models the size of the Devestator
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Old 03-04-2014, 08:07 PM
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Wow, I feel bad for you having to fly off that black top runway! LOL Your PT is a beauty. I, like you, enjoy the 40-50 size models. I will make some changes to the build to be more scale, like the elevator shape for instance and try to keep this one closer to scale than the Katz plans actually have it, more so in the line of my Kingfisher. Will probably do the panel lines and some of the other details I didn't do on the Kingfisher though. I will be doing the corrugations of course as how can one build a Devastator without them. I know they will be somewhat of a challenge with this smaller size but will figure it out. Have some ideas on how to make them but if you have some please pass them on. Sometimes I wonder why I don't do more common stuff but then I realize I do like to have something different so it's worth it in the end.

At least the paint job should be fairly easy on this one with a mostly aluminum color other than the yellow chromate upper wing panels. Even the cockpit on this one gets the same aluminum color as they didn't paint the zinc chromate green until later in the production. While drawings show the telescopic sight for aiming the forward machine gun, the actual photos show no sight in place. No rear gun either. So it looks like a simple torpedo on the bottom with some nice white and red stripes on the nose will be most of the detail. Of course maybe make it drop off and power itself under water would be really cool.

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Old 03-04-2014, 08:46 PM
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Mmmm.. I now it is time consuming like covering with real aluminum tape(which I have done on my Mustang) But how about this-
Small plastic rods from Plastruct glued end to end to make longer if necessary, you know from the model railroad stuff, then glued in place in rows right next to each other and filled slightly with putty. Bent around the curves. Just an idea........
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Old 03-06-2014, 06:57 AM
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That's a good idea. No matter how it's done it will be a fair amount of work. I thinking about a heavy "test" monofiliment fishing line set in a thin coat of resin. Take two boards and drill a series of holes to feed the line through. The boards can be pulled to tighten the line while it sets on the wing. At least I have some time to think about it.
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Old 03-06-2014, 08:47 AM
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Thats sounds like it will work too, Probably faster. Im looking forward to seeing your canopy plug, and vac. forming set up.
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Old 03-06-2014, 01:11 PM
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The canopy is shown in each segment. My plan is to make each segment out of hard pine and then glue and dowel each segment together. Will most likely be two main segments to fit into the vac machine at my disposal right now. Like I mentioned earlier I have a 18x24 platen skin packaging machine which is actually just a big vac forming machine. It does need some work and is 3ph which I would need a phase converter to run. I have thought about opening a business doing canopies for people and might work on that machine this coming summer. Send me a plug and I will pull the canopy sort of thing. Try and collect plugs for future canopies. Of course, once you start making your hobby a business it's not so fun anymore! LOL
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Old 03-10-2014, 05:17 PM
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On Saturday I had a package arrive on my door. It was a nice double weight corrugated box taped up nicely. Here are some pictures of Joe's work at Kit Cutters. First, I am very impressed with Joe's communication with me during this process and his concern if I have any problems when I get into the build to let him know and he will correct the pieces for me. Second, the packaging of this short kit was excellent and the pictures show how things arrived minus the packing peanuts. The parts have been packaged in plastic bags in the appropriate groups they belong to. Parts are also taped together to prevent them from getting interlocked and broken during shipping. Another thing I didn't expect was the part's description being laser printed on the part. This alone is a great help and makes this short kit more like a regular kit just minus the stick and sheet wood. Joe included the hardwood landing gear blocks and the cowl mounting blocks. I mentioned earlier that the first cutting of the ribs Joe made to the individual rib drawings proved to be ever so slightly oversized so he cut a new set yet included the others. Those were packaged separately and marked accordingly with a red "X". There is a lot of thick wood in this kit and Joe's cutting is very good with only one piece of ply a little splintery on the edge. If I was judging the entire kit's manufacture I would probably rate it a 95. A few little edges that need some cleanup don't faze me one bit and anyone who is a builder shouldn't worry either.
Another thing I didn't expect but am excited Joe did was make ply formers for the canopy. In the plans drawing it shows each segment of the canopy but only in half segments. Joe cut full segments out of 1/8" ply. I can now take these and attach to one end of each plug segment I'm going to make. I can also take the adjoining segment (which is just slightly larger) and make another ply piece that is just 1/16 of an inch smaller all around to go on the other end. I can then make each canopy segment using these two ply formers as a guide. It might be hard for some to understand but once I start the build you will be able to follow what I'm doing.
What you see is as far as I've gotten so far as I have two others to finish first but they shouldn't take too long. Hopefully within the next 30 days or so I should be able to start building this wing. I will also be building in the split flaps on this and most likely going with a glass cowl instead of the wood one shown. I also need to step the firewall back slightly for the FS engine I will be using. I might be powering it with either a Saito .65 or a Magnum .70 I have. Both use about the same amount of distance so the firewall change has to be done. This is normally a .40 TS sized plane but with the floats and the fact that we have wind here in New England most of the time the .65 or .70 should be about right.

NOTE: Forgot to mention that during my communication with Joe I asked him if he would cut lightning holes in the ribs for me. He told me to email him with the details I wanted and he would do it. If you look at the ribs and the size of them you will understand why I wanted to lighten them up. Joe again did a great job accommodating my wishes. You should be able to see the holes in the ribs in the picture.
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Old 03-16-2014, 08:09 PM
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Quickly tried to dry assemble on wing have on the wing spar. The ribs fit really well, nice and tight on the main spar and every thing goes together fine. Did find one issue though and it's not Joe's fault as he cut rib 5 to the drawing on the plan but the drawing was drawn in a confusing way. The picture of the rib shows the rib end at the leading edge of the aileron like rib 4 on out to the wing tip does. Those ribs are supposed to end but rib 5 is supposed to go all the way to the trailing edge. The drawing puts the aileron in a solid line on top of the rib with a dotted line to show the full rib. It should be drawn the other way so that the full rib is cut out. I will get some pictures up of what I mean. I will be putting the split flaps in so I will need to do some engineering for them.

I am building this as a seaplane from the start and am putting to use some ideas I learned with my kingfisher. THINGS GET WET! So I am considering using nyrod to the ailerons instead of servos out in the wings in the case of a dunking. Same for the flaps with servos mounted centrally in the wing. Just two servos and the nyrods sealed to the surfaces. Though my Kingfisher only filled once on me during the learning curve I learned how water can get into everything and quickly. A good drying out was required. I am thinking no servo mounting plates, no holes in those plates, etc. What are people's thoughts on going old school for the water tightness?
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Old 03-16-2014, 10:04 PM
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Old school worked great if done right. I think your on the right track.
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Old 03-17-2014, 05:00 AM
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I have under wing plate mounted Ail. servos on mine Ted,, the difference is it's a foam wing and water if splashed in there can't go anywhere, if you seal out those servo bays, water would stay in the bay, not migrate through the wing.

Good luck,
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