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Scratch built 1/3 scale WWI Pilot and Goggles

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Scratch built 1/3 scale WWI Pilot and Goggles

Old 03-01-2011, 04:44 PM
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Sethhunter
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Default Scratch built 1/3 scale WWI Pilot and Goggles

I started posting pictures of the pilot I was building under my Halberstadt thread http://www.rcuniverse.com/forum/m_93..._7/key_/tm.htm , but this seems like a really different kind of build that may have broader interest, so I thought I’d start a new thread. Maybe other folks out there building pilots can add their pictures, tips and comments!

So I needed a pilot for my Halbi. I set out to make one that looks kind of like me – why a 50 something engineer rather than a 19 year old WWI pilot? Don’t ask me. My plane! I also had a bunch of paints left over from finishing some Aces of Iron busts for my Junkers, so I figured it as a good opportunity to try and make a dent in those supplies.

The pilot is done so this may be a short thread. What follows is a chronology of pictures. The basic process was (1) sculpt a head and gloves, (2) make a urethane mold, (3) cast fiberglass head and gloves in the mold, (4) paint ‘em, (5) make clothes, (6) assemble them onto a wire frame and foam body, (7), make goggles, (8) make scarf, (9) make a Pour Le Merite Blue Max Medal (I can do that, can’t I?). Well, the award part is not done yet. We’ll see!

The following pictures show the sculpted head, molds, and fiberglass parts. The gloves are 3-fingered variety. Why don’t they make those anymore?
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Old 03-01-2011, 04:48 PM
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Sethhunter
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Default RE: Scratch built 1/3 scale WWI Pilot and Goggles

I followed the Aces of Iron painting instructions to paint these parts. I found doing this in the Winter required a lot more time for the oils to dry. The colors are applied in an order kind of like building a face from the inside out, starting with dark read:
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Old 03-01-2011, 04:50 PM
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Sethhunter
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Default RE: Scratch built 1/3 scale WWI Pilot and Goggles

I’m not much for sewing. Here’s the clothing. I made a pattern by measuring points on real clothing (like a trench coat) using a large T-square and framing square. I loaded those points into CAD, connected the points, added tabs for hemming, scaled by 1/3 and plotted them out. I practiced on scrap cloth then cut and sewed together the clothes using faux leather bought at a fabric store. The material is vinyl with kind of a polyester gauze backing. It worked great for the coat and pants, but was too stiff for the helmet. Sill, I got by. The material is not light. Next time, I would skip the leather look and use light weight nylon. The fur lining around the lapel, collar, helmet and cuffs is fake lambs wool bought at the same store. Well I used up some of my paint, but I have lots more fabric than I had before. More pilots?
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Old 03-01-2011, 04:52 PM
  #4  
Sethhunter
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Default RE: Scratch built 1/3 scale WWI Pilot and Goggles

Final assembly was to solder together a frame, wrap with foam, and put the clothes on. The head and gloves were attached by sliding and gluing dowels to the wire, then the head etc. to the dowels. I make the body pretty rigid because the pilot of the Halbi sits way up in the air, with the top of the fuselage hardly half way up his back. This guy needs upper body strength! I bought little buttons and shoes from a doll makers supply shop.
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Old 03-01-2011, 04:54 PM
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Sethhunter
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Default RE: Scratch built 1/3 scale WWI Pilot and Goggles

Finally the goggles. These took some time and trial and error.

I used a pair of goggles I bought at Rhinebeck back in the 70’s as a pattern. I started by making a frame for the lens, with a flange to sew the leather backing to. The frame was made using a wood template for the inside shape, filled and waxed and fiberglassed. Then I cut the frame, including the wood template, like a slice of bread. Then slipped out the wood template leaving a fiberglass frame. I reused the wooden templates to make a female mold for the lenses. Meanwhile I attached a 1/32 ply flange to the frames, pre-drilled stitch holes, and made a brass adjuster for the top, and brass side-pieces for the strap to attach to.
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Old 03-01-2011, 04:58 PM
  #6  
Sethhunter
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Default RE: Scratch built 1/3 scale WWI Pilot and Goggles

Next I used the same faux leather to stitch to the flange. This was hard because it was hard to pull it around the curves. Brown silicone caulk might be a much better looking alternative.

I tried using latex mold builder to make the mold, since I was out of urethane molding compound. I didn’t find a good way to make it work. So before ordering more urethane, I tried silicone caulk. That worked ok but I could not get a really good surface finish on the cast acrylic. Finally I gave in and sanded the lenses progressively to 600 grit. I then tried polishing compound but the acrylic was not hard enough. Probably a Winter problem again (my shop was around 63 degrees). So lastly, I spray painted the sanded acrylic with crystal clear enamel, mounted the lenses, made the strap and gave Seth (the pilot) his goggles.

The pilot is 24” tall and just tips the scales at 1 lb. I’m pretty sure you could get that down to 8-10 oz with lighter fabric, less structure inside.
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Old 03-01-2011, 04:59 PM
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Sethhunter
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Default RE: Scratch built 1/3 scale WWI Pilot and Goggles

sanding and painting the lenses, and final assembly! I wrapped masking tape around the edge of the lenses before spraying to prevent over-spray from getting on the back surface. The paint did produce a magnifying effect, probably because of how it "puddles." There's a picture here of the full-size Rhinebeck goggles I used as a template.

There you have it! (And now how about that Pour Le Merite?)
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Old 03-01-2011, 05:40 PM
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Default RE: Scratch built 1/3 scale WWI Pilot and Goggles

The airman in the last frame looks mighty serious, Ive seen pics of you, though not in 1918 in a Halbie DIII, that could tend to tighten one up.
Doc
Old 03-01-2011, 06:12 PM
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Default RE: Scratch built 1/3 scale WWI Pilot and Goggles

No more three fingered gloves 'cause there are no more three fingered pilots.

Absolutely fantastic pilot model though.
Old 03-01-2011, 07:01 PM
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Default RE: Scratch built 1/3 scale WWI Pilot and Goggles

great work...I have made enough stuff from scratch to know the TREMENDOUS amount of work you did making your pilot.
Old 03-01-2011, 07:29 PM
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Default RE: Scratch built 1/3 scale WWI Pilot and Goggles

Yes Indeed Seth...that is one nasty looking Hun...I defintely would turn tail and dive at first sight of you in the air. I can also attest to the time and attention to detail you have put into these...even the patent stamp on the goggles...and what now, shoe laces ???!!!
Old 03-02-2011, 12:40 AM
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Default RE: Scratch built 1/3 scale WWI Pilot and Goggles

Great work as always. I'd like to see more builders attempting their own pilot figure. In terms of cutting down on the weight, remember that the only part of the head you actually see is the face.
Old 03-02-2011, 04:36 AM
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Default RE: Scratch built 1/3 scale WWI Pilot and Goggles

I'm green with envy that you have the skill to create such a beautiful work of art. Thanks for sharing.
Old 03-02-2011, 05:00 AM
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Default RE: Scratch built 1/3 scale WWI Pilot and Goggles

Ditto!!
Old 03-02-2011, 07:17 AM
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Default RE: Scratch built 1/3 scale WWI Pilot and Goggles

Fantastic job. I just wish I could generate the energy/enthusiasm to get back to that sort of thing. My container of "moldmaker" stuff hardened up in the container.

Les
Old 03-06-2011, 04:12 PM
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Sethhunter
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Default RE: Scratch built 1/3 scale WWI Pilot and Goggles

Hey thanks all - this was definitely a different sort of exercise... I'm not used to building soft stuff! The expression was deliberate... I had my 10 year old daughter take all kinds of pictures of me - grimacing, biting lips, swearing (simulated), grinding teeth, shock and horror - anything I could imagine a WWI pilot doing!! She thought it was hysterical. My wife is impressed with the pilot but wishes he had a happy face on. Well, I guess those guys probably smiled when they landed.

Next step - strap him into his crate!

PS - I'm not sure there aren't still three fingered pilots - sometimes I feel like I fly like one!

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