Reply to Doc Crabb

Paul Butler (
Tue, 2 Jan 1996 09:40:50 +1100

Doc, you asked:

"Now, whats in your hanger?"

I am sorry to say, nothing as impressive as yours. I have only got back into
the modelling business about three years ago after a 25 year break for various
socio-economic/political reasons (not an uncommon situation I understand).

At present I only have in flying order, a couple of sports type models and
only one of those is flown regularly. It is really due for replacement (it
has never been crashed in about two years of regular flying but I have basically
outgrown it), however I am unwilling to spend any more time on sports models
although I am often tempted.

Since June 1995, I have been developing detailed drawings of the Mercedes D.IIIa
engine. This has occupied most of moy spare time to date and soon (I hope) I
will have drawings at 1/6, 1/5 1/4 and perhaps 1/3. I have been using
Autocad so scaling drawings is not a problem. The next step in that project
is to produce patterns and moulds for the fabrication of dummy engines at 1/5,
my preferred scale. The drawings are for modellers. All the major components
will be presented separately so that such items as carburettors and manifolds
are clearly distinguised and easy to model.

I have also started another engine project by extensively photographing the
Benz BZ4 in the Australian War Memorial Museum. I got permission from the
curators to do this and I have well over 100 photographs but in affect only
about thirty different aspects of the engine. This is because the museum is
very dark, the engine is painted gloss black and I exposed film with flash
and without. Any way, the photos and the drawings published in the 1919 Janes
Fighting Aircraft of WW1 will allow me to produce engine drawings suitable
for aircraft such as the LVG C.VI and Roland D.VI (I think that is correct,
it is the one witha shiplap planked fuselage).

The airframe projects for 1996 is are two, the Albatros D.Va and Pfalz D.XII
These will be at 1/5 and will utilise a a scale (like) structure (at least as
much as is practical), ie. like the Proctor D.Va (not that I have seen one, only
photos. Examples of both of these aircraft are reside in the Australian War
Memorial Museum. I will be drawing my own plans and will be building templates, jigs and other devices to allow the semi-mass production of components. This
approach will allow nme to build accurately, and repairs and replacements
should be less burdensome.

All of the forgoing will keep me busy for quite a while, but I also plan to
scratch build the following sometime in the future:

LVG C.VI (example in the Shuttleworth collection)
Roland (mentioned above)
Pfalz D.IIIa
Albatros D.III and perhaps D.II

Who knows from there but by standardizing on German types, a lot of the fiddly
bits such as the engines, guns, and instruments can be semi mass produced. The
initial hurdle is large, but with luck, progress will speed up later.

I might add that all the foregoing is something I dreamt of doing in my late
teens and I am now setting out to achieve the dream when in my 50's. (Sorry for
the corny bit but it is my usual response to the funny looks I get for the
non-modelling types who outnumber us all (can anybody guess at the likely ratio)