Scratchbuilt tiny wee Fletcher topdresser

Started by KiwiZac, October 19, 2009, 11:27:49 AM

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Hi all!

Thought that after the apparent sucess of my scratchbuilt Bensen gyro y'all may like to see my even smaller FU24 build. As posted at MM, enjoy!

Hi all

Last week I was rifling through one of my bits boxes and happened across a section of main rotor blade from an old Heller 1:32 Super Frelon kit. I looked at it and thought "hey, I wonder what this would scale to if it were a Fletcher wing?". I thought that, as it has an airfoil already it would be a lot more convincing than a flat piece of plastic. So, with all this in mind, I measured the 1:72 2.5-dimensional Fletcher I made some months back, scaled up, measured the chord of the 1:32 blade, played around with calculations, and I ended up with 1:149 scale. This is unorthodox, I know, but next to a 1:144 aircraft (such as the Minicraft Fieldair DC-3 I'm working on) you'll scarcely be able to tell the difference. I cut the appropriate length of rotor blade, measured outer panels and scored a light line to allow a bend, and voila!

one really, really small Fletcher wing! Of course, I got to sorting through the parts for an appropriate vertical fin, and found a piece of 1:72 ordnance with fins the same shape....measured Fletcher dfimensions, scaled down, cut and sanded very slightly....

As you can see, this will not be a very big model. In fact, it can probably perch on the cockpit of the AG-AIR Models big 1:20 kit I previewed a little while back.

I drew out the rough shape of a Fletcher fuse on some sheet plastic, cut it out, and proceeded to build up a "sandwich" fuselage with roughly the right width - 5 pieces of styrene, slimming to give the right sort of shape. Some filler finishes it off quite nicely:

For future builds I think I'll cut the inner three pieces in such a way that I end up with a cockpit, but on this prototype its solid.

The classic Airfix 1:24 "Little Nellie" gyrocopter provided rotor blades that, again, have the right chord for a 1:149 Fletcher stabilator. All these components now await fitting, while I sand, fill and sand the fuselage. Currently the project appears thus:

Paint scheme will be ZK-BDS/N6505C, the prototype, without a canopy and with the original 225hp motor and cowl. I may make some moulds to allow limited production of a resin kit....maybe.....if I find out how to do that. I have no idea how long it will be until someone finally produces a 1:72 kit, so I thought I could try and fill the gap.

For those of you unfamiliar with this iconic Kiwi aircraft, here are a couple of photos:

(the following shots are of a museum aircraft painted as BDS, first shot by Peter Unmuth, others by Mike Stokes)

Any comments welcome :)

The windscreen I have now fabricated from part of a T-6 windscreen, exhausts and the top intake have been added, wing and empennage are in place, and I have sourced some wheels and suitable strut material. Fingers crossed day's end will see her enter the paint shop. Pics will then follow

And she's good to go. Believe it or not, all of these photos are very close to actual size. Madness!

Coincidentally, the photo serving as the background shows Guy Robertson taxiing prototype ZK-BDS out at Hamilton for her first flight in NZ....on September 24, 1954. 55 years ago this Thursday! How time flies. Guy is still around, but sadly BDS suffered some major damage during a disagreement with a hill in 2003.

The hopper box/bay came from some old drop tank/napalm bomb cut down, and the prop was donated by a Micro Machines Piper Cherokee.

What fun! I'm thinking a Cresco and FD25 are next....hehe! Thanks for watching!
Zac in NZ
#avgeek, modelbuilder, photographer, writer. Callsign: "HANDBAG"


This is just SOOOOO cool! Congratulations, I love your project and the resulting model.


[the word "realistic" hurts my heart...]


Alle kunst ist umsunst wenn ein engel auf das zundloch brunzt!!

Sic biscuitus disintegratum!

Cats are not real. 
They are just physical manifestations of collisions between enigma & conundrum particles.

Any aircraft can be improved by giving it a SHARKMOUTH!


Didn't Fletcher pitch one of these as a counter-insurgency airplane, about ten years before the Air Force became interested in such things?

Once again, I answer my own question.


Your scratch/bashing skills are most impressive!
"Life isn't divided into genres. It's a horrifying, romantic, tragic, comical, science-fiction cowboy detective novel. You know, with a bit of pornography if you're lucky."-Alan Moore

Captain Canada

CANADA KICKS arse !!!!

Long Live the Commonwealth !!!
Vive les Canadiens !
Where's my beer ?

Brian da Basher

Good on ya, Zac-o-matic! This tiny little Fletcher is a real testament to your talent and skill.
:thumbsup: :thumbsup:
Brian da Basher

Ed S

Brilliant scratchbuild.  I'm not sure I would want to tackle this kind of project in that scale.

Well done.

We don't just embrace insanity here.  We feel it up, french kiss it and then buy it a drink.


Quote from: Ed S on October 21, 2009, 08:59:31 PM
I'm not sure I would want to tackle this kind of project in that scale.
Ed, the best way to approach it is just find something to start from and work your way from there! In this case its the only way to get a small Fletcher model, and I'd dodged scratchbuilding all my life because I was worried I wasn't up to it. Happily I proved myself wrong :)

Thanks for all the kind words guys, when I took it in to work a few of the guys asked where I bought it. A sign of a job well done I suppose.
Zac in NZ
#avgeek, modelbuilder, photographer, writer. Callsign: "HANDBAG"


Zac, love it when you pull off something so tiny so beautifully!  :thumbsup:
Jeff G.
Stumbling through life.

John Howling Mouse

Wow, big (cool) things really do come in small packages.  Amazing, Zac!  :thumbsup:
Styrene in my blood and an impressive void in my cranium.


*blushes profusely* Aww, shucks! Thanks for the kind words.
Zac in NZ
#avgeek, modelbuilder, photographer, writer. Callsign: "HANDBAG"