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Da Vinci Flying Machine by gjdale - Imagination Factory - Scale 1:6 Completed

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It's been a long time between drinks for this log! The usual "life got in the way" excuse applies - mainly work-related - but I have managed to re-commence work on this project in the last couple of weeks - spurred on by receipt of my Medway Longboat kit from Chuck!😉


The somewhat tedious process of shaping all of the spars was the next step. 


The two spars of shape ‘B’ were sanded square and set aside. Of the 30 spars of shape ‘A’, eight were sanded square and set aside. The remaining 22 were tapered square from two thirds of the way back to the end of each rib. After tapering square, these 22 along with two that were not tapered, were all shaped octagonal. I found the easiest way to do this was using a very small hand plane. All the spars were then given a finish coating of Shellac followed by furniture wax. Here are the resulting spars, although the photo does not really show the shaping terribly well.




It was then on to the main wing spar shafts. Although the kit provided some 3/16” dowel for these, I used some 1/4" square boxwood stock to make these. After cutting to length, I started by drilling the holes as indicated in the plans while the stock was still square. I then used an approximation of the 7/10/7 rule to draw some layout lines for shaping to octagonal, for which I again used a small hand plane. The spars were then chucked in a hand drill and sanded round to the final thickness of 3/16”. It sounds like a lot of work, but this progressed quite quickly in the end. One end of each main spar was then shaped with a ‘step’ to receive two parts similar to a gaff neck (the part is unnamed in the instructions). These parts, together with the shaped end of the spar shaft, form a housing for the next part called a ‘spring clamp’, into which a wing-tip spar (cut from the spar shape 'B') was inserted. Once all the shaping was complete, the spar shafts received the usual treatment of shellac/furniture wax. I forgot to take any progress photos of this stage. 


The spring clamps were shaped from 1/4” x 3/32” Cherry stock and fitted to the spar shaft housings using a dab of glue and three ‘seizings’. Here is a photo of the completed main spar shafts, with wing-tip spars inserted.




and a close-up of the spring-clamp arrangement... 




All of the shaped spars, together with the main spar shafts, will now be used to construct the wings.

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Thanks Carl, and to all of the "likes".


Construction of the wings begins by placing the shaped ribs individually over the wing plan and cutting a variety of lengths and shapes. The photo below shows some of these ready for use:


Once all ribs are cut to size/shape, the wings are built up over the wing plan, in alphabetical order. Here is what this phase looks like:


Here is a photo of the wings at this stage, removed from the wing plan:




Two wing struts were then made, fitted with hardware and seized with thread – the plans call for them to be slightly different lengths:


Construction of the tail section begins with creating a curved “shaper” made up by laminating three pieces of 1/8” x 1/32” Cherry around a plywood former created from the supplied template. The “shaper” is then placed over the wing plan and trimmed to final size/shape:


Two of the remaining wing ribs are then glued and seized together such that they curve in three dimensions. Here are all of the tail pieces prior to final assembly:


Tail construction then proceeds with the shaper and two outer ribs glued together over the wing plan:


The two inner ribs are then notched on the underside and placed over the shaper. The blob of “yellow tack” is to provide some weight/balance so that the inner ribs set in the correct position:


The Tail Mounting Bracket is then made by first bending a piece of (very) stiff wire to shape and then adding a leather strap, which was first cut to shape and fitted with a “buckle” as well as two slits for the wire:


The Tail Mounting Bracket is then attached to the Tail Assembly:


Finally, some cable (thick thread) was added in accordance with the Wing Plan. Here is the final Tail Assembly:


The next step will be to cover both wings and tail assembly with mesh, followed by final assembly of all parts to the fuselage. The finish line approaches…

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Happy New Year to you and the family, Grant.


A nice challenge, looking very good .... would have loved to lay my hands on this kit, but unfortunately it is no longer available ...

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Thanks Carl - and Happy New Year to you and yours  too.


Thanks Mark for helping with the edit - though I seem to have lost an earlier picture now. I’ll try to reinstate that tomorrow.


Thanks Mark (Ponitachedmark) for the kind comment.

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Well, I had thought that over the Christmas holiday period I would be able to finish this model, but.......


The model has lain dormant for quite some time as I contemplated fixing the mesh to the wings. The instructions give two options – simply glue the mesh to the struts using CA glue, or for added realism, sew them onto the struts. It was the latter part that added to the delay. Not only was it a mind-numbing task to contemplate, but the actual doing of it was a lot like the task of completing the ratlines on a model ship. So, it seemed that many other priorities in the workshop and around the house managed to make their way ahead of this task. I finally decided to bite the bullet, put on a talking book and set to. In the end, after months of procrastination, it only took about three days per wing, plus another day for the tail assembly. The task was aided by the use of a curved upholstery needle but remained a slow and tedious process nevertheless. Now I know why talking books were invented!


Here is the result:


Prior to final assembly, the stand needs to be temporarily completed to aid in the assembly process (it can be removed later if a ‘flying’ display is desired). The parts for the stand are pre-shaped and required only the forming of a bevel on the top part of the mount, some pilot holes for fixing the fuselage, a final sand, and then staining and varnishing. The instructions recommend a gloss black finish to provide contrast for the model, so I chose a black spirit-based stain (two coats), with a clear gloss varnish over the top. I'll post some photos of that once the varnish dries and then I can do the "final" assembly.


The only remaining problem will be what to do with it once it's completed. It may end up hanging from the ceiling in my study/office/workshop.

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this looks very cool Grant.....I'm interested to see this base.  have you given thought to a posable 1:6 scale figure?  what scale is a GI Joe doll.......or other dolls of the like?   I have a couple of Walking Dead figures that are rather large......not sure of the scale.   just a thought.......might look neat to see them on a person.  these are too cool not to try something like it ;)   call 'em Angel........or Constantine.......or even Icarus 

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Posted (edited)
11 hours ago, popeye the sailor said:

 have you given thought to a posable 1:6 scale figure?

I have this kit in my stack and have considered an ‘abstract’ figure to man it, don’t want a fully detailed figure detracting from the model.

One option i found is a mannequin that artists use to practice proportion, available in various sizes including 12” which at this scale would be a 6’ pilot, a tall person for the period but not unheard of (from memory my research indicated 5’6” - 5’7” would be more appropriate) but i doubt the difference would be too noticeable. Depending on the mannequin a little trimming might even be feasible. 




PS Apologies for the imperial measurements, a persons height is the one thing I’ve never got my head around in metric !

Edited by mgdawson

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Posted (edited)


Thanks for all the likes folks. And for Popeye and Mark - I won't be adding a figure to this model, though I do appreciate your thoughts.


The Base was a little too shiny after the varnish, so I knocked it down a little with some 0000 steel wool and furniture wax. Here is the completed stand:



And here is the stand with the fuselage attached (note: I later replaced the steel phillips head screws with brass slotted screws, with slots aligned to the grain of the wood of course!):




Then it was simply a case of following the instruction sequence for attaching the wings and the tail section, along with the rigging. The instructions for this phase were particularly poor but we got there in the end. 


It was very difficult to photograph the completed model because of the wing-span, but here are a few overall shots:








And here are a few close-ups of various sections:


Top View:







And another from underneath:




Posting these last couple of photos showed me that one of the rigging lines had parted company with its pulley - that has now been rectified.


That completes the construction of the Da Vinci Flying Machine. One year and eight months in the making – would have been a lot less if procrastination and other priorities hadn’t interfered! For those who may be curious, the wing-span is 102 cm / 40 inches.


Now I can turn my attention to the next project(s)....


I will be starting on Chuck's Medway Longboat shortly, but I may also try to multi-task and start on one of my two Pocher car models. We'll have to see - there is still a bunch of 1:1 scale woodwork going on in the "big" workshop!


Thanks to all who have followed along with this build, for your support and encouragement. I hope you have enjoyed watching as much as I have enjoyed building this kit.

Edited by gjdale

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Posted (edited)

it sets up nicely on the base!.........love it! :)    definitely a delicate piece.......looks like you won't be hang'in it  ;)   it would be a perfect fit in your study,  on on your desk at the office.  the only problem with the office though,  is you'll have a hard time keeping a person's attention :D  I think their eyes will be on the model.   it has a very nice balance of color and vividly shows how detailed it is.  a very nice piece of art  :) 


it looks awesome Grant........you did a stellar job on it :)   I do hope you'll post you Pocher project here......I've heard a lot about these models,  but have never built one myself.  interested to see what I've been missing out on  ;) 

Edited by popeye the sailor
extra text

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Thanks very much for all the kind comments folks and for the likes. 


Popeye - my study is also my office, which is also my shipyard (one half is office, the other half shipyard) - and there is simply no room left in there for this model. You’re right though, I don’t think hanging it will be an option.  I have however spied a couple of potential spaces in the house - will have to wait until SWMBO is not looking before trying them out though.......wish me luck! 😎

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That looks great! I had no idea how big it was. I assumed 8-10 wingspan. At 40 inches it would take up most of your desk.


Finding a place for it shouldn't be too hard. Wait till SHMBO is out with the girls and put it in its place. When she comes home make sure she has her preferred adult beverage and tell her, "Gosh honey, that's been there for years! Oh! and look at these cool diamond earrings I found!"


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Wonderful work on the flying machine, Grant. You should send her shopping, at least if it is one of her virtues ;) That will cut you some slack to fly around the house with your machine and look for a fitting landing spot.

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Thanks guys. I had a few brownie points after the jewellery box that I made her for her Birthday last month (which included some jewellery inside it too), so didn't have too hard a time convincing her of a new "temporary" home for the flying machine. 😀


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Thanks for the tips guys. Her only real concern was potential damage to the model, so my “temporary” solution is no real problem - will only be “temporary” until she forgets that it’s “temporary” and then it is “temporary” no more!😄😁😁


Our son dropped in for a visit yesterday and thought it was a really cool model, so another vote of confidence to help it keep its place.

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