Monday, 14 January 2013

Airco DH2

The Airco DH2 WW1 pusher scout is my favourite aircraft. I just love the look of it. So I very disappointed, when I decided to go down the 1/600th route for my WW1 aircraft wargames collection, to discover that Tumbling Dice (nor indeed, anyone as far as I could see) made one at that scale.

So I made my own.

And here it is:

Those are grains of rice for scale. It has a wingspan of roughly 15mm.

It's not as accurate as it could be, but as a wargames model it's perfect.

I have three more just waiting for their markings to be painted.

I don't plan to make any more ...

... although some FE2s are tempting :)


  1. Great stuff -tell us how you did it!!


    1. I should have taken step by step pictures, I guess, but to some extent I was making it up as I went along :)

      OK. It's made from thin card (wings and tailplane), balsa (fuselage), florist wire (thin for the struts and thick for the undercarriage and pilot) amd Milliput (wheels).

      The fuselage is a block of balsa, 3mm high, 2mm wide and 5mm long. I used an emery board (nail file) to carefully sand down the front of the fuselage to make the cockpit, then round it to create that bathtub shape. The rear was left at 3mm high - that would be the engine and the supports for the upper wing.

      A small hole was drilled in the cockpit and a tiny (1-2mm) length of thick florist wire glued in to make the pilot. I did the same at the back of the fuselage to make the propeller boss.

      The wings are pieces of card about 15mm long and 3mm deep. I shaped the tips with a modelling knife, and cut a 1mm x 5mm section out of the back of each.

      The struts are thin florist wire, about 8-9mm long. There are four pieces for each plane, glued onto what would become the undersie of each wing, and protruding to create a triangle at the back (I used the graticules on the cutting board to line everything up at the right orientation and rough distance. They were glued with PVA, but once that was dried I reinforced it with superglue. The apex of the triangle was superglued.

      On to the apex of one wing/strut assembly I glued the tailplane - a piece of card about 3mm x 5mm, with the ends shaped by a modelling knife.

      I now had a fuselage and two wing sections - I glued the fuselage to the lower wing, and then the upper wing to the fuselage, keeping the side with the struts on the inside where they won't be seen.

      The rudder is about 5mm deep x 5mm high, with a considerable chunk cut out of it so that it went over the top of the tailplane. The end was rounded with a modelling knife, and it was glued along the top of the tailplane, then glued (superglue/PVA) to the apex of the lower strut. This is the most fragile, and least satisfactory connection of the whole model.

      Finally the undercarriage. I glued a piece of thick florist about 3mm long wire to the underside if the lower wing to make an axle. The wheels were cut from a rolled-out sheet of Millipu using a short piece of plastic tube from a cotton-bud (q-tip), the milliput then being gently poked out of the tube with a piece of wire. This creates a slight impression in the wheel, which is perfect. Obviously I made a batch of wheels at this stage. The wheels were glued at each end of the axle.

      And that's the model made. Once it was all dry I painted it in a roughly 50/50 mix of water and PVA to help seal it and on the hope that the PVA 'skin' would help hold it together. Then I undercoated and painted it.

      I'll permanently mount it on a flying stand later; I'm waiting for an order of perspex bases from Litko at the moment.

      Long-winded, but I hope that helps. Because I wasn't obsessive about accuracy - I'm aiming for a 2' 'wargames view' - most of the effort was spent in designing the thing rather than construction. The most frustrating part was lining up the struts, although the rudder attachment wasn't entirely satisfactory.

  2. Lovely model and thanks for the tutorial!

    My first thought was not 'grains of rice' but 'giant maggots attacking fab a/c'. I need to get some fresh air really....;-)

  3. Great work, and great tuto!


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