When it comes to top level scale modeling, the WRAM show is the place to go to see what the Northeast section of the country has to offer. One of the best scale modelers we know of is Mike Gross Sr., from the Long Island Sky Hawks club. From Mastic Beach, NY, Mike won the Best of Show award at the recent WRAM show.
Mike has been working on this immaculate 1/3-scale Fokker Dr.1 Triplane for a couple years and we had a chance to chat with him after he stepped down from the awards stage.
Mike, as always, your model is just amazing. Tell is a little about it.
I started with the very well done Glenn Torrance Model kit and used it as a foundation to which I added my own scratch built details and functions. The model is 1/3-scale and uses very scale like construction techniques. The wings include scale box spars and the trailing edges are scale cables attached to the ends of the built up ribs. All the wing attachment points and struts are scale and use scale size hardware. The model uses scale strap hinges and covering is linen finished with dope to shrink it into place, which was also done on the full-size aircraft. The paint is Dope, all hand brushed on to duplicate the distinctive splinter camo scheme. The dummy 9-cylinder Oberursel rotary engine is from Nick Ziroli Plans. For documentation, I used Windsock Data Files and Engels scale drawings.
What about the engine and radio gear?
For power I am using the DLE 111cc twin cylinder gas engine and for the radio I use the JR 12X transmitter and all JR servos. I use A123 battery packs for the receiver and engine ignition system, both from Hangtime Hobbies.
Tell us about your scale details and control system rigging.
Like I said, I started with the basic GTM kit but I then added my own scratch built details. The cockpit is completely detailed including the floating compass, fuel lever and shutoff valves (Both of which switch the battery packs on and off,) the pilot seat and straps and all the internal structures. On the left wing strut is a scale Marell anemometer (airspeed inciicator) which is all scratch built. The fully functional cable control system is exactly like was used on the full size aircraft. The rudder is rigged to the functional Rudder bar and the ailerons and elevators are connected with pull-pull cables to the control stick which is also fully articulated and detailed with machine gun triggers.
All the cables are guided with scale pulleys and guards, and when you move the control stick, it in turn, moves the control surfaces. To control the model, I installed my servos under the cockpit flooring and connected them to the base of the control stick. This is the same setup that I use with my 1/3-scale Sopwith Camel which I competed with at Top Gun. It works extremely well and with the use of scale turnbuckles, the whole model can be broken down and taken apart for transport.
Mike’s Triplane ready for cover and finish!