One of the more popular aircraft to come out of the Great War was the SE5 and SE5a Scout built by the Royal Aircraft Factory (RAF). No surprise that the SE5 Scout is also a very popular choice for scale RC modelers.
We caught up with our good buddy and Top Gun Static Scale Judge Bob Curry to learn more about his newest project. (Photos courtesy of Sean Curry).
Bob Curry: I’ve been working on this 1/4 scale S.E.5a kit , on and off, since last November. It is a Balsa USA kit and It’s now just about ready for covering with “Antique” Solartex. (Yes, I had bought several large rolls just before the covering became “Extinct”. My Scout is powered with a Zenoah G-38 equipped with a B&B Specialties spring started and muffler. I am using Futaba radio gear and servos. The airborne system is powered by two 2200mAh LiFe battery packs connected in parallel through a redundant Smart–Fly “Bat Share” device.
I can’t say enough about the quality and value of Balsa USA WW1 kits. This is my fourth Balsa USA kit build (1/4 Nieuport, 1/4 Fokker Dr.1, and 1/3 Fokker D.VII), and with the exception of a small scale outline modification to the top wing center section cut-out, it is built exactly as designed. The fun part for me now is picking off all the various “Fiddly Bits” not included in the basic kit but are unique to the full scale aircraft: Wire Rigging, Lewis Gun, Telescopic Gunsight, Windscreen & fairing, Landing Gear bungee fairings, Lower Cowl extensions, Cockpit detail and Pilot Figure (Aces of Iron).
My final choice for Color and Markings is of Flight Officer Duncan Milne with its distinctive red fuselage treatment.
Finish is brushed “Baer” Latex paint custom mixed at Home Depot. I’ll prep the Solartex with about six thinned (50/50) coats of Sig Mfg. Butyrate over Nitrate dope. In my experience, it seems to keep the Solartex from bubbling or sagging over time. All markings will also be masked and hand painted. (Just like the original)
My plan is to fly it again at the Rhinebeck WWI RC Jamboree in September 2021.
To start, I’d like to say your SE5-a looks awesome. I have been flying my BUSA SE5-a a lot already this year and love how easy it is to takeoff, fly, and land. I have been watching posts for years and the only good pics I have seen of this subject was Brian Perkins’. It’s good to see another.
I have a few questions for Bob about this build if he can help me.
First, have you flown it yet, and have you had any problems with the tail skid fairing not staying attached? I can’t seem to keep one on and it looks ridiculous without it.
Second, like you I plan to build scale gear. What did you use for reference to build the landing gear?
And finally, I have a serious problem with horizontal stab/elevator flutter after doing a simple immelmann or coming out of the back side of a loop. I build the tail group as instructed but now all I can do with this beauty is fly a simple circuit for fear of losing the tail.
Gerry, if you could get these questions to Bob I would be greatly appreciative of your time.
Félicitions pour ce projet et bravo pour sa réalisation !
Looking good Bob!
What do you think the final weight will be?
Mine trimmed out at 23 lbs after adding nose weight. However, it was scratch built to 26.5%, so a little bigger.
I also apply butrate dope over a coat of nitrate as you do to give the Solartex a nice taunt surface.
I currently have four giant scale WW1 aircraft in flying condition. The SE5a is definitely the best flyer of the bunch.
See you at Rhinebeck.
Simply outstanding! Thank you for keeping history alive in such a beautifully well done rendition!
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