Wednesday, 26 June 2013

1/48th Pfalz DIII WIP Pt.2

And here we go with part two of the 1/48th Pfalz DIII work in progress (Click here for PART ONE).

So the rigging begins... I didn't realise how complex the front wing rigging would be, it looked reasonably simple on the instructions provided by Eduard, but when I did a little more research I found the Wingnut Wings website. They produce a Pfalz in 1/32nd and incredibly helpfully post the instruction booklet online. This has a full rigging diagram, so I used that, rather than the one in the kit.

Like with the my SE5a, I went for the old school stretched sprue method. I'm glad I did, because I think I would have gone blind if I'd used the professional modeller methods espoused by Bob at Bob's Buckles (as good as they are!).

Alternatively, here is how I did it. First, clip off a piece of sprue, this one is about four centimetres long, it doesn't matter about the length too much but you'll need enough on either end to hold onto with your fingers. So unless you have sausage fingers this is probably about the right size:

Tools of the trade; I use a lighter to melt the plastic, but you could easily use a candle like a tealight or another source of flame. I was going to use candles myself, but kept forgetting to buy any when I was in town so tried it with a lighter and it worked just fine:

Holding the sprue in one hand and the lighter in the other warm up the centre part of the sprue with the flame (be careful with naked flames, kids!), as soon as the sprue bends in the middle, you're good to go (by the way, my thumb nail looks like that because I closed my thumb in a car door when I was 13 and it's grown back like that ever since, it's not a hoof...):

Then quickly and smoothly pull the two ends of the sprue apart, keeping it as straight as possible, this part needs to be doe pretty quickly before the plastic solidifies again. This is a sprue I stopped pulling too quickly and it ended up thick and bent. No use:

This is better, a long thin straight stretched sprue. This was too long for the photo, but I'm sure you get the idea...This takes a bit of practise to get right, but is worth it when you do. The good thing about this method is you can make the sprue as thick or thin as you need.

Being an archaeologist I have access to tools some others may not, like this pair of electronic callipers (is it a pair? Are they like scissors and only come in pairs? Can you actually buy one scissor? Questions like these keep me awake at night). In my working life these are usually used for measuring the inside of human skulls...  It's been pressed into service to measure the parts I want to fit the rigging to so I get as accurate measurement as possible.

Without callipers I'm not sure the best way to do this part, except by cutting the stretched sprue, dry fitting and cutting it down by eye until you get the correct length needed. In my case I was able to measure along the length of stretched sprue with a ruler and cut it off at the correct point that I needed.

Next is the actual fitting, I use the model box to hold the plane up so I can gain access to it easier. For the glue I use polystyrene cement here as it doesn't set quickly so you get a bit of play with it. Pour a blob out onto a surface (I use some off-cuts of MDF as it is not very porous and won't be melted by the glue like plastic can)  then dip each end of the sprue into the cement. Then using tweezers carefully position the sprue into it's correct place.

I did it in a methodical way, doing the front of the wings first then working on the rear. Another thing to be careful about here is doing the rigging that is in the interior part of the wings first, working from the centre of the wings out. And remember it's always better to dry fit twice, then glue once! Let's not make mistakes here, kids!

So you should have something looking a bit like this next picture. I have started painting the rigging in black, it has just struck me that the wires could have actually been painted before being fitted so it will cut down the work on this part which is delicate and quite tricky (give me a break, I'm on a learning curve here...). Also the glue smears will be painted over to neaten the whole thing up.

I'm pretty pleased with this, being that it is only the second plane I have ever rigged. There is more detail I could add to it, like the turn-buckles at the end of the rigging lines, but that is an experiment for another time, so for now I'm happy:

As this is a display model, I am not sure how sturdy this method of rigging would be for gaming purposes. I think if the kit is smaller there should be less stress on the lines anyway, but I would probably use more glue than I did with this kit. Alternatively, once the polystyrene cement is dry it may be an idea to apply some strong superglue to the joins, which should help hold the lines in place. Anyway, thanks for looking so far, next time you see this model it will be weathered and based, but I'm just waiting on some wood for a base to be delivered, so I'm stuck for the time being...


  1. Thank you for the stretching exercise. The Plane is an object of fine modeling!

    1. Thanks Jay, I'm glad you liked it. I hope it will be of some use to someone. I'm really enjoying this project, even though it's taking slightly longer than weekend...


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