I am concerned about this project, and what it does to the mind by way of obsession. I can’t think of another reason why I would choose to try to do a wing fold conversion on a biplane. But I did.
Ever since seeing photos of Hawker Ospreys of 800NAS with folded wings, I have felt obliged to build one. The process was, well, interesting. I know how I’d do it in the future if I had to, but this one didn’t turn out too badly. Anyone with any knowledge of aviation will spot mistakes straight away, but this isn’t a build for a museum so I’m going to chill out and think positive. It looks like an Osprey and the wings are folded.
The donor kit was the Osprey III/IV by A-Model that I have built before. The kit started as before with the fuselage taking shape. Then came the modifications.
First was to mark up the wings for cutting. There are clear marks where the fixed and folding portions meet up, which is helpful.
Once cut, the lower plane inboard sections can be fitted to the fuselage and the tension struts to the fuselage put in place.
Then the upper centre section can be fitted to the cabane struts above the fuselage.
Then the outer (folding) portions of both wings can be attached with the struts and a short length of polystyrene rod to represent the braces used in reality to support the inner edge of the upper wing.
After that, we can start painting. All over aluminium dope with cerrux grey on the nose metalwork and the red and blue stripes of HMS Ark Royal.
One photo reference I found showed an Osprey of 800NAS with a red tail but with a striped panel superimposed – my guess is that this is a flight leader’s aircraft. I used the usual distressing powders and oils to make it look a little ‘lived in’. Then the big moment…
Joining the wings went more simply than I had anticipated, with the two sides lining up roughly the same. I just have to photograph from the right angle to hide the worst gaps… I painted the inside of the fold lines an interior green and added a small bracing rod on the lower planes – I can’t see the Admiralty allowing the wings to be unsecured completely when folded.
So that is the pair completed – an Osprey III with folded wings and an Osprey IV with wings out.
Next will be another modification project to replace a model i have already done, but with a new set of decals. Intrigued? then watch this space!