Bipes 'N Tripes Article & Plans
March 1974 American Aircraft Modeler
visitor Ken E. wrote to request a pair of two articles from the
"For the Tenderfoot" series that was a regular feature in the AMA's
American Aircraft Modeler magazine. The first one, which appeared
in the May 1974 edition, was titled, "Monsters
and Monoplanes." As was typical, all the models are 1/2A powered
control line with sheet (profile) fuselages and flying surfaces. This
series represents World War I era designs with two bipes and two
tripes! The plans are very well done and include lots of detail for
Bipes 'N Tripes
Photos by John Dent
Nostalgia flies again! By yourself, friend against friend, club against
club, or Snoopy versus the Red Baron - it all adds up to one thing:
Super Fun Combat. All of the airplanes stunt. The bipes are a bit faster
than the tripes, but the tripes are a bit snappier than the bipes. Even
match? You bet your dog-house!
Build four all-balsa 049 control liners from the plans and
have some combat. They are lively fliers of WWI vintage.
Have you ever been chased by
a Fokker, tried a snap loop to get on his tail and cut your own streamer
in the process? Has a Sopwith ever bounced his wheels off your top wing,
received four prop slashes in his fuselage, only to fly off into the
sunset flaunting h is uncut streamer? No? Well, clear the workbench,
because Bipes and Tripes are here!
These planes are designed
to be airworthy, crash resistant, colorful 1/2A flyers which will provide
hours of fun. The Cox Golden Bee with its stunt tank has proven to be
the best all around engine. The Babe Bee works quite well, too, so mounting
instructions for that engine are shown. Be sure to rotate the tank 90°
so the engine cylinders will point to the outside of the circle when
mounted. (See plans.)
Begin construction by drawing full-size plans. Tick marks have been
provided around the edge of the plans to aid you in blowing them up.
Connect these ticks, making a square grid pattern over the magazine
plans. Then draw one-in. ticks around the edge of a 31 x 22" sheet of
thin poster board or wrapping paper. Connect these in the same manner.
Now the plans can be enlarged by drawing on the poster board what you
see in each small grid in the magazine. The poster board is useful because
it can be cut into stiff patterns for easy construction and for future
Bipes and Tripes. (Instead, you may wish to buy the full-size plan from
AAM's plan service for $1. Tenderfoot decals for your plane are included.)
Tripe shows how the engine is attached with the aluminum mount.
Mount and engine alterations are explained in the text. You
can make a wooden mount if aluminum is not available.
(Above and Below) All these parts and pieces make all these
nice bipes and tripes.
Sopwith bipe (Camel). Color it olive drab, put some decals on
it and the allies have a machine to do battle.
Fokker tripe, the challenger, is a tight looper, but not quite
as fast as the allies' planes (in model form). Paint it all
red, then add the black on white crosses.
Materials needed are 1/8" thick, four-in. wide balsa sheet for
the wings and tails; 3/8" thick, four-in. wide balsa for the fuselages;
a small sheet of 1/8" plywood for motor mount backing and control horn
mounts; 1/8" hardwood dowels for wing struts and tail skids; 1/16" wire
for elevator connectors, pushrods and landing gear; a sheet of 1/16"
aluminum stock for motor mounts; and 1/8" sq. sticks for wing and tail
Here is what you will need to build all four
airplanes: Six 1/8 x 4 x 36" balsa sheets; one 3/8 x 4 x 36" balsa sheet;
one 1/8 x 6 x 12" plywood sheet; two 1/8 x 1/8 x 36" balsa sticks; four
1/8" round x 36" dowel stock; three 1/16 x 36" music wires; one 1/16
x 6 x 12" aluminum stock (See K&S display at the hobby shop.): four
1/2A bellcranks; four 1/2A control horns; four sets 1 1/2" Williams
Here are a few pointers for mounting and aligning
Bipes: Glue the bottom wing on first and let it dry.
Pre-cut all struts and glue only the fuselage struts in place at the
locations shown on the plans. Let them dry. With the fuselage and bottom
wings flat on a board, place top wing on center struts (strut holes
should be drilled all the way through the wings); prop up top wing tips
to level the wing and make sure the leading edge is parallel to the
bottom wing leading edge. Glue the center struts to the top wing. When
completely dry, add end struts and 1/8" balsa braces.
Glue center wing in fuselage first. When dry, glue bottom wing and align
with center wing. Add balsa struts and center fuselage dowels and let
dry. Add top wing and 1/8" balsa braces last.
The heavy aluminum
motor mounts can be cut with tin snips or a razor saw. If you have an
old aluminum lawn chair, the arms are pre-bent and need only hack sawing
into proper widths. Screw the motor mounts to the fuselage before attaching
the engine. The engine is held to the aluminum mount with 2-56 nuts
and bolts. Before mounting motor, some alteration is necessary. Remove
the four screws from the back of the tank; then turn the front part,
with the cylinder pointed to the right side (needle valve, still upright),
and reinstall the screws.
The landing gear is wedged between
the engine and the aluminum mount. This gear is a good safety indicator
because if the gear falls out, you know your engine is loose.
The roundels and iron crosses can usually be found in decal sheets
at the hobby shop. Basic colors are indicated under the names on the
plans. Remember, lots of super pilots in WWI had their own special paint
designs, so feel free to use your imagination.
to AAM if Bipes and Tripes are popular in your area. Pictures, types
of events in which you use them and other data would be appreciated
because ... Monsters and Monoplanes are now flying their test program.
Your interest in this type of 1/2A fun will get that published, too!
Have you even been flying your twin engine DeHaviliand when
all of a sudden a monoplane comes out of the sun and starts nipping
at your streamer? Well, that's another story ....
Bipes & Tripes Plans
The AMA Plans Service offers a full-size
version of many of the plans show here at a very reasonable cost. They will scale the plans any size for you. It is always
best to buy printed plans because my scanner versions often have distortions that can cause parts to fit poorly. Purchasing
plans also help to support the operation of the Academy of Model
Aeronautics - the #1 advocate for model aviation throughout the world. If the AMA no longer has this plan on file, I
will be glad to send you my higher resolution version.
Try my Scale Calculator for Model Airplane Plans.
Posted September 21,2013
Even during the busiest times of my life I have endeavored to maintain
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through a lifelong involvement in model aviation, which
all began in Mayo, MD. There
is a lot of good information and there are lot
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