is an example of the Grumman F2F-1, as presented in the September
1957 edition of American Modeler. Designed, drawn and described
by Paul Plecan. "The Grumman F2F was a single-engine, biplane fighter
aircraft with retractable undercarriage, serving as the standard
fighter for the United States Navy between 1936 and 1940. It was
designed for both carrier- and land-based operations." -
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version. You might be able to buy full-size plans from the
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. All copyrights (if any) are hereby acknowledged.
Designed, drawn and described by Paul Plecan
Of all fighter biplanes ever built, the early Grumman ships personify
a pugnacity and ruggedness apparent in no other type. Chunky, strong,
the F2F-l was a fast fighter for its time; one reason was its retractable
landing gear. The F2F -1 was one of the earliest fighters that had
this feature in operational or squadron service. First seen by the
author at Floyd Bennett Field near New York in the mid-thirties,
the F2F-I was always considered a high priority subject for a U-control
model. If you like the F2F-l's looks too, let's build one ...
Easiest way to get going is to build the wings first. After
cutting out the required number of ribs and tip pieces, cut leading
and trailing edges to size. Note that ribs are notched into both
leading and trailing edges. Once all the cutting is done, cement
together over the plan. The lower wing incorporates some dihedral,
so crack the leading and trailing edges (after cutting partly through)
where the doubled number 6 ribs occur. Propping up tips with scrap
⅜" stock: under # 1 ribs produces the
correct dihedral angle, so just let the cement dry well while we
tackle the fuselage.
A basic framework is built up of ¼
square balsa longeron, followed by the various former segments as
shown in the step-by-step sketches. The suffix on each former part
clarifies its position; T for top, S for side, and B for bottom.
Along about now it will be necessary to cut out 2 each of parts
3F and 3G. Thickness is immaterial, but 3/16" or
" stock would be fine. Former 3B is
cut off flush with lower edge of 3F -3G so that top surface of center
section of lower wing" fits snugly against this assembly. Lower
wing should be covered and doped now so it can be assembled to the
fuselage framework. Silk is recommended "for maximum strength and
resiliency. In assembling the lower wing to fuselage, be careful
to keep alignment right on the button when viewed from above (they
should be at right angles). The part remaining of 3B is now trimmed
an amount equal to thickness of wing at that point and cemented
to bottom of wing.
We can now proceed with planking of fuselage.
Use soft ⅛" x ⅜
" balsa strips, starting
near top longerons and about parallel to them. Due to the pronounced
taper of the fuselage from station 3 to the tail at 7, it will be
necessary to taper the planking. This is easiest if you have a really
sharp miniature plane, but if not, a metal-edged rule laid across
edge of planking strip will guide your X-acto knife or razor blade
for a straight taper cut where you want it. Sanding wm achieve the
slight bevel necessary between adjacent strips; the finished fuselage
should be practically devoid of slits or gaps in the planking. More
sanding is in order now to achieve a smooth surface.
forward of fanner 2B is carved from a block of balsa, 2¾"
long by 1⅝
" deep and 3¾
wide. If you so desire, the wheel-wells can be carved into the sides
of the block; however, many will choose merely to paint a 2½
circle in dark gray or black on the sides of the fuselage in the
same spot and let it go at that. For maximum strength, it is best
to lace the main landing gear strut to the inside structure as shown
on plans. Strong sewing thread or upholsterer's thread is fine for
this, plus generosity with cement.
A plywood insert between
engine bearers (or on top) is necessary for bellcrank attachment.
Laterally or vertically the position is not too important, but do
not change from longitudinal position shown; 1/32" aft of station
2 is ideal, as shown. The line guide for the lead-outs on the "N"
strut is positioned for bellcrank position shown, so change it if
you change the bellcrank position for any reason.
are cut from ¼
" sheet and sanded to
section shown in side view. Regular fabric hinges are used (or whatever
type is your favorite) and be sure ample movement of the elevators
exists. If a small Veco (2") bellcrank is used and the elevator
horn is about the size shown, up and down travel will be sufficient.
An important item of appearance will be the wheels. The narrow-tread
tires and wheels used on these older-type jobs make wheel procurement
a problem. The right-type wheels can be obtained. from Scalemaster
Models, 28 Ionia, Grand Rapids, Mich. $1 per pair, postpaid. If
you are making primarily a :flying model, simplify the tail wheel
mounting into a single wire deal. Complicated stuff just doesn't
hold up for wear and tear of flying.
For those who may have
trouble in getting top wing in place correctly on a biplane, here
is our advice. Cut a "jig" out of any thickness wood handy. This
should have the contour of the wing I undercamber for its top edge
and the I shape of the fuselage profile for its lower' edge (that
portion of the fuselage directly under the wing). Now if this jig
is pinned or taped to fuselage and then wing taped to it, you will
have something to hold the wing in place while fitting the "N" struts.
Brace the top wing to the bottom with scrap strips and check alignment
from above and from front before fitting struts.
are a .definite help in (I will scan the rest
of the article on request)
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