Bristol M.1C WWI monoplane
was designed and built by the ineffable (when it comes to model aircraft designing and building)
Walter A. Musciano. This unique monoplane was a rarity during the era when biplanes and triplanes
ruled the skies. Construction is very robust in that it uses balsa sheeting on the built-up wing and
balsa planking on the fuselage. The wingspan works out to around 27", and power can be anything from
a .099 to .29 engine. Of course electric power can be substituted if you prefer the 'silent' and
World War One Bristol M.1C Control Line Scale
By Walter A. Musciano
One of the cleanest-looking airplanes of the first World War
was the Bristol M.1C. This fighter was used by the British in Africa and Arabia from 1915 through 1917
for ground strafing, scouting and intercepting bombers. Its armament consisted of one fixed Vickers
machine gun mounted atop the cowl just forward of the cockpit. Probably the most unusual feature of
this bullet-nosed monoplane was the hole placed in each side of the wing. This improved the pilot's
otherwise poor visibility by allowing him to look downward for landings and general combat requirements.
The model presented here is constructed to a scale of 1" equals 1'. This enables any powerplant of
from .14 to .23 cubic-inch displacement to be successfully used. An .099 engine in good working condition
will power this craft and a .29 engine will be certain to provide some very fast flights. Construction
is quite simple and the model falls together quickly.
Instead of following the construction of the full-size plane by using numerous ribs and longerons
and then covering entire structure with tissue or silk, we decided to make our model more rugged and
serviceable by planking the fuselage while our wing is sheet-balsa covered. Wing ribs can be simulated
with heavy thread cemented over the covered wing if desired. Layers of wood sealer and dope will fillet
thread and create the impression of wing ribs and fabric covering.
Construction begins with wing. Cut ribs and spars to shape. Cement plywood spar joiners to spars,
thereby creating correct amount of dihedral, and set aside to dry. Cut wing lower covering to outline
shape and cement spars and ribs to it. Covering must be in two panels because of dihedral and therefore
only one side can be assembled at a time.
Attach bellcrank to bellcrank mount with bolt and then add wire lead-out lines. Slip lead-out lines
through holes in ribs and cement bellcrank mount to covering and ribs. Add wire control rod to bellcrank
and be certain to cut it slightly oversize in length so it will be sure to reach control horn later.
Lower covering should be beveled along trailing edge and upper
covering can now be cemented to spars, ribs and lower covering bevel. Hold in place with pins until
Cement balsa leading edges against forward spar and attach balsa-sheet wing tips. Remember that holes
must be made in wing tip on inside of flight circle to accommodate lead-out lines. Force aluminum or
plastic tubing into these holes as plans illustrate.
When thoroughly dry, wing leading edge and wing tip should be gently carved to shape to fair into
rest of wing. Sand entire wing thoroughly.
Cut fuselage keel to shape and cement to exact center of wing. Keel will require splitting along
wing cutout opening in order to fit wing because of the wing's narrow center portion. Now cut fuselage
formers to shape and cement to each side of keel. Remember to cut engine mount holes to fit mounts which
must be spaced for the particular engine you intend to use. Hardwood engine mounts should be very firmly
cemented to formers and bulkheads.
Wire landing gear is installed in a rather unorthodox manner because of its location. Bend various
wire components to shape with pliers and bind together with soft, very thin wire. Joints should then
be well soldered. Forward landing gear struts are now attached to engine mounts by wood screws while
rear struts are firmly bound to plywood support cemented to formers and keel. Keel will require slot
in order to accommodate landing gear support installation.
Install fuel tank very rigidly at this time. Cut away just enough of keel to be able to wedge tank
in place. Add balsa braces to hold it firmly. Plastic tube filling, vent and fuel supply extensions
should now be added to tank.
Cut tail surfaces and shape to a streamline cross section. Sand well and attach elevator halves to
hardwood spar. Add control horn to this assembly and hinge elevator and stabilizer to each other. Cement
stabilizer into notch in keel and, when dry, connect control rod to control horn. Solder washer to control
rod end as shown.
The fuselage is now planked - quite a simple task. Cement one planking strip to each side of fuselage
and one each to top and bottom. Hold in place with straight pins. Now cement planking strip to each
side of four strips already in place. Be certain to cement these to the other strips as well as to formers.
Continue in this manner until entire fuselage is covered. Each
planking strip should be fitted in place before cement is used in order to determine correct amount
of bevel and taper necessary. When fit is good, cement can be applied and planking strip held in place
with straight pins. When planking operation is complete and cement has dried, pins should be removed.
Any visible cracks should be filled with Plastic Balsa pressed into place with fingers.
Sandpaper fuselage thoroughly and seal any additional cracks with Plastic Balsa. Mark off and cut
out cockpit opening with sharp knife or razor blade.
Cowl is carved from medium balsa consisting of two blocks lightly cemented along horizontal center
line. Trace cowl top view onto block and cut to shape with coping saw. Repeat for side view and carve
nose block roughly to shape. Separate blocks with sharp knife and hollow each half as plans indicate
to clear engine mount, landing gear and engine. This is done very carefully, cutting a little at a time.
Sand interior smooth and cement two halves to model and each other. The cowl can now be completed with
final sanding to fair it into fuselage.
Cut out fin and rudder, sand to streamline shape and cement to fuselage; offset rudder as top view
illustrates. Hard balsa or pine fairing strips should be firmly attached to wire landing gear struts.
These are first sanded to streamline shape at trailing edge only, then wrapped to wire with strips of
silk or heavy tissue while using plenty of cement.
Entire model should receive a final light sandpapering prior to application of wood sealer. Brush
on minimum of six coats of sanding sealer to provide good foundation for color. Sand well with 6/0 and
then 8/0 paper after each coat is thoroughly dry. Prototype model is olive drab with light gray cowling
and buff underside of wing and horizontal tail surfaces. Apply lightest color first, then progress to
darker. At least four coats of dope should be applied. Authentic scale markings are shown on plans and
photographs. Insignia can be decals or painted on by using draftsman's ink compass and thin dope.
List of Material
One 1/8" x 3" x 36" med, balsa, wing ribs. fuselage formers; (2) 3/16" x 3" x 36" med. balsa, fuselage
keel, empennage, wing tips; (12) 1/8" x 1/4" x 36" medium balsa, fuselage planking; (2) 1/8" x 1/4" x
36" hard balsa, wing spar; (2) 3/32" x 3" x 36" med. balsa, wing covering; (1) 3/8" x 1/2" x 36" med.
balsa, wing leading edge; (2) 1/16" dia. x 36" music wire, landing gear, tail skid, control rod; (2)
3/8" x 1/2" X 6" hardwood, engine mount; (1) 1/8" x 6" x 12" plywood, bellcrank mount, spar joiners,
fuselage bulkheads; (2) 1 1/2" x 3" X 3" med. balsa, cowl. Miscellaneous: cement, bellcrank, control
horn, 4 oz. olive-drab dope, 2 oz. light gray dope, 2 oz. buff or cream dope, pins, sandpaper, 8 oz.
wood sealer, wheels, thread.
Large-size perforated aluminum hair curler obtainable at most cosmetic counters is ideal for barrel
of single machine gun. Remainder of gun can be made from scrap balsa. Paint black and cement firmly
atop cowl. Attach thin nylon thread to fuselage by small pins and cement, then sew rigging right through
wing, over cabane quadrapod, through other wing panel and again anchor other end to fuselage. Add cement
to various contact points thread makes with model. Spinner can be for exhibition only if desired. We
cemented ours to prop and flew with spinner attached. This is carved from balsa scrap, painted gray.
If fuel-proof dope was not used entire model should receive coat of transparent fuel proofer. Regardless,
all decals should receive quick coat of fuel proofer.
In view of short nose moment arm, our model was slightly tail-heavy with Cub powerplant installed
and required addition of lead weight, firmly attached to cowl interior, for correct balance. Make certain
model balances at the point indicated on plans before attempting any flying. We found that fairly large
wheels combined with forward location of landing gear enabled us to fly from fairly rough terrain which
normally would prohibit operation of scale control-line model. This is of course a distinct advantage.
A "Jim Walker" U-Reely control handle with .008" braided stainless-steel wire was used. Lengths of
wire lines during test flights were varied from 30' to 65' with excellent control characteristics resulting
at these and intermediate lengths. This Bristol was found to be very easy to fly and ideally suited
for average sport flying when carefree enjoyment is the ultimate objective.
Full size plans for Bristol are on Group Plan No. 857 from Hobby Helpers. 770 Hunts Pt. Ave., New
York 59. N. Y. (75c)
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.
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Posted October 1, 2016