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Build the Brewster F2A-1

Two photos of the model
At left, the model ready to cover. At right, with the cowling removed and the tiny Hornet engine on display.

by Paul W. Lindberg (Popular Aviation, January 1939)

Building this authentic model of Uncle Sam's newest Navy fighter, the Brewster F2A-1, will give you many enjoyable hours. Being of a semi mid-wing type, this model has excellent flying qualities. It not only makes an excellent flyer but makes a worthy presentation at any model exhibit. Powered with the tiny 1/8 hp Hornet motor, it performs very much like the big fellow. In other words this little model has plenty of stuff behind it.

Step No. 1

Construction: Let us remind you that this model should be given plenty of time in construction as it is far, far too nice a model to rush through with. By enlarging the plans four times, the exact size of the model will be had that was built in our laboratory. The color scheme is: fuselage of gun metal gray with red cowl. Wings and tail surfaces regulation Navy yellow.

The general procedure in building a model is to begin with the fuselage. In this case, however, we will start with the wings so that you may be more accustomed with the work before going into the fuselage. These wings are the full cantilever construction. After all the ribs, spars, etc., have been cut from balsa, they are cemented together upon a flat surface. Sizes of spar and ribs are clearly shown on the plan. Make one left and one right wing panel. It is necessary that all reinforcements shown on plan are placed in their respective positions in the wings in order to gain added strength to prevent any warping when covered. Spars leading and trailing edges on each wing panel are extended at the root rib in order that they will enter into the fuselage for proper support.

Step No. 2

Tail surfaces. These are very simple to construct. Use 3/16" square balsa together with 3/16" sheet balsa in their construction. These are of the flat type construction so build them upon any level surface and make sure that all joints are cemented securely.

Step No. 3

Having secured some experience in construction the wings and tail surfaces you now tackle the fuselage. It is comparatively simple if the correct steps are taken. The inner part of fuselage is built up of 1/8" square hard balsa. This is built up into a box-like form. The two sides are first constructed, completing the box-like frame with the top and bottom cross members. The next step is to cut all the formers from 1/16" sheet balsa. These are now cemented in their proper locations and finished up by sanding off in rough corners where the corners meet. The 1/16" by 1/8" stringers are next attached to the formers. These are placed edgewise on the top of the formers so as to gain the smooth covering job so desired by all model builders. This method eliminates all possibility of any formers pushing through the covering.

Step No. 4

The hood which covers the cockpit is constructed of 1/16" O.D. soft iron wire, celluloid and thin cardboard. The forward part of cockpit has a removable hood so that new batteries may be installed as well as the model's balance place by four small screws passing through cardboard into stringers. A simple way to construct the hood coverings is to fit the celluloid over the framework and cover it with cardboard which has cut-out sections to represent metal bands. Paint these cardboard pieces before cementing to celluloid.

Sorry Saga of the Brewster Buffalo

Step No. 5

Constructing the landing gear requires a little extra patience, as this is the vital part of the ship upon its landings. The landing gear struts are made from 1/16" O.D. spring steel wire. These are bent to the proper shape and bound together at the various junctions by means of heavy thread and cement. To gain the shock absorbing effect, the two inner struts slide into holes in the bottom of fuselage which are in turn fastened to rubber bands in the side of body. A third strut may or may not be installed as this would not make the landing gear absolutely true to scale. But on the other hand we advise it, as the model will make some very hard landings and this extra strut will serve its purpose well.

Step No. 6

Covering the model will necessitate the best of your skill for this is where most model builders fall down. A good grade of bamboo paper is used in the covering of this model; it is applied with ordinary airplane cement diluted with 50 per cent thinner. In covering the fuselage, cover in long strips from front to rear, one stringer space at a time. This will give a much neater covering job. In covering the wing it is necessary to attach the bamboo paper to every rib on the bottom side only. This is to gain the proper airfoil section. On the top side of wing this is not necessary. The space between fuselage and rib "A" on the top side is covered with a strip of thin cardboard. This strip is not cemented into place until the model has been completely doped in clear colors.

In shrinking the bamboo paper, apply water over the entire surface with any spraying device. If this is not available, use a brush-but special measures should be taken so as to prevent the bamboo paper from tearing as this is easily done when same becomes wet. After the paper has become thoroughly dry apply two or three coats of clear dope with a light sanding between each coat. Colors may be next applied.

Step No. 7

Such details as battery rack, installation of motor and all details pertaining to marking, etc., are clearly shown on the plan and accompanying photo- crranhs. We micrht add here that by carrying out all details a much nicer model will be had.

Step No. 8

We believe most every model builder is thoroughly familiar on how to balance his model. In testing your model for the proper gliding angle, do so over some tall weeds or grass to prevent any injury to the ship. Making sure that it glides to the ground on an even keel, you are now ready to test it under power. Tabs on the wings and rudder are for any adjustments you may make in balancing your model. If your model is not equipped with a timer, we advise you to put only a very small amount of gas in the tank to give the model a very short flight. Take every possible precaution in balancing and test hopping your model before you give it its initial flight. A lot of good common sense plus a great deal of patience at this point will be well worth your while.

Click here to download Mr Lindberg's plans

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