Workshop: Building Boards for the Thermy 4

The finished building boards stored away under the table.

In order to build the Thermy 4 I will need building boards, which are in widespread use with model aircraft builders. They serve two purposes: First they are supposed to provide an absolutely even surface because most workbenches sag over time, which means one can’t build really straight wings or fuselages on top of them. It’s easy to check it out at home, simply put a spirit level on top of the workbench and look for the gap in the middle, which one almost always will find. Second, building boards facilitate storing subassemblies while one is continuing to work at other parts. And since my workbench is frequently needed for other purposes than the current project, one doesn’t want it to be cluttered with, say, a clamped half of a fuselage.

Thermy 4: Design Modifications

As already mentioned at the start of the construction report, I’d cast an intermediary eye on the Lentus Thermik by Multiplex. I especially like its semi-scale appearance, that gives it a similar look as modern soaring planes. Most notably the bulbous nose and the T-shaped tailplane are spectacular and provide a great silhouette during flight.

Thermy 4: Make a Wish!

Since I’ve braced up and actually want to build the Thermy 4, I want to begin with getting clear about one thing: What do I actually want?

The question isn’t quite as trivial as one might think. I’m planning big on this airplane. That is, I want to incorporate as many features and wishes as possible because I hope to keep this bird flying for the rest of my life. So today is about the demands that I’ve got for this model.

New Construction Report: Thermy 4

In March 2019 I happened onto an issue of the FMT, which included the first part of the diagrams for the Thermy 4. Right away, I knew: That’s what I’ve been looking for!

Thermy 4 with its constructor, Wolfgang Werlich.
Thermy 4 with its constructor, Wolfgang Werlich.

The model incorporates everything what I’ve wished for: great wingspan (4 metres), take-off weight below 5 kilograms so it’s legal to fly outside of model aerodromes, flaps and an electric motor, enough space for own, further ideas.

Now, after two years of wavering and brooding, it’s finally on. With this new construction report I will try and document my attempt to build my own, larger sailplane.

Flatcar Prototype: Lettering

Railway company and waggon number are finished.

After finishing the stake pockets, I’d like to address the lettering. Encouraged by the good results of lettering the freight crates, I’ve created stamps for the railroad company, waggon number and some technical numbers. And I managed to find flexible 3D printing filament, namely TPU.

Flatcar Prototype: Stake Pockets

Stake pocket with fastening wires ready for mounting.

By constructing the steps the flatcar has gained some character, but of course this can only be the beginning. The next topic is to build the stake pockets. I’ve already constructed stake pockets for my porter’s tender and gained some valueable experience. I’ll profit from it while moving on.

Flatcar Prototype: Steps

The steps are ready for painting.

After the flatcar has got its turnbuckles, the next step will be… well, steps so the Lead Road Railways’ conductors don’t have to do so many pullups any more.

I’ve already built steps for my porter’s tender, so these are charted territories for a change. In fact I took the tender’s steps’ measurements and copied them as a small batch.

And since I didn’t show much about how I made those steps, this time I’d like to give a detailed report.

Flatcar Prototype: Turnbuckles

The flanks are predrilled in the centre.

By mounting the queenposts the waggon’s substructre is now ready for the turnbuckles. The prototype is used to adjust the trusses’ tension in order to avoid the waggon’s floor to sag. I decided to go for a scratch-build again, since the cast pieces are currently very hard to come by and on top of that they would have been the weakest link in my current construction. However, as a matter of fact it’s very time-consuming to build them manually.

No.1 Porter: Snow Plough

Underway on the cleared track with the flatcar.

Last week, after many years we finally had snowfall. I couldn’t miss out on that one, so out came the rolling stock and off we go!

Januar 17th, 2021: Operations in the snow, for the first time since the 1990s.
Januar 17th, 2021: Operations in the snow, for the first time since the 1990s.

The joy got somewhat marred, though, since the falling snow caused all the wheels to build up ice and caused many derailments. However, the snow remained and when the snowfall finally stopped at 11 o’clock the next morning, the whole layout was covered in a white blanket. I just couldn’t miss out on that opportunity! So, off to the workshop.

Below, I’d like to show how one can improvise a working snow plough in less than one hour.