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How to wire up a convincing radial engine (Updated 2017).

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  • Member since
    February, 2012
  • From: Parma, Ohio
How to wire up a convincing radial engine (Updated 2017).
Posted by lawdog114 on Friday, August 17, 2012 12:57 AM

Hello all.  I have been getting alot of requests to update this since Photobucket shafted all of us.  I figured I'd wait until I did another radial then take step-by-step pictures.  I finally got around to it.  Here it is.  

To me, a radial engine without its wiring harness is like a Kentucky Colonel without a white suit (KFC analogy...one does enjoy the orignal recipe).  I never understood why manufacturers have neglected this area which is so visible, especially in the larger scales.  I suppose its hard to reproduce convincingly in styrene without appearing over scale (Accurate Miniature Dauntless comes to mind).  It has been addressed by the Photoetch people, but these tend to look one dimensional to my eye.  In each post, someone comments about the engine, which tells me there is some interest in my method in recreating the harness.  I thought I would take the time and share how I do it.   Get a sandwich and soda because here it goes....

You will need: Fuse wire or solder, tweezers, superglue, .010, .025 or similar styrene rod, and an Exacto knife thusly...

   

1. Assemble the engine per the instructions.  Here I have Tamiya's Corsair R-2800 in 1/48 scale.  It's fairly nicely detailed and has the ring in place around the gearbox.  This is a nice bonus on this kit and you'll see why soon. Here I have it test fitted (no glue yet) before I paint it.

 

We need ignition leads now.  Most pictures of radials show these nubs coming off the ring, here's a good picture of them:

I found a way to simulate these:

1. Take some small .010 styrene rod and glue two long pieces together side by side, like the appearance of a double barrel shotgun (lack of better description?).   Let this dry for a bit. Some engines only require one so adapt accordingly.

2. Slice the rod "salami or bread style" (again...lack of better description?)  into small appropriate sized "squares" (tiny).  Take your tweezers and add these to the ignition ring to simulate wire attachment points. This does take some dexterity (remember the "Operation" game?) and patience. To make this easy, use the aforementioned Tenax or similar type weld cement and glue these to the ring.  Since we left this area unpainted, the styrene should fuse right to the bare plastic with little fuss. This is easier than it sounds.  Use reference photos of the engine your building to get an idea where these should go.  Let this dry for a bit too.   

Once done with this, I usually paint it at this stage (separately).  This involves shades of Alclad on the cylinders and case, light grey on the front gearbox housing, and black push rods. Then I glue the assembly together.

Strip an old stereo wire cord of its sheathing and expose the copper inner wires.  This is what I use, but any fine wire or solder will do.  This will similate your ignition wires.  Since they are already copper colored, theres no need to paint them, but the colors may vary and may need paint (most I've seen are copper colored). I've seem black too, like this:

Chop the wire with an Exacto to the appropriate size and bend it, Keep chopping it down until it fits from the Ignition ring point to the cylinder head. You may need to experiment here and test fit until you get the look your going for.  

Put a dab of super glue on an old pickle jar lid or similar surface.  I find that the metal inner lid surface keeps the glue wet longer.  Go with thin glue because you want it to set quickly.  I use Lock-tite (Pictured above).  With tweezers, Dip the ends of the cut wire into the glue then attach them accordingly.  With the two fused styrene squares in place (spaced around the ring), I usually attach a smaller wire to the visible front, then run a longer one over the top out of view in front of that particular cylinder.  The longer one can be glued to the top since it won't be seen anyways.  Just work your way around. Again, this depends on the mill your doing and you may only need a single styrene square, making the fusing step unecessary, like a single row radial engine.  Seek reference pictures. Here you can see that I'm working my way around. 

Once done, hand paint the ring and styrene contact points.  I usually paint this with Model Master Chrome Silver, but some are grey.  Here we are all rigged up.

Now we have to make it look used.  I start with a shot of Testors Gloss thinned with Lacquer Thinner to serve as a wash barrier.

Next I mix brown and black Detailer wash and give it a generous coat, letting it fill all the nooks and crannies. Use whatever wash you prefer, I like The Detailer.

  

After the wash has dried and the excess removed, I blasted it with a coat of Testors Dull. As an extra measure, I hit it with a shot of X-19 Smoke to give it that smokey used look.

 

That's about it.  This process requires patience and can be tedious (especially if one were to do a 4 engine bomber...ouch).....but it is not difficult by any means.  Once you get the approximate sizes on the length of the wire down, it starts to go quickly.  I can get a harness added in about an hour now.  I think it looks better than PE not to mention much cheaper.   I personally will never go back to PE ignition wires.  

Here's a few other examples done with the same technique(s)...

Pratt & Whitney R-2800 (1/32 Tamiya Corsair)

Pratt & Whitney R-2800 (1/48 Hasegawa P-47)

Pratt & Whitney R-1830 Wasp (1/48 Dauntless-single lead wire)

 

Inside the cowl it makes a world of difference...

BMW 801 (Fw 190 A)

 "Can you fly this plane and land it?...Surely you can't be serious....I am serious, and don't call me Shirley"

 

 

 

 

  • Member since
    February, 2012
  • From: Parma, Ohio
Posted by lawdog114 on Friday, August 17, 2012 1:26 AM

Hope this helps...

 "Can you fly this plane and land it?...Surely you can't be serious....I am serious, and don't call me Shirley"

 

 

 

 

  • Member since
    May, 2009
  • From: Poland
Posted by Pawel on Friday, August 17, 2012 1:53 AM

lawdog114, thanks for sharing, that's a very good tutorial. PE isn't the only wayto detail models. Have a nice day

Paweł

All comments and critique welcomed. Thanks for your honest opinions!

www.vietnam.net.pl

  • Member since
    July, 2006
  • From: Philippines
Posted by constructor on Friday, August 17, 2012 2:10 AM

This is  the kind of infos we need. Thank you very much for sharing. This is my weak point in aircraft modelling.

  • Member since
    November, 2003
  • From: Exeter, MO
Posted by kustommodeler1 on Friday, August 17, 2012 6:15 AM

Thank you for the tutorial, it will be a big help to me when I start my Corsairs.

Darrin

Setting new standards for painfully slow buildsDead

  • Member since
    February, 2003
  • From: Rothesay, NB Canada
Posted by VanceCrozier on Friday, August 17, 2012 7:13 AM

Nice! I'll be studying this closely, it's something I've never tried before & have a couple of kits coming up that are desperate for this kinda upgrade. Thanks!

On the bench: Airfix 1/72 Wildcat; Airfix 1/72 Vampire T11; Airfix 1/72 Fouga Magister

  • Member since
    June, 2010
  • From: Austin, TX
Posted by DoogsATX on Friday, August 17, 2012 7:55 AM

Like! The styrene rod's what's been missing from my engines - will definitely be borrowing that!

On the Bench: 1/32 Trumpeter P-47 | 1/32 Hasegawa Bf 109G | 1/144 Eduard MiG-21MF x2

On Deck:  1/350 HMS Dreadnought

Blog/Completed Builds: doogsmodels.com

 

  • Member since
    September, 2004
  • From: Utereg
Posted by Borg R3-MC0 on Friday, August 17, 2012 7:57 AM

Good tutorial!

  • Member since
    October, 2004
  • From: Mesa, AZ
Posted by jschlechty on Friday, August 17, 2012 11:01 AM

THank you very much for sharing!  Will be copying and pasting this to my references folder - thanks again!

  • Member since
    March, 2010
  • From: Democratic Peoples Republic of Illinois
Posted by Hercmech on Friday, August 17, 2012 1:05 PM

VERY nice!!!


13151015

dmk
  • Member since
    September, 2008
  • From: North Carolina, USA
Posted by dmk on Friday, August 17, 2012 1:12 PM

Nice tip! Looks great and nice explanation too.

  • Member since
    January, 2012
  • From: Belgium, EU
Posted by Ninetalis on Friday, August 17, 2012 3:12 PM

AWESOME!
I was looking for this yesterday, I want to rig my Bearcat for the Grumman Group Build as a start.
this is really helpfull, are you open to any requests?
'Cuz if so, you can allways post a tutorial to rig biplanes (wings)...

With regards, Ninetalis.

  • Member since
    July, 2010
  • From: Tornado Alley
Posted by Echo139er on Friday, August 17, 2012 5:51 PM

Very nice...  I too am setting this aside before something happens and it gets lost.  Thank you so much for the great demo/tutorial.

Oh, and  Ditto on Ninetails' rigging request.

Tags: Fo'shizle!
  • Member since
    February, 2012
  • From: Parma, Ohio
Posted by lawdog114 on Saturday, August 18, 2012 9:55 AM

Ninetalis

AWESOME!
I was looking for this yesterday, I want to rig my Bearcat for the Grumman Group Build as a start.
this is really helpfull, are you open to any requests?
'Cuz if so, you can allways post a tutorial to rig biplanes (wings)...

With regards, Ninetalis.

 

Thanks for the compliments all. The kind words made my first turorial easy since I wasn't sure how it was going to go over.  I thought I was going to sound like a rambling numbskull.  Reference saving it to a folder, by all means, that's why I posted it. Funny you mention rigging.  I can't even rig a convincing arial line on a WW2 fighter, much less rig a biplane......LOL!  Thats one of the things I truly stink at.  You will notice most of  my models are absent this feature.  Perhaps someone else could step up and do a turotial on that subject.

Joe

 "Can you fly this plane and land it?...Surely you can't be serious....I am serious, and don't call me Shirley"

 

 

 

 

  • Member since
    November, 2005
Posted by Anonymous on Saturday, August 18, 2012 10:55 AM

Cool...this kinda thing adds a lot to the finished build of an a/c...

  • Member since
    May, 2012
  • From: Milford, Ohio
Posted by Old Ordie on Saturday, August 18, 2012 5:25 PM

Joe,

Thanks!  Great tutorial.  Please give us more - whatever you think you can help with.  Your engines are among the best I've seen, and I'm sure many of us will benefit from learning your methods of doing other things as well.  I know I will.

Thanks again,

Mark

Flight deck:  Hasegawa 1:48 P-40E; Tamiya 1:48 A6M2 N Type 2 ('Rufe')

Elevators:  Airfix 1:72 Grumman Duck; AM 1:72 F-4J

  • Member since
    January, 2012
  • From: Belgium, EU
Posted by Ninetalis on Saturday, August 18, 2012 7:15 PM

Awww, that's a shame, would of loved to see a tutorial like that,
Anyway, maybe a hint if you think to make some other tutorial,
or posting this on your own website/blog (if you have one) You should post some WIP pic's if that would be possible.

Anyway, I'm not hating on you right now, just wanted to give you some advice.

With regards, Ninetalis

  • Member since
    February, 2006
  • From: Smithers, BC, Canada
Posted by ruddratt on Sunday, August 19, 2012 3:17 AM

Joe, that's some very impressive engine work! Lot's of useful tips I'm sure to make use of. Thanks for posting that.

Ninetalis, I've considered many times doing a tutorial on rigging bipes (my favorite part of building 'em!), but it would likely showcase only one method - mine. There are so many different mediums and techniques modelers use to bring their bipes to life, as many as there are actual modelers perhaps. From the wire itself (EZ-Line, sprue, fishing line, monofiliment thread, fine wire) to the eyelets (more mono-thread, fuse wire, Grandt Line accessories), to the turnbuckles (fine brass tubing, fine rubber tubing, stretched styrene tubing, stretched cotton swabs). Another consideration and variable is the aircraft's nation of origion, as well as the model's actual scale. Marc's (wingnut) Great War GB showcased a lot of different rigging techniques. For example, if you check out Marc's two builds (his Albatros D.Va is a killer!), DoogsATX's amazing Sopwith Pup, and my 1/32 SE.5a, those will demonstrate just a few of the many different ways these birds can be rigged. The modelers I mentioned went into great depth in describing how they achieved their results, and that's just the tip of the iceberg. There are many other excellent models in that GB, and just as many rigging methods described. Experimentation with some or all of those methods and mediums is the best way to go about it.

Mike

 "We have our own ammunition. It's filled with paint. When we fire it, it makes pretty pictures....scares the hell outta people."

 

  • Member since
    January, 2012
  • From: Belgium, EU
Posted by Ninetalis on Sunday, August 19, 2012 1:02 PM

Thanks Ruddratt, should of mentioned it a bit earlier in the GB itself when I asked there to...
Anyway, I'm gonna try and search those posts you mentioned, if I'll ever find 'em!

With regards, Ninetalis.

  • Member since
    February, 2006
  • From: Smithers, BC, Canada
Posted by ruddratt on Sunday, August 19, 2012 2:33 PM

Ninetalis, some very useful stuff can be found here.....

http://ww1aircraftmodels.com/

Mike

 "We have our own ammunition. It's filled with paint. When we fire it, it makes pretty pictures....scares the hell outta people."

 

  • Member since
    February, 2012
  • From: Parma, Ohio
Posted by lawdog114 on Friday, September 02, 2016 1:36 AM

I still get alot of questions about this topic, so I revived the thread with some updating and pictures this time.  Questions welcome.

 "Can you fly this plane and land it?...Surely you can't be serious....I am serious, and don't call me Shirley"

 

 

 

 

  • Member since
    December, 2002
  • From: Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, England
Posted by Bish on Friday, September 02, 2016 10:50 AM

I seemed to have missed this first time, thanks for bmping it. I think i wil have to try this instead of the PE parts next radial i do.

''I am a Norfolk man, and i glory in being so''

  

On the bench: Hasegawa 1/32nd Fw 190D-9    

  • Member since
    May, 2013
  • From: Indiana, USA
Posted by Greg on Friday, September 02, 2016 11:17 AM

Followed this in your WIP, and like Bish I'm very happy you updated this tute and bumped it.

Nice, printable format and it goes in my binder right behind your how to detail a cockpit tutorial.

Thank you, Joe.

-Greg

fox
  • Member since
    January, 2007
  • From: Coatesville, Pa.
Posted by fox on Friday, September 02, 2016 12:00 PM

Thanks Joe. I've got another P-47 coming up soon and this will help a lot.

Jim  Captain

Photobucket Main WIP: Rebuild of Monogram 1/8 "Big Deuce" with 1/8 Pocher V-12 in rear - 10%

   On the Bench:   Revell 1/48 Ju 52/3m - 50%;  Revell 1/96 USS Kearsarge - 20% 

I keep hitting "escape", but I'm still here.

  • Member since
    March, 2003
Posted by rangerj on Friday, September 02, 2016 12:04 PM

Very nice tutorial. I am one of your fans. The Williams Brothers 1/8th scale P&W wasp engine is a good example of a wired and plumbed radial. I think you can get the instructions for this kit, including the wiring and plumbing instructions, on line. This would help those who build radial bipes and/or "Golden Age" of aviation aircraft. I built one of these OOB and it compares very well to a P&W service manual of that vintage. I am working on a second 1/8th radial P&W and am using Model Rail Road brass nuts and bolts to replace the kit replications of nuts and bolts. The completed engines are going into a 1/8th scale Lockheed Electra Model 10E. The plans come from "Cleveland Models" which is another source of information relative to Bipes and Golden Age aircraft. Again you do great work and make it look easy.  

  • Member since
    November, 2003
  • From: Newington CT
Posted by tempestjohnny on Friday, September 02, 2016 12:32 PM

fox

Thanks Joe. I've got another P-47 coming up soon and this will help a lot.

Jim  Captain

 

Ditto

 

  • Member since
    December, 2002
  • From: Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, England
Posted by Bish on Friday, September 02, 2016 12:34 PM

DittoDitto

''I am a Norfolk man, and i glory in being so''

  

On the bench: Hasegawa 1/32nd Fw 190D-9    

  • Member since
    March, 2015
  • From: Streetsboro, Ohio
Posted by Toshi on Saturday, September 03, 2016 6:26 AM

Comment:

Thank you for re-sharing this thread.  I've learned so much.  You make this look so easy.  

Question:

Is there a formula or do you eye it in reference to the size of styrene tube to the scale of an aircraft like 1/72, 1/48, 1/32?  Thank you in advance.  

Toshi

 

Retired due to work related injury

Married to the most caring, loving, understanding, and beautiful wife in the world.  Mrs. Toshi

 

ON THE BENCH:

Revell B-17G Flying Fortress 

NEXT BUILD:

Mrs. Toshi just purchased for me a Tamiya 1/48 Ki-61 via eBay, when it arrives, as always, I’ll do a WIP.  Thanks to M.Brindos and Model Maniac for the heads up and the inspiration in obtaining this kit for my next build.

  • Member since
    February, 2012
  • From: Parma, Ohio
Posted by lawdog114 on Wednesday, November 02, 2016 3:07 AM

Toshi

Question:

Is there a formula or do you eye it in reference to the size of styrene tube to the scale of an aircraft like 1/72, 1/48, 1/32?  Thank you in advance.  

Toshi

 

 

Thanks guys.  

 

Sorry I missed your question Toshi.  No formula as I really only build 1/48.  It just looks right to my eye.  I believe it's .10 styene rod for the leads.  I also have .25 on hand should I have to add the ring around gear box too.  They might carry styrene at Hobby Lobby or you might have to made a trek to Hobbytown USA in Mentor.  We have one bonefide hobby shop left, that being Depot Train and Hobby up on West 130th in Cleveland.  Definitely worth the trip if your so inclined.  I lost Parma Hobby last monthCrying

 "Can you fly this plane and land it?...Surely you can't be serious....I am serious, and don't call me Shirley"

 

 

 

 

  • Member since
    June, 2004
  • From: 29° 58' N 95° 21' W
Posted by seasick on Thursday, November 03, 2016 9:39 PM

Many billions of thanks. Best tutorial I've seen all year anywhere. 

Chasing the ultimate build.

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