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Nose weights (note to mfgs)

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  • Member since
    November 2009
  • From: Twin Cities of Minnesota
Nose weights (note to mfgs)
Posted by Don Stauffer on Thursday, June 1, 2017 9:07 AM

This is a plea to kit manufacturers to be careful about nose weights in trike gear aircraft.  Most such kits do need nose weights to keep model from sitting back on the tail.

Some kits (but not many), include nicely molded metal weights cast to fit nicely into the nose. Tamiya kits are super good examples of this.  Others at least tell you how much weight is required.

I am working on a 1:32 kit.  The instructions didn't even mention that weight must be added. I knew it did, of course, but sure wondered how much.  Turned out it needed 3 ounces!

So, please, mfgs, tell us how much weight the kit needs.  If you really want to gain rave reviews, include a cast weight that will fit.

 

Don Stauffer in Minnesota

  • Member since
    February 2014
  • From: Michigan
Posted by silentbob33 on Thursday, June 1, 2017 9:17 AM
I'd like to second this Don. Last year I built Tamiya's He-219 which included the weight and it was fantastic. Like you said, at the very least tell us how much weight is needed.

On my bench: Encore 1/48 A-37B Dragonfly

  • Member since
    June 2004
  • From: 29° 58' N 95° 21' W
Posted by seasick on Thursday, June 1, 2017 2:50 PM

Its a royal pain. As a matter of practice I add more weight than they say you need. I used to leave the nose cone off and the canopy and piled dimes into the canopy until it stayed forward to calculate how much weight was needed. I use the low melting point metals that are made for model trains and melt them and pour the metal into the randome, cool it off and glue it on.  This method works best because you can get enough the most weight into the nose where it is furthest from the fulcrum of the model where it does the most good. 

 

Chasing the ultimate build.

  • Member since
    January 2015
  • From: Katy (Houston), TX
Posted by Aggieman on Thursday, June 1, 2017 2:52 PM

Absolutely. This should be a must for all such kits. I have had a couple of mishaps when attempting to guess at the weight needed to keep a trike on its gear, as my normal method is to use BBs. This does not allow for trial and error, and involves installing the BBs into place with CA. Which in my case a couple of times ran out from interior to exterior, causing a big mess and requiring lots of work to remove from exterior surfaces and replacing lost details like panel lines. This is pretty much a soapbox issue for me.

  • Member since
    March 2015
  • From: Close to Chicago
Posted by JohnnyK on Thursday, June 1, 2017 3:48 PM

I agree 100%. I just finished a Hasegawa F-86 and the instructions indicated the amount of weight required to prevent a tail-sitter. Last year I made a Revell B-24 and the instructions did not indicate how much weight is required, so I had to guess. The biggest problem is that there is not enough space inside the nose of the airplane to add enough weight. I am now working on Revell's B-29, and once again, there is no mention of nose weight. So I will have to guess. Fortunetly, I can add weights in the space behind the cockpit.

  • Member since
    May 2012
  • From: Pennsylvania
Posted by pilotjohn on Thursday, June 1, 2017 4:10 PM

Completely agree.  Oh, and make sure they leave enough space to put the weight into that area.

John

  • Member since
    August 2016
Posted by Keyda81 on Thursday, June 1, 2017 4:12 PM

Agreed!  I tend to forget to add weight to the nose, I just get in a groove of building.  So far I've been pretty lucky and have been able to correct the problem before I land up painting.  I've had one kit that included the nose weight with it.  It was an Eduard kit of 2 P-39's.  It made life so much easier!

  • Member since
    January 2006
  • From: Pineapple Country, Queensland, Australia
Posted by Wirraway on Monday, June 5, 2017 3:50 AM
Don- totally agree that this should be included in the kit. I was trying to work out how they would package it so that it wouldnt do damage to the other kit parts ? JohnnyK- you are going to pull your hair out trying to find space for the nose weight needed to keep that B29 on the deck- I know I did...

"Growing old is inevitable; growing up is optional"

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  • Member since
    March 2015
  • From: Close to Chicago
Posted by JohnnyK on Monday, June 5, 2017 9:47 AM

Wirraway
Don- totally agree that this should be included in the kit. I was trying to work out how they would package it so that it wouldnt do damage to the other kit parts ? JohnnyK- you are going to pull your hair out trying to find space for the nose weight needed to keep that B29 on the deck- I know I did...
 

Well, I'm thinking if filling the space directly behing the Pilot's bulkhead with small fishing sinkers. I plan on putting them in a small plastic bag and then glueing the bag in place.

fox
  • Member since
    January 2007
  • From: Narvon, Pa.
Posted by fox on Monday, June 5, 2017 11:33 AM

Agree completely. Have only built 1 plane with weight included.

Jim  Captain

 Main WIP: 

   On the Bench:  Revell 1/96 USS Kearsarge - 70% 

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

  • Member since
    March 2003
  • From: Western North Carolina
Posted by Tojo72 on Monday, June 5, 2017 12:00 PM
I enjoyed the Tamiya Me-262,they made the nose gear bay out of metal to provide the necessary weight

  • Member since
    June 2004
  • From: 29° 58' N 95° 21' W
Posted by seasick on Monday, June 5, 2017 3:09 PM

Casting nose weights isn't to difficult. You do have to be careful.

Chasing the ultimate build.

  • Member since
    February 2014
Posted by haseren4 on Monday, June 5, 2017 7:32 PM
I completely agree that something needs to be included listing how much weight is needed to keep the nose wheel on the ground. There is a bullet under the tail of my A-10 so that it looks good up on my shelf.

 


 

  • Member since
    March 2003
Posted by rangerj on Monday, June 5, 2017 8:54 PM

Ditto all of the above. I'll add to the conversation and suggest that the manufacturers include cast metal landing gear struts, especially for aircraft that have delicate gear legs.

In some of these cases I distribute the weight. For example in a P-38 I would add weight to the propeller spinners and or in the engines, if so equipted, as well as in the nose. The 1/48th B-29 mentioned has four engines that can be drilled out (cylinders) and filled with lead weight (e.g. soldier). I have had more that one tricycle gear model that has had the gear bend, bow, or collapse under the weight of the model. The aftermarket gear is a great idea, but given the price of the kits these days the metal gear should be included in the kit.

  • Member since
    September 2006
  • From: Bethlehem PA
Posted by the Baron on Tuesday, June 6, 2017 12:03 PM

seasick

...I use the low melting point metals that are made for model trains and melt them and pour the metal into the randome, cool it off and glue it on...

Do you mean, you pour the melted metal into the plastic part?  Even at a low melting point for a metal, I would think that that would melt the plastic.

I cast toy soldiers with white metal alloys--about 80% tin, and the remainder lead and antimony or bismuth.  Even that gets to around 450 degrees to melt.

 

The bigger the government, the smaller the citizen.

 

 

fox
  • Member since
    January 2007
  • From: Narvon, Pa.
Posted by fox on Tuesday, June 6, 2017 6:59 PM

Working at the bench this afternoon, I was looking through some parts boxes and found some old slot car wheels and tire combinations. Some of the wheels are 3/8" OD x 3/4" long. The tires were worn down and hunks missing from wear. I took the tires off, filled the wheels with BB's, and topped it off with some Elmers Glue. Ended up with a couple of very nice 1/2oz weights that should fit in lots of places where needed for balance. 

Hope this helps someone.

Jim  Captain

 Main WIP: 

   On the Bench:  Revell 1/96 USS Kearsarge - 70% 

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

  • Member since
    January 2015
Posted by BrandonD on Tuesday, June 6, 2017 10:35 PM

Agreed. I almost always forget the nose weight if it isn't included in the instructions (before my most recent build, I could say always - maybe I've learned?).

Maybe I should do a post about the creative ways I've found of adding weights to an already-finished aircraft.

It's so much easier when the manufacturers remind you and include them. Three cheers to Tamiya and Hobby Boss for their He-162 and Me-262, respectively, for including them!

-BD-

  • Member since
    September 2006
  • From: Bethlehem PA
Posted by the Baron on Wednesday, June 7, 2017 12:04 PM

Since we've turned a little towards methods of weighting a model, I've uses white glue and BBs, and 2-part epoxy putty and BBs.

I also made the mistake, having packed one aircraft's nose with putty and BBs, of adding a couple more BBs and then securing them with CA glue.  I didn't think of it, but the glue apparently dissolved the putty enough for it to flow to places where I didn't want it, till it and the glue both cured.  I had to drill out the hole for the propeller shaft, but it helped register the lesson.

The bigger the government, the smaller the citizen.

 

 

  • Member since
    November 2009
  • From: Twin Cities of Minnesota
Posted by Don Stauffer on Thursday, June 8, 2017 8:51 AM

The problem with bbs is packing density. If I remember my geometry right, the packing density (the fraction of the total volume) occupied by spheres is on around 75%, so you are getting less lead in a given volume than if you used solid lead.  With some aircraft with heavy tails, I have found the internal volume left in the nose of the aircraft requires almost solid steel if you use steel BBs- lead might work.

I built a beautiful Minicraft Cessna 172. It had a very detailed engine.  The instructions said you had to chose- if you wanted to have the plane sit on its nosewheel without a tail brace, you had to forego the engine. If you wanted the engine in the nose, you had to have the tail brace.  I was able to cram in enough nose weight to get it to balance on main gear, but if anyone bumped the table it would fall back on its tail!  The ideal kit would have had the engine cast in metal!

 

Don Stauffer in Minnesota

  • Member since
    July 2004
  • From: Sonora Desert
Posted by stikpusher on Thursday, June 8, 2017 11:10 AM

I use lead birdshot and CA for my nose weights. #8 shot is not much larger than course sand and will fill most any desired space nicely. Sometimes you have to think outside the box due to kit engineering for location of your weight. Fix it in place with gel CA so that does not run every where as the thin stuff can, and you're in business. 

 

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JNP
  • Member since
    January 2018
  • From: Bloomfield Hills, Michigan
Posted by JNP on Saturday, March 7, 2020 9:06 AM

After reviewing 20 replies in FSM Forum I came to your reccomendation which seems to be very plausible. I will try this if I can find #8 bird shot somewhere. Amazone.com??? Building an Airfix 1:72 B-25C/D and instructions reccommend 25gms of weight in the nose. Proplem is that the buckshot I have is large with dead space resulting in inadequate weight in the small space. I have an email sent to aitfix asking for their reccommendations. Big problem for small scale (1:72) Tricycle builds. Will post accrdingly.

JNP

  • Member since
    September 2012
Posted by GMorrison on Saturday, March 7, 2020 9:12 AM

I use 1/2" hex nuts threaded onto a 1" long bolt.

  • Member since
    March 2005
Posted by philo426 on Saturday, March 7, 2020 9:29 AM

You can also add weight to the engine nacelles

  • Member since
    December 2002
Posted by 7474 on Monday, March 9, 2020 10:13 AM

I made molds to cast weights for a lot of the models I have. Thinking of starting a small business doing this and making painting masks for airliners. 

  • Member since
    November 2008
  • From: Hatboro, PA
Posted by Justinryan215 on Wednesday, March 11, 2020 1:21 PM

guys....your answer lies in the Cubscouts Pinewood derby section of your local crafting stores!  Tungsten putty!  A weighted putty that is similar to a cross between Blu-tac poster putty and silly putty.  It is moldable, and comes in 2 oz packs....

"...failure to do anything because someone else can do better makes us rather dull and lazy..."

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  • Member since
    January 2013
Posted by seastallion53 on Wednesday, March 11, 2020 5:30 PM

I bought a 500 count box of reloadable 9mm 115 gr.

bullets a long time ago to use as weight.

  • Member since
    May 2016
Posted by B-36Andy on Thursday, March 19, 2020 7:00 PM

Bird shot works really well! I don't have any at the moment but I do have lead buck shot. You can get this at a good gun store. I flatten mine out with a hammer and cut into bits with wire cutters.

I add weight to the outside of the nose with tape and tape the plane together--just the main pieces. You can make a couple of balace pylons to place under each wing just forward of the main gears. Then I add lead bits to the tape on the outside of the nose till it sits correctly. Then I add a little more weight for good luck!

Weight and balance are important to planes. The DC-2 had to fly with 2000lbs of sandbags in the tail for it to balace right. When I flew gliders, I had to sit on a 25lb chunk of lead to get the ship to balance correctly! 

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