Website visitor Ken E. wrote
to request a pair of two articles from the "For the Tenderfoot" series that was a regular
feature in the AMA's American Aircraft Modeler magazine. The first one, which
appeared in the May 1974 edition, was titled, "Monsters and Monoplanes." As was typical,
all the models are 1/2A powered control line with sheet (profile) fuselages and flying
surfaces. This series represents World War I era designs with two bipes and two
tripes! The plans are very well done and include lots of detail for insignia. Enjoy.
Bipes 'N Tripes
By John Hunton
Photos by John Dent
Build four all-balsa 049 control liners
from the plans and have some combat. They are lively fliers of WWI vintage.
Nostalgia flies again! By yourself, friend against friend, club against club, or Snoopy
versus the Red Baron - it all adds up to one thing: Super Fun Combat. All of the airplanes
stunt. The bipes are a bit faster than the tripes, but the tripes are a bit snappier
than the bipes. Even match? You bet your dog-house!
Have you ever been chased
by a Fokker, tried a snap loop to get on his tail and cut your own streamer in the process?
Has a Sopwith ever bounced his wheels off your top wing, received four prop slashes in
his fuselage, only to fly off into the sunset flaunting h is uncut streamer? No? Well,
clear the workbench, because Bipes and Tripes are here!
These planes are designed
to be airworthy, crash resistant, colorful 1/2A flyers which will provide hours of fun.
The Cox Golden Bee with its stunt tank has proven to be the best all around engine. The
Babe Bee works quite well, too, so mounting instructions for that engine are shown. Be
sure to rotate the tank 90° so the engine cylinders will point to the outside of
the circle when mounted. (See plans.)
Begin construction by drawing full-size plans. Tick marks have been provided around the
edge of the plans to aid you in blowing them up. Connect these ticks, making a square
grid pattern over the magazine plans. Then draw one-in. ticks around the edge of a 31
x 22" sheet of thin poster board or wrapping paper. Connect these in the same manner.
Now the plans can be enlarged by drawing on the poster board what you see in each small
grid in the magazine. The poster board is useful because it can be cut into stiff patterns
for easy construction and for future Bipes and Tripes. (Instead, you may wish to buy
the full-size plan from AAM's plan service for $1. Tenderfoot decals for your plane are
Tripe shows how the engine is attached with
the aluminum mount. Mount and engine alterations are explained in the text. You can make
a wooden mount if aluminum is not available.
(Above and Below) All these parts and
pieces make all these nice bipes and tripes.
Sopwith bipe (Camel). Color it olive drab,
put some decals on it and the allies have a machine to do battle.
Fokker tripe, the challenger, is a tight
looper, but not quite as fast as the allies' planes (in model form). Paint it all red,
then add the black on white crosses.
Materials needed are 1/8" thick, four-in. wide balsa sheet for the
wings and tails; 3/8" thick, four-in. wide balsa for the fuselages; a small sheet of
1/8" plywood for motor mount backing and control horn mounts; 1/8" hardwood dowels for
wing struts and tail skids; 1/16" wire for elevator connectors, pushrods and landing
gear; a sheet of 1/16" aluminum stock for motor mounts; and 1/8" sq. sticks for wing
and tail strengtheners.
Here is what you will need to build all four airplanes:
Six 1/8 x 4 x 36" balsa sheets; one 3/8 x 4 x 36" balsa sheet; one 1/8 x 6 x 12" plywood
sheet; two 1/8 x 1/8 x 36" balsa sticks; four 1/8" round x 36" dowel stock; three 1/16
x 36" music wires; one 1/16 x 6 x 12" aluminum stock (See K&S display at the hobby
shop.): four 1/2A bellcranks; four 1/2A control horns; four sets 1 1/2" Williams WWI
Here are a few pointers for mounting and aligning the wings.
Bipes: Glue the bottom wing on first and let it dry. Pre-cut all struts and glue only
the fuselage struts in place at the locations shown on the plans. Let them dry. With
the fuselage and bottom wings flat on a board, place top wing on center struts (strut
holes should be drilled all the way through the wings); prop up top wing tips to level
the wing and make sure the leading edge is parallel to the bottom wing leading edge.
Glue the center struts to the top wing. When completely dry, add end struts and 1/8"
Tripes: Glue center wing in fuselage first. When dry, glue bottom
wing and align with center wing. Add balsa struts and center fuselage dowels and let
dry. Add top wing and 1/8" balsa braces last.
The heavy aluminum motor mounts
can be cut with tin snips or a razor saw. If you have an old aluminum lawn chair, the
arms are pre-bent and need only hack sawing into proper widths. Screw the motor mounts
to the fuselage before attaching the engine. The engine is held to the aluminum mount
with 2-56 nuts and bolts. Before mounting motor, some alteration is necessary. Remove
the four screws from the back of the tank; then turn the front part, with the cylinder
pointed to the right side (needle valve, still upright), and reinstall the screws.
The landing gear is wedged between the engine and the aluminum mount. This gear
is a good safety indicator because if the gear falls out, you know your engine is loose.
The roundels and iron crosses can usually be found in decal sheets at the hobby
shop. Basic colors are indicated under the names on the plans. Remember, lots of super
pilots in WWI had their own special paint designs, so feel free to use your imagination.
Please write to AAM if Bipes and Tripes are popular in your area. Pictures, types
of events in which you use them and other data would be appreciated because ... Monsters
and Monoplanes are now flying their test program. Your interest in this type of 1/2A
fun will get that published, too!
Have you even been flying your twin engine
DeHaviliand when all of a sudden a monoplane comes out of the sun and starts nipping
at your streamer? Well, that's another story ....
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.
Try my Scale Calculator for Model Airplane Plans.
Posted September 21,2013