A tale of two (well actually three!) Myfords

Well, as it states above, I couldn’t help myself… I bought another, later version (around ’65) Super7 in super condition with loads of accessories for a very reasonable price. It included everything needed to run a 400V motor on 240V without losing power or any of the other advantages of the 400V system. Also in the deal was a manual Capstan setup including six tool posts and the separate stop-system which belongs to it. Also a Norton gearbox including the metric thread conversion kit all boxed up. That alone was covered by the purchase price, so I was very happy!

The longed Super7 above is the fruit of my labours. it has a 400V motor running through an inverter from 240V -very smooth power-delivery and due to the three-phase, much smoother cuts as well! (240V motors ‘stutter’, due to the missing phase and so the cut is not as smooth). I had to cut the end off the main spindle, of course, to fit in the gearbox. I shall get a new, full-length, spindle, so that I can remove the box and refit the standard setup, in case I have to cut threads outside of the box’s scope, like BA and CEI. I have all the covers etc to convert back to original, of course.

I have a Myford vice and nearly all the possible gearwheels and some-such which I shan’t bother to photograph, plus the odd faceplate, too and a turning tool-rest.

Once I have everything mounted on its pedestal and is up and running, I’ll post it here…

So here a few of the goodies I acquired: The manual capstan head and a full set of tools:

This is the stop-setup for the above unit:

Vertical slide, swivelling type:

The mystery lever-operated collet attachment, for which I haven’t yet been able to find any collets on the internet…(still needs cleaning up!)Here are the dimensions:

This is what the standard-bed 1959 ML7 now looks like (minus the belt-cover transfer, which is now on it!)
Now standing in the corner minus chuck, headstock and motor (stored underneath the bench!)

So now back to the long-bed again: The new drive belt. Now I can split the clutch from the drive unit without dismantling everything “above the waist” and it is grippier, too!

The ‘new’ Gearbox with the original panel (not the new ones available now, which are subtly  different…)

Coolant-feed (The actual feed and box is still not made…)

My nice lever and chuck for the tailstock!:)

So now you have a good idea of the swapping and changing that went on, as the long-bed was originally an ML7 and the standard bed was fitted with a Super7. The first super& needed lots of work and cleaning to bring up to standard. The bed was reground and now sits under the ML7 pictured above and some of the other parts, too. The second Super7 was in much better condition and most of those bits ended up on the Long-bed also pictured above.

A mix of parts, including most of the first one (1960, so Mk1) which I had done considerable work on (covers, saddle, cross slide, tailstock etc.) and the really good bed still in original paint, are up for grabs as a complete machine or in bits. The internals of the motorising assembly and headstock from the first one are pretty filthy and I didn’t have ago at that yet, but being Super7, all in good working condition (the main bearing being an adjustable taper!) We’ll see!


A tale of two Myfords

Life goes on despite the terrible war in Ukraine now for over a year…

Well, here I have acquired two metric Myfords of similar birthdates (1959 and 1960). For comparison’s sake, the one is originally a Myford Super 7 of ‘normal’ length, while the other is a rather more interesting and rarer long Super 7 bed with a ML7 drive-train and tailstock. Both of them, actually bit of a ‘bitsa’.

First the ‘shortie’, which is the one shown above, photographed in the seller’s cellar workshop, without any oil… I HOPE THAT HE DIDN’T RUN IT LIKE THAT; it looks like a perfectly normally shabby Super 7, it has the usual saddle and carriage , but the later top-slide (machined from a block instead of from a casting) and the rather ugly machined cross-slide end-plate. The tool-holder that came with it is one of those quick-change ‘Multifix’-style jobs which are expensive, that I am not fond of and that are a pain to set up properly. It also has only one tool-holder, as well, so why bother with the thing in the first place – the other ones were probably kept by the owner I bought it off in November of 2022 or he never received them either. It actually doesn’t work at all to my liking and is probably the reason why the sold the lathe in the first place (I’m sure that when properly setup, that ti would be great to use, but I can’t be bothered, to be honest… The rest of the Myford is OK, but has been quite heavily used in the past. The 1/3rd of the length of the bed nearest the chuck is worn more than the rest, as one would expect, and more on the back than the front. It is now being built up as an ML7 which I shall sell to ‘subsidise’ the longbed for myself, which will get the Super 7 Drive elements, headstock and tailstock off the ‘shortie’. The shorty will become an ML7 as a result.

The Longbed ML7 is in pretty good shape, especially the Super 7 bed, leadscrew, original saddle and cross-slide, which will be kept on it due to the differences in the leadscrew thread form and the split nut. Paint is in places a bit tatty, but will be cleaned up as I go along, all bearings will be replaced and the bed will be hand-scraped/flaked by myself when I feel that I need a workout!

This one came on an original Myford cabinet stand (the style of which I have not yet seen illustrated), which I shall, of course, be keeping. The door is, I think a later addition, as is the ‘drip tray’, which looks sort of home-brewed. I will add a cutting-fluid feed, for which I also found the important parts.

KSL 49296 also had a few accessories with it including original toolholder and a quick-change ‘four-poster’, some face-plates and a nice fast chuck for the tailpost, along with lots of change-gears. Both of them have 380/400 Volt motors, which I can use at home with the necessary emulator/converter giving the same power output from the motor without having to get a 400V. setup installed by an electrician. The cost of the ‘black box’ and switches is around €250 (or up to €650 if you really want to pay that much) for everything, so actually cheaper than a new motor and is portable, so usable on any other machines that I might get in the future with ‘Starkstrom’! The beauty of that is that the 400V motors runs a lot smoother and gives a better finish than the jittery single-phase ones and they are not as sensitive to frequent switching on and off – in this case not so important for me as the Super7 has a clutch (missing on the ML7). Being a 1959 model, it is the first clutch system, for which there are no longer parents, but the last one I had ran perfectly, so I’m hoping that this will do so as well.

I started work on the shortie a few weeks ago and since they were both dismantled for transport and had already been carried upstairs(!) to work on on my closed balcony, I thought that I would start with stripping and painting the bed. My left elbow has been playing up again after my mishap with the Husqvarna a while back, so I thought some light work was the best place to start!

Oops, that was a lot easier said than done. Although the paint looked tatty, cracked and scrubbed off in places, it is VERY tough and difficult to remove, especially since the ‘modern’, ecologically-friendly paint-strippers commercially available here in Germany are largely useless on older oil-based and baked on finishes. I tried multiple applications, scraping and scratching in-between coats which was pretty ineffective; in the end I resorted to the even messier ‘abrasive’ method, causing huge amounts of dust. Here some pictures of my efforts:

Scraped with flat and half-round chisels after a thick coat of paint-stripper:

After the second application etc:

This was a workout for sure… all done with the right hand 🙂

Here with a first coat of primer:

Front and back were treated to a proper cleanup, both easily accessible just by tipping forwards or back and a wire-brush (which had the negative effect of closing the pores), so everything had to be sanded again to give a key to the paint. Primed with Hammerite applied with a brush. After priming, the whole thing was treated to a few coats of Myford Old Grey (from RDG) with a roller and my own mix of pale yellow pigment mixed into Hammerite gloss white between the shears. Eventually looked like this and this is how it will go to the grinder’s – if I can find someone willing to do the job…

I also treated the carriage/saddlle/apron and tailstock to the re-painting treatment and cleaned up the contact surfaces. The split nut is of bronze, which is suspicious…Perhaps a later purchase? Wrong material, wears far too quickly and is probably the cause of the wear on the leadscrew. At the moment the split nut is not easily available to buy, but the leadscrew is also fairly worn from about 1/6th up to ¼ of its threaded length, so both would need replacing at the same time, of course to do the job properly. Interesting to note is that both lead screws have 8tpi, but a slightly different threadform!

Here is a photo of the setup provisionally put together, sans tailstock. All will have to taken off to get the bed reground, naturally. All done in a jiffy 🙂

Here the rather square top slide and cross-slide end plate are fairly obvious, as are the large hand wheel on the apron (which catches your fingers on the corners of the cross-slide when you wind quickly, if you are not careful!) and the home-made ‘teardrop’ on the cross-slide hand wheel. Also visible is the ‘Multifix’-style tool holder.

Here are a couple of pictures to show the difference between the two: the first is as ‘should’ be for the Super 7 (notice the top-slide casting and the cross-slide end plate) and the second is what I received on the shorty (originally Super 7).

The wheel on the left is what was probably originally fitted to the apron and the one on the apron originally came off a tailstock (compare with the above picture)  – apart from the modification! The topside hasn’t been cleaned up yet – that will come later.



Yesterday I got a call-back from a machine-shop, who said that I could bring the bed around and he would do it for me. So I did just that. Later around 13:00h, he called to say that it was done! Well, I was shocked, as nearly everyone else I called obviously didn’t want to to ‘bother’ with it. So I picked up the standard-bed SK 7246 from the toolmaker’s, NAD-Form, in Lage, Westfalen. Beautifully fine grinding job. Not for nuffink (but very reasonable, I must say), of course, but well worth it, as the shears were rather worn ‘all over the place’. 2 tenths of a mm or nearly ten thou taken off to clean up 99.9%, so not that bad, but better done than not.

Pictures taken before stoning but after smearing a bit of cycle-chain oil on them for preservation!


24. 03. 2023

Well, I just discovered that the ML7 and the Super7 have different mountings and castings for the motoring department, which means that I have to measure, mark, drill and tap the back of both beds to swap them over to the respective types. Thankfully this is the only ‘surprise’ awaiting anyone doing the same ‘conversion’,is not difficult to do and allows the re-conversion back to the original configuration without any limitations. Pictures to follow, of course, when I get around to it. Left elbow still enjoying being ugly and hurting 🙂


Temporarily arrested developement

Well, things regarding modelling the ДІАНА etc. have come to a virtual standstill, at least with regards to production 🙂

On the 15th August (my mum’s Birthday!), our son, Armstrong Oleksiyj Gouws was born at 00:07h in Herford, Germany, weighing in at 3740 g. and at 50 cm long. All are well (if a little lacking in sleep!), Maryna is well knackered after the Cæsarian and he has in the meantime put on around a Kilo in four weeks and 6 cm – rather over the average, we fear! ‘Relative normality’ will return at some time after 3 Months, so we are crossing our fingers that all goes well.

His arrival has caused a certain amount of turmoil  for us all and my tinkering will have to be temporarily postponed… HOWEVER

I have not stopped thinking and planning about how the  ДІАНА will further develop. I searched for useful books and information, that might help to make a more accurate rendering of the Diana and I came accross this publication. Expensive if bought new (€60+), I dragged the net and came up with one for €20, which was more like it! Absolutely fabulous publication with oodles of never-befroe bublished archival photos and technical drawings, not to mention a great deal of history about the trio and some separate technical drawings (unfortunately to 1:300 scale) of all three ships and their innards. An absolute bargain at the money paid. Here an impression of the tome, for those interested in buying!

Interesting is that in the title, the AVRORA is correctly transliterated, but in the text in the book, the same ship is continually alluded to as the AURORA, which is technically incorrect but commonly so written.

Diana large davits Part 2

The construction of the davit block was fiddly, requiring more than two hands and ten (fat) fingers, so I need time to work out a better way to do the other three with more precision and less luck. In the meantime I managed to steal a few minutes to cut out the hatches for the hull, which required some accuracy:

To complete the topside of the davit block, I decided to have a go at the blocks that the launch sits on. As proposed in the kit, these are flat-sided and so not very true to life, so I decided to make them  three-dimensional as they should be, to improve their appearance in the rather prominent position that they sit in!

This is what they should look like:

They were primed for folding as originally planned and carefully lined up on both sides. In between I placed a third sheet (made of two printed layers back-to-back after thinning them down by wetting, rolling and stripping the printed side from the white back). You will see that the sheet is both cut and punched to give the right shape, here only part-finished.

Look at the difference between what was originally intended and my extra effort:

After that the pair I made were mounted on the davit-block:

At this stage, after trying it out for size on the ship, I discovered that the curve of davits themselves was a bit flat, meaning that the launch wouldn’t be able to sit on the blocks at all, so that has been corrected and the others have been corrected to suit. The davit-heads still have to be addressed as well as other details before the davits are fitted properly later.

Like other protruding and/or fragile items that might become damaged while handling the ship during the build, these will be fitted near the end when I consider it safe to do so.

Some of these parts were included in the acid etch sheet, but would have been difficult if not impossible to incorporate, due to the construction. The whole sheet I find was filled with unnecessary parts and omitted many more that would have been far more useful – the wheels for the Lafetten, for example, that are missing altogether and would have been more appropriate. I shall use those left over from my Bogatyr 🙂

For the full report, please go to

Diana large davits

Well, what a fiddle! Keeping all those bits together without squashing and distortion while they glue! One part was missing (28a, which was simple to make)but otherwise fitted together remarkably well for the first try. The next ones will rely on some spacers while building…. which is what the toothpick is for, by the way. EVERY time I picked it up, I somehow managed to squash the ends together 🙁 The part number 28a was nowhere to be found, but was easily made – the front panel, a squared ‘U’ shape.

Carefully placed (it’s not finished yet!) where it will go along with the other three large davits.

Edges painted and tried out with the David arm for fit:

For the full report, please go to

Diana storage boxes on deck and companionways 2

A little progress has been made, all the storage boxes are now fitted on the starboard side and another of the companionways, still without the tubular frame for the canvas cover or the hatch – they will come in due time.

Here is the step-by-step building process for the companionways: I noticed that the steps were too wide as drawn to allow the companionway to fit in the holes provided on the decks, If they would simply be glued on to the cheeks, so the only way to fit them would be to cut out the sides and fit them like one would with a real wooden staircase, captured between the cheek-pieces! See below:

Folded together and glued, without the top frame, but the front of the box left open:

So here are the other 4 assembled and ready to be fitted – all lined up like peas in a pod 🙂

Below with and without frames…

And here they are with the top frames and the edges painted appropriately (with Aquarell paints) and with a 1 Euro-Cent piece for size comparison. The footprint of the staircase is ca. 8mm long.

For the full report so far, go to

First companionway, storage boxes on the port side, strengthening ribs and aft superstructure.

Here is the first companionway, as yet without painted edges etc.

Here a couple more pics from different angles (the same companionway)

And here installed in the forward deck, as yet without hatch and wire frame, but with the edges touched up!

Next comes the addition of the strengthening ribs around the inside of the hull ‘walls’, the storage boxes on deck and the aft superstructure, again not yet fitted with its railings – mind your step!

Oh well, the lighting isn’t great, but you get the idea 🙂

For the full report, please go to

75mm Gun platform buttresses on deck

The 75mm gun platforms have to be done on the upper deck, which turned out to be a real pain. On all the other models and drawings I have, these outriggers are drawn and constructed as a plain buttress, without reverse curves at the sides. Take a look at the pics and you will see what I mean. Definitely a challenge to build – at least the aft ones only have one side with the reversed curves.

Here is a construction series of that rear one, to show the difference between the straight and the curved side (huge magnification, about 4x life Size?)

And now with the ‘wing’ formed and stuck down from the inside and out.

And how it fits on the starboard side, prior to fitting the tubes through to the portholes and prior to touching up the white edges:

Now the other side is also done!

Slowly, slowly I move forwards. Our baby is due in a few weeks, so I’d better get on with it!

For the full report, please go to

Hull sides and Hawes pipes, anchor positions as mounted

Ok, so the port side is now on, after a load of trimming and adjustment, but despite that, looks quite good, if not exactly perfect:

One of the storage bins (at huge magnification), which I decided to have a trial at building, despite there not being any help or diagrams from the instructions – I had to resort to the internet to have an idea how they really looked:

Having fitted the forward portion of the hull next to the forward deck, I also wanted to test the fit of the bulges which house the mounts of the Canet 152mm/45cal. Guns. It was not bad, but did need to be ‘modified’. However, I believe that was in part to my slightly oversize deck portion that stuck out. We will see, as all the others have now been trimmed to size! Amazing what half a millimetre can do! Difficult is the double curve aft, where the bulge ‘merges’ into the side. Next time, I’ll also bevel the inside edges to get a smoother transition 🙂 At a ‘normal’ distance, it still looks pretty good, though:

Here the whole starboard side showing all the installed gun ‘pods’

The inside of the starboard side showing the Hawse pipe, but before the glazing and the bars on the front portholes.

Those sides have now been glazed and the bars on the forward portholes near the anchor have been added, too. Tomorrow the wires on the hatches for the aft gun will be added, the rest of the gun mounts will be fitted below deck and maybe the starboard sides of the hull will be glued in place!

Now the same from the seen side!

And completed without cover on the Hawes but reinforcements for the Anchors and the Hawes built up

Still a bit of touching up to do on the hull where the waterline meets the sides.

Through the portals you can see the gun-mounts waiting for the barrels to be fitted, when it is ‘safe’ to do so!

For the full report, please go to

75mm Canet guns, Hull sides glazing and detailing before fitting including Hawes build

Work on the 75mm guns has begun, but I’m still not completely satisfied. The drawings from the instructions are not very conclusive, but I assume that they don’t expect any greater need for detail; but if they include parts, it should at least be clear where they go and how they look when finished: That goes for a lot of the drawings, which out of economy of space, the reverse side of many views is omitted, leaving the builder to fantasize where the parts go, even if they are different to the side shown in the (very good) drawings. Here a few pics of work in progress and one of the reference pictures I found.

Excellent diagrams from their kit – which, however, leave a few questions:

My first efforts at the 75mm at huge magnification:

Here a later pic of work in progress on the Canet 75mm guns intended for inside the ship behind the hatches in the side. I am getting a bit of practice in for the ‘proper’ ones which will be on full display for the upper deck. Note the change in shape of the cradle for the barrel in the bottom picture, being closer to the archive photo of the gun above … Here unmounted and the edges unpainted.

Lots of detail to refine before I will be satisfied for the guns that will be fully visible on deck! 🙂

So, the hull sides also have to have quite a bit of work done on them before fitting to the carcass: The gun recesses at the aft and the recess behind each anchor, for example. There are various other jobs in sight. I want to cut out the portholes and ‘glaze’ them. I was going to fit brass surrounds, but they are a bit garish, so I opted for gold paint instead 🙂

There are a pair of portholes for each anchor which have bars over them…

… Which I made from 0.1mm copper wire stripped out of some electrical leads and blackened with a permanent marker. Holes were pierced in the card with a sharpened needle and the wires threaded through, pulled taut and glued from the back, same as was done for the ‘risers’ for the hatches for the aft most gun, seen below on the right.

Here are the mid ships gun mounts positioned in their places in the port hull , prior to fitting the sides. I put them in now, as they wouldn’t fit through the hatches afterwards. I don’t want to fit the barrels yet, as they would make the fitting of the hull sides more difficult to do without damaging them. The black spots will end up behind where the portholes will be afterwards…

Another detail I decided to add is the Hawse pipe, as seen in the picture below: The Hawse hole on these ships is built up outside the hull and will be added later.

As work progresses, the bench tends gets more cluttered and has to be cleared again to move on to the next section of the work…

For the full report, please go to

Diana Decking entirely of real wood planking…

I made the decision again to do the deck in real wood, planked as the original, like some of the other ships I have done – to me it really is worth the trouble. I still had some very thin veneer of the right sort and set about cutting strips about 0.7mm wide in preparation for the bow-deck. Here the deck is started, a sharp scalpel and ruler for cutting and placing the planks. A razor was used to cut the strips, the scalpel is used to cut them to length as I glue them to the reference base – a scan of the original checked for size (VERY important, as scanners and printers do the strangest things to proportions!) and printed out on very thin typewriter-copy-paper.

Cutting is a lengthy process and requires an extremely sharp and thin blade and a good straight-edge. As a straight-edge I prefer to use a scraper, as it is sharpened to cut on the edge. Very usefully, the mushroomed edge grips the paper or wood under it, which is ideal to stop creep while you are cutting. If you don’t have one or know how to sharpen it, any carpenter or furniture-maker will lend a hand, I’m sure. Any metal ruler will do, of course, too.

As a blade, use a safety-razor-blade, an old cut-throat razor (my favourite), a scalpel or a ‘Stanley’-knife, whichever is more comfortable. I actually use all of those, depending on the job, though for the decks, both the razors are more accurate for the strips, cutting a proper 90 degrees as the blade is so thin and doesn’t ‘cut and wedge’ like the thicker scalpel and Stanley tend to do, leaving the cut edges in a ‘v’ shape. Any tendency to wedge can be nasty when combined with a slightly angled grain, too, pulling the knife along it. A thin blade is paramount when ‘correcting’ the width of the planks, since realy minute amounts are shaved off to get them ‘just right’. What you cannot see, is that I actually sand the edges of some of the planks to get them at right angles and to be the right width 🙂

The forward deck is planked and there are some more planks ready for the aft portion of the deck, which comes next. Here are a few pics at the beginning of the planking process and the started work.

Here we see the finished aft deck planked in various woods placed over the original printed sheet from the model. A nice weathered look achieved with Schellack and elbow-grease. Hopefully not over the top when it’s finished. The individual planks are never cut from the same strip when they are laid, I always mix them up, otherwise I could take any piece of veneer and draw the plank lines on it. My rather more complicated method gives a little more of an ‘authentic’ look and feel to it, I hope.

And here the fore-deck in the same manner.

You may even spot the array of tools and useful bits and pieces in the background now and then. Here is a view of my workspace in the ‘living-room’, where Maryna does her art (mostly painting) and I do my various tinkering. Looks nice and tidy here, doesn’t it!

While the deck was drying, in between I finished most of the hull below the waterline, as shown earlier. Before I can even think of attaching the hull-section above the waterline, the below-decks 75mm Canet guns have to be made and installed in the hull and the deck has to be completely finished.

The finished deck now looks fine glued in place:

Some close -ups showing the laid up decking:

The foredeck fitted + the entrance to the deck below – just trying for size before fitting the main deck.

For the full report, please go to

Building card-model ‘Diana’ by Dom Bumagi

I decided to get back into paper modelling at last and chose to start the ‘Diana’, which I bought while living in Ukraine in 2015. I have a number of (unmade!) models of the Pallada class In 1:200, the other ones are all of the Aurora depicted in different build years and by different companies, Polish, Russian and now this, Ukrainian, one.

Looks very impressive and I have not yet built one of their ‘super-detailed’ models, so here goes!

This is actually only my second warship in paper, my first having been the Ark Royal by ‘Maly Modelarz’ probably twelve years ago… a very satisfying build and an impressive display piece, despite its comparative simplicity. That one was stolen (!) during a break-in in 2010. I did have a go at another Russian ship of the line, Bogatyr, but that was damaged badly during the build and had to be scrapped last year 🙁 Up until now I had built quite a few aircraft, which made very pleasing models (but take up a lot of space ) and so I started a  sailing ship , the ‘Coureur’ – still work in progress and the SMS Götzen, which is undergoing a conversion to it’s present livery and build state as still used in Africa.

Regarding the Diana, I’ll skip the history etc and go straight to the model.

I decided to buy the laser-cut frames to save time. Nice is that it can be built either as a waterline model or complete with the hull below the waterline. I didn’t think to compare the laser-cut to those printed As templates in the sheets, I’ll definitely do it the next time, though. The reason I say that is, the width of the laser-cut profiles for the hull below the water-line was wider than the parts for the upper half. Not by a lot, but definitely so. A little less than 0.3mm all round, which is thicker than the card for the hull covering, which will leave an unsightly step? This also means probable trouble fitting the top half of the model? The frames fitted nicely together and were unproblematical, bottom and top halves being made separately, checking them regularly for squareness.

Each individual part of the frames is trimmed and sanded prior to assembly after cutting free, so there are no ‘nibs’ sticking out where they were cut from the card carrier-frame, which would possibly distort or ‘grow’ the assembly unwittingly.

Having glued them up and left them to dry, I filled the hollow frame of the hull with a new material I wanted to try out, but which it turned out is very messy (it leaves a fine dust which sticks to everythingand is too soft. Can’t even remember what it is called, but it was used at the wharf for coring out the reinforcements in the hulls. I shan’t be using it again. Below, you can see that the left hand side is finished and the right is not! It is also visible that it is subject to crushing and therefore difficult to glue.

After sanding the hull to shape, I then filled out the upper half above the waterline (NOT sanding it to shape yet), glued the upper and lower parts together put it all aside to dry and settle:

The next stage is the ‘copper’ hull: Not perfect, but doesn’t look bad either 🙂

For the full report, please go to


P-39 Airacobra Restoration

For those interested in Aviation, warbirds and the modelling of the aforementioned, here are a few pictures I took while working on the Airacobra in Australia at the ‘Classic Jets’ Museum at Parafield Airport in South Australia. Actually the busiest airport in the whole of Australia, mainly due to it’s being the home of a number of flying schools, including one used for flight training of quite a few large airlines, Parafield is also home to a number of classic ‘fly-ins’ and the Museum, of course, where almost all the work is done by volunteers. I worked on a few aircraft, but this is the one I spent most time working on.

Here a couple of views inside the workshop hangar.

Gives a general idea of things. The RAAF Airacobra in question in the background. Here are a few pics of the instruments and cockpit as it goes together:

And here a closer view of few of some of the individual instruments:


Lots of engine-details for the modelling enthusiast. These pictures are big, just click on them for larger, click again for super-size! Not much chance to see one of these up close, though used for many aircraft. Carburettor at the top and induction charger below it, the (shiny!) induction manifold on the top of the engine between the ‘V’. The pic on the top left shows it in the initial stages of build. As we progress it gets ‘smarter’ 🙂


The pictures below are of the other, running, engine in the public hangar which was originally out of a P40, which is why it has the reduction gear on the front, unlike the P39, which had it installed just behing the propeller and spinner, of course, fed by the propshaft which ran between the pilot;s legs… Makes quite a racket in the hangar and we converted it to run on Gas, as when on Avgas, the open carburettor spat flames to the roof on a cold start… 🙂

Here a few official pictures of the engine from Allinson themselves:



Here some detail pictures of the armament and ammo-boxes being built for up front. Ours didn’t have guns in the wings. Two machine-guns synchronised through the prop and a cannon shooting through the centre of the spinner. Convenient that the reduction gearbox, mounted on the front-most bulkhead had a hollow spindle! Drive from the prop-shaft enters at the bottom of the reduction-gear casting and the actual drive to the prop is a larger gear above it, allowing plenty of space for the ‘shooter’.

The rearmost, larger but narrower, munitions-boxes are for the machine-guns, the wider curved rails are for the larger (and fewer) cannon-shells:

Here how it is set up in the ‘plane still in primer:


Not in primer anymore and fitted up in TG*R !

And finally finished and mounted : (this one in Victoria, another A/C, another museum) The red box is a battery! More weight up front, critical for the distribution of weight and balance necessary to fly the aircraft. The mid-engine made it more maneuverable, but more sensitive to weight distribution. Cannon-shells fitted, MC Ammo-boxes not yet.

Here a few pics of some work I did on a pair of rearmost wing-fillets. We had one original on loan to copy and I had to make up left and right copies, hence the reversible template. The finished items were made slightly large all round for final ‘fitting’:


Here the aircraft ready and finished for the Parafield Airport Vintage Fly-In in 2009

Polikarpov I-16 (Halinski) 1:33 cardmodel

I have a special interest in these, as back in the 90s I spent some time in Russia with a team looking for and collecting bits of these aircraft to make replicas of for a New Zealand buyer. We collected eventually enough from 17 wrecks (with different teams spread out all over the place!) to have enough parts to replicate a complete aircraft.

I did some pattern-work, too and I believe they constructed five in total, three of them are still flying in New Zealand as far as I know. With vintage aircraft, it is enough to have a very small proportion of the actual construction to be really ‘original’ for it to be able to be registered as an original aircraft – as opposed to a ‘replica’. This saves a whole lot of paperwork and problems with certification permissions. Unfortunately I never had the possibility to actually sit in (let alone fly!) a completed one myself. One for the bucket list!

This is a nice paper and card model marketed in magazine form by the publisher ‘Halinski’. This model’s progress was halted when it was stolen – unfinished – with all the rest of my professional Restoration/Patternmaking workshop back in 2014. Here are the few pictures that I still have of it. I’ll definitely buy another one sometime and build it again! The first three pics show it before the skin went on the one side – about three weeks work alone in the instrument-panel and cockpit ‘knobs and levers’.

After putting the skin on. What you see here is about six inches long in total at this stage.


The instruments had their own lighting (which never was actually built to the end), the faces were made of positives of litho-film from my camera taken of drawings that I had done in Illustrator from the original instruments. For the true-scale effect, the dials and their markings had to be thickened up, or they would just have disappeared and would have ‘looked wrong’.