Flak-Bait Model

Phil Clark is one of 6 pilots of the USAAF Model Display Team (www.usaaf.co.uk). As a team, they fly a large collection of 1:6 scale radio controlled models of a many of the USAAF's WW2 fighters and bombers, ranging from the smallest models, 6 1/2 ft span P-51's, up to out largest, an 18ft span B-24 Liberator. They fly at many of the UK's largest model airshows, trade events, and over recent years have been involved in several veterans reunions at variouse old airfields and restored control tower museums around East Anglia. They have even been involved in TV and film flying, last year, carrying out some of the P-47 flying shots for the Stephen Spielbergs produced series 'Band of Brothers'. Phil Clark is currently half way through designing and constructiond a 1:6 scale B-26, with the intention of finishing the model as 'Flak Bait'. He has invited us to document his progress on Flak-Bait.com. For feedback on this project, please contact Phil at phil.fighteraces@virgin.net.

 

Martin B-26B Marauder
By Phil Clark

The model is to be finished as ‘Flak Bait’, a B-26B Marauder from the 322nd BG based at Great Saling (Andrews Field) near Braintree in Essex, England. ‘Flak Bait’ flew the highest number (202) missions of any bomber in the ETO during WW2. With a combat career spanning 21 months, ‘Flak Bait’ was appropriately named, having absorbed over 1000 enemy hits due to enemy fighters & flak. Her nose section, preserved, but unrestored in original condition now resides in a place of honour at the National Air & Space Museum of the Smithsonian Institute in Washington DC.

The model is based on a Jerry Bates plan, but enlarged from 1:8 scale to 1:6. This gives a span of 142” (11ft 10in), and a length of 112” (9ft 4in). Substantial structural modifications have had to be done, mainly in the wing spars, wing/fuselage joint, retract and engine mounts, and tail surface attachment, in order to take the extra stresses brought about by the enlargement; and to pass the model through the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and Large Model Association (LMA)  ‘over 20kg scheme’. To date, my inspector, John Greenfield, chief safety officer of the LMA has inspected the completed fuselage and tail assemblies, and has given the OK to start on the wings.

Construction is completely traditional, ply and lite-ply ribs and formers, ‘Cyparus’ longerons and spars, balsa sheeting, skinned in epoxy resin and 1/2oz fibreglass cloth. All flying surfaces (except flaps) are built up, and covered in heat sensitive fabric. The only foam in the model is a small section under the rear gunner’s position. The cowlings and all gear doors are being moulded in epoxy glass.

Power will come from 2 Zenoah 45cc 2-stroke petrol (gas) engines driving 22” diameter 2 blade wooden propellers. The main undercarriage has been specially made to my own design is pneumatically operated at a pressure of up to 120 p.s.i. The main gear retracts are scale in their operation, the wheels travel vertically upwards upon retraction, so avoiding any ‘Centre of Gravity’ changes. The 7 ˝ inch mains and 6 inch nose wheel are custom made by Glennis Aircraft in California USA. The main wheels are fitted with 2” drum brakes to deal with the fairly high landing speeds expected. The whole system is to be controlled by 2 special ‘Ultra Precision’ sequencing valves, enabling the pneumatically operated gear doors to be sequenced in with the retraction of the leg.

The radio system is a 35Mhz Robbe Futaba FC-28 system, with 2 Futaba PCM receivers. Fifteen servos are to be fitted in total, driving elevators, ailerons, flaps, rudder, throttles, retracts, brakes and nose wheel steering. Four Ni-Cad packs will be used (2 as back up), the servos being driven by 6v 4000Mah, and receivers by 4.8v 1200MaH.

With an estimated weight of 65lb, and a wing loading of between 3.5 and 4 lb/sq/ft, the B-26 is expected to be no slouch! Progress is currently centred on producing the cowling plug and mould, and the many vac-forming moulds for turrets, nose glazing and canopy, etc. Rib and nacelle former parts are cut, assembly of which is due to start in the spring of 2003. Completion and test flights are expected during late 2003, with the aim to get the Marauder onto the show circuit for the 2004 season.

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Last edited: 12 January 2003
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