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Bristol Type 171 Sycamore

by David Funke (1:72 CMR)

Bristol Type 171 Sycamore

The Inspiration :

What is this, a converted lawnmower ? In contrast, an Alouette 2 already seems to be almost robust. So, or something like that was my first reaction to the Sycamore in the Helicopter Museum Bückeburg/Germany. I made a quick shot of this strange-looking flying vehicle and that was ticked off. No way ! Arriving home, I wanted to learn more and did a bit of research in the direction of the Sycamore. It appeared again, what I like to call the "Gannett effect". So ugly the Fairey Gannet may be, nevertheless, one enclosed it as a model in the heart. It was the same with the Bristol 171.Therefore the museum had to be visited again for reference photo’s sake. For a model, there were two possibilities. The first is Glencoe, which is sold only in the scale of 1:72, but in reality is bigger, and the second is the resin kit from CMR. True to the motto "there's a first time for everything " I chose the comprehensive package from the Czech Republic.

Bristol Type 171 Sycamore

The Kit:

Although the price of about 43 € sounds a fiercely for such a small model, but there is a lot of content :

  • fine detailed resin parts in gray, black and clear material

  • vac-formed clear parts including two rear doors

  • a set of canopy masks

  • colourerd and uncoloured PE frets

  • great decals

  • good instruction sheet including reference photos

Bristol Type 171 Sycamore

The Construction:

The clear instruction manual starts with the front seats. These only need to be trimmed and separated from the moulding block, most of the work involved the assembly of printed, etched belts. Watch out, in German Air Force and Navy aircract the port side seat was a small swivel chair, so you can go from there back to the rescue winch. The instructions provided good information here.
A quite tricky task was the assembly of the rear etched seats. In order to make room for a stretcher in the limited cabin space, the three canvas seat were foldable. Attaching the pedals, although again a challenge for the eyes, gives this area a filigree impression.
Once this work was carried out and the components were painted and weathered, the interior was put together. The cyclic sticks are from my p.o.v. too vulnerable in resin, one was in fact already broken in the box. I made both new by using 0.5 mm thick wire and the handles of the existing parts.

Bristol Type 171 Sycamore

After joining the fuselage halves and the fitting of the interior, the vac-formed canopy was cut out. By now you should be certain about which doors will remain open. The Sycamores had due to their small width rear bubble doors, which allowed to transport people on a stretcher across the flight direction with closed doors. During hoist operations the right door has been left on the ground as it opens to the rear and would thus make winch operations impossible. In order to provide a good view on the delicate seating the hoist doow was left out. On the left side, I wanted to open the front door. But first the pilot door should be fitted on the right side before the canopy is placed. I did it the other way around and the door did not fit any more.

Bristol Type 171 Sycamore

The door was now fitted into place and the masked front glazing with the tint Tamiya Clear Orange-tinted upper windows fit a lot better in its place. After all glue seams were sanded (especially at the bottom), the front section was painted in black (Sycamores were / are almost completely black from the inside). Over a thin layer of gray primer that later painted orange surfaces got a yellow coating. After a short drying period eventually highly thinned flourescent red from Model Master was applied cloudyly. The more is applied, the newer appears the paint.
Since the surfaces quickly fade, you can achieve beautiful effects here . In general, the center of such a surface more quickly than the edges. After thorough drying, the orange areas were masked and the rest of the model, as well as the hoist and the undercarriage struts, were painted in olive drab. But assembply of the small parts (which will also will become olive drab) such as the boarding aids should not be forgotten. After an overnight drying period, the finished and painted landing gear and the tail skid were joined to the fuselage. The model must now be handled like a raw egg, no, like two raw eggs as parts of the undercarriage are very delicate. Finally, the model got its decals on a layer of gloss paint under a layer of matt varnish.

Bristol Type 171 Sycamore

Now came the act, where the music stops playing - the main rotor . I added the three blades to the hub, painted the bottom black and added the dampers between the blades and the etched control rods . After that, the hub and blade surfaces got a layer light gray and the ends of the leaves got a yellow warning mark. But now to the crux of the matter: CMR leaves the modeller with the mounting of the rotor in the dark. The previously straightened rotor head I drilled a 1.3 mm hole from below and put a piece of 1,2 mm wire in it. I drilled also a hole with the same diameter in the fuselage, wherein the rotor is mounted rotatably but tightly. After removing the masking on the windows the last small etched parts and the non-rotating tail rotor followed. At the end some weathering accents were set with pastels.

Bristol Type 171 Sycamore


With such exotics, one can take the challenges of a resin kit. But I do not like to have every model made out of that material. 

Bristol Type 171 Sycamore

David Funke

Published on 17. December 2013

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