Santos Dumont Airship Instructions

From Renaissance Miniatures
Jump to: navigation, search

SantosDumont 076.jpg

Build Instructions for the Santos Dumont Airship

Getting Started: Tools and Materials


You'll need:

  • A sharp modeling knife, a scalpel or (at a pinch) a box-cutter for snicking the parts out of the sheet - we use Xacto knives and keep a supply of new blades handy.
  • Some wood working glue. Please don't try to use superglue, epoxy, hot-melt glue, gorilla glue or anything like that - stick to some kind of wood-working glue, preferably one that dries clear. We use "Aleene's Tacky Glue" in the gold bottle (you can buy it in the craft department at Walmart and from most craft shops). It dries clear (very handy!) and holds parts together well as it dries so you can work quickly.
  • A damp paper towel. The tight fit of our parts means that you only need a tiny amount of glue to hold the model together. You may want to wipe off any excess blobs with a damp paper towel - especially if you're using a glue that doesn't dry clear.
  • Optionally: A brown "Sharpie" pen (Walmart again!).

Note that in the instructions below, you can click on any of the pictures to see them in more detail.

Chips, soot and dangling chads

Wood is a natural material - it's not 100% uniform - so once in a while, a piece that should have been cut out and discarded will become stuck. You should be able to gently push these out from the back side of the material with the tip of a ballpoint pen. In extreme cases, you might need to help it out with a box-cutter - but that should be rare. We also (even more rarely) get small splinters on the backs of the tabs of walls and floors. These are hidden by other layers of wood when the model is assembled - so you don't need to worry about them. If a part is more severely damaged despite our fanatical quality controls - please let us know and we'll arrange for a replacement part for you.

Laser cut parts also tend to be a little brown/sooty around the edges. Most people who've seen our assembled product feel that this adds to the 'atmosphere' of a beat up old village and we strongly agree with them. Buildings that were heated by wood and peat fires and splashed by mud from unpaved roads and in an era before washable paint would have been fairly grungy. If it really bothers you, you can wipe the parts with a cotton cloth and warm water with a little washing up liquid.


SantosDumont 001.jpg


SantosDumont 002.jpg

When you separate out the parts, there are a number of bulkheads in the sheet. Keep the parts in RED in the diagram below - throw away the parts in brown:

SantosDumont 010.jpg

We're going to build the envelope of the airship in two identical halves:

SantosDumont 009.jpg

IMPORTANT NOTE: There are three kinds of horizontal strip ("spars") in the kit - four thin ones - and sixteen thicker ones. Of the thick spars, eight are slightly longer than the others. All of the spars are curved more sharply at one end than the other. The sharpest curves goes towards the center of the airship, where the largest bulkheads are. <p> Glue the second-largest to the smallest bulkhead into the notches in one of the thicker, longer spars. Remember, the largest bulkhead goes at most sharply curved end of the spar:

SantosDumont 004.jpg

Take another thicker/longer spar and glue into the notches on the opposite side of the bulkheads

SantosDumont 005.jpg

Then add two more midway between the other two:

SantosDumont 006.jpg

Now, switch to using the slightly shorter spars and fill in the remaining for sets of bulkhead notches:

SantosDumont 007.jpg

Glue the largest bulkhead to the protruding ends of the spars:

SantosDumont 008.jpg

Repeat for the second half of the envelope - make sure both of them are standing up nice and straight and symmetrical - then set them aside for the glue to set completely.

SantosDumont 009.jpg

Glue the small round piece into the cutouts in the spars on the tips of each half:

SantosDumont 011.jpgSantosDumont 012.jpg

The Gondola

Locate the gondola sides and bulkheads:

SantosDumont 013.jpg

Glue the bulkheads in place - notice that the wide end of the bulkhead goes closest to the top of the gondola, where there are the most rope anchor points:

SantosDumont 014.jpg

Glue the two sides together with the top and bottom decks (make sure the slots in the decks align with the tabs on the top and bottom of the three bulkheads:

SantosDumont 015.jpgSantosDumont 027.jpg
SantosDumont 028.jpgSantosDumont 029.jpg

Use plenty of masking tape (or painters tape) to hold the center of the gondola FIRMLY together...

SantosDumont 030.jpg

Bend the ends of the the two gondola sides together and glue one of the V-shaped parts to the bow and stern - aligning with the top side of the gondola sides:

SantosDumont 017.jpgSantosDumont 018.jpg
SantosDumont 019.jpg

Set the gondola aside for the glue to set firmly!

Finishing the envelope

Put plenty of glue on one side of the envelope and glue the two sides together - lining up the spars on the two sides:

SantosDumont 025.jpg

Tape the two halves together FIRMLY:

SantosDumont 026.jpg

More Gondola parts:

Take the two circular disks and the two parts of the tail and laminate them together with one disk either side:

SantosDumont 020.jpgSantosDumont 021.jpg

Locate the propellor parts:

SantosDumont 022.jpg

Glue the two blades to the center section - tilt them at an angle - set aside for the glue to set:

SantosDumont 023.jpg

Glue together the four parts of the pilot's basket:

SantosDumont 024.jpg

Locate the engine parts:

SantosDumont 031.jpg

Laminate the four engine-block parts together:

SantosDumont 032.jpg

Glue onto the engine mounting plate:

SantosDumont 033.jpg

Add the radiator at one end:

SantosDumont 034.jpg

Glue between the two bulkheads that are closest together (the rear of the airship):

SantosDumont 035.jpg

Glue the two remaining engine parts to the exposed sides of the engine:

SantosDumont 036.jpg

Glue the oval fuel tank above the engine:

SantosDumont 037.jpg

Glue the pilot's basket into the front of the gondola - behind the front bulkhead (as shown):

SantosDumont 038.jpg

Glue the rudder part onto the tailplane:

SantosDumont 039.jpgSantosDumont 040.jpg

Glue the balance bars on top of the gondola...centered:

SantosDumont 041.jpg

Adding cloth to the envelope

There are five different sized pieces of cloth - two pieces of each size:

SantosDumont 042.jpg

Take one of the longest pieces - the concave side of the curve goes towards the front of the airship:

SantosDumont 043.jpg

Apply glue liberally to the largest bulkhead, the second largest and to all of the spars between them:

SantosDumont 044.jpg

Wrap the cloth around the airship - it'll overlap, put some glue under the overlap. Stretch it as tightly as you can - making sure that it covers both the edges of both bulheads:

SantosDumont 045.jpg

Repeat with the second largest piece of cloth and the next row of bulkheads. The cloth should just slightly overlap the first piece and should start and end at about the same place as the first one:

SantosDumont 046.jpg

Repeat again and a fourth and fifth time:

SantosDumont 047.jpgSantosDumont 048.jpg

Start again on the other half of the envelope:

SantosDumont 049.jpg

When it's all done, make sure to smooth it all out so that there are no gaps or serious wrinkles. The real airship was considerably wrinkly - so if you can't get it perfectly smooth - thats OK.

SantosDumont 050.jpg

Completing the Gondola

Glue the tail assembly onto the back of the gondola - the front of the shaft should go through the topmost triangle of the rear bulkhead and touch the engine block. Make sure the tail is vertical before you set it aside to set:

SantosDumont 051.jpgSantosDumont 052.jpg

Completing the Envelope

Turn the envelope over so that all of the overlaps are visible - this will eventually be the underside of the ship:

SantosDumont 053.jpg

Find the remaining four thin spars:

SantosDumont 054.jpg

Glue them onto the outside of the envelope onto the row of spars either side of where all of the cloth overlaps:

SantosDumont 055.jpgSantosDumont 056.jpg

Rigging the gondola under the envelope.

Now we need to cut the rigging wires. We provide 5 pieces of "floral wire" - which looks very much like rope in 28mm scale:

SantosDumont 060.jpg

You can cut floral wire quite easily with scissors:

  1. Cut the first piece into TWO 12cm pieces, one 11cm piece and one 8cm piece.
  2. Cut the second piece the same way (TWO 12cm pieces, one 11cm and one 8cm).
  3. Cut the third piece into one 10cm, TWO 9cm pieces, one 8cm piece and one 7cm piece.
  4. Cut the fourth piece the same way (one 10cm, TWO 9cm, one 8cm and one 7cm).
  5. Cut the fifth piece into TWO 9.5cm pieces - and keep the left-over section for spares.

Now, take each piece and bend over a 1cm section at each end, making a nice, sharp 90 degree angle.

SantosDumont 061.jpg

So you should now have:

  • 4x 10cm.
  • 2x 9cm.
  • 2x 8cm.
  • 2x 7.5cm.
  • 4x 7cm.
  • 2x 6cm.
  • 2x 5cm.

Here are the steps for rigging the airship:

1) Starting at the holes at the ends of the envelope, insert one 10cm length into the holes at the extreme ends of the gondola and the envelope and fold the ends of the wire completely around to make them fast. The gondola should now be hanging from the envelope by four wires - one in each corner.

SantosDumont 062.jpgSantosDumont 063.jpg
SantosDumont 064.jpgSantosDumont 065.jpg

2) Using the next pair of holes along from the STERN of the gondola - insert the 8cm lengths (one either side) and fold the ends of those around too.

3) Using the second pair of holes from the FRONT of the gondola - insert the two 9cm lengths and fold those over.

SantosDumont 066.jpg

4) Using the next TWO pairs of holes in the stern and insert the four 7cm lengths into them and fold them over.

5) Now add the two 7.5cm wires into the next set of holes at the front of the airship and fold those over too. So now you should have eight wires holding up the stern of the gondola and six wires at the front.

SantosDumont 067.jpg

6) Now SKIP the next two holes in the front of the envelope - and use the next two holes and the two 5cm wires.

SantosDumont 068.jpg

7) Finally add the two 6cm pieces into the next set of holes at the stern.

SantosDumont 069.jpgSantosDumont 070.jpgSantosDumont 071.jpg

Use some left-over wire to attach the four ballast bags to the cross-beams on the sides of the gondola:

SantosDumont 073.jpg
SantosDumont 074.jpgSantosDumont 075.jpg

Now, all of the holes in the gondola should be supported by wires.

At this point, you'll probably want to go back and adjust the bends in the wires to get them all moderately tight - and to get the gondola to hang under the balloon envelope without leaning to one side or the other.

When you're satisfied with the look, squirt a small dab of glue into each of the holes that the wire goes through.

All Done

SantosDumont 076.jpg
== All Done! ==