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FARMAN F-40bis

Building the Roseplane 1/72 Vacform kit

By Dennis Ugulano

 

Toward the end of 1915, Henri & Maurice Farman produced a joint design incorporating the better features of the earlier, separate designs. This came at the request of the French Air Force to produce a replacement for the aging MF.11 aircraft. The result was the F.40, a two-seat pusher biplane with the crew nacelle mounted mid-way between the unequal-span wings.

Powered by the 135 hp Renault in June, 1915, complaints arose by the squadrons of poor maneuverability and performance. The decision to stop production was overruled by the need of aircraft and 10 squadrons were equipped with the type.

The Farmans entered service early in 1916 and were used widely for reconnaissance and bombing, even though only a small bomb load could be carried. The type was virtually outclassed from the time it entered service, but it was not declared obsolete until early 1917. Even then the type was used for night bombing until the arrival of the Breguet 14 . All Farmans were withdrawn from service in 1918 and sent to training establishments.

In a effort to over-come the poor performance problems the F-40 was re-engined with a 160 hp Renault engine. Unfortunately only a minimal addition of the types performance was achieved.

The F-40bis were operated by the French, Belgium and British (RNAS). Some French records list the F-40bis as a Type 56.

THE KIT

Six vacuform parts: wings, fuselage and tail surface (included is a jig for the tail booms and landing gear struts)
Resin Parts: Four wheels, two seats, two radiators, exhaust, prop and Lewis gun
Instructions: Four pages, history, instructions and partial 3-view and rigging Instructions

There are no decals, strut or boom material

CONSTRUCTION

After sanding the fuselage halves, my model was 1/8" to 5/16" too small on the top left side. Before correcting this problem, the interior was detailed using the kit diagram. My method of correction was to install the floorboard and fire wall and glue the halves together at the bottom. This way I was able to pull the top out as far as necessary to make the sides parallel. Then, pie shaped wedges were added, putty and sanding as necessary. After painting the gray exterior, the interior is completed. The gun ring is made to fit from copper wire. The Bat insignia is painted on at this time and the exhaust is attached. It is critical that the fuselage be the correct width as it is going to wedge between the inner struts when attached to the model.

WINGS

Standard vacuform wings with enough thickness that a single thickness is adequate. After sanding and shaping, the ailerons are cut on the bottom of the wing. As for the lower ribs, there are three suggested methods. ROSEPLANE recommends using a striping tape. I use a single cut with a scribing tool that gives that gives the illusion of the rib. Two light parallel cuts with a X-acto knife will give the same results. A light table will aid in getting your tape or cuts aligned with the upper ribs.

The wings are now painted and decals applied. All support and control line holes are drilled. All strut locating holes are drilled, top and bottom wing. The upper wing supports are added and the rigging is attached. Leave the two outer most support wires about 6" too long. They will attach to the outer wings struts later down the road. The control horns were added and the wing is complete. The decals are Americal/Gryphon # 9.

TAIL SURFACES

The same procedure was followed as for the wings. Lower surfaces are scribed, the rigging supports are attached and rigging installed. The rudder is sanded and painted in Belgian colors, custom matching the AMERICAL roundel colors.

(Note: I add the wing and tail supports and rig prior to assembly only for the reason I feel it is easier to rig the model unassembled. All rigging can be done after assembly is complete.

TAIL BOOM AND UNDERCARRIAGE

Using .030 round rod and airfoil shaped strut material and the provided jig, the booms and undercarriage are constructed. I taped the material to the jig. When all alignments and lengths are correct, all joints are tacked with CA and kicked with Zip Kicker. Easy on the CA or the part will mate with the jig forever. After removal from the jig, CA all joints on both sides. At this time, paint and drill rigging holes. Light Ivory paint represents the tape on the struts and this assembly is complete.

ASSEMBLY

The struts are now glued to the lower wing remembering that the front struts are about 1/16" shorter than the rear so the wings will be parallel. Turn the upper wing upside down but protect the support wires. Then, one drop of CA at a time, the struts are attached. Check alignment and allow the Ca to cure. This assembly is a surprisingly sturdy.

The tail boom is now attached, The top and bottom horizontal supports butt up against the strut making attachment easier. Make sure to bevel the inside rear of the boom for a flush connection. Now attach the undercarriage, tail skid and tail control surfaces.

The nacelle is next. Mine was just snug enough that it stayed in place before some CA made it one unit. Radiators were attached and the model is ready for rigging.

RIGGING

I use nylon sewing thread, smoked clear, to rig the model. I recently learned this thread is about 3 pound test. A recent addition to DURAS is 1 pound test leaded line for the control line. Using the kit instructions and what reference matter that's available, the nylon is laced through the pre-drilled holes.

After the model is rigged, the machine gun and prop are added and the model is complete. A light coat of semi-gloss clear is added and the kit is complete. Building time was about 25 hours.

CONCLUSION

This is a nice kit of an obscure aircraft. If the kit has a fault, it is the lack of reference material but ROSEPLANE certainly is not responsible for that. They have produced a quality vacuform that builds up into a nice kit. It is not an easy kit to build and is not recommended as someone's first vacuform. But, with a few vacs behind you, this is not the hardest vacuform available.

CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE

Barry at ROSEMONT HOBBY SHOP for providing the kit.
Bob Pearson for his Profiles and scans of nose art
Michael Kendix for an invaluable scan

REFERENCES

Bombers 1914-19 by Kenneth Munson




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Air Intelligence
1999 Modelers'
Reference Guides

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Reference Guide $15.00

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