Royal Aircraft Factory FE.2b "Early" 
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FE.2b "Early" model kit in 1/32 scale of WingNut Wings
World War I Aircraft
Building report
Series

The Royal Aircraft Factory F.E.2 was a two-seat biplane with a pusher propeller. The first F.E.2a made its maiden flight on 26 January 1915 and first production started using a Green E.6 engine. It was found to be underpowered, and was re-engined with a 120 hpBeardmore liquid-cooled inline engine. The type
was used during the first world war, mostly as a day and night bomber but also as "a fighter" by the Royal Flying Corps. It was a large aircraft with a gunner seated in front of the pilot in an open tub. 
The RAF FE.2b, meaning T"he Royal Aircraft Factory Farman Experimental 2B", was a mild update to the FE.2a that became available later in 1915. It was again powered by a Beardmore, initially the 120 hp version while later F.E.2bs received the 160 hp Beardmore. There were some differences in FE.2b', referred to as "Early" and "Late" mainly in armament and landing gear struts. 


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Wingnut Wings issued this kit FE.2b “Early” (no.32014) end of 2011. All parts are very crispy moulded and the box is really full. 

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Very nice Cartograph decals for 5 schemes are provided along with a small etched metal detail set mostly with belts/straps. 

Extra plastic parts allow variations in gear, guns, bombs and other slight details. The wires are not in the kit, this has to be sourced by the modeller him/herself.

The Wingnut Wings instructions are a real booklet of no less than 40 pages in full colour and photographs. It is quite extensive and sometimes a bit confusing, so this kit is not for the beginner.

Some view of the parts......

The scheme "E" was choosen for a RFC 22 squadron machine:


Preparations
This kit has lots of wiring! A nightmare for some, an adventure for other modellers. It was decided that the wires would be spanned between the struts. The control wires also run over the entire airframe and are added as well. 
They can be fixed in places and corners, so not a lot of drilling will be required. 

Start with....
Separate the wing sections from their sprues F4, 6, G1, G2, G3, G4. Clean up the internal moulding "pips" on parts G3 and G4. Joint the upper and lower central wing section.
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Next, I recommend to strengten up the joint between the lower wing sections as seen in STEP 10. Small holes were drilled in the wing lips of wing sections F4, F6 to receive metal pins to get a stronger joint later on. This is accurate work but worthwhile to PREVENT breaking up the wings at a later stage while handling the model! 

The tail elevator, ailerons and rudder have control cables. Already drill some holes to rig them with a fine hand drill in parts as seen in STEP 14 (A46 rudder, and F3, F5, D9, D11. Do the same for the ailerons F8, F7. )

Drill the holes in the wing for the controls and upper wing pulleys A31, A45 as seen in step 14 .


Painting
Next, what is required is pre-painting various internal but also external parts. This model can NOT be airbrushed later on, due to the wires and the many many different colours. parts are too difficult to reach later on and masked.

So, contrary to usual model builds, painting was to be started with. After deciding what scheme and FE.2b aircraft would be made, the colour instructions were very well studied. For this FE.2b model the scheme "E" of the RFC 22 squadron was choosen. 

So, individual parts were to be airbrushed/ painted while still in their sprues. This enables handling and painting to be much easier. Where possible, of most parts their moulding stubs/gates were removed keeping the limited amount to hold them in their sprues. With a razorsaw, like the one of TIGER, saw off the moulding gates and sand off any irregularities.
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Some parts were also already assembled while on their sprues, if this would make a better result when airbrushing. 

Once this was done, it was time for the colour choices. 
Many parts have the WWI  "PC 10" colour. TAMIYA XF62 acryllic was used for the PC 10. (if you want a brownish PC10, use Revell 84 enamel paint). 
Linnen parts got a coat of Tamiya XF52 acryllic.

The Harder Steinbeck airbrush  was used troughout for the base colours.


Others have the "wood" look. 
The wood was applied by:
- first paint the base coat of sand colour , e.g. a mix of Tamiya XF68 + XF78 acryllics
- when dry, get a tube of dark brown oil paint (like Talens or Rembrand). Important: it should be oily paint used by artists.
- dip a small "sponge" or cleaning stick in the dark brown oild paint, and "drag" strakes in the lenght on the "sand wood" parts like the wing stuts. This will suggest wood "nerves". Apply lightly.

- let dry for at least 72 hours.
- add a final coat of Tamiya transparant yellow X24 acryllic. 

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This will "deepen" the wood look of the part, giving real wood look effect...


So, some painting is seen...


 

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The large wing panels also got their paint, they were separated from the sprues at this point. 

Also, the crew nacelle/fuselage inner and outher surfaces got the paints. For scheme "E" mostly outside the PC10 colour. 

....in close up... and the colourfull "bombs..."
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Further Assembly
The parts are finely moulded and will fit without major problems. In some areas it is even needed to scrape of the added paint on the glueing surfaces/joints otherwise the paint thickness will be in the way. 

Following the exact numbered steps in the order as suggested by the WingNut Wings instructions is not recommended as some troubles will arise than later on. Here, some suggestions are made for the assembly steps.

STEPs 1-3
Start with the nice small crew nacelle/fuselage. Ensure as noted above parts are pre-painted already!
The nacelle is well detailed with internal struts and pipes. Add the wires, as indicated in STEP 3 (page 9 of instructions) using plain fishing wire 0.1 mm thickness (can be bought in the... yes... fish accessoiries hobby shop). Alternatively use EZ Line flexi wire.
Paint the internal nacelle wires a metal colour at this stage.

Do not forget to first fit part A18 bulkhead to A17 before adding the footplates A21. Also add the compass A27 or map H4 as desired.
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The result is a nice interior straight from the kit with only added wires and cables.

STEP 4
For some schemes, drill a half-circular hole in fuselage part B13. This is not indicated. It is engraved on this fuselage half. 

STEP 5
The lower plate H8 is to be added here, but please note to first strengthen the wing sections joints as noted above

STEP 6 : gear struts: Leave for a later stage!

STEP 7: leave for a later stage.

STEP  8
The Beardmore engine is a real eyecather with lots of detail. I added some additional wiring, like the carburator control lines. Copper engine details can be painted with Tamiya XF6 copper. The metal parts can simply be sprayed a metal color, using ALCAD is not really worthwhile here as the engine will get a greased dirty look. These engines lost loads of oil!

The rocker arms E15 were a bit too long for a perfect fit, adjust as needed. Also, remove 2 mm from waterpipe part E2. 

Indeed, fit at this stage the engine to the nacelle top as later on the engine is almost unreachable!

STEP 9:
Add the aux intakes A2 and A3 and the other details as indicated.

Next steps to follow...

On to next [ Page 2....
 


References
- Windsock Datafile 147 - FE.2b by Paul R Hare, Albatros Productions Ltd. U.K.
- Windsock Datafile 018 - RAF FE.2b , by J. M. Bruce.
- the booklet with the Wingnut Wings kit !!!
- the WingNut Wings website with additional info

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Created this page 
Sept 20, 2013