by: Stephen T. Lawson [ ]
Originally published on:
Now back in the day (1980’s)”Skybirds 86” was a cottage industry manufacturer that put out resin kits of early aviation and cold war subjects. John Adams of “Aeroclub” fame and Mike Eacock of Skybirds 86 were close friends and over the years they collaborated on many projects that each was doing. Mr. Eacock produced such 1/72 kits as the Hunter T.7, the Percival Prentice, a Supermarine Scimitar and some of the DH Hornets. Production stopped in 2000 due to Mr. Eacock’s ill health. Those that know him call him an “engineer's engineer”.
Why use brass?
Struts are the bane and pain. The battle cry of the neophyte modeler is “I can’t do that it has all those struts!” In a multiplane configuration strength is a plus. Several methods are used to achieve a good looking build. In most cases I will either replace kit items with modified brass sections or put brass rod in all the ends of the kit struts. This reinforces your work but also gives your struts an adjustable (by bending) pivot that works to your advantage, especially when your kit has dihedral, forward or reverse stagger. When you have all strut locator holes in the right places and the cabane struts are fixed at the right angles, everything else should go great.
The product called “STRUTZ” is simply brass rod / wire run through crush rollers. It creates a streamline cross-section that passes nicely as strut stock. The various pieces match various drill bit sizes. They are also colour coded on one end for ease of identification.
1 copper rod for plumbing 0.40 mm
1 aluminum rod for plumbing 0.40 mm
1 aluminum flat rod for tail bracing & control horns 0.40 mm
4 brass wires 0.40 mm brown tipped
3 brass wires 0.50 mm red tipped
3 brass wires 0.60 mm orange tipped
3 brass wires 0.70 mm yellow tipped
3 brass wires 0.80 mm green tipped
3 brass wires 1.00 mm blue tipped
1 double sided page of very helpful instructions and drawings.
How do I use it?
Check your favorite plan views and match the required strut width for your project. Now follow the instructions on how to cut a strut. The greatest advantage to using “STRUTZ” is the strength it adds to a build. Even if your build is damaged at a later date, with care reusing the brass "STRUTZ" makes it very easy to get it back to where you won’t even know it was damaged.
Some of the tools required are listed in the instructions.
Wire cutters or nips
Needle nosed pliers
Small jeweler’s files
I would add an electric motor tool like a “Dremel” variable speed type.
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