by: Stephen T. Lawson [ ]
Originally published on:
HistoryLaminated wood propellers were common to all aircraft production lines in the early days of aviation. These provided the needed strength and flexibility required for maximum operational use. Later development of metal alloys replaced these wooden items. Today laminated wood beams are still functional supports for construction purposes.
The individual items here are the 1/32nd scale Sopwith Pup "scimitar" profile propeller. This propeller was made using Ebony and Fir and represents the highest level of skill and artistry I have seen so far. Being a very dense, hard and brittle wood, it is an extremely hard wood to carve by hand. That a propeller was made using this wood is a significant personal achievement and being such it was sent to me to illustrate how far they have come from those propellers carved two years ago.
A 1:48th scale Sopwith Triplane "square-tip" propeller is provided. A 1:32nd scale Fokker E. III (Eindecker) Garuda propeller is provided. These propellers match those of Wingnut Wings (WnW) and other manufacturers' products, a propeller is modified when verifiable technical or photographic data suggests that revisions are warranted. Photographically, the leading edge of the Eindecker-Garuda appears more pronounced than that observed on the WnW propeller. Diagrams of this propeller, support this observation. After discussion amongst the Micro Group, slight revisions were made resulting in the propeller submitted to you. Next, is a 1:32nd scale Ebora propeller for the Spad S. 7. An Airco DH. 2 4-blade "pusher" propeller in 1:32nd scale is provided. Unlike the other propellers, this item has a left-hand rotation and the flat side of the propeller is the trailing edge and therefore faces the rear of the aircraft. The final item being sent is the 1:32nd scale Ebony Sopwith Camel "scimitar" propeller. Though much has been said about this propeller already, its high gloss finish requires some mention. All propellers are finished with 15 to 30 "coats" of Duracryl. This provides a highly polished look which is not only documentarily similar to the real airscrews of that time, but also highlights the beauty of the underlying wood. This high gloss finish can be retained or dulled by gentle rubbing with very fine sandpaper or steel wool.
An update from the companyWe would like to thank you for your interest in our product. Among other products we make, the information in this notice deals exclusively with the wood laminate propellers designed to address the increasing level of sophistication and artistry being incorporated into models of aircraft, especially those of World War One. Several reviews have been written about our wood laminate propellers. All of these have been enthusiastically positive. . .
When a client purchases our propeller(s), each comes in a small “zip-close” plastic package. As the package is opened, several things will be noticed. First, each propeller has a gloss finish. Since it is easier to remove gloss than to add it, we have decided to let the customer determine the level of gloss they desire. Careful sanding or the application of “Dullcote Lacquer”, will remove the desired amount of gloss finish. Next, each propeller comes with a “holder”. Though it is a silly little thing, by mounting the propeller on the holder (toothpick) and securing it with the metal pin, the customer can see that the slightest breath will cause the propeller to spin. This “breath” test emphasizes the accuracy of the propeller blades’ airfoil. Next, each propeller comes with the appropriate (when known) retention plates. These are provided should the customer wish to use them. Finally, each propeller has a “true” center of rotation hole which can be enlarged should the customer wish to do so. All of our propellers are hand-made.
The cost of each propeller is listed below. Each includes a propeller holder as well as front and rear propeller retaining plates. We reserve the right to alter prices if conditions require it. Payment is made by “PayPal” in US Dollars.
Costs (in US Dollars): 1/48th scale 1/32nd scale 1/28th scale
2- blade 25.00 30.00 35.00
4- blade 33.00 40.00 45.00
Shipping costs are $3.50 (USD) for domestic and $9.50 (USD) for international clients. It should be remembered that; first, it takes about ten (10) business days for the letter to arrive in foreign countries and second, the US Postal Service is not gentle with the mail entrusted to it for delivery. Precautions are taken to protect the contents of the parcel. Other shipping options are available but their cost is comparatively high in relation to the item(s) being sent.
The type of propeller and their availability varies. Though a selection of propellers is available and includes; the German Axial, Garuda, Jaray, the American Curtiss JN4C, Thomas Morse Scout, DH4 and the British Armstrong Whitworth FK8, Bristol F2B and Airco DH 2, they may not be in the scale, color or number requested by the customer. Furthermore, a customer may desire a propeller for a specific aircraft such as the Albatros D.III (OEF) or Sopwith Triplane. In either case, the desired item will be made and sent to the customer. Each propeller is available in a variety of color selections such as; all light contrasting woods, all dark contrasting woods, and a combination of light and dark wood.
The type of woods used in the construction of our propellers are all hardwoods and include cherry, birch, walnut, maple, ash and mahogany. Course grained hardwoods such as teak and oak are not used. A great variety of combinations are possible giving our clients a “one-of-a-kind” hand-made propeller. The number of laminates comprising a propeller varies and this greatly influences the appearance of the wood propeller. Photographs are sent by E-mail to the client showing the variety of propellers made for them. From these photographs, they can see the propellers and select the one (or more) that pleases them. . .To ensure the customer’s satisfaction with our product, we may ask that the exact length of the plastic propeller supplied in the kit, as well as the kit manufacturer, be provided to us.
We do not have a “website” at this time. We remain cautious about starting one since it may consume our time and energies for little return. We can be reached through our; E-mail address, USA mail address, and USA phone number.
Thank you for your consideration of our product. We believe that every factor in their creation has been carefully considered and tested. We hope that their use will greatly benefit those who build models of World War I aircraft.
M. Craig Rosner
The Micro Group, LLC
Results I have used these items in several builds and can only praise the final results.
References;Cross & Cockade Intl. Vol. 20 #1 1989 Part 1.
Cross & Cockade Intl. Vol. 20 #3 1989 Part 2.
Cross & Cockade Intl. Vol. 21 #3 1990 Part 3.
Cross & Cockade Intl. Vol. 22 #1 1991 Part 4.
Cross & Cockade Intl. Vol. 22 #4 1991 Part 5.
Diamler factory archive data and drawings.
Data from Boeing aircraft archives.
Lafayette Foundation Archives.
WWI British Aeroplane Propellers. Windsock Datafile.
Windsock Datafiles - German subjects.
When contacting manufacturers and publishers PLEASE mention you saw this review at AEROSCALE
Click here for additional images for this review.