Decisions decisions… I purchased the VP-1 plans set last week and acquired a set of VP-2 plans this weekend, now I have to make a decision between the designs. Which one should I build? I am estimating the VP-2 would cost between 5% and 7% more for the materials. I don’t think there would be much of a difference in the build time. The gross-weight bump and the extra seat are certainly good reasons to lean in the direction of the VP-2, but ultimately the decision needs to be a combination of practicality, mission, and my own comprehension of the plans. If one set of plans proves to be significantly more difficult than the other for some reason, that will affect the decision as well.
The idea of building a scale model before starting construction of the full scale plane had come up in a previous post. Now it looks like that might be the best way to decide between the two designs. If I build both of the aircraft as scale models first, that should give me a better parts list and I could evaluate the difference in material costs more accurately. It will also give me more insight in the build process for both airplanes.
Cost estimates for a 1:4 scale model of the VP-1 came out to about $45. Building two 1:4 scale models should come in less that $60. A question more important than cost is 1:4 or 1:8 scale. The 1:8 scale becomes problematic as the smaller plywood sizes in that scale would have to be balsa wood, which would increase the cost significantly, or be laminated paper stock, adding a lot of time in material fabrication. The idea with doing the models is to decrease the overall time and address problems with fabrication, not create materials and a whole new set of issues. Another problem with the 1:8 scale is hardware. In 1:4 scale I shouldn’t have a problem locating scale hardware.
With 1:4 scale the only real problem is that the product is on the large side. For the VP-1 we are talking about a 6′ wingspan, 4’6″ long, and a 1’3″ wide tail. The tail being the widest part of the structure with the wings detached. The VP-2 has a 6’9″ wingspan, is 4’9¾” long, with a 2′ wide tail. These are some big model airplanes and the only thing they are missing is the engine and maybe the rigging.
In the end I know that building the scale models is going to help save me a lot of time in the long run. I also know that the 1:4 scale makes more sense for dealing with potential build problems. With the models I don’t have to worry about Aircraft Grade materials and I can devote my time to building rather than sourcing. I also think that the models will give me a better estimate of the build process, and allow me to modify my build order and schedule.
It’s hard to say what direction things will take. I have my own ideas about the build process, when things will happen, how they will happen and all of that. No matter how much I plan, since I haven’t done this before, I just don’t know the path things will take.
Till next time, blue skies and tail winds,