Wednesday, 4 January 2012

David Boddington - 1/4 Scale Bleriot XI B - Photos Part 4 - Front Cockpit

The following pictures show close-up shots of the front cockpit. There wasn't much going on in the pilot's seat of a Bleriot X1 B and instrumentation was a little sparse. In the absence of good documentation some of the details were taken from other aircraft of that era.

Also the David Boddington Bleriot is 'sport scale' and was never intended to be an exact scale model of the original. That said, there is plenty of scope to add scale detail to make the model look very authentic. David was a great believer in 'dirtying up' a finished model as it helps give it that 'used' look, but don't go overboard with the weathering.

 Seat, fuel gauge, control column and fuselage interior can be seen here.

The bracing wires to the fuselage sides were none functional. The actual control cables are visible at the bottom and consist of 2 for the rudder, 2 for the elevator and 2 for the bomb drop.

Seat close-up.

I use this style of seat in nearly all of my WW1 planes, they look convincing and only have 3 components to them. I will do a 'blog build' showing how they're made and include PDF templates so you can make your own.

The control column can also be seen, it was 'sprung loaded' and moved fore and aft, left and right. The control column was connected a dummy 'wing warping' control arm under the fuselage via cables. When the column was moved left or right the 'wing warping' control arm would move too.

There was no actual wing warping required to fly the model. Boddo wrote in the instructions that to include wing warping made little to no difference and that the Bleriot flew just as well on rudder and elevator and therefore didn't justify the extra work involved to include a wing warping system.

A close-up of the control column front support pylon.

This pylon was caved from a small block of  basswood using a small electric drill and cutting bit. The base was from plywood and the top 'bush' was made from brass tubing.

This shot clearly shows the leather cockpit trim, brass eyelets and stitching.

The leather used was from an old secondhand jacket that I bought. The leather had to be pared down using a sharp blade to reduce its thickness. The join (two in total) that can be seen was hand stitched from behind and the seams laid flat against the underside. Also included in this trim was a length of rubber tubing, about 5mm or so in diameter. This tubing was stuck to the back of the leather trim along a centre line. The trim was glued to the edge of the cockpit cut out. This took quite a long time and great care has to be taken so as not to get glue on the silver painted fuselage sides.

The eyelets were then added once the spacing had been worked out. I used a 'bradawl' to make small hole for the eyelets to pass through and held them in place with cyanoacrylate. The stitching was added and then stained after completion so as to blend in with the leather trim. If the cockpit trim is exposed to waste fuel and oil it is advisable to use leathercloth as it can be wiped clean, leather will tend to absorb the fuel and oil leaving stains. Eyelets can be obtain from Mike Reeves Models in the UK 

 General picture showing entire cockpit opening.


Close-up showing a dummy box behind the seat.

This above dummy box was hiding the wing retaining tubes. The short length of wire seen on the right-hand side of the box is a dummy reserve fuel line from the auxiliary tank situated in the rear cockpit. Rubber tubing was placed over this wire and connected to a dummy fuel tap situated on the left-hand side of the cockpit towards the front.


 This is the dummy auxiliary fuel cap filler just behind the front cockpit.

 Front deck showing more dummy filler caps.

These are the dummy oil and fuel filler caps to the removable top front decking. The bottom right filler cap was removable.  When this filler cap was removed access could be made to the deck retaining screw.

Here we see the fuel gauge made from plastic card for the casing and
bracket with clear for the glass. Held in place with small screws.

Rear cockpit photographs to follow...  

To be continued...


  1. oh my goodness... your work is amazing!! What a true talent you have!!!

  2. Many thanks for your complements. I hope you enjoy looking at my blog and find things of interest. There will be more 1/6 scale posts coming up...

    Thanks, Mark