Scottish Aviation Bulldog Build

How did it all begin?

Reading through one of our monthly periodicals I got to thinking, when was the last time I built from a plan? Not a kit that has a plan and lazar cut sheets that just need a shake and it falls together. But a plan, good old traditional building where I have to select the wood, mark it out, cut and shape all by myself.

The article I found particularly interesting debated the pros and cons of the influx of Almost Ready to Fly (ARTF) models in recent years and how this had affected the home kit market. It went on to suggest that ARTF had made our hobby more accessible and brought in fresh blood. Whatever the merits it did make me think when was the last time I did build from a plan?

A lot of head scratching and rubbing of chin I realized going back fifteen years I could only remember kits and one ARTF. The last of my plan built models was a scaled up version of a free plan from RCM&E for Dave Boddington's Ultimate 300. So, my mind was made up, my winter project was going to be a traditional build from a plan. About the time I went through this momentous decision making process I read an article about the VMAR Scottish Aviation Bulldog which I thought had the right look about it. A search of plan service web sites found a 65" version which I thought would suit a 70ish four stroke and would not be too much of a challenge but be reasonably scale like and the potential to detail as much or as little as you'd like.

bd 45

I'm not a columnist nor writer which is probably obvious but I thought those new to our hobby would be interested in my trials and tribulation and even some of you old hands may like a chuckle. I'm going to document the process as best I can and provide updates as each phase is done. I'm going to detail as much as I can more so for those not experienced in this type of build. Please feel free to contribute as I'm sure my methods are not the only or the best way to do something, email me here.

Breaking Ground

Duly purchased and with plan in hand it was time to form a plan of attack. It was obvious I was going to need a copy of the plan as I didn't want to damage the original. Photocopying is out of the question for such a large sheet as there was no way I could stitch them together and guarantee accuracy (most photocopiers will distort slightly in one direction).

Working for a company that has a drawing office I thought there was bound to be a way of copying drawings, however this was not as clear cut as you might first think. An enquiry to the office manager met with a long pause, finally he remembered that we did have a copier many years ago but in this day of computer aided design it had been 'stored' but if I could get it working I was welcome to use it.

bd side on

Fighting my way to the back of the 'store unit' (a building on site no one ever seems to go into) I found a machine that from the layer of dust had obviously not been used for many years. I had used such a beast a very long time ago, so being a modern man I didn't need to read any instructions (which would probably have been on parchment) or ask for any help. This copier was the type that uses light sensitive paper which you lay under the original. Feeding the plan and copy paper through rollers, it is exposed to ammonia vapors and some magic goes on inside before the ammonia vapors are removed 'harmlessly' (well that's the plan). Some sheets later I finally had a copy that was the right way up and clear enough to see without being four miles from the Sun. However, by now my eyes seem to be watering and my nose was very 'clear'. Upon checking underneath the copier I noticed the filter container (a normal 1 gallon plastic type) resembled an over inflated football bobbing around on the floor. Time to leave and claim perfect success.


Fin - Updated 28/07/09

Wing - Updated 29/08/09

Fuselage - to follow


Span - 65"

Scale - 1/6th

Engines - .61cu in

Functions - 5/6

Designer - W.E. Evans


Gloucester Model Flying Club