Peanut Scale : Pres Bruning : Curtiss S03C [This article was published in the November 1974 issue of  The Model Builder magazine.]

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Peanut Seagull … Curtiss S03C-1

Our guest editor reaches into the bottomless Peanut barrel and pulls out a seldom seen model of a World War II reject. By PRES BRUNING

Curtiss S03C Pres Brunning
Photos by Bob Mosher.

The “Seagull” was designed as a replacement for the SOC-1 Biplane for use as a scout observation plane with convertible land-sea use. In competition with the Chance-Vought “Kingfisher”, the Seagull was a disappointment and was eventually cancelled. Several interesting features were incorporated in the test flying stages. The plane lacked sufficient dihedral, so an inexpensive way out was to add dihedral plates at the wing tips. The landing gear was attached at the float pylon juncture. This resulted in the gear being set back close to the C.G. and being long, provides excellent opportunity for a big paddle prop on the scale model. The subject has ideal proportions for a flying scale model, with virtually no deviation from scale for flying purposes.

Let’s start construction with the fuselage. This is accomplished by first building up a profile, then adding in the nose block bulkheads, plan view stringers and fin al stringers. Landing gear wire is 5-minute epoxied in before covering with tissue. Rather than airbrush the color separation from blue to light blue to white, I overlapped the white and blue tissue covering with clear dope thinned out 50-50 with thinner. I rendered the light blue area between white and blue by mixing a drop or two of blue drymark ink in the dope and brushing the tissue below the separation line.

Each wing half is built on the plan, removed and dry covered with thinned out Elmer’s glue and attached to the fuselage at the dihedral angle shown on the plan. The leading and trailing edges of each wing half are joined in the fuselage with a drop of 5 minute epoxy on a stick. Next, with a wet cotton ball, shrink the tissue and dope with one coat of 1 /2 dope and -1/2 thinner mixture. Make sure the right wing t railing edge is up 1 /16 inch at the tip (may be done in construction phase).

The horizontal stabilizer is built from 1/16 soft balsa to keep weight down in the tail area and the vertical stab has left trim built in before covering. The landing gear wire is covered with bond paper folded over and glued. Tissue may be doped over this to get the right color {light blue).

For my model, I carved a prop with integral spinner to keep the weight down because of the enormous nose overhang. However, you can achieve a similar result by sanding down a Sleek Streek prop.

Curtiss S03C Pres Brunning
No mistaking the kicked up wing tips of the “Seagull.” Talk about modelers making “cut and try” modifications … these were added to the real prototype to improve stability!

The canopy was finished off by rubber cementing blue Japanese tissue cut in 1/16 inch strips to the thin celluloid to represent the framing. Add the linework (flaps, etc) with a waterproof prismacolor nylon tip pen. The aerial mast is cut from 1/64 inch white styrene and 5-minute epoxied to the fuselage. The insignia was added by doping on the dark blue tissue pie sections, using a pattern for positioning. The stars and bars were painted on with thinned out white latex paint. The red was hand-brushed around the entire insignia… Oh, that’s hard to do! If you have decals that size from plastic kits, I would suggest that route instead.

The model, complete with motor, weighs 12 grams. In flying, the only adjustment was to prop up the trailing edge of the horizontal stab due to the closeness of the wing. However, the corrections have been drawn on the plan. 1 ‘m happy to say the model flew right off the board, with very few adjustments, and flies slow and climbs well because of the thick wing. Indoors, I’ve been averaging 43 seconds with a 30 foot ceiling. Outdoors, at a recent contest, I thermalled it for a 65 second flight, using the indoor motor (in 4 mph winds). So, build it light for best results.

1) “Curtiss S03C Seagull”, by Paul Matt. AAM, May, 1967.
2) “War Planes of the Second World War”, FLOATPLANES Volume 6, by William Green, pp. 161-165

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