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First Look Review
British Rigging System
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by: Rowan Baylis [ MERLIN ]

Along with the steady rise in popularity of largescale WW1 aircraft kits comes the chance to portray rigging in a much more true-to-scale manner than the traditional stretched sprue, thread or wire methods. In particular, etched metal makes it feasible to add turnbuckles and consistent streamlined-section flying wires.

RB Productions have just released their first WW1 accessories - a 3-part system for modelling British rigging in 1:32, comprising:

RB-P32011 - 9/32" RAF Wires - €5.75
RB-P32012 - 1/4" RAF Wires - €5.75
RB-P32013 - British wire terminals - €6.50

Each set of wires comes tightly packed with a very sturdy cardboard backing to keep the fret from being damaged in transit. The wires are very delicate, so it's definitely a good idea to keep the backing for permanent storage too.

RB-P32011 contains 25 wires, while RB-P32012 has 28. In both cases the wires are 20 cm long. Looking at full-sized "RAF" wires, such as on Hendon's Bristol F.2B shown here, it's clear that the ends of the wires taper to a round section where they pass through the terminals. So, once you've measured the length of the wire, a few passes with a file will add extra authenticity.

RB-P32013 provides two different styles of rigging attachments - 50 x "flexible" and 56 x "straight". Each type is a multi-piece affair, comprising the terminals themselves which must be folded to shape, plus a separate nut through which the rigging wire passes. While all the parts are small, the nuts are absolutely tiny, so it's a relief to see plenty of spares are provided, so you needn't worry if the occasional one decides to go into orbit!

The set is accompanied by clearly written instruction with diagrams showing each style, along with a small reference photo of the full-sized items.

It's probably worth trying out a couple of test assemblies on scrap plastic or an old kit to find a technique that suits you before risking your latest masterpiece. You'll need to add an attachment for each terminal (e.g. from a loop of fine wire), ideally leaving the terminal free to pivot. It looks as though the terminals should then be "self-aligning" to some degree if you keep the rigging wire loose to start with, only fixing it with a tiny drop of glue once you're happy.

These sets are obviously aimed at experienced modellers, but the results in skilled and patient hands should look quite stunning. I hope healthy sales encourage Radu to consider adding rigging sets for other nations - and maybe I'm glutton for punishment, but I wonder if 1:48 versions are feasible too... Highly recommended.

Please remember, when contacting retailers or manufacturers, to mention that you saw their products highlighted here - on AEROSCALE.
Highs: Highly detailed and much more realistic than many traditional model rigging methods.
Lows: Fairly complex, with some very small parts.
Verdict: Certainly not for beginners, but in skilled hands RB Productions' British rigging system should give excellent resuts.
Percentage Rating
  Scale: 1:32
  Mfg. ID: See Text
  Suggested Retail: See Text
  PUBLISHED: Jul 22, 2009
  NATIONALITY: United Kingdom

Our Thanks to RB Productions!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.

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About Rowan Baylis (Merlin)

I've been modelling for about 40 years, on and off. While I'm happy to build anything, my interests lie primarily in 1/48 scale aircraft. I mostly concentrate on WW2 subjects, although I'm also interested in WW1, Golden Age aviation and the early Jet Age - and have even been known to build the occas...

Copyright 2021 text by Rowan Baylis [ MERLIN ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of AeroScale. All rights reserved.


Hi there I think 2 B.A is standard round-section cable. Radu's instructions include photos of the full-sized flexible and straight terminals so you can distinguish between them, but you'll have to find your own references for what is appropriate in each position on a particular airframe - that's beyond the scope of generic instructions. All the best Rowan
JUL 26, 2009 - 10:43 AM
The Wingnuts instructions are very complete. So it sounds like one needs all three elements and some fishing line for the round cable?
JUL 26, 2009 - 10:52 AM
in all RCF and RNAS airplanes the control cables are 2 B.A. MERLIN is right. in the WINDSOCK DATAFILE SPECIAL Vol 1 of Bristol Fighter p.39 there is a plane of RAF- WIRE lengths, also in Sopwith Pup DATAFILE p.38 Sorry for my poor Englise.
JUL 27, 2009 - 02:40 AM
JUL 27, 2009 - 11:04 AM
Hi, 1st post. I'm kind of a newbie to this site, but am active on other WW1 sites. Forgot my callsign and couldn't log on here. emails for help have so far been unanswered, so I had to re-register. Anyway, where are you guys getting the references for SE5 RAFWire? I liked the RB productions stuff was was stumped at the sizes he chose. I really like the attachments, though. I'll be having them. A long time ago I saw this, which I've been using as a reference: LINK It is supposedly the SE5 and 5a rigging diagram from the original manual. In short, it says that only the front flying wires and the undercarriage front cross bracing wires are 1/4 BSF. The rest are either 2BA or 4BA RAFwire. Is there another source which has different numbers?
JUL 30, 2009 - 07:37 AM
For a quick reference on the Bristol here at Aeroscale click here.
JUL 30, 2009 - 07:45 PM
For detailed references on the SE 5a and the Bristol I hve to recommend the Datafiles on the subject from Windsock.
JUL 30, 2009 - 07:51 PM
Agree with you totally. The Windsock SE5a Data File Special has a "Rigging Notes"diagram from the official1918 Technical Notes (pg.42) that states the same, 1/4 BSF for the Front Flying Wires and U/C cross bracing, the rest all 2 and 4BA. Rimell doesn't make many errors! Just ordered the 3 sets plus the turnbuckles from Radub; will post results if I don't go blind on the install (WNW SE5a) Just switched to 1/32 from 1/48 due to "old eyes"; now wondering what I gained as the larger subjects initiate more detail mania and I may be back at the beginning of this little adventure with products like these............
JUL 26, 2010 - 11:30 AM
Two types of rigging: I would think that Aircraft are not too different from sailboats, There is standing rigging to support the mast or to reinforce the wing structure. There is also running rigging, halyards and sheets on a boat and rudder and aileron control lines for the planes. It makes sense for the standing rigging to be streamlined, and the gauge is determined by the length of the span and load. It is tuned prior to flight. However, because the control lines are being bent around a sheave or pulley it must be flexible, round and likely braided from a lot of fine wires. Wingwalker
JUL 26, 2010 - 12:54 PM

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