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Old 05-09-2021, 10:36 AM
Thumb Dog Thumb Dog is offline
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Dornier DO-X

Hi All,

Ever since I was a kid, I’ve marveled at the German Dornier DO-X. My childhood’s airplane books always seemed to include a photograph or two of this stupendous, strange, silver machine. Even to my young eye, I could tell that this exotic contraption had the power to command sea and air, as it so convincingly fused both ship and airplane. With its twelve Curtiss Conqueror engines driving that forest of wooden propellers atop its wing, I was confident that the DO-X was capable of flying to any destination in the world. It remains a record setting aircraft that claims many firsts in aviation in regard to its size, payload and construction. The DO-X first flew in 1929 and was recognized as an extraordinary technological achievement in its time. It’s one of the great planes from the early years of powered flight and has a remarkable story to tell.

Paper models of the DO-X appeared soon after the flying boat took to the air, and they are still being published today. A somewhat inaccurate 1/100 version had until recently been in the catalog of JF Schreiber. Happily, this model has lately been updated so we can now build a more faithful Schreiber DO-X. Also, Wilhelmshavener Modellbaubogen sells a version of the colossal flying boat, but you’ll need plenty of room to display it, as their gigantic 1/50 scale model has a wingspan of 3’ 2 ¼” or 96cm. An 18 page copy of this behemoth can be had for €65.90.

The vintage German model seen in the photographs below is a bit more humble in its ambitions. From the collection of fellow member Tom Greensfelder, this DO-X prints out nicely on just eight, 8 ½” X 11” sheets. When the somewhat toyish model is scaled against its 16 inch wingspan, it comes close to 1/120. Thought to have been published in the early 1930s, it joined a collection of similar paper models issued by a number of German publishers. The DO-X was well known and widely admired by a German people yearning for something to cheer about in those difficult post-war years.

The build was a bit tricky. My first fuselage developed a shocking twist, so the second effort was more carefully measured to ensure the seams were all of the correct length and angle. The empennage went together easily enough but the kit’s wing needed attention. A photo below shows the designer’s solution to the wing tips and I was not amused. After moving a few things around in the computer, I built a laminated wing made up of two mirrored halves, each composed of three layers of 110 lb. cardstock. The stiff wing is additionally supported by the stout struts that connect to the port and starboard sponsons.

I wanted the twelve propellers to spin in the slightest breeze, so I carefully measured and finished 1/16” brass tubes and inserted them into the six completed nacelles. Then, .032” polished brass wires were run through the tubes and glued into the hubs of the twelve paper propellers. Below is a photo of my operating test nacelle. Even though I couldn’t get the rear propellers to contra-rotate, I was happy with the results as my hubris set me up for the nemesis to come.

The first nacelle was easily attached to the wing and things were spinning along nicely. It was when I was fixing the second nacelle in place that I realized the kit’s designer did not leave enough room between nacelles for the propellers to spin without banging into each other. I couldn’t change the wing as it had been glued in place, I couldn’t ignore the nacelle’s position marks on the wing and shortening the props would have made them look ridiculous. Even though they now act more like gears than proper props, I’ll live with the propellers as you see them in the photographs. Lastly, a stand was constructed from black mat board to elevate the completed model.

The image of the Dornier DO-X has been inspiring toy makers, artists and model makers for over 90 years and will continue to do so for generations to come. For those interested in reading more history concerning Claudius Dornier and his fabulous flying boats, the following site is recommended. It also offers remarkable, large format photographs of the DO-X and its construction. Just click on any picture to reveal the photo lineup.

Exo Cruiser: The Dornier Do. X

Score and fold,

Thumb Dog
Attached Thumbnails
Dornier DO-X-img_0455-2-.jpg   Dornier DO-X-img_0411-2-.jpg   Dornier DO-X-img_0408-2-.jpg   Dornier DO-X-img_0405-2-.jpg   Dornier DO-X-img_0434-2-.jpg  

Dornier DO-X-img_0436-2-.jpg   Dornier DO-X-img_0444-2-.jpg   Dornier DO-X-img_0456-2-.jpg   Dornier DO-X-img_0461-2-.jpg   Dornier DO-X-img_0407-2-.jpg  

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Old 05-09-2021, 03:53 PM
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rockpaperscissor rockpaperscissor is offline
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A beautiful and precise build, as always. Your vintage models are an inspiration.
Regards, Don
I don't always build models, but when I do... I prefer paper. Keep your scissors sharp, my friends.
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Old 05-09-2021, 04:09 PM
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papermodelfan papermodelfan is offline
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Great to see this, Thumbdog. What company is this one from? As it happens, I just this weekend started building the WHV Do X. I noticed a peculiarity up close that I had not seen before. The engine nacelles are alternately positioned a bit fore and a bit aft. This gives the props clearance I suppose. Thanks for inspiring us.
Rob Tauxe, Atlanta, GA
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Old 05-09-2021, 04:26 PM
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Don Boose Don Boose is offline
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Most excellent, TD. As usual, lots of good background information in addition to the clear images of your model.

Don Srull of the DC Maxecuters free-flight model club built a stick and tissue 42-inch span electric powered version that I used to like to watch flying at Maxecuter and Flying Aces events. Haven't attended for a decade or so, but the memory is still vivid of seeing that stately machine power gracefully through the air. I understand he later converted it to R/C.

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Old 05-10-2021, 12:23 AM
Moritzamica Moritzamica is offline
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nice build. Many years ago I built the Schreiber DO-X. It was an impressive modell. If you want to see more pictures of that Plane, look here:

Category:Dornier Do X – Wikimedia Commons
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Old 05-10-2021, 02:40 PM
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PacificWind PacificWind is offline
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A beautiful, great-looking model. Excellent work.
Also, I love that vintage style in its design. It's just like a model from a different era. Like something you would find in the office of some company's president in 1930s.
Well done!
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Old 05-10-2021, 06:14 PM
Thumb Dog Thumb Dog is offline
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Hi All,

And many thanks to those who have written with your encouraging comments.

Rob, you asked who the publisher was. I contacted Tom Greensfelder last night and he took a look at the material he had. He didn’t find a publisher listed, so he said he would contact the Barcelona collector he received the model from and ask him for the answer. I can tell you that at the head of the instruction booklet, and on every page of the model, there is a German phrase that reads, Beilage zum “Lexikon des Lebens,” meaning, Supplement to the “Lexicon of Life.”

It could be that the DO-X was a supplement to a German publication the way some of the Hans Christian Madsen models were supplements to Aller’s Familie-Journal magazines as commented on in my A Scandinavian Fantasy thread of 6/18/20. But that’s only my guess at this time.

It’s true about the staggered nacelles on the DO-X, and some of the photographs in the terrific site suggested by Moritzamica show it clearly. Here’s the site…

Rob, we look forward to some reports on your own DO-X build. Where ever will you keep it?

And thanks, Don. A quick search of YouTube will show just how popular the DO-X is with R/C modelers. I think I even remember a free-flight model or two as well.

Attached is a stunning model made from duraluminum showing one of the two DO-Xs that were sold to Italy. Note the streamlined cowlings around the engines.

Score and fold,

Thumb Dog
Attached Thumbnails
Dornier DO-X-do-x-duraluminum.jpg  
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Old 05-10-2021, 07:30 PM
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Vermin_King Vermin_King is offline
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Goodness gracious that is a sweet build
A fine is a tax when you do wrong.
A tax is a fine when you do well.
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Old 05-12-2021, 08:26 PM
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wireandpaper wireandpaper is offline
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Thank you for sharing!
The model does look a little bit "Chibi" but considering the vintage it is pretty amazing.
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Old 05-12-2021, 10:16 PM
Madbrit Madbrit is offline
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This is a truly delightful build, congratulations are decidedly in order. It must have been a great experience to witness the original start up and take off, all those props in action.

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