1/72 Farman Carte Postale

KIT #:
DECALS: Home made
REVIEWER: Chris Peachment
NOTES: 10 and 20 thou plastic sheet, rod and strut.


This 1926 sports two seater from the Farman stable came about when they noticed that they had a spare wing from the giant Farman Goliath airliner hanging around in the workshop. They took an earlier Farman David light biplane, tore off its two wings, sawed the tips off the Goliath wing, and mounted it on struts on the David fuselage.

Once done, they took one look at it, and christened it the Carte Postale or Post Card. 

It was flown in the 1926 Coupe Zenith race by one Monsieur Coupet. Other than that I can find little reference to it, other than some details of the colour scheme:

After a series of letters between the Musée de l'Air and Jean Liron (who contacted the Farman's pilot, M. Coupet), M. Fillon concluded that the Carte Postale did indeed have a red fuselage and silver wings, with black matriculation letters. A photo of this machine appears in Liron's book "Les Avion Farman", published by Docavia, in France, some years ago. Coupet is standing in front of the machine in the photo.

Since black is a little boring, I decided that he must have been mistaken and the wing markings were in fact red. The French can be notoriously colour blind.

I doubt that more than one was built if only for the reason that they would have had to make more Goliaths in order to chop them up for the wing. A tedious and expensive process. And I imagine that a wing with such short span and long chord would have resulted in high induced drag. And so it was probably rather slower that the Farman David from which it sprang. It was however very good as a parasol in hot weather, or as an umbrella when it rained.

 Incidentally, I have noticed that Americans rarely carry umbrellas. While there was a time when an Englishman was never seen without one. And Irish friend of mine once said that England would be a fine country if only it had a roof on it.


I got the wing out of the way first since this was easy. Cut a base in 20 thou card and the top from 10 thou. Score the ribs on the inside of the upper surface according to plan using a steel rule and black biro. A couple of passes will ensure that the ribs stand proud on the upper surface. Also lightly outline the ailerons, which can  later be scored on top with the tip of a scalpel.

 Place the main spar on the lower surface about 1/3 of the chord back from the leading edge, glue the leading edges together, then bend the upper surface over the spar and glue the trailing edges. Use a scalpel to cut out the rear edge scallops. Glue some thin card on the ends for the endplates. And note that mine has collapsed inward in one place due to over-gluing, and makes for a nice dent , which is the sort of thing that aircraft of this period had all over them from rough handing by ground crew.

 The fuselage is a plain box, cut from 20 thou card and all glued up. The upper surface needs two cockpits cut into it. The front cockpit cowling came from a handy pattern on one of the plans. An instrument panel was made up using an old etched panel. 

I cannot see whether the rear cockpit had any instruments, but the aircraft is so tiny and cramped that I expect any pilot in the rear could see the instruments over his co-pilot's shoulder. Besides they flew by the seat of their pants in those days. Two control columns and seats came from somewhere.

 Blast it all with red.

 Make up the tail feathers from 20 thou card, scored for the ribs. Not that the fin is tiny. Paint it all with silver, though I did the fin in white just for a little variation.

 Marry the wing to the fuselage using rod and strut cut to length from the plan. Note that it wing now covers up the cockpits, and wish that you had saved the seats for your spares box since they can't be seen (chorus of:  “though never mind its nice to know they are there.”). 

 Markings were made on the office laser computer and represent the limits of my decal making skills, though I am quite proud of the Farman signature on the fin, done in a font called Brush Script or Brush Script. The F of Farman should have the top stroke running forwards, but my sign writer had a bad hangover that day.

 Make a few control horns from cutting off the corners of plastic sheet at the right angles. Superglue them in place. Rigging the tail control wires for the tail proved the only fiddly part of construction and here I found that it best to employ a series of French oaths and curses, learned over the years from French movies with sub-titles.

Bof,” is a good one to signify that you couldn't care less. This must be accompanied by gestures such as raising the palms upwards and also the eyes towards the heavens. “Merde” is a little stronger, and is handy for when a control horn is lifted off by the tension in the wire. If you want the machine to behave itself, then call it an “emmerdeur” which politely translates as pain in the arse (ass to you). And if you really want it to get in line tell it to “sois belle et tais toit”. Though it would be unwise to use this one if your aircraft is a modern feminist.

 A couple of wires were also inserted between the cabanes, which should prove no problem to even the earliest of beginners.  Undercarriage from rod and strut. Wheels from Bag of Dead Wheels. Blast with red.

Turn your attention to the engine. Some plans show that it had a bullet fairing over the prop spinner and engine cylinders.  This would be tricky. But all the photos that I found showed that it flew with an open engine. This is a lot less tricky, and so the path of least resistance once again proved irresistible. I had only five and seven cylinder radials in my spares box, so I took the seven, cut off all the cylinders bar one, and re-arranged them into a pleasing six cylinder job, which was painted black with gunmetal dry brushing and mounted on the front plate.

The exhausts emerge from the front of the cylinder heads and form a graceful downward curve, turn beneath the engine and end up below the rear cockpit. Replicate this with plastic rod, bent around pencils and brush handles of varying diameter. Gunmetal, dark rust and black openings.

Finally the prop, from the Big Bag of Dead Props was given a wooden appearance (mid stone, dark earth streaks) and a coat of clear orange. Mount it at ten to four, and voila. One tres belle little Post Card from the golden age of French aviation. 






http://www.aeroaces.com/farmandime.htm This is for a flying balsa version.

Chris Peachment

September 2014

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