THE FINE ART COLLECTOR`S LILIENTHAL EDITION         zur deutschsprachigen Seite


The creation of a model is a unique and time consuming, but also very satisfying process. The result is a product that will thrill the heart of every collector. At least one will find new things even after hours of looking at it. At the example of the here shown model we would like to give you insight into this kind of work.

Maihöhe-Rhinow-Apparatus of 1983. Built by Achim Engels. Shown in display case.

Maihöhe-Rhinow-Apparatus 1893


Before work on a model of collector`s quality can start, it must be assured that the model can be constructed exactly in the same way the original was with respect to the smallest detail.This requires that enough information is available. Such information are either original or trustworthy drawings of the original and photographs as well, or the measurment of a original piece.

For the development of models of the gliders by Otto Lilienthal such information are still available to us. Examples shown here are a original drawing by Otto Lilienthal for the construction of his Maihöhe-Rhinow-Apparatus of 1893 and a photograph of the machine in flight. Many of such documents do form the groundwork of all models of the fine art collector`s LILIENTHAL EDITION.

Authentic construction drawing by Otto Lilienthal.

Fine original drawing by Otto Lilienthal

Lilienthal in flight with his Maihöhe-Rhinow-Apparatus of 1893

The aparatus in flight.

After all neccessary documentation about the original has been put together, one should figure out what kind of materials is required to realize the project and whether one on his own is able to convert it into the finished model. For the production of our Lilienthal-models we do exclusively use the same materials that have also been used by Otto Lilienthal for the construction of his full size gliders.With special regard to the exclusiveness of our models we avoid using other materials and changing them by paint to achieve an original illusion. The main material used to construct our Lilienthal-models is willow-rod - of course very young willow-rods. Basic requirement for the successfull realization of such a project is of course comprehensive knowledge with the convertiation of the materials. It is for example by far not that easy it may look to work with willow-rods. One will meet the same difficulties as Otto Lilienthal did. The material can only be cut during a special period of the year, otherwise it will not be possible to peel it without problems. On one hand they have to be stored for a specific period of time. If not, the cells of the tree is filled with too much water what results in the effect that the material can not be bend as required. On the other hand, if stored too long, the material becomes too dry and will break when bend.

Next step is to produce working drawings from the original drawings. These can of course only be sketches, but should be in the same scale the model is decided to be constructed. Upon these sketches one can work easily and even check the size of the build parts or components.

Of course, one should allready during the state of cenception of the model figure out how and if technical features of the original can be realized with the model. The technical simplicity of Otto Lilienthal`s gliders do allow to realize every technical feature of the original in the chosen scale of 1/15. Our models can for example be disassembled the same way Otto Lilienthal disassembled his full size gliders for transportiation. The shown photographs do also give an impression of how the wing of the models can be folded - exactly the way it was done on the original pieces. Also the stabilizer section can be mounted from the "fuselage" and the flying and landing wires can be hooked off by the means of very small metal hooks. For a collector it is of secondary meaning whether he can use these features or not, especially since the model is covered under glass at the end - what counts is that the features are working and do comprise the original in every respect.

The final errection of the models do require special attention. It should only be mentioned here that these models are exclusively done in pure handwork. Since no jigs are used to bore small holes for the very little bolts a absolute quiet hand is neccesary. Some of the small holes do only have a diameter of some 0,25 milimeters. The same is for the bolts.

Last, but not least the flying and landing wires have to be pulled in in a regular and carefull way. At the end the model would not work in original size, if the wings are twisted. And by the way - what would such a model look like?

I hope you liked this insight.
Achim S. Engels

The so called ´Gestellkreuz` formes the basical structure of the whole Lilienthal machinery and is working as vital part to carry all phalanxes.

The heart of a lilienthal-construction.

The underside of the `Gestellkreuz`.

The ´Gestellkreuz` with the stabilizers. As on the original both items are secured to `Gestellkreuz` by the means of very small bolts and can be removed. The horizontal stabilizer can even swing up and down.

"Fuselage" with stabilizer parts.

The whole thing viewed from above.

It works. The willow rods of the wings can swung to fold the wings.

The working foldable wings of the gliders.

The final shape of the wings will be provided by the flying and landing wires.

Close up of details just before finishing.



These extraordinary collector`s models are a certificate of human creativity!

Copyright © 1990-2000 A.S.Engels; historical documents and photographs are free..