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The RC Geek Blog is your place to learn about all aspects of the RC hobby.  Learn to build, design, drive or fly that RC project you’ve always wanted to build, but have been intimidated to try.  This blog is here to help you on your journey and provide tips and tricks as you go!  My hope is to inspire builders both experienced and new!  So, welcome, please look around, it’s an exciting beginning!  I’m currently documenting my latest competition scale RC jet build, a Mark Frankel F4D Skyray, along with some other fun tips and videos.  If you can’t find what you’re looking for on this front page, click on any of the categories to the right and it will show just posts related to those categories.  Please feel free to add comments and/or contact me directly if you have questions, I’m here to help!  And don’t forget to check out my YouTube Channel, I post new videos every week!

Chris Wolfe (The RC Geek)

 

UMX Adventures – E-Flite UMX A-10 Warthog Flight Review

The UMX Warthog that will have you brrrrrt while you fly!

Ever since the UMX A-5A Vigilante scratch build project with my friend Brent, I have been playing with a few UMX aircraft of late.  I have to say that there are some really great and unique UMX airplanes out there and Horizon Hobby has really been leading that charge.  The technology is such that you can create some really neat projects at basically 1/32 to 1/24 scale…essentially plastic model sized!  So, when the E-flite UMX A-10 arrived at my door step, needless to say, I was stoked!  I had been eyeing the airplane for a while, though surprisingly hadn’t seen one fly in person to that point.  I had heard that they fly great and so was excited to give the airplane a try.

The full sized A-10 is arguably one of the most iconic attack aircraft of all time and is just an incredible machine.  Designed for the close air support role, it really succeeds in that mission sporting a 30mm nose cannon and having a considerable stores carriage capability to back it up.   Mention the A-10 and usually someone in the room will crack off with brrrrrrt!  Emulating of course the sound of the 30mm cannon firing (What else would you think that was!? 😉 ).  So to see a twin EDF UMX A-10 realized and on the market is awesome and this cute little A-10 looks the part really well.

 

WHAT’S IN THE BOX?

The cool thing with these micros is they come out of the box completely assembled and ready to go.  All that is needed is a flight battery to install and a Spektrum radio (all the E-Flite UMX’s are Bind n’ Fly).  Opening the box and unpacking the airplane, you are met Continue reading

UMX Adventures – The DIY UMX A-5 Vigilante Team Up

THE ONE WEEK UMX A-5 VIGILANTE BUILD

Once in a long while my good Friend Brent (Corsair Nut) gets to spend some time in San Diego.  We’ve been friends since we were kids as his dad used to work for my dad at one point in the shop.  I have memories of him, his brother and I running around the back of the shop just doing what kids do.  We reconnected about 10 or so years ago and pretty much picked up where we left off!  So when he’s in town, there’s always some RC madness going on whether sporadic fly days or projects and it’s great!  We’re always encouraging and pushing each other to go for that next project or running ideas off of each other on builds, etc.  One thing about Brent, he is a master when it comes to working with foam and he’s shown me a lot of the techniques that I’ve been sharing with you.  So, when he mentioned he was coming to town, we talked about teaming up on a quick Ultra Micro (UMX) jet.  The subject? The A-5 Vigilante.

We actually planned this project (including sizing some drawings!) over a year ago on one of his previous trips.  For me, I have always had this airplane in mind for a build as the proportions are perfect for an RC subject.  It has a big wing, big tails and a nice wide fuselage which means good flying characteristics.  For a big bird, landing gear are kind of an issue (they always are!), but for a UMX bird like this, that’s no matter.  Fixed gear chicken legs here we come!

BTW, I have included the templates for the build further down in the article (no instructions), so if you’d like to give building one a shot, do it!

Now, I can’t say I was a huge help in the building process since our schedules really didn’t line up very well for the week he was here.  Add to that that I was a hand down based on abroken finger I was 3 weeks into resulting from an ice hockey injury.  I was fresh out of a cast but had a removable splint and couldn’t grip anything very well still even without the Continue reading

Foam Kit Bashing 101 Ep3 — Pilot Painting and Cockpit Details

How to Paint a Pilot Bust and Add Simple Cockpit Details

One of the features that always gets inspected on a scale model is the cockpit.  There are so many gadgets in the cockpit of a full sized aircraft, it’s fun to see what was modeled.  Yet, when it comes to ARFs and foamies, we’re lucky to get a decent pilot let alone a decent looking cockpit!  So, in this episode of our Foam Kit Bashing Series, we’re going to talk about some quick and easy ways to dress up an otherwise minimalist cockpit.  The whole idea here are simple things that can be done that add big results.  We’ll cover full scratch building of a cockpit in a future episode.  Oh, and in case you missed it, last time we talked about the whole construction process of converting a Freewing Mirage 2000 into an Isreali Kfir.  This airplane has really transformed and looks awesome as a kfir.

Before prepping and painting the airframe (we’ll cover painting in our next episode), we really should work out the cockpit interior first since we need to pull the canopy off the airframe to work on it.  It’s better to do this earlier in the process just in case we mess something up it will be an easier fix.  The base cockpit provided with the Mirage 2000 is ok, but there are definitely a few issues that we’re going to fix.  First off, the pilot is just too small for scale.  To solve this, we’re going to replace him with a 1/12 scale Castle 5 bust which comes from my folks at JetHangar.com and show you how to paint him (this is one of the pilots I manufacture for my folks in sizes ranging from 1/18 scale all the way up to 1/6 scale).  The second thing we’re going to do is show how to make the cockpit a little more “popcorn” proof and then detail it a little bit to make it a little more Kfir representative.  The stock cockpit is black and inside a sealed compartment and had already “popcorned” up…so, now is our time to fix that.

HOW TO PAINT A “CASTLE 5” PILOT BUST

Painting a nice looking pilot is not a difficult thing to do and is something that can actually be done pretty quickly.  We first off need a selection of paint brushes.  I have a number of paint brushes that I turn to when I’m painting a pilot.  I’ll use a wider, kind of square brush Continue reading

Assembly & Flight Review – E-Flite 1.2m P-47 Thunderbolt Razorback

E-Flite’s Mighty “Jug,” Razorback Edition!

When someone mentions the allied fighters from World War II, I would imagine the P-51 Mustang is usually first on people’s minds.  However, the less glamorous P-47 Thunderbolt was ever so much a workhorse in the war having operated in every theater.  It was a fast and heavy weight fighter built like a tank that could withstand an astounding amount of punishment!  Combined with it’s eight .50 caliber machine guns while being able to carry 3,400 rounds (compared to the Mustang’s 6 guns and 1,800 rounds), it was a deadly machine.  Add in the aircraft’s external stores capability and the P-47 could deliver about half the payload of a B-17 when gully loaded!  If it was lacking in some way, it would have been the range which was roughly half that of the P-51.  Being a large powerful fighter makes it harder to run a marathon I suppose.

Needless to say, the P47 makes for a darn cool model and has always been a popular subject.  It makes sense given the wide gear stance and wonderful proportions of the design.  So, when the E-Flite 1.2m P-47 Thunderbolt Razorback came to market, there was no question that it would be an awesome flying warbird.  Especially given Horizon Hobby’s track record of great flying P-47’s in multiple sizes.

 

ASSEMBLY REVIEW

The 1.2m P-47 comes wonderfully packaged and pulling the airplane from the box, I
don’t think I noted really any shipping damage.  The parts count is really low having Continue reading

Foam Kit Bashing 101 Ep 2 — The Mirage to Kfir Transformation

Birth of a “Lion Cub!”

Well, it’s been a little while since my tease at kit bashing a Freewing Mirage into an IAI Kfir (“Kfir” is Hebrew for “Lion Cub”).  We started with an assembly & flight review for the Freewing Mirage 2000 which out of the box flies awesome.  However, the Kfir is such an awesome looking airplane and with canards and a little extra wing area we’ll add in the bashing process, I can only imagine that the airplane will fly even better!  So, in this article, we’re covering the transformation process of turning this airplane into a Kfir and we’re using 3D printed parts as a part of that as well as employing some traditional building methods.  Through this whole process we will be employing the foam refinishing method I covered in our How to Refinish a Foam Warbird series.  I don’t plan to get into much detail about the foam prep work itself in this series as I want to focus on the kit bashing aspect to compliment the refinishing we did previously and use the next couple articles to go into more detail on painting, simple panel lines and weathering.

Now, one of the reasons that it’s been a little while is, in addition to of course a few distractions, is that I’ve been working out the 3D printed parts with a friend of mine.  CAD modeling takes time and there were a number of parts that we ended up making.  These include printing a new nose, the exhaust shroud and turkey feathers, the dorsal inlet, external wing tanks, lower ventral tank, and the afterburner cooling scoops and inlets on the fuselage.  As a whole, we printed a total of 23 individual pieces for the conversion (many of the parts required multiple pieces to be printed).

Continue reading

Family Build 3 – Bandai Star Wars X-Wing, Snowspeeder, and AT-ST

Not that long ago, in a garage fairly close by…

With the advent of “Star Wars: Rogue One” being in theaters for a while and the announcement of the Episode 8 title of “Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” I thought it would be fun to do a little Star Wars build with the kids…and since that meant doing a video, they were all in!  As a plastic model build, Star Wars models are really fun because anything goes and they always look best just dirty and weathered to the hilt.  So, for Christmas, I gave the kids (along with myself ;)) a model from one of the original Star Wars trilogy, a 1/72 scale X-Wing to my daughter, a 1/48 scale Snowspeeder to me, and a 1/48 scale AT-ST  Walker to my son.  We actually started these over Christmas time, but things got a little crazy and so the builds took a little longer than initially planned.  They were scattered, quite literally, across my work bench for a number of weeks!

As far as the kits, they are made by Bandai and they have a whole series of Star Wars kits.  They are of a “press fit” design which means, no glue, but they don’t snap together either, so if you happen to mess something up, you’re able to pull things apart.  However, there remains sufficient friction that everything holds together tightly.  In fact, the engineering behind it is excellent and the fit is pretty killer.  The other thing is, everything is molded in color.  So, there are multiple sprues of different colors and in building the models, the different colored parts fill out the appropriate colors on the model.  They also include stickers and water transfer decals that finish out the rest of the colors, so depending on which way you want to go you can choose either one (I went for decals, my kids went for stickers).  Given all of the different colored sprues, it meant that there were quite a few Continue reading

2017 AMA Expo West RC Airplane Trade Show

 It’s always a good time at the Expo!

When January rolls around, that always means it’s AMA Expo time!  It’s hard to believe that’s it’s actually been a year already since the last show.  Every year the expo is held at the Ontario Convention Center and features a bunch of vendors and manufacturers in the RC industry so it’s always an interesting show to head to.  It’s more than that though.  The RC community is like a family, so the show feels almost like a reunion as I get a chance to catch up with friends that I don’t get to see but just once or twice a year plus meeting new friends too.

This year, I was honored to be asked by the AMA to be one of the presenters for the show.  Truth be told, when the AMA asked me to speak at the show, I was humbled by the opportunity.  I’ve been coming to this show since I was a kid and as I mentioned in my article about this show last year, I even met my wife at this show 15 years ago if you can even believe that!  But, to share the presenters stage with so many amazing people is something I never imagined truthfully.  The AMA was cool enough to video and provide my presentation to post on my YouTube channel, so here it is in case you missed it! Continue reading

FlightLine RC F7F-3 Tigercat Assembly & Flight Review

Another Grumman Cat?  Heck YES!

When I learned about the new FlightLine RC F7F-3 Tigercat coming to market, I knew that it was going to be a must have for me!   At 1600mm wingspan, the size is great being able to transport in one piece reasonably with a price that is pretty hard to beat for what you get.  The truth is, the Tigercat has always been a favorite of mine.  There’s just something about two Pratt & Whitney Double Wasp engines singing through the air while pulling around the skinniest airplane you can fit a pilot into that screams awesomeness!  The cool thing with this model too is that it is in fact officially licensed by Northrop-Grumman and was designed from much of the original Grumman data.  So, it doesn’t get much more scale than that; pulling the airplane from the box, there’s definitely no disputing the shape on it!

I hate to say it, but this is actually Tigercat #2 in my hangar.  In case you missed it, a while back I put together a discussion on How to Setup Multi-Electrics and the subject of that article was an 82″ wingspan ASM Tigercat which flies incredible.  Well, spoiler alert, this FlightLine RC F7F-3 Tigercat flies just as sweet! 🙂

tigercat-1

 

ASSEMBLY REVIEW

For the size of the airplane, the FlightLine RC F7F-3 Tigercat actually comes in a reasonably sized box.  They’ve done a good job at reducing it down and getting it Continue reading