Welcome to The RC Geek Blog

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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)

 

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

AMA Show Announcement and Eleven Hobby F8F Bearcat Giveaway

poster-west-01We have a quick post this week as I have two announcements!  One of my go to events every year is the AMA West RC Expo at the Ontario Convention center.  Well, the Academy of Model Aeronautics has graciously asked if I would be a presenter at the show this year.  So I will be at the expo all weekend long sharing my story with you, my background and why I started this site.  Plus we’ll have a nice display of jets including my Scale Masters winning Mirage IIIRS.  So, I want to encourage you guys to come on out to the event and stop by and say hi!  I love meeting you guys and it’s going to be an awesome weekend.  The dates for the event are January 6-8.

For the second announcement, we are doing our first giveaway!  A while back I reviewed the Eleven Hobby Bearcat and so we are giving that review airplane away.  To enter, all you have to do is to watch the above video and follow the instructions below.  There are bearcat-14multiple chances to win, so be sure to take advantage of each one!  The winner will be chosen on January 9 and I will be announcing the winner Tuesday January 10 which is the Tuesday after the AMA expo so be sure to share this video and get the word out!  It’s a free airplane and it’s completely free to enter.

I look forward to seeing you guys at the AMA Expo!

The RC Geek Eleven Hobby F8F Bearcat Giveaway

Tutorial – How to Make Detail Antennas and Pitot Tubes

The beauty is in the details…

As promised in my How to Repair Fiberglass and Fibgerglassed Parts article, here’s a little tutorial on  some of the detail parts I had to  re-scratch build while repairing my Mirage IIIRS earlier this year.  These include some of the very distinctive pitot tubes and antennas that are exhibited on the nose section of the full-sized aircraft.  In all the searching we did of the crash site when the airplane went in, the original parts were just nowhere to be found…a sacrifice to the three angry bushes that swallowed my airplane I suppose!  Also, if you missed it, be sure to check out my coverage from the US Scale Masters Championships as I competed with my fully repaired Mirage and somehow in the process came out of the competition finishing 1st in Expert being named the Grand National Champion!  What an amazing weekend!  It was such a great event with a wonderful and very talented group of scale modelers, I can’t wait to go back!

 

CHOOSING THE RIGHT MATERIALS

When we talk about detail parts, we need to talk about materials selection.  Obviously, any materials can be used, but when dealing with parts that are protruding from an airplane, we need parts with stiffness and resilience to repeated abuse.  Let’s face it, these parts are Continue reading

2016 Scale Masters Championships

Wait, what just happened?!

The road getting to the 2016 US Scale Masters Championships was not an easy one for me this year, that’s for sure.  Ever since crashing my Jet Hangar Mirage IIIRS last year, I had been plagued with mishaps and bugs throughout the year and truth be told, it got pretty discouraging…to the point that I contemplated not going multiple times.  But, the championships were at the Woodland-Davis Aeromodelers field which is where they were in 2013 and it was such a great event, I knew I had to get there in 2016.  With everything leading up to the event (I even had a mishap requiring repairs two weeks before I was due to leave!), I never in my wildest dreams imagined that I would be reporting that I came out of the event as the “Grand National Champion” finishing 1st place in Expert!  And to have my dad there calling for me while competing with an airframe that stemmed from the very first RC jet design he kitted back in the late ’70s was just such an honor for me.

champion-father-son

Organized by the US Scale Masters Association, the US Scale Masters Championships have been ongoing since 1980.  From the beginning, this national championship has hosted some of the best scale builders and pilots in the world and have continued to do so for more than two decades.  In order to attend the national championship, a competitor must qualify at a regional qualifier event (I covered the Gilman Springs Qualifier a few months ago).  The truth is, I remember attending numerous qualifiers and championships out at Mile Square Park (that flying site is sorely missed!) in Southern California as a kid with my dad and I have always remembered the caliber of  the airplanes being just incredible (I tried my first qualifier at 18 with a Royal Zero kit I built).  2016 was no exception as the airplanes in attendance were beautifully crafted and masterfully flown! Continue reading

How to Repair Fiberglass & Fiberglassed Parts and Touchup the Paint

With the 2016 Scale Master’s Championships just a few weeks away now, here’s a little glimpse into the journey in getting there.  In addition to this, I also had some pains at the Gilman Springs qualifier too which I wrote about in my coverage from the event.  So, it’s been an interesting year that ultimately has improved the airplane as a whole, but not without a lot of frustration and multiple stints of repair work through the year.  But, with a little persistence (and lots of complaining), I think we’ve got it all worked out and the Mirage IIIRS is ready to go big at Woodland-Davis! 😉

It has been said there are two types of model airplanes…those that have crashed and those that WILL crash…

Well, if you follow this site on Instagram or Facebook then you know that the inevitable happened!  My competition Mirage IIIRS crashed!  I was at an event back in October last year and for whatever reason, the fan wasn’t making the power it typically does during takeoff.  The takeoff roll was sluggish and instead of aborting and taking home a perfectly fine airplane, I forced the airplane off the ground thinking it would be ok once airborne.  Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case and I couldn’t get enough altitude to get the speed up and the airplane ended up landing in a few large bushes.  I walked up to the airplane expecting the worst and found it upside down but thankfully mostly in tact.  I was very fortunate!  The most damaged area was the nose section being broken but thankfully still connected to the airplane.  I later discovered that the lack of thrust was likely due to a combination of tired batteries not holding voltage under load and a partial blockage in the exhaust duct being caused by some loose tape that I was unaware of.  Thankfully it was repairable and so I thought it would be a good opportunity to discuss some basic fiberglass repair.  Oh, and the lesson here??

LESSON OF THE DAY: If your airplane isn’t doing what you expect it to, abort and troubleshoot!

mirage-fiberglass-0

 

NOSE REPAIR

The most impacted area from the crash was the nose.  Though technically still attached to the fuselage, it was pretty “crunchy” and loose.  Both sides of the nose Continue reading

Eleven Hobby F8F Bearcat Assembly & Flight Review

Grumman Iron Works For The WIN!

The Grumman Aircraft Corporation has produced some of the most iconic aircraft of our time (McDonnel-Douglas is another one that comes to mind).  When you think of the numerous aircraft tied to the Grumman name, what really comes to mind are the family of incredible cats they produced starting from the Wildcat all the way through to the Tomcat!  (seriously, these are the kind of cat videos you should be searching for on the internet! ;))  The F8F Bearcat is a proud member of the Grumman cat family and is no exception to greatness.  Designed for pure performance (i.e. climb rate), the airplane is literally the smallest and lightest airframe you could wrap around the largest available engine.  I bet the propulsion group within the company must have been ecstatic!  Consider that it used the same engine as the Hellcat, but with an airframe that was 2000+ lb lighter.

As an aircraft, the Bearcat was a high performance machine having better performance even than some of the early jets.  Though it didn’t quite make it to see combat in World War II, it still remained in service into the early 1960’s with over 1200 total aircraft built.  Now, what you may not know is, that the Bearcat Continue reading