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!
Panel lines and weathering are something that can really make or break a scale model. When we started this Kfir kit bash, I knew that I wanted to use it as a canvas to show some simple weathering and panel lining techniques. Very often we can get too heavy with either and so my hope here is to give some pointers for adding some realistic and effective looking panel lines and weathering that’s easy to do. These are some techniques that are pretty simple to employ and that I actually use on my competition models also.
There are so many different techniques we can turn to for this stuff, so these are just a few that I regularly use. Ultimately the best techniques are the ones you like and give you the results you’re looking for so experiment and try different techniques. The only way we develop these skills is through practice and use.
As we talk about panel lines and weathering, my recommendation is less is more. What I mean is that if you feel that a panel line is too dark, or the weathering is too heavy, then it probably is. Also, it’s highly recommended doing all of this final finish work inside under artificial light. The sun washes out much of what we apply and so the results are much less subtle once we bring the airplane inside since we’ll continue to darken until we can see a result. So, just a couple things to keep in mind as we go through this (it’ll be stated again too 😉 ).
THE PANEL LINE PROCESS
To apply panel lines to the surface, we are simply applying all of them using a mechanical pencil. This works excellent in this case because the pencil lines when applied, are darker than all of the colors on the airplane. So, as a result, you can get aContinue reading →
Continuing in our Kit Bashing 101 series, in this installment we are talking about painting camouflage and adding markings to our Kfir. The transformation from Mirage 2000 to Kfir has taken place and we’ve even added some nice Kfir specific cockpit details. So, there’s no more procrastinating, it’s time to prep and paint this jet! We have an awesome 4 tone Isreali camouflage scheme lined up that we’re going to paint and so we’ll talk through the process of achieving that. We’ll be utilizing an airbrush in the process along with some humbrol plastic model paints for the camouflage and then once painted, we will be applying our markings.
First things first though, the airplane was made paint ready. The process used was the same as what we did in our How to Refinish a Foam Warbird Series where we applied 6 coats of minwax polycrylic, primered and sanded a few times, and then finished it off by wet sanding with 600 grit sand paper to get it paint ready. There were a couple things done differently here though that are worth mentioning. First of all, there was quite a bit of texture coming through after the initial primer coat, so I decided to spray a some Rust Oleum gap filler primer. This helped build up the lower areas to even out the surface. After sanding it down with a sanding block, many of the imperfections disappeared. Being foam it’s difficult to get a perfectly smooth finish, but this helped really smooth it out. Also, this primer is ideal for prepping 3d printed parts and getting rid of the striations you get due to the layer build up.
The last thing was, I had a couple areas of the pink Home Depot foam react to the Evercoat primer when I applied it too heavy which melted some areas underneath the polycrylic. To fix it I just filled it back in with some spackle and sanded it flush. I’ve Continue reading →
It’s hard to believe that the year is half over already! It feels like since the US Scale Master’s Championships last year until now, I haven’t done all that much flying. At least certainly not as much as I could hope for. Between my kids getting into competitive travel sports added to having limited accessibility to our flying field here where I fly my large airplanes, it’s been a little difficult just getting to the field. So when the Scale Squadron’s Warbirds & Classics event peeked around the corner, needless to say I was excited! It was going to be 2 straight days of RC airplane goodness and some much needed flying! Leading up to the event, I had been focusing my spare time in the shop trying to get our little kfir kit bash project finished up for the event and this was her debut outing!
Between the Scale Squadron’s hospitality, the picturesque back drop of OCMA’s Black Starr canyon flying site, and the incredible assortment of airplanes, this event is a must go for me. I look forward to it every year and there’s always a ton of flying to be had. Plus, it’s a chance to spend a weekend flying with my dad which I cherish deeply. The beauty of the event is that there’s a great assortment of airplanes, but there’s never an issue with the flight line backing up causing much of a line. Anytime anyone wants a flight, it usually happens straight away.
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 →
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 theContinue reading →
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 brushContinue reading →
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.
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 →
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).