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bdrffs51c1ktai8npdycd287l_1000x724x1The 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)

 

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

Family Build 2 – Polar Lights Superman, Captain America & Wolverine Builds

Marvel AND DC Comics together…can you even do that?

Since the first Family Build we did, my kids couldn’t wait to do another one!  They kept asking (especially my daughter) to make another vid and build some models.  More building with my kids?  Heck yes!  This time, it’s all geek as a while back, I had come across a plastic kit of one of my favorite comic book characters, Marvel Comics’ “Wolverine” made by Polar Lights/Round2 Models.  Upon investigation, I learned that Polar Lights had a few different characters and so found a Marvel Comics “Captain America” for my daughter (it was fitting since she has a little crush on Cap) and DC Comics’ “Superman” for my son since, based on some of the things he attempts, he must think he’s made of steel!  So, let the build begin!

The kits themselves are all produced by Polar Lights/Round2 Models.  They state no glue required, but the truth is, to have any sort of longevity, glue is a good idea.  In all cases, Continue reading

Warbirds & Classics 2016 Scale RC Airplane Event

Mmmmm, Warbirds…

After attending the Warbirds & Classics Scale RC Airplane event last year, I couldn’t wait to come back!   Between the awesome assortment of airplanes, the fellowship with old and new friends, and the incredible backdrop you get from the flying site, it is a must attend for me.  It helps that it’s local enough for me that the drive getting there isn’t too bad and I get to have a fun weekend flying with my dad.  Needless to say, this year’s Warbirds & Classics did not disappoint!  The Scale Squadron hosted event had even more pilots and even more airplanes and it was a blast!  I was there Friday and Saturday and got my fill of all the flying I could handle and filled up my memory card with pics and videos…twice!  I had my trusty A-7, Mirage, and Tigercat in tow.  I was eager to get the Tigercat out to an event.  It was like putting together a jigsaw puzzle to get them all packed into the back of my Sienna, but somehow it worked!  If you weren’t excited enough to see what was at the event, here’s a quick compilation video of some of the action at the event (more pics and video further down).

Located at the OCMA rc airplane field in Black Starr Canyon (next to Irvine Lake in Irvine, CA), the event has open flying for any scale aircraft (warbirds, civlian, jets, etc.) which Continue reading

From the Bench — Tips for Making Your Own Aircraft Markings

Decals, Vinyl and Paint Masks…oh my!

The topic of aircraft markings and making decals was touched on a little bit in my How to Refinish a Foam Warbird series and the request to expand on it a bit has come up a few time since then.  So, here’s a bit more extensive walk through of my process of making and painting markings for my airplanes.

Color and Markings are one thing that I’m very particular about on my scale models.  I’m so particular in fact that I will usually make my own decals and paint masks as opposed to outsourcing.  Ultimately I do this because I actually enjoy the challenge of it (when it’s going well of course) and this gives me full control of the sizes of all of the markings since it usually takes multiple iterations before having everything just the right size.  Also, my preference is to paint whatever markings I can and in the case that the markings may be too small to paint, I will move to waterslide decals.  In some cases, I will even use a combination of paint (or vinyl in the case of my “Lady Alice”) and decals to create a single marking.  Obviously, there are always limitations when doing your own markings and so in the case I just don’t have the capability to make what I need, then it’s time to outsource.

Since I’m a scale fanatic, my goal in making markings is always to recreate markings Continue reading

Family Build – Polar Lights Back to the Future Delorean

A Snap Together BTTF DeLorean?  Great Scott!

I got my start in scale modeling by building plastic models as a kid.  I built many a model in the back of my dad’s shop as far as I can remember.  Those are some of the fondest memories I have from growing up.  I guess that’s why I collect (though rarely build) so many plastic models, haha!  The “Back to the Future” movies are among some of my favorites and a while back I came across the Polar Lights “Back to the Future” DeLorean and seriously, had to have it.  It was a snap together kit, so figured in a few hours I could probably have a nice enough looking model…if I built it…  Well, my son kept asking me to build the model while it sat on my bench and so I figured, why not grab a second one so we could build them together?  I love building with him and he loves to build pretty much anything (he and my daughter are Lego masters!), so it was perfect!  I figured, while we were at it, why not grab the video camera and try a “family build” segment on my YouTube channel.  My kids are always wanting to bomb my videos anyhow, so figured it was time to officially feature them.  Be sure to watch because there’s some pretty funny stuff in there, especially at the very end.   At one point, we were laughing uncontrollably for no reason whatsoever.

The Build

polar-lights-delorean-1So, we set out on our DeLorean build adventure on a Friday mid-morning after flying.  It was hot outside, so was perfect to just take it easy in-doors.  It sure would have been much more pleasant though if we actually had air-conditioning in our house!  We both eagerly started and tore into the box with my daughter offering Continue reading