From the Bench – Quick and Simple Foam Warbird Painting

To Paint or not to Paint…

If you saw my E-Flite T-6 Texan review last time, then you saw the results of the repaint that was done on that airplane.  I thought it would be worth doing a separate video and article on what was done since it was just a quick and dirty spray can paint job that I did through the course of a weekend with all of the painting done over the stock paint with minimal prep.  This is worth discussing because sometimes we just don’t want to go to the extent of filling panel lines, or sealing up the airframe with polycrylic or anything like that.  Sometimes, we just want to do something quickly, but still get good results.  The difficulty always is, however, that stock paint just loves to lift up off of that EPO foam.  Thankfully, with the right tools, we can avoid that.

It’s interesting how something like this, though not entirely difficult, is all that’s needed to really refresh a model and make it stand out.  As I mentioned in my review, I have really enjoyed flying this AT-6, but following the repaint, I absolutely fell in love with the model even more!

 

PAINTING TOOLS & PAINT

First things first, let’s talk about what we need.  What we’re doing here is literally just applying a new paint job over an existing stock paint job.  There’s no paint stripping involved, so it’s important that we use very low tack tapes for masking.  I had heard Continue reading

From the Bench – Horizon Hobby/Spektrum SAFE Select Technology Tutorial

Fly Boldly and be SAFE!

As I mentioned in my E-Flite P-47 Razorback and Cessna 150 reviews, I’ve been wanting to provide a separate discussion on Horizon Hobbies’ SAFE Select technology that’s featured with their bind and fly aircraft.  The P-47 and Cessna are both great next step type airplanes for those that may still be learning and so the technology is there to help folks learning to fly and hopefully protect them from getting into trouble.  I found that there wasn’t a whole lot of documentation about SAFE Select out there, so I thought that it would be worthwhile to talk a little bit about it and give some tips for using it effectively.  As we get started, note that this is a technology that’s part of Horizon’s Spektrum bind and fly setups, so if you’re using your own receiver and radio in the Horizon airplanes, then obviously, this wouldn’t apply.

WHAT IS “SAFE” AND HOW DOES IT WORK?

First of all, what is SAFE?  What is it all about?  SAFE is a feature that can be turned on that, when flying your aircraft, is intended to keep pilots from getting the airplane into an attitude that could spell trouble.  There are multiple levels of the technology which includes SAFE Select which is what is in the Bind and Fly P-47 and Cessna that basically pitch and roll limits the airplane to keep the aircraft from going inverted but still maintains a good level of controllability.  It’s intended Continue reading

Freewing A-4 Skyhawk 80mm EDF Assembly & Flight Review

How hot is Heinemann’s Hot Rod?

I keep telling myself to scale back on the foam airplanes, but when the Freewing A-4 Skyhawk came up on pre-sale, I knew I had to have one!  The A-4 is a classic design that I’ve always appreciated.  In fact, I still remember seeing the Blue Angels fly A-4s back in the 80’s.  It was such an agile yet graceful airplane to watch fly, they will probably always be my favorite Blue Angel aircraft.  The F-18s have brute force, but it just doesn’t have the grace and maneuverability that the A-4 did.

If you follow this page on Facebook or Instagram, then you know how this one ends for me.  For those who and for full disclosure up front, this airplane flies really well when setup right, but I actually crashed the airplane twice in the process of making this review…mostly a result of my own error.  The first time was due to installing an already flown battery into the airplane.  It only took a couple laps before the fan quit and of course it was too low to get back to the runway.  Bummed, but not to be defeated the airplane was refinished with a few upgrades (which we’ll talk about).  It came out beautiful, I loved it!  Unfortunately, the CG moved further back than I anticipated and the airplane over rotated on the second takeoff and I didn’t have enough altitude to fully recover.  It’s fixable, though I’ve debated just buying a replacement instead…it’s currently hanging in my shop waiting in limbo.

With that being said, I still wanted to provide this review because as I mentioned, the airplane flies really well.  But, it’s an A-4 and there definitely some things to be aware of when setting it up for best success.

AIRCRAFT ASSEMBLY NOTES

The A-4 is a quick assembly requiring the aft fuselage section be glued on and then the dorsal, horizontal tails and wings bolted onto the airframe.  From there, it’s just a matter Continue reading

Foam Kit Bashing 101 Ep5 — How to Add Realistic Panel Lines and Weathering

Whether or not to weather or not…?

Check out the full series of videos and articles at: thercgeek.com/kitbashing

Last time we covered how to paint camouflage and talked about application of markings.  In this episode, we’re talking about panel lines and weathering!  I get questions quite often about my weathering techniques, so the following tips are some of my simple secrets. 😉

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 a Continue reading

Foam Kit Bashing 101 Ep4 — Painting Camouflage and Adding Markings

Camouflage me this…

Check out the full series of videos and articles at: thercgeek.com/kitbashing

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

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

Check out the full series of videos and articles at: thercgeek.com/kitbashing

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