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).
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 areContinue reading →
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!
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 noseContinue reading →
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 →
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 →
It’s no secret, I love deltas! The Mirage, Kfir and Skyray are some of my favorites if you couldn’t tell from my builds and the aircraft in my hangar. There’s just something about the look of a delta wing that is so wicked in the air, especially with the addition of canards like the Kfir. So, when I received a Freewing Mirage 2000 as a gift this last Christmas, I was stoked! I had been eyeing them for a while, especially after all of the fun I’d been having with the Freewing F-14. Of course, I can’t leave well enough alone, so we will actually be spending a few articles covering the transformation of this Freewing Mirage 2000 into an IAI Kfir…yes, you read that right! 😉 So, consider this as our first installment of “Foam Kit Bashing 101” as we work toward transforming this Mirage 2000 into the wicked looking Kfir. However, before tearing into a full kit bash, I wanted to discuss how this airplane assembles and performs stock out of the box.
The nice thing with these Freewing jets is that they are an all inclusive package. The full power system, retracts, and servos come fully installed and at $299 for the Mirage 2000 it’s a pretty killer deal. They’re EPO foam which I do have a love/hate relationship with, but none the less you get a pretty cool airplane and they are a great canvas to do fun things with (which we’ll start next in our next installment). They’re fully finished and Continue reading →
If 1 is good, then 2 or more is better…when setup right!
We as modelers are collectors. We’re always collecting something related to our awesome hobby, be it RC gear, kits, or the like (you should see my hardware stash, when I go to the hobby store, I usually buy things in multiples). And of course we always have those kits we’ve stashed away for a rainy day. A couple years ago, I received an ASM F7F Tigercat ARF kit. ASM was a line of ARFs distributed by Hobby People and they made some really awesome and unique airplanes (mostly twins). Unfortunately the company no longer exists and the kits are no longer available. But, if you find one at some point listed online, they’re definitely worth a look if the subject aircraft interests you.
As an airplane I love the F7F Tigercat (one of my favorite multi-engine warbirds) and so was absolutely stoked to receive the kit! I promptly collected all of the gear for it but was busy finishing up some other projects and so put it in the que for a later date. Well, that later date didn’t seem to come until a few months back when a friend staying with my folks, who’s always looking for an RC project during his stays, offered to help get the basic assembly done for me on the airplane. The last couple weeks I’ve been finishing up getting it flyable (hence some delay in my articles and videos 😉 ) and I thought that Continue reading →
So, how does the Freewing F-14 Tomcat fly? In short, pretty darn awesome! The distinguishable shape of the F-14 looks menacing in the air and the flight characteristics are fantastic. As discussed in my assembly review of the airplane, there are some tricks I’d highly recommend in setting the airplane up which at the end of the day, provide a great flying airplane. This comes from not just flying this particular airplane, but also flying the Freewing production prototype (stock and tailerons only) as well as the twin 70mm F-14 I helped design, test, and fly for my folks at JetHangar.com. They have all exhibited similar characteristics and fly very much the same.
AIRCRAFT SETUP & CG
In my assembly review, I covered the installation of two 6s 30C 5800 mah batteries that I’m using in the airplane. To maintain the CG, the battery area was modified so that the batteries could be pushed as far back as possible up against the swing wing carry through spar. This maintained the CG well per the manual (87mm measured back from the leading edge of the forward most hatch cut on the overwing fairing hatch) which has shown to be about perfect! Also the manual provides a trim elevator setting (31mm measured Continue reading →