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

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

Kit Bashing 101 Ep1 — Freewing Mirage 2000 Assembly & Flight Review

Mmmmm, Deltas…

See the full transformation of this Mirage into an Isreali Kfir at: thercgeek.com/kitbashing

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

Setting up a Multi-Engined Electric Aircraft (F7F Tigercat)

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

Freewing F-14 Tomcat Setup & Flight Review

It’s time to buzz the tower…If there was one…

Freewing F-14 Tomcat Flight Review and Setup

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

f14-cgIn 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

How to Refinish a Foam Warbird – Finale FMS P-51 Flight Review

“Lady Alice” P-51 Flight Review

Finishing up our FMS P-51 “Lady Alice” transformation, it’s only fitting to provide a flight review of the model (with info on how I set it up) along with some video!  In short the airplane fly’s awesome and looks incredible in the air in her “Lady Alice” coat of colors.  If you’re just catching this for the first time, you can catch my previous articles and videos on the whole foam warbird re-finishing process here.  Give it a shot, it’s worth the effort!

Aircraft Setup & CG

It took a couple flights to dial in so I thought I’d present what my final control throws and CG location converged to.  First off, to clarify the instructions, the recommended CG is 110mm as measured from the leading edge of the wing root (NOT the leading edge of the wing saddle).  This ultimately proved Continue reading

How to Refinish a Foam Warbird – Ep3 FMS RC P-51

Primer, sand, primer, sand…PAINT!

It’s time to finish off our FMS RC P-51 “Lady Alice” Transformation!  In this installment we’re doing our paint prep and painting.  Last time we covered filling in all of the oversized panel lines,  smoothing the airframe out and sealing it all in with multiple coats of polycrylic to provide a protective finish.  You can catch that post here; also, you can catch my assembly review and paint stripping methods here.  There’s much to cover, so let’s get to it!

PAINT PREPARATION

Primer, sand, repeat…
This seems all too familiar given our filler process, but the first step in preparing this airframe for paint is to lightly sand the polycrylic’d surfaces with some 180 grit sand paper.  This is mostly to Continue reading

Refinish a Foam Warbird – Ep2 FMS P-51

Fill, sand and repeat…

Continuing with refinishing our FMS P-51, in this installment we’re smoothing out the entire airframe including filling in all of the oversized panel lines.  From there we’re applying our protective coats of polycrylic which will provide our surface in which we can do our paint preparation.  If you missed my build review and paint stripping methods, you can catch that here.  Let’s get to it!

FILLER TIME!

It’s no secret, the panel lines on these foam warbirds are huge.  When I took on this project, I knew that was one of the first things I wanted to rectify.  The overall shape looks so good, smoothing out the finish would only make it look that much better.  So, enter Continue reading