How to Build an RC Jet – Part 3

Dorsal Town

Final shaped dorsal test fit on fuselage

Final shaped dorsal test fit on fuselage

When you build an RC jet like this one, it’s nice to start off small.  Progress comes with small milestones accomplished by small steps at a time.  It really only takes a few hours per week to see notable progress and the key is to just get into the shop and make that progress happen.  Yes, it takes time and will take a while to get done, but that’s half the fun.  So, with that in mind, I started off construction with the dorsal.  Note that I started this build before starting this blog, so in some cases, I’m limited on the pictures that I took.

Sub leading edge glued in place with 'Titebond'

Sub leading edge glued in place

With everything unboxed and setup in my shop, the first item of business was sheeting the dorsal foam core (I plan to make a tutorial video on how to do this when I sheet the wings). Mark’s design incorporates a sub leading edge before sheeting, so that was installed first with some wood glue (I like to use Titebond Premium Wood Glue).  The sheeting was made from contest grade 1/16” balsa (as light as possible) glued edge to edge as necessary to get full coverage over the core.  The grain of the wood runs parallel to the leading edge (important!) which helps with strength as well as makes it easier for the wood to contour over the foam core.  I used Pacer PT-40 Z-Poxy Finishing Resin to adhere the sheeting Continue reading

How to Build an RC Jet – Part 2

Let’s talk about resources and documentation for Scale Competition for a minute…

on-kapowIf there is anything debated in scale competition, it sure seems to be scale documentation. 😉  I say this only from the standpoint that there’s really no one right way, or one right answer when it comes to a documentation book.  It’s ultimately how well you prove your model matches your documentation.  Also, I bring this up at the beginning of this build because, without a good solid documentation book, it’s very difficult to be competitive in a scale competition setting (static score is HALF of the total score).  Plus, if you are building your competition bird, it’s necessary to have a clear vision of the project from the start.

First of all, it’s important to know the rules.  For this bird, I will be primarily competing in the Scale Masters competitions, and so have gone through those rules numerous times (as well as have competed several times previously).  USSMA also has a decent aid on their website for how to put together a quality documentation book.  So, before starting, know what is necessary to present to the judges and have sufficient documentation for your aircraft.   From the start, a good 3-view resource is necessary so that one can ensure the shapes of the model match the drawing.  The paint scheme can evolve as the build progresses as sometimes you may have something in mind initially, and in the research process you may come across something you like more and/or can document color and markings better.

For me, I love the research and will typically buy whatever books I can find (it’s kind of a sickness that my wife gives me a hard time for) and spend numerous hours searching the internet.  For the Skyray, there are two definitive books that are absolutely a must for any Skyray fan and are listed below.  Also a must is a plastic kit (if available) as it helps to visualize shapes Continue reading

How to Build an RC Jet – Part 1

Let the Building BEGIN!!

plans out, resources ready, time to start building!

I’m starting this blog with a series titled, “How to Build an RC Jet.”  The subject of the study is a Mark Frankel F4D-1 Skyray kit (I love deltas!) of which I plan to build into a competition ready model for the US Scale Masters (and/or Top Gun if I can ever afford the trip some year).  As I build the kit and document it here, I plan to cover not just basic building techniques (including tutorial videos along the way) but also all of the details that go into a competition model and the tools that are used in the process.  These techniques are extensible to any model aircraft project and so I hope that I can provide anyone out there reading this some basic tools to do something out of the ordinary.

Regarding some specifics on the kit, the design is an exact 1/7 scale which puts the fuselage length at 77.6″ and the wingspan at 57.4″. This kit was first designed around glow ducted fan back in the mid to late 1980’s and flew excellent with that power. According to Mark, he designed it as large as he could while still getting a great flying airplane given the available glow power systems. The design has flown on glow and turbine power, however this will be the first to fly on Electric Ducted Fan (EDF) power and I expect performance to be excellent!  Some of the features I intend to build into the airplane are: Continue reading

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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!

Chris Wolfe (The RC Geek)