With the advent of “Star Wars: Rogue One” being in theaters for a while and the announcement of the Episode 8 title of “Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” I thought it would be fun to do a little Star Wars build with the kids…and since that meant doing a video, they were all in! As a plastic model build, Star Wars models are really fun because anything goes and they always look best just dirty and weathered to the hilt. So, for Christmas, I gave the kids (along with myself ;)) a model from one of the original Star Wars trilogy, a 1/72 scale X-Wing to my daughter, a 1/48 scale Snowspeeder to me, and a 1/48 scale AT-ST Walker to my son. We actually started these over Christmas time, but things got a little crazy and so the builds took a little longer than initially planned. They were scattered, quite literally, across my work bench for a number of weeks!
As far as the kits, they are made by Bandai and they have a whole series of Star Wars kits. They are of a “press fit” design which means, no glue, but they don’t snap together either, so if you happen to mess something up, you’re able to pull things apart. However, there remains sufficient friction that everything holds together tightly. In fact, the engineering behind it is excellent and the fit is pretty killer. The other thing is, everything is molded in color. So, there are multiple sprues of different colors and in building the models, the different colored parts fill out the appropriate colors on the model. They also include stickers and water transfer decals that finish out the rest of the colors, so depending on which way you want to go you can choose either one (I went for decals, my kids went for stickers). Given all of the different colored sprues, it meant that there were quite a fewContinue reading →
When I learned about the new FlightLine RC F7F-3 Tigercat coming to market, I knew that it was going to be a must have for me! At 1600mm wingspan, the size is great being able to transport in one piece reasonably with a price that is pretty hard to beat for what you get. The truth is, the Tigercat has always been a favorite of mine. There’s just something about two Pratt & Whitney Double Wasp engines singing through the air while pulling around the skinniest airplane you can fit a pilot into that screams awesomeness! The cool thing with this model too is that it is in fact officially licensed by Northrop-Grumman and was designed from much of the original Grumman data. So, it doesn’t get much more scale than that; pulling the airplane from the box, there’s definitely no disputing the shape on it!
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 →
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!
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.
So, 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 →
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 →
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 →
THE AIRHOGS MILLENNIUM FALCON BATTERY DIED, SO I MADE IT BETTER!
If your AirHogs Millennium Falcon Quadcopter battery died like mine, here’s a simple way of replacing the battery while at the same time reducing your charge times AND doubling the flight time!
I’ve been enjoying the AirHogs Millennium Falcon Quadcopter quite a bit since my review of it a couple months ago. I’ve actually taken it with me to a few RC events for fun and it’s been quite a hit. Who doesn’t love the fastest hunk of junk in the galaxy!? However, after a flight a few weeks ago, the battery just completely died. I mean, died! No power to the quad and no voltage from the battery at all! So, I had a dilemma, do I dare cut into this machine? I’d had it a while, so I’m sure it was past warranty and without a working battery, all I had was simply a foam desk model. So I figured at the very least it was worth a shot!
I promptly purchased three 1 cell 750 mah lipo batteries ($3 at Hobby King), pulled out the Xacto and soldering iron, did a little surgery and we were back in business! To top it all off, the quad now has a hatch where I’m now able to swap out batteries which means less down time between flights (more fun!) AND the flight times have more than doubled since I’m using a larger capacity battery. So, here’s a quick article and video showing Continue reading →