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 →
Happy New Year everyone! I never thought I’d end up writing about a Lego build, but when I saw the Lego Saturn V rocket kit in my kids’ Lego catalog, I knew that I had to have one. So, I thought it would be fun to do a little video and article in the process. That’s not to mention an afternoon spent building Legos with my son; talk about like the perfect day! This kit seems to sell out rather quickly, and I actually had a couple failed attempts to locate one. However, I was lucky enough to find one just in time for Christmas (it was a Christmas miracle! 😉 )! Lego really does some incredible models these days and my son (the Lego expert in the family) is all about it. Lego didn’t have the licensing deals when I was a kid that they do now and the models that they create these days as a result are just awesome. If you’ve not seen their special edition Millennium Falcon kit, it is their largest and most expensive set ever and it is amazing!
Being an aerospace engineer, I’ve always had a fascination with the Saturn V. It still is the largest and heaviest rocket that has ever been launched into space and it was done in a time where the first computers were only just starting. I remember building an Estes Saturn V kit with a family friend when I was a kid. It used a single D sized motor and had so much mass behind it, it launched much like the real thing off the launch pad.
The Lego Saturn V kit itself comes in a big box (labeled for ages 14+…I barely made it!) that has someContinue reading →
If you’ve ever seen the movie Iron Eagle, there’s an incredible sequence in the movie where the lead character, Doug Masters, flies a Cessna 150 through this race they call “the snake.” This consists of him racing a guy (Knocher) on a motorcycle through a canyon. It’s a totally hokey scenario and it results in a kind of crash landing due to the guy Doug’s racing sabotaging the airplane (of course!). Though, I think Doug might have had a better chance if he wasn’t racing with full flaps down… That said, the whole flying sequence is a display of some pretty incredible flying by Art Scholl who was an amazing aerobatic pilot from back in the day. He flew for a number of movies throughout his carrier but unfortunately his carrier ended too soon while filming the spin scene for the movie Top Gun.
So, when I saw the E-Flite 2.1m Cessna 150 Aerobat, it took me back to when I watched Iron Eagle over and over as a kid (quite literally) and I knew that I wanted one. It captures everything great about the airplane and that sequence as the airplane looks great and flies aerobatics wonderfully. So, there just might be a repaint in this airplanes future… but before that, I wanted to give you guys a full review on this awesome Aerobat. The box is huge, and the airplane is big, and it’s awesome!
As noted, the airplane comes in a very sizable box that took up most of my workbench. The airplane is nicely packaged and I didn’t find any damage at all through shipping. E-flite has broken the airplane down into a small number of large components. You have the fuselage, the wings and horizontal stabilizers, Continue reading →
The UMX Warthog that will have you brrrrrt while you fly!
Ever since the UMX A-5A Vigilante scratch build project with my friend Brent, I have been playing with a few UMX aircraft of late. I have to say that there are some really great and unique UMX airplanes out there and Horizon Hobby has really been leading that charge. The technology is such that you can create some really neat projects at basically 1/32 to 1/24 scale…essentially plastic model sized! So, when the E-flite UMX A-10 arrived at my door step, needless to say, I was stoked! I had been eyeing the airplane for a while, though surprisingly hadn’t seen one fly in person to that point. I had heard that they fly great and so was excited to give the airplane a try.
The full sized A-10 is arguably one of the most iconic attack aircraft of all time and is just an incredible machine. Designed for the close air support role, it really succeeds in that mission sporting a 30mm nose cannon and having a considerable stores carriage capability to back it up. Mention the A-10 and usually someone in the room will crack off with brrrrrrt! Emulating of course the sound of the 30mm cannon firing (What else would you think that was!? 😉 ). So to see a twin EDF UMX A-10 realized and on the market is awesome and this cute little A-10 looks the part really well.
WHAT’S IN THE BOX?
The cool thing with these micros is they come out of the box completely assembled and ready to go. All that is needed is a flight battery to install and a Spektrum radio (all the E-Flite UMX’s are Bind n’ Fly). Opening the box and unpacking the airplane, you are met Continue reading →
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.
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 →
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 →