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

Mmmmm, Deltas…

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

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

AirHogs Star Wars Millennium Falcon — How to Replace the Battery

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

Freewing F-14 Tomcat Assembly Review

Bogey on our six, he’s got tone!…oh wait, my phone’s ringing…

Note that my Setup & Flight Review article/video that discusses in detail my control setup is available here.

The F-14 Tomcat is without a doubt one of my top 5 favorite jets.  Honestly, as a kid, I dreamed of flying them.  I would guess, anyone who has enjoyed the movie “Top Gun” probably had the same dream? — Fun fact: my dad and his company Jet Hangar Hobbies built the models that were used for the special effects in the movie “Top Gun” —  For me, I just love the design of the Tomcat.  Something about the shape combined with the variable geometry wing and sheer power of the twin turbines just bleeds awesome.  So, when I caught wind of the Freewing F-14 80mm EDF foam jet I was honestly intrigued.  I remained on the fence until I had the opportunity to fly the production prototype at the Big Jolt.  I subsequently had the opportunity to then take that airplane with me to demo at the AZ jet rally as well.  That’s what sealed it for me and so, in a moment of weakness I saw that they showed in stock at MotionRC, and I went for it!  At $580, you get quite a bit of airplane (full airframe with ALL electronics, including fans, motors, and ESCs) for the money that’s overall pretty well done.

F-14-2Truth be told, I don’t normally deal in foam.  I very much enjoy building and my preferred mediums are the traditional balsa wood and fiberglass.  In fact, back in the early 2000’s, I helped to design and bring to market a twin 70mm EDF laser cut all built up F-14 Tomcat kit (Matt Halton design) for my folks at Jet Hangar Hobbies (pics below).  It flew awesome, even with the limited electric tech that existed at that time (the maiden flight was performed with NiMh round cells!) which was right as Continue reading

Sphero BB8 Review – A Star Wars Treasure

THE FORCE IS STRONG WITH THIS ONE…

Star Wars Episode 7: The Force Awakens opens next month and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t excited.  One of the cool things about it is that they’ve taken a more traditional approach on the effects that relies less on CGI.  Keeping in the spirit of this, a new droid was developed for the movie known as BB8.  If you’re unfamiliar with it, it’s a spherical gyro stabilized droid with a floating head on top of its spherical body — I anticipate it will be the new R2D2.  What’s cool is that they physically built a working vehicle of BB8 for the movie which is not only awesome, but is also quite an ingenious engineering accomplishment.

So, enter the Sphero BB8 app enabled droid.  This became available during “Force Friday” along with all of the new Star Wars toys and quickly sold out in the matter of hours.  When I became aware of it, I knew that I wanted one and thought it would be a fun piece of hardware to provide a review of.  Since “Force Friday,” it’s become 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

AirHogs Star Wars Millennium Falcon Quadcopter

A few days ago in a department store quite close by…

Note – If you’re having issues with batteries in the Millennium Falcon, I’ve posted a How-to on replacing the battery here.

Star Wars Episode VII is rapidly approaching and with that comes new Star Wars memorabilia and RC vehicles!  September 4 was “Force Friday” which was when all of the new Star Wars toys dropped online and at your local department stores.  While cruising the aisles of my local target last weekend, I came across a gem – the AirHogs RC Millennium Falcon Quad Copter!  Needless to say, I couldn’t resist and so I thought I’d give a short little review of it for anyone on the fence about getting one.  The bottom line – it is expensive but it’s pretty darn awesome!  At last I can try my hand at the Kessel Run!

OUT OF THE BOX

First of all, out of the box, the quad Millennium Falcon is a pretty awesome piece of RC.  It really does look good and you have 4 proportional channels which is great!  However, retailing at 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