You never know who you will meet in this hobby. Though, you’re not likely to meet a celebrity, what you do get are opportunities to meet the amazing men and women who flew the iron that we so passionately model. Model aviation truly is a gateway into full scale aviation and for many, has been a vehicle that has influenced so many careers. This was the case for me and I know has been for so many others. It’s something that is extensible to anyone willing to try and really fosters a community atmosphere for those who participate. For me, flying scale gives me a chance to fly airplanes that I would otherwise never have the opportunities to fly in some form while also allow me to appreciate fully the beauty in the design. It is also a way to celebrate the amazing aviation history and achievements of those who have risked their lives countless times throughout that history.
An Unexpected Visit
So, about two months ago, I had the pleasure of meeting a gentleman by the name of Bob Forbes as he was looking for a little help in getting an airplane flown that he had commissioned. Little did I know was that Bob was a retired Fire Bomber pilot who flew for TBM Inc. which was the company that owned and operated a fleet of F7F Tigercat Fire Bombers (along with C-2 Trackers and other aircraft). I should point out that with every Tigercat that’s careened my workbench I have long drooled over the paint schemes of these Fire Bombers countless times as I absolutely love them!
Bob arrived at my house on a Sunday afternoon for me to take a look at the airplane that he had someone build for him. As he pulled the airplane from his truck, I started to understand. Bob had a FlightLineRC F7F Tigercat refinish commissioned by Bob Vanderveen in Ramona and he was looking for some help getting it flown. As weContinue reading →
It’s hard to believe that the year is half over already! It feels like since the US Scale Master’s Championships last year until now, I haven’t done all that much flying. At least certainly not as much as I could hope for. Between my kids getting into competitive travel sports added to having limited accessibility to our flying field here where I fly my large airplanes, it’s been a little difficult just getting to the field. So when the Scale Squadron’s Warbirds & Classics event peeked around the corner, needless to say I was excited! It was going to be 2 straight days of RC airplane goodness and some much needed flying! Leading up to the event, I had been focusing my spare time in the shop trying to get our little kfir kit bash project finished up for the event and this was her debut outing!
Between the Scale Squadron’s hospitality, the picturesque back drop of OCMA’s Black Starr canyon flying site, and the incredible assortment of airplanes, this event is a must go for me. I look forward to it every year and there’s always a ton of flying to be had. Plus, it’s a chance to spend a weekend flying with my dad which I cherish deeply. The beauty of the event is that there’s a great assortment of airplanes, but there’s never an issue with the flight line backing up causing much of a line. Anytime anyone wants a flight, it usually happens straight away.
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 →
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 →
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 →
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 →
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!
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 →