Setting up a Multi-Engined Electric Aircraft (F7F Tigercat)

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

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

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

Refinish a Foam Warbird – Ep2 FMS P-51

Fill, sand and repeat…

Continuing with refinishing our FMS P-51, in this installment we’re smoothing out the entire airframe including filling in all of the oversized panel lines.  From there we’re applying our protective coats of polycrylic which will provide our surface in which we can do our paint preparation.  If you missed my build review and paint stripping methods, you can catch that here.  Let’s get to it!

FILLER TIME!

It’s no secret, the panel lines on these foam warbirds are huge.  When I took on this project, I knew that was one of the first things I wanted to rectify.  The overall shape looks so good, smoothing out the finish would only make it look that much better.  So, enter Continue reading

How to Refinish a Foam Warbird – Ep1 FMS P-51

When did foam become the new balsa wood?!?

Ever since getting to ride in Ken Wagoners’ Lady Alice P-51, I’ve had to have a P-51 in my hangar and it has to be painted up as Lady Alice!  Anything I can do to relive that amazing experience…which of course would mostly consist of me pushing the airplane around my garage while making airplane noises!  I wouldn’t have it any other way!  If you missed my post and video from that day, you can read about it here.  Be sure to check the video too as it was a beautiful day for flying!

So, enter the FMS P-51.  I had been shopping around for a P-51 for a while and had been eyeing this foamy for some time.  A friend of mine is a master when it comes to foam and I’ve always wanted to use his technique on refinishing a foam airframe.  So, when the FMS P-51 came up on sale at MotionRC, I bit the bullet and picked one up.  Mostly, I liked the size (able to transport easily in one piece), the outline looked good and it had a cool scale 4-blade prop (though, I upgraded to something better and more scale).  Also, you get an all inclusive package with servos, motor and ESC.  However, it is indeed EPO foam, and though the finish is nice, you get big panel lines and some foam texture; nothing that can’t be remedied through some elbow grease and the right materials.  So over the next few weeks, I will be showing the method I’m using to completely refinish a foam warbird while also showing some of the upgrades done as well.

BUILD REVIEW

As mentioned, the FMS P-51 is Continue reading

Warbirds and Classics 2015

The Warbirds and Classics Post Game Report

warbirds 2015 - panoramic

There’s no question that the Scale Squadron of SoCal know how to put on an event.  Originators of the US Scale Masters, they have been putting on scale events since day one as scale is their true passion.  It is no surprise that this years Warbirds and Classics event was no exception!  Running in its ninth year, the event was held at a new location; the OCMA “Bob Swenson” field in Black Star Canyon next to Irvine Lake.  Nestled amongst the hills of Orange County, the runway is a nicely manicured and smooth stone composite material that is as hard as asphalt.  There had been some light rains a few weeks prior and so the surrounding scenery was lush with green grass and native California shrubbery.  Add to that Continue reading

Adventures in 3D Printing – Ep2

The Tale of Two Exhausts…

A while back, my Friend Brian had a minor incident with his 1/4 scale TBM P-40.  Though, it didn’t result in any physical damage to the airplane, it did result in an impact to the “stand way off scale” exhausts on one side.  Being made of thin plastic, they ended up crushed and unsalvageable.  We originally thought we’d make a quick plug and do some resin castings, but as we looked at the exhausts more, we realized just how out of scale they really were and how much they just didn’t look right at all.  So, enter the 3D printer!  Within a few days, we were able to draw and print some replacements that came out awesome!  Before we begin, if you’ve not read my Q&A on 3D printing, you can read that here to get a better understanding of the process and materials.  Also, if you’d like to see video of this P-40 in action I’ve embedded the video from my YouTube channel at the bottom of this article.  Don’t forget, if you are looking for help with some 3D printing, I can help!  Just shoot me an email through my contact form.

p40 exhaust printing-1

A comparison of the stock exhausts to the final 3D printed exhausts

The CAD Model

First things first, we had to make a CAD model of the exhausts.  In looking at the original plastic exhausts, they were completely out of scale.  We used the basic dimensions as a starting point, but then Continue reading

Hawker Sea Fury – 5-blade Electric Conversion

5-blades of Sea Fury Heaven…but it Takes the Right Motor

sea fury - pics 548The Hawker Sea Fury is one of my favorite propeller warbirds.  I guess the simple yet elegant lines of it combined with the beastly (and exotic) radial engine and 5-bladed propeller just have a certain appeal to me.  Though it came 2 years too late to support WWII operations, it had a nice stint in Korea; not to mention was one of the fastest single piston engine airplanes ever produced.  So, it’s not surprising then that so many Sea Fury’s have adorned the course at the Reno Air Races.

sea fury - pics 367A few years back, Thunder Tiger offered a small line of 1/7 scale RC warbird ARFs that were quite nice.  The lines of the airplanes were good and they flew incredibly well.  The kits included the Sea Fury (military and September Fury racer schemes and the best looking Sea Fury ARF out there for some time) and an F8F Bearcat (military and Rare Bear racer schemes).  I was fortunate to acquire one of the Sea Fury kits when they first came available and of course it had to be electric with a 5-bladed prop!  So, I thought I’d use that to talk a little bit about designing an electric propulsion system for your propeller airplanes.  First off though, here’s a little video of my Sea Fury in action, 5-blade prop and all! 🙂  It sounds just as good in person, no sound system needed!

The power system for the Sea Fury is as follows:

  • Motor: NeuMotors 1515/2Y with 6.7:1 gearbox
  • ESC: Castle Creations Phoenix 110 HV
  • Battery: NeuEnergy 10s 5,000 mah Lithium Polymer
  • Prop: Zinger 16×14 prop (aluminum hub with wood replaceable blades)

In sizing an electric power system (we’re talking propeller airplanes here as opposed to EDFs), the first question to ask is “what do I want my power system to do for the airplane?”  What I mean is, Continue reading