Well, it’s been a little while since my tease at kit bashing a Freewing Mirage into an IAI Kfir (“Kfir” is Hebrew for “Lion Cub”). We started with an assembly & flight review for the Freewing Mirage 2000 which out of the box flies awesome. However, the Kfir is such an awesome looking airplane and with canards and a little extra wing area we’ll add in the bashing process, I can only imagine that the airplane will fly even better! So, in this article, we’re covering the transformation process of turning this airplane into a Kfir and we’re using 3D printed parts as a part of that as well as employing some traditional building methods. Through this whole process we will be employing the foam refinishing method I covered in our How to Refinish a Foam Warbird series. I don’t plan to get into much detail about the foam prep work itself in this series as I want to focus on the kit bashing aspect to compliment the refinishing we did previously and use the next couple articles to go into more detail on painting, simple panel lines and weathering.
Now, one of the reasons that it’s been a little while is, in addition to of course a few distractions, is that I’ve been working out the 3D printed parts with a friend of mine. CAD modeling takes time and there were a number of parts that we ended up making. These include printing a new nose, the exhaust shroud and turkey feathers, the dorsal inlet, external wing tanks, lower ventral tank, and the afterburner cooling scoops and inlets on the fuselage. As a whole, we printed a total of 23 individual pieces for the conversion (many of the parts required multiple pieces to be printed).
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 January rolls around, that always means it’s AMA Expo time! It’s hard to believe that’s it’s actually been a year already since the last show. Every year the expo is held at the Ontario Convention Center and features a bunch of vendors and manufacturers in the RC industry so it’s always an interesting show to head to. It’s more than that though. The RC community is like a family, so the show feels almost like a reunion as I get a chance to catch up with friends that I don’t get to see but just once or twice a year plus meeting new friends too.
This year, I was honored to be asked by the AMA to be one of the presenters for the show. Truth be told, when the AMA asked me to speak at the show, I was humbled by the opportunity. I’ve been coming to this show since I was a kid and as I mentioned in my article about this show last year, I even met my wife at this show 15 years ago if you can even believe that! But, to share the presenters stage with so many amazing people is something I never imagined truthfully. The AMA was cool enough to video and provide my presentation to post on my YouTube channel, so here it is in case you missed it!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!
We have a quick post this week as I have two announcements! One of my go to events every year is the AMA West RC Expo at the Ontario Convention center. Well, the Academy of Model Aeronautics has graciously asked if I would be a presenter at the show this year. So I will be at the expo all weekend long sharing my story with you, my background and why I started this site. Plus we’ll have a nice display of jets including my Scale Masters winning Mirage IIIRS. So, I want to encourage you guys to come on out to the event and stop by and say hi! I love meeting you guys and it’s going to be an awesome weekend. The dates for the event are January 6-8.
For the second announcement, we are doing our first giveaway! A while back I reviewed the Eleven Hobby Bearcat and so we are giving that review airplane away. To enter, all you have to do is to watch the above video and follow the instructions below. There are multiple chances to win, so be sure to take advantage of each one! The winner will be chosen on January 9 and I will be announcing the winner Tuesday January 10 which is the Tuesday after the AMA expo so be sure to share this video and get the word out! It’s a free airplane and it’s completely free to enter.
I look forward to seeing you guys at the AMA Expo!
As promised in my How to Repair Fiberglass and Fibgerglassed Parts article, here’s a little tutorial on some of the detail parts I had to re-scratch build while repairing my Mirage IIIRS earlier this year. These include some of the very distinctive pitot tubes and antennas that are exhibited on the nose section of the full-sized aircraft. In all the searching we did of the crash site when the airplane went in, the original parts were just nowhere to be found…a sacrifice to the three angry bushes that swallowed my airplane I suppose! Also, if you missed it, be sure to check out my coverage from the US Scale Masters Championships as I competed with my fully repaired Mirage and somehow in the process came out of the competition finishing 1st in Expert being named the Grand National Champion! What an amazing weekend! It was such a great event with a wonderful and very talented group of scale modelers, I can’t wait to go back!
CHOOSING THE RIGHT MATERIALS
When we talk about detail parts, we need to talk about materials selection. Obviously, any materials can be used, but when dealing with parts that are protruding from an airplane, we need parts with stiffness and resilience to repeated abuse. Let’s face it, these parts areContinue reading →
The road getting to the 2016 US Scale Masters Championships was not an easy one for me this year, that’s for sure. Ever since crashing my Jet Hangar Mirage IIIRS last year, I had been plagued with mishaps and bugs throughout the year and truth be told, it got pretty discouraging…to the point that I contemplated not going multiple times. But, the championships were at the Woodland-Davis Aeromodelers field which is where they were in 2013 and it was such a great event, I knew I had to get there in 2016. With everything leading up to the event (I even had a mishap requiring repairs two weeks before I was due to leave!), I never in my wildest dreams imagined that I would be reporting that I came out of the event as the “Grand National Champion” finishing 1st place in Expert! And to have my dad there calling for me while competing with an airframe that stemmed from the very first RC jet design he kitted back in the late ’70s was just such an honor for me.
Organized by the US Scale Masters Association, the US Scale Masters Championships have been ongoing since 1980. From the beginning, this national championship has hosted some of the best scale builders and pilots in the world and have continued to do so for more than two decades. In order to attend the national championship, a competitor must qualify at a regional qualifier event (I covered the Gilman Springs Qualifier a few months ago). The truth is, I remember attending numerous qualifiers and championships out at Mile Square Park (that flying site is sorely missed!) in Southern California as a kid with my dad and I have always remembered the caliber of the airplanes being just incredible (I tried my first qualifier at 18 with a Royal Zero kit I built). 2016 was no exception as the airplanes in attendance were beautifully crafted and masterfully flown!Continue reading →
With the 2016 Scale Master’s Championships just a few weeks away now, here’s a little glimpse into the journey in getting there. In addition to this, I also had some pains at the Gilman Springs qualifier too which I wrote about in my coverage from the event. So, it’s been an interesting year that ultimately has improved the airplane as a whole, but not without a lot of frustration and multiple stints of repair work through the year. But, with a little persistence (and lots of complaining), I think we’ve got it all worked out and the Mirage IIIRS is ready to go big at Woodland-Davis! 😉
It has been said there are two types of model airplanes…those that have crashed and those that WILL crash…
Well, if you follow this site on Instagram or Facebook then you know that the inevitable happened! My competition Mirage IIIRS crashed! I was at an event back in October last year and for whatever reason, the fan wasn’t making the power it typically does during takeoff. The takeoff roll was sluggish and instead of aborting and taking home a perfectly fine airplane, I forced the airplane off the ground thinking it would be ok once airborne. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case and I couldn’t get enough altitude to get the speed up and the airplane ended up landing in a few large bushes. I walked up to the airplane expecting the worst and found it upside down but thankfully mostly in tact. I was very fortunate! The most damaged area was the nose section being broken but thankfully still connected to the airplane. I later discovered that the lack of thrust was likely due to a combination of tired batteries not holding voltage under load and a partial blockage in the exhaust duct being caused by some loose tape that I was unaware of. Thankfully it was repairable and so I thought it would be a good opportunity to discuss some basic fiberglass repair. Oh, and the lesson here??
LESSON OF THE DAY: If your airplane isn’t doing what you expect it to, abort and troubleshoot!
The most impacted area from the crash was the nose. Though technically still attached to the fuselage, it was pretty “crunchy” and loose. Both sides of the noseContinue reading →