Family Build – Polar Lights Back to the Future Delorean

A Snap Together BTTF DeLorean?  Great Scott!

I got my start in scale modeling by building plastic models as a kid.  I built many a model in the back of my dad’s shop as far as I can remember.  Those are some of the fondest memories I have from growing up.  I guess that’s why I collect (though rarely build) so many plastic models, haha!  The “Back to the Future” movies are among some of my favorites and a while back I came across the Polar Lights “Back to the Future” DeLorean and seriously, had to have it.  It was a snap together kit, so figured in a few hours I could probably have a nice enough looking model…if I built it…  Well, my son kept asking me to build the model while it sat on my bench and so I figured, why not grab a second one so we could build them together?  I love building with him and he loves to build pretty much anything (he and my daughter are Lego masters!), so it was perfect!  I figured, while we were at it, why not grab the video camera and try a “family build” segment on my YouTube channel.  My kids are always wanting to bomb my videos anyhow, so figured it was time to officially feature them.  Be sure to watch because there’s some pretty funny stuff in there, especially at the very end.   At one point, we were laughing uncontrollably for no reason whatsoever.

The Build

polar-lights-delorean-1So, we set out on our DeLorean build adventure on a Friday mid-morning after flying.  It was hot outside, so was perfect to just take it easy in-doors.  It sure would have been much more pleasant though if we actually had air-conditioning in our house!  We both eagerly started and tore into the box with my daughter offering Continue reading

Gilman Springs US Scale Masters RC Airplane Contest Qualifier 2016

All Hail Scale!

Obviously, I’m a scale nut!  I think it seriously runs in my blood.  I actually cut myself once and started bleeding Federal Standard color chips! 😉   In all seriousness, the big scale projects I build, I’m always building with scale contests in mind…it’s kind of a sickness.  When I found out that the US Scale Master’s (USSM) championships are once again being hosted by the Woodland-Davis Aeromodelers this year, I knew that this year was a contest year for me!  You see, I had attended the championships in 2013 at Woodland-Davis and had an absolute blast and have been hoping for a chance to go back and fly with them again!

static_judging

April 23-24, the Gilman Springs RC flyers hosted the USSM Western Regional Qualifier.  This is a new home for this event as years previously it had been hosted by the Hemet Model Masters.  The Gilman Springs venue is great for flying since it’s on private land and has minimal limitations for airspace and aircraft type that can fly out there (rare for sites Continue reading

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

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

AMA Expo 2016

AMA EXPO 2016 — The place to geek out on the latest in RC!

Ah, the AMA Expo.  Heralded at the Ontario Convention center, it’s a great show to geek out on everything RC while scoring deals you wouldn’t normally get on RC products.  Though not always known as the AMA show, nor held at the Ontario Convention Center, this show has been ongoing in Southern California for a long time.  I remember attending a different incarnation of the show as a kid with my dad.  In fact, I even met my wife at this show when it was still held in Pasadena…wrap your heads around that one, haha!  It’s really hard to believe just how much the hobby has changed and I’ve watched it change each year through this show!  Even in just the last 10 years things have changed so much.

AMAExpo-comp4

Now, an RC trade show means many things to many people.  For most however, it means three things — scoring deals while seeing what’s new and exciting and catching up with 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