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!
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 →
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 →
Marvel AND DC Comics together…can you even do that?
Since the first Family Build we did, my kids couldn’t wait to do another one! They kept asking (especially my daughter) to make another vid and build some models. More building with my kids? Heck yes! This time, it’s all geek as a while back, I had come across a plastic kit of one of my favorite comic book characters, Marvel Comics’ “Wolverine” made by Polar Lights/Round2 Models. Upon investigation, I learned that Polar Lights had a few different characters and so found a Marvel Comics “Captain America” for my daughter (it was fitting since she has a little crush on Cap) and DC Comics’ “Superman” for my son since, based on some of the things he attempts, he must think he’s made of steel! So, let the build begin!
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.
So, 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 →
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!
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 sitesContinue reading →