Small details create big results on the JHH A-7 Corsair II!
As mentioned in my 2019 US Scale Masters Championships write-up, scale competition is something that I really enjoy in this hobby. Like many, I grew up wanting to be a fighter pilot, but when I had to get corrective contact lenses in Jr High School to see the white board, those dreams ended and so that’s when I decided to go the aero engineering route. Well, a big part of why I enjoy scale modeling so much is that it provides me the opportunity to fly and experience the airplanes I would otherwise never get to fly in full scale. So, when the Scale Masters Championships came back to California in 2019, I knew that I wanted to give it another go. In the absence of a fresh new competition airplane, I wanted to give the championships a try with my Jet Hangar Hobbies A-7 Corsair II. However, it needed a few upgrades (or should I say “SLUF-grades?”) to get it to where I wanted it for the competition. Most notably, I really wanted to build a new cockpit for it with proper ejection seat, and it needed some additional details on the landing gear and around the airframe.
Truth be told, the A-7 Corsair II is really not the most ideal subject aircraft for competition. The perfect competition airplane is one that you can document well but also flies well in all weather conditions (rarely do you get perfect weather!). With the A-7 Corsair II, I absolutely love flying it, but it’s no secret that it can be a pretty challenging airplane in adverse wind conditions, especially crosswinds. The high anhedral wing combined with the large dorsal really feel a crosswind and scraped wingtips are a regular occurrence even in the lightest crosswinds. So, in preparing for the competition, there were a few upgrades that the airplane needed to hopefully maximize the static score as much as I could since I really didn’t know what the weather might be like. Plus, these upgrades were things that I’ve been wanting to do on the airplane for quite a long time anyhow, so it was a good excuse to get them done at last. You know what they say, a scale project is never done…you just stop working on it! 😉
I had really hoped to get this together much sooner, but life sure had other plans I think. Anyhow, I thought it would be worthwhile to provide all of the supplemental information specific to the assembly of the VQ Warbirds B-24 Liberator especially since the Model Airplane News review article that this was assembled for has now come and gone. Disclaimer up front, this is a pretty extensive assembly write-up, but I figured it best to put it all in one place for anyone who finds this article. The goal is to provide all the information you need to get this great looking and flying airplane in the air with as much ease as possible.
Now, as ARFs go, this B-24 Liberator definitely takes some work but you are rewarded with a beautiful looking and flying warbird that’s a great size at 110″ wingspan. As a whole, the assembly was fun and the model went together quite well. It’s a 4 engine bomber, so the joy is getting to install anything propulsion related 4 times! Oh, and if you’d like a sneak peak at the flying, then here’s my initial thoughts video that I did prior to the release of the MAN article. 🙂 I’ll be doing a separate flight review article and video here soon once our fields are open again.
The airplane comes as a blank canvas without any kind of markings applied which provides some great opportunities for customization. Trying to find something out of the ordinary, I came across the B-24s from the 834th Bombardment Squadron, also known as the “Zodiacs Squadron.” The one that really drew my attention dawned the nose art of “Scorpio” having a caricature of a scorpion with an aviator helmet holding a bomb with a gun turret on its tail. CPL Phil Brinkman, a commercial artist assigned to the squadron, painted the nose art for each of the aircraft which were themed by the 12 signs of the zodiac. Interestingly, the “Scorpio” nose art was later adopted as the squadron logo.
I should note before we get started that if you’ve never assembled an ARF before, they are a great way to start out in getting an understanding of radio and propulsion systemContinue reading →