From the Bench — Warbird Weathering Techniques with the E-flite P-39 Airacobra

Back from the ashes, Refinishing and Weathering the E-flite P-39 Airacobra!

To this point, I realize that many of the weathering techniques I’ve shown, or at least the subject aircraft, have been jets.  I do love my jets and the techniques I’ve shown are extensible to warbirds as well, but there are a couple distinct differences that are worth talking about.  Most notably, paint chipping is not something that you see often on modern jets based on their maintenance and the fact that regularly accessed panels are regularly touched up.  Also, piston engine exhaust staining is another one since, obviously, jets don’t have piston engines.  So, when my E-flite P-39 Airacobra wound up crashed upside down in the weeds at our field, it was a great opportunity for a refinish as well as a great subject for showing some of these additional techniques.

 

A Quick Note about the Refinish

One thing that’s worth mentioning is that a crashed airframe is sometimes the perfect opportunity for a refinish.  It’s a bit of a process, but using a crashed airframe is a great way to practice and learn some of these techniques if you’ve never tried them.  In terms of the refinish itself, it was accomplished utilizing the techniques that we’ve shown  here on this site and on my YouTube channel (thercgeek.com/kitbashing).  Note that I did not strip the paint on this one, I simply did all of the prep work over the stock paint.

After the crash, I had put the airplane aside for a time and when the AMA West Expo came around for its final time, I thought it would be a great chance to use the model as a subject for showing foam repair and refinishing techniques at the show.  With the help of my friends at the show, through the course of the 3 days, we had the Continue reading

VQ Warbirds Beechcraft Bonanza V-tail 62″ Wingspan Assembly Review

Bonanza V-tail for the win!

There’s something about the less traditional aircraft designs that really draw me in.  Most notably they are the v-tail and the delta wing/tailless aircraft.  Maybe it has to do with the less conventional nature, I’m not really sure, but when I saw the VQ Warbirds Beechcraft Bonanza Vtail, I was pretty excited about the model.  The bonanza is an icon in the private aircraft world and one of the few production aircraft I’m aware of that features a vtail into its design, especially in the private aircraft industry.

Though, commercial and private aircraft aren’t typically in my wheelhouse (I love my military aircraft!), the Bonanza Vtail is one that I do really like the looks of.  The Vtail gives an unconventional look to an otherwise conventional airplane and the proportions of the wing and the long tail moment really should make for a really good flying model.  Add to that the really nice covering and look of the VQ Warbirds Bonanza Vtail model, it was not a hard sell to get this one in my hangar.

Bonanza Vtail

 

WHAT’S IN THE BOX

This is the second VQ Warbirds airplane I’ve had the pleasure to assemble (first was the B-24 Liberator) and in each case, I have been thoroughly impressed with the quality of the build of the airframes.  Pulling this airplane from the box, I was reminded of this as the airplane was a beautifully built and finished representation of the Bonanza.  The parts count is generally low, but there is quite a bit of hardware included for pushrods, etc.  One of the nice things that became readily apparent was that all of the control surfaces were pre-glued at the factory, so that alleviated one extra step in the assembly process which was nice!

In addition to the airframe, I picked up my power system and servos of course which are listed and linked below.  I love keeping the looks of a scale model intact Continue reading

From the Bench – Detailing the JHH A-7 Corsair II & the Road to Scale Masters

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! 😉

ABOUT THE JHH A-7 CORSAIR II

Regarding the A-7 itself, the kit was originally designed by my dad (Jet Hangar Hobbies) in the early 80’s.  In fact, the original mold was taken directly off of Continue reading

VQ Warbirds B-24 Liberator 110″ ARF Assembly Review

The B-24 Liberator…4 Engines = 4x the fun!

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.

Meanwhile over Europe...

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 system Continue reading

E-flite A-10 Thunderbolt II Twin 64mm EDF Assembly & Flight Review

Brrrrrrrt!  …oh, excuse me…

The A-10 Thunderbolt II is one of those uniquely identifiable aircraft; it truly is unmistakable.  It was built for a purpose and it has served that purpose exceptionally well for decades.  Though not as prevalent now as they once were, the airplane is still due to remain in USAF service for at least a few more years it appears.  Interestingly, the aircraft retirement has been announced and subsequently postponed multiple times as there just isn’t a direct replacement for the airplane that’s currently in service.  A testament to just how good and effective the airplane is at what it does in the ground attack support role.

So, seeing the new E-flite A-10 Thunderbolt II twin 64mm EDF and the features it includes, I was excited at the opportunity to try out the airplane.  The airplane is a great transportable size, but still features retracts and oleos as well as a full complement of external stores which I was really happy to see.  After flying the airplane I was blown away as the airplane had incredible performance with a wide speed envelope feeling much bigger in the air than it was.  It was extremely fun!

 

AIRCRAFT ASSEMBLY NOTES

Assembly of the “Hog” is an easy prospect as the airplane is broken down into the major tail and wing sub-assemblies.  The process begins with gluing the horizontal tail in place followed by the vertical tails all using medium CA.  It’s important to test fit these parts first the ensure the servo wires are cleared away so the tails fully seat in place.  Also, there are Continue reading

E-flite F-15 Eagle 64mm EDF Assembly & Flight Review

E-flite’s 64mm “SAFE” Aggressor with so much more Eagle!

The F-15 Eagle has been the example of “air superiority” for decades.  Having first flown in 1972, the airplane even now is still an incredible machine with extreme capability that is still in production (due to end in 2022).  Interestingly enough, the F-15 in model form is one of the most forgiving jets out there.  Many an RC jet pilot have cut their teeth on various sized and powered F-15s throughout the last couple decades.  So, it makes sense that E-flite would introduce an F-15 Eagle to their growing 64mm size EDF range featuring SAFE.  The airplane features fixed gear even for pavement operations, but is easy enough to chuck around without the gear when desired.

 

AIRCRAFT ASSEMBLY NOTES

The E-flite F-15 Eagle is packed neatly and compactly in the box and is very simple to assemble.  It starts with the wings being fastened in place, the optional fixed gear installed (if desired) and is finished up with the horizontal and vertical tails being glued on and the pushrods connected.  The removable fixed gear are a nice to have since I fly mostly from pavement, I can avoid scraping up the airplane (and hand launching all together since I’m terrible at it).

The airplane all together on the bench really looks good in the 65th Aggressor Squadron splinter camouflage paint scheme (Blue Splinter FTW!).  The paint Continue reading

Freewing F-4D Phantom II 90mm EDF Assembly, Refinish, & Flight Review

Phreewing’s “Rhino,” TRCG Target Drone Edition…

Well, in full disclosure, this article started close to two years ago now after purchasing the Freewing F-4 Phantom in the second batch of releases.  So why did take so long?…well, it’s a myriad of things really.  First of all, I’m a glutton for punishment.  I liked the airplane so much and being unable to leave well enough alone (not to mention with some kind ribbing from my friends) I just had to do a full refinish on the airplane.  Well, shortly after filling all of the panel lines, we sold our house and moved into a new one which put a halt to most modeling for a few months.  After the move, I actually almost sold the airplane because after all that, I had a tough time just getting back to it.  Well, not to be defeated, I decided it was necessary to finish up the project and I have since acquired a bunch of flights on the airplane with both 6s and 8s power.  And so, here we are!

The funny thing is, since finishing the project (after almost selling it), I’ve been kind of on an F-4 Phantom kick having reviewed the E-flite F-4 and then also acquiring a mostly built Jet Hangar Hobbies 1/10 scale F-4 to accompany my other half built JHH F-4 Phantom sitting in my storage racks…what can I say, a collector never stops collecting! 😉

 

AIRCRAFT ASSEMBLY NOTES

The assembly of the Freewing F-4 Phantom II was quite straight forward as a whole.  No major issues were noted and the fit of everything was good.  The fuselage comes in two pieces, so the first step is to glue the back end onto the airplane and frrom there the tails and wings are installed.  The anhedral tails slide onto knurled shafts and are held in place with a screw on each tail.  So, it is recommended to ensure that Continue reading

UMX Adventures – E-flite UMX Turbo Timber Flight Review

Fly it like you STOL it, micro bush planes FTW!

I had this E-flite UMX Turbo Timber arrive last week and I was really excited to give it a go.  It’s been a while since I had played with a UMX airframe and I’m always so impressed with how well they fly.  In the case of this Turbo Timber, it has some additional features I’d not actually seen in a UMX thus far, most notably the airframe features full navigation lights.  Also, being noted as a STOL airplane (similar to the UMX Timber), it features some nice big “Chuck Norris tires” for those unimproved field operations which do the job of impaling the landing area into submission quite well.

The design itself is an evolution of the UMX Timber, but features an updated turbo-prop look as well as a higher power 3400kv motor paired with a 3-blade propeller.  The result is a bit better vertical performance if that’s something you’re looking for.  For me, it’s a fun STOL aircraft to take on the road for those backyard flying adventures!  Plus, with the included flaps and slats, the airplane slows down to a crawl which is quite fun.

 

WHAT’S IN THE BOX?

The beauty of these UMX airframes is that they come out of the box Continue reading