You’ve probably figured out by now, I have many favorite aircraft. 😉 However, if I was to put together my top 5 favorite aircraft of all time, the F-14 Tomcat would probably be at or near the top of that list. The airplane was one of brute force, but packaged in an elegant and distinct looking airframe that truly personified its name, Tomcat. And that’s not to mention, it was an extremely capable fighter that filled many roles through the years that operated from the early/mid 70’s into the mid 2000s.
So, after putting together my Freewing twin 80mm F-14 Tomcat review a few years ago, I always wanted to come back to that airframe and give it a good refinish. To date, it is still one of my favorite Freewing aircraft and I regretted letting the one go that I had. So I decided it was time to revisit this model and picked up an ARF plus along with some Freewing 9-blade fan systems for a special refinish. This really has been a few years in the making.
The end goal with this refinish is to build the airplane into a low vis Navy camouflage. Though, I do like the more colorful schemes of the 70s and early 80s, there’s just something about a dirtied up ghost gray painted cat from their later years of service to me.
Seeing as though I’ve already reviewed the model (albeit a few years old now, but still valid!), let’s jump right into it! The first item of business in the refinish isContinue reading →
There’s something about F-16’s and how they fly that I really like. To me it blends the traditional flying on the wing type jet with the more flying on the thrust type delta wing configuration. To me, it means you get something that flies quickly, maneuvers really well yet has the slow speed characteristics of the delta being able to hit the high alpha.
So, when I learned about the E-Flite F-16 Falcon 80mm EDF I was quite excited, especially seeing all of the added details in the design. I knew that if it flew anything like the E-flite 70mm Thunderbird, it would be a blast…and I think it’s safe to say that it has exceeded my expectations!
AIRCRAFT ASSEMBLY NOTES
The E-Flite F-16 80mm is a very complete kit that includes all metal scale landing gear, full lights, and external weapons/stores and assembles very quickly. Also, all of the servo attachments have hard mounted connectors, so there’s no loose wires to have to contend with either. The assembly process starts with installing the horizontal tails. They have a pre-installed shaft that slides into the fuselage and is then held in place by a screw on each side (servo attachment is a traditional Continue reading →
Mike Patey’s Monster Wilga…DRACO! Fly it like you STOL it!
The E-flite DRACO 2.0m is probably one of the most anticipated models to come to market in recent time. Announced in 2019, there have been many a rumbling of its pending release since then. Well, E-flite’s DRACO is here and it is one of the nicest executed models E-flite has made to date…it is incredible! Every detail is characterized, the shape is perfect (Horizon Hobby actually 3D scanned DRACO to make the model from), and this big red beast makes for some fun STOL operations, especially with a bit of head wind.
If you’re unfamiliar with DRACO as an airplane, it literally was one of a kind. It was the master mind of Mikey Patey who took a Wilga 2000 and completely modified and rebuilt the airframe to the extent that very little of the original Wilga remained. He added wing area, modified the airfoil while also adding a fixed slat, installed a full glass cockpit, and at the front installed a PT6A 680Hp turbo-prop engine with full reverse thrust (I believe he also added chord to the control surfaces). In short, the airplane was a beast of a STOL aircraft and in fact, Mike Patey won the 2018 High Sierra STOL Drag competition with it. Unfortunately, the aircraft was totaled in Sept 2019 in a high crosswind takeoff incident. Be sure to check out Mike’s YouTube channel as he documented the build there and is currently building a highly modified carbon cub called Scrappy!
AIRCRAFT ASSEMBLY NOTES
The E-flite DRACO 2.0m is an impressively large airplane that is been broken down into only just a few large components which means that despite the large size, assembly is quick and easy. Assembly starts with installation of the shock absorbing landing gear via 4 screws which have plastic fairings over a carbon strut and feature the dual shocks of the full size. From there, the tail wheelContinue reading →
When I think of the axis aircraft from WWII, Kurt Tank’s FW-190 designs are the first that always come to mind. The iconic airplane was the backbone of the Luftwaffe (alongside the Bf-109) and the number of variants that existed really spawn the imagination of what was and what might have been. Performance with the twin row BMW radial engine powered FW-190A tended to suffer at higher altitudes, so follow-on variants featuring a longer nose housing a turbosupercharged V12 filled that gap and are the designs that I personally find especially intriguing.
So, seeing E-flite’s FW-190A 1.5m announcement, I was very excited to see the model come to market as the shape combined with beautiful scale landing gear looked to be spot on! That’s not to mention that the 1.5m wingspan really makes for a good sized, yet still manageable for transport kind of model. Though the paint scheme out of the box is representative of the replica operated by the Planes of Fame museum in Chino, CA, it’s ripe for a repaint as I can imagine what it would look like with a wartime scheme all dirtied up like a warfighter!
AIRCRAFT ASSEMBLY NOTES
The E-flite FW-190A 1.5m is a nice large airframe that is been broken down into only just a few large components which means that assembly is quick and easy. Assembly starts with the horizontal tail which is a left and a right piece that slips over a carbon spar and each are held in place with a machine screw each underneath. The wing center section is held inContinue reading →
Here we are at the start of 2021 and we have hit an incredible milestone on this blog and YouTube channel…we have hit 30,000 subscriptions on YouTube! There was incredible growth on the channel in 2020 and to start of 2021 with this milestone, I really can’t thank you enough! It is all a result of your support in following along on these misguided adventures and I think you dearly! The RC community is such a wonderful group of folks, I liken it to having a large extended family.
So, a big milestone should have a big giveaway and as a thank you, in conjunction with Legend Hobby, we are giving away a new in box SEAGULL MODELS CURTISS P-40N WARHAWK 33cc-50cc 80″ with scale electric rotating retracts! The model features an 80″ wingspan and can be powered with a 33cc-55cc gas engine or electric power system. It comes in scale green covering and is ready for markings to be applied be it the kit supplied markings or full custom set.
HOW TO ENTER
Please use the form below to enter. The contest starts today and ends at 7:30 PM April 5. The winner will be announced on my YouTube channel on 9:45am Tuesday April 6 It is completely free to enter and there are multiple ways to enter as well…Continue reading →
Droppin’ off a load and watching it explode…in my Spad…
Well, we’ve talked through the assembly and painting and weathering, at last, it’s time to talk through flying the Legend Hobby A-1 Skyraider. You’ve probably figured out by now that I love how this beast flies! It has incredible presence and with the new paint and bomb drops, it presents much like the real thing in the air. It has been extremely fun and frankly I would fly the airplane every weekend if I could and I can’t wait to get it out to some events (if they happen this year).
A LITTLE HISTORY
The A-1 Skyraider was first conceived in June 1944 to meet a US Navy request for a new carrier-based, single-seat, long-range, high performance dive/torpedo bomber. Designed around the Wright R-3350 Duplex-Cyclone engine used in the B-29 Superfortress, the result was one of the world’s largest and most powerful single-engine/single-seat combat aircraft capable of carrying weapon loads greater than that of the Boeing B-17. Coming too late for WWII, the Skyraider served from the late 1940s into the early 1980’s worldwide proving instrumental in both the Korean and Vietnam conflicts. Being among the first aircraft to perform strikes in North Vietnam in 1964, Skyraiders proved essential in close-support missions over South Vietnam due to their long loiter times, large bomb load capability and ability to perform accurate strikes when needed. Being a piston driven attack aircraft in the jet age, the A-1 Skyraider became a flying anachronism and was affectionately nicknamed the “Spad” after the WWI French biplane.
I knew at the moment I received the Legend Hobby A-1 Skyraider 86″, that it needed the full treatment. It’s such an impressive looking and good flying model and there’s just something about the A-1 Skyraider that I love. That’s not to mention that the model is actually a fairly scale representation of the airplane as well! So, in my research of the A-1 Skyraider and collecting of books and plastic kits, I came across a specific scheme I liked and so it was off to the races to repaint and weather the airplane!
During the Vietnam conflict, the A-1 Skyraider proved essential in close-support missions over South Vietnam due to their long loiter times, large bomb load capability and ability to perform accurate strikes when needed. For the repaint, the scheme chosen was George J. Marrett’s personal aircraft in Vietnam from 1968-1969 which carried the moniker of “Sock it to Em,” a tag line from the 1960’s comedy show “Laugh-In.” The aircraft operated with the 602nd Special Operations Squadron (SOS) from Nakhon Phanom Royal Thai Air Force Base and George completed 188 missions with over 600 combat hours in the aircraft. He even wrote about the aircraft and his missions in his book “Cheating Death.”
ABOUT THE MODEL
One quick note about the model itself if you’ve not seen my Assembly Review. This particular model started as a Legend Hobby Southeast Asia camouflage A-1 Skyraider ARF and was dressed in the kit supplied markings for the initial flights. Though the colors are good for an ARF, they weren’t correct to the Federal Standard colors of the full size. So, being the scale perfectionist that I am, I had to do a full paint work up on it! It’s important to note that what makes a repaint like this possible on this mylar covered ARF is that the airframe comes from the factory with a flat clear coat sprayed over the glossy mylar/monokote. As a result, it takes paint exceptionally well with very minimal prep work. Without that clear coat, considerable prep would be required to ensure paint adhesion on the covering material.
Cruisin’ into town and looking all around…in my Spad…
Having grown up in the hobby, there are certain models that I recall seeing as a kid that have inspired a fascination for that aircraft well into adulthood. One such aircraft for me is the A-1 Skyraider. Having seen two immaculate representations with folding wings at the US Scale Masters in the late 80s/early 90s (built by Diego Lopez & Gene Barton), it started a long fascination with the Skyraider for me. There was something about the airplane that I just liked and having since seen the full scale Skyraider fly, they are an impressive beast! Being a piston driven attack aircraft in the jet age, the Skyraider was a flying anachronism and was affectionately nicknamed the “Spad” after the WWI French biplane.
So, needless to say I was very excited to see the Legend Hobby A-1 Skyraider came to market! At 1/7 scale sporting an 86” wingspan, it offers a very nice sized ARF with an accurate scale outline. It also includes some really nice details through a fully detailed cockpit and an assortment of external tanks and rockets. A Skyraider isn’t a Skyraider without external stores afterall! Additionally, each of the three external tanks pylons come setup to accept E-flite payload releases which means the external tanks can be made droppable very simply. So, with a little 3D printing the sky’s the limit as to what this model can and will carry! More on that to come as for this article, we’re talking through the assembly of the model. I have a full repaint planned which we’ll talk through next where I’ll touch on the stores mods I made and then we’ll finish it up with a full flight review…but, spoiler alert, this model flies incredible! (see my first flights video at the bottom of this article)
ABOUT THE MODEL
The Legend Hobby Skyraider kit comes available in multiple color schemes (US Navy Gray/White, US Navy Blue, AF Camo) without any markings applied or as an ARC. Of course, markings are included, but coming as a blank canvas, this also allows for full customization and there are so many great color schemes for the Skyraider to choose from! This particular model is the Southeast Asia camouflage ARF and was dressed in the kit supplied markings for the initial flights. Having a very unique and characteristic shark mouth, the model represents Skyraider BuNo 137628 which was assigned to the 22nd Special Operations Squadron (SOS), 56th Special Operations Wing (SOW) that flew from Operating Location Alpha-Alpha (OL-AA) at Da Nang, South Vietnam.