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 theContinue reading →
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.
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 intactContinue reading →
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 →
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 thatContinue reading →
If you saw my E-Flite T-6 Texan review last time, then you saw the results of the repaint that was done on that airplane. I thought it would be worth doing a separate video and article on what was done since it was just a quick and dirty spray can paint job that I did through the course of a weekend with all of the painting done over the stock paint with minimal prep. This is worth discussing because sometimes we just don’t want to go to the extent of filling panel lines, or sealing up the airframe with polycrylic or anything like that. Sometimes, we just want to do something quickly, but still get good results. The difficulty always is, however, that stock paint just loves to lift up off of that EPO foam. Thankfully, with the right tools, we can avoid that.
It’s interesting how something like this, though not entirely difficult, is all that’s needed to really refresh a model and make it stand out. As I mentioned in my review, I have really enjoyed flying this AT-6, but following the repaint, I absolutely fell in love with the model even more!
PAINTING TOOLS & PAINT
First things first, let’s talk about what we need. What we’re doing here is literally just applying a new paint job over an existing stock paint job. There’s no paint stripping involved, so it’s important that we use very low tack tapes for masking. I had heard Continue reading →
As I mentioned in my E-Flite P-47 Razorback and Cessna 150 reviews, I’ve been wanting to provide a separate discussion on Horizon Hobbies’ SAFE Select technology that’s featured with their bind and fly aircraft. The P-47 and Cessna are both great next step type airplanes for those that may still be learning and so the technology is there to help folks learning to fly and hopefully protect them from getting into trouble. I found that there wasn’t a whole lot of documentation about SAFE Select out there, so I thought that it would be worthwhile to talk a little bit about it and give some tips for using it effectively. As we get started, note that this is a technology that’s part of Horizon’s Spektrum bind and fly setups, so if you’re using your own receiver and radio in the Horizon airplanes, then obviously, this wouldn’t apply.
WHAT IS “SAFE” AND HOW DOES IT WORK?
First of all, what is SAFE? What is it all about? SAFE is a feature that can be turned on that, when flying your aircraft, is intended to keep pilots from getting the airplane into an attitude that could spell trouble. There are multiple levels of the technology which includes SAFE Select which is what is in the Bind and Fly P-47 and Cessna that basically pitch and roll limits the airplane to keep the aircraft from going inverted but still maintains a good level of controllability. It’s intendedContinue reading →
I keep telling myself to scale back on the foam airplanes, but when the Freewing A-4 Skyhawk came up on pre-sale, I knew I had to have one! The A-4 is a classic design that I’ve always appreciated. In fact, I still remember seeing the Blue Angels fly A-4s back in the 80’s. It was such an agile yet graceful airplane to watch fly, they will probably always be my favorite Blue Angel aircraft. The F-18s have brute force, but it just doesn’t have the grace and maneuverability that the A-4 did.
If you follow this page on Facebook or Instagram, then you know how this one ends for me. For those who and for full disclosure up front, this airplane flies really well when setup right, but I actually crashed the airplane twice in the process of making this review…mostly a result of my own error. The first time was due to installing an already flown battery into the airplane. It only took a couple laps before the fan quit and of course it was too low to get back to the runway. Bummed, but not to be defeated the airplane was refinished with a few upgrades (which we’ll talk about). It came out beautiful, I loved it! Unfortunately, the CG moved further back than I anticipated and the airplane over rotated on the second takeoff and I didn’t have enough altitude to fully recover. It’s fixable, though I’ve debated just buying a replacement instead…it’s currently hanging in my shop waiting in limbo.
With that being said, I still wanted to provide this review because as I mentioned, the airplane flies really well. But, it’s an A-4 and there definitely some things to be aware of when setting it up for best success.
AIRCRAFT ASSEMBLY NOTES
The A-4 is a quick assembly requiring the aft fuselage section be glued on and then the dorsal, horizontal tails and wings bolted onto the airframe. From there, it’s just a matter Continue reading →