The F-18 Hornet has been the cornerstone of the Navy fleet for decades, not to mention has been the performance aircraft for the US Navy’s Blue Angels since 1986. So, as an airplane, it’s always been extremely popular. I mean, what’s not to like really? There have been a number of F-18 models through the years and the challenge in making it as an RC model has always been the landing gear. The main gear of the F-18 are so distinctive, it truly is one of the defining features of the airplane, but getting them made well was always a challenge in years past (n recent years there have been some absolutely incredible turbine models that have come to market). Also, if not executed well, it can make ground handling challenging.
When I saw E-flite’s F-18 Hornet and the incredibly scale landing gear on it, I was excited! They got not only the look of the gear correct, but they also got the correct teeter angle which helps place the wheels a bit further away from the fuselage. If they had spent that much attention to detail on the landing gear, I could only hope that the rest of the airplane was just as well thought out. Well, I’m happy to report that this is indeed a very well-engineered and well thought out model that also flies extremely nicely! There are some things to be aware of regarding takeoff (especially on your maiden flight), but with the right setup and awareness, it’s not a problem at all and you’ll have a really nice flying EDF on your hands.
AIRCRAFT ASSEMBLY NOTES
The E-flite Hornet arrived nicely packed in a good sized box and includes with it a full complement of external tanks and stores which is nice. E-flite has really simplified the airplane down into the major components for assembly basically requiring only the tails and wings to be added for full assembly. As I hinted to earlier, Continue reading →
When the opportunity came up to review E-Flite’s new 70mm EDF ViperJet, I could not pass it up! This airplane is a great looking little jet that flies just incredibly well. Also, the Bind n Fly version has SAFE Select available, so if you’re newer to RC and looking to jump into jets, this is a nice option to have. The truth is, this airplane makes for a wonderful first jet with or without SAFE. Obviously, without SAFE, you’ll want to have some proficiency on the sticks first before jumping into a high speed jet.
Now when we talk about the ViperJet it is indeed a real airplane, so we are technically talking about a scale jet here. The full sized airplane is actually a home built aircraft. So, for a cool $500,000 and 3500+ hours for assembly, you too could have one! I kid of course, but the thing is that the proportions of the full sized airplane make for a great flying model that handles much like a purpose designed RC sport jet. So based on that, what you get is some fun aerobatic flying in a scale looking package. It’s been a pretty popular design within the jet community for that reason. Obviously, what’s on the model is not a scale paint scheme, but I have to say I quite like it! This guy with two thumbs is a sucker for splinter camouflage.
AIRCRAFT ASSEMBLY NOTES
The ViperJet comes nicely packaged and assembles extremely quickly. The kit has a very small parts count, which primarily just requires bolting the on the tails, the dorsal and then the wing. The most difficult part was routing and connecting all of the wires asContinue reading →
The UMX Warthog that will have you brrrrrt while you fly!
Ever since the UMX A-5A Vigilante scratch build project with my friend Brent, I have been playing with a few UMX aircraft of late. I have to say that there are some really great and unique UMX airplanes out there and Horizon Hobby has really been leading that charge. The technology is such that you can create some really neat projects at basically 1/32 to 1/24 scale…essentially plastic model sized! So, when the E-flite UMX A-10 arrived at my door step, needless to say, I was stoked! I had been eyeing the airplane for a while, though surprisingly hadn’t seen one fly in person to that point. I had heard that they fly great and so was excited to give the airplane a try.
The full sized A-10 is arguably one of the most iconic attack aircraft of all time and is just an incredible machine. Designed for the close air support role, it really succeeds in that mission sporting a 30mm nose cannon and having a considerable stores carriage capability to back it up. Mention the A-10 and usually someone in the room will crack off with brrrrrrt! Emulating of course the sound of the 30mm cannon firing (What else would you think that was!? 😉 ). So to see a twin EDF UMX A-10 realized and on the market is awesome and this cute little A-10 looks the part really well.
WHAT’S IN THE BOX?
The cool thing with these micros is they come out of the box completely assembled and ready to go. All that is needed is a flight battery to install and a Spektrum radio (all the E-Flite UMX’s are Bind n’ Fly). Opening the box and unpacking the airplane, you are met Continue reading →
Once in a long while my good Friend Brent (Corsair Nut) gets to spend some time in San Diego. We’ve been friends since we were kids as his dad used to work for my dad at one point in the shop. I have memories of him, his brother and I running around the back of the shop just doing what kids do. We reconnected about 10 or so years ago and pretty much picked up where we left off! So when he’s in town, there’s always some RC madness going on whether sporadic fly days or projects and it’s great! We’re always encouraging and pushing each other to go for that next project or running ideas off of each other on builds, etc. One thing about Brent, he is a master when it comes to working with foam and he’s shown me a lot of the techniques that I’ve been sharing with you. So, when he mentioned he was coming to town, we talked about teaming up on a quick Ultra Micro (UMX) jet. The subject? The A-5 Vigilante.
We actually planned this project (including sizing some drawings!) over a year ago on one of his previous trips. For me, I have always had this airplane in mind for a build as the proportions are perfect for an RC subject. It has a big wing, big tails and a nice wide fuselage which means good flying characteristics. For a big bird, landing gear are kind of an issue (they always are!), but for a UMX bird like this, that’s no matter. Fixed gear chicken legs here we come!
BTW, I have included the templates for the build further down in the article (no instructions), so if you’d like to give building one a shot, do it!
Now, I can’t say I was a huge help in the building process since our schedules really didn’t line up very well for the week he was here. Add to that that I was a hand down based on abroken finger I was 3 weeks into resulting from an ice hockey injury. I was fresh out of a cast but had a removable splint and couldn’t grip anything very well still even without theContinue reading →
One of the features that always gets inspected on a scale model is the cockpit. There are so many gadgets in the cockpit of a full sized aircraft, it’s fun to see what was modeled. Yet, when it comes to ARFs and foamies, we’re lucky to get a decent pilot let alone a decent looking cockpit! So, in this episode of our Foam Kit Bashing Series, we’re going to talk about some quick and easy ways to dress up an otherwise minimalist cockpit. The whole idea here are simple things that can be done that add big results. We’ll cover full scratch building of a cockpit in a future episode. Oh, and in case you missed it, last time we talked about the whole construction process of converting a Freewing Mirage 2000 into an Isreali Kfir. This airplane has really transformed and looks awesome as a kfir.
Before prepping and painting the airframe (we’ll cover painting in our next episode), we really should work out the cockpit interior first since we need to pull the canopy off the airframe to work on it. It’s better to do this earlier in the process just in case we mess something up it will be an easier fix. The base cockpit provided with the Mirage 2000 is ok, but there are definitely a few issues that we’re going to fix. First off, the pilot is just too small for scale. To solve this, we’re going to replace him with a 1/12 scale Castle 5 bust which comes from my folks at JetHangar.com and show you how to paint him (this is one of the pilots I manufacture for my folks in sizes ranging from 1/18 scale all the way up to 1/6 scale). The second thing we’re going to do is show how to make the cockpit a little more “popcorn” proof and then detail it a little bit to make it a little more Kfir representative. The stock cockpit is black and inside a sealed compartment and had already “popcorned” up…so, now is our time to fix that.
HOW TO PAINT A “CASTLE 5” PILOT BUST
Painting a nice looking pilot is not a difficult thing to do and is something that can actually be done pretty quickly. We first off need a selection of paint brushes. I have a number of paint brushes that I turn to when I’m painting a pilot. I’ll use a wider, kind of square brushContinue reading →
So, how does the Freewing F-14 Tomcat fly? In short, pretty darn awesome! The distinguishable shape of the F-14 looks menacing in the air and the flight characteristics are fantastic. As discussed in my assembly review of the airplane, there are some tricks I’d highly recommend in setting the airplane up which at the end of the day, provide a great flying airplane. This comes from not just flying this particular airplane, but also flying the Freewing production prototype (stock and tailerons only) as well as the twin 70mm F-14 I helped design, test, and fly for my folks at JetHangar.com. They have all exhibited similar characteristics and fly very much the same.
AIRCRAFT SETUP & CG
In my assembly review, I covered the installation of two 6s 30C 5800 mah batteries that I’m using in the airplane. To maintain the CG, the battery area was modified so that the batteries could be pushed as far back as possible up against the swing wing carry through spar. This maintained the CG well per the manual (87mm measured back from the leading edge of the forward most hatch cut on the overwing fairing hatch) which has shown to be about perfect! Also the manual provides a trim elevator setting (31mm measured Continue reading →
The F-14 Tomcat is without a doubt one of my top 5 favorite jets. Honestly, as a kid, I dreamed of flying them. I would guess, anyone who has enjoyed the movie “Top Gun” probably had the same dream? — Fun fact: my dad and his company Jet Hangar Hobbies built the models that were used for the special effects in the movie “Top Gun” — For me, I just love the design of the Tomcat. Something about the shape combined with the variable geometry wing and sheer power of the twin turbines just bleeds awesome. So, when I caught wind of the Freewing F-14 80mm EDF foam jet I was honestly intrigued. I remained on the fence until I had the opportunity to fly the production prototype at the Big Jolt. I subsequently had the opportunity to then take that airplane with me to demo at the AZ jet rally as well. That’s what sealed it for me and so, in a moment of weakness I saw that they showed in stock at MotionRC, and I went for it! At $580, you get quite a bit of airplane (full airframe with ALL electronics, including fans, motors, and ESCs) for the money that’s overall pretty well done.
Truth be told, I don’t normally deal in foam. I very much enjoy building and my preferred mediums are the traditional balsa wood and fiberglass. In fact, back in the early 2000’s, I helped to design and bring to market a twin 70mm EDF laser cut all built up F-14 Tomcat kit (Matt Halton design) for my folks at Jet Hangar Hobbies (pics below). It flew awesome, even with the limited electric tech that existed at that time (the maiden flight was performed with NiMh round cells!) which was right as Continue reading →
I had originally intended for our last article and this one to be a single write-up. However, as I continued to write more and more on the construction, I realized that the article really needed to be split into two. Also, since detailing and the application of raised rivets is extensible to more than just speed brakes, I figured a single article on this process would be good since it is a process that can be applied to aircraft as a whole. As with the last article, I’ve also included a how-to video to help illustrate the process which is at the end of the article.
Let’s Get Things Ready
Last time we built our speed brake assemblies to where we had 4 fully functional speed brakes that could be installed into the airframe. However, detailing the internals is quite a bit simpler with the speed brakes outside of the airframe and broken down into their components. The first item of business was to finish the inside speed brake by adding the sheet metal close out surface on the inside. This was cut from 1/64″ ply and glued onto the basswood stiffeners that create our hinge mentioned previously. Continue reading →