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 →
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 →
During the AMA expo January 2018, it was announced that the show was being moved to the Pomona Fairplex and would also occur in November. Well, needless to say, November arrived before I could blink and it was time to start thinking about the show! This time around, kicking off the new venue, the AMA reached out asking about doing some how-to clinics throughout the weekend. The idea I had was to provide some weathering how-to’s on a couple airplanes through the course of the weekend and then on Sunday afternoon, give those airplanes away. Well, thanks to the AMA and Horizon Hobby, we were able to make that happen and it was a great time. Horizon Hobby donated an E-Flite P-51 and an FMS Yak-130 for me to work on during the weekend which we gave away on Sunday afternoon.
This year, I had a full booth and through the course of the weekend, I was showing weathering techniques on the donated airplanes provided by Horizon Hobby. For one of the clinics, I was able to do a weathering session on the main stage for the purposes of recording video. Below is the end result as well as a few pictures of the finished airplanes. The techniques mentioned in the video kind of run through the gamut of what I like to employ when I’m weathering up an airplane and are applicable to any medium of aircraft foam, glass or otherwise not to mention any size. Additionally, combinationsContinue 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 →
Finishing up our FMS P-51 “Lady Alice” transformation, it’s only fitting to provide a flight review of the model (with info on how I set it up) along with some video! In short the airplane fly’s awesome and looks incredible in the air in her “Lady Alice” coat of colors. If you’re just catching this for the first time, you can catch my previous articles and videos on the whole foam warbird re-finishing process here. Give it a shot, it’s worth the effort!
Aircraft Setup & CG
It took a couple flights to dial in so I thought I’d present what my final control throws and CG location converged to. First off, to clarify the instructions, the recommended CG is 110mm as measured from the leading edge of the wing root (NOT the leading edge of the wing saddle). This ultimately proved Continue reading →
It’s time to finish off our FMS RC P-51 “Lady Alice” Transformation! In this installment we’re doing our paint prep and painting. Last time we covered filling in all of the oversized panel lines, smoothing the airframe out and sealing it all in with multiple coats of polycrylic to provide a protective finish. You can catch that post here; also, you can catch my assembly review and paint stripping methods here. There’s much to cover, so let’s get to it!
Primer, sand, repeat… This seems all too familiar given our filler process, but the first step in preparing this airframe for paint is to lightly sand the polycrylic’d surfaces with some 180 grit sand paper. This is mostly to Continue reading →
Continuing with refinishing our FMS P-51, in this installment we’re smoothing out the entire airframe including filling in all of the oversized panel lines. From there we’re applying our protective coats of polycrylic which will provide our surface in which we can do our paint preparation. If you missed my build review and paint stripping methods, you can catch that here. Let’s get to it!
It’s no secret, the panel lines on these foam warbirds are huge. When I took on this project, I knew that was one of the first things I wanted to rectify. The overall shape looks so good, smoothing out the finish would only make it look that much better. So, enter Continue reading →
Ever since getting to ride in Ken Wagoners’ Lady Alice P-51, I’ve had to have a P-51 in my hangar and it has to be painted up as Lady Alice! Anything I can do to relive that amazing experience…which of course would mostly consist of me pushing the airplane around my garage while making airplane noises! I wouldn’t have it any other way! If you missed my post and video from that day, you can read about it here. Be sure to check the video too as it was a beautiful day for flying!
So, enter the FMS P-51. I had been shopping around for a P-51 for a while and had been eyeing this foamy for some time. A friend of mine is a master when it comes to foam and I’ve always wanted to use his technique on refinishing a foam airframe. So, when the FMS P-51 came up on sale at MotionRC, I bit the bullet and picked one up. Mostly, I liked the size (able to transport easily in one piece), the outline looked good and it had a cool scale 4-blade prop (though, I upgraded to something better and more scale). Also, you get an all inclusive package with servos, motor and ESC. However, it is indeed EPO foam, and though the finish is nice, you get big panel lines and some foam texture; nothing that can’t be remedied through some elbow grease and the right materials. So over the next few weeks, I will be showing the method I’m using to completely refinish a foam warbird while also showing some of the upgrades done as well.