E-flite F-18 Blue Angels 80mm EDF Assembly & Flight Review

Blue Angels FTW!

One of my favorite jets from last year was the E-flite F-18 Hornet.  The way that airplane flies I just fell in love with (that’s not to mention the gorgeously scale landing gear 😉 ).  At the time, I even considered repainting it into a Blue Angel color scheme, so you can imagine my excitement when I found out about the E-flite F-18 Blue Angels!

Please note that I did a full review of the original E-flite F-18 Hornet offering last year.  We will cover some of the same items here that we did in the previous review, but this being a Blue Angels, I did some small modifications here that are worth talking through.  Those include some paint work on the exhaust nozzles along with the removal of any weapons on the airframe.  It’s a Blue Angel which means, she should be as slick as possible!

AIRCRAFT ASSEMBLY NOTES

This incarnation of the E-flite F-18 features the same components and assembly as its previous counterpart.  It’s a very easy assembly starting with the installation of the vertical tails followed by the horizontal tails and finished up with the installation of the wings.  The kit features a selection of tail numbers (I chose #7 of course!) and so I cut a couple blue pieces from the spares to cover up any screw holes along the airframe.  All together, the airplane looks fantastic and I love the Blue Angels colors personally.  Oh, and I would be remiss not to mention my favorite feature of the scale landing gear, they’re sick!

One thing to note regarding the horizontal tail installation, the control horn in the stabilizer engages Continue reading

E-flite Sukhoi SU-30 twin 70mm EDF Assembly & Flight Review

The Iconic SU-30…It’s a Flanker-C, see?!

When talking about modern Russian fighter jets, the Sukhoi SU-27 Flanker family of aircraft are truly unmistakable.  Designed as an air superiority multi-role fighter, it is an extremely capable jet with extremely impressive maneuverability (especially when paired with multi-axis thrust vectoring).  The SU-30 represents a powerful evolution within the Flanker family adding further capability into the design including the addition of a second crew member for multi-mission capability, upgraded avionics and additional operational endurance and range.

So, after seeing the E-flite SU-30 twin 70mm EDF  at the last AMA West trade show, it was only a matter of time before one would enter the hangar as it was undoubtedly a sweet ride!  The SU-30 kit itself is one of the nicest EDF foam jets that I have seen to date being of a great size and featuring robust scale landing gear, a scale speed brake and a finish that could make most modelers drool.  Flying the airplane further confirmed just how nice this airplane truly is as it looks incredible in the air and flies extremely well.

 

AIRCRAFT ASSEMBLY NOTES

Immediately upon arrival, you start to get a sense of the size of E-flite SU-30 and it’s packaged in quite a large box.  The model is broken down into all of the major assemblies and so assembly itself is quite simple (the airframe is assembled with only 10 screws!).  Once unpacked, assembly begins with attachment of the vertical tails followed by the horizontal tail pivot rods and tails.  From there the wings are installed followed by the ventral fins and then it’s on to the radio setup.  In short, assembly was quick and simple!

With the airplane assembled and on its gear, you are struck with the unmistakable Sukhoi shape of the SU-30.  The outline of the model looks great and the paint, fit, and finish is excellent…not to mention that it is a nice large airframe taking Continue reading

Avios Mig-17 Fresco 90mm EDF Assembly & Flight Review

Oh Avios MiG-17, mine kids hath dubbed thee “cow plane.”

Truth be told, I’m normally all about US airplanes generally, especially Navy jets, but if there was one Mig that I could have in my hangar, it would be the Mig-17.  I think it’s the highly swept wing that strikes me most about it in addition to the lengthened fuselage…that’s not to mention afterburner too!  Compared to it’s older brother, the Mig-15, the Mig-17 just has such nicer lines in my mind.  So, after seeing the Hobbyking Avios Mig-17, it was all I could do keep from ordering one!  Hobbyking has been putting out some nice airframes and I will say up front that the Avios Mig-17 is a nice sized, well finished airplane that is an extremely forgiving flyer.  There were however, some frustrations in the assembly process resulting in some rework that was required to get the airplane to where it needed to be.  Bottom line, the airplane could use better servos as they are pretty marginal in my mind and not very precise.

With the NATO reporting name of “Fresco,”  the Mig-17 found itself in use amongst numerous countries around the world and was especially prevalent during the Vietnam War.  There was in fact a secret program code named “HAVE DRILL” that took place in the late 60’s where a captured Mig-17 was tested at Groom Lake to characterize the performance and combat capability against various US aircraft.  Interestingly enough, in close air combat, the Mig-17 proved more maneuverable and dominant to the US fighters.  However, the more powerful US fighters such as the F-4 Phantom could out accelerate the Mig-17, so as a result, the engagement tactics were revised to keep the Migs at a distance vs fully engaging at close range.  This kept the US fighters out of the range of the Migs guns, while keeping it in range of the US guided missiles and having an acceleration advantage, the F-4 could be out of range of the guns in about 30 seconds.  In the case of the A-4, A-6, and A-7, they were given a do not engage order against the Mig-17.  A very interesting result considering that the Mig-17 was considered mostly out dated by that time!

 

AIRCRAFT ASSEMBLY NOTES

The Avios Mig-17 was nicely packaged and pulling the airplane from the box, you are greeted with the nice lines of the Mig-17.  Parts count is low and the finish is smooth with the paint applied well.  There are definitely some nice features like 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

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

2019 US Scale Masters National Championships

Another Jet Hangar Hobbies Scale Masters Champion! I can’t even believe it! 🙂

Scale competition has been a big part of what I enjoy in this hobby.  There’s just something about building and flying a model that you’ve created with so much effort to try and simulate and/or replicate a full scale aircraft.  For me, it’s so much about flying an airplane that I never in my wildest dreams will have the chance to fly in full scale.  That said, competition scale modelling hasn’t been a large focus for me the last couple years.   Filming and writing these reviews and tutorials takes quite a bit of time, and I’ve been having a good time flying a number of different models in the process.  However, when the Scale Masters Championships came back to California again this year (October 17-20, 2019), being hosted by the Clovis RC club, I got the bug and I knew that I wanted to give it another go.  I could only hope to replicate the magic of my 2016 win with my Jet Hangar Mirage IIIRS.  Truth be told, following 2016, I was inspired to get my big Mark Frankel Skyray built for the next championships.  Well, strangely enough, you actually have to work on a model to get it done!  Who knew?!  Not to mention Elf labor has gotten so expensive in California these days.  So, in the absence of a big Skyray, I wanted to give the championships a try with my Jet Hangar Hobbies A-7 Corsair II and I can’t even believe that I would be reporting a second time that I came out of the event as the “Grand National Champion” finishing 1st place in Expert for 2019!

40 YEARS OF COMPETITION

Organized by the U.S. Scale Masters Association, 2019 marked the 40th annual Championships event.  Though the hobby has evolved, the technology has improved and new classes have been added to the competition mix, the goal of the Scale Masters has never changed which has been to highlight the best in RC scale modeling.  And those 40 years have seen so many of the best scale modelers compete from the US and around the world.  In fact, my dad competed in the very first Scale Masters Continue reading