I tell you what, it has been quite the journey getting here! As a project, this Freewing F-14 Tomcat refinish took much longer than I had originally planned based on all of the other distractions that have come through the shop, but I’m so happy with how this model turned out in the end. It did take a few flights to get tuned and I have made a few small modifications in the process since our last installment, but otherwise I’m happy to report that the Tomcat is flying quite well. The F-14 Tomcat has such a great look and presence in the air, you just can’t beat it!
Oh, and I love the looks of the low viz Navy camouflage by the way, especially with the Flir Cat nose art. The low viz gray is not the greatest color against a blue sky, but a dirtied up Tomcat flying around just presents so authentically! I may have to consider this or a similar paint scheme when it comes time to build my 1/10 scale DCU F-14. All in due time of course… 🙂
Well, in wrapping up this series, I thought I’d touch on some of the final F-14 modifications I made in finishing the airframe up, talk through the programming in more detail since I’ve had a number of questions about that, and then talk through how she flies in her refinished state.
SOME FINISHING TOUCHES
One thing I was never fully happy with upon finishing the F-14 in our last installment was the look of the nose gear. While it was perfectly functional and didn’t look bad, it lacked the scale look I wanted. Well, Continue reading →
If the E-flite Viper 70mm EDF is great, then the E-flite Viper 90mm EDF is even greater-er!
The Viper Jet as a design is about as a perfectly proportioned jet for a model as one can get. It flies well on the wing giving it a really wide speed envelope while also having a nicely sized empennage that helps keep it stable and responsive on the controls. So, it’s no surprise that it’s been a popular subject within the jet community for a while as they are great flying models and the E-flite Viper 90mm EDF is no exception! I can only imagine how nicely the full scale Viper Jet flies!
The E-flite Viper 90mm EDF stems from the lineage of the E-flite Viper 70mm EDF which has been my go to recommendation as a first jet since first flying it a few years ago. The primary differences are of course size, but also some additional accoutrements in the form of lights, shock absorbing landing gear, gear doors, and full Smart telemetry. In terms of performance, they both offer a similar flight envelope while the 90mm flies bigger and heavier having overall more speed and vertical performance.
AIRCRAFT ASSEMBLY NOTES
The E-Flite Viper 90mm is a good sized model that comes well packed and assembles quickly. Assembly begins with installation of the horizontal tail which is held in place by two screws. From there, the wings slide into place over two carbonContinue 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 →
When one thinks of the late generation Russian fighters, the SU-27 is at the top of many lists. However, for me, the MiG-29 is the one that has fascinated me more. I think because it was a relatively new fighter in Russian service when I was a kid which created a certain ere of mystery surrounding it. Plus, as a design, it has a nice look that I’ve also kind of liked.
So, seeing the new Freewing MiG-29 come to market in its ever so unique Slovak digital camouflage trim scheme, I was very intrigued. Given the large size and the scale features, it looked like an extremely nice airplane and I’m happy to report it lives up the expectations! The airplane looks and flies great and has a great scale presence in the air that’s so distinctive.
AIRCRAFT ASSEMBLY NOTES
Not surprisingly, the Freewing MiG-29 came in quite a large box which was packed well and efficiently. Unboxing the model, you truly start to get a sense of the size as well as the quality of the finish (it’s quite smooth). Everything is broken down into the major components, so assembly was quick and painless. Note that for receiver, I’m using a Spektrum AR8010T 8 channel receiver.
The assembly of the MiG-29 starts with gluing the separate nose piece in place along with the 4 plastic clips along the seam. I used foam tac to do that which worked great. There is also a forward wood plate that gets screwed into place that provides a Continue reading →
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 engagesContinue reading →
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 takingContinue reading →
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 →
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! 😉