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

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

E-flite’s Legacy Bug…Is it swarm in here?

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

Freewing Me 262 Schwalbe Assembly & Flight Review

Schwalbe there for you!

The Me 262 is an airplane that I have had a fascination with since I was a kid.  To envision the world’s first operational jet fighter and the mark that the airplane made on aviation history certainly made my mind run circles.  That’s not to mention, the look of design was not only appealing but also futuristic for the time that it was made!  There was so much ingenuity occurring during WWII on both sides this airplane was one of many advances which changed and accelerated aviation in ways that I don’t think we’ll ever see again.

So, needless to say, as a fanboy of the Me 262, I had always liked the looks of the Freewing Me 262.  Frankly though, I wasn’t a fan of the original pastel gray paint scheme and having flown one, the power systems worked but left room for improvement.  Well, enter the Freewing Me 262 Version 2 with the correct colors and upgraded power systems and I absolutely couldn’t resist picking one up…and I tell you what it was worth the wait as this V2 is a great looking and absolutely wonderful machine to fly!

 

AIRCRAFT ASSEMBLY NOTES

What truly struck me with this V2 airplane was the paint scheme and pulling the airplane from the box, the paint was beautifully applied and the colors were spot on.  The paint Continue reading

E-Flite F-4 Phantom II Assembly & Flight Review

E-Flite’s Phabulously Phantastic Phlying Phantom…wait, was that excessive? 😉

This week we’re looking at the E-Flite’s F-4 Phantom II.  The F-4 is an unmistakable airplane and E-flite has put together a really nicely engineered kit here that flies great!  Also, it’s another jet with SAFE select, so this adds to the growing number of EDFs with this as an option if that’s something you’re looking for.

The F-4 is an iconic airplane with a colorful history that served for quite a long time with a number of different countries.  It was produced for over 20 years and the last US F-4 drone was only just retired back in 2016.  Though it wasn’t designed as such, the F-4 could technically be considered the first JSF since it was the first jet fighter to serve in all three branches of the military.  It started out with the Navy as the F-4B.  Catching the eye of the Air Force they decided to make a few mods and then started flying the F-4C and then later the F-4E of course.  Well, the funny thing is, the Navy took note of some of the F-4C mods and incorporated those into what became the F-4J and later the F-4S.  Obviously, this is an oversimplification…but the C and J models have a number of similarities.

AIRCRAFT ASSEMBLY NOTES

Pulling the airplane from the box, you are met with a nice smooth airframe with a nice low parts count.  It’s impressive in fact considering the complexity that could be with the F-4 airframe.  As a whole, the is engineered extremely well.  The parts count is low and everything aligns so there’s not guess work on the alignment anywhere, most notably Continue reading