The P-39 Airacobra is one of those well-proportioned and unique warbirds that, for whatever reason, you really don’t see very often at the field. With the mid fuselage engine placement and long prop shaft design of the full size aircraft, the result is a nicely streamlined airplane. So, I was excited to see E-flite announce their P-39 Airacobra 1.2m as it’s a great platform for a fantastic flying model and provides something you don’t otherwise see very often. Plus, if you crash the airplane like we did…then hey, you get to refinish it and make it look even better! 😉
As a WWII fighter, over 9,500 Airacobras were built during its production from 1940-1944 marking it as one of the most successful aircraft built by Bell Aircraft. The unique engine configuration allowed for the integration of a 37mm cannon in the nose which shot through the center of the spinner and needless to say packed quite the punch. Though requisitioned by the US Army Air Force and operated by numerous countries, the airplane found its greatest success and use in the Soviet Red Air Force during WWII as its performance and armament suited their needs well. In fact, five of the top ten highest scoring Soviet aces logged the majority of their victories in the P-39 Airacobra.
AIRCRAFT ASSEMBLY NOTES
I was excited for the E-flite P-39 Airacobra 1.2m as I really liked the looks of the airplane. It arrived well packed and was an extremely simple assembly having only the major components to put together. It starts with placing the tails and then bolting the one piece wing onto the fuselage. I did find that the wing bolts were a little stiff to screw in in some cases, so be sure to check that the wing is fully seated and secure before flying. Also, the kit includes a centerline tank which adds a little schmaltz giving it a neat look. Note that the airplane does have hard mounted connectors in the wing, so be sure to double check through the hatch area that the are all fully seated well.
With the airplane assembled and on the bench, it really looks great and representsContinue reading →
To close the loop on the on the VQ Warbirds B-24 Liberator, this week we’re going in depth on the radio setup, CG and flying of this beautiful scale model! This is such an impressive airplane and it truly does not disappoint in the air. This is one that I’ve thoroughly enjoyed having it in my hangar and I’m looking forward to bringing it out to some events later this year.
Interestingly, when mentioning heavy bomber aircraft of World War II, undoubtedly, the first bomber that comes to many peoples’ minds is the Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress. However, few realize that the Consolidated B-24 Liberator was built in greater numbers than any other US bomber of WWII. Given the B-24’s distinctive twin rudder design and high aspect ratio “Davis” wing, the 4-engine heavy bomber provides an unmistakable shape. The airplane was designed for a purpose and it served that purpose well throughout the war with over 18,500 total B-24s from 1940-1945. The B-24 served in every branch of the American Armed Forces during the war and in fact, offered greater range, greater speed, and greater bomb load capacity than the B-17.
WHAT’S IN THE AIRPLANE
To recap from the assembly review, this B-24 Liberator is a great sized ARF of all wood construction coming in at a 110″ wingspan. At final ready to fly weight of 26.5 lb the airplane doesn’t even notice it at all in the air. From day 1, this airplane flew straight as an arrow requiring only just a couple clicks of aileron trim on the maiden. The power from the 4 Himax motors and Master Airscrew props feels absolutely perfect for the airplane as it has plenty of thrust at full throttle, but still cruises around at partial throttle easily and efficiently. Here are the final specs and equipment that were used in the airplane:
MARKINGS – 834th Bombardment Squadron “Scorpio” (custom markings from Callie-Graphics)
AIRCRAFT SETUP & CG
In flying this airplane, I found that the recommended CG and control throws in the manual were spot on for the model and I found no reason to adjust any of them. The airplane does have a big high aspect ratio wing and you do visually see the resultingContinue reading →
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 →
I had really hoped to get this together much sooner, but life sure had other plans I think. Anyhow, I thought it would be worthwhile to provide all of the supplemental information specific to the assembly of the VQ Warbirds B-24 Liberator especially since the Model Airplane News review article that this was assembled for has now come and gone. Disclaimer up front, this is a pretty extensive assembly write-up, but I figured it best to put it all in one place for anyone who finds this article. The goal is to provide all the information you need to get this great looking and flying airplane in the air with as much ease as possible.
Now, as ARFs go, this B-24 Liberator definitely takes some work but you are rewarded with a beautiful looking and flying warbird that’s a great size at 110″ wingspan. As a whole, the assembly was fun and the model went together quite well. It’s a 4 engine bomber, so the joy is getting to install anything propulsion related 4 times! Oh, and if you’d like a sneak peak at the flying, then here’s my initial thoughts video that I did prior to the release of the MAN article. 🙂 I’ll be doing a separate flight review article and video here soon once our fields are open again.
The airplane comes as a blank canvas without any kind of markings applied which provides some great opportunities for customization. Trying to find something out of the ordinary, I came across the B-24s from the 834th Bombardment Squadron, also known as the “Zodiacs Squadron.” The one that really drew my attention dawned the nose art of “Scorpio” having a caricature of a scorpion with an aviator helmet holding a bomb with a gun turret on its tail. CPL Phil Brinkman, a commercial artist assigned to the squadron, painted the nose art for each of the aircraft which were themed by the 12 signs of the zodiac. Interestingly, the “Scorpio” nose art was later adopted as the squadron logo.
I should note before we get started that if you’ve never assembled an ARF before, they are a great way to start out in getting an understanding of radio and propulsion systemContinue reading →
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’s Newest Warbird, the P-51D Mustang…and it’s extra Smart!
Ever since taking a ride in Dr Ken Wagner’s ‘Lady Alice’ P-51D Mustang, I’ve been a fan of the of the airplane. Experiencing the airplane first hand in flat is something I will never forget! As an aircraft design, the P-51D Mustang is timeless, it truly is. Being a workhorse in the air war over Europe in WWII, it has cemented itself as arguably one of the greatest fighters of all time. Interestingly, it was one of the first production aircraft to take advantage of laminar flow technology in the wing airfoil design to realize a greater drag reduction in flight. This was quite revolutionary as laminar wing design wasn’t well understood at the time.
Pulling the airframe from the box, you are met with a nice large airframe that has been broken down into only just a few large components. The result is a quick and easy assembly. Assembly starts with the horizontal tail which is a single piece that slips through a slot in the fuselage and then is held in place by three screws. From there, the wing is installed which comes as 3 pieces. The wing center section is held in place with 4 screws and the outer wing panels are split at the flap/aileron intersection andContinue reading →
E-flite’s MkXIV Spitfire, a Timeless Design that Flies Great!
Though the E-Flite Spitfire MkXIV has been out for a few years now, it’s one of those designs that stands the test of time. If I remember correctly, this was one of the earlier 1.2m airplanes to be released from E-flite and there’s a reason why it’s still offered. This comes through E-flite providing a great looking and quality built airframe with great flight characteristics packaged with a versatile power system that provides you with options!
The Griffon-Powered Spitfires such as the MkXIV were never produced in great numbers, especially compared to the Merlin powered variants, but the engine upgrade provided a significant performance increase for the Spitfire airframe. Increased vertical tail area and also a slightly more streamlined forward fuselage were necessary to suit the engine. Based on the MkXIV’s performance, it was in fact the most effective Spitfire against intercepting V1 buzz bombs during the war.
AIRCRAFT ASSEMBLY NOTES
The E-Flite Spitfire is a really simple airframe to assemble. It’s mostly just a matter of installing the tails and wings and then setting up the radio. I think the most difficult part assembly was routing and connecting the wires from the wing into the fuselage. I had a Continue reading →
I have always loved going to the Scale Squadron’s Warbirds & Classics event. Hosted at the OCMA field, it’s such a good time flying at a really picturesque location to fly. I was on vacation for last year’s event and wasn’t able to make it, so I was excited to get back out there again this year. The big news was that a newly paved runway had been installed just in time for the event! Fresh pavement and fresh paint, it was a glorious site to behold. There had also been some recent rains which meant that the surrounding greenery was actually green! (as opposed to the typical SoCal brown that we get…)
Through the weekend, the weather couldn’t have been much better with cool overcast mornings followed by warm and slightly breezy sunny afternoons. As a result there was endless flying from sun up to sun down for those in attendance. It truly doesn’t get much better than that and the new runway was just the icing on the cake! In terms of Continue reading →