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 P-51D Mustang 1.5m with Smart Technology Assembly & Flight Review

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.

So, when the opportunity came up to experience E-flite’s new P-51D Mustang 1.5m with Smart technology I was elated!  Having another good sized mustang in my hangar since my Lady Alice has been long overdue I think.  Plus, being packed full of scale features along with Spektrum RC’s Smart technology (new offering for a BnF), I was eager to see what it was all about.

 

AIRCRAFT ASSEMBLY NOTES

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 and Continue reading

E-flite Spitfire MkXIV Assembly & Flight Review

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

Warbirds & Classics RC Airshow 2019

Tale of the Brand New RUNWAY!

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

E-Flite VTOL V-22 Osprey Flight Review

Yes, I love technology…always and forever…

In this article, we’ve got something a little bit different we’re talking about, the new E-Flite V-22 Osprey! With the advent of the quadcopter technology and the miniaturization of it all, it really opens up some great opportunities for a model like this and it’s pretty awesome!  A tilt rotor is an extremely difficult challenge to overcome in full scale so imagine what it would take to truly scale that down in miniature.  Well, E-flite has leveraged their vast experience in VTOL aircraft and really put something together that is simple and effective right out of the box…not to mention just looks incredibly cool in the air!

The full scale V-22 is a pretty amazing aircraft that really is an incredible technological achievement to come into full scale production.  The V-22 did have a few teething problems during development but the aircraft is common place now and I see them flying quite regularly around town since they operate out of Miramar.  I can tell you, it’s a unique looking and sounding aircraft to see in the air.

 

WHAT’S IN THE BOX?

This is the Bind N Fly version, so in terms of what you get in the box, it’s the aircraft ready to go with the included accessories.  All you need is a Spektrum transmitter and a 3s flight battery to get it flight ready.  The Osprey is firmly packaged in the box and you’re Continue reading

Force RC P-51 Mustang Assembly & Flight Review

Oh, Sonny Boy, the sky, the sky is calling…

The P-51 truly is unmistakable in it’s design and, needless to say, is quite popular in the RC warbird circles.  Well, this week, we’re featuring the Force RC P-51 Mustang available from Horizon Hobby.  This is a kit that’s been available for some time and at 1100 mm wingspan, is just a cute little model.  The airplane carries the moniker of “Sonny Boy” with green and yellow checkboards on the nose which is pretty unique and different compared to the typical red and yellow checkers you see represented.

Doing a little research, I found that the full sized “Sonny Boy” was actually flown by Lt. Ted E. Hoffman as a part of the 343rd Fighter Squadron, 55th Fighter Group during World War II from 1944-1945.  Lt Hoffman scored four air victories in the airplane in fact, though they’re not actually represented on the model.  Even so, I found it a great tribute to a notable airplane and pilot from WWII!

 

AIRCRAFT ASSEMBLY NOTES

Tearing into the kit, there’s primarily just 4 main pieces in assembling the airplane.  The first item is to get the receiver installed into the fuselage and start connecting all of the servos to it.  I wanted to try out one of the new antenna-less spektrum receivers, so picked up an AR620 which fit about perfectly into the cutout in the fuselage and worked fantastically!  Continue reading

From the Bench – Quick and Simple Foam Warbird Painting

To Paint or not to Paint…

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

E-flite 1.5m AT-6 Texan Assembly & Flight Review

North American’s Pilot Maker, E-Flite Edition!

The AT-6 Texan is such a classic looking airplane and it’s one that I’ve always had a soft spot for.  You regularly see them at airshows and the airplane sound is unmistakable as it maneuvers since the propeller quite literally beats the air into submission as it flies.  So, I was excited to see the E-flite AT-6 Texan come online as it looked to be one of the nicest and scale looking Texans out  there in recent memory.  So, I was excited for the chance the review the airplane!  In short, this is a great flying airplane that I’ve really fallen in love with I have to say.

In the process of this review, I liked the airplane so much, I decided to do a quick repaint on the airframe into something a little more colorful.  We will touch on that here somewhat, but I will be posting a separate video and article on that process soon.

 

AIRCRAFT ASSEMBLY

E-Flite AT-6 comes in a large long box and I found was nicely pacakaged.  The wing is a single piece in there which is really nice and the reason for the long box.  It’s almost comedic comparing how short the fuselage is compared to the wingspan.  Based on the single piece wing, what you end up with then is an extremely simplified assembly that basically requires attaching the stabilizers with a couple screws and then attaching the wing.  That is about the extent of the Continue reading