When I think of the axis aircraft from WWII, Kurt Tank’s FW-190 designs are the first that always come to mind. The iconic airplane was the backbone of the Luftwaffe (alongside the Bf-109) and the number of variants that existed really spawn the imagination of what was and what might have been. Performance with the twin row BMW radial engine powered FW-190A tended to suffer at higher altitudes, so follow-on variants featuring a longer nose housing a turbosupercharged V12 filled that gap and are the designs that I personally find especially intriguing.
So, seeing E-flite’s FW-190A 1.5m announcement, I was very excited to see the model come to market as the shape combined with beautiful scale landing gear looked to be spot on! That’s not to mention that the 1.5m wingspan really makes for a good sized, yet still manageable for transport kind of model. Though the paint scheme out of the box is representative of the replica operated by the Planes of Fame museum in Chino, CA, it’s ripe for a repaint as I can imagine what it would look like with a wartime scheme all dirtied up like a warfighter!
AIRCRAFT ASSEMBLY NOTES
The E-flite FW-190A 1.5m is a nice large airframe that is been broken down into only just a few large components which means that assembly is quick and easy. Assembly starts with the horizontal tail which is a left and a right piece that slips over a carbon spar and each are held in place with a machine screw each underneath. The wing center section is held inContinue reading →
Droppin’ off a load and watching it explode…in my Spad…
Well, we’ve talked through the assembly and painting and weathering, at last, it’s time to talk through flying the Legend Hobby A-1 Skyraider. You’ve probably figured out by now that I love how this beast flies! It has incredible presence and with the new paint and bomb drops, it presents much like the real thing in the air. It has been extremely fun and frankly I would fly the airplane every weekend if I could and I can’t wait to get it out to some events (if they happen this year).
A LITTLE HISTORY
The A-1 Skyraider was first conceived in June 1944 to meet a US Navy request for a new carrier-based, single-seat, long-range, high performance dive/torpedo bomber. Designed around the Wright R-3350 Duplex-Cyclone engine used in the B-29 Superfortress, the result was one of the world’s largest and most powerful single-engine/single-seat combat aircraft capable of carrying weapon loads greater than that of the Boeing B-17. Coming too late for WWII, the Skyraider served from the late 1940s into the early 1980’s worldwide proving instrumental in both the Korean and Vietnam conflicts. Being among the first aircraft to perform strikes in North Vietnam in 1964, Skyraiders proved essential in close-support missions over South Vietnam due to their long loiter times, large bomb load capability and ability to perform accurate strikes when needed. Being a piston driven attack aircraft in the jet age, the A-1 Skyraider became a flying anachronism and was affectionately nicknamed the “Spad” after the WWI French biplane.
I knew at the moment I received the Legend Hobby A-1 Skyraider 86″, that it needed the full treatment. It’s such an impressive looking and good flying model and there’s just something about the A-1 Skyraider that I love. That’s not to mention that the model is actually a fairly scale representation of the airplane as well! So, in my research of the A-1 Skyraider and collecting of books and plastic kits, I came across a specific scheme I liked and so it was off to the races to repaint and weather the airplane!
During the Vietnam conflict, the A-1 Skyraider proved essential in close-support missions over South Vietnam due to their long loiter times, large bomb load capability and ability to perform accurate strikes when needed. For the repaint, the scheme chosen was George J. Marrett’s personal aircraft in Vietnam from 1968-1969 which carried the moniker of “Sock it to Em,” a tag line from the 1960’s comedy show “Laugh-In.” The aircraft operated with the 602nd Special Operations Squadron (SOS) from Nakhon Phanom Royal Thai Air Force Base and George completed 188 missions with over 600 combat hours in the aircraft. He even wrote about the aircraft and his missions in his book “Cheating Death.”
ABOUT THE MODEL
One quick note about the model itself if you’ve not seen my Assembly Review. This particular model started as a Legend Hobby Southeast Asia camouflage A-1 Skyraider ARF and was dressed in the kit supplied markings for the initial flights. Though the colors are good for an ARF, they weren’t correct to the Federal Standard colors of the full size. So, being the scale perfectionist that I am, I had to do a full paint work up on it! It’s important to note that what makes a repaint like this possible on this mylar covered ARF is that the airframe comes from the factory with a flat clear coat sprayed over the glossy mylar/monokote. As a result, it takes paint exceptionally well with very minimal prep work. Without that clear coat, considerable prep would be required to ensure paint adhesion on the covering material.
Cruisin’ into town and looking all around…in my Spad…
Having grown up in the hobby, there are certain models that I recall seeing as a kid that have inspired a fascination for that aircraft well into adulthood. One such aircraft for me is the A-1 Skyraider. Having seen two immaculate representations with folding wings at the US Scale Masters in the late 80s/early 90s (built by Diego Lopez & Gene Barton), it started a long fascination with the Skyraider for me. There was something about the airplane that I just liked and having since seen the full scale Skyraider fly, they are an impressive beast! Being a piston driven attack aircraft in the jet age, the Skyraider was a flying anachronism and was affectionately nicknamed the “Spad” after the WWI French biplane.
So, needless to say I was very excited to see the Legend Hobby A-1 Skyraider came to market! At 1/7 scale sporting an 86” wingspan, it offers a very nice sized ARF with an accurate scale outline. It also includes some really nice details through a fully detailed cockpit and an assortment of external tanks and rockets. A Skyraider isn’t a Skyraider without external stores afterall! Additionally, each of the three external tanks pylons come setup to accept E-flite payload releases which means the external tanks can be made droppable very simply. So, with a little 3D printing the sky’s the limit as to what this model can and will carry! More on that to come as for this article, we’re talking through the assembly of the model. I have a full repaint planned which we’ll talk through next where I’ll touch on the stores mods I made and then we’ll finish it up with a full flight review…but, spoiler alert, this model flies incredible! (see my first flights video at the bottom of this article)
ABOUT THE MODEL
The Legend Hobby Skyraider kit comes available in multiple color schemes (US Navy Gray/White, US Navy Blue, AF Camo) without any markings applied or as an ARC. Of course, markings are included, but coming as a blank canvas, this also allows for full customization and there are so many great color schemes for the Skyraider to choose from! This particular model is the Southeast Asia camouflage ARF and was dressed in the kit supplied markings for the initial flights. Having a very unique and characteristic shark mouth, the model represents Skyraider BuNo 137628 which was assigned to the 22nd Special Operations Squadron (SOS), 56th Special Operations Wing (SOW) that flew from Operating Location Alpha-Alpha (OL-AA) at Da Nang, South Vietnam.
The Ta 152H, Kurt Tank’s high-altitude fighter-interceptor!
The Ta 152H as a design is an extremely unique looking aircraft and is one that I have always been fascinated with. So, when I saw the FlightLineRC Ta152H 1300mm, I was excited to see it! So, I finally picked one up late last year for a rainy day and the model really captures the unique lines of the airplane well with accurate colors and paint in a really nice flying airframe.
Of the German Focke-Wulf designs from WWII, I have always liked the looks of the long nose 190s, especially the D9. There were so many evolutions of the design including the very capable high altitude Ta 152H, which featured a lengthened fuselage and rudder, high aspect ratio wing and pressurized cockpit. Being one of the fastest propeller driven aircraft of the war and capable of intercepting the high altitude B-29 bomber, it ultimately came too late to make an appreciable impact as only about 25 or so were built.
AIRCRAFT ASSEMBLY NOTES
The FlightLineRC Ta 152H was well packed and assembled quite simply only requiring just a few steps and a few fasteners. The long wing comes in two pieces, which is glued together first over the wing spar. Once joined, the plastic mounting joiners were glued as well and the wing was then mounted to the fuselage. From there the tails were installed and fastened into place and those were the primary assembly steps. The kit does include a number of detail parts which are a nice touch and include the wing pitot tube and guns along with the lower wing antenna and fuselage foot step.
With the airplane assembled, it really looks fantastic and characterizes the shape of the Ta 152H beautifully. The finish is quite smooth and the stock paint work isContinue reading →
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 →