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 →
The aerobatic cargo plane has been kind of a thing lately and upon seeing the E-flite EC-1500 twin 1.5m Cargo, it most definitely looked like a fun airplane. Being fully aerobatic with reconfigurable ailerons and flaps to suit the desired performance and aircraft response along with an operational cargo door, there was no question I would have fun with one in the hangar! And, I KNEW that I had to drop something…the only question was what would it be?! 😉
Though the model isn’t painted in a scale paint scheme out of the box, the model itself is actually inspired by the C-27 Spartan which has served in the US military and Coast Guard as well as many other forces around the world. Truth be told, I wasn’t too aware of the C-27 Spartan as an aircraft, but I quickly learned through watching videos of the full scale online that it was an impressive beast. It’s is the only cargo aircraft I’ve actually seen execute a legitimate knife edge and it’s pretty awesome to behold! So, as it turns out, those epic knife edge passes with this airplane are indeed scale! 😉 Oh, and you’ve probably noticed the C-27 Spartan livery on the model…I couldn’t handle it, I had to make it a true C-27 and I love it!
AIRCRAFT ASSEMBLY NOTES
The EC-1500 assembly was a very simple process as the parts count is very low being broken down into only the large components. The vertical tail is attached first and is held in place by two screws. From there, the horizontal tails slide into place over a carbon tube spar and snap into place. I found the snap lock on the tails a really unique features as I’d not seen this before on previous models. Also, there is an elevator torque rod with plastic paddles which slip into each base of the elevators resulting in a hidden elevator pushrod setup. Next, the wings are placed onto the fuselage over the main wing spar and held in place via four nylon bolts. The wing features hard mounted connectors, so no need to keep track of servo connectors or wires at all. Lastly, to wrap it all up, the props are placed on each of the motors.
With the airplane together and on the bench, it’s a pretty cool model to behold. It’s a good size and the cargo bay door is awesome! I can’t sayContinue 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 →
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 →
At the point I had finished the assembly of the VQ Warbirds Beechcraft Bonanza Vtail we were still on Coronavirus quarantine here in SoCal and all of our flying sites were closed. Well, when our fields opened up again I could not wait to get the airplane in the air! So, the first day out I brought her along and promptly logged 6 flights on the airplane. It took a few flights to get dialed in, and once tuned, I fell in love with the flight characteristics. It has great power and speed and looks awesome in the air with that characteristic vtail.
WHAT’S IN THE AIRPLANE
To recap from our Assembly review, the VQ Warbirds Bonanza Vtail is a nicely sized ARF of all wood construction coming in at a 62″ wingspan. At final ready to fly weight of 9.75lb the airplane flies beautifully and has a really wide flight envelope. The power from the E-flite Power 52 and Master Airscrew prop is awesome as the airplane is quick and maneuvers extremely well (and is happy performing any sort of non-scale high performance aerobatics). Here are the final specs and equipment that are in the airplane:
As mentioned at the beginning of the article, it took a few flights to get the Bonanza Vtail dialed in. Most notably, the airplane wanted to carry down elevator for trim and also would climb at full throttle. I adjusted the CG and thrust line to try and mitigate those characteristics and ultimately they didn’t make significant enough differences to continue exploring (i.e. a much larger thrust line change would be required than I cared to explore as it would require realigning and remounting the cowl). Ultimately, I moved the CG a bit further forward than the recommendation (stock location definitely felt tail heavy) and then addedContinue 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 →