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 →
There’s something about the less traditional aircraft designs that really draw me in. Most notably they are the v-tail and the delta wing/tailless aircraft. Maybe it has to do with the less conventional nature, I’m not really sure, but when I saw the VQ Warbirds Beechcraft Bonanza Vtail, I was pretty excited about the model. The bonanza is an icon in the private aircraft world and one of the few production aircraft I’m aware of that features a vtail into its design, especially in the private aircraft industry.
Though, commercial and private aircraft aren’t typically in my wheelhouse (I love my military aircraft!), the Bonanza Vtail is one that I do really like the looks of. The Vtail gives an unconventional look to an otherwise conventional airplane and the proportions of the wing and the long tail moment really should make for a really good flying model. Add to that the really nice covering and look of the VQ Warbirds Bonanza Vtail model, it was not a hard sell to get this one in my hangar.
WHAT’S IN THE BOX
This is the second VQ Warbirds airplane I’ve had the pleasure to assemble (first was the B-24 Liberator) and in each case, I have been thoroughly impressed with the quality of the build of the airframes. Pulling this airplane from the box, I was reminded of this as the airplane was a beautifully built and finished representation of the Bonanza. The parts count is generally low, but there is quite a bit of hardware included for pushrods, etc. One of the nice things that became readily apparent was that all of the control surfaces were pre-glued at the factory, so that alleviated one extra step in the assembly process which was nice!
In addition to the airframe, I picked up my power system and servos of course which are listed and linked below. I love keeping the looks of a scale model intactContinue reading →
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! 😉