E-Flite P-39 Airacobra 1.2m Assembly & Flight Review

Airacobra Kai Never Dies!

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 represents Continue reading

From the Bench — Warbird Weathering Techniques with the E-flite P-39 Airacobra

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 the Continue reading

E-flite A-10 Thunderbolt II Twin 64mm EDF Assembly & Flight Review

Brrrrrrrt!  …oh, excuse me…

The A-10 Thunderbolt II is one of those uniquely identifiable aircraft; it truly is unmistakable.  It was built for a purpose and it has served that purpose exceptionally well for decades.  Though not as prevalent now as they once were, the airplane is still due to remain in USAF service for at least a few more years it appears.  Interestingly, the aircraft retirement has been announced and subsequently postponed multiple times as there just isn’t a direct replacement for the airplane that’s currently in service.  A testament to just how good and effective the airplane is at what it does in the ground attack support role.

So, seeing the new E-flite A-10 Thunderbolt II twin 64mm EDF and the features it includes, I was excited at the opportunity to try out the airplane.  The airplane is a great transportable size, but still features retracts and oleos as well as a full complement of external stores which I was really happy to see.  After flying the airplane I was blown away as the airplane had incredible performance with a wide speed envelope feeling much bigger in the air than it was.  It was extremely fun!

 

AIRCRAFT ASSEMBLY NOTES

Assembly of the “Hog” is an easy prospect as the airplane is broken down into the major tail and wing sub-assemblies.  The process begins with gluing the horizontal tail in place followed by the vertical tails all using medium CA.  It’s important to test fit these parts first the ensure the servo wires are cleared away so the tails fully seat in place.  Also, there are Continue reading

E-flite F-15 Eagle 64mm EDF Assembly & Flight Review

E-flite’s 64mm “SAFE” Aggressor with so much more Eagle!

The F-15 Eagle has been the example of “air superiority” for decades.  Having first flown in 1972, the airplane even now is still an incredible machine with extreme capability that is still in production (due to end in 2022).  Interestingly enough, the F-15 in model form is one of the most forgiving jets out there.  Many an RC jet pilot have cut their teeth on various sized and powered F-15s throughout the last couple decades.  So, it makes sense that E-flite would introduce an F-15 Eagle to their growing 64mm size EDF range featuring SAFE.  The airplane features fixed gear even for pavement operations, but is easy enough to chuck around without the gear when desired.

 

AIRCRAFT ASSEMBLY NOTES

The E-flite F-15 Eagle is packed neatly and compactly in the box and is very simple to assemble.  It starts with the wings being fastened in place, the optional fixed gear installed (if desired) and is finished up with the horizontal and vertical tails being glued on and the pushrods connected.  The removable fixed gear are a nice to have since I fly mostly from pavement, I can avoid scraping up the airplane (and hand launching all together since I’m terrible at it).

The airplane all together on the bench really looks good in the 65th Aggressor Squadron splinter camouflage paint scheme (Blue Splinter FTW!).  The paint Continue reading

UMX Adventures – E-flite UMX Turbo Timber Flight Review

Fly it like you STOL it, micro bush planes FTW!

I had this E-flite UMX Turbo Timber arrive last week and I was really excited to give it a go.  It’s been a while since I had played with a UMX airframe and I’m always so impressed with how well they fly.  In the case of this Turbo Timber, it has some additional features I’d not actually seen in a UMX thus far, most notably the airframe features full navigation lights.  Also, being noted as a STOL airplane (similar to the UMX Timber), it features some nice big “Chuck Norris tires” for those unimproved field operations which do the job of impaling the landing area into submission quite well.

The design itself is an evolution of the UMX Timber, but features an updated turbo-prop look as well as a higher power 3400kv motor paired with a 3-blade propeller.  The result is a bit better vertical performance if that’s something you’re looking for.  For me, it’s a fun STOL aircraft to take on the road for those backyard flying adventures!  Plus, with the included flaps and slats, the airplane slows down to a crawl which is quite fun.

 

WHAT’S IN THE BOX?

The beauty of these UMX airframes is that they come out of the box 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 F-18 Hornet 80mm EDF Assembly & Flight Review

E-flite’s Legacy Bug…Is it swarm in here?

The F-18 Hornet has been the cornerstone of the Navy fleet for decades, not to mention has been the performance aircraft for the US Navy’s Blue Angels since 1986.  So, as an airplane, it’s always been extremely popular.  I mean, what’s not to like really?  There have been a number of F-18 models through the years and the challenge in making it as an RC model has always been the landing gear.  The main gear of the F-18 are so distinctive, it truly is one of the defining features of the airplane, but getting them made well was always a challenge in years past (n recent years there have been some absolutely incredible turbine models that have come to market).  Also, if not executed well, it can make ground handling challenging.

When I saw E-flite’s F-18 Hornet and the incredibly scale landing gear on it, I was excited!  They got not only the look of the gear correct, but they also got the correct teeter angle which helps place the wheels a bit further away from the fuselage.  If they had spent that much attention to detail on the landing gear, I could only hope that the rest of the airplane was just as well thought out.  Well, I’m happy to report that this is indeed a very well-engineered and well thought out model that also flies extremely nicely!  There are some things to be aware of regarding takeoff (especially on your maiden flight), but with the right setup and awareness, it’s not a problem at all and you’ll have a really nice flying EDF on your hands.

 

AIRCRAFT ASSEMBLY NOTES

The E-flite Hornet arrived nicely packed in a good sized box and includes with it a full complement of external tanks and stores which is nice.  E-flite has really simplified the airplane down into the major components for assembly basically requiring only the tails and wings to be added for full assembly.  As I hinted to earlier, Continue reading

E-Flite Pitts S-1S (850mm) Assembly & Flight Review

E-flite’s 850mm Pitts, the Knife Edge Beast!

As you may recall me mentioning in my UMX Pitts review, that little Pitts just flies absolutely epicly!  Well, drooling over E-Flite’s 850mm Pitts Biplane I couldn’t hold off any longer and I ordered one.  I knew that if it flew anything like the UMX, it would be an incredible little airplane!  Well, the good news is it shares much of the magic flying pretty darn close to the UMX…knife edge passes FTW!

The pitts is such an iconic aerobatic aircraft design that’s unmistakable and this E-Flite airplane captures it perfectly.  Plus having flown the UMX one, it’s really fostered a love for the Pitts.  It’s such a great looking biplane design.

AIRCRAFT ASSEMBLY

Assembly of the E-flite Pitts I found pretty enjoyable.  Taking the airplane out of the box, one thing became apparent to me pretty quickly and that was that the finish on the airplane was incredible!  As I inspected the parts, it really was hard to tell that Continue reading