Refinish A Foam Jet Ep 2 – Freewing F-14 Tomcat Cockpit 3D Printing, Painting and Moving Pilots

Are you looking at me?!

In the process of getting the Freewing F-14 ready for paint, a full cockpit had to be built.  I had peeled off the canopy while working on the preparation and realized that it was the primary structural member for the hatch.  So, since the canopy was off, it was the perfect time to build a nice cockpit for this refinished Tomcat.  I designed up a few parts in CAD, 3d printed and painted them and then installed it all into the stock cockpit tub.  The result completely changed the look of the cockpit and once painted really added to the realism considerably.  Oh, and I figured it would be a good chance to show making pilots with movable heads also. 🙂

A nice cockpit is something that really changes the looks of a scale model.  For me, it’s part of the build process I’ve always enjoyed, though I don’t always go to the extent of completely redoing a cockpit.  Even just some simple additions and a little painting is all that is needed.  But, if there’s nothing out there available for the subject you’re working on, then it’s time to scratch build it.  I’ve been leveraging 3D printing more and more for that which is the process I took for the F-14 cockpit including the pilots.

 

A LITTLE CAD DESIGN & 3D PRINTING

Generally, the cockpit is an area that tends to get glossed over on most foam aircraft and the Freewing F-14 is no exception.  Mostly, it’s a lack of detail and the tendency to reuse the same pilots that may or may not be the correct scale to the airplane.  So, to Continue reading

Refinish A Foam Jet Ep 1 – Freewing F-14 Tomcat Assembly Mods & Paint Prep

Fill…sand…poly…sand…primer…sand…aaaannnnddd repeat…

You’ve probably figured out by now, I have many favorite aircraft. 😉  However, if I was to put together my top 5 favorite aircraft of all time, the F-14 Tomcat would probably be at or near the top of that list.  The airplane was one of brute force, but packaged in an elegant and distinct looking airframe that truly personified its name, Tomcat.  And that’s not to mention, it was an extremely capable fighter that filled many roles through the years that operated from the early/mid 70’s into the mid 2000s.

So, after putting together my Freewing twin 80mm F-14 Tomcat review a few years ago, I always wanted to come back to that airframe and give it a good refinish.  To date, it is still one of my favorite Freewing aircraft and I regretted letting the one go that I had.  So I decided it was time to revisit this model and picked up an ARF plus along with some Freewing 9-blade fan systems for a special refinish.  This really has been a few years in the making.

The end goal with this refinish is to build the airplane into a low vis Navy camouflage.  Though, I do like the more colorful schemes of the 70s and early 80s, there’s just something about a dirtied up ghost gray painted cat from their later years of service to me.

 

FILLER TIME!

Seeing as though I’ve already reviewed the model (albeit a few years old now, but still valid!), let’s jump right into it!   The first item of business in the refinish is Continue reading

E-flite F-18 Blue Angels 80mm EDF Assembly & Flight Review

Blue Angels FTW!

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 engages Continue reading

Freewing F-4D Phantom II 90mm EDF Assembly, Refinish, & Flight Review

Phreewing’s “Rhino,” TRCG Target Drone Edition…

Well, in full disclosure, this article started close to two years ago now after purchasing the Freewing F-4 Phantom in the second batch of releases.  So why did take so long?…well, it’s a myriad of things really.  First of all, I’m a glutton for punishment.  I liked the airplane so much and being unable to leave well enough alone (not to mention with some kind ribbing from my friends) I just had to do a full refinish on the airplane.  Well, shortly after filling all of the panel lines, we sold our house and moved into a new one which put a halt to most modeling for a few months.  After the move, I actually almost sold the airplane because after all that, I had a tough time just getting back to it.  Well, not to be defeated, I decided it was necessary to finish up the project and I have since acquired a bunch of flights on the airplane with both 6s and 8s power.  And so, here we are!

The funny thing is, since finishing the project (after almost selling it), I’ve been kind of on an F-4 Phantom kick having reviewed the E-flite F-4 and then also acquiring a mostly built Jet Hangar Hobbies 1/10 scale F-4 to accompany my other half built JHH F-4 Phantom sitting in my storage racks…what can I say, a collector never stops collecting! 😉

 

AIRCRAFT ASSEMBLY NOTES

The assembly of the Freewing F-4 Phantom II was quite straight forward as a whole.  No major issues were noted and the fit of everything was good.  The fuselage comes in two pieces, so the first step is to glue the back end onto the airplane and frrom there the tails and wings are installed.  The anhedral tails slide onto knurled shafts and are held in place with a screw on each tail.  So, it is recommended to ensure that 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

UMX Adventures – The DIY UMX A-5 Vigilante Team Up

THE ONE WEEK UMX A-5 VIGILANTE BUILD

Once in a long while my good Friend Brent (Corsair Nut) gets to spend some time in San Diego.  We’ve been friends since we were kids as his dad used to work for my dad at one point in the shop.  I have memories of him, his brother and I running around the back of the shop just doing what kids do.  We reconnected about 10 or so years ago and pretty much picked up where we left off!  So when he’s in town, there’s always some RC madness going on whether sporadic fly days or projects and it’s great!  We’re always encouraging and pushing each other to go for that next project or running ideas off of each other on builds, etc.  One thing about Brent, he is a master when it comes to working with foam and he’s shown me a lot of the techniques that I’ve been sharing with you.  So, when he mentioned he was coming to town, we talked about teaming up on a quick Ultra Micro (UMX) jet.  The subject? The A-5 Vigilante.

We actually planned this project (including sizing some drawings!) over a year ago on one of his previous trips.  For me, I have always had this airplane in mind for a build as the proportions are perfect for an RC subject.  It has a big wing, big tails and a nice wide fuselage which means good flying characteristics.  For a big bird, landing gear are kind of an issue (they always are!), but for a UMX bird like this, that’s no matter.  Fixed gear chicken legs here we come!

BTW, I have included the templates for the build further down in the article (no instructions), so if you’d like to give building one a shot, do it!

Now, I can’t say I was a huge help in the building process since our schedules really didn’t line up very well for the week he was here.  Add to that that I was a hand down based on abroken finger I was 3 weeks into resulting from an ice hockey injury.  I was fresh out of a cast but had a removable splint and couldn’t grip anything very well still even without the Continue reading

Foam Kit Bashing 101 Ep 2 — The Mirage to Kfir Transformation

Birth of a “Lion Cub!”

Check out the full series of videos and articles at: thercgeek.com/kitbashing

Well, it’s been a little while since my tease at kit bashing a Freewing Mirage into an IAI Kfir (“Kfir” is Hebrew for “Lion Cub”).  We started with an assembly & flight review for the Freewing Mirage 2000 which out of the box flies awesome.  However, the Kfir is such an awesome looking airplane and with canards and a little extra wing area we’ll add in the bashing process, I can only imagine that the airplane will fly even better!  So, in this article, we’re covering the transformation process of turning this airplane into a Kfir and we’re using 3D printed parts as a part of that as well as employing some traditional building methods.  Through this whole process we will be employing the foam refinishing method I covered in our How to Refinish a Foam Warbird series.  I don’t plan to get into much detail about the foam prep work itself in this series as I want to focus on the kit bashing aspect to compliment the refinishing we did previously and use the next couple articles to go into more detail on painting, simple panel lines and weathering.

Now, one of the reasons that it’s been a little while is, in addition to of course a few distractions, is that I’ve been working out the 3D printed parts with a friend of mine.  CAD modeling takes time and there were a number of parts that we ended up making.  These include printing a new nose, the exhaust shroud and turkey feathers, the dorsal inlet, external wing tanks, lower ventral tank, and the afterburner cooling scoops and inlets on the fuselage.  As a whole, we printed a total of 23 individual pieces for the conversion (many of the parts required multiple pieces to be printed).

Continue reading

Tutorial – How to Make Detail Antennas and Pitot Tubes

The beauty is in the details…

As promised in my How to Repair Fiberglass and Fibgerglassed Parts article, here’s a little tutorial on  some of the detail parts I had to  re-scratch build while repairing my Mirage IIIRS earlier this year.  These include some of the very distinctive pitot tubes and antennas that are exhibited on the nose section of the full-sized aircraft.  In all the searching we did of the crash site when the airplane went in, the original parts were just nowhere to be found…a sacrifice to the three angry bushes that swallowed my airplane I suppose!  Also, if you missed it, be sure to check out my coverage from the US Scale Masters Championships as I competed with my fully repaired Mirage and somehow in the process came out of the competition finishing 1st in Expert being named the Grand National Champion!  What an amazing weekend!  It was such a great event with a wonderful and very talented group of scale modelers, I can’t wait to go back!

 

CHOOSING THE RIGHT MATERIALS

When we talk about detail parts, we need to talk about materials selection.  Obviously, any materials can be used, but when dealing with parts that are protruding from an airplane, we need parts with stiffness and resilience to repeated abuse.  Let’s face it, these parts are Continue reading