E-flite F-16 Falcon 80mm EDF Assembly & Flight Review

The 80mm Falcon Cometh!

There’s something about F-16’s and how they fly that I really like.  To me it blends the traditional flying on the wing type jet with the more flying on the thrust type delta wing configuration.  To me, it means you get something that flies quickly, maneuvers really well yet has the slow speed characteristics of the delta being able to hit the high alpha.

So, when I learned about the E-Flite F-16 Falcon 80mm EDF I was quite excited, especially seeing all of the added details in the design.  I knew that if it flew anything like the E-flite 70mm Thunderbird, it would be a blast…and I think it’s safe to say that it has exceeded my expectations!

 

 

AIRCRAFT ASSEMBLY NOTES

The E-Flite F-16 80mm is a very complete kit that includes all metal scale landing gear, full lights, and external weapons/stores and assembles very quickly.  Also, all of the servo attachments have hard mounted connectors, so there’s no loose wires to have to contend with either.  The assembly process starts with installing the horizontal tails.  They have a pre-installed shaft that slides into the fuselage and is then held in place by a screw on each side (servo attachment is a traditional Continue reading

E-flite DRACO 2.0m Smart BNF Assembly & Flight Review

Mike Patey’s Monster Wilga…DRACO!  Fly it like you STOL it!

The E-flite DRACO 2.0m is probably one of the most anticipated models to come to market in recent time.  Announced in 2019, there have been many a rumbling of its pending release since then.  Well, E-flite’s DRACO is here and it is one of the nicest executed models E-flite has made to date…it is incredible!  Every detail is characterized, the shape is perfect (Horizon Hobby actually 3D scanned DRACO to make the model from), and this big red beast makes for some fun STOL operations, especially with a bit of head wind.

If you’re unfamiliar with DRACO as an airplane, it literally was one of a kind.  It was the master mind of Mikey Patey who took a Wilga 2000 and completely modified and rebuilt the airframe to the extent that very little of the original Wilga remained.  He added wing area, modified the airfoil while also adding a fixed slat, installed a full glass cockpit, and at the front installed a PT6A 680Hp turbo-prop engine with full reverse thrust (I believe he also added chord to the control surfaces).  In short, the airplane was a beast of a STOL aircraft and in fact, Mike Patey won the 2018 High Sierra STOL Drag competition with it.  Unfortunately, the aircraft was totaled in Sept 2019 in a high crosswind takeoff incident.  Be sure to check out Mike’s YouTube channel as he documented the build there and is currently building a highly modified carbon cub called Scrappy!

 

AIRCRAFT ASSEMBLY NOTES

The E-flite DRACO 2.0m is an impressively large airplane that is been broken down into only just a few large components which means that despite the large size, assembly is quick and easy.  Assembly starts with installation of the shock absorbing landing gear via 4 screws which have plastic fairings over a carbon strut and feature the dual shocks of the full size.  From there, the tail wheel Continue reading

E-flite Focke-Wulf Fw-190A 1.5m Smart Assembly & Flight Review

E-flite’s Extra Smart Butcherbird!

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 in Continue reading

E-flite EC-1500 Twin 1.5m Cargo Assembly & Flight Review

EC-1500 OPERATION TANK DROP!

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 say Continue reading

E-flite Sukhoi SU-30 twin 70mm EDF Assembly & Flight Review

The Iconic SU-30…It’s a Flanker-C, see?!

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 taking Continue reading

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