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 →
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 thatContinue reading →
During the AMA expo January 2018, it was announced that the show was being moved to the Pomona Fairplex and would also occur in November. Well, needless to say, November arrived before I could blink and it was time to start thinking about the show! This time around, kicking off the new venue, the AMA reached out asking about doing some how-to clinics throughout the weekend. The idea I had was to provide some weathering how-to’s on a couple airplanes through the course of the weekend and then on Sunday afternoon, give those airplanes away. Well, thanks to the AMA and Horizon Hobby, we were able to make that happen and it was a great time. Horizon Hobby donated an E-Flite P-51 and an FMS Yak-130 for me to work on during the weekend which we gave away on Sunday afternoon.
This year, I had a full booth and through the course of the weekend, I was showing weathering techniques on the donated airplanes provided by Horizon Hobby. For one of the clinics, I was able to do a weathering session on the main stage for the purposes of recording video. Below is the end result as well as a few pictures of the finished airplanes. The techniques mentioned in the video kind of run through the gamut of what I like to employ when I’m weathering up an airplane and are applicable to any medium of aircraft foam, glass or otherwise not to mention any size. Additionally, combinationsContinue reading →
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 →
I keep telling myself to scale back on the foam airplanes, but when the Freewing A-4 Skyhawk came up on pre-sale, I knew I had to have one! The A-4 is a classic design that I’ve always appreciated. In fact, I still remember seeing the Blue Angels fly A-4s back in the 80’s. It was such an agile yet graceful airplane to watch fly, they will probably always be my favorite Blue Angel aircraft. The F-18s have brute force, but it just doesn’t have the grace and maneuverability that the A-4 did.
If you follow this page on Facebook or Instagram, then you know how this one ends for me. For those who and for full disclosure up front, this airplane flies really well when setup right, but I actually crashed the airplane twice in the process of making this review…mostly a result of my own error. The first time was due to installing an already flown battery into the airplane. It only took a couple laps before the fan quit and of course it was too low to get back to the runway. Bummed, but not to be defeated the airplane was refinished with a few upgrades (which we’ll talk about). It came out beautiful, I loved it! Unfortunately, the CG moved further back than I anticipated and the airplane over rotated on the second takeoff and I didn’t have enough altitude to fully recover. It’s fixable, though I’ve debated just buying a replacement instead…it’s currently hanging in my shop waiting in limbo.
With that being said, I still wanted to provide this review because as I mentioned, the airplane flies really well. But, it’s an A-4 and there definitely some things to be aware of when setting it up for best success.
AIRCRAFT ASSEMBLY NOTES
The A-4 is a quick assembly requiring the aft fuselage section be glued on and then the dorsal, horizontal tails and wings bolted onto the airframe. From there, it’s just a matter Continue reading →
Welcome to the final episode in our foam kit bashing series! It was quite the journey getting here and I actually didn’t intend on it taking as long as it has to document the whole series, but life has been crazy with no signs of slowing down it seems (plus, I just started a new position at work!). If you’ve just found this series, we have gone through and completely transformed a Freewing Mirage 2000 into an Isreali Kfir. As a part of that, we covered the transformation process talking through the building methods in converting the airplane using balsa wood and foam, we’ve talked about painting and finishing and we’ve also covered how to make panel lines and add realistic weathering. I hope that you guys have enjoyed the series and are geared up with some new techniques to try on your models! To finish this series up, I thought it would be best done providing a little discussion on how the airplane flies in it’s new form as well as some of the things that were done in wrapping the airplane up and getting it tuned in the air. Also, I had a little incident with the airplane at the Warbirds & Classics event which tore out the right main landing gear mount. So, I thought it would be a good opportunity, now that we have this nice new airplane, to show how to make cosmetic repairs when they are needed as well.
In doing all of the final setup for the airplane, I didn’t want to change too many things all at once since the airplane flew well in the Mirage 2000 configuration. I knew however that I did want to change out the radio. Airtronics has been my go-to radio for quite literally, decades (even had a sponsorship with them). Though a good radio, it’s a system that’s just not supported in the US anymore and frankly, SANWA/Airtronics gave up on the airplane market years ago anyway.
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).
Finishing up our FMS P-51 “Lady Alice” transformation, it’s only fitting to provide a flight review of the model (with info on how I set it up) along with some video! In short the airplane fly’s awesome and looks incredible in the air in her “Lady Alice” coat of colors. If you’re just catching this for the first time, you can catch my previous articles and videos on the whole foam warbird re-finishing process here. Give it a shot, it’s worth the effort!
Aircraft Setup & CG
It took a couple flights to dial in so I thought I’d present what my final control throws and CG location converged to. First off, to clarify the instructions, the recommended CG is 110mm as measured from the leading edge of the wing root (NOT the leading edge of the wing saddle). This ultimately proved Continue reading →