Refinish a Foam Jet Ep 3 – Freewing F-14 Tomcat Paint, Markings, & Panel Lines

Making the Flir Cat…Tomcat nose art FTW!

In my previous articles, we talked about the refinish process and making a highly detailed cockpit for the Freewing F-14.  Now, it’s time for paint!  I will say, I have a love/hate relationship with painting models.  Most of the time, I love it, but when there are issues that arise, that’s when I hate it, haha!  However, being patient, having the right materials and ensuring the proper preparation is done can usually keep those issues to a minimum, but sometimes you just have to improvise.  In this case, the vinyl markings I had made decided to curl up and not want to stick to the airframe which had me thinking all of the markings would need to be completely replaced.  As it turned out, at the suggestion of a friend, a little low temp heat with an iron cured the issue (saving huge time and aggravation) and all was right with the world again!

In painting a model, one must first choose a paint scheme of course and this not something I take lightly. :p  I knew that I wanted to do something different and rarely modeled and that I also wanted to do a later low viz Navy scheme because it would be fun to weather (they got crazy dirty).  In my research, I found a scheme from VF-103 dawning a unique and rare nose art carrying the moniker of “Flir Cat.”  As it turned out, this aircraft was used in 1995 to prove out the LANTIRN pod integration and was the first to drop bombs from the Tomcat platform which paved the way for the F-14 “BombCat” which proved quite effective.  That’s not to mention too that the aircraft was flown in part by Capt. Dale “Snort” Snodgrass (highest flight time Tomcat pilot ever) as a part of the testing which provided additional appeal.  So, it was decided, Flir Cat she will be!

A quick note regarding the Flir Cat nose art.  While nose art was a regular occurrence on bombers in WWII, it’s since become a rare thing to see, especially on the more modern fighter jets.  The Flir Cat artwork itself was designed and painted by artist PEL during his service in the Navy in the mid 90’s.  He chose the artwork color scheme from each side based off of graffiti color palettes of the day and had to use different colors on each side for the lettering due to having an insufficient quantity of paint for both sides (hence the two different colors of font left to right).

 

THE PAINT PROCESS

A good paint job starts with a good foundation which is what is done during the refinish and primer process.  Once  the desired smoothness and finish was achieved through the primer/sand/primer process, the model was wet sanded with 600 grit sand paper in Continue reading

E-flite Viper 90mm EDF Jet Assembly & Flight Review

If the E-flite Viper 70mm EDF is great, then the E-flite Viper 90mm EDF is even greater-er!

The Viper Jet as a design is about as a perfectly proportioned jet for a model as one can get.  It flies well on the wing giving it a really wide speed envelope while also having a nicely sized empennage that helps keep it stable and responsive on the controls.  So, it’s no surprise that it’s been a popular subject within the jet community for a while as they are great flying models and the E-flite Viper 90mm EDF is no exception!  I can only imagine how nicely the full scale Viper Jet flies!

The E-flite Viper 90mm EDF stems from the lineage of the E-flite Viper 70mm EDF which has been my go to recommendation as a first jet since first flying it a few years ago.  The primary differences are of course size, but also some additional accoutrements in the form of lights, shock absorbing landing gear, gear doors, and full Smart telemetry.  In terms of performance, they both offer a similar flight envelope while the 90mm flies bigger and heavier having overall more speed and vertical performance.

 

AIRCRAFT ASSEMBLY NOTES

The E-Flite Viper 90mm is a good sized model that comes well packed and assembles quickly.  Assembly begins with installation of the horizontal tail which is held in place by two screws.  From there, the wings slide into place over two carbon Continue reading

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-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

30k Subs Giant Scale Giveaway and New Projects Updates!

What a wild ride!

Here we are at the start of 2021 and we have hit an incredible milestone on this blog and YouTube channel…we have hit 30,000 subscriptions on YouTube!  There was incredible growth on the channel in 2020 and to start of 2021 with this milestone, I really can’t thank you enough!  It is all a result of your support in following along on these misguided adventures and I think you dearly!  The RC community is such a wonderful group of folks, I liken it to having a large extended family.

So, a big milestone should have a big giveaway and as a thank you, in conjunction with Legend Hobby, we are giving away a new in box SEAGULL MODELS CURTISS P-40N WARHAWK 33cc-50cc 80″ with scale electric rotating retracts!  The model features an 80″ wingspan and can be powered with a 33cc-55cc gas engine or electric power system.  It comes in scale green covering and is ready for markings to be applied be it the kit supplied markings or full custom set.

 

HOW TO ENTER

Please use the form below to enter.  The contest starts today and ends at 7:30 PM April 5.  The winner will be announced on my YouTube channel on 9:45am Tuesday April 6  It is completely free to enter and there are multiple ways to enter as well… Continue reading

Freewing MiG-29 Twin 80mm EDF Assembly & Flight Review

Greetings Comrades, We’re Gettin’ Miggy with it!

When one thinks of the late generation Russian fighters, the SU-27 is at the top of many lists.  However, for me, the MiG-29 is the one that has fascinated me more.  I think because it was a relatively new fighter in Russian service when I was a kid which created a certain ere of mystery surrounding it.  Plus, as a design, it has a nice look that I’ve also kind of liked.

So, seeing the new Freewing MiG-29 come to market in its ever so unique Slovak digital camouflage trim scheme, I was very intrigued.  Given the large size and the scale features, it looked like an extremely nice airplane and I’m happy to report it lives up the expectations!  The airplane looks and flies great and has a great scale presence in the air that’s so distinctive.

 

AIRCRAFT ASSEMBLY NOTES

Not surprisingly, the Freewing MiG-29 came in quite a large box which was packed well and efficiently.  Unboxing the model, you truly start to get a sense of the size as well as the quality of the finish (it’s quite smooth).  Everything is broken down into the major components, so assembly was quick and painless.  Note that for receiver, I’m using a Spektrum AR8010T 8 channel receiver.

The assembly of the MiG-29 starts with gluing the separate nose piece in place along with the 4 plastic clips along the seam.  I used foam tac to do that which worked great.  There is also a forward wood plate that gets screwed into place that provides a Continue reading