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

VQ Warbirds Beechcraft Bonanza V-tail 62″ Wingspan Assembly Review

Bonanza V-tail for the win!

There’s something about the less traditional aircraft designs that really draw me in.  Most notably they are the v-tail and the delta wing/tailless aircraft.  Maybe it has to do with the less conventional nature, I’m not really sure, but when I saw the VQ Warbirds Beechcraft Bonanza Vtail, I was pretty excited about the model.  The bonanza is an icon in the private aircraft world and one of the few production aircraft I’m aware of that features a vtail into its design, especially in the private aircraft industry.

Though, commercial and private aircraft aren’t typically in my wheelhouse (I love my military aircraft!), the Bonanza Vtail is one that I do really like the looks of.  The Vtail gives an unconventional look to an otherwise conventional airplane and the proportions of the wing and the long tail moment really should make for a really good flying model.  Add to that the really nice covering and look of the VQ Warbirds Bonanza Vtail model, it was not a hard sell to get this one in my hangar.

Bonanza Vtail

 

WHAT’S IN THE BOX

This is the second VQ Warbirds airplane I’ve had the pleasure to assemble (first was the B-24 Liberator) and in each case, I have been thoroughly impressed with the quality of the build of the airframes.  Pulling this airplane from the box, I was reminded of this as the airplane was a beautifully built and finished representation of the Bonanza.  The parts count is generally low, but there is quite a bit of hardware included for pushrods, etc.  One of the nice things that became readily apparent was that all of the control surfaces were pre-glued at the factory, so that alleviated one extra step in the assembly process which was nice!

In addition to the airframe, I picked up my power system and servos of course which are listed and linked below.  I love keeping the looks of a scale model intact 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

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

2019 US Scale Masters National Championships

Another Jet Hangar Hobbies Scale Masters Champion! I can’t even believe it! 🙂

Scale competition has been a big part of what I enjoy in this hobby.  There’s just something about building and flying a model that you’ve created with so much effort to try and simulate and/or replicate a full scale aircraft.  For me, it’s so much about flying an airplane that I never in my wildest dreams will have the chance to fly in full scale.  That said, competition scale modelling hasn’t been a large focus for me the last couple years.   Filming and writing these reviews and tutorials takes quite a bit of time, and I’ve been having a good time flying a number of different models in the process.  However, when the Scale Masters Championships came back to California again this year (October 17-20, 2019), being hosted by the Clovis RC club, I got the bug and I knew that I wanted to give it another go.  I could only hope to replicate the magic of my 2016 win with my Jet Hangar Mirage IIIRS.  Truth be told, following 2016, I was inspired to get my big Mark Frankel Skyray built for the next championships.  Well, strangely enough, you actually have to work on a model to get it done!  Who knew?!  Not to mention Elf labor has gotten so expensive in California these days.  So, in the absence of a big Skyray, I wanted to give the championships a try with my Jet Hangar Hobbies A-7 Corsair II and I can’t even believe that I would be reporting a second time that I came out of the event as the “Grand National Champion” finishing 1st place in Expert for 2019!

40 YEARS OF COMPETITION

Organized by the U.S. Scale Masters Association, 2019 marked the 40th annual Championships event.  Though the hobby has evolved, the technology has improved and new classes have been added to the competition mix, the goal of the Scale Masters has never changed which has been to highlight the best in RC scale modeling.  And those 40 years have seen so many of the best scale modelers compete from the US and around the world.  In fact, my dad competed in the very first Scale Masters 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