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Posted by DismayingObservation | Yesterday @ 12:47 AM | 1,432 Views
Or more accurately, drive and dump?

Frustration abounding with the ECX Beatbox 1/35 truck I purchased last Christmas for my grandson.

Back when I bought the truck, the hobby shop told me that no parts were available.

This being Horizon Hobby, I thought that rather unusual and hoped some parts would be in the pipeline before long. Right?

Uh-uh.

The onboard li-po will no longer take a charge; the truck has been sitting idle for a few months. Online searches turned up nothing and neither did a call to Horizon.

For the very first time, Horizon Hobby's peerless customer service turned up absolutely zilch on a current product.

So, the truck is about to go under the screwdriver, as it were. I'll find a li-po somewhere.

If anyone has a suggestion, I'm certainly up for one.
Posted by DismayingObservation | Jul 31, 2015 @ 01:28 PM | 1,680 Views
...while you're making other plans.

That, by the way, is a quote from Allen Saunders and not John Lennon. Lennon used the quote in the lyrics of "Beautiful Boy," one of his last compositions.

That said, I haven't made any progress on the little Thunder Tiger Bearcat since last we met here on the blogs. That missing motor bearing might be an unusual 3.17mm version and there were none to be found at the hobby shop. I'm just going to install an E-flite and be done with it soon.

Lots of professional stuff has kept me busy, but in a remarkably nice way. Details to follow.

In the meantime: Lots of great hobby stuff is on its way to the electric flight review pages! I'm covering the HobbyKing Super-G autogyro, the HobbyKing micro B-17 and the Joe-Hanson Vesper II utility airplane. The latter is a foam board model designed and produced by an RCGroups.com user, namely "Hansondiandian" out of Texas. It's a very utilitarian model which can be used as an FPV platform, camera platform or even an aileron trainer. I'm simply waiting for parts and supplies to complete all three models.

Watch this page and the electric flight page for updates!
Posted by DismayingObservation | May 19, 2015 @ 10:40 AM | 2,607 Views
I admit it. I enjoy a good challenge, especially where getting my money's worth is concerned.

To wit, the continuing saga of the little Bearcat park flyer which has been the subject of my last few blog postings.

I sent it up for a test flight and as luck would have it, the elevator was way out of trim. Far too much up, which wasn't an issue on the previous flight.

This, of course, made it difficult to fly...

I brought it around for a landing, bounced the landing and broke what was left of the original wooden motor mount. A close inspection revealed that the plastic factory motor adapter was damaged from the previous mishap.

Another thing which was readily apparent was far too aggressive a prop for the old motor I installed as a temporary measure. More on that in a moment. What to do? The answer came in the guise of the parts removed from the Flyzone Cessna which had given up some of its components.

I already had most of what I needed from an E-flite firewall stick mount adapter system; the mount itself was cut down to fit the Cessna and was too short for the Bearcat.

Five bucks later, I had the adapter and the strongest possible motor mount. It looks like a factory setup, in fact.

Another test flight, another mishap. The Bearcat was ballistic! Maybe too much so. One of the screws holding the prop adapter shaft worked loose, causing the shaft to cock over to one side. And boy, was that motor hot. As I'd pointed out, too much prop on a high-revving motor with an unknown Kv rating. That's what I get for not checking the setup with a wattmeter beforehand.

Conclusion: The airframe is dialed in. I just have to get the other motor back from the hobby shop and I'll be in business.

I'll post some photos once it's all together.
Posted by DismayingObservation | May 06, 2015 @ 12:04 PM | 2,872 Views
Warbird fans, listen up:

The new FMS Kawasaki Ki-61 High Speed PNP from Diamond Hobby is a blast!

An official RCGroups.com review is waiting in the wings for public viewing. Stay tuned!

In the meantime, more weirdness regarding that doggoned little Thunder Tiger Bearcat.

I swung by Pegasus Hobbies a couple of weekends ago since I happened to be in the area. Tony at the airplane desk is a terrific help. He sold me a brand new cowl and told me that he had a lot of those planes on hand for parts. Cool!

On went the cowl, up went the Bearcat.

It flew great, but the elevator was acting twitchy. I brought it in, added some more expo, took off and all seemed well for the first few seconds.

That's when the motor's endbell decided to part company with the rest of the motor.

It isn't often one has to do a dead stick landing with an electric, but I did. Good one, too. No damage other than some minor breakage of the wooden motor mount due to the forces involved.

Everything is back together, but the motor is missing a bearing. I've left it with a buddy at the hobby shop who'll check the parts bin for a replacement.

I also have a no-name brushless outrunner I used to use on my ancient (and recently dissected and discarded) E-flite Blade CP. I've ordered a prop adapter; we'll see how this one works.
Posted by DismayingObservation | Apr 22, 2015 @ 03:37 PM | 3,598 Views
Wouldn't you know it? The battery compartment door for my OrangeRx transmitter seems to be lost forever. I went to the field today (with a couple of planes in tow, natch) so that I could look for it.

No luck.

However, I did happen to see a new FMS P-40 high speed like the one I'd reviewed for this very site! Deja vu! The new owner is still somewhat nervous about flying it, but one of the club's flight instructors was on hand and he declared it to be a blast. This from a guy who was zipping a 150 mph Habu all over the place. I happened to mention that I'd soon be receiving a new FMS Kawasaki Ki-61 High Speed.

When I got home, sure as heck, that new Ki-61 was waiting at the door. Not deja vu, but pretty good prescience, no? This is one highly anticipated model and I'll be giving it the full RCGroups.com review treatment, so please stay tuned!
Posted by DismayingObservation | Apr 21, 2015 @ 11:28 AM | 3,462 Views
Yup, one of those nagging little voices tried to tell me something important and I ignored it.

This past Sunday, I had the Thunder Tiger Bearcat with me along with some other models.

I never really trusted the bizarre factory aileron hinges which consisted of decidedly unsticky clear tape across the tops of the wing and ailerons.

Meh. Should be fine. Checked the controls, lined up for takeoff, gave it the gas...

WHAM.

It came around hard left and crashed into the flight line. Upon removal of the tape, it was barely sticky enough to lift the paint and yes, those horrible quality factory strips were all that were serving as hinges. The motor mount broke, the cowl was crushed, the propeller broken, there were surprisingly few and clean breaks in the fuselage with no crushing and the right horizontal stab was snapped off.

A quick assessment of the damage showed me that it was repairable, so out came the epoxy, CA and paint and an old metal pushrod cut into reinforcement spars when I got home. I was even able to pop the cowl back in place and tape it from inside. I'll replace it soon if Pegasus Hobbies has it in stock. For now, it's doable.

I picked up some E-flite park flyer CA hinges yesterday and I properly hinged the ailerons this morning. I also found that the thin plastic plates atop the ailerons which were supposed to hold the torque rods in place were held down by little more than some weird, brittle glue.

The Testors Insignia Blue Model Master acrylic paint I used is at least a close match to the factory finish, if slightly darker. The prop should arrive at the hobby shop later today. In the meantime, the end result is nicely repaired, cosmetically acceptable and perhaps most importantly, the ailerons are properly hinged with the torque rod plates epoxied in place.

If I'd listened to that nagging voice telling me to re-hinge the ailerons, I would have saved myself from a lot of work.

Now all that's left is to fly it. Properly.
Posted by DismayingObservation | Apr 06, 2015 @ 12:17 AM | 3,877 Views
Today was just one of those days which felt good. I got some stick time this morning with some recent review subjects, namely the HobbyKing DC-3, FMS/Diamond Hobby P-40 and the Nitroplanes Dynam Bf-109.

I think I have the tail wheel situation nearly dialed out on the DC-3. Still a bit wobbly, but taking off with flaps lowered allowed it to track much better. However, the flap switch is in a terrible position above the throttle stick. Trying to raise the flaps nearly caused a crash since I was having to really grope for the switch without taking my hands off of the stick at the same time.

I'll be mixing the flaps and the retracts on the radio before I take it up again.

That P-40 is one screaming fast bit of foam. The batteries are now somewhat seasoned and the punch is just incredible. Chalk up a winner to DIamond Hobby and Predator batteries!

Maybe I'm just spoiled after blasting the P-40 at nearly 100 MPH, but the Bf-109 feels, well, slow. That's with a Master Aircsrew prop on an otherwise stock bird. It flies beautifully and with no bad habits whatsoever. So, the perceived lack of speed isn't a problem. I just have to remember not to fly it after low passes o'er yonder runway at triple-digit speeds with the P-40.

Just got through watching "The Ten Commandments," something of an Easter tradition for my wife and I. Cecil B. DeMille was a genius.

Happy Easter, all. Christmas may get the hype, but this is the holiday which matters most. Back to work tomorrow!
Posted by DismayingObservation | Mar 11, 2015 @ 07:23 PM | 5,462 Views
Success!

My buddy wasn't kidding when he told me that his own Thunder Tiger Bearcat park flyer was a sweetie with brushless power.

I took it with me this past Sunday along with some models I'm reviewing for RCGroups. I needed to get video and I thought this would be the perfect time to fly the Bearcat as well, this time with a computerized radio.

To be sure, it needed trimming, but once trimmed, what a fun and fast little plane. It still wanted to nose over on landing, but that was simply due to the landing gear being bent too far backwards. Once that was fixed, boom. Perfect three-pointers.

Was it worth the money? I think so. I could have saved ten bucks by buying the receiver-ready version, but then, what would I have done without the 27MHz radio system, brushed motor, gearbox and NiMH batteries languishing in a drawer?

If anyone wants the unloved radio and power stuff, please feel free to drop me a PM. It works, it's new but nearly obsolete and I will likely never use it again.

As for the plane itself, well, she's a keeper.
Posted by DismayingObservation | Feb 19, 2015 @ 09:00 PM | 6,789 Views
Well, sorta kinda.

The Thunder Tiger Bearcat park flyer I've been blogging about had, as I suspected, far too much control surface throw and no expo which meant some really gut-wrenching moments after takeoff.

Hoo boy, did it boogie when I settled down on the sticks. Fast, smooth and fun.

In all honesty, I can't help but wonder how many folks might have picked one up as a first plane and who soon discovered that flying it with the supplied radio and power system was unlikely to happen.

Result: Scores of disgusted hobbyists who lost interest in model aviation then and there.

The modified version is a whole 'nother deal.

That little Suppo outrunner pulled it with real authority as a Bearcat should and it glided forever on final approach. The touchy elevator made it difficult to flare and it came down kind of hard, but there was no damage other than a scratched cowl when it nosed over.

I do believe that I'll be flying the whee out of that little sleeper for a long time to come, that is, once I set it up on a computerized radio. The transplant was a raging success!

Now all I have to do is figure out what the heck I'm going to do with the original radio, batteries and motor...anyone?
Posted by DismayingObservation | Feb 05, 2015 @ 12:53 AM | 7,452 Views
When last we met here on the blogs, I wrote about my attempts to get a new Thunder Tiger Bearcat park flyer airborne.

To wit, a 370 brushed motor, ESC and gearbox, a delicate four-blade propeller and an eight-cell, 600mAh NiMH battery do not make for a rocket. In fact, it made for a model which patently refused to lift off. Good thing I tried an ROG takeoff as opposed to a hand launch. Would have been bad.

That's about to change.

Cap'n Eddy is just about ready to rock. After widening the inside of the wooden gearbox mounting plate with a Dremel, in went the nearly new Suppo 1450Kv brushless outrunner and 18A ESC combo I'd bought at the AMA expo about four years ago. Pegasus Hobbies in Montclair, California sold the Bearcat to me at this year's AMA expo as well as the Thunder Tiger brushless motor mount via mail order.

The Suppo had been languishing in a rebuilt Flyzone Cessna 182 park flyer. That model was at one time another great example of why brushed motors can't compare to brushless.

Once severely underpowered, the Cessna became a lively, fun-to-fly model with one major design flaw: Banking too far - and it didn't take much - would cause the wing to stall and there was no way to get control once that happened. It was flown on another nearly new item, a Tactic TTX404 sport radio and receiver with no means of adjusting the servo end points. I had grown more than tired of fixing or replacing parts.

It's been stripped and the foam components await their ultimate fate out at the recycling bin. Requiescat in pace.

I'm awaiting the arrival of an APC 7x5E propeller at the hobby shop on Friday. I already have some 1000 and 1050mAh 3S li-pos which are a perfect fit and which allow the model to balance properly.

The overall combo is similar in size and power to the Ares Decathlon I'm reviewing for RCG. I'll simply say that the Decathlon is not only fun, it's fast. So too was the Cessna.

Cap'n Eddy is just going to have to wait until the weekend. Stay tuned.
Posted by DismayingObservation | Jan 22, 2015 @ 09:24 PM | 6,503 Views
When in doubt, go to the source.

I bought that little Thunder Tiger Bearcat I've been blogging about from the Pegasus Hobbies booth at the AMA expo. They just put the receiver-ready version on their website, in fact.

Gave 'em a call with the part number...success! My credit card is only eight bucks lighter.

It'll get the Suppo outrunner and ESC I used in my Frankensteinian Flyzone Cessna, now retired after its final crash. For that matter, I got that motor and ESC at the AMA about four years ago and it has very little runtime since that Cessna spent more time tip stalling and crashing than it did flying. It just isn't worth repairing, but it was fun while it lasted.

Oh, and I'll fly it with a computerized spread spectrum radio. 27MHz is so 1990s.
Posted by DismayingObservation | Jan 21, 2015 @ 10:48 AM | 5,885 Views
Well, I did it. I assembled the Thunder Tiger Bearcat park flyer I wrote about in my last entry, charged up the batteries and headed to the field.

My gut feeling was that it wasn't going to have nearly enough power to lift off.

I was right.

It rolled along the runway just inside the safety line and veered off course into the dirt shoulder which caused it to bounce just enough to lift off for a moment before coming down. The tail wheel is fixed in place and there's no rudder, so there wasn't much I could do.

No damage, glad to say. One of the landing gear blocks delaminated (the five-minute epoxy hadn't properly set) and the motor mount popped loose. It had been glued in place at the factory and apparently not too well.

Oh, and one of the prop blades snapped like a twig at the two-piece hub. Meh. It'll get an APC or Master Airscrew prop before long.

The good news is that I have the necessary electrics on hand and a proper 2.4GHz radio. Even better is my having learned that Thunder Tiger has a new distributor in the US. It's located in Utah, but I don't recall the name. I learned that during a phone call to the hobby shop.

They're going to contact that new distributor in the hope of getting the TT brushless motor mount. My contact at the hobby shop has the Rare Bear version and he says it's a superb flyer with a brushless up front.

That'll leave me with the existing electrics including two new NiMh batteries, but I'll find a use - or a home - for them.
Posted by DismayingObservation | Jan 14, 2015 @ 03:19 PM | 6,209 Views
Having the AMA Expo each year here in SoCal makes it worth living here.

Of course, the deals help and do I ever have an unusual one for you...

I picked up a factory sealed Thunder Tiger F6F Bearcat park flyer for fifty bucks, tax included. With a radio. And a battery. And a charger.

Here's the rub: It has a 370 brushed motor with a gear drive, a three-channel 27MHz AM radio, a NiMH battery ( I purchased a second pack from the store itself later that afternoon) and a DC charger.

With a mechanical timer.

It's pretty much ready to fly out of the box save for the horizontal stabilizer, the propeller and whether or not one wants to put it together with extended landing gear for ROG or simulated retracted gear for hand launches and belly landings.

However, the EPS model looks well made as one might expect from TT. There's even famed Ace R/C mascot Cap'n Eddy installed in the cockpit. Not so well made are what passes for aileron hinges. They're little more than shiny strips of 3/4" clear tape across the top of the wing.

Weird, but that's what the manual calls for.

Not that it matters: Hobbico discontinued the Thunder Tiger and Ace R/C brands on December 31, unbeknownst to me until moments ago.

I was considering slapping a brushless motor in place once I had the proper mount in hand. However, I think I'll just enjoy it the way it is.

If it flies well - and I have no reason to believe otherwise - it'll make a fun Saturday flyer over at the nearby grass field.

I'll just have to explain that long, shiny antenna atop the transmitter.
Posted by DismayingObservation | Sep 18, 2014 @ 08:42 PM | 9,308 Views
After solving a few technical issues mostly involved with setup of this model, not to mention moving into a new place, the upcoming reviews of the affordably priced Nitroplanes Pitts Python are moving along. Chief engineer Roland of Nitroplanes is one knowledgeable dude.

Once more, Callie Soden of Callie-graphics.com came through with the decals; the Pitts comes undecorated other than the covering and trim.

The fuselage looked so good after I applied the decals that I had to share it with our audience earlier than normal. These are the photos I sent to Callie this morning just because I wanted to share how nice this model is going to look when it's finished.

Nitroplanes stocks the Pitts right here.

As for other details, well, I don't want to spill too much before the reviews are finished. This'll be done in two separate reviews, one for the basic build and the other for the engine installation and flight characteristics.

Stay tuned to RCGroups!
Posted by DismayingObservation | Sep 03, 2014 @ 08:54 AM | 10,148 Views
...but a welcome pain.

After two months of packing, tossing out stuff and giving away the rest, not to mention the seemingly incessant rounds of paperwork, my wife and I are finally in a new home. This one's ours!

So, once we finally unpack, one of the first things I'm going to do is to build racks for some of the models. One of the bedrooms is now the "hobby room" and I have a place to work on projects and to put up some small foamies. Larger models can be racked up in the garage and let me tell you, I have some plans for that garage.

Now if I can only find the power cord for my charger...
Posted by DismayingObservation | Jul 06, 2014 @ 06:45 PM | 10,508 Views
Now that I've had some time banging the sticks, I can honestly say I love this little quad! Again, I'm glad I spent the money to get the electronics after I'd gotten a bare frame for review here on the site.

Thanks to my buddy "TheOne420," the low voltage alarm now works, but it comes on a bit too soon. It's good for the batteries, so all is well for now. I'm going to arrange to have him give me a bit more bank and pitch in self-leveling mode; before long, I'll break down and buy the USB cable and download the software. Armattan has an excellent video tutoral on their site dedicated to setting up the Naze Afro Acro board. Like the Naze-equipped CF 258 tricopter, it's a real handful with the self-leveling switched off, quite the opposite of my KK 2.1 quads. The self-leveling practically removes the bank and pitch.

The fun continues!
Posted by DismayingObservation | Jun 20, 2014 @ 01:35 PM | 10,629 Views
Well, I promised a photo in my last blog and I always keep my promises!

To recap, I just completed this very morning what had been nothing more than a frame provided by Chris Leroux at Armattan Quadrocopters for use in a "mini-review" here at RCG. He later sold me the DIY components so that I could complete the model.

The review may be found here for those interested in seeing what I had to start with.

I did a somewhat gentle test flight in the driveway with the self-leveling engaged. Like all of Armattan's designs, the CF 226 with its Naze Afro Acro board flies like the state-of-the-art machine it is.

That frame just beckoned me to hang some electrics on it and I'm honestly glad that I did. It was worth every moment of the work I put into getting it together.

Of course, Chris will gladly sell an RXR or TXR version.
Posted by DismayingObservation | Jun 19, 2014 @ 12:48 PM | 10,868 Views
After spending the past few mornings changing my bare Armattan Quadrocopters CF 226 quadcopter frame from an interesting bit of carbon fiber art to a functional flying machine, I've gained even more respect for Chris Leroux. Chris has to assemble these machines to order and within a certain time frame.

Me? I'm having a blast.

Lots of soldering and desoldering, but as of now, all of the soldering is finished. The power distribution board, the Naze Afro Acro control board and even the battery strap are in place. Checks of each individual motor as if they were airplane motors were A-OK. I no longer have a bare frame but rather a quadcopter which is more than 95 percent complete.

Next stop: Plug-in time!

I'll post photos when it's done.
Posted by DismayingObservation | Jun 10, 2014 @ 06:03 PM | 10,810 Views
Oh, am I ever going to have some fun.

After doing a mini-review of the Armattan Quadrocopters CF 226 mini quadcopter frame, I just had to do it.

Order the electronics, that is. They arrived this morning!

Chris sent me everything - and I do mean everything, including solder! While turning my empty frame into a functional quadcopter isn't too daunting a task per se, it will definitely take time which in turn gives me a whole new appreciation of the work Chris Leroux puts into each of his builds.

Armattan fans and fans of quads in general, I am on the verge of unleashing one seriously fast machine on the unwary.

Stay tuned for updates!
Posted by DismayingObservation | Jun 03, 2014 @ 08:37 AM | 10,643 Views
There was a spam post the other day here on the blogs where some doofus was "selling" a lightly used $90,000 Lexus SUV for only $20,000. I and a few others had some fun with some comments before the post was rightfully delegated to the bit bucket. Won't be long before that same doofus has his account suspended.

The bit bucket has a lot of the most unintentionally hilarious spam posts I've ever seen. Run one's native language through a computer - assuming one has mastery of the language in the first place - and out comes pure weirdness.

As they say in the programming biz: Garbage in, garbage out. I'd like to offer up my own version, namely garbage in, hilarity out.

So, as per my previous blog, I present what seems to be spam for a bodybuilding product.

No spam links, of course. The bold type and some of the spacing are mine.

Remember when lifting weights to end your term with a shoe.

Grab the popcorn!

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