Trex 700e - MD500E
Well hello again,
I am back at it with another scale build. My Trex600 stretch with 60-90 size Bell 222 fuselage is nearing completion and so I decided to start a new project. This time around I will be building an MD500E from Funkey with Align Trex 700e mechanics.
The idea behind this build was to have a simpler project then the last, but, to still end up with a nice looking scale helicopter. The Md500 has no retracts and this particular model accepts the Trex 700 mechanics almost as a bolt on. Since my mechanics are already fully upgraded from the few years of 3D it has been doing, there shouldn't be too much work involved with those.
I will mostly concentrate on the fuselage, IE: Lighting and scale details, as well as adding a 5 blade rotor head to complete the look.
The fuselage is from Century Heli (Funkey) and as always, it is of great quality and finish. It is a 60-90 size fuse with a beautiful black and silver paint scheme with lots of painted on details (fuel caps, danger signs, body lines)
One thing to mention is this thing is HUGE... I was expecting a similar fuselage to my 700 size Bell 222, but since the actual helicopters are very different in size, the scaled down version of this MD500 is a monster next to the 222.
Well here are some pictures of the fuselage as it came out of the box, as well as a quick mock up and some comparative pictures with the future mechanics and the Bell 222 (also 700 size)
Stay tuned for more, and I hope you enjoy.
I found the matching tail number for this heli and it seems to have a small history. Turns out it actually is an MD500D which was used by the army but crashed while landing, and was rebuild and sold with the new paint scheme.
Also this is the rotor head I plan on purchasing. Has anyone ever heard anything about it or have actually used it or seen it in action???
I started working on windows for the cockpit area. These are provided with the kit and only do the front top and bottom portions. Nothing too special here, just trim to fit and I just tacked them on for now until I'm ready to have them permanently installed. I will be going to my local plastics distributer and get some matching lexan to eventually do the side windows.
I also worked on the landing gear. The issue is that the supplied landing is close but still very different from scale. There are several different versions of the landing gear on the real heli, some short, some long, some ultra stubby, plus the tail sags at the rear from 5degrees all the way up to 10degrees on some models. I looked at some pictures and had some back and forth discussions with Keyrigger about the stance, and decided to adapt my gear to my build.
The problem is that with so many different variations it would be next to impossible to get the gear 100% scale. Largely due to the fact that the struts on the real heli have a much greater forward down angle than the model version. So instead of messing around with angle, width, thickness, height and all the other details that arise, I decided to simply make it look close enough without spending hundreds of hours on this part of the build.
Since the heli will never be 100% scale from top to bottom, I doubt many people will ever even notice or care for that matter. The important thing is that I like it and it adds a slight personal touch from just the stock gear.
First, the rear gear was trimmed approximately a 1/2 inch, then re-drilled the hole to secure it in the fuse. This sets the tail at a 5degree down angle. It is not the most downward I have seen them, but this way makes it simpler to offset the mechanics if need be to get the head level to the ground when at rest.
Next, the four knobs for the grub screws to secure the skids on the outside of the gear were trimmed and the holes will later be filled. This still leaves the knobs for the inside and should be more then enough to keep the skids in place.
I also cut all four step bars and re-located them higher in the front and lower in the rear to get it closer to scale. I will eventually be adding some side steps near the rear doors to add to the overall look.
Later, the struts will be painted silver to match leaving the skids and the step bars black.
Decided to try and mock the the mechanics before I get too ahead of myself.
So far so good, the TREX700e sits right on the main floor and the rear end of the mechanics is raised slightly which aids in leveling out the main rotor.
There will be some slight figuring out to do for the tail section where the rudder linkage meets up with the boom, but no big worries here.
Also I haven't figured out yet if I will be modifying the mechanics to give me more room in front for a future cockpit. Since the big nose piece of the Trex takes up quite a bit of real estate. Not to mention figuring out a good way to have battery acces without having to remove a bunch of screws.
Here it is with the 2 blade head.
Looking very good. Please see my PM. Yours should be in the air very soon. The landing gear look much better than they came. If I didn't mention, use the inside holes of the gear to install the setscrews into and then cut the outer ones flush and fill the hole. Every little bit helps and once the gear is painted to match the orginal, any sanding work will be well covered. Take care and have fun.
Looking forward to seeing it fly this summer brother.
I had a chance over the weekend to work on the helicopter lighting.
I have ordered a light controller and a few L.E.D.'s from Dimension Engineering. I have used this controller in my other scale build and simply love the fact that every channel is programmable from time on or off to brightness. Their L.E.D.'s are very bright and come in white, red or green. One thing to mention is that they are a PC board mounted L.E.D. and do not always fit everywhere. So for the tighter spaces a conventional L.E.D. is better. While I wait for the Dimension Engineering parts to come in I started working on the other lights in the model.
The top and bottom beacon are very straight forward. The lens and metallic ring that were supplied with the fuselage are simply glued in place and the DE L.E.D. is fitted from the inside.
The main landing light/headlight is a reflective dome glued from the inside and a semi clear plastic dome on the outside. This is convenient for simple L.E.D. installation but I wanted to add a little more depth and detail to the simple light. I used a plastic light housing I received with the fuselage lighting kit as a gift and removed the conventional L.E.D. and placed it inside the reflective dome in fuse, then the semi clear dome is added over and a DE L.E.D. is fitted from the inside and will likely be controlled of a TX channel.
The vertical fin has a light post and comes with a lens but installing an L.E.D. is a bit tricky since no holes or conduits are provided for the wires.
I first cut a large opening in the fin where it mounts at the boom to bore a hole in the wood support for the mounting, the opening will be hidden by the boom so no need to fill it after. Then using a small drill bit I carefully drilled a hole at an angle from the post towards the fin. Unfortunately the paint cracked a little and will have to be fixed later. Then I installed a small L.E.D. and the provided lens, and painted a silver ring to keep the lighting theme thru-out the model.
The horizontal fin does not have any ports for lighting, so everything must be done from scratch. I did this using a conventional L.E.D. and housing filled with epoxy, then shaved to an appropriate shape. Then a small hole was drilled at an angle and the wires are ran thru the vertical fin out the same hole and into the boom.
As for the skid lights. This is the most complicated portion of the lighting mainly due the wiring issues. I've seen a few different ways of doing this and decided to try my luck at my own way. I used a small brass tube for running the wires inside. I shaved a groove where the tube sits in the strut and epoxied it in place. Then I drilled a hole in the skid where it lines up with the brass tube. The whole thing is painted to match and the brass tube barely noticeable. This allows me to take apart the model and rebuild it or make any changes to the lighting or wiring since everything is removable.
I also ordered some skid tips from Shapeways which is a 3D printing company who basically print and ship out products based on CAD drawings that designers send in. These fit perfectly and look pretty scale. I then modified them slightly to accept the DE L.E.D.s, painted them flat black to match and glued on a clear bulb that will eventually be painted clear green and red.
I will post a video once I receive my DE controller and have it programmed.
Nice job hiding the wires. It is a lot more serviceable than the way I did mine but I looked at it that if I need to get at them, it is because of a catastrophic crash, lol. Those skid light housings are really good looking and I remember seeing the thread on another forum where he designed and had them made for him. However, I am wondering if you get good prices from them for your work as you are no longer in control over their usage past your own? Have you made a choice for the head yet? I am so close to a maiden flight that it is killing me, the weather, that is. Take care.
As for the head, I haven't made a decision quite yet. Still looking at a few options, but in no rush to get something and regret it later. I want a nice looking head that will function well, but without breaking the bank sorta speak.
Here is the video as promised of the lighting system nearing completion.
I have received the Dimension Engineering controller and missing L.E.D.s and had a chance to program it and test out the lighting in their final configuration.
Now all that is left to do is finish the landing gear, clean up the lighting wiring, add a bit more scale details and I should have a fuselage ready to accept the mechanics.
Here's the video.
Nice. A comment about the lights and their function, though. On the tail, the red light should be the one that pulses to create the illusion of being a rotating light. You can vary the speed up and down a bit to suit your tastes. The top light is the white strobe that can be a single flash or a double flash. Those red lights on the top and bottom of the fuse have always puzzled me. I have found only two pictures that have a red beacon light on the top of the doghouse and not too many that are on the bottom but more than the top. One of the fellows that is in the LHS told me the criteria for the two lights to be there and I can't remember what it was. But FAA/TC rules want them there if something is blocked from view, I think. I had the same thing when I put them in mine but the boom light does exist on most of the TOW Defenders I can find. It's the bottom light that is rare but I did find one picture with the light actually on, lol. Those tip housings work really well. Nice job. Hope this helps.
Looks great brother.
Long Time Coming
I do realize it has been over a year since my last post. The past year has been full of events and this project has been put on the back burner too many time now. It has been a slow going process.... waiting mainly on the head of choice, and not to mention a new addition to inventory of toys (IE: a live size pleasure craft). So for those of you who are still following, here is an update....
Going back a year, I have made an acquisition of an HPI Baja 5B which in its self has had its own ups and downs, upgraded, destroyed and upgraded once more, a few major modifications to my DJI F550 Flamewheel Drone mainly in the video gimbal as well as aforementioned 22ft Axis wakeboat, which has all been keeping me very very busy. Away from the computer but not too busy for these idol hands.
It is now mid February 2014 and I can firmly state that this helicopter will be lifting off once the beautiful northern weather lifts and spring can once again show its face.
First up was some much needed rear steps for the fuselage.
Nothing too complicated here, just some left over brass tubing and a little bit of inspiration and voila...
I cut some bass tube left over from the wire channel for the skid lighting and flattened one end. Once flattened, a small bend to the flat piece to support the step and there you have a step bar. Then, I cut some flat stock from a previous project for the actual "step" and welded the 2 pieces together, once welded, the assembly was painted and a bit of 120grit sand paper was added to give some grip to the step bars.
Next, drill a whole in the fuselage and support base, insert and glue in place.
This fuselage comes with a LARGE rectangular opening on the bottom. I'm assuming this is for a Nitro setup. One would think it would be easier to cut a hole out for this setup rather than trying to patch up an existing hole for an electric setup, but hey... I didn't design the thing I just bought it. Since my fuselage came pre painted I didn't want to mess with bondo and sanding and repainting to match. So I decided to make a simple patch out of some existing fiberglass I had from my old Bell 222 wreck and add some window trim to make it look something like an access hatch. Since the completed patch is not flush with the body because of the trim any minor colour discrepancies is hidden with the shadows... plus who are we kidding here... its on the bottom, no one will ever seen it unless its zooming by high in the sky.
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