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        Build Log Dare Design 60" Piper Super Cub PA-18

#1 AmpAce Jun 14, 2004 11:52 PM

Dare Design 60" Piper Super Cub PA-18
5 Attachment(s)
Really Dare isn't selling a 60" Super Cub, but since I ended up with two of their Cub kits on the shelf, and Piper PA-18 Super Cubs are among my favorite aircraft, it seemed only logical to try to "bash" one of them into a Super Cub.

Changes are minimal with the part from the windshield pillars forward being the most difficult. The firewall is much wider, and of course the engine is completely enclosed by the cowling. The nosebowl is also entirely different, being much wider, and having two prominent "nostril holes" on each side of the prop shaft hole.

Other changes include the elevator having "equalizers" at the tips. The rudder is more curved at the rear, and has a smaller radius at the top. The wing center section has a larger window over the cabin, and almost all Super Cubs have flaps.

The engines went through several upgrades, with the latest versions having 180 hp Lycomings. This is a far cry from the J-3, and a scale model should reflect this increase in power, which I think is an advantage when it comes to flying a model. One does not have to be relegated to "Cub like flight" to remain in the scale performance envelope.

To date I have completed framing the tailfeathers and wings, except for the ailerons and flaps. The most difficult part and where I have spent the most time is from the firewall forward.

Due to past difficulties in trying to hot-form a plastic cowl for another model, I decided to carve a balsa cowl. After roughing out the nose bowl, I decided it would be cool to include opening doors at the sides of the cowl, similar to how the real Super Cubs are equipped. This will help with access to the motor control and motor wiring. I had a lot of trouble with the doors and cowling, but finally scratched out something that at least slightly resembles a Super Cub nose. Even got the motor mount built and everything forward of the firewall fastened together, except for latches on the cowling doors.

Not sure the nose shape is very close, but after looking at a lot of photo's I can see a lot of variation in real Super Cub noses anyway. How's that for an easy disclaimer?!!

Will attempt to attach some pictures of progress so far.


#2 AmpAce Jun 14, 2004 11:56 PM

Sorry about the fuzzy pic's. Just can't seem to get good photo posts, when you have to degrade them so much. Some of you do get good pic's on here though. How do you do it?


#3 St. Martin Jun 15, 2004 04:09 AM

AmpAce, the build looks great. Not too familiar w/dig. cams. You have one very clear. Any idea why? My cam creates images @ 600x800. I then use the edit option to open sketch & skewer in M.S. paint, where I reduce to 85%. My cam lense has only two positions, distance and close, via slide switch on bottom of lense. Maybe that is the problem, an unfocused lense?


#4 dk944s2 Jun 15, 2004 05:48 AM

Nice work! Those "nostrils" in the cowl really set it off, and make me realize that I need to hog mine out a little more. The opening flaps are pure genius :) :) .

I'm really hit-and-miss on the photos too. I use the macro setting on my camera (a Canon A20 PowerShot), but the focus seems to vary, no matter how careful I am. Well, a fuzzy photo is better than no photo at all.

Keep the PA-18 faith!


#5 Mike Tully Jun 15, 2004 06:26 AM


Your clear picture was the one where flash was used. You need more light. In low light conditions the iris on the camera is wide open, which makes for an extremely small range of focus (depth of field). With lots of light, like with the flash, the iris closes down and the lens produces a much wider range of focus. Use lots of light and you will get sharper pictures!

#6 portablevcb Jun 15, 2004 07:47 AM


Another thing I found is that I first shrink the pic to 640x480. Then pick a compression that just makes it under the 100k limit.

Lighting is most important tho. I try to use one of those halogen desk lamps to 'fill in' the shot. Then use a tripod to hold the camera so it doesn't move. Best is to shoot during daylight (not direct sun if you can help it, just a bright room). Mike's description is good, and, if you have any control over shutter speed and f stop you can diddle them to get a better pic (most don't).

Despite all this I sometimes get a fuzzy pic (usually from me shaking). That's the good thing with digital is you can take several and just delete the ones that are messed up.

Now, that looks like it will ge a great build! I always liked the super cub better anyway :)


#7 AmpAce Jun 15, 2004 09:33 AM

Thanks guys! I'll try the suggestions for better pic's. I'm sure Mike is right about the light. Charlie's suggestions are great too. Will try to take more shots, so maybe some of them will be better. Now all I have to do is get my wife's camera away from her more often, plus find the time to keep on building.

I like any version of he Cub, but I think the Super Cub is more versatile as a model since you can use more power without being too far out of scale, and it has flaps.

Thanks All!


#8 St. Martin Jun 15, 2004 09:37 AM

We have a local bunch who fly from water. Haven't done that since I left Fla. If I built another cub, it would be a float plane. I always thought they were the most "romantic" looking of all.


#9 AmpAce Jun 15, 2004 09:49 AM

Steve, I've never flown from water, but I have to agree with you about the romantic look. I always worry about more mundane thing such as keeping water out of all the electronics, waterproofing the covering, what happens if I crash, etc. I'll have to try it sometime though. Just bought a set of GWS foam floats, so maybe I'll try them on a Beaver or E-Starter first, before I risk a balsa model.


#10 St. Martin Jun 15, 2004 09:55 AM

I always give the structure two coats of nitrate to protect the wood. A drain hole in the tail is a plus. I have used iron ons, but prefer a doped covering. Freash water does not hurt the electronics. I wrapped the rec in a baggy. In case of a dunking just take the wing off and let everything airdry. Of course brackish or saltwater is a no..no.. Think how pretty it would look on a set of scale round top Edo's.


#11 AmpAce Jun 15, 2004 11:13 AM

Steve, aahhhhh yes! Someday I must do that! This one is destined for the more mundane, ugly old tundra tires. By the way do you have a favorite very lightweight doped covering that is relatively easy to apply. If so, how would you guess it compares to solite, for weight?


#12 AmpAce Jun 15, 2004 11:52 AM

Edit: After looking things over some more, it has become obvious that the kit is cut properly, though the W7 parts are a little narrow (short). Sooo--disregard the rest of the post below describing the error in the kit. It isn't so. The W8 parts fit at such an angle that they need to be wider to cover the distance.

Bummer!!! For any of you currently building this kit, I just discovered an error in the laser cutting of two of the wing parts. The parts are W7 and W8. W7 is located at the trailing edge of the wing ribs, adjacent to the ailerons, and is cut too narrow. It is the proper width to fit where W8 is supposed to fit. W8 is located at the leading edge of the aileron ribs, and is cut wider (taller) than W7, and is the proper width for W7. The two parts can't simply be exchanged, as they are cut to the correct lengths, with W7 being slightly longer than W8.

I have e-mailed Dare Design, so they can get this corrected, if they haven't already. Mine is an early kit, so it could be already corrected.

I think I can use the two parts as they are, by shimming out to the end of W8 allowing it to work in the W7 position, and shortening W7.

This is a pain, as I already had the W7 parts glued in place, along with their scratch built counterparts for the flaps. I have more or less successfully disassembled the parts from one wing, and the other is soaking in de-bonder. I just hate this, as it messes up an otherwise enjoyable build. Oh well, I suppose I'll eventually work around it and it will be forgotten.



#13 portablevcb Jun 15, 2004 12:09 PM


I didn't notice, did the kit have provisions for flaps or are you bashing them? Make sure you get some detailed photos of those parts you changed, like flaps and doors.

I am getting closer to wanting to build this one. Maybe next winter I'll have time :)


#14 AmpAce Jun 15, 2004 12:29 PM

Charlie, No provisions for flaps in the kit. Having to bash them, but it's fairly simple, that is it would be if I could avoid the mistakes. Should have paid more attention to the wing parts not quite fitting right when I glued them in.

The flap bash basically involves just extending another segment of the aileron in to the fuselage. I had to cut the corresponding wing ribs back to make space for the flaps, and I think I can easily reshape the cut off rib ends to make the flap ribs. Also have the aileron ribs to use as patterns. I think I will change the angles at the leading edge of the flap ribs to eliminate the gap at the bottom, as I have some long-moment hinges that I plan to use for the flaps. These are supposed to allow operation more like "fowler flaps" which leaves a gap at the leading edge when deployed. We'll see.

Will try to post some more photo's, when I get them.



#15 AmpAce Jun 15, 2004 03:50 PM

My humble apologies!! The error with the wing parts described in Post #12 is my mistake. The W8 part sits at more of an angle than I thought, thus it needs to be wider (taller) to take up the space. The W7 is cut a little too narrow, but nothing that a little sanding won't cure.

Another thing to watch out for---the triangular trailing edges do have a 90 degree angle between their leading edge and one of the flat sides, but not the other, so they can be installed upside down. When this is done the fit between the back of the aileron ribs and the leading edge of the trailing edge is poor. Ask me how I know! These parts are so small that this angle is hard to see.



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