Hey, man... thanks... I'm diggin' the look myself
Yeah I don't really use my boxes since I mainly fly in the field just outside my backyard. I did take it down to a local park last week and take it to the LHS all the time but I usually just throw in on the passenger seat of my SUV or on the floor in front of it... or in the back (seats are folded down right now).
I'll be posting some better pics in my blog with close-ups of how I attached the gear struts. It's a bit deceiving in the picture I posted because it looks like it's the same setup as the real Champ which uses those as the actual axle and the oleo (suspension) struts are attached to the top of them near their ends just outside the wheel hub... the Hobbyzone Champ uses what would actually be the oleo strut on the real plane as the main gear. My mod is the opposite of the real plane... there's actually no modification at all to my existing landing gear and hub (wheel)... I just attached my new strut ends to the existing gear by bending a tiny hook in the ends to hook them around the existing "gear struts" just outside the wheel and then gave them a bit of further crimp with my needle nose pliers to try and close the loop tight a bit... works perfect. I sat and thought about it for a while and this was the simplest and most robust (crash proof) method I could think of for attaching that end of my struts... the belly attachment point works the same as the stock gear and slides into the belly slot along with the stock gear's strut. The whole combination installs and removes easily as one unit.
As far as functionality, I did it for scale looks, but I was pleased to discover that I no longer have the gear partially sliding out of the belly during less than stellar "landings"... I was constantly having to pinch and push it back tight into the belly before.... I've now put about 8 to 12 packs through my Champ with this new mod and haven't once had to re-seat the gear in the belly. But that's just bonus
I used (I think, have to double-check) .025" piano wire and bent it into shape with needle-nose pliers... covered in two different diameters of heat shrink to build up to the diameter I wanted, the new strut only ads about half a gram in weight. I had to leave an opening at the belly cavity for battery insertion so I shaped my one-piece strut in a way that leaves the opening while creating the proper angle if you were to draw an imaginary line along the strut all the way to the proper attachment point on the belly of the plane (which, of course, is impossible because there is no belly on that part of the HZ Champ, there's a cavity