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Old Yesterday, 08:45 PM
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Palo Alto, California, United States
Joined Jan 2003
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Comet P-51A for Rubber Power

I just finished building an old Comet P-51A "kit" (18" span) and here are some photos of the construction. I had the plans and print wood only, so it isn't really a kit construction, more like a build from plans.

I used good old model airplane glue for the construction (Sig Ment) which slowed down the pace of the build.

Here are pictures of the basic frames built over the plans.

Steve
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Old Yesterday, 08:48 PM
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The fuselage sides are joined and the wing dihedral is added. I used 1 1/8" dihedral under each wing tip as suggested on the plans, probably should have used more (1.5"?)

Steve
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Old Yesterday, 08:52 PM
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Palo Alto, California, United States
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I cut down an old plastic prop and am using a loop of 3/16" rubber for power. The spinner is solid balsa and it looks like no nose weight will be needed. I added down and right thrust to the nose block.

Steve
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Old Yesterday, 08:54 PM
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Palo Alto, California, United States
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I covered the model with Esaki tissue and white glue and then shrank it with water. One coat of Nitrate dope finishes off the basic covering job. I know this will shrink and warp, but I'm an impatient builder and I don't have glycerin handy to add to the dope.

Steve
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Old Yesterday, 08:59 PM
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I added the canopy and some detailing. The decals are from an old Guillows P-40 kit and nearly the right size. I skipped the cannons and cockpit details. My attempts to attach the canopy celluloid didn't work out as planned, some stray RC-56 glue found its way to where it shouldn't be and I should have put the paper trim over the celluloid.

Steve
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Old Yesterday, 09:02 PM
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I've never had much luck trimming small scale rubber models. After much experimenting, the P51 flies in a left turn pattern and can circle at 20 ft height until the rubber is spent, maybe 20 seconds or so. On one flight a thermal got it up to 60 ft and when the rubber motor ran out the prop didn't freewheel and the excess drag made a nice dethermalizer. It's not my best flier and the trim adjustments constantly change but it does fly and looks nice in the air. I hope to get some flight photos soon.

Steve
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Old Yesterday, 09:05 PM
more balsa please!
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Princeton, In
Joined Jul 2007
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Great looking model. Looks like you did an excellent job with the covering.

Darvin
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Old Yesterday, 10:45 PM
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Mine is completely warped but it was a great flyer. Someday I will have to build another. I wonder if the tissue and dope was different back in the day when these kits were designed.
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Old Yesterday, 11:24 PM
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When I was a kid none of my models ever flew more than the distance of the cul-de-sac where I lived. Once I was finally able to adjust a free flight model to fly properly my expectations increased and that's where I'm stuck with this model. Compared to a larger more conventional free flight model, it feels like the propeller dynamics are dominating the trimming process on this model. Lots of gyroscopic effect and aerodynamic influence too. For example, when the model stalls it will not immediately recover like it does in gliding flight, it will hang on the prop instead and do a torque roll because the prop acts like a forward mounted tail that never can stall. I finally managed to get it to fly OK but nowhere near as consistent as my small sport duration models.

Scigs, You're the expert on these models so I'll defer to your opinions on what models fly well, I'm just dabbling here. Regarding ancient dope, in the old days I only used Testors or Aerogloss dope and I don't think any of my models lasted long enough to warp. I seem to remember that Testors dope had a smell different than most modern dopes, does anyone know why?

Steve
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Old Today, 12:00 AM
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Nice job on the Comet Mustang!

Strictly speaking, and you as the builder certainly may call it anything you wish(!), it's not a P-51A. It appears the kit is supposed to represent a P-51 , as it was canon armed.

IIRC, and not counting the prototype NA-73X, P-51(note: no letter suffix) was 2nd distinct Mustang variant produced, appearing right before the A-36. P-51A was variant just after A-36.

Probably not important to anyone except us diehard Mustang buffs.

Regarding dope. Testors was Butyrate, IIRC,. So was Aeroglos, but they did change their formula some time in late 60's or early 70's. Again, IIRC they changed to an acrylic type. I do know that they were no longer compatible with other butyrate brands.

I believe Comet Mustang kits were from the 40's. Quite few people used "Banna Oil" on rubber models of that time period. Nitrate dopes have always been in use.
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