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Old Apr 06, 2008, 04:11 PM
Howdy Doody
GWSRobster's Avatar
Yorkshire, England, UK
Joined Sep 2004
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My Stevens Aero RV-4 Build Log

Hey all

Well a few of you suggested i keep a build log so here goes...

Just so anyone interested wants to know where i'm at, a brief history from me lol. First plane bought & flown by me was in 2004 and was a GWS Slowstick. Built it, crashed it a few times, put it away for 3 years. Then early last year i dug it out of the shed and taught myself to fly again. Mastered that, bought a new SS, made it brushless, went onto Lipos and never looked back. Since then i've had 3 x GWS E-Starters, an Ikarus SU-29 Shockie, RC Powers F117 Stealth, a 3D home-made foamie and a GWS Formosa. I love the foamies, as they're easy enough to build, take a hammering and always (OK, nearly always ) come back for more. Flying standards i'd say i'm a decent novice, still have a few mishaps but not as often as i used to !!

So i was looking on one of my local hobby shops website and i came across the Stevens Aero range, immediately i LOVED the look of the RV-4, and the fact that in the description it said "Builder Skill Level - Novice, and Pilot Skill Level - Novice" had it sold to me in an instant! lol. And thats how this thread comes about!

So my first journey into a balsa build and an aeroplane made from something other than foam starts on Saturday morning when Mr Postman arrives...



I had to go into work on Saturday but when i returned i just couldn't help diving into the kit and making a start . I do have to be carefull not to ignore the wife so much, so i'll just be doing this a bit at a time. The first thing that made me laugh was the instructions saying to tape the plans to the bench, well my bench aint that big!!, so each of the two plans will be taped over each other as and when needed. So i readied the ash tray (will be smoking plenty to keep me steady!) and got the first set of plans out...



I've not used thin CA for a long time, the last time i used it was when i used to mess about with glow cars & buggys, and i used fast drying CA to stick the tyres to the rims, and more often than not i would stick the rims & tyres to ME lol, so i should have known...

So back to the RV-4 kit and the first piece i glued on the bench was glued to the bench, and the plan sheet and to me !! lol, but i'm glad i figured that early on as now i know. I didnt expect the Roket HOT CA to be so fierce (the name on the bottle perhaps a clue??? lol).

After a couple of hours of slow build, taking my time, i'd got the rudder, elevator, vertical & horizontal stabs done and called it a day for Saturday...



I've spent around 5 hours today doing DIY on the home, and then couldn't resist having another hour or so on the RV-4 kit (man, its addictive this kit building !!)

Starting on the fuselage pieces...



Then the fuselage sides (note the beer is out by now lol)...



By the way, i decided there was no harm in replacing one of the fuselage side trusses with the optional servo mount towards the rear of the fuse, as if i end up too front heavy i can always move the servos to the rear, OR keep them in the original location. Nice to have options

After building the major fuselage pieces, i'm now at a point where i need to start framing her up, and not glueing til i'm instructed to by the manual !! And after 5 hours DIY, the snows coming down outside, its cold in the garage, and my concentration is not at its best. So i've called it a day, but pleased with progress so far



So its back to work tomorrow and not sure when i'll next get a couple of hours, hopefully before next weeekend but then there's the UK weather that means you dont have to rush these things lol. One thing for sure, i'm LOVING this Stevens Aero kit so far

Regards,
GWSRobster
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Old Apr 07, 2008, 01:16 AM
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Central PA
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Looking good Robster.

I'm going to need to build a Stevens kit when I get home!

Looking forward to the rest of your build.

Tom
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Old Apr 07, 2008, 07:26 AM
Howdy Doody
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Yorkshire, England, UK
Joined Sep 2004
210 Posts
Hi Tom,

Thanks for the encouragement - it does seem to be going well so far !! If anyone spots anything not looking right as i go along, please shout up !!

Rob
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Old Apr 07, 2008, 08:51 AM
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Merced,Ca.
Joined Jul 2006
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Rob,
This will be fun watching you build the RV-4!!

Brad
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Old Apr 07, 2008, 09:02 AM
Howdy Doody
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Yorkshire, England, UK
Joined Sep 2004
210 Posts
Hey thanks Brad i hope it turns out good!!

I'm shocked though, i've just had a look on the UK 5 day forecast for my area and its looking like a week of winds UNDER 10mph!! Blimey, thats a change!! Looks like the building of the SA Kit will be replaced with actually flying some of my planes Saying that, its dark by 8pm so maybe squeeze some build time in as well this week lol.

Rob
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Old Apr 07, 2008, 10:30 AM
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Toronto, Ontario
Joined May 2004
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There is nothing better than sitting down at your work table and opening up a new SA kit! I love the smell of the burned balsa lol.
I'm away at school, so over the entire year I've only built ONE SA kit (an Edge 540), and it's not even complete yet. I know, a sad fact, one SA kit in a year....
The second I get home I'm ordering a Gride to build while I finish the Edge.
Looking forweard to seeing this come together.

It's snowing there? We've been at 13+ celecius for the whole weekend plus today with pure sun.. It's nice, but I'm stuck slaving away in a dorm room studying for final exams. I haven't mountain biked, windsurfed, or flown some good RC in over 7 months.
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Old Apr 07, 2008, 12:10 PM
Howdy Doody
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Yorkshire, England, UK
Joined Sep 2004
210 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by tommyeflight89
It's snowing there? We've been at 13+ celecius for the whole weekend plus today with pure sun.. It's nice, but I'm stuck slaving away in a dorm room studying for final exams. I haven't mountain biked, windsurfed, or flown some good RC in over 7 months.
Hey yeh, its been snowing!! Not too much but strange to get it this time of year in the UK, April has usually the been the start (and end lol) of our summer. And the winds this year have been really bad. I'm looking out of work windows now and the flagpoles on the forecourt are still blowing a fair bit in the breeze. But its due to die down.

Get that kit finished dude !!

Rob
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Old Apr 07, 2008, 07:09 PM
Howdy Doody
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Yorkshire, England, UK
Joined Sep 2004
210 Posts
Hey guys,

Well its been a double whammy tonight lol, not only did the wind subside for half an hour in the UK and allow me to run a pack through my GWS Formosa (god, i love that plane!!), but the missus was working late so i've managed to squeeze another hour and a halfs building in too

So back to the SA manual it was a case of friction fitting the fuse parts together to start and form the fuselage, here i'm getting the 1st couple of pieces in situ...



Then step by step the Fuse is starting to take shape & the CA is starting to run, i'm really into how easy this kit is going together, big thumbs up to Stevens Aero For a proper novice builder such as i am, this kit is making me feel like master builder!!

The end of my short time building tonight, and i can REALLY see things starting to look good



I was worried that i've assembled a piece already, and i've not yet being instructed to use it by the manual, but fear not, having read a few pages forward its not quite time yet!! lol. I'm so scared of making a mistake but SA seem to have it covered

Things are moving on well, i'll have to start and think about ordering some electrics. The plan is to use a spare motor i have, a Microdan 2505 3D motor, spinning a 9050 GWS HD prop, and rather than skimp on cheap servos i reckon on Hitec HS-55's and i'll need to get a 20-25A ESC. Oh and order some 1000'ish 3 cell Lipos

By the time i'm finished building, i dont know if i'll have the balls to fly this plane!! lol. Thinking i'll be happy just to look at it !!

Regards,
Rob
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Old Apr 08, 2008, 01:07 AM
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Central PA
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That's the great thing about SA planes Rob. They are so fun to build, if you wreck one, you get to build another!

I've only wrecked one so far, my cap 232, but I sent it out in a blaze of glory. Shame was, I put alot of time into an led lighting system on it. I may have gotten a little ahead of myself skills wise on that plane, but we never really got along. If you've had a plane like that, you know what I mean. My son brought it in hard and lost some covering, so we decided to keep flying it, and at the end, it had maybe half the covering left on the wing when I piled it in. It was quickly replaced by another SA kit I'm happy to report. I'm trying to hold steady at twenty planes or so.

Yep, Bill's instructions are probably the best written in the industry. You ought to be thinking of a covering scheme, any ideas?
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Old Apr 08, 2008, 05:18 AM
Howdy Doody
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Yorkshire, England, UK
Joined Sep 2004
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TommyB
It was quickly replaced by another SA kit I'm happy to report. I'm trying to hold steady at twenty planes or so.

Yep, Bill's instructions are probably the best written in the industry. You ought to be thinking of a covering scheme, any ideas?
20 Planes!! lol. Hell, thats fair few Tom The RV-4 will be number 6 in my fleet, but ultimately the one that will have cost me the most in both time & money. So when i'm done it'd be a shame to pile it in, but as you say, you can then strips the electrics and start building again

I'm trying NOT to think about the covering, lol, this part of the build will scare me i think... There may be some cheating involved as well, as i think i'll be asking an experienced friend to help me out , it would be a shame to build such a nice looking kit then wreck it by doing a poor job of covering it . I do think the colour scheme will have a distinctly British feel to it though, most of my Foamies are Red/White & Blue lol, my 3D foamie even has RAF badges on it, a bit Red Arrow'esque!! lol

And i need to remember that as a belly-lander, the underside covering will need to be 'heavy duty' !! Although whatever is growing in the field behind me now is looking nice and "soft" and about a foot high, so by the time she's ready to fly i'll have a nice cushion for my landings.

Regards,
Rob
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Old Apr 09, 2008, 06:08 PM
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Hi Robster

I've been eyeing the Rv-4 for quite some time. Doesn't seem to be much on the forums about it so I was happy to find your build log. I'm new to building; only on my third. I started out with trhe Steven's "STIK", just to get my feet wet and then built a J-3 Cub. Really learned a lot from that one. Anyway, one tip for ya; cover your plans with wax paper. CA doesn't stick to it, and you can build your assemblies right on the plan.
Don't sweat the covering process, it's not difficult, just a bit tedious, and there are some real good video tutorials to help you. One of the best lite weight coverings is manufactured right there in your homeland (SoLite). The manufacturer has an excellent covering video to get you started out correctly. http://www.solarfilm.co.uk/video_cm.html
I'll be watchin ya
M
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Old Apr 09, 2008, 06:52 PM
Howdy Doody
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Yorkshire, England, UK
Joined Sep 2004
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Thanks for the link M, already added to my favourites!! Just about to update the build log now

Rob
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Old Apr 09, 2008, 07:45 PM
Howdy Doody
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Yorkshire, England, UK
Joined Sep 2004
210 Posts
Hey all,

Well i've been lucky the last couple of evenings and actually had the opportunity to fly some of my other planes rather than just building the RV-4, although i'm loving building the SA kit, the weather in the UK really has been so poor this year that in a way you feel like you've got to take the chances to get out and fly when you can!! So a couple of packs through the Formosa again tonight (i'm getting real good with it now) and some more 3D foamy training and then the Lipos went back on charge and the urge to "just have an hour" in the garage with the SA kit, turned into 2 hours

Maybe its the flying time that makes me want to see the RV-4 ready for action, as no doubt it will be as sweet a flyer as it is to build

I am a bit annoyed tonight though, i thought the the build was going a bit too well for a 1st timer, and in one of the stages it turns out that i'd glued a piece in one of the fuselage sides the wrong way round. It didnt really matter, a bit of jiggery-pokery with the hobby knife and i managed to rectify the situation, and then carve a small fillet from some excess balsa and make good my mistake... Phew, not too disastrous then lol. You'd never know unless it was pointed out !!

So the next few steps involved placing the pre-built fuse formers in situ along the rear of the fuse, with the additional fuse struts located in place and in effect shaping the rear end of the fuselage. This was all dry fitted and the additional spars at the top & bottom of the fuse also dry fitted and checked for squareness. This was then glued up with thin CA. There was also some parts to assemble around the rear of the fuse that would be the mounting points for the elevator & rudder. Again at this stage i got 2 x parts mixed up and glued the wrong piece in first but spotted it immediately and managed to squeeze the part back off before the CA had set... Lucky!! This is how it looked...



I was a bit worried that the rear was starting to look a bit... well, cumbersome i guess. I seemed to be placing a lot of pieces around the rear of the fuse and wasn't entirely convinced it was looking right. I am constantly checking the plans sheets and the manual, but just to ease my mind i had a quick test fit of the rudder and elevator, and once i'd done this i was happy that everything had been done in the correct manor and all bits went where they should and fitted really good if i'm been honest!!

The test fit...



Dont worry, the rudder and elevator arent glued in and i've removed them again now. I just had to have a quick go with them to ease my mind, and now i'm happy that the fuse assembly is as it should be

So a quick final check over the plans shows everything is looking nice and square on the fuselage front...



...and just before i left the garage for this evening, i couldnt help getting some sheeting fitted to the fuselage sides, i did the easy bits tonight and the next couple of bits need to be formed so i'd rather do that on a fresh day.

With the front fuse side balsa sheets fixed...



All in all, for whatever reason, i've not been so confident tonight, and have found/made an odd mistake or two. But its all sorted with no harm to the kit and i'm really seeing things taking proper shape now. Theres only 2 or 3 more steps on the fuse and then its onto building the wings and ailerons !! They look a bit tricky, but no doubt i'll figure it !! lol

Catch ya all later!

Rob
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Old Apr 09, 2008, 11:32 PM
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Merced,Ca.
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412 Posts
Rob your 4 is coming along quite nicely. I think your doing a great job on your build. Great pic's to!!!

Brad
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Old Apr 10, 2008, 05:11 AM
Howdy Doody
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Yorkshire, England, UK
Joined Sep 2004
210 Posts
Hey thanks Brad

I just keep rattling a few shots off here and there and then pick the clearest ones/most illustrative ones for the thread. I could have taken HUNDREDS of shots, but i get so wrapped up in building the kit and then think "hell, i've not taken any shots for a while!!" lol. Its very absorbing. But overall for a first ever kit build i'm pleased s'far, and certainly now knowing the fuse is nice and square helps the nerves. These steps are all milestones, and if i thought i could go start to finish with no mistakes i would be kidding myself !!

Anyway, the UK weather looks to be returning to its normal horrible state over the next couple of days (just in time for the weekend ) so i'll probably be back in the garage very soon !!

Regards,
Rob
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