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Old Nov 04, 2013, 04:43 PM
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52Sabre's Avatar
United States, MI, Grand Rapids
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Hobby King Cloud Dancer

Anyone build this kit? http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/s...dProduct=39068

Impressions?

Any other links to this plane here in RCGroups?
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Old Nov 04, 2013, 07:14 PM
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Joker 53150's Avatar
United States, WI, Muskego
Joined Sep 2012
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Not on that specific kit, but I've built their Red Swan, am currently building a second Red Swan, and also have the Sun Bird waiting to be built so I can at least comment on the quality.

The balsa quality can be hit-or-miss, but generally is OK. This isn't a Mountain Models quality kit, but it's much cheaper.

The instructions suck more than any suck which has ever sucked a suck's suck. These aren't beginner kits based on the instructions alone, and there usually aren't a lot of build threads available to help people. If you've built a few planes and are comfortable thinking ahead 2 or 3 steps problems can be avoided.

The recommended electronics are also very hit-or-miss. Best option may be to build the basic structure, see what kind of weight you end up with and how much room you have for the gear, and go from there. The Cloud Dancer is big enough to handle a lot of different electronics so this may not be as big an issue as it is on the Red Swan.

The quality of the laser cutting is inconsistent. My first RS was worse cut than #2, but then again #2 wasn't too good. Expect to spend some time cutting the parts free. Not a huge issue until you get to the thick pieces of hard balsa or the plywood, when it becomes a pain in the butt.

With all those complaints, the planes are still worth the time. They're cheap and reasonably easy to build. They're different, and unlike the Bixler or Super Cub few people have ever seen one. I saw my first Red Swan as a chance to learn. My first two balsa builds were a Lucky ACE followed by a Switchback (both from Mountain Models) and I wanted to see what I could do with far far far less quality. The results surprised me, as RS#1 has 38 flights and over 11 hours of flight time since Spring. It flies and glides well and has never met the ground in a surprise manner. RS#2 is being built as another experiment, this time trying to build as lightly as possible to extend flight times with a smaller battery. Both builds have given me a lot to think about and I've taught myself plenty with each one.

I've done zero research into what you've built, so for all I know you're a master-builder and could do this in your sleep so forgive me if I sound like I'm talking to a beginner.

My last comment about the Cloud Dancer - I would have a hard time buying it for myself ONLY because I haven't seen a finished plane. The pictures on the HK website are a joke and they don't even show a pic with the landing gear installed. Seriously, I don't know how they expect to maximize sales with such a half-assed effort!

I'll now step down from the soap box...
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Old Nov 04, 2013, 08:00 PM
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52Sabre's Avatar
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Apparently they are designed for folks that have some experience. The RS looks not unlike the 6' span Craft Air (Dynaflite) Piece O' Cake I built and flew in '87. It was powered by a Cox golden bee .049 using a larger than normal 8x6 prop also added and external tank. Radio was a Futaba 2 channel AM. Just rudder and elevator. No throttle. Used transparent monokote on the wings and tail. And a metallic dark blue on the fuselage. I would fly it up until it was a pin prick in the sky. Then it ran out of fuel and took forever to glide down. I really liked that plane.
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Old Feb 03, 2014, 09:41 AM
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HobbyKing Cloud Dancer

I am currently building this kit and have to agree completely with Joker's assessment of the instructions and materials.

I found this post while looking for a build log to help me figure out the construction.

The instructions are mostly just pictures, very little text. Some of the part numbering on the pictures doesn't match the numbering used in the text. The actual parts aren't numbered so you have to match what you have to the pictures which is mostly not a problem. Mostly.

Some information is simply missing and I have been figuring some things out by looking at (more complete) instructions for building other planes.

I found only one build log for this plane. This log includes quite a lot of pictures and is helping me figure out some of the bits:

http://www.rcindia.org/electric-plan...cer-build-log/
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Old Feb 03, 2014, 05:39 PM
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I found that the text was the most misleading aspect of the "instructions". You may be better off only using the pictures and trying to think ahead as many moves as possible. As with the Red Swans I built and the Sun Bird, if they had only included decent instructions the planes would be excellent values. After building two Red Swans and kit-bashing two more of them (one as an EDF and the other as a warmliner, both still under construction) I could build those in my sleep.
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Old Feb 09, 2014, 10:09 PM
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I do spend a lot of time looking at the pictures, test fitting pieces and trying to 'look ahead' as far as I can in the build to understand how it all goes together.

So far I am making good progress and haven't made any errors that I am aware of (fingers crossed).

My biggest mystery currently is two parts that are in the kit that don't appear anywhere in the instructions. Their shape doesn't suggest anything to me so I am stumped on this.

See the attached photo. These are 12" long and made of 1/16 balsa...
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Old Feb 10, 2014, 08:40 AM
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United States, MO, Stockton
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cloud dancer

Quote:
Originally Posted by dana8192 View Post
I do spend a lot of time looking at the pictures, test fitting pieces and trying to 'look ahead' as far as I can in the build to understand how it all goes together.

So far I am making good progress and haven't made any errors that I am aware of (fingers crossed).

My biggest mystery currently is two parts that are in the kit that don't appear anywhere in the instructions. Their shape doesn't suggest anything to me so I am stumped on this.

See the attached photo. These are 12" long and made of 1/16 balsa...
what an insult to the name. the parts in the pic look like a doubler for the wing saddle, the other looks like a brace of some sort, I have the original cloud dancer, a low wing sport job that flies like a trainer.
I would find a better trainer model in your size and price range there are plenty out there.
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Old Feb 10, 2014, 08:38 PM
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I also posted this question on rcindia.org and their reply was the same (along with annotated photos!)

Now that it has been pointed out to me I can see clearly where these go - they are part of the fuselage doubler (wing saddle) as you say.

The fuselage portion of the "instructions" is actually the most detailed bit but these pieces are completely left out of the parts and assembly pictures
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Old Mar 04, 2014, 01:44 AM
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United States, NY, Elbridge
Joined Feb 2013
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I'm building one too, just finished the fuse. Seems rather overbuilt to me. I may do a copy and shave some weight if I get the time.

I just got back into stick building, as I'm under the weather (in more ways than one here in Central New York), and remembered the Guillows rubber banders I built when I was laid up with Mono as a teen. I saw the laser cut kits in Hobby King and figured I couldn't lose for the price. I ordered a Cloud Dancer and a Sunbird.

The laser cutting almost feels like cheating, remembering the tracing, cutting and sanding of each part from sheet balsa on the old kits.

The Cloud Dancer DID provide plenty of nostalgia though, as ELERC had the laser turned down a bit too far for a large portion of the kit (or travel speed too high), with a lot of it burned only 1/3-3/4 through (as mentioned by Joker).
Most of the corners punched a hole, appearently as the laser changed direction, it dwelled long enough to burn through.

I appreciate the insight on the "mystery sheet"
I was kind of thinking that sheet was framing for the vert stab, even though the pictures don't show it as such (with THESE "instructions" that wouldn't surprise me at all). As you folks correctly pointed out, it's suprisingly obvious once you know. I was actually wondering if that sheet belonged to the Sunbird and I had mixed up the parts while cutting them out (I cut out the Sunbird parts while the glue on Cloud Dancer was drying). Which reminds me --

I'm using Franklin's Liquid Hide Glue, as it's my personal favorite, dries slow, and above all (particularly in this application) can be "unglued" with hot water on a rag and patience. Doing this usually does no harm to the parts. So far I've not needed to test this feature of the glue, but the build is young....

I'm also working on a Airfield (NitroPlanes) 1450mm Corsair (foam kit version) which has only a dozen or so postage stamp pictures for "instructions" Seems bad instructions are acceptable in the Chinese manufacturing world. I've seen dozens that are about as bad as these, and for the life of me can't think of one good set. My teenage son and I have been playing "oneupmansship" by posting the worst line of "Chineglish" instructions on our bulletin board. I'm creating a real instruction sheet for the Corsair as I figure it out with help from others who have put one together (The thread is in "Electric Warbirds").

I'm just throwing in my 2cents, and am not insulting anyones skill level by stating simple details, I'm probably the least experienced here, but go by the principle of mentioning anything that might be overlooked, you never know what little tidbit will help somebody. I came to this section trying to decide what covering to order, and found out about the wing mount! Also sorry for running on, it's my nature, especially @ 3am.

What do you folks suggest for covering? I have experience only with plain old monokote, and the Japanese paper and dope method used on all those Guillows kits. I believe at least a couple I used thinned white glue for dope, but that resulted in brittle covering.(hard to remember - it was nearly 40yrs ago)
I was looking in HobbyZone and they have a dozen or so covering materials. Sure surprised me. I see there is a fabric version, and that kind of appeals to me as a more authentic style. I have my old Mono-kote Iron(needs a new sock), and a cheap hardware store heat gun. It would be nice not to buy more equipment right now, but if it's the best way, I would.

Thanks,
Scott
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Old Mar 05, 2014, 04:00 PM
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Scott - Had my kit for several months now just about ready to start in on it. I've got a few 25 year old rolls of monokote left over from my old fuel days around so I'll probably use that. I think I've got some transparent shades as well. Yeah my monokote iron sock is missing too. But I rarely used it. Actually I had quite a lot of success with a 40 year old GE travel iron. I'll probably try a medium CA although I use to be happy with franklin aliphatic wood glue. I'll try to post a few pics as I go along. Wife won't be too happy as I borrow some straight pins. Oh well. It'll be good to get back to pins and wax paper. Although we don't have full size plans to pin the parts to. Last balsa wood kit was a Sig Senior back in spring of '92. Not 22 years ago! Already? Nah. That was like last week it seems.
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Old Mar 05, 2014, 07:51 PM
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I will be using UltraCote for covering
http://www.hangar-9.com/Products/Ultracote.aspx

For glues I am using CA both thin and medium plus some standard aliphatic wood glue. Epoxy for joining the wings.

I've been referring to the instructions for the SIG Four-Star 40 for hints on construction since there is so little information in the Cloud Dancer "instructions"
http://www.kavanrc.de/instructions/s...fourstar40.pdf

The Four-Star is my next project. Since I have never done balsa building before I am using the Cloud Dancer for 'training'. This weekend I discovered my first newbie error - I have built two left wings!
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Old Mar 06, 2014, 08:37 PM
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United States, NY, Elbridge
Joined Feb 2013
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Beware Nero, Insight Welcome

I've been getting the wing frameworks going, I switched to a combo of thin ca for "tacking up" and am filleting with plain wood glue. I discovered my cat just loves the taste of Franklins and will do anything to get it. Including licking my airplane 'till it falls apart. He's posessed and now that he knows about it I can't even leave a sealed bottle within reach, or he will attack it. Must be the critter parts they make it from.

Plane progress - Fuse finished (hanging from ceiling to protect it from "Nero" the cat) Wings - The main stringers are both corkscrewed pretty bad, and I have the wings in traction (never seems to work, but I gotta try) hoping they'll straighten a bit.

I too bungled the wings, but not to having 2 lefties, I'm still not sure what happened, but the wing secrtions don't fit together and the drawings don't show that detail. The problem is that I don't get how they splice and mount to the airframe. There are the 3 ply formers (B28) that go in the middle - not sure why or how. Insight welcome!! I'm going to install the servo mount sheeting, as the notches in the formers in front and behind the servos look to accept the square stock balsa. The little screw plates fit, but I don't get what holds everything together.

My current plan is to keep going, and when I get there, build the center section as required. I wanted to add some dihedral anyway.

Sabre52 Hope to "play along with you" while we get them together. Seems like we are in the same boat, more or less. I was able to build fuse with just rubber bands and alligator clamps. Looks like I may have to resort to pinning the wings down befor it's over though.

I looked into coverings, and the fabric is 30 bucks a roll and requires the use of balsarite to anchor it. I think I'm going to stick with the basic Monokote. There are a lot of other coverings out there, but it looks to me like they are all clones of Monokote.
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Old Mar 07, 2014, 07:42 AM
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Wing Joining/Mounting

This is another area where the instructions are weak and/or completely lacking

The three ply formers, B28, when laminated together they form a tab on the front which fits into the slot on fuse part A14.

The only hint is in picture 3.02 which shows the three B28 pieces and an arrow to the dihedral brace. The diehedral brace is 2 pieces laminated which are not called out in any of the parts pictures.

A20 is the hold down for the back of the wing - the screws go through A20, through the wing B11 and into the fuse A09. There is a 'hint' in the very last photo of the instructions which simply shows A20 (no label), two screws and two blind nuts. Oh, and the clever pink circles around the holes in A09. If I had figured this out before I glued A09 into the fuse I would have installed the blind nuts first. Same for the blind nuts for the nose wheel that mount into A13. Ah, hindsight...

The SIG Four-Star instructions covers joining the two wing halves and the dihedral brace in a manner that looks nearly like the Cloud Dancer. I am taking my ideas for wing joining from this (fiberglass tape and epoxy).

Also be sure to look at the pictures in the RC India post. I found them helpful:
http://www.rcindia.org/electric-plan...cer-build-log/

I agree, some square stock fits into the wing formers on the front/back sides of the servo cutout in the sheeting. These give the servo screws something to screw into. Completely missing in the instructions...
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Old Mar 18, 2014, 10:30 PM
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More Mystery Parts

Another mystery part - any ideas what these are used for

Six balsa sticks. 3mm thick balsa 10mm x 65mm sticks. Seems to be important as they include a large piece of 3mm balsa with just these six little sticks cut out:
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Old May 09, 2014, 07:13 PM
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Australia, NSW, Blayney
Joined Jan 2009
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I've just ordered one of these. I really love the big stick by the same company. Not a beginner build but very satisfying. I think doing kits like these leaves a bit of space for interpretation. My second stick was a very different plane from the first even though it used the same bits. I'm hoping this one will give similar results. I'll do a build log here when I get started.
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