LEG Bf-109G retro build style
A few weeks ago I bought a 48 in wingspan LEG Bf-109 to replace the one I lost almost a year ago.
As always, the level of prefabrication is outstanding. In the kit I got a few weeks ago, the wingtips were already rounded and sanded as well. So, because of the rounded preshaped wings, I decided to model a Gustav. In this way, there was no need to sand the foam parts any further.
Many threads have already been devoted to the construction of the LEG planes-many of these threads feature instructions to produce top quality models that have been spackled and painted in detail. One such thread is the 60 in LEG spitfire as built by Jeff Charlot.
In the case of my build, I used the "retro" methods that I "grew up" with in the early 2000s, when I build the Dave's Aircraft Works FoaMe-163 and the Patton Zero. I employed these same methods to build the Bf-109G that I maidened a few hours ago.
Changes from the LEG method
1. I assembled the carbon spars as stated on previous threads and glued them to the wings using Goop. However, spackle was not used at all.
2. The taping of the wings and fuse was simplified-just like the one found in the DAW kits. So, for the wings, I covered the spars with tape, and then formed a "D-tube" with the strapping tape. I did not cover the entire wing or the fuse with strapping tape.
3. I did use the "built up" fuse method as shown in the other LEG build threads, and installed the electronics as per the LEG method, but I only used the long carbon fiber tube to act as the sleeve for the plastic pushrod. I used neither the tail nor the nose CF rods. I set these aside for other projects.
4. I always use Ultracote for my projects, and this one was not the exception. When it comes to EPP warbird modeling, I always choose color schemes that can be duplicated by Ultracote alone, without any painting at all.
This is why I chose a Bf-109G that was painted in light grey overall as my subject for this particular build-easy to model and duplicate without any paints or Solartex or things like that. I have nothing against the elaborate LEG builds-in fact, I really like these showpieces-but I wanted to keep things as light as possible so I could fly in marginal lift.
5. I note that, in many of the threads of LEG planes, the plane is first assembled and glued together before the covering is applied. In my case, I always cover the major units separately before they are glued together.
6. I made my own decals using Monokote trim material (the one that is sold in long sheets and is pressure sensitive) and Avery labels.
7. As a result of these procedures, I got a plane that weighs 29.6 ounces-even lighter than my old Patton 48 in. Zero.
Radio gear used;
2200 mAh NiMH 4.8 V 4 cell battery pack
Hitec 311 servo for the elevator
Hitec 85BB for the ailerons
Futabe R6203SB FASST full range receiver
Maiden flight and observations
The maiden took place in the afternoon at Bluff Park. Even though the lift is not the monster variety that can be found at Point Fermin, I noted that this is an excellent place to maiden light planes.
The plane flew slowly but was able to handle the Bluff Park lift without any apparent tendencies to stall at slow speeds. After this, I took it to Point Fermin.
I had to wait for a while while the F3F racers finished their contest. At last, I was able to fly and I noted that the Gustav really flew well and smoothly. I had to cut a flight short because the sunscreen got into my eyes and was really, really, really burning. I managed to land in one piece despite the pain in my eyes.
The rolls were fast and crisp; I did not have the chance to loop it yet, but it really responded well to the Fermin lift.
What I wanted to get was a warbird that could be flown in marginal lift yet look scalelike. By cutting on the weight, it seems that this was achieved.
One guy at Fermin even asked me if the wings were balsa sheeted-that's how smooth the wings looked (even without spackle). I told him that it was just foam reinforced with strapping tape.
The following photos show the taping I employed as well as the decals I made at home.
I like alternative methods of finishing EPP planes.
Your method I have not seen before. It seems to work out well, I have to remember this. The result seems very smooth, good crafsmanship.
Your colour scheme is well chosen, sometimes less is more
Good luck with your plane, some video would be appreciated, probably not just by me.
Making my own decals really saves a lot of money. The Major Decals look great but for me, they are useless for foamies. These Major Decals cannot take any heating-as if when I have to remove the occasional wrinkles from Ultracote. Also, I create my decals specifically for the subject I am reproducing- I don't just apply generic markings.
Instructions for wing covering, light version
Attached are instructions I created to tape the wing and install the electronics in order to achieve a very lightweight yet well performing LEG 48 in. warbird-in my case, the 48 in Bf-109G. Again, I am aware that there are many who wish to apply superdetailing and spackle and thinned goop and primer and paint and all that; in my case, I don't have the equipment to apply all those fancy airbrushed scale patterns and all that stuff. . . and I did find out when building the Nationalist Bf-109 that I am allergic to spackle.
So, for this lightweight version, if possible, choose schemes that can be duplicated with Ultracote alone. I know that there is Solartex, but I also know that it's heavy. There are plenty of schemes that, for those who choose to apply only Ultracote without any painting at all, can easily be duplicated. Examples:
1. Spanish Civil War Nationalist Bf-109 (grey overall or a variation of this)
2. The red and white colors of the MiG-3
3. The P-51 silver schemes with colored trim
4. Some models of the Luftwaffe 109 that were all grey
5. The color schemes of the Zero
to name a few.
These instructions were written and drawn by me.
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