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Old Mar 02, 2011, 08:04 PM
Dweebster
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United States, MA, Charlton
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Build Log
ESM P-39 Airacobra Build Log & Review

Allrighty then. Today arrived my brandy new ESM P-39 Airacobra & ESM Retracts from VQ Warbirds. This is my very first fiberglass gasser build. I heard great things about the customer service from Tomas and VQ Warbirds. All I can say is it's all true. I placed my order last Thursday, and now less than 1 week later, I have my shipment. The emails I received were informative, and kept me in the loop on my order, and exactly where it was. I can honestly see myself ordering from VQ Warbirds in the future. Everything about my order is great. But I'll tell you more about that in a bit.

First I unboxed the retracts. They were packaged very neaty in a molded foam box. Pulling each piece out, all I can think is what great quality. Right out of the gate, I am impressed. The retracts are all aluminum, and pretty light weight. Each main gear have spacers already on the strut. One thing I did notice is there is alot of space for the front nose fork & tire. It seems you can fit 2 tires on there. I don't see any spacers for it, but that's not saying I don't have any. I have a bag of goodies that I need to look through.

Now onto the BIG BOX. I'm a little concerned that it has a divit on the side of the box. None to fear! Pulling the inner box out reveals no damage what so ever.
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Old Mar 02, 2011, 08:42 PM
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United States, MD, Frostburg
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Very exciting! Looking forward to it...I still owe you the P-40 templates (the box is buried right now!!!)

Is this an ARF?
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Old Mar 02, 2011, 08:47 PM
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United States, MA, Charlton
Joined Sep 2008
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So now lets open the BIG BOX. There is no damage to the inner box. Very good packing. Lifting the lid off reveals that every piece was carefully wrapped. As I started pulling pieces out, it was difficult to get the bags pulled off the cardboard. There was so much glue holding it all down. At first I thought, man what a pain, why so much glue?? Then I remembered where it was being shipped from, and what kind of journey it must have gone through just to get to my house. On second thought, I was glad that I was having such a difficult time removing the pieces. It held everything down and in one place. Again, I think the shipping & packaging is top notch. Cudos Tomas

Pulling each piece out was like opening a christmas gift, one at a time, over and over. I pulled the rudder out first. Nice quality. But Uh Oh, turning it, I noticed 1 of the 2 holes in it is off center. Not sure what the hole is for, but if it's for a hinge, it will need to be filled and moved. Next, I pulled the stab out. The stab, again, is covered great, and is pre-hinged. The hinge is material, which I will probably replace with Robart hinges.

Next, out of the box was the fuselage. Well packed I might add. After unwrapping the foam, broken record, very impressed. The panel lines look great. The logos look really good too. Accept for the door latch logo. "To open push hepe lift up". What does 'hepe' stand for? Crazy. The pictures don't do them justice. You can hardly see they are decals. Now, for another blemish. The paint is chipped on the airscoop. You can make it out on the photo I enclosed. I'll need to match the paint and fill it in. No biggy.

Now, onto the wings. I pulled the first wing out and found a dirty finger print on the white of the wingtip. Not cool. Not a biggy, but not cool. Split flap is cool, and I like that they used better hinges for them. The ailerons are pre-hinged, but they did use the hinge material again for this. Robarts to the rescue. In inspecting the wing more, there is a blemish above the flap. Not too too bad, at least its on the underside of the wing. Turning the wing on its side reveal a sloopy paint job. Again, at least it's on the inside of the wing.
Inspecting closer, I'm not happy with the way the wing is glued. The wood is laser cut, good quality, but the glue is sloopy, and patchy in some spots. On further inspection on the inside, I notice that where the landing gear plastic insert will later go, the wood is split. This will need to be fixed.

After putting the nose cowl on, I noticed that the backside of the cowl is not painted. Sloppy again. The instrument panel is basic. I thought about maybe buying a cockpit kit once Ty has completed, but flipping the fuse over, whoa, not a whole lotta room there. Will be tight fit. The fuselage itself has some really nice panel lines and detail for the door. The sheeting on the wing, not sure what type of material it is, is great quality. I can't see any lines. The only lines I can barely make out is where the wing tips attach to the wing, again, barely see it. The material is nice and tight against the built up wing. The firewall in the fuselage is a little over 1/4" thick. Seems pretty tough, but on closer inspection, I think it may need more epoxy added. The mount for the nose gear appears to be solid. The servo tray in the fuse is nice as well. Looking at the manual, there are 3 pull-pull systems for this. (Steering/Rudder/Elevator)

I'm not sure about the engine cowl yet. I have a brand new DLE-30 that I plan on installing. Just placing it inside by hand, it appears that the bottom of the cowl will need to be cut, and the top of the head and plug will be visible. I'm not sure about the exhaust, and how much of that will show. I'm going to be ordering a slim exhaust soon.

I am bummed over some of the blemishes I found on the kit, but over all I think it's a great kit. For what I got and what I paid for the kit ($369), I think it is a fantastic deal. This being my first fiberglass gasser, I'm going to take my time, and will need plenty-o-help on getting it ready for the summer sky.

Can't wait.
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Old Mar 02, 2011, 08:52 PM
Dweebster
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United States, MA, Charlton
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 4075aaron View Post
Very exciting! Looking forward to it...I still owe you the P-40 templates (the box is buried right now!!!)

Is this an ARF?
No worries. My P-40 is packed under my bench. I have a few projects in front of that one. At least I know I can get the templates from you. Thanks.
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Old Mar 02, 2011, 08:57 PM
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You're going to love gas.. good luck Bud, I'll be watching
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Old Mar 02, 2011, 09:15 PM
Dweebster
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Twinwarbirdflier View Post
You're going to love gas.. good luck Bud, I'll be watching
Thanks Twin. Great job on the DC3 & B25 by the way. Would love to make it down to your field to see some flights this summer. I think your about 2 hours away.

So far, the only thing about gas I don't like is now my friends mock me saying "I'll wont be going gas. That stuff is too big for me." lol. It's all good.
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Old Mar 03, 2011, 09:22 AM
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Thanks for posting the pics and info. Looking forward to your build thread
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Old Mar 03, 2011, 08:42 PM
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United States, MA, Charlton
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Dle-30

Trial fit. DLE-30 is between 3/4" to 1" from center. The head & plug will being poking out the bottom a little. I don't think it will be too bad.
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Old Mar 04, 2011, 07:37 AM
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Great pic, thanks
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Old Mar 04, 2011, 09:03 AM
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United States, WI, Elm Grove
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Great review and pictures, thanks for posting. Just how tall is that DLE 30? Can you measure from the crank centerline to the top of the fins and from the centerline to the top of the plug boot?

Thanks, Jim
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Old Mar 09, 2011, 07:39 PM
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Great review. Is the DLE30 head down going to work OK with the front gear?
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Old Mar 09, 2011, 09:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rickquirino View Post
Great review. Is the DLE30 head down going to work OK with the front gear?
Yes. No problem. With a friend helping me line it up, the spacers that DLE provide with the engine line it up perfect. The nose gear will not interfere at all. I little right thrust will need to be worked in though.
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Old Mar 15, 2011, 08:21 PM
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With my Yellowbox kit on hold, waiting for nicer weather to paint, I had a chance to start my ESM build. Since I don't have the servos yet, I decided to skip over working on the wing and to start on the fuselage.

I'm going to start on the tail. I don't like the hinge material for the elevator, and the holes that were drilled for the rudder were off center. So I filled in the holes, and drilled all new ones to accept Robart hinges. I came to my first problem, the elevator bracket. There isn't much room to get the bracket in the plane. I don't like the wire that was supplied with the kit. Seems too thin to my liking. I would use it for a tail wheel, but not on flight controls. I'm going with a 440 pull/pull system for the rudder. The gauge wire is twice as thick as what was supplied. For the elevator, I'm opting out of the pull/pull system, though it will be more work.

Now, I have no experience with building fiberglass kits. It doesn't seem like enough holding the stab on between two little dowels and an aluminum rod holding it. Just to eaze my own mind, I went the full length with the front dowel, so it can be epoxy'd wood to wood.

I used a carbon fiber rod for the elevator. My first attempt to attach it to the bracket didn't go well. I bent the pin that holds the clevis onto the bracket. With some help tonight, it took three of us to get the pin in and locked.

Another flaw I found with the kit is the manufacturer marked alot of my parts with the #69. Not sure if that is a joke or not. Anyway, the number was written in marker (not pencil) right on the rudder. I tried cleaner, alcohol, goo be gone, but nothing would get it off. I mono-coat a white tab over it. It looked silly. So I ended up putting some white paint on it. Your eye wont catch it, but if you know it's there, it's easily seen.

Tommorow, I can glue the rudder, stab, and elevator on. The tank that comes with the kit is 550CC, which I think is almost 18 oz. Again, I don't know gas, but it seems rather small for a tank. The instuctions call for a 30CC engine, but show a 4 stroke engine in all the pictures. So, I will need to cut up the servo tray to allow for a bigger fuel tank to be put in. I have a 24oz dubro, but I might pick up some bigger size tanks this weekend. 24 is still 6 oz more than the other tank. Once I have the tail done, wing done, engine mounted, and retracts mounted, I'm going to balance the plane to see where she stands. Depending on where it balances will be where I put the tank. I'd like to put it on the COG. If the plane balance out tail heavy, there is plenty of room to in the front where the nose retract is. Not sure where my battery and reciever will go yet, but I can decide that after the rough balance. Since there is so much room under the nose retract, that might be a good place to mount the air tank for the retracts.

I've been following TY's progress on RCU for the cockpit kit. If I mount the new tank on the COG, I don't think I will be able to put in a full cockpit. The servo tray seems like it would be in the way. A friend of mine, who has 20 or so years experience with these type of planes, told me I should remove all the glue of the servo tray, and make a new one, and I can secure it better than what is there, and mostlikely will be alot lighter. I can do this after I do the rough balance. If I move the tray, I could still have the room for a full cockpit kit.

Has anyone else out there bought one of these, or am I the only one??? (I know there were at least 68 other kits sold out there!!!)
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Old Mar 15, 2011, 08:46 PM
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Push Hepe

Oh, and I had emailed ESM regarding the "PUSH HEPE" decal, asking if they plan on correcting and putting out a new decal. Coming up on two weeks...still no word.

I looked up the meaning of HEPE. So if this is correct, this is what the decal means:

"To open door, Push a zwitterionic organic chemical buffering agent, Lift up"

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Old Mar 16, 2011, 08:31 AM
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United States, MA, Charlton
Joined Sep 2008
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ESM Reply

I just received an email from ESM:

Quote:
Originally Posted by ESM
Dear Steven,

Thank you very much for your reminder information. You are right, I also think it should be "here", we'll have it corrected in our future stickers. Our designer had scaned it from some of the real plane pictures, but due to the pictures sometimes not very clear and he made this mistake.

Thanks & with best regards,
Herlin
ESM Producing Co
I'd like to get a copy of the new stickers once they are corrected.
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