Corben Super Ace
I’ve always thought the Corben Super Ace was a pretty plane. Recently, I bought the Penn Valley kit based on the old Megow plan of the early forties. Penn Valley offers two sizes of this kit and I opted for the 24 inch wingspan model.
I was pretty happy with the wood supplied and used most of it. What I didn’t like was that the plane was designed too light to my tastes. The nose was just a couple 1/16 sticks with no sheeting or gussets. In fact the whole fuselage needed some more bracing, gussets and a couple more cross pieces on the bottom. I know lighter is better but I had doubts this plane would last long enough in my hands get past trimming.
Living here in the northeast, I always seem to be having problems with tail surfaces warping. I’ve tried every technique known to man with limited success. What I have started to do is construct them using laminated sticks which seems to be keeping most of the warps at bay. I’ll just run a sheet through my balsa stripper and glue a bunch up before starting. I also used the leftover laminated 1/16 sticks for the forward part of the fuselage and also sheeted the first bay with 32nd balsa.
On the plan I noticed that there was no decalage designed in so I added 2 ˝ degrees positive incidence to the wing by cutting down the rear wing support. Any more needed could be added at the tail later on. I also beefed up the wing saddle by swapping out the puny 1/16 sticks for 3/32nd so that the wing would be a bit stronger as this part of the fuselage is very narrow. I covered the upper portions of the fuselage with Vellum paper as it is a bit more translucent than copy paper and will not drastically change the color of any tissue applied over it. Wasn’t too hard to roll the paper around the complex curves. I just tacked it down with some thin CA as I went along. I then coated the paper with thin CA to seal and strengthen it.
Surprisingly there is only a 1/6th inch square spar on top of the wing ribs. Knowing that this wouldn’t work for me (being a clumsy flier) I added a 1/16 by 3/16 main spar to the bottom of the wing to stiffen it up and give me some added insurance against warping. I added 3/32 washout to each wing tip.
I did replace the supplied heavy wooden wheels with a set of plastic ones I had bought from Easybuilt which saved over 2 grams for the pair. The kit did come with a rough blank for a balsa prop but I wimped out and used a 7 inch Pecks that was lightened, balanced, and wood grained. I printed the tail graphics on directly on the tissue but used my Pazzles PC cutter to make stencils for the wing numbers which were airbrushed on.
Since my printer can’t print white , I had a dilemma on how to get the “Super Ace” graphic on the nose without stressing myself out too much. What I figured out to do was in Microsoft Word, make a text box with a black background and type the text in white. I printed this onto clear decal paper and applied to the model before the nose was painted black. The vellum (which is white) showed through the clear decal appear where the text was giving me the graphic I wanted. I then drybrushed black Tamiya acrylic paint closely around the text and then cut masking tape to cover the text. I masked as usual and airbrushed the black nose. After removing the tape I was surprised how good it came out. No touch up was needed and a light coat of Krylon Crystal Clear blended everything together and gave the whole model an even appearance.
Even with my mods and sheeting the front end she was only 42 grams with rubber which made me very happy. I hate to use that old expression but she really did fly right of the building board with only a small bit of downthrust added. Believe it or not, no balancing clay was needed……at all! Which is extremely rare for me.
I started out light with two loops of 1/8 inch rubber and it will get up there and cruise around nicely with only 350 winds. 500 winds is about the limit for this plane at my field as she gets a bit too close to the ever hungry trees. Later on I will tempt fate and add another loop and see how she responds but for a scale model, I’m quite happy the way she is.
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