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Posted by UpNup | Jan 15, 2022 @ 02:48 PM | 25,374 Views
My wife said putting puzzles together might help my mental health. Good to know. I think assembling tightly-cut forestry products into a work of art is a brilliant idea. This puzzle is called DW Hobby’s Hansa-Brandenburg w29. 😉
Posted by UpNup | Jan 08, 2022 @ 09:18 PM | 33,855 Views
Who is a bad guy? Today we have anti-heroes in our movies such as Deadpool, Wolverine, and Black Widow. What made the Sopranos TV series so popular?

What about the scale warplanes that we fly? In Germany, the swastika has been outlawed and is removed from models. If the rebel flag is offensive to the children of slaves, should it be on our planes? Should the symbol of fascism be placed on our planes?

Is there any plane you would not build because of what it represents? Political-correctness is one thing, but what is our responsibility as modelers?

When building a 1/48 scale Dornier 335A-12 trainer “Anteater,” I chose to depict a captured version. The German swastika was painted over and replaced with an RAF emblem. I found this a good solution.

When building the lead plane of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, I chose to focus on Mitsuo Fuchida, the flight leader, because of how he had converted to Christianity after the war. However, I still built the plane and included his Hitler-honoring mustache.

The planes we choose to build are neutral. On one level we are recreating their memory. It’s just an historical piece of novel machinery. However, on another level, some of those memories are harsh. If I built the Boeing B-29 Superfortress bomber, should I avoid the Enola Gay nomenclature?

Are the bad guys always one dimensional? Would you model one of the Taliban’s pre-2001 helicopters, Osama Bin Laden’s family Learjet, or the Focke-Wulf 200 Condor...Continue Reading
Posted by UpNup | Dec 26, 2021 @ 10:08 PM | 10,588 Views
As I get close to finishing my scratchbuilt 1/9 scale Nakajima B5N2 Kate, it seems to me like it will never end. I’ve been working on this project nearly two years. I developed the plans and tried keeping track of progress on an RCgroups balsa builder page and in my personal files.

This build was difficult at almost every stage. It challenged me. I keep thinking it is like a radio show I once produced. I typed up the shows and saved every tape. I had planned to syndicate the program but got married, started a new job, and never did anything with it. This RC build project was made for someone in the future to follow my work. At least that’s what I’ve been telling myself. It’s maybe it was just for my own recreation.

At this point I just want to finish. A scale model project like this is important for the characters involved and the grand narrative ensconced in the original plane and its crew. The original plane that I modeled was an instrument of war. It caused loss of life and pain. It is aptly entombed in the IJN’s Akagi near Midway deep in the Pacific Ocean. However, the pilots lived on. At least one of the A1-301 Kate’s crew, Mitsuo Fuchida, experienced a second chance; a life born again. Out of death came eternal life by the merciful redemption proved by Fuchida’s faith in Jesus.

That story was worth the struggle to finish this project. I still have to build the canopy, install control rods, and finish light weathering. May this project — and its story — inspire all who read about it to the glory of God.
Posted by UpNup | Dec 24, 2021 @ 07:40 AM | 8,693 Views
Celebrating the birth of Jesus is so much fun! God gave us his only Son as the Christ. Wow! And what a gift Jesus gave us. When we believe him and in him alone, we are guaranteed eternal life. We’re sealed by the Spirit of God. Now, that’s worth celebrating.

Merry Christmas!
Posted by UpNup | Dec 16, 2021 @ 10:16 AM | 7,976 Views
Kroger has toy maker nutcrackers for $11.77. I plan to make adjustments to mine such as seam filler, replacing the paintbrush and paint cup with a scaled airbrush and compressor, replace hand knobs with custom hands with movable fingers, and replace the beachball with a 1/1000 scale battleship breaking into swells. I plan to antique the child’s block and add a scale building toolbox on top. Weathering will need to be for paint spatters on apron and table top (with added custom ventilation box). I plan to add clear beads of sweat on his brow to depict the night before a competition. 😉 Keep it going…

UPDATE: changing and adding is underway.
Posted by UpNup | Dec 13, 2021 @ 10:06 PM | 9,118 Views
Tracking the arrival of DW Hobbies’ Hansa-Brandenburg w29 took stamina. Package tracking became a daily entertainment: Nov 27th, 4PX picked it up in China, delivered to Hong Kong, then flew to New Jersey (Fedex picked it up), Chicago (missed the 12/5 delivery), Houston (got a new bar code), then on to Jackson Tn., Independence Ky, and Lebanon Oh (missed the 12/9 delivery), all before it got to me in Cincinnati Oh on 12/10. DW Hobby wrapped the box in an excellent way. Nothing crushed or cracked. Tracking is a sport not for the faint of heart!
Posted by UpNup | Dec 11, 2021 @ 07:08 PM | 5,492 Views
Got to try some old school hacks on my current build:

1. Ran out of light spackling and mixed balsa dust with Titebond II.

2. Made control rods using a dowel rod with wire controls. Wrapped thick twine around the wire abs CA’d it in place.

3. Soaked fillets for frail feathers in Windex abs rubber banded them around ink pens. When dry they glued eight into place.

4. Made my own cowl. Did lots planking and held it on with magnets.

5. Didn’t have LG straps so I used X-type Servo arms.

6. Made internal control horns for rudder and elevator by soldering brass strips on to 1/16” piano wire. The hard part was drilling the holes in the brass extensions.

7. Used old credit cards to make control horns on my ailerons. I epoxied them sandwiched between two aileron ribs. Painted with enamels.
Posted by UpNup | Nov 18, 2021 @ 07:15 PM | 11,992 Views
Building, flying, and competing with RC scale planes takes time and money. As the year winds down, I'm trying to finish a Nakajima B5N2 Kate by December 7, when 80 years ago that plane led the attack on Pearl Harbor. Matsuo Fuchida, the attack leader, accepted Christ after the war. It's a pride thing that this is my first scratch build from my own plans. It's been challenging, but I've learned a lot.

The Lord has brought Proverbs 28:19* to mind as I press toward my self-imposed deadline. The verse is a good warning and has caused a check in my walk with Jesus. The Fellowship of Christian Modelers (fcmodelers.com) is one organization that exists to help modelers improve their relationship with God and those they love. Being well-balanced requires hard work, a certain life-vigilance, and places this great hobby in its place behind our Lord, job, and family. (FCM is free to join.)

*"A hard worker has plenty of food, but a person who chases fantasies ends up in poverty" (Proverbs 28:19).
Posted by UpNup | Nov 16, 2021 @ 11:20 AM | 6,839 Views
Control rods went in my plane today. Here’s what I did and you can, too.

For a 68” wingspan scale plane like, use 1/16” metal rods with adjustable clevises on the ends and a strong wooden rod 1/4” in diameter in the middle. (Think flag stick.) Make one for an elevator and the other for a rudder.

The metal wires were angled 90° and epoxied into holes drilled through the wooden sticks. Next, I ran thick thread across the ends. Finally, I CA’d the threads to the wire and wood.

My tests show no wobbles for the 26” runs. I don’t really like the rods being 1/8” apart, but they don’t touch.

UPDATE: Wooden rods can shrink and swell over time as they absorb moisture or dry out. These 26" lengths have about 14" of dowel rod exposed. These are okay and work well on this scale of a plane, but still expect some trim changes over the years. For a plane much larger, I'd recommend pull-pull controls.
Posted by UpNup | Nov 12, 2021 @ 08:11 PM | 6,947 Views
Several years ago a lady sold me her 800° high temp soldering iron. She used it to make stained glass windows. I used it to make landing gear wires until this week.

In my original plans for a scratchbuilt Nakajima B5N2 Kate, I really wanted to have internal controls for at least the rudder and elevator. I studied Zero RC plans.

My version uses a brass control horn below the elevator and a brass control horn for the rudder buried deep in the tail just above the elevator. The brass is from a discarded electrical wall outlet.

Then I messed up. I got the elevator done, but the rudder control would stick out of the fuselage. I bit the bullet and cut out a path for the control horn to be soldered 3/4” lower. I dreaded how this would be soldered. However, after lining everything up, the whole change took just 2 seconds. Zoop! The solder softened and I used the soldering wand to slide the brass arm just 3/4”. It was easy to plug the “hole” I had made with 1/8” balsa sheet.
Posted by UpNup | Oct 29, 2021 @ 04:21 PM | 19,202 Views
A year ago I bought what I thought was a German WW2 plastic model by Tamiya. It was at an estate sale for just $.25. They retail for at least $40. It was just an old box of sprue. Well, this past June when I attended a scale model show, I bought this 1:48 scale version of the Do335A-12 trainer that the allies called Anteater.

But the Swastica and what it stood for bugged me. Tamiya had included the decal for it in the kit. So I researched if the plane had ever been captured. It was! The U.S. Army found two nearly finished, marked it, and flew one to England. The RAF marked over the US insignia.

Just something different. In this kit build, I tried to upgrade my airbrush skills and masking a very specific pattern. Masking two cockpit canopies was difficult. This build was strictly out of the box, so I used the decal seat belts, but I hand painted the instrument panel. I used some pastel chalk on the engine exhaust stains and wheels. I also hand painted over the German marking with a small brush and olive drab paint.

So, at one point I had a perfectly good German Warbird. However, I kept going. I tried to simulate the Allies using their color of paint abs nothing sprayed on. I held my breath when I applied the British decals right over the US star. They stuck just fine with no slivering. There is some bleed through on the marking and that was intentional....Continue Reading
Posted by UpNup | Oct 26, 2021 @ 08:51 PM | 10,395 Views
Each build has its own needs, but here are some essentials for anyone building balsa scale models.

Hobby knife, microsaw, metal straight edge, scissors, rotary tool, screwdrivers, level, drill, and also cutting mat, sanding blocks, Titebond II, CA, straight pins, adjustable light, and a work bench.

As an addendum, let me add some items essential for some but not all:
:: an 800 watt soldering iron was essential for landing gear. I got it for only $10 from a lady who worked on stained glass
:: canopy glue is incredible stuff
:: an iron for Monokote
:: CorrisionX for float planes

Whew! What did I miss?
Posted by UpNup | Oct 02, 2021 @ 11:00 AM | 11,386 Views
How do you maintain focus on a long building project? Flying and family? There are a number of opportunities that come up during the year:

1. Fly, crash, and repair. This can lead to a shelf full of damaged and almost-ready-to-fly tweak jobs. Some guys keep wrecked foamies in the trunk or van, but these are hard to see adding up.

2. The Long Building Slog -- a complex building project that just won't quit. I'm slugging it out with a Nakajima B5N2 Kate 1/9 scale. I don't have anyone to blame but myself. And I've also begun plans for a Seabear L-72, but that's hit or miss.

3. God, family, job, and friends -- these are huge life priorities. Our daughter bought a house in Nashville this summer and has required lots of travel time. Then you know the drill being active in my church, married to a wonderful wife (40 years! Woohoo!) and a father turning 91 soon, having an incredible job, and friends. And I'm not even going into ballgames that I occasionally catch. At least I can watch them on my phone while I'm at my workbench.

4. Good causes -- I've recently joined the Fellowship of Christian Modelers (www.fcmodelers.com) and have been planning how to man a booth at a competition. This is a good national club that offers prayer and support as well as a newsletter.

5. Plastic models -- I try to make a plastic model of the planes I plan to build. I joined a local hobby club and I keep winning plastic planes. I have taken a break from building RC to build a 1/48...Continue Reading
Posted by UpNup | Sep 09, 2021 @ 09:30 PM | 13,974 Views
One of my favorite WW2 stories came from the end of the Battle of Saipan (the D-day of the Pacific). After 240 American planes had been launched in late afternoon to find the Japanese fleet, they had a long return flight back to their aircraft carriers.

Then the sun set.

Many planes ran out of fuel and had to ditch into a dark sea. All the pilots were desperate.

Then several destroyers steamed ahead of the fleet to meet them. They were instructed to break all wartime protocol and turn on brilliant spotlights that pointed the way to the carriers.

The pilots saw the lights pointing home. 99 planes and 46 crew members didn't make it home that night, but the others found their way thanks to the spotlights.

Jesus said for His followers to be the "light of the world." We must keep pointing the only way Home through Jesus.
Posted by UpNup | Aug 07, 2021 @ 01:30 PM | 34,334 Views
Just a quick report on finishing the 68" wingspan of my 1/9 scale Nakajima B5N2 "Kate" from scratch and my own plans. It has a .60 motor.
The wing took 60 hours and about eight weeks through the summer due largely to working on itmaybe 8 hours each week and having a vacation in there and a business trip, too.

Changes from the original plans:
1. Plastic horns were fabricated from old credit cards and an ID plastic card. These were wedged between hard balsa aileron rib ends.
2. The wing tie-downs were close to the plans, but bigger. Once I found the 1/4"-20X1" nylon bolts at Lowes, then I could see the original perspective was too small.
3. The servos I bought were huge compared to what I had originally planned. I had to reposition everything. And worst for me, I had to relocate the holes in the 1/8" thick light ply hatches. I also decided to epoxy the servos to the hatches. (I covered them with packing tape before gluing.)
4. The tongue for the wing to the fuse had to be redesigned since I'm keeping a central set of ribs to strengthen the wings.
5. The 8 degree dihedral on the wings was difficult to match left and right. I am within about 1/16" of an inch matching wing height.

One of the other slow-downs is that I'm trying to correct the plans as I go. At least every other week, I jump on the electronic version of the plans (done in PowerPoint) and make some tweak.

Building a plane from scratch is much more difficult...Continue Reading
Posted by UpNup | Jul 10, 2021 @ 12:54 PM | 6,083 Views
After five months building a Nakajima B5N2 "Kate," I think I'm about halfway in for me. I have a full-time job, but the weather has been really lousy in Ohio and it provides more bench time. I try to work at least an hour each night and about three to four hours on the weekend.

Here are some insights:
1. Reality bites: This build is the first using my own plans and boy am I humbled. It is so easy to draw plans into software. But in the 3D real world, a polyhedral wing that has 8 degrees dihedral on the outer sections has to bring reality into play at some point. The great news is that I am really good at admitting my mistakes and re-doing a rib here and former there and updating my plans.

2. Measure: I've joked that I measure twice, go to bed, wait another day, measure again, and then cut once, then sand for fit. I don't think I'd be a very good carpenter given my skills at mitering joints. But I've done some daring-do with these plans. The LE starts off at 3/4" wide in the middle and taper at the dihedral breaks down to 1/2". If you've built wings, you know that I am way past the point of sanity here. The good news? The 64" WS wings are level and the wingtips rise just right to hit my 4" mark. Okay, one does. The other is 1/8" and I can sleep at night.

3. It takes Perseverance: Making changes, creating a mess, coming back and seeing a glued rib leaning to one side, and other forms of modeling mayhem may continue to plague a...Continue Reading
Posted by UpNup | May 31, 2021 @ 09:09 AM | 24,916 Views
My wife and visited the National Air Force Museum in Dayton, Oh. When making a scale Warbird model, there’s no place better. I’ve visited there for a P-51B and an F-15B.

There are no intact WW2-era Nakajima B5N2 Kates to view, so I got photos of the Zero and George. There were details on these planes that will transpose to my scale model: thin window frames and fabric on control surfaces for starters.

Here are some photos....Continue Reading
Posted by UpNup | May 21, 2021 @ 07:39 PM | 28,148 Views
It’s tough to say when I begin a new build! I dream it out for quite a while. I have to budget. Research can be fun, but laborious at times. And this time I developed my own plans. This project is electric and from scratch as much as possible.

I have a build log underway. See it here:

When I developed the plans for a Nakajima B5N2, it took months. I actually got burned out on it last November and built another plane.

Now, I’m ready. Here’s some progress to date in photos....Continue Reading
Posted by UpNup | May 08, 2021 @ 09:50 AM | 6,935 Views
Completed a 1/48 Scale Revell T-6G Texan. I got this 1991 kit for $6.00 at an estate sale last summer.

It is to honor Russell O'Quinn, God's test pilot. Russ learned how to fly much earlier, but he had to take lessons in a plane just like this at Hondo AFB west of San Antonio, Texas. I weathered mine by griming it up a bit because in 1949, dirt and dust was a constant there. I do plastic models so that one day if and when I make an RC version, I have a good resource for reference.

Russ went on to test and even design jets for the USAF. His testimony is outstanding! I can highly recommend this recording:

Love Worth Finding: Russell O'Quinn Testimony [#30601] (47 min 13 sec)
...Continue Reading
Posted by UpNup | Apr 28, 2021 @ 08:37 PM | 7,131 Views
Today it was great to get the proper screws in the mail and bolt the rings in place. She looks good too and bottom. Now it’s time to get tweaking on CG and throws.

It for today I’ll enjoy the Direct Connection FA-18 Blue Angel converted to my friend’s F-15 in Langley tail flash and from glow to electric. It was a huge challenge, it worth the build.

53” WS, 59” long
.80 Rimfire motor
100 ESC