UpNup's blog View Details
Posted by UpNup | Sep 29, 2019 @ 01:56 PM | 748 Views
My P-51B plans called for a tray between the wings. The tray fits into the fuselage. And when attaching the wing, there was a 3/8” gap. Lotsa balsa and plenty of basswood in that little tray. Not finished, but past this hurdle.

This portion had to be scratch-built because the plans didn’t come close to the reality of the wings and fuse. I was given good advice to complete the fuse and wings first and then custom-build the center tray.

Update: finished the tray and love the way it links the wings. The scoop is like a cool doodad hood ornament.
Posted by UpNup | Sep 15, 2019 @ 05:48 PM | 832 Views
Piecing together a canopy has been interesting. The acetate has to be curved. Fastening “glass” to the ply formers has been a challenge.

I started with cardboard cutouts. I had an old cowl that was perfectly curved. It also handles the heat from my heat gun.

Glues wouldn’t stick. I found that CA provided a strong surface. I used double-sided clear tape. It’s an experiment right now. However, I like the acetate the im using. Keeping the inside clean will be important.
Posted by UpNup | Sep 01, 2019 @ 01:26 PM | 1,370 Views
This balsa cowl was made for a P-51B from plans (Aerofred). I had seen lots of videos on how to make a plastic cowl using liter bottles. Several builders encouraged me to haul off and buy a $25-$40 fiberglass cowl online. What?! However, I wanted a lightweight wood cowl that I could make. It took about 10 hours, but I used materials I already had on hand, so technically it was a savings. And it won't take me nearly as long next time.

Needed:
Rare Earth Magnets (from Harbor Freight)
1/8" X 1/8" stringers (mine were basswood)
1/8" balsa sheet at least 3" wide
F1 and F2 formers from 1/8" basswood light ply
glue / epoxy -- I used Extreme Power medium CA and Titebond II
You need to have your motor on hand to get the measurements and centering correct -- I used a Great Planes Mount and a Rimfire .46 motor

Context: This balsa cowl will go with a P-51B-D. (A has the guns on top.)

Tips to watch as you go through it.

1. Make F1 and F2 first. Get them glued with balsa between them. My plans called for 3/8", so that meant three 1/8" sheet balsa glued together.
2. Cut out a full-size F3 on the fuse and your front 1/8" balsa should be 1/8" smaller all around than F2. You'll want to sheet/plank the former to blend with the angle on the F2. Cut 1/8" notches about 1" apart all around the formers.
3. Tack glue temporary guides inside the rear and front ends. By tack, I'm talking a tiny drop of CA near the motor...Continue Reading
Posted by UpNup | Aug 14, 2019 @ 12:09 PM | 839 Views
It was great to begin the fuselage for the P-51B. It’s taking some thinking though.

After completing the wings, I hit a snag. There is a box-type structure the wings fit into, so the question was deciding when to build it. I was given counsel on a FB site to build the fuselage and adapt the box to an exacting fit.

This build has no plans. It’s like figuring out a jigsaw puzzle with the picture turned over.

I built the sides first, then the crossbars. I decided to work on the internal platforms next, beginning with the cockpit. Then I focused on the tailwheel.

I robbed the .46 Rimfire motor, mounting bracket, and 70 ESC out of my Long EZ. I’ll need to buy a 6 ch sport receiver....Continue Reading
Posted by UpNup | Jul 22, 2019 @ 11:17 AM | 1,945 Views
Aces of Iron Products insisted on replacing the U.S. WW2 Fighter Pilot they sent due to some blemishes. This gave me the opportunity to paint one in a khaki color scheme. My figure is 1/7 scale.

Some tips to pass along:

1. Brush olive green paint into the folds of the coat and shadows.

2. Paint a very thin base color. A khaki camo rattle can spray was used making sure the dark colors showed through.

3. I wanted my pilot to have on a shirt and tie rather than an ascot. The tie and shirt collars were cut from a discarded foam elevator. CA was used to glue the pieces in place. The tie was painted khaki and shirt dark brown. The shirt was lightly dry-brushed with a lighter shade of brown to show some weathering. The tie was crammed in place and I left the wrinkles. They were glued at an angle to hide the lumpy ascot beneath.

4. Brush on enamel paints starting with the eyes and face. Generally follow the AoI painting tips. Enamels layer and don’t blend well. I’ve basically smeared the colors together using odorless mineral spirits on a clean brush.

5. Paint light colors to dark colors across the figure. It is okay to use gloss colors, but only if you plan to use a final lacquer coat at the end.

6. Touch up any spots that need to be brought back in line.

7. Washes: Mix one drop of brown paint with 10 drops of odorless mineral spirits. Use the wash on the life vest and white straps. Some can be used on the face, adding steaks below the eyes and in the...Continue Reading
Posted by UpNup | Jul 13, 2019 @ 12:58 PM | 3,725 Views
Wings for my P-51B were done or so I thought. I placed them side by side and saw that the left wing struts were 3/8” taller than those on the right side.

I’m building this warbird from plans, so I got lots of counsel on ways to even up the fixed landing gear:
:: make a smaller wheel for that side
:: tear out the gear and do it again
:: bend the strut wires forward and backward
:: just be prepared to hit the rudder when landing
:: buy retracts and install those
...and my least favorite:
:: throw away the whole wing half and make another one.

Now, which strut to fix—long one or short one? Someone said these planes are notorious for tip overs and you want the LG as far forward as possible. Check. Fix the short one.

I decided to tear out the landing gear, bend the 1/8” galvanized wire straight, then elbow 3/8” in a new place, and re-install.

Here’s a few hitches that I encountered:
:: I was out of 1/8” wire, so I had to stay with the short one.
:: everything shattered. It came out in pieces. I was able to glue the rib. Thankfully, I did have some bass 1/16” sheet.
:: the LG strut wire inside the plane was now 1/4” short of the basswood doubler. I had to make a shelf on which it could sit.

The fix went well. I had to make new basswood braces, add a new basswood panel, epoxy in the supports, and re-sheet 1/16” balsa.

Update: The landing gear was too puny. I beefed up the brace and bent the wire 180°. This allow me to strap the wires into the brace. Used 5-min epoxy.
Posted by UpNup | Jul 11, 2019 @ 04:27 PM | 3,380 Views
Both wings are finished and they have a 3° dihedral. I’m concerned about the wheel alignment. One seems a half inch ahead of the other. Wingspan is 57”.

Installed are four Hitech 425 Servos, four control rods and horns, landing gear, wheel pants of sorts with the insides painted flat zinc chromate, and wheels with hubs.
Posted by UpNup | Jul 03, 2019 @ 08:01 PM | 3,018 Views
Wings had a 3 degree incidence. The decision to use three dihedral variations made the sheeting somewhat of a challenge. I had to reduce the top curve of the biggest four ribs nearest the root. That was the only way to make the LE fit accurately.

Installed the 425 Hitec Digital Servos. I put rib strips over the open parts of the wings. At this point I plan to leave them open for weight mainly and to give easier access to the Servos. To unscrew the servo wheels I had to cut an access hole in an adjacent rib. I do not plan to make a hatch to the Servos.

The wings are 26”, fuse is 5”. 57” WS.

Update: wings were very close to 3° dihedral.
Posted by UpNup | Jun 28, 2019 @ 08:54 PM | 10,412 Views
Every scale plane needs a great pilot figure. My daughter for Father’s Day gave me an Aces of Iron WW2 Pilot.

The pilot honors James H. Howard. Here’s his story. He was a missionary kid from St Louis and was an ace with the Flying Tigers and P-51B in Europe. He’s the only US pilot to get the Medal of Honor. His heroism has been called a One Man Air Force. http://www.airforcemag.com/MagazineA...1110oneman.pdfhttp://http://www.airforcemag.com/Ma...1110oneman.pdf

This project was done with Testors enamels. Those AOI painting tips work best with oils, not so much with enamels. Here’s what I learned:

1. Paint a base coat of flesh color.
2. Paint the eyes first., then the face.
3. Dark colors to light colors.
4. Dab on washes 10:1 odorless thinner to paint
5. Mix lighter colors and drag dry brushes with barely any paint over the surfaces. Clean the brush completely every five minutes. Start fresh and regularly thin the paint as it dries. Keep it thin, not runny.
6. Flat enamels are ideal. However, you’ll want to spray one light coat of matte finish at the end.
7. If you spray two coats and it hazes on you just rub tiny amounts of petroleum jelly over the parts. The brown jacket really went gray quickly.

I wish I’d known these tips. Enjoy!

UPDATE: A 9th Air Force shoulder patch decal and I made an Inspection sticker decal on the life vest. I dated it 1-11-44, the date James Howard became a One Man Air Force and won the Medal of Honor.
Posted by UpNup | Jun 01, 2019 @ 09:05 PM | 1,395 Views
Making my own wheels has been an interesting project. Using layers of balsa and basswood ply has been a challenge, but theirs texture looked like tread. The last part was building a "receptacle" into which they can fit inside the wings between #4 and #6 rib.

I've made my own plans on this. And except for pinching my thumb and later my palm with linesman's pliers working the 1/8" wire, it was relatively painless and full of good sanding effort.

The wheels were rattle can spray painted with Testor’s flat black and I used clear flat matte spray lacquer on the finished wheels for protection and durability. The hubs were dry brushed with Testor’s silver enamel. They were affixed with Gorilla Glue 5-min. Epoxy.

UPDATE: After building 3” diameter balsa wheels, I added rubber tread. I’m a cyclist and skidded to a stop at an intersection. It tore a hole in my rear tire. Hmm... I cut 3/8” strips from the tire that were 10” long and epoxied them in place. I had to repaint where I sanded and masked off the rubber before hitting it with a couple of coats of matte finish rattle can spray. In retrospect, strips from inner tubes would have been easier....Continue Reading
Posted by UpNup | May 27, 2019 @ 06:44 PM | 2,101 Views
Amazing that it took several free hours this weekend just to make one flap and an aileron. I’m trying to be careful, but wowzers. This is my second RC build from plans and no short kit this time. Gratification yes, instant no on this P-51B 57” WS.

Can I at least get a participation award? Ha!
Posted by UpNup | May 18, 2019 @ 06:08 PM | 2,266 Views
Major difference between cutting ply and ribs.

Ply requires tough love. Balsa ribs are like cutting through butter. Ply requires saving room on cuts so you can sand to the line. Balsa requires fluid smooth strokes right down the line. If balsa is poetry, ply is a tirade.

Used the drill bit in my hand drill. Blew smoke everywhere. Still looks like a badger made the inner circles.
Posted by UpNup | May 11, 2019 @ 08:41 PM | 1,742 Views
Through Facebook Marketplace I bought a Hawker Tempest by Airfield that has 800mm wingspan (31”). It’s a foamie and my first warbird. It was practically a barn find being covered in grime. The Tx came with it and one 1300 3S lipo. There was no wing bolt. Nothing more, but acceptable for just $25.

The seller was upfront that the motor didn’t work. However, my LHS discovered that the throttle setting switch had been reversed. And I later discovered that the 3mm motor mount screw was missing.

After cleaning off grime with a few drops of dishwashing liquid in a bowl of water, it cleaned right up. I etched the panel lines in a pencil and removed the guided bombs under the wings. Lightweight sparkling filled in the divots left where the bombs had been stuck to the wing. I painted over the splotches with flat Testors enamel paints.

I hope to fly it when I resolve CG issues that make a tip over on throttle up.
Posted by UpNup | May 11, 2019 @ 08:21 PM | 1,774 Views
My P-51B plans don’t call for an exhaust stack, so I had to invent one. Scale was tricky to get. However, the 5” x 3/4” size was derived by measuring my 1/48 scale plastic model and doing some math. And there are six pipes on each side.

I made the first draft by stacking and gluing strips of balsa. Then I drew half-inch circles on the wood 1/4” apart. I then used a reamer to hand-drill the exhaust ports by hand. I drilled these at about a 45 degree angle. I sanded, filled with lightweight spackling, and painted silver. I’ll weather it later.

To make the pipes, I cut 12 sections of a 1/16” thick black hose about 1/2” in diameter. I dry brush painted silver fading to the black. Then I cut out 1/8” rings from a 1/2” diameter thin plastic rod. I painted them flat black. I glued the rings on the end of the hose and inserted them into the base.

UPDATE: reworked the design. Painted base olive drab flat green and the pipes are from a window shade rod. They’re painted flat black. Much more scale.
Posted by UpNup | May 09, 2019 @ 02:43 PM | 1,467 Views
The stab and rudder on the P-51B is 1/4” thick. I cut and sanded the balsa. However, during sanding to taper the trailing edge, I broke the rudder in half - twice! I used blocks of balsa as repairs.

I used flexible hinges near the top, middle, and bottom. The horn is to be mounted outside.
Posted by UpNup | May 09, 2019 @ 11:42 AM | 1,540 Views
Building the P-51B takes two wheels .75 in. thick and 3” in diameter. The tail wheel is 1” in diameter and about a half-inch thick.

Yes I could have spent $12 to buy Williams Brothers excellent balloon tires. However, I could get some balsa stock for $4.

After research I built the wheels in layers. The hubcaps came from a thin sheet of modelers plastic—1/32” maybe. I used a 1/4” in. paper hole punch to make the revolver-patterned holes. They usually take 8 triangles, but I never was satisfied with test hubcaps. The plastic is crisp.

I don’t have a lathe or a way to screw these onto my drill. I cut the ply and balsa circles out using a micro-blade saw. I got close to the line. The 1/8” ply wanted to splinter. The 1/16” ply sheets were really solid.

The layers alternated left to right: 1/8” balsa, 1/16” ply, 3/32” balsa, 1/8” ply, 3/32” balsa, 1/16” ply, and 1/8” balsa. I carefully marked a center point on each circle poking they the template cut from the plans. On the outside balsa disks, I cut out holes for the hubcaps using the template from the plans. They were difficult to get truly circular.

The tailwheel was only one 1/8” ply middle and 1/8” balsa with the circles cut out. I did not add a hubcap to the tailwheel...yet.

After gluing, I stuck a T-pin thru the pre-drilled center holes and sanded the perimeter of the wheels. I taped a sheet of 100 grit sandpaper on my sork bench. I rocked the wheels while sanding. It was hard to sand the ply disks....Continue Reading
Posted by UpNup | May 02, 2019 @ 02:44 PM | 1,765 Views
Starting a new project building a P-51B Pony by Norman E Meyers from plans on Aerofred.

Started by using up scraps from old builds. This was an adventure with the elevator being 20” wide with thickish ribs. I have really found helpful taping two sheets of 150 grit sheets on my workbench.
Posted by UpNup | Apr 26, 2019 @ 08:03 PM | 1,879 Views
Plastic models help me study a plane that I hope to build someday. While investigating canard planes I tripped across the Macross DY-30 Chronos. It’s a transformer from PlayStation videogame only available in Japanese.

The plane is very close to modern jets. While evaluating a number of them I discovered the Russian SU-35/37 Super Flanker Jet. So I found the plastic model in China and bought it with no problems. I had to make lots of parts and trim the canards to match photos.

Here’s some photos of my version. The model will serve as a guide some day for a jet.
Posted by UpNup | Dec 05, 2018 @ 02:31 PM | 2,989 Views
When researching to build an RC scale balsa plane from plans, I have found that it was helpful to build a plastic model of it first. I found just what I was looking for on eBay for $14.

This week, I finished the 1967 Monogram 1/48 scale Ding Hao! P-51B. This was my first warbird and a real joy to research and build. The cockpit and wings had good detail. I can live with the final result.

However, 52 year-old decals do not go down easy. Micro-sol, Pledge floor wax, and finally CA at least got everything to eventually stick. And I mean everything peeled up from the “no step” to the “Stars and Stripes.” And this model certainly came with a generous collection of decals.

The P-51B base green plastic was rattle can sprayed with Testors paints (olive drab and gray) and a final coat of their dulling spray. I went with zinc chromate brushed on interior surfaces. And the coup de grace? My wife contributed a blond hair for the radio wire.

It will be great to see how this will be a reference for the RC version with 60” wingspan.
Posted by UpNup | Nov 09, 2018 @ 08:51 AM | 2,740 Views
Finished up. Guillows says the 1903 Wright Flyer was for ages 12 and older because it’ll often make you feel like a 12 yr-old!

The model is extremely delicate. I can see why many say they don’t finish. The plans go from highly directive instructions to photos with labels. The worst advice was to put rigging in the wings before adding all the other elements. Adding the motor, pilot, and chain runs would have been almost impossible.

The wood block provided as an engine was horrible. I googled the real engine and tried to make something a bit more sophisticated. Instead of black thread, I wish it had been thinner or gray. It stands out too prominently.

Yes I’ll be proud to display my Wright Flyer. Once the rigging was in place it became much stronger. The support struts and other pieces make it much stronger, but I’d never want to throw it to see if it glides.

It makes you appreciate what the Wright brothers invented!