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Stampe SV4b

Posted by BAF23 | Jun 03, 2013 @ 05:17 AM | 26,039 Views
Since I had my first real aircraft ride during an open door in 1967, as passenger in a Belgian Air Force primary trainer Stampe and Vertongen SV4bis tail number V41, I had a strong penchant for that charismatic biplane. In 1972 those trainers were obsolete and got replaced by sleekly SF260M Marchetti trainers, and most were acquired by civilians. In 1982 V41 flew occasionally from the civilian airfield I used during weekends. It remained completely original except for sporting an additional civilian registration OO-LUK. I flew it many times over the years, and lately (2013) is in the hands of a former air force colleague pilot, having been restored to its former glory and being kept immaculate.

No wonder I wanted to have a model of it, but unfortunately the few kits on the market were either too large or out of production (Svenson), and all were for heavy petrol engines. In 2011 a fellow club member bought a second hand Stampe on the internet. It had a two stroke engine that had soaked the front, was missing struts and parts of wing covering, and most essential fittings were either unglued or poorly repaired (after a crash?). The landing gear obviously had absorbed serious hits and was pointing anywhere but straight. The cockpit and interior had the looks of a battered toy. But I wanted it so much I was able to persuade the new owner to electrify it, produce the missing bits and selling it to me so I could further finish it to my desires. It wasn’t cheap, but getting a...Continue Reading
Posted by BAF23 | May 21, 2013 @ 04:47 PM | 21,294 Views
As you might have read on my modeler history dedicated (and now illustrated) blog page the number of models exploded in recent years. Living in a 100 square meter apartment and driving the smallest Mercedes (A-Klasse) required ingenuity to combine space available and my rediscovered hobby.

Unwilling to permanently sacrifice the cozy and neutral aspect of my living space, during spring 2011 I opted to change the guestroom into a hobby room. The bed went to my parents and I bought a strong but folding 185x75cm worktable to fill one wall. The other long wall being already completely filled by pullout clothing and shoe racks, and one short side being a front window, the other the hall door, only left 4m60 by 2m20 to build and stock my model aircraft collection. Between the table and window I was able to securely fasten a shelf rail construction from the top to the bottom of the room, using adjustable and different length arms to support a variety of aircraft on a minimal space. The rest of that wall still had a wide wooden plank on which I could hang other models.

As usual build tables quickly fill up, especially when working on relatively long models as the Lander Hawker Hunter. And that was before I permanently established the left side of the table to a vertical drilling station, a Dremel with accessories, separate electrical and butane gas solder stations, lightened magnifying glass, mini table saw, and other...Continue Reading
Posted by BAF23 | May 12, 2013 @ 03:54 PM | 24,617 Views
Experiences with Orange RX3 flight stabilizers (V1 and V2)

After reading the RC group thread in 2012 I ordered 3 stabilizers before V2 came on the market. As you might be aware of through my other blog pages on this forum, I mostly fly enhanced foam scale models which are often critical under anything but very smooth calm air. Those systems had been intended to test on my Funcub, and install in an FMS Spitfire and Art-Tech T6 Texan. A few weeks later, winter came, I got a good bid for my Funcub, and the Version 2 stabilizers became available. Whilst the V1 is always active and sensitive to adjust, V2 can be switched on or off in the air and is less sensitive to adjust.

I quickly decided to mount a V2 in the vast accessible bay of the 1400mm FMS P51 to check the system.

Spring 1013 I took her in the air and assigned switch G (for Gyro) on my Specrtrum DX10t to enable the operation at altitude. I choose that knob because it was far enough from my other controls not to be actuated by accident, yet easily recognizable by feel for actuation with my left hand. I fly mode 2 so wanted my right hand on elevator and aileron during the switch, with my left hand on the G switch ready to disconnect the system in a fraction of a second if things got out of hand. System setup had been straightforward after reading the RC thread experiences of others, but final adjustments were more delicate as anticipated.

After trimming out...Continue Reading
Posted by BAF23 | Jan 25, 2013 @ 11:55 AM | 20,732 Views
FMS Stearman PT17

Having had the chance to give airrides during a couple of years in the 3 different 220hp Antwerp based Stearmans at the end of previous century, I wanted to fly this charismatic icon in model form as well.

The existing rather expensive wooden E-flite model often got criticized for having bad flying qualities, but when FMS commercialized it as a foam 1 meter span ARF, I jumped at the occasion and soon started to cosmetically change the kit appearance to conform to one of the aircraft I had flown. After opening the box and spreading everything on the table it became clear this model had all the good foundations to further detailing it into a charming little flyer.

I was glad to see FMS finally inserted an extensive spare parts list in the manual, but later orders I placed for reserve spinner shaft etc, took more than half a year to get delivered through the Belgian FMS representative, and wore another number (for common use with 5 other models). That is the reason why when I purchase any kit, I immediately order propblades , propholder, motor shaft and spinner. This is especially important with taildraggers because chances are high it will ever tip over causing damage to the drive train, and then waiting half a year for a part or discovering it cannot be obtained anymore is not what I like. With only a small serial number decal on the nose it became easy to turn that model over to 309, the British registered G-IIIG still operated from Belgium....Continue Reading
Posted by BAF23 | Jan 24, 2013 @ 12:24 PM | 25,320 Views
Model collection chronology

I made this page to show how I progressed from early age till present in model aviation. For past models the words are final, for current and future models amendments and complements will be added as the situation evolves.
Latest published updates:
25/1/2013 : inserted links in text to dedicated build logs where available
21/5/2013 : inserted appropriate pictures to the text portions
23/7/2013 : added new end after changes in the fleet
11/9/2013 : added video movies of B25, Spitfire and F16 flights
31/7/2013: added winter 2013-2014 message
31/7/2014: added summer 2014 message
13/11/2015: added year 2015 model activities
8/2/2017: added year2016 model activities
8/1/2018: added year 2017 model activities
8/1/2019: added year 2018 model activities

It all started early sixties when my dad offered me 0,8cm3 Cox powered plastic Curtiss Helldiver. With neither of us knowing how to fly, and his perseverance of self-teaching on an abandoned parking lot, led to many short hops all terminating in catastrophe. I hardly had the occasion to try the handle on this control line aircraft, but it triggered an interest in aviation and model flying, that would never disappear throughout the rest of my life.

There was a model club at our school and I joined them. That’s how I learned to fly on the schoolgrounds (with the permission of the director), and build balsa wood models in a hobby room in the school cellar. With the little money we had...Continue Reading
Posted by BAF23 | Jan 22, 2013 @ 06:34 AM | 16,854 Views
Multiplex Funcub

Summer 2010 while attending the annual Pampa Model Flyer jet show I stumbled along a German vendor who sold an infrared coax helicopter for a mere 25 euro. Back home flying it around the kitchen and living room it bought back memories from the seventies when I sold all my rc airplanes to invest in a house. After a week I realized the shortcomings of that heli and ordered a Nine Eagles solo pro, with proper tail rotor, more challenging to fly but more rewarding. A month later I discovered an rc club in my town, became member and told them I wanted to pick up my old hobby. The club president sold me his used Graupner electro junior powered glider modified with flaps, but after just a couple of flights I got the hang of it and decided I wanted a real aircraft again to practice takeoff and landings instead of hand launches. My choice felt on the Multiplex Funcub, a design sufficiently benign to pardon my beginners mistakes, but with ailerons and flaps offering me a range of flight maneuvers from basic till aerobatic, with precision landing capabilities as a bonus. I also felt a strong connection with the Cub, having spent many hours instructing in a local aeroblub’s aircraft during the seventies. My choice of colors was rapidly made.

At that time the Multiplex Funcub could only be bought as a kit, and I was seriously surprised the basic aircraft price tripled with the purchase of (quality) servo’s and a Multiplex power set (consisting in an extremely...Continue Reading
Posted by BAF23 | Jan 20, 2013 @ 04:11 AM | 13,866 Views
Part 1: fundamental cosmetic changes

Summer 2012 a stock reduction took place at the Austrian Schweichofer dealer and an FMS 140mm PNP T28 for less than 200 Euro Lipo included, was irresistible to me. An attractive full size T28 had been teasing my mind this season by operating during the weekends less than 100ft from our r/c club parking. Because I had in mind to decorate my model as the real one I choose to order the white navy version, figuring it would be the easiest one to adapt.

When the box arrived it looked like it had been exposed to the sun for too long, a wing was more yellowish as white, and the cockpit interior looked very faded. Everything was still packed in the original plastic and the box carton sealed as usual. I just could make up that this kit was an early production and had been stocked for a long time. Even not exposed to sunlight the foam and decoration just faded by age. I took everything out and assembled it in my garden for pictures of the standard original product. It was obvious the cockpit was a disaster. It didn’t fit well and protruded above the front fuselage. The interior was anything but representative of the real thing, both in shape as for decoration, and the dashboard stickers with 10 times landing mentioned on the checklist placards were just too gross to stay in there.

I had seen many T28 models fly in the various stock deliveries and knew it was a honest stable flier. I thus started reading the RCGroups thread concerning this (...Continue Reading
Posted by BAF23 | Jan 19, 2013 @ 05:28 PM | 11,855 Views
Part 8: weight and balance and final decoration

The picture at the end of part 7 illustrated how a stock FMS T28 could be rigged. Mine being anything but stock I was prepared to see devious numbers concerning weight and balance, especially with the heavier cockpit assembly (215 grams), the MrRCsound system (190 grams behind the wing not even counting the small aux speakers), added elevator servo, added hinges on all control surfaces and flaps, and total vinyl covering. I retracted the gear so I could put the complete assembled model on my precision (digital kitchen) scale and panicked finding out it was above the scale limit. Taking the battery out was sufficient to bring it under 3 kilo so that got my heart beating slower again.
After installing the battery again I attempted to lift the model from the scale with two fingers at the recommended 80-85mm CG position. It was no surprise to find out it was tail heavy, but by how much? I had anticipated that problem so had kept everything free in front of the factory battery tray. I moved the battery against the firewall but even that left the CG around 3cm too far aft. Time to take old lead blocks and squeeze them between the prop and cowling. The model eventually started balancing and I knew I would have to find adequate space for all the lead, as far in the nose as possible. After removing the plastic nose cowl I saw the possibility to glue preshaped lead strips all around the lip.

That amounted to 120 grams, bringing...Continue Reading
Posted by BAF23 | Jan 19, 2013 @ 05:10 PM | 10,459 Views
Part 7: final assembly and wiring

After getting the fuselage up the cradle and removing the canopy it became time to hook up all the servo’s and get those flight controls to behave. With the gear sequencer in place (doors open first, gear leg lowers with a delay and vice versa), I noticed it got rather hot so that would have to find a cooled placed as well for final positioning. It also required a cycle or two to get everything right after power ups but luckily I had no serious jams when things didn’t go as advertised. I wanted the gear down so I could arrange the directional setup. I already had decided I would use separate channels for rudder and nose wheel steering (NWS) instead of using the provided Y cable, because I wanted to be able to adjust their neutral point (by subtrim) separately, and have serious expo on the steering because the very short distance between main and nose gear probably would cause touchy steering at higher speeds during the ground rolls.

I first tried to connect the aircraft rudder on the rudder channel, and the NWS as a mix on one of the aux channels. I didn’t want any expo on the aircraft rudder control because I want instantaneous response to cater for gusts in finals, and also prefer to have rudder trim effectiveness to cater for engine torque according to power (maybe by mix later). Having aileron rudder (mix) interconnected to eliminate adverse yaw from the (differential ailerons) it is also better to have a positive...Continue Reading
Posted by BAF23 | Jan 19, 2013 @ 04:58 PM | 10,566 Views
Part 6: wing assembly

The morning Santa was supposed to bring me something from Winterland, the postman rang with one of the Hobby King packs. On an order of various small things for 47 dollars, I had to pay 25 euro (about 33dollar) for import, taxes and administration, no wonder our hobby is expensive. Included in that order were the long awaited heavy duty flap hinges.
After cutting slots in wing and flaps to install them, I was able to play with front and back alignment, and elevation versus each other, to find the ideal position where the top curve of the flap would hug the still to be made cover plate, and a gap would only start between take-off and land position. I now could measure how deep that cover plate had to be to get best visual and aerodynamic results. Two centimeters seemed fine and I used an iron saw to cut the flap cover strips out of a 1mm white styrene sheet. The pictures below show the cutouts and how much wing area I lost at the back compared to the original wing root fillet.

Those flap hinges are shown here at the various positions, demonstrating their shape is ideal for deployments with the extrados hugging the same top portion (of the future cover plate).

After much sanding I dry fitted the flaps on their loose hinges and observed everything went as thought of. Dry fitting of the FMS flap actuator horns showed they wouldn’t work. Trying to pull (even below the hinge pivot point) on a...Continue Reading
Posted by BAF23 | Jan 19, 2013 @ 04:40 PM | 8,479 Views
Part 5: wing modification

As you read in previous chapters, whilst mainly concentrating on the fuselage, I already started working on the wings when time available. A test of all electrics showed, although I have a version one, the flap servo’s are of the slow type. Lights were of correct colors but mounted so deep in the foam, much of their effect was lost. The transparent covers had been glued excessively and were anything but flush with surrounding foam. All had to be removed because my wingtips would be blue, and the transparent covers had been applied over the red painted foam. Removal of the covers without cracking them required some delicacy, but removal of all the glue from them proved impossible. The thick lights bulbs were pulled out from their recesses and glued only at their base, shining much better now. The area around the wingtip lights was painted blue, and the one around the landing light silver. Covers were again glued, but now as flush as possible. Traces of factory glue excesses requires partial covering of the transparent area during the vinyling phase. I then removed the factory applied plastic tapes that covered electric wirings and servo’s, and applied several coats of lightweight filler to fill all surface creases and wire channels. After much sanding I obtained really smooth surfaces as a good base for later vinyling. Ailerons were cut off because their thickness and foam joint only allowed minimal deflection. They got the same...Continue Reading
Posted by BAF23 | Jan 19, 2013 @ 04:30 PM | 8,042 Views
Part 4: fuselage assembly

I had just 5 days to cover the complete fuselage, and for the first time assemble all the parts to transport it to the flying club. During winter once a month we gather together for some kind of activity and December traditionally means everybody displays the project(s) we are working on. Early march everybody brings their completed models after working all winter on them. I had covered my fuselage in shoulder to shoulder applied vinyl panels, coinciding with the now filled in deep FMS panel lines. Some panels like the one just behind the canopy required very delicate application because of their complicated concave/convex shape. Remember I had varnished the fuselage to get rid of most contrast between the factory painted parts, and the parts where upon removal of the decoration, the paint had come off with. The varnish makes a nice flat adhesive base, but the vinyl has to be spot on before pressing it down, any attempt to pull it off to reposition or get rid of a crease or bubble, results in the varnish remaining stuck to the vinyl and adhesive capabilities of that area being totally gone. The only solution then is to get rid of that worthless complete vinyl piece, cut another one out, and applying it over the area that has to be sanded with 600 grit paper again to soften the transition between bare foam and varnished foam, because the thin vinyl otherwise would show that.

Before covering the bottom of the fuselage I had to cut out an additional...Continue Reading
Posted by BAF23 | Jan 19, 2013 @ 04:18 PM | 7,829 Views
Part 3: The sound (and other) systems

Only 6 days after I ordered the MrRCsound system, it was delivered across the Atlantic, for less than 150 Euro, airmail included. It consists of the basic budget system B (with Wright Cyclone sound) and a pair of extra 1,22” speakers. I opted for that layout because of the models’ limitations in CG, limited available space facing down due to retracts and wing attachments, and the possibility to hide the small speakers in the engine exhaust stripes. Straight out of the box the complete 3 speaker system is very compact.

The speakers are well protected in solid casings, and the black electronic parts on the sides can be easily removed if necessary. The tiny heat dissipater indicates that contrary to the stock system in the Art Tech T6, this system efficiently converts power into noise instead of producing exaggerated heat. The adjustable potentiometer arm sticking out will be Dremeled off once the sound volume has been adjusted. A dry fitting on the bare fuselage was made to find out about necessary wire lengths, also for system power to be tapped between battery and ESC connection.

After careful considerations and looking at the pictures of the finished airplane I took a fresh knife and carved out the openings to receive the small speakers. I didn’t dare to open their casings to find out if I could temporarily disconnect the wires, and choose to make the openings conical (wider inside as out) so I could insert the...Continue Reading
Posted by BAF23 | Jan 19, 2013 @ 01:42 PM | 7,209 Views
part 2: the cockpit

A prominent part of the fuselage is the enormous cockpit. Because of this prominence it required extensive modifications to give it a more realistic look. Test fitting it on the fuselage showed an unacceptable step at the front part. Being limited by the forward mounting lip, the only solution was to completely remove the plastic canopy from the foam cockpit bathtub, then sanding off the excess foam till the plastic canopy could me aligned flat with the forward fuselage.

Prying off the plastic is no problem because it was glued with the (in)famous never drying FMS glue. Just gently inserting something between the glued parts, and slowly but constantly applying pressure pulling them apart finally separates them, leaving a mess of remaining glue on one or both surfaces, and in this case they used a lot over the rather large contact area.

What’s left was an ungainly looking time deteriorated area, with awful decals and the all too familiar face and disproportionate built of the stock pilot (often referred to as Goofer). I had read the disastrous results of sunshine on the greenhouse, causing the flat black areas to bubble up. Having detailed pictures of the original cockpit (found on the internet from back when the aircraft was offered for sale in the USA), I also saw my plan of inserting faithful side panels could not work the way FMS made the sides. It would take me two weeks to modify this horrible assembly.

First of all, Goofer got removed,...Continue Reading
Posted by BAF23 | Jan 17, 2013 @ 09:58 AM | 10,011 Views
Imported from the USA because unavailable in Europe, I was able to free it from customs after paying a substantial sum for import duties and taxes, and opening the box showing them there was no radio equipment (requiring Belgian radiowave testing) in this PNP version (on the box you saw only pictures and info about the Ready To Fly aircraft with a Tx pictured next to it). After getting home I quickly dry assembled this model and found it very attractive and much more scale than expected.

I had ordered the silver version because the base colour seemed closer to the version I wanted to make, the Belgian registered OO-DAF owned and operated by Eric Vormezele from EBBT since a few decades (and I got a ride in it).

Stripping the decals took away a lot of the paint so I had no choice than to remove it all. The silver was extremely brittle and even working outside, I looked more like a Folies Bergères artist glittering on stage, than a model builder. The red paint on the vertical tail was very difficult to remove because of the fabric compound curves in the foam. The red wingtips were brittle and navigation lights just lose without glue. With the knowledge of today I think if you want to make any particular T6, it is better to order the gray version, remove the decals and apply a gray primer over the whole airplane, but you’ll need some patience to paint the frames of the greenhouse. Further dismantling the model I discovered it had a complete sound system just thrown...Continue Reading
Posted by BAF23 | Jan 17, 2013 @ 05:16 AM | 10,133 Views

Have been reading the thread when building my dynam skybus during summer 2011. I made the tailwheel steerable, changed the wheels, added 4 part split flaps and painted it the way N49AG looked for the 50 year celebrations of the Belgian Air Force (ie the Royal DC3 still on display in the Brussels Air Museum). I flew it a couple of times and last week I added a MrRCSound module and have testflown it. This is my first attempt at a blog, I will try to post the report about the sound modification and a few pictures when I find out how it all works on this RC forum. The above picture is my model, just below is one of the real aircraft during a 2011 airshow in Coxyde Belgium, coming in to land with the typical 4 sectioned split flaps fully deployed.

With the kit being so light and overpowered it was obvious flaps were a necessity if it had to be landed with some power. I had seen various people here finding solutions but choose for my own approach at the end. Using the sharp knife extended quite a bit I was able to carve out 4 wing flap recesses as used on the real DC3. I then cut out 4 balsa flaps from 1,5mm scrap and glued 1,5 mm copper tubing at the front and back. The front parts were all joined by a 1mm rod glued in the tube, sufficiently flexible where exposed for the necessary movements between the flap sections due to the dihedral and angle change, but torque resistant enough to allow one soldered glued bellcranck to activate all flaps together. Because of the expected...Continue Reading