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Posted by UpNup | Jan 10, 2020 @ 01:45 PM | 2,239 Views
The pilot with the Airfield Tempest 800mm is weak at best. My pilot didn't have his nose. It was just a hole at the middle of his face.

I pulled the canopy off and got the pilot out. His face was rubber and unpainted. He's wearing a double-breasted green coat with black collar. And his eyebrows had been well-plucked. What war crime did he commit to get that punishment? There was no life preserver. This pilot was about 1.5" tall and had no arms.

I used 400 grit sandpaper on all but the face and used Testors enamel paint. I gave his Britishness a blue coat and brown leather helmet. I gave his beard stubble a wash of 1:10 flat black paint to mineral spirits. His eyebrows were thickened to normal. After spraying a Clear Matte finish, I put silver on the glasses rims and then dabbed thick clear finger nail polish on the lenses.

But that sour expression remained. Who makes these things? Not even a new nose and a new coat of paint could help this guy.

The unhappy pilot was glued back in with TitebondII and I used Canopy Clear Glue to get the cockpit glass back in place. Ready for take-off.
Posted by UpNup | Jan 02, 2020 @ 09:00 PM | 3,207 Views
A dollar store sells an 8” black plastic action figure (1/9 scale) that could be made into an inexpensive pilot figure. Super Police is apparently a SWAT series of action figures. The paint job is haphazard at best.

However, the molding detail is very good. The front and back do not fit well. I had to scrape off the extra sprue. Three tiny screws in the back helped tighten up the torso. The top of the head required quick-drying modeling putty to smooth the cap.

Acetone wiped the paint right off. I used 400 grit paper to help the paint adhere. Testors enamels work well. I mixed up a 10:1 black wash to make the beard and some minimal weathering.

I cut “police” off of the chest plate and sanded it smooth.

Update: Added titles and wings to chest, hat and shoulder. It's just paper from an injet printer. Used canopy glue and sealed with MicroSet. I used a modification of Glider Pilot wings found online. I chose ORCA on the breastplate since that is the theme of the next build. To be continued...
Posted by UpNup | Dec 30, 2019 @ 10:21 AM | 3,666 Views
Here are the three P-51B plans from Aerofred.com. This is all I had to go on. There is no instruction manual, but I have attached my building notes.

Also attached to this post is a 2-page PDF that lists materials and costs for the P-51B that was 1/7.5 scale built from plans.
For me, most of the electronics and about one-third of the balsa was already on hand.

Generally, here is the accounting:
$374 Building materials
$336 Electronics
$710 Total costs
Posted by UpNup | Dec 27, 2019 @ 10:06 PM | 2,059 Views
Enjoyed posting a Build Log pulling from this blog on Balsa Builders Forum.
Click here.
Posted by UpNup | Dec 23, 2019 @ 06:43 PM | 2,716 Views
Weathering for my P-51B followed this sequence:

Scour Monokote with 400 grit sandpaper. Dip in water to keep the sandpaper clean. Move inn the direction of airflow.

Add graphics. I used Callie Graphics and made some of my own water-slide decals for nomenclature, gas caps, camera access panel, etc.

Chip panel edges and cockpit edges with a fine art brush and Testors aluminum enamel.

Use 0000 grit steel wool to gently dab paint chips on LE, certain panels, and places were crew members walk.

Mark major panel lines with an Ultra Fine Point Sharpie. Lay out lines with blue painters tape and carefully draw straight lines.

Option—mark rivets with a small brass tube heated with a soldering iron on low. I passed.

Option to airbrush: Shave brown, dark gray, and a rust color into a pan. Use a soft wide brush to stroke streaks on the surface. Use blue painters tape this way: horizontal put the tape upwind. On vertical lines put the tape on the outside of the line and stroke toward the plane. Don’t be shy with the chalk. It melts away a lot with the matte spray.

Seal top surfaces with clear matte spray. Then flip plane over and stroke chalk on the bottom side. Spray clear matte spray over the bottom....Continue Reading
Posted by UpNup | Dec 18, 2019 @ 10:42 AM | 6,024 Views
Looks like Arcy Plain is using this hobby to help at home!
Just how many airplanes are in this cartoon anyway?
Posted by UpNup | Dec 14, 2019 @ 07:34 PM | 6,266 Views
Ran a dulling experiment on gray mirror-gloss Monokote this afternoon.

1. Steel wool 0000 was barely noticeable.

2. Wet sanding #400 grit sandpaper was mottled over sheeting and slightly better over openings that were covered. Scotchbrite pads may be even better.

3. Best today was the Krylon matte spray finish, but will it last? (I do plan to chip, add panel lines, weather, and seal with matte spray.)

What has been your experience, especially over time?

My concern is spraying over Monokote which can shrink or swell in adverse temperatures and crack the finish.
Posted by UpNup | Dec 06, 2019 @ 08:12 PM | 3,566 Views
This is my second build with Monokote. My P-51B uses 2 rolls of Olive Drab, 1 roll Gray, and some White. I thought about painting white, but was satisfied with white.

Monokote tips: Set your iron as hot as it’ll go. Tack down the edges and get it fairly smooth. Then stretch the middle carefully with a heat gun on low. Start on the bottom and move from back of plane forward. (Tail feathers first.) Monokote is very forgiving and you can re-stretch at least once.

Large patches and overlays should be applied with fully wetting the adhesive side with Windex with ammonia. Squeegee for bubbles. After drying for a day, set your iron in the middle heat and slowly go over the film. It should seal. I’ve never had to use any edge sealer using this method.

Update: The day after posting this blog, I learned that Monokote makes a FLAT olive drab! Now, I bought not one, but two rolls from my LHS and he mentioned nothing about a flat finish version. And at least online it looks to be a lighter color that what I’m stuck with. Beware your LHS I guess is today’s lesson! (But if you’re weathering and wet sanding it doesn’t matter as much.)
Posted by UpNup | Dec 02, 2019 @ 06:49 PM | 4,781 Views
:: I Fell in a Pile Of Balsa Dust and Got RC Love All Over Me
:: I Keep Forgettin' I Forgot about Landing
:: I'm Just a Bug on the Windshield of an F-18
:: I’ve Got the Hungries For Your Plane And I'm Waiting In Your Welfare Line
:: If My Nose Were Full Of Nickels, I'd Blow It All On A Scale Warbird
:: Mama Get The Hammer (There's A Fly On Papa's Head And He Can’t Let Go Of The Sticks)
:: My Wife Ran Off With My Best Friend and His Sailplane, And I Sure Do Miss It.
:: Don't Cry On My Shoulders 'Cause You're Rustin' My Servos
:: The Next Time You Throw That $1,300 Saito Radial 3-cylinder Engine, My Face Ain't Gonna Be There
:: I Don't Know Whether to Come Home or Go Around Again
:: If You Can't Feel It (You Ain’t Got It)
:: I Just Bought A Drone From The Guy That Stole My Girl, But The Drone Don't Run So I Figure We Got An Even Deal
:: She Thinks My Tractor Prop’s Sexy
:: Foamie Mountain Breakdown
:: I Found My Thrill on a Balsa Build
:: Ring of Fire Lipo Charging Station
:: Take This Plane and Fly It
:: Stand By Your Flight Line
:: I’m a Man of Constant Sorrows ‘Cause I Need Just One More Plane
Posted by UpNup | Nov 24, 2019 @ 07:14 PM | 7,301 Views
When measuring for graphics I discovered the fuselage and wings were a different scale.

P-51B Pony
WS 37’ = 444 in. - 62.75” is 1/7.01 scale
It is supposed to be 57.5 — 1:7.7
L 32.25 = 387 in. = 50.5” is 1/7.7

It stunned me. I felt betrayed ... by plans. I felt stupid not having anticipated this eventuality. Should I start again? Where? Is there hope? Will she fly this close to the end?

What went wrong? The plans printed the WS but did not include the center tray where the wings connect to the fuselage. That tray was 5” wide.

In checking with experts I learned that it shouldn’t affect the flight characteristics. One person suggested raising the rudder higher. This would require adding 1/2 inch to go from 1/7.7 scale to 1/7.0. At this point I do not think it’s worth the effort.

One side note—I cannot print decals big enough, so I plan to order them from Callie Graphics.

UPDATE: In the last photo I have made an overlay of the "real" dimensions 1:1 of a P-51B (from a 3 View) with a photo of my scale model. The wing difference is not as bad as I thought. Some of the alignment is from Norman E. Meyer that developed the plans. Looking forward to flying.
Posted by UpNup | Nov 10, 2019 @ 07:10 PM | 1,388 Views
Cut a notch into the wing and paint aluminum. Poke a silver tack into the middle. Glue a round clear jewel on the tack. Soften a .030 plastic strip Use canopy glue to secure in place. Fill any gaps with lightweight spackling.

I hope to one day to have a working light. I ran a thread through the wing and secured the end with a screw. I can use that to pull a wire through the wing out to the notch but in the leading edge.
Posted by UpNup | Nov 01, 2019 @ 09:28 PM | 3,357 Views
Back in September, I experimented with canopy types and adhesives. Over the past three weekends, I've settled on a process that may help you.

Arches were built over the finished cockpit. They were 1/8" thick basswood X 1/4" thick. The basswood kept breaking at 1/8", so the formers were thick, but they're strong and lightweight. For my template, I used the top half of one of the formers behind the radio compartment wall.

Lay wax paper over the places where you want a window pane. Trace with a Sharpie pen. Cut out and trace on a sheet of .030 plastic. ($4.95 at Hobby Lobby). This was thick, but could be cut with scissors. I had saved an old balsa cowl from a Ford Flivver build and laid the plastic sheets over the cowl. Then I hit it for a few seconds with a heat gun on low. This allowed the plastic to melt. I ruined two attempts, but got the rest right. These go rigid in seconds when heat is removed. After shaping the cut out pane, then I removed the protective plastic sheets on both sides. This left a perfectly clear piece of plastic.

I used Canopy Glue to trace the edges of the frame where the panes were to fit. I taped the plastic panes in place. It took a good 15-20 minutes to dry.

When all the panes were in place and solidly glued down, I cut out 3/16" strips of 1/16" basswood ply. I cut out strips to fit the frames and cover the seams between panes. Then I cut out tiny triangles to put in the corners of most windows. The only...Continue Reading
Posted by UpNup | Oct 19, 2019 @ 07:05 PM | 3,700 Views
Upgraded flimsy 1/8” wire to 3/16” in this P-51B build. The cross brace had to be beefed up to 3/8” x 3/4” x 5.25” and I placed a soft balsa block behind the brace closest to the wheels. The thicker wire meant all the lg straps had to be replaced. Trying to bend 3/16” piano wire required a pipe borrowed from a neighbor.

I included a photo of the lg plans. It shows a smaller lg design. It was difficult to tear out epoxy on ply and balsa. It had to be torn out twice—killed three weekends to get it right. I had to use my rotary drill and other tools to grind out the epoxy remnants each time.

The brace is made of basswood from Hobby Lobby. The 3/16” steel wire is from Lowe’s and I used Gorilla Glue 5-minute epoxy.
Posted by UpNup | Sep 29, 2019 @ 01:56 PM | 1,713 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.

2nd Uodate. To make the wings balance I had to add shims on one side. Epoxied the wings on to the tray today. Big step of no return....Continue Reading
Posted by UpNup | Sep 15, 2019 @ 05:48 PM | 1,683 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 | 2,309 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.

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 | 1,716 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 | 2,816 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 | 4,558 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 | 4,201 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.

Update: The dihedral braces should have clued next in that the wingspan was expanded to 62.5”. The wings themselves are 57.5”. But that space is throwing the scale off.