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Posted by Sandancer | Apr 07, 2011 @ 11:23 PM | 15,839 Views
One of the features I liked about the Starmax was the Radiator Vent Door, so I set out to see what it would take to make mine functional.

Starmax Gunfighter_Radiator Vent (2 min 2 sec)

The first thing I need to address was alignment of the linkage. I wasn't crazy about trying to run linkage from a servo mounted on the tray down to where I planned to mount the horn on the vent door, so I designed my own dropped & channeled servo tray out of some 1/16" plastic. I first cut the hole for the HXT 900 9g servo, and then took the hot air gun and started forming the tray. Once I got the dimensions and depth I wanted for the hole between the rudder and elevator mounts, I dropped the entire assembly down in there, and had a much better alignment for the linkage.

The door, on the other hand, was a bit more difficult. Because it fit so tight in the bay opening, I knew I would have to remove it so I could clearance it so it would swing clear and not bind the servo. To get the door out I had to cut the foam swivel hinges on the sides. I used a piece of FMS fiberglass spar material for the new hinge rod, and anchored it with two 1/2 x 1/2 square tubing plugs on both sides. I drilled the square centers of the plugs out to accept the round spar, and fit them to the side of the fuse. I epoxied one of those larger aluminum 30mm tall control horns to the door so I would have enough room for the linkage to clear the pivot spar.

I...Continue Reading
Posted by Sandancer | Apr 07, 2011 @ 02:28 AM | 21,535 Views

I wasn't comfortable with the way the ailerons were extended to the wing tips, so I decided to make mine accurate and scale.

My thoughts that this would increase the chance of a tip stall was confirmed by Tom H, and he agreed. To quote Tom: "You have to stop an aileron a good full tip chord from the end of the wing to keep the down aileron from inducing a tip stall."

So I went to work to correct this. First I filled the tip grooves with several layers of epoxy. To help reinforce & strengthen the wing tips, I shoved a .098 X 3.5" CF rod in just shy of the nav light. I then started the process of filling and sanding, and once that was all done, I cut the control surfaces out of the wings. I re-hinged using the Super hinges from HK and medium CA. Once everything looked good to me, I repainted the wings with Krylon Metallic Bright Silver.

I had planned on adding new invasion strips because the stock stripes were to wide for the Gunfighter and overlapped the gas cap indention's. I'll use Oracal 651 Intermediate vinyl for my striping.

UP-DATE 5/18/2011: Because of the various mods, eg: Ailerons, re-hinging, LG brackets, & Bomb pylons, I wanted get these done independently before I assembled the 2 wing halves into a 1-Piece wing. To do so, I cut two .394 spars 7" long, and used them to anchor both wings together fore and aft. Once everything was test fitted, I applied GG, set the wings, and waited for the glue to cure...Continue Reading
Posted by Sandancer | Apr 07, 2011 @ 01:17 AM | 20,829 Views
As large as the elevator is on the Gunfighter, it was way to flimsy for me, so I've put a 0.325 X 0.125 X 19 5/8" Carbon Fiber spar in it. The spar made a huge difference in the flex, in fact there is none now. I also re-hinged using the Super hinges from HK.

I also tried some Rust-Oleum Ultra Cover Hunt Club Green satin paint, but it's a bit darker then the Gunfighter green, so I'll do some mix & match with Testors and see if I can come up with a closer match.

UP-DATE 4/25/2011:
After numerous attempts at finding an acceptable paint match for the "Gunfighter" green, I finally came up with a perfect match. A 1:1 mix with Testors MM Medium Green #FS34102 and MM Olive Drab #FS34087 will produce an exact match. Then to match the sheen of the factory green I applied a coat of Testors Crystal Clear Satin.

To finish off the elevator I applied Oracel 651 vinyl strips for the invasion stripes....Continue Reading
Posted by Sandancer | Apr 07, 2011 @ 12:31 AM | 18,590 Views

I got the cockpit amenities finished for my temporary 1/7 scale ESM WWII pilot. His replacement will be the 1/8 scale Aces of Iron WWII pilot when I get him back from Master Painter Greg Pierson.

I'll also be tinting the canopy here pretty soon. I'll post the results when I'm done.

UP-DATE 5/03/2011: I received my Aces of Iron WWII U.S. Pilot, European Theater pilot back today from "Master" painter Greg Pierson. You can contact Greg at Reading
Posted by Sandancer | Apr 04, 2011 @ 12:18 AM | 15,682 Views
I opened up the cowling and engine compartment to allow more air flow into the ESC/Battery bay for added ventilation for the electronics. I also added magnets to the cowl for ease of removal. Because I opened vent holes to the exhaust stacks I wanted to make sure I still got adequate air into the fuse, so I enlarged the hole leading into the battery bay. Along with the ramp, that shouldn't be a problem.

There seemed to be an issue concerning the firewall coming loose from the foam, so to safe guard that from becoming an issue on mine, I decided to reinforce the firewall.

First I wanted to grind a groove between the firewall and the surrounding foam to give additional material for the epoxy to adhere to. I used a Dremel stone like the one pictured below. Once I had the groove cut, I mixed up some 2-ton epoxy, added a little heat to make it more of a runny consistency, pored it in to the engine compartment along the edges where the grooves were cut, and then tilted the nose around so the epoxy would flow all the around the firewall. Once the epoxy dried, I went back in with the same stone and ground away any epoxy that would interfere with the motor mount.

The firewall is now securely in place!
Posted by Sandancer | Apr 03, 2011 @ 11:41 PM | 15,527 Views
I had some "piddle time" so I thought I would copy Kevin Greene's mod on the exhaust stacks. I used my Dremel with a coned shaped disc to cut out the holes in the stacks. I cut a hole thru to the engine compartment, and then took the Dremel with a rounded head cone attachment and cut a channel down to the last stack.

I painted the opening and channel with flat black to fill in the back drop. The inside of the stacks were painted MM Steel to give some contrast.

I found out, using a my own version wind tunnel which comprised of a cigarette and some compressed air, that when air pasted by the exhaust tips it actually sucked the air out of the motor compartment. With these exhausts at the top of the motor compartment, keeping the heat away from the lower vent ducting should work great!
Posted by Sandancer | Mar 21, 2011 @ 07:09 PM | 18,270 Views
I stripped down the prop paddles and got them a bit more scale....... In fact their a whole bunch more scale then before!

Like I mentioned before, Starmax list this prop at 16"X6X4, but by all my measurin' sticks I get 15"X6X4!

I've included a PDF file for D/L for those who would like to make their own Hamilton Standard & Spec. decals.

UP-DATE 4/03/2011:
I got a 4" Cub Yellow Spinner w/Aluminum Backing Plate from AirBorne Models to have a few other options for prop selection eg: the VarioPROP, and possibly a 2-Blade set-up? I must say I was pleased to see that the Cub Yellow was a close match to the Gunfighter's yellow. Now all I have to do is cut 2 more blade slots in it.

UP-DATE 6/26/2011:
As time's gone by it has become apparent that neither Starmax or Banana Hobby has any intentions of supplying replacement parts for the P-51 to a degree that we're needing them. My primary focus is the lack of a replacement motor and of course the much in demand prop adapters. For that reason I have decided to take that issue out of the equation, and re-design mine to accept multiple prop apps!

Using the AirBorne spinner and aluminum backing plate as my new base, I chucked the stock prop adapter in the lathe and turned it down so it would fit the 11mm B/P hole. I then turned the shaft down to 8mm, and ran an additional 1/2" of 8mm x 1.25 threads.

Another alternative would be the 4" Nylon Spinner from Hobby King....Continue Reading
Posted by Sandancer | Mar 19, 2011 @ 10:40 PM | 20,886 Views
Wellllll.....I decided to start tinkering with the "GUNFIGHTER" this weekend!

First on my list was the Landing Gear. After much deliberation I've decided to stick with the stock location, even though it's not scale! The E-Tract socket isn't as far back from the LE as I was afraid it was going to be.

I can see why so many guys are having issues with the E-Tracts! These ChangSuns may be fine for a Parkflyer, or maybe an EDF, but they are in no way suitable for a plane of this size! Come on Starmax, what were you thinking? It was a no-brainer, the PZ 514s were going in!

I have also decided to go a different direction on the struts as well. I have had a set of 120 Class Offset Oleo Struts from RCSkyLite for some time now, and after comparing them with the stock struts, I found them to be quite suitable for a replacement. Both the diameter and lengths were right in range with each other, so with the advantage of the RCSkyLites being aluminum and oleo, I decided to use them instead of the VQ's.
To get them to fit, first I had to disassemble them so I could chuck the upper shaft in the lathe so I could center drill the 5mm hole for the leg. I then cut 1/2" off the top at about a 70 angle so the strut would conform to the inclination of the wheel well. With the upper shaft disassembled I drilled and tapped a 4-40 thread hole for the set-screw to lock on the leg. I also made up a lower skirt bracket out of nylon and slid it on before...Continue Reading
Posted by Sandancer | Mar 09, 2011 @ 12:22 AM | 26,261 Views
I got this Big Dog delivered to my front door today, and couldn't wait to open her up and give my evaluation!

What I'm talking about is the Starmax 63"/1600mm EPO P-51D "GUNFIGHTER"!

I have to admit I was reluctant to order the Starmax due to the poor reviews it received early on, but after going over her this afternoon with my trusty "fine toothed comb" I will say.....this plane is AWESOME! The graphics are great, the spinner-backing plate is center drilled, the paint looks thin spots, the detailing is impeccable, and the size will blow you away!

There are a few glitches, but we've come to expect that! The seam on the upper panel could have been closed up. The aileron and elevator will require re-hinging. One of the wire leads got dislocated and ended up getting glued under a wing panel. One prop paddle was installed backwards, but that was an easy fix. The Hamilton Standard and spec decals were installed out of correct orientation.
I haven't figured out why Starmax has 2 control rods for the vert. stab/rudder, and only 1 for the elevator?
Also, why do the manufactures still insist on using these PZ 312s E-Tracts instead of the PZ 514s?
The out of scale location for the LG is bugging me too!

This plane can be easily transported with the capability of make the wings 1-Piece, or if you prefer, you can leave as is. With the spar installed, the wings are quite stable and have little flex.
The radiator...Continue Reading
Posted by Sandancer | Mar 08, 2011 @ 10:34 PM | 15,662 Views
This is my build of the....FMS 1470mm Mitchell B-25 TONDELAYO!

Posted by Sandancer | Mar 08, 2011 @ 10:15 PM | 15,324 Views
To be up-dated later!
Posted by Sandancer | Feb 05, 2011 @ 03:47 AM | 19,507 Views
I did a major modification to the B-25 TONDELAYO landing gear.

I didn't like the looks of those big bulky bay doors hanging down when the landing gear was deployed, so I adapted the mod I did with the bay doors on my "Auntie Samantha" P-51, and made them disappear.
Once again, I utilized the Microgear sequencer to get them to do what I needed. Like the P-51, I got the doors to close after the Landing Gear deployed. First thou, I needed to figure a way for the doors to clear the struts in the closed position. The solution was quite simple, I just cut slots in the doors so they would clearance the legs.

Once I figured out what I needed to do with the doors, I sat out to replace the wheels with something more scale. For the nose wheel I chose the DuBro 1 3/4" spoked wheel. For the main gear I first tried a 2 1/4" wheel, but there wasn't enough clearance to close the doors completely, so I settled on a set of Robart 2" diamond tread Goodyears.

With the Microgear controlling the LG/Bay doors, and those Goodyears, the TONDELAYO is looking Goooood!

B-25 Tondelayo__Landing Gear (3 min 37 sec)
...Continue Reading
Posted by Sandancer | Feb 04, 2011 @ 01:40 AM | 20,938 Views
Take my word for it......wiring this plane will take patience, preservation, and a degree in Electrical Engineering, (just kidding). It's really not all that hard to do, just don't let any of those tags come loose!

NOTE: The original review of this plane on the Nitro website stated that they were using a 4s lipo. FMS recommends a 3s lipo so I am using a 3S 3300 30C lipo in mine. Over time it has been proven to be the correct lipo for this model. DX Stickman/Lee, among others, have reported shorter life spans on the stock motor when they tried using 4s!

On my plane I have 16 leads from each wing, 10 leads coming from the tail, and 9 leads coming out of the nose. Couple that with 3 y-connectors, and 2 tri-connectors, not to mention the ESC leads......I have my work cut out for me.

To simplify the Nerve system and make it less confusing I am once again using Futurlec multiplex Headers. On this system I needed to cover the sixteen leads from each wing so I used a 20-pin Header for both. It does take time to solder each harness together, but in the long run, if I need to remove the wings it's simply a matter of unplugging the two harnesses and the ESC leads.

UP-DATE 2/07/2011: I changed the ESC lead to the XT60 connector, and wired in the CC 10A BEC. I pulled the ESC red lead from the connector and insulated it with heatshrink.

I mounted the Lander Nav light controller and the Microgear sequencer on the inner hull with Super blue velcro....Continue Reading
Posted by Sandancer | Feb 04, 2011 @ 12:26 AM | 18,472 Views
Wellllll....once again, I had to do some work on the tail feathers to get them to waggle properly!

Early on I noticed the rudders seemed to be a bit stiff, but after flexing them numerous times they seemed to loosen up a bit? After gluing them on to the elevator with epoxy and hooking the control rods on in the correct orientation, I noticed the main control rods were bowing out when fully extended, not to mention the associated servo hum! I could not find any linkage binding anywhere so the only logical reason was the foam rudder hinges. I ended up re-hinging the control surfaces with pin hinges and that cured the problem.

While I was fiddling with all the linkage I noticed they were all installed with the cut ends of the Z-bends facing the foam and a couple were actually rubbing against the foam. Not wanting to run the risk of one of those ends digging into foam during a flight, I decided to re-orientate them in the correct position with the ends on the outside.

Once I was assured everything was operating in a smooth manner I installed the elevator/rudder assembly on the fuse. Once installed I proceeded to run a servo test to once again make sure everything was going to be okay, but once again I was having a binding problem? Upon closer examination I found the rudder linkage was pinched between the fuse and the elevator. The channel that was cut in the fuse section was not wide enough to clearance the control rod. After making a couple small...Continue Reading
Posted by Sandancer | Feb 03, 2011 @ 11:02 PM | 18,812 Views
The pics I have seen of the "TONDELAYO" show a green tinted upper windshield visor. I decided to match that, so after removing the canopy I applied a couple of light coats if MM Green with the airbrush on the inside of the 2 visor panels.

While I had the canopy off I blew all the old paint off the foam cockpit with an air gun sporting 100 psi. I then cleaned it with some warm soapy water followed up with a wipe down with alcohol. Once dried I applied a coat of Adhesion Promoter, painted the dash flat black, the cockpit with MM Interior green, and the seat backs with MM Leather brown. Once the paint dried I reattached the pilot and co-pilot with some hot glue, and then re-glued the canopy back on with Formula '560' canopy glue.
Posted by Sandancer | Feb 03, 2011 @ 10:26 PM | 17,722 Views
I got the Radio pod from Hobby Lobby along with the decal proofs of their B-25 "Apache Princess" livery. I have been thinking I might change the livery to the "Apache Princess" as I have physically seen the girl close up on a couple of occasions. If I can come up with a close match to the green camo I'll do it, but right now I don't want to re-paint the whole plane, just the areas where the decals would need to be replaced.

I made a mold of the original radio pod and used Polymeric Isocyanate casting resin to form the two halve pieces. Once they hardened I glued the two halves together with epoxy, filled the seams, sanded and painted.
Posted by Sandancer | Feb 02, 2011 @ 02:25 AM | 15,472 Views
Once again I had to get in there and change out all that fiberglass with Carbon Fiber.

First I cut to length the two .394 CF rods to replace the fiberglass wing spars.
Tip: I found that if I tapered the tips of the CF rods, they will slide into those wing clamps much better and with less friction.

Once I got the two spars cut and tapered, I proceeded to remove the flat fiberglass spar and replace it with .325 x .125 CF using GG as the bonding glue. Once the glue had dried I filled the seams with Squadron putty, sanded and re-painted the wings with a mix of MM Azure blue and white to match the blue underside of the wings and nacelles.
Posted by Sandancer | Dec 19, 2010 @ 10:37 PM | 18,472 Views
I received confirmation from FMS that indeed the twin motors on the B-25 were 1000kv outrunners. They also confirmed that, although the 40A ESC's were rated for 2S-4S lipos, they strongly suggested running the plane on 3S lipos as the motors are only rated for 3S.

UP-DATE 01/01/2011: I received a couple of replacement motors from Hobby Partz. HPz lists these motors as 1050kv, but they have 900kv stamped on the leads? As soon as my G.T. Power RC Motor Testing Expert KV / RPM Meter comes in, I'll be able to run some tests and see what the kv actually is?
Posted by Sandancer | Dec 19, 2010 @ 10:07 PM | 18,319 Views
One of the first things I noticed was the location in which FMS decided to mount the nav lights? This just doesn't look right to me, so I will replace the red/green nav light in the forward edge of the wings with clear LED landing lights, and place the colored nav lights in their appropriate locations......wing tips.

UP-DATE 2/01/2011:
I've now have the Nav lights reconfigured to their correct positions. I've replaced the Red/Green lights FMS had installed in the landing light pockets with clear 10mm LED lights. I then installed 5mm LED starboard/green and port/red lights in the correct positions in their respective wing tips. I ran the wire leads thru the wing into the cavity just behind the landing light fixture, and then into the fuse. I also installed 2 beacon lights, one on the underside of the tail, and the other on top midway between the gun turret and the tail.

B-25 Tondelayo__Nav Lights (1 min 32 sec)
...Continue Reading