maj74's blog - RC Groups
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Posted by maj74 | Mar 24, 2011 @ 05:24 PM | 3,420 Views
Things seem to have slowed down somewhat with the work on this plane... It's been busy at work for a few weeks, and just don't have the time I would like.

Anyhow... progress is still being made, and I am beginning to get to the stage where I can tick jobs off the list as completed.

As usual, the details are included with the pics.

The video below shows the first test of the gear sequencer. Some of the servo limits will need varying on the transmitter when I get as far as setting up the DX8, but this looks promising!

IMG 0703 (0 min 39 sec)

It's so good to see some decent sized wheels on these wings... why do they put such tiny wheels in as stock? I guess to get away with using cheap retract units (that can't even manage the tiny wheels!)

Posted by maj74 | Mar 08, 2011 @ 03:44 PM | 3,408 Views
Next three photos... have actually got further than this.

The whole airframe has now had it's base silver coat, and have masked up the front for the red cowling of the Martlesham Heath 356th FG.

Waiting for laser decal paper now, so that I can start adding some markings. More photos will follow!

Benedini Sound system spec has been agreed and ordered. This includes the LED's for the gun muzzles in the wings.
Posted by maj74 | Feb 24, 2011 @ 04:53 PM | 3,354 Views
It's being a productive week, although these things always take longer than I think they will.

I gave up on the robart wheels. While they are superbly detailed, they are just too heavy. I didn't want to consider changing the retracts. The e-flight 15-25's were expensive enough as it was, and larger retracts capable of lifting the robarts reliably are heavy and over 100. The foam wheels I've found have scale-like hubs and will look pretty good.

Today I completed modifications to the wings amongst other things, allowing me to glass them.

Here's a summary of what's happened this week (See pictures):
Posted by maj74 | Feb 20, 2011 @ 04:19 PM | 3,531 Views
Well I finished sheeting both wheel bays this afternoon. However I also discovered that the e-flight 15-25 retract units are nowhere near strong enough to lift the robart wheels. That's a major annoyance and now means I need a heftier set of retracts in order to use the larger wheels.

It is quite likely that these new wheels are going to end up costing more than the plane.... grrrrrrrr
Posted by maj74 | Feb 19, 2011 @ 10:29 AM | 3,547 Views
Another 'taking the plunge' moment is chopping off a chunk of engine cover in order to access a space for the sound system. I've cut off just enough to get the standard speakers used in these installs into place.

I'm slightly bothered about how structural this section is with regards to stiffening the front of the fuselage and stopping it from twisting. I could glue it back on after speaker install, but the speakers have a habit of blowing so it's not an 'install and forget' job. Hopefully just some magnets holding the top on will be enough.

There's not a huge space for a speaker box and something else I need to consider is getting airflow from the cowl back past the speakers to cool the battery and ESC. Not sure about that one yet!
Posted by maj74 | Feb 19, 2011 @ 10:09 AM | 3,436 Views
Well you have to take the bit between the teeth when starting modifications like this. It feels a little un-nerving to buy a 'finished' plane and then start hacking chunks out of it!

The stock wheels are far too small. Scale for this size plane is about 12.5cm, I'm concious of 2 things. a) the more foam you hack out of the wing, the weaker it becomes. b) The only decent 'scale'-like wheels are robarts, and compared with other types of wheel, they're heavy, and even upgrading the retracts, I think 12+cm diameter is just too much weight. Given I want to put a sound system into this plane, I've got to be very careful about weight.

Therefore I decided a 10cm diameter wheel was a good trade off. Hunted down close-up photos of inner gear doors on the full size plane in order to get a close to scale shape. I'm not going to meddle with the retract points. They're too far back, but I'm sure they're in the meat of the wing for a good reason. I think with the larger wheels, and the scale shape inner doors, this is still going to be pretty darn fine landing gear.

This foam cuts really nicely with a very sharp blade. Nice clean edges left afterwards. Still sheeting the new wells though. Just have to decide servo positioning for the inner door mechanism. Notice the inset edge of the well ready for the doors to fit flush.

Will also have to decide on the new location of wing fixing bolt.

On removing the plastic gun fairing on the leading edge, you find a large space behind just right for a circuit board to hold the Machine gun LED's later on. Things like this, and the already seperate radiator hatch in the fuselage leave one with the feeling that the manufacturers are expecting a fair number of people to mod these kits.
Posted by maj74 | Feb 19, 2011 @ 05:59 AM | 3,499 Views
So what am I aiming to do to this plane?

This is just a list of the intended work:

Glass coating the entire airframe to make it much stronger and far more robust.

Adding much closer to scale landing gear, including a full set of 4 doors controlled by sequencer. The sequencer even allows staggered opening and closing of gears, just like the original.

Temperature controlled, and therefore completely automatic, opening and closing of rear radiator hatch to manage engine / battery compartment running temperature.

Sound system incorporating genuine merlin engine recording, with 'on demand' machine gun sound effect.

Machine gun led's mounted in wing ports, synchronised to the sound effect for effective low strafing passes!

Custom paint job including new decals to accurately depict a specific aircraft from the 356th fighter group, stationed at Marltesham Heath, UK, flying P-51D Mustangs from November '44 through to May '45.
Posted by maj74 | Feb 19, 2011 @ 05:32 AM | 5,279 Views
Well, I have toyed around with r/c planes since I was a teenager... but with work and all, haven't really seen what's happened in the hobby for 7 years.

So there I am, just harmlessly surfing the net one day, when what should pass in front of my eyes but a page about the new Starmax P-51 Musting, including flight video...

Wow!!! I hadn't realised what you could get for the money... the size, the scale accuracy... the market has really changed in a few years...

Not surprisingly, it wasn't long before I had hit the purchase button. I know the issues this model has, but they didn't bother me anyway, because I knew straight away, I was going to enjoy going to town on this airframe, including loads of extra features and a custom paint job.

It's this last bit that's most exciting to me. Living in Ipswich in the UK, I am just 4 miles from Martlesham Heath, an ex WW2 air base. Now a housing estate, there are a still several signs of the site's past; control tower, a hangar and a few pieces of runway still dotted around.

The 356th FG was stationed at Martlesham from '43 to '45. They flew P-47's until late '44 receiving their Mustang's in November.

So for me there was no hesitation about what I was going to do. Use the Starmax kit, but work extensively on it, adding and improving features, and then painting it up as an exact copy of a specific 356th FG aircraft, with the intention of being able to fly the plane from literally the very same pieces of tarmac that the full size original flew nearly 70 years ago.

Not many people are able to do that.