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Jul 26, 2012, 04:01 PM
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Build Log

Mountain Models new MercurE Kit build


Brian released his MercurE at Toledo this past spring: http://www.mountainmodels.com/produc...roducts_id=712

I ordered one up soon after, and it's been sitting on my bench waiting for me to finish up my HiperBipe (https://www.rcgroups.com/forums/show....php?t=1525884), and my new Lucky Ace (https://www.rcgroups.com/forums/show...&postcount=591). Having finished those up, it was time to tackle the MercurE.

I wanted to do this one, because it is the next 'Old Timer' Brian has released since his Little Bogie, in the 10g motor size. I consider my Little Bogie to be the most fun you can have in a three channel, small parkflyer. I have flown the heck out if it, including indoors, and it has held up very well. I'm looking for the MercurE to be a similar airplane, although Brian advises that it is a bit faster than the Bogie. I've done two of Brian's micros (the Jeep and the Peregrine), so I wanted to return to the bigger 10g motor size. If the MercurE is too fast for indoors, that's OK, because it will still see flight time outdoors.

My first couple of pics are of the kit contents (minus the parts bag which I forgot to put in the picture), and the two plan sheets and the manual. I do love the 1930's feel of the parasol wing, the open cockpit, the elliptical wing tips and the rounded tail feathers.

Mark
Last edited by buzzltyr; Jul 28, 2012 at 05:28 AM. Reason: title updated
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Jul 26, 2012, 04:19 PM
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The fuselage begins with the center crutch and a couple of formers. The landing gear mounts are built into the second former, before they are inserted into the crutch. The first picture shows the crutch with its three main formers installed, sans glue.

Picture 2 shows the fuselage sides added, and picture 3 shows the rear formers in place and the tail brought together and glued.

Pictures four and five show the turtledeck stringers installed, from the side and from the top view. All of the stringers are laser cut and just fit into place.

Picture 6 shows the top fuselage sheeting in place, drying. I've wet it and banded it over the formers to dry. This isn't really recommended by Brian, but I thought I'd do the sheeting application a bit old school.

Basically, the construction has gone very smoothly. As always, mostly due to wood thickness variation, there were a few minor issues with tabs and slots. All of which were solved with either a minimal application of sandpaper or a jeweler's file. Build time to this point is probably a bit over an hour.

Mark
Jul 28, 2012, 09:44 AM
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Fuselage, continued


After the top sheeting dried, it was glued in place.

Construction continued with the cowl chin pieces, which are glued into the forward area behind the firewall under the battery hatch area. (picture 1)

Up next were the top and bottom hatches. The top hatch is for the battery, directly behind the firewall. The instructions indicate that the ESC and receiver go underneath the crutch in this area. Both hatches are held in place by hooks and magnets (picture 2).

Next up were the cowl pieces and the rear headrest. The third picture shows the cowl pieces all lined up. There are engraved lines on one side of each piece showing where to put the next piece in sequence. Really very simple and straightforward. (picture 4) The two pieces that make up the little cockpit headrest are just glued together and sanded to shape.

And that pretty much completes the fuselage construction. There is obviously going to be some sanding involved in shaping the chin pieces and the cowl, but it is all pretty light, soft balsa, so that shouldn't take much time at all.

Assembly of the hatches and cowl probably took about a 1/2 hour or maybe a little more.

Mark
Jul 28, 2012, 09:48 AM
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Tail feathers


Next up in the build sequence in the manual are the tail pieces. Again, typical MM construction. All the joints are nicely dove tailed, and everything just fits together very well and is glued up with thin CA.

Mark
Jul 29, 2012, 10:03 AM
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delsol's Avatar
Mark, I'm glad to see that your back building planes like you did a few years back. I just love the look of the old style MercurE, looking forward to your build.
Brad
Jul 29, 2012, 10:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by delsol
Mark, I'm glad to see that your back building planes like you did a few years back. I just love the look of the old style MercurE, looking forward to your build.
Brad
Thanks, Brad! I just wanted to get this one done by NEAT so I'd have it there. I'm glad you're watching! I think the MercurE is a really great looking model, oozing with "old timer" charm. I'm looking forward to getting it in the air.

Mark
Jul 29, 2012, 07:36 PM
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Having built up the tail feathers, I next glued up the blocks that will become (after some sanding) the vertical stab fairing (picture 1).

Next were the cabane struts, which merely had a round "washer" glued to the attachment holes at the top of them. (picture 2).

After that, it was on to the wing. The first step is to join the two pieces of the main spar and the wingtips (picture 3). I kind of got carried away and involved with the build, and got the left side pretty much built up to the point of gluing it, and forgot to take pictures. So the picture I do have shows the spar, ribs trailing edge and leading edge pieces already in place (picture 4). The two ribs on either side of the center rib are created from three laminations, which I forgot to document. The three laminations create the pockets on the bottom for the four attachment points to the cabanes.

Mark
Last edited by buzzltyr; Jul 29, 2012 at 07:54 PM. Reason: forgot some stuff
Jul 29, 2012, 07:51 PM
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More wing construction


The right side is obviously built the same way as the left, but this time I took a couple of pictures of the process. The first picture shows the right half ribs placed on the main spar and the rear spar, which does not extend the full length of the wing half.

The next picture shows the three pieces that comprise the leading edge. One piece slots into the front of the ribs, and the other two slot onto that piece to create the leading edge. The third picture shows the leading edge pieces installed. I will admit that getting the first piece that slots into the ribs is a bit challenging. I broke the piece a couple of times on the left side. When I did the right side a sanded the slots in the ribs a bit, and thinned out the tabs that the other two leading edge pieces slide onto. The right side went much more smoothly than the left, and I managed to not break anything.

The fourth picture shows the wingtip installed. Just a bunch of slots and tabs to line up, and it really just fits into place very well.

The fifth picture shows the two angled ribs that are next to the center section ribs installed, two nice laser cut gussets along the trailing edge in the center, and a small ply dihedral support along the trailing edge. One of the interesting design features relates to the outside rib and the partial rear spar. The spar angles the rib up a bit, such that when the wingtip is glued in place, it creates some nice washout in the wingtip. The washout is designed to offset the tendency of wings with elliptical tips from tip stalling.

As long as I was this far along, I also decided to bend up and install the tail wheel wire on the rudder (the last picture).

That is pretty much it for construction. There is some sanding to do on the cowl chin pieces, the vertical stab fairing, the little headrest, and a general sanding of the airframe in preparation for covering. So I guess it's time to figure out a covering scheme and start on that whenever time permits.

Mark
Last edited by buzzltyr; Jul 29, 2012 at 07:57 PM. Reason: forgot more stuff
Aug 04, 2012, 01:48 PM
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I've had some time over the last few days to work on covering the MercurE, and managed to finish it up this morning. I'm attaching pictures of the covered parts and the completed airframe. I looked at a lot of Old Timer schemes to try and come up with something appropriate. I had even bought some cream Solite from MM to do a cream and blue or green scheme, some sort of variation of Brian's cream and red. But I really couldn't find anything I liked. I realized that I had not done a red-white-blue model in awhile, and seeing as how it's an election year, I figured I'd do some kind of scheme using the flag colors, so that's what I did. I guess it's not really "Old Timer-ish", but it's a bit different than my usual schemes (I tend to stay away from cutting curves out of covering, as it usually goes poorly for me).

In terms of final assembly, it all went fairly quickly. There is a nice little hatch on the bottom for servo access, and the battery hatch is the forward top area. Both hatches are held on with hooks on one side and magnets on the other. The landing gear is pre-bent, which if always a plus for me! One thing I did find, is that the builder should make certain that their wing mounting tabs are fully inserted in the wing, and the cabanes are fully inserted in the fuselage. One of my wing tabs is not quite all the way in, so the wing is tipped just a bit. This results in my left wingtip being about 1/8" higher than the right. I thought about trying to loosen it and reinstall it, but chickened out. I did oval the screw hole a bit, so I could pull the wing down a bit and then tighten the screw to hold it. That seemed to help.

With the 340mAh Rhino battery all the way forward, the plane is just a wee bit tail heavy, but I'm going to maiden it the way it is, before I think about adding nose weight. My AUW with the battery is 5 1/2 oz, which is pretty much at the top of the range on the MM website. But given all the covering and trim I used, I'm not surprised. I still think it will fly just fine.

Nothing to do now but go fly it!

Mark
Last edited by buzzltyr; Aug 05, 2012 at 05:27 AM. Reason: spelling and grammar corrections
Aug 05, 2012, 04:17 AM
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Nice work Buzz!
Aug 05, 2012, 05:23 AM
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Thanks, Reuben. It's a fun little plane to put together. I hope to maiden it later today, weather permitting.

Mark
Aug 05, 2012, 10:49 AM
Zak
Zak
Serial plane killer
Your MercurE is looking good!

Let us know how it flies...
Aug 06, 2012, 08:24 AM
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I committed aviation with the MercurE


Well, the maiden was a superb non-event. I simply placed it on the ground, pushed the throttle forward, and away the MercurE went. It is definitely a little tail heavy, and required about three clicks of down elevator to get it flying level. Winds were about 5 or 6 mph, so it wasn't dead calm. But the MercurE flew just fine. I put in two 3-4 minute flights. I didn't try any loops, etc. Just circuits. Landing was smooth and easy. The first one was a little bumpy, but the second one I greased.

It is pretty stable in flight. Turns are nice and crisp. Comparing it to my Little Bogie, it likes a little more speed. Not a lot, but a little. The MercurE seems just as manueverable as my Bogie.

All in all, I was very happy with the flights and the performance. I'm going to have to do something to get the CG a bit more forward, which should allow me to take out the elevator trim.

Mark
Aug 06, 2012, 04:42 PM
Registered User
Congrats on the maiden, Buzz. But like you say: a non-event. I mean that in a good (nay, excellent) way. It's been that way for every MM kit I've built.
Aug 06, 2012, 10:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rafe_b
Congrats on the maiden, Buzz. But like you say: a non-event. I mean that in a good (nay, excellent) way. It's been that way for every MM kit I've built.
Thanks, Rafe. I've had a few nail-biter maidens. But that's mostly due to my nerves when I maiden a new plane.

Mark


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