Dumas Fokker E.III R/C conversion - RC Groups
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Aug 03, 2012, 12:53 AM
Pickin' an a Flyin'
Wufnu's Avatar

Dumas Fokker E.III R/C conversion

While ordering a copy of Jane's Fighting Aircraft of World War I, I couldn't help but notice (by "notice" I mean I did a search for it) a Dumas Fokker E.III FF kit for $18. Nice! The E.III has always been my favorite aircraft and it likely has a lot to do with how me and my dad would hunt down the allies in one while playing Red Baron when I was like 12 years old. Whenever I think E.III, I think of that time.

Anyway, it hasn't even shipped yet so no real updates for you. I wanted to get some suggestions for power and radio systems, though. I have been "away" for about 3 years and the market is completely different. When I left, a quality BL micro system would cost hundreds. Now it doesn't but I'm so behind on what's available that I thought to ask here for your suggestions. I typically go "bang for your buck".

If you've built this kit before, I'd be happy to hear your suggestions on lightening it up. I'd like to make it as light as possible so that I can get away with some modifications. What mods do I have in mind, you ask? I'm glad you asked.

- Move wing spar forward and replace TE with carbon rod attached to ribs with wire/balsa so that I can add wing warping. Yes, wing warping.
also considering losing the spar entirely and replacing both LE and TE with carbon rods. The idea is to promote controlled twisting while reducing flex. I'm thinking the forward rigging will be static to eliminate flex while having moveable TE rigging for the warping. Likely, I will connect the TE bottom rigging to the servo arms and the TE top rigging will go through a pulley. Vertical forces at the trailing edge, e.g. lift, should cancel out and those that don't will be controlled by the servo.
- full flying stab/rudder (rudder likely tied to wing warping)
Both will be pull pull
- dummy engine that spins (likely attached using just a bearing on motor shaft)
- I remember seeing a tutorial on making spoked wheels out of thread and balsa; will give that a go
- considering replacing balsa in fuse with carbon rods to replicate the metal tubing actually used but I don't think I can do so without gaining a lot of weight throwing the CG all out of whack; might just sand the balsa corners round to replicate
- replace diagonal fuse spars with fishing string in X pattern (similar to fullsize and hopefully save weight)

For those of you that have done this scale R/C conversion before, I'd love to hear your suggestions for power. I plan on doing only scale flying with maybe a loop or immelman (hammerhead) if I'm feeling froggy.

I need your help on covering. I've never covered an R/C plane before. The only covering I've ever done was with tissue paper on FF kits 20 years ago. Those were so easy; coat wood parts with wood glue, apply paper, spray with water and watch it shrink! I didn't even bother with doping. I have no idea what is the lightest or best covering for this application and I would benefit greatly from your knowledge.

I'm thinking that I'm going to have to use wood glue for 90% of joints simply because there are a lot of joints in the fuse and that's going to make getting this bird to balance tricky if I use CA. I'm sure a lot of the work has been done by Dumas since it was originally flown with a rubber band but I still foresee trouble.

I plan on going slowly with this build (even slower considering it hasn't even shipped yet) and I have some non-R/C projects that I'll be working on concurrently. This is the first build where I want to try my hand at doing things "right" rather than "what works right now". This means it may take a few days during the build to scratch my head and ponder what to do next and where I can find appropriate hardware/tools. The fact that I haven't built a stick balsa plane in a decade doesn't help, either. The point I'm getting at is that it may be a long time in between updates. If this is a project that interests you, I'd suggest subscribing so that when I do make an update you can see it (after you've forgotten about it).
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Aug 03, 2012, 01:01 AM
Pickin' an a Flyin'
Wufnu's Avatar
Lets see what images I can find about this kit and the real thing.


Real thing (also some static models, one is from a game/flight simulator)

Last edited by Wufnu; Aug 25, 2012 at 10:11 PM.
Aug 03, 2012, 01:02 AM
Pickin' an a Flyin'
Wufnu's Avatar
Any guesses as to when E-Pilot will be in here making a "Dumas Fokker" joke? He always did on all the previous topics with those thread titles, haha.
Aug 04, 2012, 12:35 AM
Pickin' an a Flyin'
Wufnu's Avatar
I just found Spikkkkkkkkkk's (Rob's) Fokker E.III build and I just don't know what to say. Simply master work all around.

Do try to keep in mind this is a 1/6 scale model, not the real thing (your eyes may deceive you)
Aug 05, 2012, 01:20 AM
Pickin' an a Flyin'
Wufnu's Avatar
Anyone happen to know, by chance, how the covering was stitched to the wing ribs? I've found a picture but I don't know how authentic it is. The only close-up example of stitching I've seen from a German plane was of the Albatross D.Va which used a Z-pattern type stitch with a curved needle. This picture shows simple transverse stitching. It also looks like they used the circular swirl pattern on the cowling, which Spikkkkkkk pointed out as not being accurate, so I'm doubting the authenticity of this particular stitch.

Aug 07, 2012, 10:20 AM
Registered User
Sorry Wufnu, no answers to your questions as you know I'm doing a Micro E-III.

I didn't see your WS or maybe I missed that. Anyway I'll be watching your build.

Aug 07, 2012, 02:02 PM
Pickin' an a Flyin'
Wufnu's Avatar
Wingspan is walnut scale, 17.5". This is why I'm looking at other builds of similar size so closely. It seems to be kind of in the middle where the AR6400 and the like are for 1oz or less and others are too big to fit in the fuselage. There's the 18" SE5 thread where they used the guts from a RTF Cub and if that flies well I believe that will be the choice for me to power this baby.
Aug 12, 2012, 01:28 AM
Pickin' an a Flyin'
Wufnu's Avatar
Got my kit today. The box was smashed and all balsa stock (which seemed quite good!) broken. Great.

Aug 24, 2012, 10:04 PM
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Wufnu's Avatar
Got the replacement kit in today, finally! This time they packed it properly and it arrived ok. Will probably spend the next couple of days studying the plans and planning what I want to do and how I want to do it.
Aug 25, 2012, 05:49 AM
Registered User
floss's Avatar
Watching this Wufnu, been away for a few years myself and things certainly have changed. interesting comment you make on small rc systems being cheaper, will check that out because as you say they were overpriced a couple of years back.

You're doing wing-warping in miniature?

Aug 25, 2012, 06:57 AM
Registered User

Post some what's in the box pic's. Sould be pretty cool...

Aug 25, 2012, 12:21 PM
Pickin' an a Flyin'
Wufnu's Avatar
Hey Steve,

Yes, they're much cheaper now. Much. Hobby King seems to be the largest online shop these days, although the shipping from Hong Kong tends to be a downside (order as much as you can and still have shipping stay the same price if you want to save your shipping costs, there's a minimum shipping fee).


You can get a receiver/ESC combo for $13. Last time I was flying and looking, it was like $70! Now they come complete with servos, as well, for under $30.

Yes, I want to do wing warping. I was thinking of moving the wing spar towards the LE. Will have to study the plans. Routing the strings is going to be a real PITA though!
Aug 25, 2012, 12:22 PM
Pickin' an a Flyin'
Wufnu's Avatar
Hey Pete,

I'll take some pictures this afternoon. I've got to go help build a bathroom for my sister today (and tomorrow... and the next day... so tired... hah).
Aug 25, 2012, 10:16 PM
Pickin' an a Flyin'
Wufnu's Avatar
As promised, here are the pictures of what's in the box. The wood seems very nice although I don't really know how to grade wood very well. It seems soft, consistent, and very light. The plans are huge. I think I would have preferred two pages of plans as the giant sheet is a bit unwieldy. The laser cut parts are perfect.

PS - I removed some of the larger images from the second post. I found they were making my computer slow and were ungodly large images. Sorry about that, they're gone now.
Aug 27, 2012, 03:54 AM
Pickin' an a Flyin'
Wufnu's Avatar
I'm not sure what the AUW will be but I will be trying to build light. Do you guys think a Hobbyzone Champ's guts would work in this thing? The champ has an AUW of 38g.

I thought I had a good thing going and was planning what items to get using Hobbyking stuff when I realized that their super micro gear only works with their own modules, for which I don't have a suitable transmitter. Dang. I plan on buying the PZ Spitfire when it's released so I figured, "Hey, might as well get a Spektrum Tx" but even the crappy ones are $40-50 and the AR6400 bricks/rxs are $50-60. Ouch. Might as well get a RTF at that price and get the motor, battery, etc. for free. Plus, I'd have a compatible receiver when that sexy spitfire is released, hah.

Edit: Who manufactured the RFFS? Are there no FM ultra micro receivers available at an affordable price? The best I could find was on Towerhobbies, a 4 channel Berg (at 4g.. heavy? that's only slightly lighter than the GWS R4PII!).
Last edited by Wufnu; Aug 27, 2012 at 04:06 AM.

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