Building "VK Navajo" as Float Plane - Page 5 - RC Groups
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Feb 06, 2013, 09:56 PM
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tailskid2's Avatar
I see you have a nice box of covering waiting for a plane to wear
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Feb 08, 2013, 07:28 PM
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GLGofLB's Avatar
Was able to do a coat of micro-balloons and resin to fill in all the dings, dents and cracks. I also added the fillets on the rudder, fin and stab. After thinking about the windscreens front and back, I think I can make my own. It will probably take about ½ days work. I could get things done a lot faster if I could just let a few things go.

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Description: Close up view of micro balloon fillets.

As an aside I have been using Prather brand phenolic micro balloons for a quite a few years. They are dark brown in color and work very well; however I do not know where to buy them anymore? I believe they were re-packaged from Union Carbide, but I don’t want to buy a 55 gallon drum. I have started to phase them out by using the West System brand microlight fairing filler 410, however $$. Would like to find some Prather brand if anyone knows where to buy.

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Description: Prather brand plastic containerName: SAM_0447.jpg
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Description: West System Tube
Feb 09, 2013, 06:30 PM
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GLGofLB's Avatar
I spent about 2 hour making love to the fuselage with sandpaper; unfortunately the surface is not good enough to cover with glass so I believe one more application of micro balloons and resin.

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Description: At this point I inspect the airframe in bright sunlight and use a black sharpie to put dots around a defect I see.Name: SAM_0449.jpg
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Description: Dots like this help me avoid missing a spotName: SAM_0450.jpg
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Description: More black dots

This application of balloons is fairly runny. I have a sprayer with an alcohol and water mixture. I spray the glass work surface and dip my finger tips or spatula in the water and use it to smooth fillets and corners.

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Description: Micro balloons patted and toweled in to place

Okay time to get off my glass and finish this thing

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Description: Elevator, rudder and fin support ready to glass. Ventral fin ready for flow coatName: SAM_0453.jpg
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Description: Parts glassed and coated
Feb 11, 2013, 05:49 PM
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GLGofLB's Avatar
The glassing process continues, probably not that interesting to watch; however I keep posting to keep my momentum going.

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Description: Entire bottom of stab with one piece of glassName: SAM_0456.jpg
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Description: Front on fuse wrapping around both sides knocks out a large bit of the fuse. Also finished rudder, elevator and front hatchName: SAM_0457.jpg
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Description: Finally the top of stab with two pieces of glass

If I glass a little each night I should be to sanding and priming by the weekend.
Feb 13, 2013, 08:42 PM
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Phil U's Avatar
Mine has turned out to be nose heavy by about an inch with the battery under the wing. However my servos are further foward than yours. Will try to get some photos up later today.
Went for my maiden on Sunday but my music wire /clevis soldering on the elevator linkage failed (while still on the runway - phew!), so I'm replacing the tail linkages with sullivan gold-n-rods and some additional bracing to prevent flex. Otherwise the model was given a clean bill of health from the instructor, so just a small fix required.
Next flying attempt will be end of Feb due to work committments.
Feb 13, 2013, 10:26 PM
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GLGofLB's Avatar
Phil good luck looking forward to those pictures.
Feb 14, 2013, 06:01 PM
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Phil U's Avatar
Here are some photos of the end of construction prior to covering. Six months worth of work here. Lots of mistakes but a good project for acquiring some skills.
Should have some photos of the finished product to upload soon.
Feb 14, 2013, 06:04 PM
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Phil U's Avatar
By the way, I covered my fuselage with Silkspan tissue and the wings with Koverall. Painted with LustreKote, which I won't use again - will purchase some proper spray gear and use automotive paint next time.
Feb 14, 2013, 06:25 PM
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GLGofLB's Avatar
Phil my experience with LustreKote has been either real good or really bad. How did you deal with the tail group? Did you slot the top all the way back or cut the fin? Also did you use a tail block like in the plans? I ended up whacking out about 90% of my block. I see how you handeled the wind screens, good job! Little puzzeled about nose heavy, almost never happens. Cant remember, is this a kit or scratch from plans?
Last edited by GLGofLB; Feb 14, 2013 at 06:26 PM. Reason: spelling
Feb 14, 2013, 08:11 PM
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Phil U's Avatar
With the LustreKote you were never quite sure how it was going to come out of the can, and I also struggled to get a good spread out of the nozzle. The red pigment was also a bit dodgy. We pay $20 a can for the stuff in Australia so it's just not worth it. Not only that but there is only 1 importer. I ran short 1 can of red before Christmas and waited nearly 2 months for a back order. Ludicrous.
This is scratch built from plans I was given when I was a teenager. I discovered them again early last year and was drawn back to this project that was 3/4 finished all those years ago. I sold all my equipment back then when I left home and am just starting up again 30 years later.
I had to interpolate the tapered wing rib sections, as you'll notice they're nowhere to be found on the plans, otherwise the detail is more or less complete.
I do recall that the tail issue you talk about is not shown properly on the plan. I went the opposite way to you and left the post in, cutting the fin short, then used plenty of glue along the fuselage line. It seems to be sitting there pretty well.
I fell into the classic beginner's trap of ending with a bent fuselage (pleased to say the wings are straight-ish). My workshop setup at the mo is pretty dubious, which I'll be sorting out before the next build. I've just ordered a bunch of magnetic jigs from that fellow at and will be setting up a decent flat workbench to build an Astro Hog. Anyway I soaked the fuse' in water and managed to bend it more or less back into line with some imiginative clamping.
I was also suprsied about the nose heaviness. I put it down to my engine mount, which is a bulky lamination of aluminium and plywood, and addition of the firewall I used for the nosewheel. Also, all my radio gear is in front of the c/g. Could it also be the shape of the wing? There is a lot of leading edge on this wing before you get to the c/g, and then there is the tapering on the TE (which I think really makes this model).
I have an OS 46 in mine. It was nice to hear that thing screaming last weekend - brought back a lot of memories.
Feb 15, 2013, 10:17 PM
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GLGofLB's Avatar
Phil you are spot on about no wing templates, so kudos to you for being able to loft out a set of ribs as a “beginner”. The plans are really incomplete by modern fabrication standards, so I think it is an incredible effort on your part to get it done. I have built a lot of basic planes and this one has some weird shaped parts in the wing. Similar to you I got caught up in other things and laid down RC modeling at about 18, then rediscovered the time and money in my forties and have not looked back since. My first RC/ plane was a Top Flite Headmaster. I built a real banana. When it was trimmed out it flew straight…enough. It was my first plane so I didn’t know the difference.

LusterKote is more available in the US, but in California, not much. I might be speaking out of turn but I hardly consider it the model builders’ paint of choice. Mostly people use it because it “matches” Super MonoKote colors. If you have it in Australia use Rust-oleum; that is if you want to use spray cans. It seems to work very nice, I use there spray can primmer for little jobs. Personally I have spray equipment and pretty much have sold myself on Klass-Kote products. Check out there website The owner is a great guy to deal with. I have thought myself how to mix custom colors so I can do a decent job of matching MonoKote. It is worth it to bite the bullet and invest in a decent compressor and spray equipment; however welcome to the world of laborious clean up, hard to beat flipping the can upside down and clearing the nozzle, all done.

Well I am fairly determined to start painting this weekend at least shooting some primer, which means get the glass done. I started doing multiple pieces going out to the shop two or three times a night.

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Description: This picture represents the final piece of glass going on the fuseName: SAM_0460.jpg
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Description: Seem to remember the thrust plate rubbing on the inside of the nose ring, I was rightName: SAM_0461.jpg
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Description: Picture doesn’t show it well but hollowed out clearance

The next step is to flow coat the fuselage and tail group, then all the components will be ready for a final sanding. After the sanding I can shoot on the primer. Other than sanding the other unpleasant task there is to do, is making holding jigs for the parts so I can do a decent job of painting. Usually I get in a hurry to get painting and half something just to get going. Today I decided to exercise some patience and make some decent jigs.

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Description: I fabricated a dummy engine plate and bolted to a 1” diameter dowelName: SAM_0464.jpg
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Description: The dowel fits in the metal stand I got from a retired modeler. This set up allows you to rotate the plane by its engine mounting. Plenty solid, I have done 1/3 scale airplanes on this stand.Name: SAM_0465.jpg
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Description: Elevator and rudder mounted to spray stands using dummy hinges. Fuse in background bolted to dummy engine plate
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Description: Used 4-40 bolts and re-purposed wire coat hangers to make handles for floatsName: SAM_0468.jpg
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Description: Fuselage mounted on paint stand jig ready for final resinName: SAM_0472.jpg
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Description: Shiny flow coat of resin

Tomorrow is day for old clothes, going to make a ton of white sanding dust.
Feb 17, 2013, 08:16 PM
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GLGofLB's Avatar
OMG I spent 3 ½ hours sanding down the resin flow coat. DUST EVERYWHERE. Anyways today I decided to shoot primer. I did not have enough of the Klass Kote gray primer around so I mixed up a batch of Klass Kote Fast white primer. I have been wanting to try that type. If you are a Klass Kote user you know that you have to catalyze a batch let it induce for 30 minutes or so than use it. If you mix too much it goes to waste, if you mix to little not everything gets painted. If you need to mix more the gun is all gummed up before it has time to induce so accuracy is kind of critical. I guessed 18 oz., just enough barely. I purchased a cheap gun with disposable cups from Harbor Freight, just for priming. I accidentally grabbed an even cheaper gun that came “free” with my compressor half way through the job I remembered why the gun was free, I think I am going to throw it away after this time.

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Description: All the parts wiped down with solvent ready to primeName: SAM_0474.jpg
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Description: Fuse and tail group masked off and wiped downName: SAM_0475.jpg
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Description: Everything at least got covered; some drips a few grainy spots here and there

After everything dries for a while I will hit the nicks and dents with green putty and sand everything off. If my surface is good I will wet sand then paint, if some of the surface is still bad I will hit with some Rust-Oleum primer from the can and re-sand. If this were a competition scale model I would re-prime the entire model with a second coat then wet sand. I also pretty sure I blew something in my compressor, that’s going to hurt when it comes time to fix it.
Feb 18, 2013, 05:09 PM
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Phil U's Avatar

What's that? putty..?
I was lamenting the fact that we can't get Klass Cote in Australia but I'm kinda glad now.
Feb 18, 2013, 05:27 PM
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GLGofLB's Avatar
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Description: This is "Green Putty"

Okay you caught me playing hookey at work, the picture above is green putty. Green putty is a modeling putty used by plastic model guys; however it is solvent based, carves and sands well an it is great for filling dings scraps and holes at this stage of finishing.

I dont know why my posts would turn you off to Klass Kote it is very high quality two part epoxy paint system?
Last edited by GLGofLB; Feb 18, 2013 at 11:47 PM. Reason: spelling error
Feb 25, 2013, 04:54 PM
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GLGofLB's Avatar
Even though this project is a sport model, I am using this build as an opportunity to practice some scale techniques. Primarily I am trying out a new primer and painting technique that involves using satin colors finished off with a single clear coat at the end for gloss. I also felt the windscreens did not fit well and the plastic was old and weathered. So I decided that this project would a good opportunity to make my own wind screens.

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Description: Fuse spotted with green putty ready to sand primerName: SAM_0480.jpg
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Description: Floats spackled with green putty ready to sandName: SAM_0481.jpg
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Description: Floats after first coat of primer sanded down
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Description: Control surfaces sanded down smoothName: SAM_0483.jpg
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Description: Fuse and tail group sanded downName: SAM_0484.jpg
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Description: Close up of stab and fillets
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Description: All components that need painting are wiped down with solvent ready for re-priming

Well ready to prime and my compressor is the most expensive noise maker you ever want to hear. I was right I blew check valve last time I used it. So much for my 35 gallon oil less unit. I spent half a day Saturday taking my compressor to the tool repair shop and then buzzed over to Home Depot and purchased an 8 gallon old fashioned oil pump unit. It works great and is quiet. This time I remembered to use the “ good” detail gun I purchased for priming. It sprayed on a nice even coat of primer and only used 85% the amount. of primer.

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Description: Fuse after 2nd coat of primerName: SAM_0487.jpg
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Description: Floats re-primed

Well now in to some unexplored territory making my own vacuum formed windscreens. Here goes nothing

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Description: First I outlined in pencil where I wanted the edge of the windscreen to attachName: SAM_0489.jpg
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Description: Started fitting some balsa blocks to make a blankName: SAM_0490.jpg
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Description: I applied masking tape to protect surface of fuselage and retraced windscreen finish line
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Description: Transferred traced finish line on to .010 styreneName: SAM_0492.jpg
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Description: Tapped styrene to fuse and cemented thin basswood base and balsa blocks to approximate blank shapeName: SAM_0493.jpg
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Description: Plastered on some Bondo and sanded to close shape
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Description: Second coat of Bondo set and sanded, third layer applied starting to setName: SAM_0495.jpg
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Description: Final sanded shape of windshield blankName: SAM_0496.jpg
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Description: Plug removed from airplane
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Description: Once I had the plug roughed out I needed to enhance and reinforce the plugName: SAM_0498.jpg
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Description: 1/8 balsa sheet added to top and back of plug, green putty added to transition cornersName: SAM_0499.jpg
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Description: More green putty to fill nicks and dings, rough sanded
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Description: Coat of polyester resinName: SAM_0503.jpg
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Description: Ready for final sanding and priming

Once this plug is finished I plan on making a silicone mold, then pouring the mold in plaster, and using the plaster blank to vacuum form the acetate windscreen. In theory the windscreen should be a perfect no bend fit. Now that I have stumbled through whatI imagine to be the rough spots, the rear wind screen should go relatively faster

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