Pacific Ace build from RCM plans, FINISHED, finally... - RC Groups
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Nov 21, 2016, 10:23 PM
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Pacific Ace build from RCM plans, FINISHED, finally...

Hello out there !
( this is actually a re-boot... I had posted this under "My Blog" wondering where it would end up.... Now, I realize my mistake and
am posting here in the Balsa Builders forum. I am learning....)

I have decided to do a good, ol' fashioned scratch build from plans. I guess that I am a "newbie" to the hobby, but I do have some building experience from a previous build attempt... This time I have a better building board, and a simpler project. I was about to order a certain short kit from Manzano, but have decided to gain experience building and flying, first. And, since I have not flown yet, why not build a trainer-like plane: 3 channels, lots of dihedral...
The Pacific Ace seems like a good fit, and I really like the way it looks!
Of special note, I have reduced the plans to 75% in hopes of it fitting the park flyer size and weight. Span should be 55", and
will be electric powered. I suppose I will need help with that, once we see what it weighs....
Now, on to the build...
Last edited by ms62tn; Nov 21, 2017 at 09:18 PM.
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Nov 21, 2016, 10:56 PM
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Getting started on the fuselage

For my new building board, I am trying a 36" by 12" by 1" piece of
"Rubberwood" that I found in Nashville at a salvage store. It is topped with two pieces of sheetrock, so the pins don't hit the board.
It is nice and flat ! I mounted it to an old tv stand and braced with brackets.
Anyway, The fuselage is designed for spruce from the wing trailing
edge to the firewall. I am using basswood that is locally available. I do
plan on spruce for the wing, when I can find some.
Did the splice of balsa to basswood for the bottom longeron, soaked
the basswood end in a paper towel wrap, pinned it to the board, and
let it dry....
Nov 21, 2016, 11:14 PM
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Finishing the basswood section

I must say that I have been following a Sig Kadet Senior build by
PIPERJOE, and have picked up a few tips from his really nice build !
He is just one of the many veteran builders I have enjoyed following.
Getting good use out of the tools, to get all the pieces cut and in place. I am using wood glue for this build, btw. I have found that you
cannot have too many pins !!
The firewall is supposed to be 1/4" at full scale, but I figure 1/8" ply
ought to be more than enough, especially with an electric motor. So,
I moved the firewalls supporting vertical piece forward to accept the
thinner 1/8" ply. Other than that, followed plans exactly.
Last edited by ms62tn; Nov 21, 2016 at 11:57 PM. Reason: "typo
Nov 21, 2016, 11:52 PM
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Fuselage rear Balsa section

The rear section is all 3/16" balsa ,and obviously much easier to work
with than the basswood, which caused some initial over sanding and
re-cutting... all part of the learning process.
The only difficult step here was avoiding the butt joint near the tail,
so I came up with a reasonable fix for it, I think.
I had considered adding more angled pieces to the rear section for
strength, But I will be adding gussets instead. I want to keep
the look of the plane close to the original with only minor mods, just in case I use a clear covering. Will be starting on the second side shortly....
Nov 22, 2016, 01:08 AM
I'd rather be flying.....
JeffMac's Avatar
MS - You picked a nice looking model that will fly just great...... watching your build....

best regards,

Nov 22, 2016, 12:50 PM
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Fuselage second side

Thank you, Jeff ! I recently met a local flyer that flies at the nearby
Cane Ridge flying field, so I hope to do my training with him when we can meet up. Next spring, I hope to be ready......
Cut and glued the second longeron for the bottom of the second side and let it dry overnight. The miter saw really helps cutting the scarf joint. The little miter box and miter sander are a good combo for all the other pieces. Since the miter box has grooved channels in it, I found that laying a strip of 1/64" ply over the grooves, helps get an eyeball cut other than 45 or 90 degrees. Then the sander fine tunes the cut. (probably nothing new to many of you)
Borrowing again from Piperjoe, I built the second side right on top
of the first side, using small strips of wax paper at the joints.
Again, soaked the basswood end of the first piece with a wet paper towel wrap and pinned it in place to get started. Mike
Last edited by ms62tn; Nov 22, 2016 at 02:20 PM. Reason: forgot a word...
Nov 22, 2016, 02:41 PM
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finishing second fuselage side

Continued cutting, sanding, and fitting all the pieces to finish the
side. I found that a tooth pick and Qtips work well for cleaning up
any wood glue that oozed out. Also, and I don't know if this will help,
at the end of each basswood piece, I poked shallow holes into the endgrain before applying glue. I guess to give the piece more teeth,
so to speak. I guess it can't hurt.......
Only have a couple of pics to show, at this stage. Like side one, I did
all the longest pieces first, then added the angled parts.
Nov 22, 2016, 03:17 PM
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Adding gussets

Wanted to add gussets to stiffen things up. Airfield Models has a great tutorial using 1/64" ply gussets, but looks difficult. I will be making them from 3/16" square stock, basswood and balsa. In the rear balsa section, I would first cut a 40 degree angle against the front side of the verticals, and eyeball the second cut to the longerons. 35 degrees against the back side of the verticals. This seemed to keep the gussets looking fairly uniform. The basswood section at the front, was much easier, needing two 45 degree cuts.
Small miter box and sander got a lot of use here.
Amazing how much stiffer the balsa rear section got with these
little things...
Nov 22, 2016, 03:21 PM
Closed Account
Hi Mike,

You have a real nice start on your Pacific Ace model! I built the RCM 72" RC version for my wife years ago and this plane was fun to build and to fly. Here are a couple of pics of our model for you.

I'm thinking your late father-in law's wing was from a Jetco glider, the Thermic 72.

Soft landings,

Nov 22, 2016, 04:54 PM
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Thank you Joe !! I appreciate the pics of your Pacific Ace ! Very nice !
And you got it....not the JASCO, but the JETCO version.
Nov 23, 2016, 10:25 PM
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More work of fuselage sides

Continuing work on sides, and looking at some other builds out there to prepare for joining them. Definitely want to get this right on the first try. I do like the classic look of a stick fuselage. My previous build
attempt was sheet balsa sides. Any tips for joining the sides ??
The firewall will be 2 5/8" wide, while the length of the fuselage
cross members are 3 3/8 "... Not sure yet how I will pull the front end
inwards to join the firewall. Should be interesting. Perhaps some water to soften the basswood...... ? Hmmm....
Anyway, finished trimming the tail end and have started work behind
the firewall.
See you later, Happy Thanksgiving !!
Last edited by ms62tn; Nov 27, 2016 at 10:12 AM. Reason: incorrect measurement. Oops !
Nov 26, 2016, 02:20 PM
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Final pieces for the fuselage sides

Now to the last pieces...
The plan calls for 1/8" lite ply for the rubber band dowel triangles,
and that is for the full size version, But I am using 3/16" basswood
sheet to make them. Actually, I am still considering doing a bolt on
wing, so for now, I am not gonna' drill them for the dowels. Anyone have some ideas for converting to bolt on ?? Is this a good idea, or
should I, a beginner, just stick with the rubber bands??

A few pics....

Nov 26, 2016, 02:57 PM
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Homemade squares

Well, I suppose I could have bought some squares to erect the sides,
but decided to make some. Cost me $2 for a plank of pine, and all the ply used, I already had...
Also, these can be pinned down. The L shape is 5/32 ply, the two side pieces are 1/2" by 3/4" by 3 1/2" pine cut from the plank, and has a 1/16" ply bottom. Then when finished, I drilled holes with a #68 bit
for the pins to go through. Soon, I can road test them...

Nov 26, 2016, 03:13 PM
I'd rather be flying.....
JeffMac's Avatar

I'm an old timer oriented modeller so tend to use rubber bands for the wing attachment. As a newcomer, building the model as designed will get you a nice model much sooner with the least effort. On the other hand, a bolt on wing is a much neater and works as well......

best regards,


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