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Sep 27, 2017, 04:27 AM
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Mini Wanderer scratch build

This is going to be my third scratch build plane, a Mark's Models Wanderer, scaled down from the 72" plans to 45%.

While building my very first plane, the Wanderer 72", I've read the forums a lot, and during my search for information, I stumbled upon the micro wanderer, which grabbed my imagination.
I successfully finished the Wanderer 72", and it's waiting for a proper maiden.
Since then I've built a Scimitar (a 68cm wing span free flight plane), and really liked how small it was, and how easy it was to build it.

Before I started this hobby I thought it over, and realised, that I won't be able to have much airtime with my planes, as my kids are small, and would probably got bored on a model airfield. I know it, that building the plane will provide most of the fun factor for me (at least for now). When I was testing my first plane, I knew, that I won't be able to properly fly it in the local park, as there is simply not enough space for it.

While building the Scimitar, I thought: what if I had an RC plane in this size? Maybe could fly that in the local park. Then I remembered the micro wanderer. I really like scratch building, so I decided to scratch my own version of it. Also RC planes is my "cheap" hobby: I don't want to pay huge amounts of money for shipping, I'm using cheap components from ebay.

So, I'm building a mini wanderer. I figured, that if I scale down the plans to 45%, then the flysky Rx will still fit in the fuselage without widening it. The wing span will be about 82 cm. I'm going to use 2 cheap 4gram servos. The only question that remains is the battery. I'll need to find a battery that is rechargeable, capable of providing 4.8V and small enough to fit the space left in the fuselage.

First I'm going to build the fuselage, to see it everything fits, then if it seems right, I'll proceed to build the wings.
We'll see how it works. I don't want to use the parkzone brick that is used in the micro wanderer (too much shipping cost, probably not compatible with my cheap flysky Tx), and I want to keep the wingspan under 1 meter.

Any advice is appreciated.
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Sep 28, 2017, 04:04 AM
Hey, watch this!
Raymond-leflyr's Avatar
You might want to look at a voltage booster like this from HobbyKing. That way you could use a cheap and light weight 1S li-po to power your receiver. I've used this same product in a 1/2A powered model with no problems.
Sep 28, 2017, 08:24 AM
AndyKunz's Avatar
Originally Posted by zarqeon
So, I'm building a mini wanderer. I figured, that if I scale down the plans to 45%, then the flysky Rx will still fit in the fuselage without widening it. The wing span will be about 82 cm. I'm going to use 2 cheap 4gram servos. The only question that remains is the battery. I'll need to find a battery that is rechargeable, capable of providing 4.8V and small enough to fit the space left in the fuselage.
A lot of DLG guys use a 1S LiPo as the receiver power system for their Spektrum-controlled models. This would be a perfect situation for one of those.

Sep 28, 2017, 11:41 AM
Registered User
FrSky will run happily on 3 v .
Buy a pair of cheap 1s servos and a 1s battery from Hobby king and enjoy
Although to be honest at that model size... One could cobble up a Wanderer look alike out of white foam (Packagings? material for free)
in One evening.
Also makes the model less 'Precious' so bumps lumps and breakage fears don't get in the way of flying it.
Sep 29, 2017, 12:34 AM
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HIR/Cer's Avatar

NiMH receiver battery

Originally Posted by zarqeon

....I'm going to use 2 cheap 4gram servos. The only question that remains is the battery. I'll need to find a battery that is rechargeable, capable of providing 4.8V and small enough to fit the space left in the fuselage....
Mini Wanderer scratch built, a great project!

Looked over eBay and if the firt picture below is of the servos that you have, they require at least 4.8v.

The second picture is of a 170 mAh NiMH battery, and the sellers are in Germany. Solder the tabs of 4 cells in series and add a female plug with cable for your receiver.

Or, noticed the availability here in the USA of assembled NiMH 150 mAh 4.8v packs which are made in China as shown in the third pix. Might need the plug changed to fit your receiver.

You can use your NiCad receiver battery charger for the NiMH receiver pack, with a shorter charging time.

Do like the idea of the HK 1s LiPo booster to increase the voltage to 5V, however.
Sep 29, 2017, 05:57 AM
Registered User
I found a place locally, which sells the very same Ni-MH 4.8V 150mAh battery you mentioned, HIR/Cer. Already ordered one, I'll get it in a few days.

I'm a bit concerned about the weight, though:
I'm planning to use the servos you mentioned, those weights 4g each. The Flysky receiver is about 15g, and the batter is, about 16g (but I have to mention, that I could not find a reliable source of information about that).
That is almost 40g, plus the plane itself. My scratch built Scimitar came out to 40g, including about 8 or so grams of nose weight.
The mini wanderer will be a bit bigger (about 10 cm wingspan and 5 cm fuselage), so maybe it will be about 40-50g?
That's almost a 100g. Isn't that too much? I read that the micro wanderer (which is only 5 cm of wingspan smaller) is 41 grams.

Anyhow, if it turns out to be overweight, and will refuse to fly, then I'll turn it into a free flight model, with no radio whatsoever
Sep 29, 2017, 08:46 AM
AndyKunz's Avatar
You're using over-sized components. What kind of radio system are you using?

I personally would use the guts from an E-flite UMX plane. There's a reason that Spektrum technology owns the ultra-micro market, and a Wanderer this size is a perfect application of that gear.

Sep 30, 2017, 03:53 PM
Registered User
I built a 36" span wanderer. I use a 1s, (2) Solar 3.7g servos, flysky 6channel Rx out of the case. I have flown for 10 minutes so far. That is long enough. Then it is time to sit back, relax, have a cold drink and watch others fly. Plus you can have 4, 8, 10 batteries all charged up. I have two planes that I use the same setup in. This one and a 28" span FG fuse Reno Mustang.


Lipo, I changed the plug from a JST to a standard servo plug. You can plug it into any open slot to power it.


Oct 03, 2017, 04:36 AM
Registered User
Thank you blvdbuzzard for the pictures. Though my wanderer will be smaller about 10 cm, if yours fly, then maybe mine will fly too.

AndyKunz, I believe you, that the Spectrum ultra-micro radio gear is good, and lightweight and everything, but I'm not in a position to pay a lot of money for a decent radio set right now. That's why I use a super cheap Flysky FS-T4B transmitter. It should be enough for a 2 channel plane
The whole idea of this build was to make it work with the Flysky radio and cheap 4g servos.

I managed to glue the fuselage together. It became a few millimeters wider than it is shown on the 45% plan. At least the radio gear and the battery fits nicely in the nose, so one uncertainty is sorted out now. The only thing I'm concerned with is weight.

I cut out a fuselage double from the same 1.5 mm thick balsa, that I'm using for the fuselage sides. After gluing it on, I sort of regretted it, because of the weight, so then I sanded the doublers down to about half it's original thickness. That meant 1g saved per fuselage side. The formers are made of 2 mm balsa, and they will obviously need some holes for the control string to reach the tail. I'm thinking of doing a pull-pull for both rudder and elevator.

For the nose skid I laminated two layers of 1.5 mm balsa, with grain perpendicular to one-another. That should be rigid enough while still being sort of light.
I'm not sure if I want to sheet the fuselage tail. It's quite rigid as it is and not sheeting it could save a few grams.
Also I'll try a build up elevator, from 2mm balsa instead of a one-sheet elevator as it is seen on Buzz's image.
Oct 03, 2017, 11:21 AM
B for Bruce
BMatthews's Avatar
Zarqeon, as a long time free flight model builder and flier I can say pretty strongly that you want your final weight to be n more than around 6oz. And more like 4 would be more thermal friendly. And 3 to 3.5 oz would be ideal. So watch the weight buildup. All the little things add up and can bite you in the end. At this size of model the smallest and lightest servos you can find are all you need. Same with the rest of the gear. That booster is a cool thing for larger models but for this one go with servos that are known to work on 1S and then get a 150mah Lipo cell to run things. In fact buy two so you can switch them out after about 20 to 30 minutes of on time just to be safe.

Choose your covering wisely. Covering a model of this size can easily cost you an ounce if you use big model products. Use one of the light parkflyer films or Duculam or similar. If you don't have a cheap digital scale for weighing stuff now would be a good time to get one.
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Oct 04, 2017, 03:59 AM
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Thank you for your input BMatthews, I really appreciate it. Now I have some point of reference about the weight.
I'll keep an eye on the weight build up. I'll try to keep it about 100g, which is about 4oz.
Unfortunately, I don't have the luxury of having wide choice of covering materials, as the local model shops (by local I mean, in the country) almost exclusively sells oracover. Of course I could order some lighter stuff from ebay, but that would cost 4 or 5 times as much.
So, it will either work as it is, or not work at all
Oct 04, 2017, 08:19 AM
AndyKunz's Avatar
I have built several micro-sized Pattern planes (aerobatics) and my design/build target is 100 square inches of wing area and 100g ready to fly.

To meet that I need to use coverings such as Solarfilm Light (made in UK) or ParkLite.

Go to and check Build Threads for some construction hints that may help.

Oct 05, 2017, 12:17 AM
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HIR/Cer's Avatar
Excellent, informative posts!

Andy mentions Solarfilm Light, which is listed in the Solar Film website as Solite. I used Microlite which is rebranded Solite on the fuselage and vert fin/rudder of my Micro Wanderer.

Wondered about ParkLite which I found out is available here in the U.S. as Ultracote ParkLite. The same product there is Oralight and you should be able to order it thru your local hobby shop. Oralight/ParkLite is slightly heavier than Solite.

Keeping the weight down on your Mini Wanderer frame?
I prefer sheeting the top and bottom of the aft fuselage for added rigidity but adding lightning holes in the fuselage sides and vertical fin/rudder as seen in plans of Mark Smith's popular Windfree will help a bit.
You might also consider a single balsa (not hardwood) wing spar and a strip of thin (1/16") balsa for the trailing edge of your Mini Wanderer as Alien-Tech designed for his Micro Wanderer.
Oct 05, 2017, 07:00 AM
Registered User
Hi HIR/Cer,

First of all I like to apologize cutting in like this with a different topic. Sorry. I need some JR XP8103 parts.

I believe that you bought JR 8103 switch board from someone in this forum, May I know what happen to your old one. If you still have it, I would like to buy it.

Oct 06, 2017, 01:30 AM
Registered User
HIR/Cer's Avatar
Hi Mervyn,

Yep, I bought the 8103 switch board from Harlan, after the 8103 I had purchased some years back in great condition along with some 6 meter RX's but set aside and never used myself, charged up nicely but refused to take any subsequent charges. Was planning to use it with a Spectrum DM9 module for my Micro Wanderer (well, in that case, not really off topic here ).

Replaced the switch board, never repaired any JR before, but my 8103 would still not accept a charge!

Had purchased a new TX battery previously without resolution of the problem either.

Noticed the TX fuse which looked OK but decided to pull it out and do a VOM test and, you guessed it, the fuse was burnt out! Replacing the fuse did finally take care of the charging problem. Just one of those things, I think, as I had always used the proper JR charger with its reversed polarity charging jack.

Will get my hands on the replaced switch board which is still good, of course, and send you a PM.

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