F4F Wildcat build. 45" Nick Zirolli plan built up in foam. - RC Groups
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Oct 16, 2017, 01:34 PM
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JIMA's Avatar
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F4F Wildcat build. 45" Nick Zirolli plan built up in foam.


I have been somewhat disappointed lately in the finishes I have been getting building stick type models and covering with plastic film or Polyspan. The latest batches of Polyspan I have received have turned into fuzzy messes. Plus I would really like to build sheeted type models that can be more detailed with things like panel lines and rivets. However, I find built up sheeted balsa models to be too heavy for my flying abilities. I had started a thread on my own design of the Nakajima Ki-27 Nate and finished one wing half but again was not real happy with the build style.

So I have been experimenting with building in foam. I have a couple of the ARF foam models from various brands and like to fly them but i do not like the aligator skin or the over size panel lines. However, they do make good canvases for refinishing. From my experiences with these ARF models and after studying JMorgans and Sparky's threads, I thought I might give foam a try.

Started by buying Sparky's book. Then spent some time building some bows and a scroll hod wire cutter. Played with it some. Started a smaller model of an old Peter Rake design (unfinished). Lost interest in this model because it is not really the style of airplane I like these days. Tried my hand at cutting wing cores for the Nate. Had them cut and clad one of them in balsa but the wing still felt too heavy to meet my needs. Watched JMorgans thread on the Il-2 and was really impressed by how lite it turned out using the built up method. Thought I might give this method a try.

I chose to start out a little less ambitious than the Nate and instead chose a plan from outerzone by Nick Zirolli for a 45" Wildcat. I am a slow builder so this may take some time to complete and may have some mess ups and start overs as I am new to foam building but I hope ya'll will hang with me and offer suggestions as I go along.

I started by trying to cut some 3/32 foam sheets that i could use as wing skins. Made a hot wire slicer on an old bi-fold door I had. The skins turned out pretty good so next I cut out the wing ribs using my normal scroll saw. The Wildcat will have fixed gear so I cut plywood ribs for the areas that will be handling the landing loads. I laid out the wing skins and away I went. Started with basswood bottom spars, then added the ribs. At this point I discovered that the 1/4 basswood spars were overkill and instead used balsa top spars. Used FFF for the foam ribs and the shear webs. At this point the two wing halves are glued together and are just about read for the top skins. I am amazed at how strong it is. Will try to get some pics loaded up later today.


Jim
Last edited by JIMA; Oct 16, 2017 at 04:26 PM.
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Oct 16, 2017, 03:18 PM
An itch?. Scratch build.
eflightray's Avatar
I don't do 'scale' but I do like the look of the Wildcat.

I intended to do a 'fat' profile version in foam, but ended up with fuselage midway between profile and scale width.

Called it a Slimcat, 38" span, in Depron foam.


Ray.
Oct 16, 2017, 04:09 PM
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J Morgan's Avatar
Good start Jim.
Actually you might later decide the balsa spar is overkill too. I often just use foam for the spars since the sheeting carries a lot of the load. I just use ribs and spars to retain the airfoil shape.

J
Oct 16, 2017, 04:13 PM
Veni Vidi Volavi
Brian Allen's Avatar
Jim

Looks neat. Is the plan the old Nick Ziroli design from Flying Models back in the late 1960's I think? I do not work with foam but it always interesting to see how other people do things with it!!

Just a heads up, might want to edit your thread title. The Wildcat is an F4F. The F3F was the last of the Grumman navy biplanes.

Brian

Veni Vidi Volavi

I came I saw I flew
Oct 16, 2017, 04:17 PM
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This is refreshing, Jim! I'm rooting for you. Keep up the good work!
Oct 16, 2017, 04:28 PM
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JIMA's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian Allen
Jim

Looks neat. Is the plan the old Nick Ziroli design from Flying Models back in the late 1960's I think? I do not work with foam but it always interesting to see how other people do things with it!!

Just a heads up, might want to edit your thread title. The Wildcat is an F4F. The F3F was the last of the Grumman navy biplanes.

Brian

Veni Vidi Volavi

I came I saw I flew
The plan came from the outerzone. I know that it was published sometime in the late 60's or early 70s. And thanks for the heads up. Of course you are correct.

Jim
Oct 16, 2017, 04:29 PM
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JIMA's Avatar
Thanks J. Glad you are here to steer me straight if I get off in the weeds.

Jim
Oct 16, 2017, 04:40 PM
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Brian Allen's Avatar
Jim

I seem to recall Nick having a whole bunch of semi scale warbirds published in the late 1960's in Flying Models. Most were in the 45" range I believe. I seem to have a very definite memory of the Wildcat, may have to check out my collection of back issues to satisfy my curiosity!!

Brian

Veni Vidi Volavi

I came I saw I flew
Oct 16, 2017, 04:50 PM
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JIMA's Avatar
The accompanying article says FM and September 1972 in the margins.

Jim
Oct 16, 2017, 06:17 PM
I may be some time ....
balticS2's Avatar
Looks very nice Jim.

Interesting to see another take on the wing from someone who usually builds in balsa. I must try that.

I've made a few of these wings using a full height hard balsa spar. On three occasions I've had a bad smash and thought the wing was a write-off. But each time the mainspar has survived and provided the datum to complete a repair in a few hours.

Looking forwards to seeing her grow.

Alec
Oct 16, 2017, 08:06 PM
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Subscribed, John
Oct 18, 2017, 10:14 AM
Big gov never Works
St. Martin's Avatar
Fome!!! Looks good, Jim. I can understand your frustration with the Poly-Span. It has lost the shiny side finish. But, I have not tried recent batches.

Fuzz

BTW, I built 4 of the Ziroli Wildcats back in the early 80's. We did all four of them with the yellow wings and black, red, green tails. Only problem was there were no Zeros to chase. So, we tried formation flying...ha.. They handlaunched so easily.
Last edited by St. Martin; Oct 18, 2017 at 10:20 AM.
Oct 18, 2017, 11:58 AM
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JIMA's Avatar
Yes foam. But with a little balsa thrown in for good measure. Planning on a pre-war scheme myself. How well did yours fly? Did you use a Wankel?

Jim
Oct 18, 2017, 02:56 PM
Big gov never Works
St. Martin's Avatar
Hi Jim, never saw a wildcat that did not fly well. I was a big Enya fan, so I used an Enya .19. This motor would swing a 10-4 wood all day long. Others used Fox and O.S. They belly land very easily. A little wet grass and they would slide forever. I covered mine in silkspan & silk. The other guys were mono kote users. I was only the framer. I cut all the parts for 4 planes at one time. Then made a production line. I did the same thing when I had a bunch of Ryan's to build.

Yours should come out much lighter, as you will not need all that ply required for an IC engine. Even if built in wood, it would come out lighter than the original. A lot of these old IC scale designs would work well, if all that heavy lumber is not used.

Fuzz


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