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Feb 09, 2018, 05:50 PM
It's all about scale models!
MrSmoothie's Avatar
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Build Log

"Bud Light" Super Corsair conversion

Let me begin by saying this is a build log documenting my conversion of an Alfa Models F4U Corsair into c. 1985 "Bud Light" Super Corsair. Some may feel this is not actually "Kit/Scratch Built" -- however, there are virtually no "build logs" under Electric Warbirds, and I don't think a project that takes weeks or months qualifies as "ARF/RTF". Not to mention, I believe the majority of the viewers of those forums are not particularly interested in projects involving any degree of modeling. Don't get me wrong, I have plenty of RTF foamie warbirds, and love them! So I hope that makes sense to everybody.

This was my last build log, converting an Alfa P-47 into the XP-72 Ultrabolt:

I've had a NIB Alfa Corsair sitting here, but I have to admit that once I started looking into potential color schemes, I realized there weren't all that many US schemes. The model actually has a nice factory scheme; almost a shame to paint over it But that's what I enjoy about Alfas -- the ability to treat them just like plastic model kits. That brought me to the postwar racer schemes, and especially those that had any degree of modification.

As I reviewed various Corsair racers, I came upon the Bud Light Super Corsair. I was a little surprised that I was unfamiliar with this aircraft, until I realized it was built and raced during the period where I stopped building model planes. After all, Steve Hinton was one of the pilots, and I followed his Red Baron exploits in the 70s (and did a conversion of that airplane as well, including build log).

The Bud Light Super Corsair (which I shall henceforth refer to as the BLSC) was not an actual F2G Super Corsair, but an extensively modified basket case of an F4U-1 (I'll check the "-1").

As with my RB-51 Red Baron conversion, I will be relying heavily on scale drawings produced by Taichiro Yamashita:

Please note that the drawings I post here are the ones you can see on his website in low resolution. I have purchased the actual drawings from Taichiro. IN case any of you think that $7 (plus $5 postage) for 4 laser printed sheets of paper is expensive, remember, you're not really paying for the laser prints, but rather the time and skill put into these extensively researched and beautifully drafted scale drawings. Postage is the same if you buy additional sets, so I always pick up another two or three that might be potential future projects.
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Feb 09, 2018, 05:59 PM
It's all about scale models!
MrSmoothie's Avatar
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So what's different on the BLSC from the standard F4U?

On a project like this, I like to start out by making a mental list of all the things that need to be modified. Here's what I came up with:

1) Wing tips clipped a good bit; the most obvious change
2) Modified oil cooler intakes at the wing roots. Less visible at first, but significant.
3) New cowl. The cowl was actually from an A-26 Invader. The nose, surprisingly, does not extend forward any more than on a standard F4U -- the four-row engine just goes BACK further! Also, there is an air intake on top of the cowling, which makes it look even larger in profile.
4) Spinner on the prop.
5) Wing fillet at the trailing edge.
6) New canopy.
7) New silver and bright blue paint scheme
8) Extensive Budweiser graphics

My last project, the XP-72 conversion, had three nice gimmicks -- first and foremost, the contra-rotating motors and props, followed by retracts and flaps.

The BLSC, unfortunately, did not have C/R props (I admit it, I'm a sucker for C/R prop planes). And the Alfa Corsair is not set up for retracts, nor is it a simple mod, as they are 90 degree rotating type. It has been done, but at penalty of weight and complexity. I had to keep this in mind as I am clipping the wings and losing a good bit of wing area. Without retracts, there was no need for flaps.

So, my goal will be to keep this one as light as possible -- and maybe, just maybe, go for a slightly larger motor than I typically use on my Alfa Models warbirds -- with the aim of higher speed.
Last edited by MrSmoothie; Feb 09, 2018 at 08:04 PM.
Feb 09, 2018, 06:12 PM
It's all about scale models!
MrSmoothie's Avatar
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Getting started: the Wings.

I always feel a little guilty about making those first slices into a perfectly nice, brand new kit part. On the other hand, once you slice the wing tips off, there's no going back.

At this point, I only had the low res scale drawings (the high res ones are on the way), but they are more than adequate for these first steps.

I was actually a little surprised at just how much wing I'd be cutting off. The aileron is not cut off straight with the tip cut, but is nearly perpendicular to the hinge line. I made a template of the inboard aileron cut and used that to make the angle.

This was followed by making the new-shape wing tips (referring to the scale drawings as well as photos) from soft balsa blocks, which I then vacuformed with .020 styrene, so that they are nearly ready for paint. I left the balsa inside the plastic, as the weight was quite negligible, yet would provide some strength against the tips ever "popping" in. You can see my steps in carving and shaping the blocks on the wing without damaging the existing paint.

After I was satisfied with the fit, I glued these to the wing with 560 canopy glue. Prior to that, I glued two balsa strip nubs into the wing (in addition to the balsa spar) to provide a little more gluing area for the tips.

Alfa models usually use one center-mounted servo for the ailerons and a flexible wire/tube linkage. However, I prefer to use two 4.1 gm servos and eliminate the linkage. I feel the control is more positive and the weight the same or less. After the servos are glued in place, I make cover plates from .010 styrene and glue in place with 506 canopy glue. Linkages are just .032 music wire, but will be added much later.
Feb 09, 2018, 06:16 PM
Gravity sucks.
mrittinger's Avatar
I have a Reno book with some great shots, I'll see if I can find it...
Don't pull a Kevin Eldridge w this one
Feb 09, 2018, 06:33 PM
CH Spring

Last year I picked up a Corsair NIB from a guy who was downsizing. As with all Alphas it flies great.

I followed your XP72 mod. It was exquisite. No doubt the Corsair will be too. You can bet I will be following.

And ya, this forum is the right place to post it.

Good luck with the build.

Feb 09, 2018, 07:05 PM
Failure is not an option
casor's Avatar
Dilly dilly!
Feb 09, 2018, 07:36 PM
Pro Hoarder
turbonut's Avatar
Cool project for sure...My wife is BFF with Kevin's wife..Hiking buddies..Kevin is a super nice guy and lots of fun to talk to. Very laid back he thinks flying war birds is just a day job...Lol
Latest blog entry: In flight
Feb 09, 2018, 07:55 PM
3d and EDF, some scale
MustangAce17's Avatar
Awesome, if you decide you want retracts after all, I have a set you can have, 90 from Airborne models, I was going to use them in a Guillows P40. Looking forward to this one
Feb 09, 2018, 08:13 PM
It's all about scale models!
MrSmoothie's Avatar
Thread OP
Awesome, if you decide you want retracts after all, I have a set you can have, 90 from Airborne models, I was going to use them in a Guillows P40.
Hey Kyle! Not familiar with those retracts -- are they electric or mechanical, and any idea on weight? Post a link if you know of one. While I'm thinking I'd like this to be fast, not so fast that only YOU can fly it! (guys, I've seen this kid fly!!)
Feb 09, 2018, 08:27 PM
3d and EDF, some scale
MustangAce17's Avatar
Ahhh, come on you know 120 mph would be nice They are mechanical, Just pm your address and they are yours
Last edited by MustangAce17; Feb 09, 2018 at 08:47 PM.
Feb 09, 2018, 08:38 PM
Gravity sucks.
mrittinger's Avatar
Turbonut, glad he fully recovered! Seeing that thing in flames....scary!
Feb 10, 2018, 09:03 AM
It's all about scale models!
MrSmoothie's Avatar
Thread OP

Oil Cooler Wing Root Intakes

Somehow I'd overlooked the drastically modified wing root oil cooler intakes. Maybe because I wanted to.

Had these been just a slight change from outline, I might have skipped them, but I realized the change was considerable. A photo I found showed the modification in process, and how the sheet metal was extended forward in that area before adding the rounded intake portion.

This gave me a starting point -- I cut away the old intake from about the point where the new sheet metal looks to have started. This area is a vacuformed shell over foam, both were removed. Then I shaped a soft balsa block to fit that gap as closely as possible -- tape in place, I marked all the edge lines, removed, and rough shaped apart from the wing. When I got it fairly close, I tack-glued it to the wing with 506 canopy glue, laid down some painters tape to protect the wing, and final shaped, mostly using a small wood block with 120 wet/dry attached.

Then I removed the part, finish sanded with 320 grit, and finally vacuformed around it with .020 styrene. As with the wing tips, I'm leaving the balsa -- the weight is negligible, plus it provides a surface to glue against the cut foam edges of the wing.

Then I got to repeat this "fun" for the other side!

In case you're wondering, I almost never cut out intake openings on these small planes, especially the belly landers. Here in Florida, even when landing on "grass", sand gets into everything. This will be simulated with black paint.
Feb 10, 2018, 02:03 PM
It's all about scale models!
MrSmoothie's Avatar
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New Cowl

My research indicated that the cowl diameter did not change -- it just looks that way with the addition of the large air scoop on top. However, the cowl was much tapered towards the front lip. The illustration shows the BLSC in green superimposed over the F4U.

If I had to, I could probably have gotten away with the kit's vacuformed cowl -- the addition of a scoop and spinner would have gotten the look 90% of the way. But I wanted to try making a mold and vacuforming a somewhat more accurate part. I cut three 4" dia. discs from 1/2" basswood sheet and glued them together with titebond and clamped to dry overnight. A center hole was drilled and bolt inserted so it could be chucked in my MicroMark metal mini lathe. I turned this to shape with metal tools, but finished off with a rasp and finally 120 and 320 wet/dry. The first step, however, was to make a cylinder of the exact right diameter -- to be determined by being able to just slip the original cowl plastic onto the wood form. This done, then I proceeded to carve the taper and as well as the recessed intake opening on the front.

The final diameter was 3 5/8". This is really pushing it for the "footprint" of my vacuformer, and to honest, I didn't think it was going to work. Plan B was to cut the mold in half and mold two parts and join later. However, to my surprise, my first two pulls from .030 styrene were both usable parts.

Next will be carving a mold for the top airscoop which extends back a good bit towards the canopy.

By the way, if you're wondering if this cowl isn't a perfect example of why I need a 3D printer, well, I'm thinking about that too -- especially if I can get something close, that I then finish off in my lathe for a smooth finish and then use as a vacuform mold. I've done no research -- I don't know if typical 3D printer plastic finishes that well, or will stand up to the temporary heat of the sheet styrene.
Feb 10, 2018, 05:18 PM
Scale Builder
Originally Posted by MrSmoothie
I don't know if typical 3D printer plastic finishes that well, or will stand up to the temporary heat of the sheet styrene.
Yes, and yes. I just picked up an Anet A6 which I've got all assembled, just waiting on a new belt to get it up and running. I think you would find that a very inexpensive machine, such as the Anet, would be capable of doing a great deal of what you want to do. Once I get mine running and calibrated I would be happy to print some stuff for you. The Super Corsair is already looking spectacular too!
Feb 10, 2018, 05:54 PM
It's all about scale models!
MrSmoothie's Avatar
Thread OP
Chad, I've been giving a lot of thought to buying a Monoprice 3D Printer, one of the starter jobs that go for $200 or so on Amazon Prime. I watched a user review video on youtube and was impressed with what I saw. The footprint is a bit small, but much of what I make (or want to make) would fit.

I've also wondered if anybody is selling 3d files of various pilot busts that one could scale based on the current model and then 3D print?

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