Playboy Old Timer - RC Groups

Playboy Old Timer

Overall, the Playboy from Tritex is a fun, stable flyer that anyone can enjoy. With the ease of assembly, two-piece wing for easy transport, and the predictable flight characteristics, the Playboy has lived up to its reputation as being one of the finest old-timer designs.

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Specifications
  • Wingspan: 60"
  • Wing Area: 457 sq. in.
  • Length: 33 in.
  • Finished Weight: 24 oz complete!
  • Wing Loading: 7.5 oz / sq. ft.
  • Power System: Speed 400 6V with 3:1 BB gearbox
  • Prop: APC 10x7 Slo-Fly
  • Battery: 7-cell 600AE
  • Assembly Time: Approx. 3 Hrs Total
  • Radio: Hitec Focus III FM, (2) HS-55 Micro Servos, JETI 140 Compact BEC
  • Manufacturer: Tritex
  • Available from: Hobby Lobby International Inc.
The Playboy Old-Timer has been around since 1939. Joe Elgin, at Cleveland Model Company, designed the Playboy as a very competitive free-flight model. From there, its fame and success made this plane one of the most well known Old-Timer designs.
This kit is now available through Hobby-Lobby in an ARF form, which is very well constructed, as you will see as soon as you open the box. All parts are carefully wrapped in bubble wrap, and additional hardware such as the control horns, mounting hardware, and pushrods are all secured and organized.
Plane parts and all included hardware

Introduction

Also provided in the kit is a Photo CD. The CD includes photos and directions for other models produced by Tritex. This can be very helpful during the assembly when used in conjunction with the manual. You will also be able to view two videos on this CD, one of the Playboy and one of a series of other planes.
As I inspected the quality of construction, I noticed that this plane was made with lite-plywood for nearly all of the wood parts. There is very little balsa used for the structure, with the exception of the stringers and fuselage skin.

Assembly

Tail

The horizontal and vertical stabilizers were already finished very nicely. To assemble these parts, I had to start by carefully removing some of the covering of horizontal stabilizer, so that vertical stabilizer could be slid into place. Once the vertical stabilizer was set in place, I marked the seam where the two components joined, so that the covering on the vertical stabilizer, below the visible joint line, could be removed. One the covering was removed from the bottom of the vertical stabilizer, and prior to attaching the horizontal and vertical stabilizers together, I mounted the control horn for the rudder. It was easier to accomplish before the tail was fully assembled. I checked to make sure that the horn was on the correct side of the control surface, and then mounted the horn at the pre- drilled locations. When I was mounting the control horn, I noticed that vertical stabilizer did not have a beveled edge, which allows for the full range of movement of rudder. Both pieces were hinged together and only permitted movement to the left. It took some time to correct, due to the use of lite-plywood rather than typical balsa, but I was able to carefully bevel the right side of the rudder, which allowed for the recommended 1" deflection. Once the horizontal and vertical stabilizers were ready, I used some CA to glue them together, while making sure that they were perpendicular to each other.
horizontal/vertical joint

Wing

Assembly of the wing was basically a non-event, as there were only two steps required. In one of the small bags in the kit, there are two small wooden dowels approximately 1/2" in length. These dowels are glued into the top surface of the wing in the block mounts already in place. I used some carpenter's wood glue for this, so that I would have time to set the dowels to the same height. The next step for the wing assembly is to gather the two pre-bent joiner rods, and place them into each of the brass tubes to set the dihedral of the wing. At first, the top seam of the wing panels had nearly a 1/4" gap when fitted together. I had carefully marked the center of the joiner rods, and then bent them slightly in order to create a better fit of the wing panels.

Fuselage

You will notice that the fuselage is very well planned out for the placement of the radio gear and electronics. In addition, the attachment of the pylon is quick and easy. I used some 5-minute epoxy here to ensure a solid bond between the plywood sections. I did notice, however, that the wing support was slightly tilted on the pylon. This didn't seem like much of a big deal, until I placed the wing on top of the pylon and noticed the difference it caused at the tips of the wing. I carefully used my X-Acto knife to cut the joint on one side of the pylon, in order to level the mount and secure it in place correctly.
The landing gear mounts to the aft end of the one bulkhead, just behind the motor area. Holes are already drilled at the correct locations for the brackets. However, the difficult part was getting the screws into them. After setting the landing gear in place, I was able to start one screw in each nylon bracket. However, I could not access the two located deeper into the fuselage, due to a bulkhead being in the way. Eventually, I decided to break out the drill and "lighten" the airframe. I drilled two holes big enough for a long bladed screwdriver to fit through and access the other two screws for the landing gear. See the photo for clarification. Brass landing gear collars are supplied to secure the wheels. Two of the four required some clearing of material in order to fit smoothly on the axle. That can be expected of any new wheel collar. Be sure to leave a small amount of space between the collar and the wheel hub to allow free rotation.
All that remained in the assembly of the fuselage was to mount the tail feathers, rear skid, and battery access hatch. The tail feathers are just glued in place. I was careful to make sure that they were on straight with respect to the fuselage and rudder. The rear skid is located with the thick portion to the rear of the plane. Once I removed the covering in the contact area, I glued it in place. The battery access hatch is held in place with a small segment of electrical tape at one end, and a screw on the other. This made it very easy to change batteries at the field.

Radio & Electronics Installation

The directions instruct you to look at the diagram the for placement of the radio gear and other electronics. Unfortunately, there was no diagram supplied with this kit. The locations were rather intuitive to figure out, as there were only a limited number of locations with access. The photos below show some of the additional parts required to finish the assembly, and some of the unique features of this quality construction.
Electronics package Pushrod guides already in position Servo location and battery placement
Using Velcro, I mounted the receiver just aft of the servos on the bottom of the fuselage. This allowed the antenna to be run through the fuselage, and out just below the horizontal stabilizer. After mounting the servos and checking their zero locations, I mounted the servo control horns and connected the pushrods. Once the servos were connected, I was able to bend the pushrod 90 degrees at the rudder and elevator control horns, and then trim the rods to length.
I secured the JETI speed control to the end of the Speed 400 motor, and then ran the wiring through the formers as I set the motor in place. After passing the switch and connector through the second former to the receiver, I mounted switch on the side of the fuselage for easy access. By using a strip of foam on each side of the battery, side-to-side movement of the battery in the fuselage was eliminated. Be sure to check the gearbox for proper lubing before mounting to the plane. Once this was complete, the gearbox was mounted and the APC 10x7 Prop installed. This finished the assembly of the plane.

Flight Performance

Prior to the first flight, I checked the linkages, as well as the control surface throws. It is recommended to have 1" rudder movement in each direction, and 1/2" up and 3/8" down elevator. Due to the limited amount of choices in locations for the electronics, the balance point is mainly adjusted by moving the receiver. The balance point is located between 4 1/8" and 4 1/2" from the leading edge of the wing.
Snoopy and Woodstock are our test pilots!
For the first flight, I used a 7-cell 600AE pack and decided to see how the plane would rise off ground. From the video provided on the CD, it appeared that the plane had sufficient power to do this in a limited space. The first flights of my Playboy were completed on a mild evening, with approximately a 5 mph wind. The takeoff was short and quick, and the Playboy rose off the ground in about 15ft from a standstill, using full throttle. I noticed right away that this plane did not require much energy to fly, and cruising around at 1/3 throttle was common. With the plane at full throttle, climb outs were quick and smooth. Once at altitude, using good throttle management, the Playboy floated gracefully through the sky for a solid 10 to 15 minutes.
Response to control input was sensitive, as it would be with any polyhedral wing of this type. Be careful not to hold rudder input too long, as the plane will end up in a turning dive before you know it. Very little elevator is required during turns, and I was able to fly the plane without using elevator at all. By adjusting the throttle as needed, I was able to control the altitude of the Playboy.
Landing approaches were smooth and level. Once on the final turn of the landing pattern, slowly decreasing the throttle may slowly bring the plane down. I say may, because as I quickly noticed, the Playboy has a very good glide ratio. With a slight headwind, long approaches may be necessary, or you may need to feed in a little down elevator to put the Playboy down where you intend to land.
Touch and goes were a lot of fun since the stall speed was so low. When using an 8-cell 600AE pack, flight times as well as performance were improved. In addition, takeoffs were shorter, and there was more power to the motor. I found that flying in moderate winds was easier as well, when using the 8-cell pack.
When under full power, the Playboy does experience a slight roll to the left. I believe this could be the response to the torque of the prop, since the motor mount does not have right or down thrust. However, since this plane is a floater, and the amount of full throttle flying is very limited, this does not seem to be a major issue.

Conclusion

Overall, the Playboy from Tritex is a fun and stable flyer that anyone can enjoy. With the ease of assembly, the two-piece wing for easy transport, and the predictable flight characteristics, the Playboy has lived up to its reputation as being one of the finest Old-Timer designs. Good luck and happy flying!
(Please note that the photos were taken by Brian Binkley.)

Editor's note: On March 23, 2002, Joe Eglin, the designer of the Playboy and many other wonderful models, passed away at the age of 82. Joe was honored for his many achievements in modeling when he was inducted into the Model Aviation Hall of Fame in 1999. Joe has also left behind a wonderful legacy for current modelers and many generations of future modelers, who will undoubtedly be building his designs for years to come. If you would like to find out more about Joe, please see page 154 of the July 2002 issue of the Model Aviation magazine.
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