MAF Webbit e-conversion - RC Groups
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Aug 11, 2005, 06:21 PM
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leccyflyer's Avatar

MAF Webbit e-conversion

Herewith the tale of another conversion of a retired glow model to electric flight, culminating in a successful maiden flight at Shifnal MAC this week- for which kind thanks are extended to Tim Hooper, Barney and Bob for their invite, assistance, encouragement (bullying) and photography.

The Webbit was a small sports model that burst onto the UK modelling scene in the mid 1990's and was produced for a short time by the then Miniature Aircraft Factory consisting of Peter Kent (not to be confused with the later incarnation of the MAF that is still around now). The model is a 40" span high wing sports aerobat, balsa and ply box fuselage, all built up balsa semi symmetrical thick section wing, solid sheet tail surfaces, designed to take a .15cu in 2 stroke and bearing more than a passing resemblance to a small Wot-4. They also made a kit for a half sized Webbit, 20" span, called the 1/2A Webbit, which I have sitting in the cupboard and which we'll come on to later.

I saw this particular Webbit hanging up in the LHS as a second hand airframe some years ago and it turned out that this was the prototype for the line of kits. It was nice and lightly built and I snapped it up, stuck an OS 15Max in there, together with full sized radio gear and had a lot of fun with the model.

Here's what she looked like all those years ago as a glow model.
Last edited by leccyflyer; Aug 11, 2005 at 07:45 PM.
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Aug 11, 2005, 06:35 PM
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leccyflyer's Avatar
Now unfortunately just when I was starting to have some fun with the Webbit I attended a little local fly-in and, though the field was large and there was plenty of space, my little Webbit was sitting minding her own business next to my flight box when some BOZO decided it would be a good idea to reverse his car over my gear

The result was a torn off tail, a car exhaust stuck through the centre section of the wing and into the fuselage. Enough to ground the model for the day for sure. Returning home the Webbit was put in her usual place and forgotten about for a bit. They weren't massive repairs but the model was dirty and oily and sticky and she stayed like that for years.

After converting my Wot -4 to brushless outrunner power and all of my other models in the fleet I cast my eye over the Webbit and pondered an e-conversion. She's a lot smaller than the Wot-4 but the basic shape is similar and the same sort of conversion ought to be possible. First things first was the removal of that horrible icky sticky covering.

Now in the past I've struggled with stripping off Solarfilm, especially old manky oily Solarfilm but I reckon I have developed a method that works very well and I'll describe it here. I've mentioned the method on here before but this was an opportunity to take some piccies and I also submitted the tip to one of the UK mags but they haven't printed it yet.

The problem is mostly caused by the colour and adhesive layer delaminating from the clear covering film. That can be minimised by always using a warm, or hot, covering iron to soften the bond between the film and the wood, keeping the iron moving as the edge is pulled back. Even then we might get left with stubborn bits. Resist the temptation to try to pull the covering off cold and it'll make for an easier job.

Various methods can be tried to get rid of these, from picking at them with a scalpel blade, to sanding them off or attempts to remove them with solvents. These all have their drawbacks and the use of a solvent can drive the colour deep into the wood.

So here is my tip for aiding in removal of those scruffy leftover bits.

Take some ordinary wide parcel tape or clear tape, the stickier the better. Burnish this down over the stubborn bits and put the iron on the tape.

Then pull the tape back. The tape should come away easily, carrying the stubborn bits of film on the sticky side of the tape,

You can experiment with different angles and speed of pull, for best results, but it's a bit like giving your model a leg wax!

With a light sanding to remove any residual colour left in the wood your model should be ready for recovering. You can recover in a darker colour and you would never know that the model had been refurbished.
Aug 11, 2005, 06:39 PM
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leccyflyer's Avatar
After the model was completely uncovered the tail section was repaired, adding a new rudder, the damage to the fuselage was repaired and the largest repairs to the wing centre sections were made.
Aug 11, 2005, 06:57 PM
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leccyflyer's Avatar
On the Wot 4 I'd made a battery hatch underneath to allow the 16 cell subc pack to be inserted from behind and underneath. I decided that this would be the best way to do it on the Webbit and so a hatch was cut that would allow the batteries to rest directly onto the ply undercarriage mounting plate.

There was plenty of room inside the fuselage to fit the 8x1950FAUP pack that was intended for use use. The wing was originally retained with rubber bands but the dowels for the rubber band wing retention have been replaced with a pair of wing dowels, located through the front former, and commercial plastic wing bolt mounts bolted through the fuselage sides. It's a very tight squeeze for the aileron torque rod linkages that prevent the fitting of a ply wing bolt plate. The wing has been suitably reinforced with a ply skin over trailing edge in the centre section to carry the wing bolts.
Aug 11, 2005, 07:17 PM
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A combination of weighing scales and Motocalc suggested that the optimal system from stuff that I had in stock was to use a brushless motor and 8 cells, so the Mega 22/20-3 looked suitable, on 8x1950FAUPs and with an 8x4 APC-E prop. That gave an AUW of around 50 oz, wingloading of about 17oz sq ft and about 90w/lb which should prove adequate.

Guidance was by Hitec 555 RX with HS85MG on elevator, via a nylon snake, Ripmax SD200 on rudder via a nylon snake and a single Futaba 148 on ilerons via those torque rods. A Jeti 40-3P ESC was the brains behind the motor operation. All of this gear fitted in without any major problems and the model was covered in Profilm (Oracover).

The front of the model was pretty oily, so that was cut off and a replacement nose block was constructed from balsa to act as a former to knock up a plastic cowl from a soda bottle using the trusty old heat gun. I covered this with aluminium tape rather than paint it and for a bit of fun. The Mega motor is mounted using one of Ernie Thorpe's Moorcraft space frame mounts. Some cooling air scoops cut from medicine spoons complete the front end.
Aug 11, 2005, 07:27 PM
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leccyflyer's Avatar
There then followed a long delay before being able to maiden the model. She made a trip to Blackpool and was all set to make her first flight when the flying was closed for the day. So she never go her chance.

She made a trip to the club field, where she met up with Kev Mullarkey's newly completed 1/2 A Webbit. A lunatic little machine with CD Rom motor and 3s1P Lipos driving a Gunther prop and measuring exactly half the size of her bigger sister. Unfortunately the wind strength and direction (straight from the pits) didn't allow a maiden that day either.
Aug 11, 2005, 07:37 PM
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The original intention for the pack was to use a flat pack of 8x1950FAUPS, but Kev Mullarkey had a spare 8 cell pack in a block configuration that ended up too tall for the use that he'd intented it and it fitted the Webbit perfectly. That pack is retained by two velcro seat belts. The hatch is retained by the usual method of servo horn offcuts that are screwed into hardpoints in the fuselage and rotate through 90 degrees to release the hatch. Nice and simple and it means you don;t have to take the wing off.

With the battery retention sorted out finally this week the Webbit took to the air again at Shifnal MAC.

Though it was windy, the wind was straight up and down the field, she tracked straight and took off with no major hiccups. The maiden flight was largely uneventful, lots of power there, excellent climb rate and plenty aerobatic enough for old Leccy- all in all a bit of an anti climax. The gathered Shifnal MAC pilots expressed their disappointment that there wasn't anything exciting in the way of the model being rolled into a ball on her maiden.

Tim shot some in flight pictures of the maiden with his fancy new digital SLR, reporoduced below and Youngleccy shot some video which he will put together when he gets a chance and which I'll upload to my gallery.

It's great to welcome the Webbit back to the fleet.
Aug 12, 2005, 04:02 AM
Single-task at best...
tim hooper's Avatar
Excellent model, Bri!

It's always nice to see an older design brought up to date, and the Webbit really is prime for this now with the ightweight and powerful e-power available these days.

Wouldn't it be nice if someone would re-issue the kit?

Last edited by tim hooper; Aug 12, 2005 at 04:09 AM.
Aug 12, 2005, 04:45 AM
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leccyflyer's Avatar

I'm not sure who actually owns the design now, whether that was one of the MAF designs that were sold on to the glue people at Five Star/FMK or not. It isn't listed on their website as one of theirs.

I've got the half-a Webbit kit half-built here as well. Kev's one goes great on a CD Rom motor and 3s1p 1000mah Kokam Lipos - a bit like my Little Mo, but with wheels.
Aug 12, 2005, 08:00 AM
Speed Demon
GregG's Avatar
Nice story Brian, as usual! I like the new cowl, makes it look almost scale something or other. It's neat to see the older designs fitting right in here. IMHO they make excellent relaxing flyers and are a great way to introduce new folk to our hobby.

BTW, have you got any pictures of that motor mount?
Aug 12, 2005, 08:48 AM
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leccyflyer's Avatar
Hi Greg

I don't have a picture of the mountas installed in the Webbit to hand, but I do have one of the same kind of mount as fitted to my Sabre. The only difference is the front plate, which is drilled for an AXI2820/10 in the one in the picture and for a Mega 22/20 or 22/30 as the one in the Webbit. I've used this sort of mount, made by Moorcraft Enginering ( in several of my models now. They are very strong and lightweight and available in a range of different sizes.
Aug 13, 2005, 04:54 PM
Registered User
The webbit was produced by the MAF when peter owned it for steve webb models hence the webbit, although the MAF owned the rights to it. , we have all the templates etc, but have never made it as we werent sure about having webbys name on the model! and i didnt like the larger one, we did produce the smaller one for a bit under another name, were just relaunching all the kits again and it will be available, we mainly make kits only for the trade now, but ive just started putting some on ebay so people can get hold of them as i dont have time to answer the phone for retail enquirys all the time, emails do get answered!
We called the smaller one the wot-not , as i always thought it looked like a small wot4...., but it wasnt a wot 4 , wotnot 020!,
Not all the kits are listed on the websites as i dont have photos or display models of them, and i hate building models!, i am building a lot of models from the new kits to check the fit of the parts from the new tooling, all at the same time!
Last edited by FiveStar; Aug 13, 2005 at 05:14 PM.
Apr 26, 2010, 04:18 AM
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leccyflyer's Avatar
Le Webbit est mort!

I was trying out some new budget Frsky 2.4ghz radio gear and I'm just thankful that I opted for the Webbit as a test bed, rather than fitting the new system to a new model, because the test revealed a weakness in the RTFM department by the pilot.

The result is a dead Webbit. Having survived limbo and balloon bursting. Having survived being driven over by a car, the venerable Webbit finally succumbed to me not reading the flaming instructions properly and trying to do a proper test. If I had just fitted it and flown, without a range check then I'm sure it would have been perfect.

However I decided a range check was a good idea with a new radio and proceeded to do one. That worked great, with my boy carrying the model about 25 yards away with the controls rock solid as I held down the range check button.

With the range check successfully passed the Webbit was put down on the grass ready for take off, throttle up and she accelerated across the field, pulled into a relatively gentle climb out and then at about 100m distance rolled gently inverted, continued the roll through a complete roll and impacted the flood embankment directly in front of us. All the stick waggling in the world didn't help.

I trudged across the field and started digging out the remains. The model was buried pretty much as far back as the wingseat, the fuselage was in bits, both aerials torn out of the RX and a total wreck, Consensus was that the model just flew out of range and there was no radio contact. Failsafe settings were closed throttle and other surfaces to neutral.

In the inevitable post mortem I sheepishly looked out the instructions from my flight box to read that the range check procedure involves pressing the range check button once to enter range check mode and then pressing it again to exit range check mode, making sure to check for the indicator lights. I hadn't done this and had just held the button down for the whole of the range check. So, my own fault I guess and a lesson learned there.
Apr 26, 2010, 09:03 AM
Time for me to Fly...
Mr. Wiz's Avatar
As the old SNL skit use to say, "I hate it when that happens." I'm guessing, by the look of it, you've got a bent motor too.
Sorry to hear about the loss. The only good thing to come from a crash is the new found justification for building a new plane.
Apr 26, 2010, 09:29 AM
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leccyflyer's Avatar
Luckily the motor seems to be okay.

It rained all yesterday morning and the ground was very soft. I feared the worst when I saw the crumpled cowl emege from under the soil, but the motor mount is barely deformed and probably reusable and, apart from having a coating of soil on the exposed windings at the front of the case the Mega 22/20-3 looks okay, the shaft isn't noticeably bent. I haven't actually run the motor yet though. Got an airframe waiting for it already

I'm not giving up on the Frsky radio system either, I just ordered a pack of micro coaxial cables with the appropriate tiny plugs on, to make up some replacement aerials and will give it another try - in a Zagi or similar.

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