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Sep 03, 2006, 05:42 PM
Lee / RC Enthusiast
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Midwest Livewire Champion MkIII - Rebuild

In the early 80's, my father bought and built a kit from Midwest Products called the "LiveWire Champion MkIII". He didn't like that long name and shortened it to The Yellow Peril. I typically call it the "Champ".

He flew it successfully for a few years. After one pretty serious wreck, the tail was severed. It was shelved away for a few years until I came along and rebuilt the tail. I flew it for many years with an O/S .20 engine. About 4 years ago I threw on an old Master Airscrew brushed motor that 'barely' got it airborne. Due to the weight of the battery and the poor performance (both motor and flight characteristics), I too, shelved it.

My father has been gone for 10 years. I miss him a lot. He got me in this hobby over 20 years ago and every time I'm in my hobby room I feel his presence (and sometimes his instructions!). Something made me look at the ol' Champ in the closet and dust it off. Maybe it was time to install some new electronic goodies and fly her again.

The monokote on the wing had aged badly. It had several holes and tape patches. About a month ago I removed all the covering (took a week), repaired several broken ribs and sheeting areas, and recovered it with TopFlite Monokote Cub Yellow. Looks good!

I then purchaed a new Himax 3618-2300 from Esprit Models (50% off) to replace the brushed motor. After quickly installing it, I decided to give the plane a 'test flight' just to see how well everything was working. Now, one thing I haven't mentioned is a problem with this plane pitching WAY up on take-off. It's pretty awful. Once in the air you need to drop the power way down just to keep her in level flight. Someone at the airfield suggested I tilt the motor down but after looking more closely we realized the tail was pointing down. We drew some lines from the engine thrust line, to the wing mounts, to the tail and sure enough the tail position was wrong. I must have installed the tail incorrectly when I rebuilt it. So, on my recent test flight, the same problem occurred. The plane just wants to nose up.

This is where this thread comes in. I want to pay tribute to my father and rebuild his favorite "Champ"....maybe even a little better. With plans in hand, I removed the tail surfaces (again) and reshaped the elevator angle according to the plans. The photos you see here are the before/after shots of the tail assembly.

When all is done, it should be completely Cub Yellow and electrified. I've got a good feeling about it. There is a big airshow coming up in October that I hope it'll be ready for. Stay tuned for more updates.

-Lee / YarSmytheJr
Last edited by YarSmythe; Mar 05, 2010 at 01:17 PM.
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Sep 04, 2006, 10:26 AM
Where IS it????
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You do keep busy Lee! I’ll be interested in how your Champ turns out. I like Cubs – always have. In fact when this model-building flame was rekindled not too long ago, I found plans for the Starlight on the Internet and started building it – just to get started satisfying the urge to glue stuff together. It is still only about 1/3 complete and put away on a shelf, and would have been a mistake as a first model in many years, and first R/C ever! Instead I received good advice to buy a Slow Stick and make my initial mistakes with that. I took the advice and made lots of them!

Also know what you mean about paying tribute to your father. My Dad was never into building models, but he did love working in his woodworking shop. I have vivid memories of the first times (after much instruction) he let me use some of his power tools! And to that I attribute a life-long joy of “building things”. I have his old band saw out in my shop and use it a lot. For some model-related things, a jig-saw would be better, but I like the band-saw knowing how much he would like it that I’m still using it – after many, many years!

Sep 15, 2006, 12:21 PM
Lee / RC Enthusiast
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Haven't had much free time to get back to work on this. For those of you who might be reading, sorry for the delay.

The tail surfaces are built. I need to finish sanding the edges and then we'll be ready for covering. The fin has lightening holes that are not in the plans. I'm putting Hitec HS-81s in the tail (vs. under the wing w/pushrods). Hopefully this will save some weight. The plane was pretty well balanced before. In fact, the OS .20 was so light that we had to add nearly 4 oz. of lead in the nose. The new geared brushless motor has compensated for that.

Sep 21, 2006, 08:45 PM
Lee / RC Enthusiast
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Rudder/Fin covered

Slowly but surely...we're making progress. More covering to follow.
Sep 24, 2006, 03:27 PM
Lee / RC Enthusiast
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Elevator / Stab covered

Got the elevator and stab covered. Things fit pretty nicely. Time to start working on the fuselage. A lot of sanding to do.
Sep 24, 2006, 04:17 PM
Lee / RC Enthusiast
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Sanded the heck out of the fuselage this afternoon. I'm caughing up yellow dust! While working on the nose I began pondering the idea of installing an outrunner vs. an inline-geared motor. I already own the geared motor but would like to move that over to my Electra. Using Motocalc, it would appear that an E-Flite 15 BL would do the trick. One of my concerns is actually mounting the radial support. There's nothing to screw into. Building up a plate doesn't really sound like a lot of fun.

What interests me in the E-flite 15 BL are: a) the cost (cheaper than an AXI) b) the accessories (comes with mount and prop adapter) c) the ability to turn a large prop more quietly.

Gotta think about this. There's more sanding and filling I can do before I have to get back to the nose. 2 more weeks before the airshow!!
Last edited by YarSmythe; Sep 25, 2006 at 08:38 PM.
Oct 03, 2006, 10:27 AM
Lee / RC Enthusiast
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Down to the wire...

I've got 3 days to complete the plane....time is not on my side. I hate rushing. If there is a way to screw up something terribly by missing one step because of rushing....I'll do it.

I spent most of the evening last night wet-shaping (new word?) the balsa for the tail section. I learned a cool technique when building my Herr Cessna 180 to wet balsa sheet with Windex. It really works! The original plans weren't very helpful to show how the sheeting is actually shaped. I just made up things as I went. Not to brag, but I thought my technique (although very crazy) had good results. (see photos).

I'm still toying with the idea of replacing the geared motor I bought with a .10/.15 size outrunner. BP Hobbies has a .10 sized motor for $48. It seems to work in Motocalc but if I ordered it today it probably wouldn't show up until Friday (too late). I'll still with the geared motor for the airshow and come back to the outrunner idea later.

In a way, I still feel like I'm rushing things to get the plane ready for the airshow. There are some notches/scratches in the nose that could use some attention. Part of me thinks I'll NEVER get the plane to look exactly like I hope so I'm just gonna move forward and patch minor stuff in the future.

Completed so far:
- Servo holes for rudder/elevator
- Fuse rear sheeting
- Fuse primered

To do:
- Build push-rod arms for rudder/elevator
- Obtain new springs for tailwheel control
- Obtain 8" servo extension cables
- Sand/prime/paint fuselage
- Glue on tail
- Install foam wing rails
- Build battery hatch (?? - may not need if used as cooling hole)
- Wing decals

Can it be done???
Oct 04, 2006, 09:22 AM
Lee / RC Enthusiast
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Houston....we have Yellow!

First coats of yellow. Not very pretty right now. I've got some more sanding and patching to do.

Oct 05, 2006, 03:11 PM
Lee / RC Enthusiast
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After spraying the first coat of paint on yesterday, I noticed this morning it looked kinda 'milky'. After sanding it for a while, it seemed to go away. I layed another coat of yellow on the tail this morning and ran out. So, I put the fuselage away to dry until I got more paint.

After returning from the hobby shop this afternoon I noticed the milky residue again. I pulled out some 600 sandpaper and began smoothing out everything for another coat. Out of nowhere, I see this bubble in the paint. I popped it and then all hell broke loose. What obviously is a paint problem has developed into one big massive peeling of all the paint I put on. The existing paint applied by my father over 20 years ago is still there...but the primer and yellow paint is coming right off. What the hell??!!

I sprayed 3 coats of primer and waited 24 hours before sanding and painting. I sprayed 2 coats of yellow and waited 24 hours before sanding and painting. Where is the problem?

So...before I scream and throw this across the room...I'm going to just stop playing with this anymore and try to move onto the airshow without it.

I am REALLY bummed about this....
Oct 06, 2006, 06:46 PM
Time wounds all heels.
old fuel contaminated balsa
Oct 06, 2006, 10:10 PM
Lee / RC Enthusiast
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That's the first time I heard that one. Most people simply suggested it was teh "Top Flite" paint. My thought is 'humidity'. Both the primer and yellow paint are adhering well together...but feel rubbery. I've scraped/peeled off most of the tail but the front area is giving me more trouble. As soon as I can get it ALL off, I'll probably end up using Monokote.

Oct 08, 2006, 10:20 PM
Lee / RC Enthusiast
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I brought the fuselage with me to BEST 2006 over the weekend. Many people were also confused on how the paint failed. I probably spent 2 hours using a #11 knife blade chipping away at the new (and old) paint. Maybe 20% has been removed. There is a long way to go.

In a way, it's a mixed blessing. I knew I was rushing things a bit. This is really going to slow me down and focus on getting it 'right'. Keith Sparks suggested a way I could mount an outrunner on the nose. With that, I'll want to go ahead and seal off the hole where the fuel tank used to sit and make it look a little nicer. In the end, I should be left with something I'll be proud to show off.

The process of removing the old paint should take 2 weeks (of spare time). After that, I'll have to fill in all the holes/damage I've made...and then sand it AGAIN.

Check back in a couple of weeks for my progress update.
Oct 22, 2006, 10:26 AM
Lee / RC Enthusiast
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Paint removal

Wooaa....I'm flying high on paint thinner!!

I've been taking baby steps on getting the paint off the fuselage. It has been a nightmare. The main problem is that all of the paint isn't coming off as smoothly as some. The thinner is helping...but after 10-15 minutes of it, I've got to get away and let the balsa dry. Some places are just not coming off at all. Another issue is that the balsa is stained yellow. In some places, it's a soft yellow that the monokote should cover. But there are some spots that are still a deep yellow that will show through.

The engine compartment is a mess. My father layered several coats of paint to protect it from fuel. I've been working on it for the past few days and still can't tackle some of the hard spots. The next idea is to simply cover this area with foam or balsa sheeting to shape the canopy.

I've gotta take another break before I start rushing things again. I also need some oxygen. <sigh>

sidenote: ....and the fuselage looked SO GOOD when it was primed!! Why did this have to happen!!??
Oct 23, 2006, 03:38 PM
Lee / RC Enthusiast
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Motor and mount

I received the new BP motor for the plane last week. Can't beat the price for $47 on a motor that supposed to have as much power as a .20 size glow engine.

Motocalc shows:
- 594 sq. in. wing
- 42.2 oz. RTF weight
- APC 10x5 E
- Polyquest 3500 3S LiPo battery
- 21 amps WOT, 8 amps cruising
- 219.8 Input Watts, 174.4 Output Watts
- 66.2 Watts per pound
- 79.4% Eff.
- 37.3 oz. Thrust
- 44.2 oz. Pitch Speed
- 24mph cruising speed

In a'll provide enough power.

I believe I have the method of mounting the motor to the nose. It's a bit tricky and it'll require me to build up the canopy a certain way so the motor wires can be routed properly. I'm a "little" concerned with airflow over the speed controller. It won't have any direct air blowing over it as it will be under the wing behind the first former. We'll just have to wait until we get there. I can't imagine burning up a speed controller on a slow little plane like this.

Oct 30, 2006, 09:58 PM
Lee / RC Enthusiast
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Motor Mount

Some slow progress being made to the motor mount. The original plans call for two glow engine placements. The best looking of the two is mounting the engine underneath the cowl upside down. However, my father took the approach to put the motor rightside up with the fuel tank right behind it.....not a very pretty image.

So, my decision is to go back to the original plan and cover the top portion of the cowl with sheeting and a nose shaped from a balsa block. The images attached show the progress I've made so far and what part of it might look like when I'm done.

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