Learning to Build: Mountain Models Dandy - RC Groups
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Jan 27, 2007, 11:50 AM
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Learning to Build: Mountain Models Dandy

Wow, its been an interesting experience these past few weeks since I've jumped feet first into this hobby. This is Phase 2 of a larger, overall project as I try to increase my knowledge of aircraft design. I'm currently learning how to fly with an EasyStar which has been a lot of fun but with a few growing pains.

Unfortunately, I cannot really recall or give credit to anyone in particular as to what made me choose the Dandy other than Ed (AEAJR) whose detailed advice to beginners was very helpful in my attempts to get up to speed. The main thing I wanted was a balsa build with a little bit of complexity, i.e., I wanted to build wings. So that's why I passed over some other popular Mountain Models with foam wings.

I wanted to get this done before a certain hard deadline at the end of the month. I don't think I'm going to make it, but that's OK (I'm not going to ruin the surprise yet, but if you read some of my other posts, you might figure it out.) I may have made it, but I placed my order the day before Mountain Models went on a week long vacation so it didn't ship until early January. When it did arrive, it was met with the customary eye roll of Mrs. Controlled Fall who is concerned about the amount of time I spend in the bunker, er, I mean basement.
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Jan 27, 2007, 12:04 PM
Come fly with us in Henryetta
You have picked a plane that is not only an easy ( and fast) build, but a great flier too! And there are plenty of people here that have built one or more of them. So help is only a post away!
Good luck and have fun.
Jan 27, 2007, 12:06 PM
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Paralysis by Analysis

As I got started I kind of went into a perfectionist, productivity-killing research mode. That, above all things cited above, has delayed my completion. Seasoned modelers probably take for granted making hinges and sanding things, but this is new to me. The instructions are not bad, but I have found it necessary to look at older build logs to ensure I'm not messing up my Dandy.

Paul Johnson's Airfield Models.com was invaluable in helping me get started, but what I really wanted were video examples of how to sand. I had seen where JWarren had posted an excellent tutorial on soldering, but in the end I just needed to roll up my sleeves and get started.

Other Dandy Builds "consulted:"
EZonemag article
BrunswickOH's build
Park-n-fly's build
Vinnie's site

I've got some initial pictures to post, but I just realized that Mrs. Controlled Fall and the little Controlled Fall are both napping so I'm going to sneak out and sneak in a run while the weather is nice! More later!
Jan 27, 2007, 09:24 PM
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Alright, my computer did not like being left unattended with Photoshop running, it crashed and took forever to recover, but I've got a few minutes so now back to the build.

I set up a work station where I normally work on my plastic kits and inspected the parts. I was struck by how light and flimsy and the balsa felt. I also learned that "Laser Cut" means "cut." The parts simply pop out without any significant cutting! That aspect made things easier than expected but not easy. I sanded the nubs with my homemade sand blocks (discarded 2x4 ends with 3M 180 grit bonded with 3M77 spray adhesive). I was concerned about some occasional "fuzz" generation, but I got over it.

I found the first few steps puzzling. There seemed to be some unnecessary parts to glue onto the stabilizer and rudder. I didn't mind as it gave me some good training for handling thin CA for the first time. I wore plastic gloves as I had read that it was quite easy to glue one's self to the plane.

These tip pieces came from a thicker sheet of balsa so I began to understand why I'd be sanding from time to time to get everything consistent. When it came to sanding the bevel, I wasn't exactly sure what that meant so I consulted the other builds.
Jan 28, 2007, 04:16 PM
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Paralysis by Analyis Pt II--Hinges

Here's another example of how simple instruction, "attach the rudder and elevator to the stabilizers using tape as a hinge" sends me off to a wild goose chase. I didn't know that that was supposed to look like so I did some looking around.

This was a good link, but it doesn't really start to get clear until post 15 and 16 with a final clarification at #24. It also lead me to this link which is an interesting idea I may incorporate later.

So I sanded a 45 degree bevel from top to bottom, placed my stabilizer upside down onto the sticky side of the tape, and then point the pointy edge of the bevel on the tape and slowly lowered the rest of the elevator on it with tape opposite bevel. Hopefully the pictures clarify what I did.

So if anyone is following this...how did I do?

And yes, the paint job is hideous. I used some blue spray paint from my plastic models. I didn't think about it at the time, but I think it may be as old as 15 years. I won't be using it on the fuse and am considering using covering instead.

After taking the picture, I realized that my bevel isn't all that great...
Jan 28, 2007, 04:24 PM
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Hooray, onto the second page! Wings!

Here's the step that intimidates me the most. However, the high quality "laser cut" made it easier than expected as I didn't even need a knife to remove the parts. I wasn't sure what "Flow a bit of thin CA..." meant, but once again, it figured itself out as I actually started to do it.

Pre-assembly was a good idea as it helped me visually ensure that I did not make the "...two wings of one side, i.e., two right wings. This is a bad thing!" mistake.

I only finished one wing that night as I ran into "technical difficulties" which I will describe below...
Jan 28, 2007, 04:27 PM
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I find that solite or solarfilm makes for a lot nicer surface covering even on the solid balsa pieces of the two Dandy Sports that I have buildt. You can also use the covering as hinge tape but I prefer CA hinges over tape or covering hinges it is just a bit harder to cut the slots on these solid balsa pieces.
Jan 28, 2007, 04:47 PM
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Wow! That really does happen!

You think to yourself, "That will never happen to me." After all, glue oneself to your plane? Come on.

Now I knew this stuff was low viscosity, runny stuff.

I was wearing gloves...mostly...

While I was attaching the top spar to the vertical spar, I took my glove off to make a little adjustment. As I was beginning to "let go," I felt the strange and pleasantly warm exotherm of a bonding reaction. When I lifted my hand, the wing came with it. I was stuck and stuck good. The surface area of contact was about the size of a pencil eraser. Funny, my finger was actually an inch away from the bonding point. I guess it wicked over and got me like The Blob.

If I pulled myself off it was going to leave some serious tissue behind. No need to put my name and phone number on this plane as there appears to be a nice DNA sample to verify my ownership

I walked upstairs with my tail between my legs and asked my wife for some nail polish remover. It was tedious work with q-tip,and after 20 minutes I was still firmly attached. Then I thought about how I had gotten stuck. I figure if the glue could wick, so could the acetone in my wife's nail polish remover. I just poured it on the spar and waited a few seconds. Sure enough I slowly worked myself free. Minimal skin loss too! Bonus!

Had I been single, I'm not sure how I would have handled this. I don't think I could have driven to the store with that thing on my hand. And the store would have never, ever forgotten. The surveillance film surely would end up on youtube. For the first time this week, I'm glad I'm married

And you know what five minutes later, I did it again!
Jan 28, 2007, 04:58 PM
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Completing the wings

The second wing proceeded with minimal drama. I kind of wished I had taken a closer look at the fit of the spars before hand as this one did not fit together as well as the first wing. It will need some significant sanding in order to have a smooth airfoil. Perhaps if I had sanded the slots with a fine tool before hand, I would have had a better fit. I also think I have a crooked rib #1 which may have placed a little bit of compression and tension in some of the spars. I guess I'll see if it really is crooked when I get to attach them to a finished fuselage.

I had a little trouble figuring out exactly how to attach the wingtips. After consulting the other builds I am fairly certain I got it right. Hopefully its evident in the picture below.

I also decided its a bad idea to share the workspace with other projects. I had been building a model of the Yorktown I bought in the Charleston giftshop when I was kid. Moving the stuff around, working on one project in parallel while the other dried sounded good in theory, but I'll try not to do this in the future.

I'm having a lot of fun with this. I think this is going to be a good build. Now I need to order my hardware. More later!
Jan 28, 2007, 07:03 PM
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Glad to see a new builder out there. Don't feel bad about the glue accident. It's been 20 years since I started, and I still do it. I can remember one time spilling half a bottle on my thigh and having to pick cotton shorts material out of my leg hair for two months.

That Dandy is, indeed, a nice plane. It was my regular flyer for a couple of years until I tore the landing gear out one time too many (I'm better at building than flying). Enjoy!

Balsa builds better...

Tim in Nashville, TN
Jan 30, 2007, 11:03 PM
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What's a doubler?

My newbieness keeps manifesting itself in such funny little ways. As I begin the fuselage I'm told to glue the doublers to the side of the fuselage. Work stops, I shuffle over to the computer and do a google search for balsa doublers.

Curiously enough, I see a Mountain Models link in my Top 10. Its for the Flashback.pdf. Not only does it show me what a doubler is, its just full of great information about model making! I was so tickled I printed it out and am using it as a complimentary reference. The diagrams and tips are really instructive.

When I got back to my Dandy, I could see that the picture provided showed the doublers already in place. So below I show one side done, and the doublers for the other side ready for attachment.

During this step I also learned why t-pins are a good idea. I kept thinking, "Man I wish I could keep this thing still while I glue it." Wanted to stop at the hobby shop on the way home to pick up a box of pins, but Northern Virginia traffic did not cooperate.

Wes and Tim, Thanks for the encouragement!
Duetto, Yep I'm going to cover this when that time comes!
Jan 31, 2007, 01:48 AM
Suspended Account
you found a great source in Paul Johnson. great guy and super helpful.

one question......how do you build with gloves on your hands? for some reason i gotta feel the wood against my finger tips. besides that, gluing yourself to your plane is one of those things that ....just happen.
BTW, you picked a good flyer to start with. it'll take a pretty good beating but is very fixable. i cracked mine in half and was still able to rebuild and fly again.
Jan 31, 2007, 01:08 PM
The Evil Twin
A number of years ago my brother gave me a Dandy Sport to encourage me to get back into RC planes. I was disappointed. I was so excited to be building again but I finished it in one day! Where was the challenge in that?!? Of course I crashed it on the first flight so I got to play with CA again... and again... and, oh you know what I mean.

When I worked at Mountain Models I often got "attached" to a project. It was common to see me walking around with spar or a tail assembly or sometimes an entire airplane stuck to the tip of one of my fingers. Needless to say, I became proficient in the art of detachment.

Enjoy the build, looks like you're doing fine. If a question comes up, there are many here who can help.


Feb 01, 2007, 08:13 AM
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I've ordered the hardware which might be here by the weekend.

Sgtdirt, I know what you mean about feeling the work. I've been using plastic "throw-away" gloves from Lowe's. I only wear one on my left hand while I'm applying the glue as I want my right "glue hand" to have as much control as possible of the bottle. I take that glove off after the glue has set...but sometimes too soon as I found out above If you look closely in the background of the "Wings are done" picture you can see my hand protection resting on some paint jars.

Thanks Matthew, I'm having a lot of fun with this...I'm almost afraid to fly it when I get done! And I'm already thinking about what to build next...
Feb 01, 2007, 09:09 AM
Registered User
I have found that if you "peel" your finger off the plane, you can minimize the tissue loss.

I recently started using some pipettes I found at the LHS to pick up small amounts of the thin CA. It lets me control where I put the CA. These are the pipettes with a bulb at the end, not the old kind where you use your mouth. That could be seriously dangerous using those.


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