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Joe Huntley
Page 1 Questions 1-24, click on links or browse question page.
Question 1 Best glue for hardwood? Question 13 Ziroli At-6 silkspan and dope?
Question 2 Rivet how to? Question 14 Gullow's B-24 electric?
Question 3 Enclosed muffler for ST 75? Question 15 Best 1/6 scale Mustang kit?
Question 4 P-38 fowler flaps? Question 16 Plans for newer warbirds?
Question 5 Best Corsair plans? Question 17 Polyurethane glassing?
Question 6 P-51 canopy and slider installation? Question 18 Giant Scale Planes P-47 engine cooling?
Question 7 Supplier for large bomber kits? Question 19 Scratch building with foam?
Question 8 P-38 kits or plans? Question 20 70" Ziroli P-47 advice?
Question 9 Dreft fiberglassing technique? Question 21 Pilot figure sizing?
Question 10 Top Flite P-39 covering? Question 22 Correct hinges?
Question 11 Fuselage crutch? Question 23 Ziroli Hellcat good first warbird project?
Question 12 Spitfire removable canopy? Question 24 B-17 display model advice?

Question 1: "Joe what is the best glue for hardwoods?"

Joe: "Personal preference but I like Elmers Probond Polyurethane as it is thin and soaks into the pores of the wood then because it expands will wick into the pores and hold better. A lot of furniture and cabinet makers use it for that reason that's why I started using it." (Joe also say's to be sure and use a thin coat (read directions) or it could foam and become brittle as happened to Gary Webb when his firewall gave way to vibrations. If you are not comfortable using this on your firewall substitute epoxy.)

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Question 2: "What method and materials do you recommend to use to add rivets and panel lines to the .60 size Top flight P-47? Do you think that it would be to heavy to fiberglass it?"

Joe: "Chris Top Flight Kits are usually on the heavy side as they design them to hold up to new fliers. At .60 size they don't need glassed. My rule of thumb is if the wingspan is 80" or more then I glass the plane. For Rivets I would use Top Flight template TOPR2187 to use for marking panel lines and rivets. The template has several scales on it and rivet marks are set at proper distance from panel line. I would get their rivet marking pen or super fine Sharpie to just draw the rivets and panel lines on a plane of that size then seal from the fuel with a light fuel proof clear coat"

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Question 3: "I am going to use a Super Tiger .75 so I can keep it in the cowl. I would like to try to take the topflight in cowl muffler and run pipes out where the exhaust should come out on the real plane. I was thinking about a small flex pipe made into a “Y” to go to both sides maybe. Do you have any good pointers?"

Joe: "I think the cowl will be a little tight to do very much. If you have any room I would use a pitts type muffler and run the flex tube or get those rubber exhaust extensions and use them."

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Question 4: "Hello Joe, I'm in the process of building a Ziroli P38 and I would like to install Fowler Flaps. Can you please help me out? Regards Greg."

Joe: "That is a good question, one that I see asked a lot. The hard part is it is a visual thing to really understand, so with that here is a link which I feel will explain better than I could. Fowler flaps slide backwards an down adding more wing area for lift. What you need to basically do is to build a slide as shown on that website and use either pneumatic pistons or a heavy duty servo to move the flaps rearward and the slots will take care of the rest. Model Airplane News puts out a
book called Model Airplane How-to's which has an excellent 3 page article on building fowler flaps with diagrams and plans for them. It costs $14 bucks well worth the money as they have a ton of articles. If this doesn't help Contact me and I will see what I can do to explain this better.

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Question 5: "Dear Joe, I want to build a Corsair from scratch but unfortunately I can’t find any construction plans for it. Can u help me locate plans. take care, Furqan Bucha"

Joe: "Hi Furgan the best place to get Corsair or most warbirds would be from Nick Ziroli. They are easy to build and fly very well. His URL is just enter the site and click on catalog. Check out his gallery also. He has 2 galleries finished planes and construction gallery which helps a lot if you have any questions you can just look at the pics. Also his forum is great most use it exclusively for questions about his planes but occasionally people ask questions on other planes there."

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Question 6: "Dear Sir, Do to much research an tech info from great articles written by many helpful people in scale RC I have been able to produce some fairly descent results with my on scale projects. Thank you all !!!. I am currently working on a long awaited giant P-51 by Top Flight, and in all my surfing and research I have never come upon much info on cockpits and especially canopies. I am in drastic need of some good info on the installation and gluing of the basic plastic bubble and how to make it look right. I would dearly like it to be a slider but I realize I might be a bit over my head for this project. Keep that good stuff coming Thanks, Don Beason"

Joe: "That's a good question. Many a plane will have a lot of time spent constructing the plane and then the canopy installation blows the entire thing. Nothing looks worse than a badly mounted canopy. The problem here is there is as many ways to mount a canopy as there is to finish the plane. I will cover 2 ways here that I use that work well for me. Another thing is to make sure you have plenty of reference handy. I found this site loaded with books people have scanned for downloading from the squadron signal in action series to the now defunct Lockon Series ( tons better than squadron signal) and the Aero Detail which is right up there with Lock on.

1: This is the simplest method I use. To trim the canopy I like to run the bottom back and forth across sandpaper until the bottom flange starts to fall off then I just pop it off. I then run masking tape along the lines that is the bottom of the actual canopy. Then I completely tape off the outside of the canopy so it doesn't get scratched using low tack tape. Then using sharp scissors cut off the excess plastic. I then take some 220 grit sandpaper and slide the edges of the canopy along it to even out my cut. Now you want to get out your reference material and test fit your canopy. Once satisfied, look at your reference material to see how the canopy framework is supposed to be on the lower part of the canopy. I get a lot of cool plastic stuff from local craft and hobby shops called "Plastruct" its homepage is You can get every shape of plastic you could ever need for pennies through this place. You can use the stuff for your canopies, cockpit interiors, scale formers etc inside your flaps, creating details like guns etc etc etc. the uses are endless. After you create the framework around the base of your canopy I use Micro small panhead screws like is used for eyeglasses etc. I run a thin bead of clear silicone on the inside of bottom edge of the canopy to help seal everything and keepdust and dirt from getting inside, then I go around the bottom edge screwing it on with the micro screws in scale locations where the canopy frame rivets normally are. I don't normally have trouble with silicone seeping out as I use only a bare minimum just to help seal everything. After I have the screws in place I fill the slots so that when I am done and spot paint the frame with my airbrush the screws appear as rivets of the canopy frame and not a screwed on canopy.

2: I follow the above steps but do not use silicone or screws to hold the canopy on. What I do is BEFORE I paint the plane. I fit the canopy and then trace around the bottom edge with a pencil leaving an outline on the plane. Then I look at my research material and find out how my canopy slides open. Then I get some square brass or Plastruct tubing and cut a slot along the entire length. Now there is various things you can use to run inside this slot for holding your canopy the first is model railroad track. This will slide nicely in the slot and when attached to the inside of your canopy. The other way I like to do it is to take a piece of flat Plastruct or flat brass and drill a small enough hole you can thread a Ball joint ball into it. I then back it out add some thick ca around the hole and screw it back in. then after everything is cured I cut off the excess thread sticking out the back. I then glue this to the inside of the canopy with silicone. I then pop this into the slotted channel and set it in place on the plane. I then draw along the bottom of the channel, take the channel off the canopy line it up over the line on the plane and trace around it. Then cut out the sheeting and slot any formers so the channel will fit flush with your sheeting. Once it fits just glue it in place, paint your plane and pop your canopy on. One thing I forgot to mention is that you must either cut a wider slot in the channel if your using train track or drill a hole big enough to pop your ball socket into. This way you have a way to take your canopy on and off for maintenance. Joe"

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Question 7: "my name is Stephen Thomas from Cairns Australia. It is very difficult to find a supplier for large scale bomber kits particularly the b17 and the b25. Can you help, regards Stephen"

Joe: "Hi Steven. For your B-25 I would suggest Nick Ziroli he has a nice 101" version or a 118" version and like all his planes flies great. His Website is As for Big B-17, B-29, B-24 and a bunch others goto Don Smith his B-17 has like a 148" ws and I think 157" on the B-29 his url is For Kits there are several the two that sell nice full kits for those plans that I listed previously are Precision Cut Kits and All-American Kit Cutters For Short Kits i.e. all the parts you would normally have to hand cut yourself but you supply your own sheeting, stringers and spars Jesse at Lazer-Works does a great job at a lot less cost than the aforementioned. I know he has the B-25 of nick Ziroli and plans to do the Don Smith planes but hasn't gotten to them yet. Joe"

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Question 8: "Hi Joe, enjoyed the website on the variety of P-38`s these guys are building and flying! I haven't been into studying RC for ten now, but the bug is back,and I would like to know if there's a site that directs one to buying P-38 Kits or has the plans! I`m at least interested in purchasing the plans,for I have skills as a carpenter and handyman! Thanks for you time Joe! Mark"

Joe: "Hi Mark Myself I am partial to Nick Zirolis planes. Every one I have built has been easy to build, strong, and the plans were well drawn and easy to read. You can see pics of planes built by his customers on his website at If you click on the gallery link and he has it split up into finished planes and planes in construction lots of good close-ups to view while you are building. He also has a forum there where his customers come to ask questions and help each other on building his planes, mods needed for various retracts or other stuff, and how the planes performed. One guy even has a webpage on his Ziroli P-38 construction with tons of close-ups, wiring diagram he made for electronics installation, and I also believe a diagram for the pneumatic routing. His website is You cant go wrong with all these resources for your construction. Also if you look at the website pics a good portion of the planes are Ziroli planes with some Yellow aircraft P-38's. Yellow are supposed to be pretty nice planes too they just a little higher priced as they have a lot of work done and are mainly composite. Joe"

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Question 9:" Hey Joe, First of all I would like to say, I am a big fan. I really enjoy your comments on forums and your website. I have a question about fiberglassing. On your website about glassing techniques, you refer to using "Dreft" Lacquer Based Polyurethane sanding sealer first, then "Dreft" Lacquer Based polyurethane w/ cloth. I was wondering, is that product the same as "Dreft" Clear Wood Finish Brushing Lacquer? I could not find the exact name as described in your article. I did find Minwax fast drying Polyurethane next to it. Could you please help me here with the exact name. Thank you very much! Mark Guidry Louisiana"

Joe: "Hi Mark Thanks I appreciate it glad people can use them. Yes the deft clear wood finish brushing lacquer is the stuff I use its the same thing. Actually any lacquer based polyurethane will work but I know how the results with the deft brand is. Minwax will also work if you want to use it. Joe"

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Question 10: "Joe, I am building a Top Flite P-39 and I would like to cover the plane with something other then mono. What I to know is, if there is a good fabric covering that will cover it and enable me to paint the plane in the colors I want. The reason being I just don't care for the plastic look the mono coverings give a plane. Any help would be great! "

Joe: "Hi Jim I am building one of them Myself for my Laser cutter buddy. I plan on sheeting mine and using .5 oz glass on it. The fuse and tail as you know are fully sheeted so adding a small piece or two of sheeting to the wings wont be adding a lot of weight. If you go with cloth covering you would have to fill the weave anyway or in my opinion would look just as bad or worse than the monocote But if you really want to use cloth I would suggest Solartex that is the best I have found and is Iron on and already primed. "

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Question 11: "Hey Joe,I'm going to start building a Vailly Typhoon. How would I go about building a crutch for the fuse assy.? I built many planes, but never had to build a crutch.. I know it's made to hold the fuse for some of the assy. Thanks much Frank Gelatka "

Joe: "Hi Frank the crutch method of building a fuse is by far the easiest and the best. Since you have never built this way before then you haven't built a Nick Ziroli Plane so this will inform you on both.

The first thing you will need to do is to print a copy of your plans out at kinkos to build on. Then I would suggest asking them if they could print you a mirror image of the fuse sheet. The reason I say this is because unlike Ziroli, Vailley only shows 1/2 of the top view and you need a full top view.

Next you will see the placement of the crutch on the top view. Pin the crutch sides to the plans then double check the alignment. Then in the very rear you will see there is a balsa piece that joins the rear section cut and sand to shape then glue the piece in place.

Here is the difference between Ziroli and Vailley. Ziroli uses crossmembers that the formers sit on and are placed across the crutch centered on the former. With Vailley Put these cross members IN FRONT of the fuse former. After you get all crossmembers glued to the crutch sides go ahead and take it off the board. You then make some small stands to hold the crutch level off your table about 6" or so. Usually on a plane that size 5 or 6 will work. You then slide the fuse formers onto the crutch and drop them down into place but don't glue them yet. After you have all formers in place and they butt up to the crossmembers make sure that your crutch is laying flat on your braces. I do this by running masking tape across the top of the crutch and taping it to the braces. Then use a square and square the Formers up to the crutch and glue in place. You then add stringers to the formers alternating sides and top and bottom which helps to make sure that the fuse has as little stress as possible making it want to twist slightly when you untape it. After the stringers are in place I like to sheet the top half while it is still taped to the braces staring at the crutchline and working to the top. What this does is makes sure your fuse will stay straight and still allows you room to work in the interior. Look at my website at look at the Stuka construction of the fuse and the B-25 construction of the fuse both use this same method and in the Stuka I explain how to make the braces. There are tons of pics so you shouldn't get lost."

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Question 12: "Quick question for you. What would be the best way of modding up a quickly removable canopy on my 70" wingspan spit? I'd like to put all the switches and radio gear under the canopy but need a durable and quick way of getting to them. Thanks in advance, Peter"

Joe: "what I would do is to make the canopy and board removable and hide everything in there or you can hide it inside the fuse where the wing bolts on and not worry about the removable canopy then make something like the antenna post attached to the switch so when you push down on the post it will turn your switch on then when it lands pull up on the antenna post and it turns it off. Otherwise since it is an arf you would have to do a lot of cutting and hacking to make the canopy removable. If you still would rather do it that way email me and I will try to explain how would be one way to do it. Joe "

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Question 13: "Joe, If I ever finish the plane on the board I plan on starting a Ziroli AT-6 from a Precision Cut Kit. I have worked with Dope in the past, and had thought of covering with silkspan and dope instead of glass. Silkspan does a good job of hiding the grain. Do you see any problems with that idea?? Thanks, Joe "

Joe: "Hi Joe. No I don't really see any problems with that. But the reason for glassing is not just to cover the grain for painting but is also to add strength to the larger planes. Remember the larger the plane the more stress on the framework. Now some people say that it is better to be safe with these larger planes because if something fails they could kill someone, my theory on that is if you get hit with a large plane or small plane your gonna be just as dead if hit in the right spot. That being said there is more stress and for maybe 10 bucks more knowing dope is fairly expensive for the amount you would need. I would just go with the polyurethane method which I explain in detail and all the pros and cons of various glassing methods on my website. You can get a quart of polyurethane for 8 bucks abt what you would spend on the dope if not more. It goes on the same as the dope does so why not go ahead and add some extra strength. The dope wont add any strength. My opinion better safe than possibly sorry. Joe"

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Question 14: " dear Joe I am looking for a reference to convert a guillows b24 model of balsa into a electric rc any reference seen this done to a b17, also would like to find a p-40 in a 36inch wing span any reference preferable in gas"

Joe: "Michael I don't know anything about Electric's but I have done some research as I wanted to try an electric one day for fun. I found this site a while back and it is a wealth of info with tons of links you might start there and maybe contact the person who put up the site. A couple of other sites you might find helpful are , , and this last one also has a link to an online electric ezine. I am sure you could find plenty of articles and help through them sites. As for the P-40 I would suggest looking through RCM plans and some others and just reduce the plans and adjust the wood sizes. Joe "

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Question 15: "I HAVE built a Pica 1/12 Mustang and loved the construction, the way the wing builds off the main spar is awesome. No wing joining. Which 1/6 mustang do you think is better? The pica kit is only 20.00 more than the topflight, and has a semi symmetrical wing . I DON'T plan on glassing the plane or using retracts. Thanks."

Joe: "Well Dan I haven't done many kits so will try the best I can as I usually only scratch build from plans by the big designers like Ziroli, Vailley, smith etc. I have seen a friend doing a PICA 1/6 scale spit and personally I didn't care for the construction method used on it as you made a rough frame filled it with balsa blocks and carved them to shape. To me that adds a lot of weight and is a pain to work with. On the other hand Top Flight I have built and I personally don't care for their methods either as they overcomplicate their construction and are also heavy. That being said I have heard both companies planes fly well. If I had to choose 1 over the other I would choose the Ziroli 1/6th scale P-51 hehehe but no on the choices you offered I would choose the Top Flight as I am not a big fan of carving. Also if I was going to do a 1/6th scale kit I would still go by my rule of thumb from an earlier post and that is if the WS is 80" or more it needs glassed. Joe."

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Question 16: "Where can I find plans for Balsa Warbirds on sale? Can you send me some links... particularly Viet Nam and newer era models? Thanks, Marla "

Joe: "Hi Marla there are several sites that have warbird plans. Finding vietnam and newer warbirds is few for prop driven as most seem to go jets for newer ones but there are a few and I will list them. The first I would mention Would be Nick Ziroli he has C-47, A1 Skyraider (Sandy), Panther Jet, Corsair (I think there were a few of them still flying in early part vietnam but I may be wrong) The second would be Jerry Bates he has C-46 Commando, L6 Grasshopper (dunno if it from that late era either) and the third Dan Palmer he has several C-130, Fairchild C-123 Provider, F9F-8 Grumman Cougar, OV-10 Bronco and some others. Those are the main ones I would look into. If you are looking for Jets I would check out Yellow Aircraft , or Phil Avonds Joe"

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Question 17: "I am about ready to start glassing my Long-EZ and would like to find your article on using Polyurethane. Can you send it or direct me to it? "

Joe: "Hi John You can find my article on my website at it is under the link "Scale and Construction Help" and there are several other articles on there that will help you too. Joe "

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Question 18: "Hi Joe: I have a Giant Scale Planes P-47 (71" wingspan) powered by a Saito 1.80 engine. I installed a TopFlite simulated radial engine plate with a generous hole cut out in front of the inverted [Saito] cylinder. I have an open ring about 1/2" wide all around the back of the cowl, and adjusted the cowl flaps to an open position for more cooling. On its third flight the engine quit on final approach. We are guessing that the engine might have gotten too hot. Question: what is the minimum area needed to cut into the cowl for adequate engine cooling without destroying the aesthetic lines of the cowl? Would 20% or greater fuel help? (using 15% now). Also,.am flying at 5000' field elevation. Thanks, Dave Gianakos "

Joe: "Well Dave I am not up on the needs of the Saito and other smaller engines so I couldn't tell you about the nitro needed. When I flew glow engines I only used 10% nitro and never had a problem. The higher nitro content was always for heli's, cars and high performance racing engines and not needed for a standard glow engine. By running 20% Nitro you would be making the engine run hotter not cooler. As for the opening that again is not standard as different engines have different cooling needs. The fins on the head help cool the engine so you need the air to go over these efficiently to keep the engine cool. What I have done and seen several people do is the radial cylinders directly in front of your engine remove them. It looks nice and scale but when flying you cant tell it and unless you are up close you'll not see it all that well. By removing the cylinder directly in front of your engine you will get a direct flow of air over your cylinder head cooling it down. The other thing is, that I am not sure of how the radial kit you got is constructed but I have seen a few that are vacuum formed and the builder didn't remove the plastic between the cylinder heads they just painted it black to simulate the dark inside of the cowl. If you have done it this way remove all the plastic between the cylinders that way it will look more realistic and allow a ton of air to flow inside the cowl. You may want to also post in the forums on the engine topic and see if anyone else has had the same problems maybe it has something to do with the engine that the manufacturer has covered. Better to ask and get several opinions in case it is a manufacture problem someone knows about, than chance ruining an engine. Joe"

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Question 19: "Joe, I'm a scale junkie and interested in scratch building my first giant scale (80"+ wingspan) warbird, but don't have the time to cut ribs, bulkheads and formers from ply and balsa. Do you have any experience cutting wings and fuselages from foam? I do have experience with 3D animation and CAD drawing, but wanted to know about the building properties of foam and cutting techniques. I'm figuring on glassing the fuse and wing surface while building-up the control surfaces. Strength vs. weight (pink, blue, white foam) issues? Thanks, Craig Tinder Boise, Idaho "

Joe: "Hi Craig. You got to ask a question where you will get a 50/50 of people with different views. Here is my suggestion from my personal experiences. First and foremost foam hates me it has it in for me it wants to destroy me thus I don't use it other than for making plugs for molds. Now I will do my best to explain my reasoning on this for you and others because it would do you no good to follow me blindly because I say it isn't made for Scale warbird use.

First most Aerobatic planes use foam cores for their wings which works fine as they just have wingtubes and boxes for their servos in them and some LG hardwood along with a light wing loading. Now when you get into warbirds you have wing tubes sometimes plus retracts plus hidden control linkages plus flaps of all different kinds plus wires for lights if you use them etc etc etc. all that means you have to have room in the wings to work and to build. If you use foam cores you will be chopping out a good portion of the foam which will weaken the wing especially with the high wing loadings. For a scale warbird your best bet would be to frame your wing up. Now I understand about time to cut out that's why I use and have him cut me a short kit which is all the parts you would have to cut out. Most kits run between $125 and $150 so very affordable and less hassle. I would suggest looking into getting a short kit cut from a kit cutter and I mention Jesse as he is the most reasonable out there. You will enjoy your scale project better with a framed up wing rather than the headaches of a foam core wing on a scale warbird. Joe "

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Question 20: "Hi, good morning to all.... I'm an Italian modeller, so excuse me about my English. Did you have build a Ziroli p 47 razorback of 70 inch?I'm looking for some photo that can help me in the construction of this my first scale plane (and the first also with retract). I need some photo of hardware equipment installation(servo and air bottle ...ecc..) and of the motor installation (I have buy a Zenoah 38 sc with a "strange throttle control" ). Someone can say to me also how is possible to build the intercooler exhaust door on the 2 fuselage sides without make a hole and compromise the strength of the structure? Thanks and regards for your patience Andrea"

Joe: "Hi Andrea I don't have any pictures but you might try Nick Ziroli's Gallery at there are a lot of construction photos there and might find some to help you. All Nicks planes are built using the same techniques so if you don't find something specifically for a P-47 maybe one of the others can help you. You might also try LBrannans P-38 page as he has some close-up's of his retract setup for his Ziroli P-38 where he shows close-ups of connections and his valve. You can find his website at another thing is nick Ziroli has a forum on his site for people to share ideas and info on the construction of his planes. I would also post this question on there and see if someone there has some pics that could help you just click on his hints and tips link and it will take you to the forum. There is a Construction thread on RC universe at where some construction pics were shown and I am sure if you email Chad Veich or David Goldstein they will have more pictures of their Ziroli 70" P-47 Construction. Joe"

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Question 21: Comment to Joe from Garth Barret, Edmonton Canada.

Garth: "Hi Joe, I was looking at your cockpit scratch building project for your 1/3 scale ME 109 on your site at and you gave a measure of a human figure as being 5 heads tall. I am a practicing artist/designer and the convention is to draw a standing figure as seven and a half heads tall and two heads wide at the shoulders.There are plastic templates at art supply stores that are in different scales, 1:10, 1:8, 1:4, in differing percentiles of human stature. They usually have side views and frontal views of the torso, head, arms and legs. When designing a cockpit one can draw the arms and legs and the controls in the correct positions. Thought I might mention this as it would help others who want to scratch build their cockpits and desire to figure out the Pilot height."

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Question 22: "Hi Joe I see you have used piano hinges on some large scale projects. I'd like to use the Nelson Hobbies hinges on my large scale U-2 wing control surfaces. Are these the ones you use and did you face the surfaces with spruce to accept the hinge screws? Thanks, Jack"

Joe: "Hi Jack Yes those are the hinges I have used. I epoxied mine on the first time but if I had to do it again I would use spruce and screw it on and use epoxy too to be sure it didn't go anywhere. Joe "

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Question 23: "Hi Joe, Great advice in your column. I am thinking of building my first war bird from plans. I have built numerous kits, and have just completed my first scratch build. It is a 40 size Cap 10 from Carl Layden Plans. I really like the Hellcat. I am thinking of building the Ziroli design, and buying a short kit for Lazer Works. Do you think the Ziroli design would be a good project for my first war bird, or are there others you would recommend. My heart is not set on the Hellcat. Thank you for your time, Todd Coleman"

Joe: "Hi Todd, Yes Ziroli is the best for a first time warbird scratch builder and I would put Roy Vaillencourt right up there with him. One of the Myths I would like to debunk is that scratch building is some mysterious way of building. That is all nonsense scratch building is no different than building a kit as far as construction goes. There is usually only 1 difference in scratch building over kit building and that is that you don't have a box full of precut wood sitting in front of you. Now if you buy a kit from a kit cutter for a set of scratch built plans you basically have the same thing in front of you as though you bought an entire kit for something. The only difference would be all the little nylon pieces, screws, engine mount and possibly nyrods. Those little items isn't going to make scratch building any more difficult than a manufactured kit from say great planes or top flight it just means you will have to order them separately.

Now with that said why did I say Ziroli or Vailly? That is because their plans and construction methods are very easy to understand and to build from. Most people that say they are going to build their first scratch project are already intimidated and slightly nervous because of all the bunk out there dealing with scratch building. Also some first time scratch builders have only dealt with arfs and have never even touched a kit before so are jumping into something they haven't got a clue about. Now kits like great planes and top flight are the best way to start building because they give you everything and have instructions set up in a step by step fail-safe arrangement. With scratch building most of the time the instructions are on just a couple sheets with notes on the plans. They assume the builder has a basic knowledge of construction. You don't have to be an expert but you need to know what a wing crutch is or a shear web is and if you have only put arfs etc together you haven't had to deal with this as it has already been done for you.

Vailly and Ziroli have taken in account that most people have at one time or another built one of the Guillows or Sterling rubber band and tissue planes and their construction is very similar. I can take and frame up a fuse for example of a Ziroli plane within about 4 hrs or less. Why? because if I have all my wood in front of me and have studied the plans for several days while waiting for my kit I find that I just build a simple crutch over the plans then raise it up 6" and slide the fuse formers onto the crutch lining them up with all the crossmembers, glue them in place, and then run a bunch of stringers like the old rubber band planes had and I am done. Nick also has an excellent website with construction pictures and a forum to discuss his construction and flying of his planes. Now this is simplified a hair as you also have a stab crutch and wing crutch and a couple small items but that is nothing.

So as you can see they build really easy. Don Smith on the other hand is someone a first time scratch builder would not want to try to do because even though his plans are nice and clean he has absolutely no instructions on his plans this you must really have built several planes and know how to build without instructions. Don is the exception though as most designers have some kind of instructions. Brian Taylor is ok for a first timer as his plans are simple box construction where you build a box and add a few partial formers on top and bottom of the box. I guess the only real thing that will be new for a scratch builder would probably be that the planes will be larger (talking if they moving up to giant scale warbirds) and the planes will be totally sheeted instead of partially like a lot of kits are. I hope this helps you. Joe. Todd forgot to give you this URL it is a link to Sean Mc Hales Ziroli Hellcat construction site with lots of pics that would help you. Joe "

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Question 24: "I would like to build a display model of a B-17 (not plastic) with about a four foot wingspan and for the sake of realism would like to cover it in sheet balsa. Most of the models I have seen, however, are designed to be covered in paper or mylar. Thanks, vin "

Joe: "Hi Vin there is a couple ways to go here. You can get a sterling models or like that rubber band and tissue plane and use 1/32" balsa instead of tissue to sheet it or 1/6" balsa or you could order a set of plans for an RC version and just reduce them to the size you want. There is one more option and that is to get a set from traplet plans service They have a set from Pavel Bosak don't know any info on them but is probably small and easier to shrink the plan number is MW2378. Joe"

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