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
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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?"
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
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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. http://www.precisiondesigninc.com/fowler.htm 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 cant
find any construction plans for it. Can u help me locate plans. take care,
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 http://www.ziroliplans.com/welcome.html 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"
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 http://vedma.papatramp.com/Monografii/ 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 http://plastruct.com/.
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
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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"
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 http://www.ziroliplans.com/welcome.html 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 http://www.donsmithplans.com/ For Kits there are several the two that
sell nice full kits for those plans that I listed previously are Precision
Cut Kits http://www.precisioncutkits.com/ and All-American Kit Cutters http://www.aero-sports.com/aakc/description.html 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 http://www.lazerworks.com/pages/687031/index.htm 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
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
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 http://p-38.corpcomp.com/ 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 http://www.yellowaircraft.com/ 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.
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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! "
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
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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 "
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
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 http://home.mchsi.com/~jahuntley/ 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"
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. 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.
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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
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 http://www.capable.on.ca/rcstuff/ you might start there and maybe contact the person who put up the site.
A couple of other sites you might find helpful are http://pease1.sr.unh.edu/aew/rc/ , http://www.dochemp.com/flyingbattery.html , and this last one http://w1.871.telia.com/~u87106779/radio.html 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."
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 "
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 http://www.ziroliplans.com/welcome.html 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 http://www.scaleaero.com/jerrybates.htm 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 http://www.yellowaircraft.com , or Phil Avonds http://www.avonds.com/ 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? "
John You can find my article on my website at http://home.mchsi.com/~jahuntley/ 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
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 "
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 http://www.lazer-works.com 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"
Andrea I don't have any pictures but you might try Nick Ziroli's Gallery
at http://www.ziroliplans.com/gallery_frameset.html 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 http://p-38.corpcomp.com/interest.htm 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 http://www.rcuniverse.com/showthread.php?s=&threadid=77539&forumid=34&highlight=Ziroli+P47 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.
Joe, I was looking at your cockpit scratch building project for your 1/3
scale ME 109 on your site at http://home.mchsi.com/~jahuntley/cockpit.html 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
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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"
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"
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 http://www.strictlyscale.com/hellcat.htm 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 "
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 http://www.traplet.com/home.lasso 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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