A return to model building and flying. Part 58

Mar 2009

Finishing (Groan!)

Finishing models is always a problem for me, I prefer the old ways, but living space and lack of available materials makes this a bit problematic at times. Iron on film is OK on larger models, but not practical on smaller ones. (read that as a pain in the bum!). However the Phantom is small and cries out for paint. So in my usual haphazard, lets try something new in the hope that it may be better, way, I thought. Ah! Epoxy. How wrong I was. I should have been alerted by the 36 hours to fully cure bit. But hey! ever the optimist.

I slapped in on the wood thinking it may at least fuel-proof the wood in one go eliminating a lot of base coats. It certainly did that, but it also set like concrete, making it extremely difficult to sand down. Metal files had to be deployed at one point. After a couple of coats of good old car primer, and a lot of rubbing down, it didn't look quite the disaster area it had before. a quick couple of  coats of car spray paint later it looking reasonable. And that was enough for me. Results below, with bigger lightweight wheels fitted to cope with a grass field, and my old stalwart NATO 1/2A pilot doing his stuff. The standard MK spinner nut will have to do, I actually like it, until I can locate a  5 mm prop nut so I can fit a full sized spinner. 


The engine has been test run in the airframe to test the tank and plumbing, and so far the MK-17's starting and handling characteristics have filled me with delight, as has the sweet smell of diesel fuel wafting up my nostrils again. You glow freaks really don't know what you are missing. 

The Flying Bit

This is what it's all about for me.

This weekend saw a complete turn around in the weather from a week of blow you off your feet, to calm and sunny. So she flew, as did Andy Green's Phantom (built from the same kit). That was after about three hours of cranking at a recalcitrant almost new PAW 1.49. Even I couldn't get any sense out of it, 'Combat Tuned' it was not. After an engine graft of a PAW TBR (twin ballrace) 1.49, peace in the garden was restored, and a few flights ensued. The BR versions do seem to be a lot easier to start, my plain bearing (admittedly old) one, can be a right pig at times.

So that is two that have been built and successfully flown at my club.Mine is exhibiting rearward CG characteristics of hunting up and down in a light breeze that gets worse as the speed increases." More concrete in the nose Igor!" This is probably not helped by the incidence and lifting section of the wing either. I did point this out in my appraisal of the kit, but the manufacturer seems to know better? If you build one make sure the CG is forward of the point indicated on the plan. It has a nice glide with it in the standard place, but that won't help you when you are struggling to keep it level in typically English, or European weather. My previous comments on the wire gauge of the undercarriage were also vindicated when Andy made a stalled landing that pushed the UC far enough out and back to cut into the leading edge of the wing. It 'should' have taken that sort of landing without this result. 

But again, as with any kit you are in the hands of the manufacturer; I can only suggest that these problems exist. Maybe the conditions we fly in don't exist in California and strange impractical tank designs are the norm. Very strange? as a lot of good CL innovation came from and still exists in the US; as it does in Western and Eastern Europe. I'm convinced there is an opportunity for some trader with a modicum of intelligence and experience of CL, to pull all the threads together, and just specialise in all aspects of CL, Globaly! It would be quite easy to trade on the Internet, as different currency is no longer a barrier. But what do I know. *shrugs shoulders*

Here are a couple of pic's taken on the day, and a short video file just to show it does fly.

cam Phantom Fight Test Video cam

Many thanks to Max Ewen (or club RC Heli rep) for the working the video camera whilst I was preoccupied.

Andy's Phantom

Andy's Phantom with sweat inducing PAW.

Zoe's Phantom

My Phantom


Now the dust has settled (quite literally) I suppose at this stage I really ought to sum up on the kit. 

Although I have expressed doubts about certain aspects of this kit, I can say this; its a lot better than the original! In most respects it is a decent kit, and to any builder with a modicum of experienced, should present few difficulties. I would NOT recommend it to a beginner though, there are far better examples out there. If you want to keep the CL flame burning don't be afraid to buy one, especially as Den's Models is now including a tank (Cheers Den), it will certainly keep you occupied for a few hours, or days, or weeks.....or even months!

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