Fun Fly Warbirds plans are available from: Airborne Plans Service for AU$33.00 each plus P&H2 (AU$2.00 within
Australia). Plan Nos. 637 (P-47), 638 (Spitfire),
639 (ME-109), 640 (Hellcat)
I received a call the other Saturday from my flying companion Adrian Wall, apparently he had finished building (he's always building something) a Messerschmitt ME109 and wanted me to witness it's maiden flight. I have a soft spot for ME109's and promptly dropped everything and rushed out to the flying field. Upon arriving there was a throng of regular club members milling around Adrian in the pits. I thought, this model must be something special, but as I walked through the pits the milling crowd parted and gave me my first sight of this supposed ME109.
"It's a bloody profile thing", I squawked, "you dragged me all the way out here to see a ruddy pancake with wings! You've been to close to the cyano bottle again haven't you?"
Adrian had his usual wry grin going and couldn't resist saying, "but you love ME109's, they're your favourite".
"I know that, but I hate profile models", was my grumpy reply. But he also knew that if he told me the truth I wouldn't have come.
"I'll give you a fly" he smirked.
"Goodonya, you goober, I'd rather have testicle surgery. All right you got me here now, let's see if this ironing board flies, you tosser".
Still a bit miffed that I rushed out without my own model just to see this thing fly.
He promptly started the model and walked with it out to the runway, after he applied full throttle it was going vertical after rolling 2 meters! This thing went straight up and hung of the prop like a helicopter. He promptly started rolling and spinning the model at what seemed only 10ft from the ground. Loops seemed to occur in the models own length, it was really quite amazing to watch, this thing was doing incredible stunts only meters from the ground. This was supposed to be the model's maiden flight!
I walked up to the flight line and stood beside Adrian and watched him do the most unbelievable manoeuvres. He still had that bloody grin on his face when I said "you've flown this thing before".
Then he started to laugh, "Yep flew it yesterday" was the smartarse reply. As normal (for Adrian) he handed me the transmitter with his usual "here have a fly mate". I hoped no one had a camera, I always said that I wouldn't be seen dead flying a profile. A few murmers were heard from the pits about my testicular surgery comment. Sometimes I think I only open my mouth to change feet!
After a few moments getting adjusted to the promptness of the control surfaces (it's got ailerons like barn doors), I started to throw the model around. I felt a smile come across my face, but promptly recovered my disgruntled composure. Secretly I was really enjoying myself, this is like no other type of flying I've ever encountered, I normally have to wear glasses when flying but you can manoeuvre this type of model at what seems to be only meters from yourself, no need for visual aids. Loops, rolls, flatspins and hanging from the prop are only part of this type of model capabilities, it does things you can't pronounce. You can try anything with this model, the recovery space required is simply unbelievable, just let go of sticks and make the necessary adjustments. You can stall at 20ft (well sort of stall it just wallows around really) and still recover!
"What do you reckon?" was the first question fired at me.
"Good fun eh!" was the next one.
"It's all right, still ugly though" was my reply. I handed the transmitter back and watched Adrian land the model at our feet. No need for long runways here, these things come in like helicopters.
Back in the pits Adrian asked if I would like to build one. "I've got a set of plans in the car" he proclaimed. "It's a Hellcat".
"You've got to be gagging, I'm a serious modeller not a pancake cook!" was my light hearted reply. However I took the plans home and had quick study of them, I haven't had any scratch building experience but even a duffer like me could build one of these!
I've had a few more flights with Adrian's ME109 and I really enjoy it, it's a whole new form of flying, I've heard it called three D flying, regardless of what you call it "it's fun".
So there you are after belittling profile models for so long, I'm now building one, I still have trouble coming to terms with my remarkable turnaround. Still, I will tell my club members that I'm building it for Airborne and not for myself. After all I have to maintain some of my dignity!
BUILDING THE PROFILE WARBIRDS
Airborne offers a choice of classic warbirds for your selection; these are the Sputfire (Spitfire), Me-Oh-My (Me 109), Funderbolt (Thunderbolt) and of course the _'Hell'sthat? (Hellcat).
Once the difficult choice is made then comes the easy bit - building! All models share a similar structure with basically a common wing in each case. Any differences are purely cosmetic to make the model instantly recognisable.
Building the 'Hell'sthat? is quick and simple. Having no previous scratch building experience I found the plans very clear and understandable. With a little help from Adrian I became an experienced modeller in next to no time.
The fuselage, or in this case the big flat board, is relatively straight forward construction. The business end of the fuse is made from solid 9.5mm sheet balsa with hardwood engine and undercarriage bearers epoxied into the sheeting. The rest of the fuse is simple stick construction. I stripped all the required 9.5mm stick from 9.5mm sheet to help keep the cost down and to assure a uniform size. To do this I purchased a Master Airscrew balsa stripper (I love new gadgets). These little strippers are a gift from God not only are they cheap, they cut perfectly straight! Firstly I cut all the 9.5mm sheet and hardwood bearers to size and placed them over the plan, when I was happy with the alignment I tacked them in place. The hardwood bearers were epoxied and left to cure. The rest of the material for the fuse was stripped from 9.5mm sheet to the sizes required and placed over the plan. The bottom rail at the rear half of the fuse is curved and requires some scarfing to achieve the required curve. In no time at all you will have the fuse all framed and ready for sheeting.
I cut the hole for the wing before I started sheeting. Tracing the centre rib onto a piece of card I simply lined it up as per the plan, marked and cut. The size of the centre rib will be marginally smaller than the completed wing so some trimming will be required when it comes time to mate the wing to the fuselage. Better too small than too large. The 1.5mm sheeting was tacked to the frame with cyano glue, then the fuse was turned over and all joining surfaces were glued with super phatic white glue. After coating the rest of the frame with super phatic white glue the remaining side of the fuse had the rest of the sheeting tacked in place with more cyano. When completely sheeted the fuse was placed under several heavy books on the building board and left overnight to cure, this will also ensure that the fuse remains straight. After the glue has cured trim the sheeting to shape and there you have it, one fuselage!
If you have never constructed a wing before, don't fret, this baby's about as easy as you're ever going to get. I traced all the ribs onto paper then on to the balsa. After they were all cut I pinned them together and sanded to a uniform shape. Placing a spruce spar on the plan simply place all the ribs in position, make sure they are straight and glue in place. When choosing your spars make sure they are straight as possible as the wing is a one piece construction, the straighter the material the easier it will be to keep it aligned. Making sure all is straight and flat, glue in the top spar and trailing edge followed by the plywood wing brace. Nothing to it! Glue in the leading edge, sheet top and bottom, add some sheer webbing, shape the wing tip blocks, give all a good and the jobs done. Too easy!
Tail and ailerons etc.
The vertical stabiliser, horizontal stabiliser and all moving surfaces are all standard type open construction. However for some added strength I opted to sheet the horizontal stabiliser with the thinnest balsa sheeting I could get. This was purely a personal preference and was only for my own peace of mind. All components were assembled over the plan then sanded to shape.
Now that all the components are complete final assembly can take place. I mated the wing to the fuse first, carefully slide the wing through the hole and trim as necessary. Don't worry too much if some areas have a gap, I packed mine out with balsa scrap. Make sure the wing is square and even, then tack in place with cyano. Give the areas that have been packed a liberal dose of cyano, when you're happy that every thing is aligned. Epoxy the wing-fuse mating area and let cure. When fitting the horizontal stabiliser for added strength I drove bamboo barbecue stakes through the stabiliser and into the fuse, the fin was then fitted over the protruding stakes and all was glued in place.
The OS 46FX engine and fuel tank were all trial fitted prior to covering. The servos were fitted to their respective compartments in the wing, two servos one side and one the other. The receiver and battery are fitted in the single servo compartment with the switch harness fitted to the hatch cover. All components were trial fitted and the model was checked for lateral balance prior to covering. The lateral balance was perfect which surprised me, I thought that with the engine hanging off the fuse like it does some lead would be required. But with battery and receiver in the opposite compartment all seemed to balance out! I was originally going to fit Sullivan Golden Rods internally to control the rudder/elevator however I forgot to fit these before the model was covered (silly boy!).
Well this is the part I enjoyed the least! Covering built models is a pain in the bum! Do yourself a favour and trace the fuse onto you covering material before you assemble the model. I thought I was pretty clever doing this, however I foolishly managed to trace the same side twice when endeavouring to gain maximum use of a Profilm roll. I only noticed my error when I started covering, "whacko" "what a pratt" two right hand sides. So I got off to a bad start when covering and that's probably the reason why I didn't enjoy it too much. Make sure you fit the aileron servo "Y" lead before you cover the wing.
As I mentioned before I was intending to fit Sullivan golden rods to control the moving surfaces, but after deliberating endlessly over the best way to secure them I finally gave up and sought advice from my local hobby shop proprietor. He advised me that 4-40 rods passing through nylon undercarriage straps were the fashion. Not wanting to be unfashionable I purchased all the necessary goods and set about fitting the up. Let me just say now that this was by far the easiest method I could have used. Simply solder a clevis on one end of the rod an attach to the servo, run the rod along the fuse to the rudder or elevator horn and attach via a EZ connector. Next place the nylon straps on the rod in the appropriate area and drill the bolt holes, make sure your bolts are long enough to go through the strap and fuse with sufficient bolt left to attach the nylon strap on the other side. Solder the clevis on the next rod and slide it through the now fitted straps on the other side, bend and adjust where necessary. Pretty simple I only wish I had thought of it.
With all tests done and the control surfaces moving in the correct directions the OS 46FX was kicked into life. The model was faced into the wind, the throttle pushed all the way open and within 15ft it was airborne. Magic! I love to watch new models fly. I was surprised at how little trimming was required, 2 clicks up elevator was all that was needed. Let me just say that the roll rate is incredible, I started off on low rates (60%) but soon had all rates switched to high. Loops are also amazing it almost appears to loop in its own length! Knife edges require very little rudder input to maintain level flight, climbing knife edges are a piece of cake (I'm still too scared to try a knife edge loop like Adrian does). The model was landed refuelled and stuck straight back up, this was great fun. Into the wind you can turn the throttle back to idle and just hang there. On some occasions the model actually went backwards! It's really weird watching a model slowly drift backwards down the strip only 20ft from the ground. Stalling is a non event, the recover from the stall takes very little effort. Vertical performance is very good, if you go vertical and apply both sticks top right things really start to happen that words can't begin to describe, but close the throttle and let go of the controls and the crazy antics stop.
I'm converted, these type of models are a blast. You can try all sorts of antics in such a small air space, or you could trim back the control rates and it would make a acceptable trainer. It's very adaptable. It's easy and cheap to build you could frame up one of these for under $50. In a nut shell the 'Hell'sthat? it's gangs of fun!
I would like to thank Adrian Wall of Skycraft Hobbies in Woodend for donating the fuel tank, prop, some Profilm, heaps of advice and flight training.
SPECIFICATIONS Profile FunFly Warbirbs
Wingspan: 1.25 - 1.5
Fun Fly Warbird plans are available from:
Plan No. (P-47) Funderbolt 637
This page was last modified on the 21-May-02