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  1. One of the trickiest jobs for a scale model builder is mixing custom colors for their RC scale project. The difference between accurate and “pretty close” can be the difference between winning and not even placing at a scale contest. For those who are considering going the next step in scale accuracy, this article digs a little deeper into this “colorful” and often misunderstood part of scale modeling. Custom colors After collecting the proper aircraft color and markings doc*mentation, the biggest challenge we modelers face is accurately reproducing the scale colors. Without the proper paint, our models can’t match the doc*mentation of the full-size aircraft. Many newcomers are quite surprised to learn that there really are no catch-all formulas for mixing military or civilian colors. Sure, you can buy cans of paint that say “Cub Yellow” or “Olive Drab,” but more times than not, these pre-mixed colors still won’t exactly match the shades of yellow or olive we want. The reasons for this are many, ranging from the amount of pigment used to the color of the primer that’s under the final coat of paint. This is why if we want to be truly accurate in our color application, we have to be able to slightly alter the color, shade and hue of our paints. Ill*stration by FX Models Color spectrum Going back to art-class basics, there are only three primary colors: red, yellow and blue. Primary colors are those that can not be made by mixing other colors together. Secondary colors are made by mixing the primary ones. Red and yellow make orange, yellow and blue make green, red and blue make violet or purple. All other colors are created from primary and secondary colors. The exact color of your secondary color depends on the proportions in which you mix the primary ones. Black and white aren’t colors; they are tones and are used to lighten or darken the color. Black and white together creates gray. The complementary color for a primary color is what you get by mixing the other two primary colors. The complementary color for red is green (yellow and blue mixed); the complementary for blue is orange (red and yellow mixed); and the complementary for yellow is purple (red and blue mixed). If you mix all three primary colors together, you get a tertiary, or neutral, color. Neutral colors are browns and grays and they can also be created by mixing a primary color and a secondary color together. Mixing Tip 1: Think small When you mix paints for the first time, it is best to experiment in small batches until you figure out the ratios of the paints you are using. Think drips and drops and teaspoons, not pints and quarts. Mixing larger quant*ties can get very expensive! Once you figure out the ratio you need for a specific color using a particular paint, you can increase the volume to produce as much of it as you need. Don’t forget to keep this information in a safe place for future reference. Mixing tip 2: Add dark to light It takes only a bit of a dark color to change a light color, but it takes considerably more of a light color to change a dark one. So for example, if you want a specific shade of blue, start by adding blue to a white base. Never add white to a blue base in an attempt to create a lighter blue. Generally speaking, basic military camouflage paint schemes include various shades of green, brown and gray. Three Skyraiders in a row. Which one is the correct shade of gray? Paint Points For consistent results it is very important to use quality paints with consistent pigment and mixing qualities. One of the best we’ve used, and is a standard for many serious scale modelers is the line from Klass Kote. This two-part epoxy paint comes in many colors and has various catalyst to produce different levels of sheen or flatness. I do not mix brands so I always stick with what works. Klass Kote works. FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS > What’s the easiest way to make a brown? Mix a primary color with its complementary color. You can add green to red, orange to blue, or purple to yellow, or. Each combination produces a different color brown, so here again, experiment with small amounts to zero in on the color combination and ratio you need. > What’s the easiest way to make a gray? Mixing black and white doesn’t usually give you a good start for scale gray colors. Mix some orange (or yellow and red) with a blue then add some white. You’ll always want more blue than orange, but experiment with the amount of white you use. You can also mix blue with a dark earth color. > Why do my tertiary colors keep turning out muddy? If you mix too many colors together, you’ll simply get a nice mud color. (Not bad for weathering, but more on this another time!) If your gray or brown doesn’t come out right, instead of adding more colors in the hope that it will work out, just start over. Mixing colors is not just a chore reserved for scale modelers. Mixing colors also helps when you want to paint an engine cowl or wheel pants to match the rest of a film-covered sport plane. Sometimes just a little color tweak will make all the difference in the world. There really is a m*thod to all this color madness, and once you learn the basic steps, you’ll soon be able to duplicate any color you need. Just like anything else worth doing right, all it takes is practice and a little know-how. Federal Standard color sample fan. Painting your model One basic rule you should always follow when painting a model is to apply the lightest colors first and then add darker colors. This usually means you apply the light underbelly pale blue or light gray color first. Next apply the lightest of the top surface colors and then apply the darker ones. When painting a Japanese Zero, in a South Pacific scheme, first paint the entire plane in the light blue under surface color, then add the medium gray or dark green upper surface color. If you paint light-colored aircraft markings and insignias, follow a similar procedure and first apply the marking color, mask off the numbers and insignias, then apply the other colors. When you remove the mask, the lighter insignia color will be revealed. Make sure you use a good-quality automotive masking tape. Like anything else in this hobby, it takes time and practice to perfect the technique. And by the way, color matching isn’t just for the outer colors; interior c*ckpit colors, exposed engine colors and even wheel-well colors all need to be properly matched to your doc*mentation. Icing on the cake Weathering and other surface details will make your model look even more realistic. First, you have to use the proper weathering for the aircraft, whether it’s mechanical damage or discoloration from exposure to the natural elements. Second, because of the model’s scale size, we have to tone it down in its entirety to make up for the difference in the scale distance between our eyes and the model. This is known as “color perspective.” Mechanical weathering includes things like chipped paint, wear patterns from the pilot walking on the wing and rubbing against the edge of the c*ckpit, exhaust stains, dirt and mud. All must be subtly applied. Natural element weathering takes the form of sun damage and rain streaks. Bright sun fades the overall color of the upper exposed surfaces and water streaks are formed in a vertical fashion as the aircraft is in a parked, stationary attitude. Color perspective can really mess with you head. You can perfectly match the color chips and mix the colors but when you place the model outside in the sunlight, the colors look too intense. If you looked at a 1/4-scale model from 25 feet away, you would have to look at the full-size plane from 100 feet away for them both to look the same relative size. But there’s four times as much space and air between your eyes and the full-size plane so, its colors seem slightly muted. To duplicate this on the model, you either have to mix all the paints slightly off color, or you can apply the lightest mist of medium gray over the entire model to alter its color perspective. This treatment goes over everything: canopy glass, markings, propeller blades, tires … everything that reflects light. But regardless of the type of weathering you’re talking about, less is always more. Too little is always better than too much. We’ve only scratched the surface here about mixing custom colors, so if you have any questions or comments, please post a comment below. To truly appreciate scale models with superbly painted and weathered finishes, you have to attend a national- or regional-level compet*tion such as Top Gun, the AMA Scale Nationals or the U.S. Scale Masters Championships. The models competing at these levels are true works of art. Author: Scale Techniques Columnist, George Leu. The post Mixing Custom Colors for Scale RC Airplanes appeared first on Model Airplane News. View the full article
  2. When it comes to sheeting the wings, you want to do it right with any airplane, but for giant scale warbirds, you really need to do it correctly. I like to start once the retracts are setup and the plywood support ribs and the mount rails have been epoxied into place. We used the landing gear itself as a spacer for the rails and plywood ribs, so we know they will fit perfectly into place after the wing panels have been sheeted. I even added an extra 1/8 inch of space so there’s a little wiggle room in case we need to tweak the gear’s position for proper toe in measured at the axles. After getting the support ribs and rails in place, I added a lite ply support doubler to the W-6R rib which has it mid-section cut away to clear the wheel and forms the wheel-well area. Also at this point it is a good time to go over the entire wing structure and sand everything smooth and flush. Also where the main spar is recessed to clear the strut when the mains are retracted, I added a 1/4-inch plywood doubler for additional support . This part, like the gear rails is epoxied into place Sheeting 101 To get started, look at your plans and estimate how much sheeting you will need to cover your wing panels. For this project I am using medium-grain 3/32-inch x 4-inch wide x 48-inch long sheeting. You should have a good supply of no. 11 X-Acto blades. I start by first truing the edges of my sheeting by cutting a small amount, (1/16- to 1/8-inch), from the side edges using a sharp blade and a long metal straight edge. This allows the seams between the sheeting to be tight and minimizes the gaps. I start with the bottom, aft sheet which forms the wing’s trailing edge. I cut it to length, pin it over the plans and then pin the wing structure over it. I then tack glue a couple of ribs along the length of the wing panel to the sheeting. This is the easiest piece to apply as you have full access to the wing structure. Once this is in place, I add the next piece of sheeting that is cut to cover the area from the Trailing edge piece to the main spar. You can start anywhere, but I like to begin at the tip rib, applying Zap medium glue to the rib and sheeting, hitting with a little Kicker, then moving inboard one rib at a time. The important thing here is to not force anything while gluing the structure to the sheeting so you don’t warp the wing. The washout was built into the wing when it is assembled over the plans and supported with alignment shims. We will recheck the washout again before applying the wing’s top sheeting. Here you see the next piece of bottom sheeting. It is made by gluing two sheets together as mentioned above to cover the area from the front edge of trailing edge sheeting to the center of the main spar. Start by taping the pieces together with painter’s tape as shown above. Flip the sheeting over, and prop the seam up so it opens like a book, apply some yellow glue like Titebond, and scr*p away any access. Weigh the sheeting down and let the glue dry. If there is still access glue at the joint, use a damp sponge to clean it away. Once the glue has dried, lightly sand the joint with a sanding bar then cut the piece of sheeting to size. Here the sheeting has been taped to the trailing edge sheeting piece and the front edge is glued and clamped to the main spar. Again, there should be no stress or pressure causing the wing to twist out of shape. With the center piece of sheeting taped and clamped into place, flip the wing panel over and start gluing it to the ribs and stringers. I use Titebond at the main spar, and Zap medium CA for the rest of the rib bottoms applied from above. At this point I added the alignment dowels to the ribs that form the separation line for the outer wing panels that will plug into the wing center section. Here the fixed end of the front dowel is secured with a square of 1/4-inch plywood. The receiver end of the dowel is supported with a square of 1/8 inch lite plywood glued to the rib, but not the dowel. Above you see the same treatment for the aft wing panel alignment dowel. Here you see the two W-10 plywood ribs forming the separation line between them. Other internal parts that need to be glued in place are the wing hold-down scr*w support block shown above. I made it from 3/4 inch thick poplar, cutting, and sanding it to shape so it fits flush between the upper and lower sheeting. Also before we can cover the front section of the wing panel forward of the main spar, we have to epoxy the outer wing panel attachment bolt support blocks in place between the wing tube socket tube and the bottom wing sheeting. To keep the blocking flush with the main spar, I used an alignment piece weighted down with a piece of lead. This ensures that the pieces are securely epoxied together and that the sheeting will fit flush over the blocking. After the wing has been completely sheeted, I will drill a hole through the sheeting and blocking, into the aluminum wing tube. This will then be threaded to accept the attachment bolt. The lower leading edge sheeting is applied in the same way as before. Cut the sheeting to length and shape and tape the pieces together, Here the short sections inboard of the landing gear area is shown. Apply yellow glue to the top of the spar and the ribs and then tape and pin the sheeting into place. I also tape the leading edge tightly over the sub-leading edge str*p and use some clamps to form a tight seam. Now let dry. (Above) So, again the sheeting for the lower leading edge forward of the main spar, outboard of the landing gear rails, has been cut to size, glued together, weighted down to dry and then sanded smooth . Here all of the bottom sheeting has been installed on the left wing panel. The area near the root ribs is left unsheeted so the two panels can later be epoxied together and the two plywood dihedral joiners inserted and glued on place. Before gluing the top sheeting in place, install all the other items like hard-points for the drop tank pylons, and so forth. Once the top sheeting is in place, you won’t be able to get to them. So now we do the same for the wing’s top sheeting. Glue and tape the pieces together, sand smooth, cut to size and glue the section of sheeting in place with Titebone yellow glue. Apply the glue to the top of all the ribs and the spar but be careful not to get any glue in the separation line between the two W-10 ribs. I added just a small amount to the every edges of these ribs as more glue can be added when the inner and outer wing panels are cut apart and separated. Here you see the aft sheeting is cut to end at the centerline of the main spar. The sheeting is cut so the grain runs parallel to the trailing edge. These cuts in the bottom sheeting are guides for the cut line between the main wing and the removable wing tip sections. They were cut through before the top sheeting was applied. Also before the top sheeting is glued in place, the trailing edge of the bottom sheeting must be sanded to bevel the edge so it is flush with the wing ribs. The provides a good purchase for the top sheeting to glued to. To keep the trailing edges straight while the glue dries, I add a straight piece of wood under it and clamp and pin the trailing edge to it. be careful not to glue this support piece in place. Wipe away any glue that oozes out. Also before the top sheeting is glued in place, I marked the cut lines with a pen for the ailerons and the fl*ps. This makes the task of removing the control surfaces much easier and cleaner. Also before installing the front top sheeting to the wing, add any pieces that will be covered up. Here you see the vertical sheer webbing being glued into place. Here the right wing is shown with the sheeting weighed down with Scuba diving shot bag weights. As the top sheeting is applied the wing structure must be placed back onto the washout alignment shims so the wing retains its proper shape. Here you see the tip end of the wing. It shows the shim str*ps as well as 1/4 inch thick shims added to raise the panel above the workbench. When we added the landing gear mount rails they protrude below the surface of the wing so the additional shims are required so they clear the work surface. The shims run along the main spar as well as the under the washout shim str*ps. Once the sheeting has dried, you again prepare the sheeting for the top section forward of the main spar. Here above, you see it pinned to the main spar and taped down onto the sub-leading edge str*ps. Once the glue has dried, your will sand the front of the wing panel smooth and straight and add the 1/4 inch leading edge material and then plane and sand it smooth to complete the wing. Here’s the completed left wing panel with the shaped leading edge in place. I have installed the Hangar 9 Angle Pro digital level to check the washout of the wing panel. With the panel blocked up so it won’t move, I zeroed out the reading at the root rib. I then moved the level to the wingtip and checked the reading. The plans call for -2 degrees of washout and this shows it is spot on. The trick however is to have your other wing panel come out with the same amount. So here we are, both wing panels have been sheeted and and the root section as shown above has been left open on the bottom. This will allow us to glue the wing panels together and then inset and epoxy the plywood dihedral braces in place to strengthen the wing structure. Here the plywood dihedral braces are being epoxied into place. Slow setting epoxy is being used so there is time to make sure the alignment of the two wing panels is correct before the adhesive cures. The wing panels have been glued together and the wing is now ready to be installed on the fuselage. Check out the Ziroli Plans website at: https://ziroligiantscaleplans.com/ The post Sheeting Giant Warbird Wings appeared first on Model Airplane News. View the full article
  3. One of the more exciting RC model releases this year has been the B-24 Liberator Bomber from VQ Warbirds. This amazing ARF is loaded with scale features and comes in two factory applied film covering schemes. We just got some workshop photos from one of VQ Warbird’s Team Pilots, Mike Bost, who is gusy assembling his silver/aluminum B-24 Liberator which also has custom markings. The bomber has a 110-inch span. This is going to be a real showstopper for sure! The post VQ Warbirds’ B-24 Liberator appeared first on Model Airplane News. View the full article
  4. Here’s a sneak peek of a Flight Report coming soon in MAN magazine. Put through its paces by long-time contributor Rich Uravitch, the E-flite Pitts S-1S aerobatic biplane is an officially licensed replica of the full-scale aerobatic icon. The new biplane distinctly captures the revolutionary Pitts outlines while the molded EPO construction helps present scale detail with a high level of durability. Even though installing and removing the wings is incredibly simple and tool-free, this beautiful biplane is sized so you’ll never need to take it apart. Ballistic vertical climbs, dizzying snaps, crisp rolls and sharp corners are just a few of its specialties. Scale pilots will appreciate its smooth flight performance and level of detail, while everyone will enjoy its power system versatility. Whether you choose to fly this one-of-a-kind aerobat on a 3S or 4S LiPo, this Pitts S-1S biplane delivers excitement! Watch for the review in the July issue of Model Airplane News. The post Coming Soon: E-flite Pitts S-1S appeared first on Model Airplane News. View the full article
  5. Hey how many of you have flown in the classic Aeronca Champ? If you are over 40 we bet a lot of you have fond memories of that first solo or for the more daring, that first intro to a spin! Wow!!! Coming soon is a construction article for this classic light plane and it is a Pat Tritle design. With a 42 inch span, and lightweight construction, this RC project will be a fun and enjoyable project for anyone wanting to try building their own scale flyer. Weighing in at a scant 11.7 oz. with a 740mAh 2S LiPo battery onboard, all you need is a basic 4-channel radio and mini servos! Watch for this in an upcoming issue of MAN. The post DIY Scale RC Aeronca Champ appeared first on Model Airplane News. View the full article
  6. Sometimes, all you want to do is grab your model and go out and put in some relaxing flights around the pea-patch! Or perhaps you want to enjoy some indoor RC flying fun. The answer to both of these scenarios is the new Super Cub MX from Rage R/C. With a span just under 20 inches and flying weight of about 2 ounces, this backyard flyer is a great Micro RC performer. And with its onboard (and adjustable) PASS stabilization system it’s a great choice for the beginner with little to no piloting experience. With the help of an accomplished RC pilot, this plane can be a first time trainer. Watch for a Flight Report coming in the July issue of MAN. The post Rage R/C Super Cub MX — No Pressure Flying appeared first on Model Airplane News. View the full article
  7. Keep a piece of screen door magnetic str*p material handy in your workshop. After you are done building for the day, run it over the surface of the bench and it will gather up all your unused pins and other metal items like set scr*ws and clevises. This keeps your bench clean and helps prevent “Hangar Rash” caused by unseen parts damaging your balsa parts. The post Easy Bench Cleanup appeared first on Model Airplane News. View the full article
  8. As a builder and model designer, I’m always on the lookout for new scale birds that have nice lines, good moments, and an interesting history. My latest search uncovered the little-known WW II–era Skoda-Kauba (S-K) series of aircraft. Of all the aircraft produced in the series, the V4 had great possibility for a sport-scale RC model. The model translated into a very good flier, and performed well enough to garner two Contest Director’s Choice awards at the 2016 Mid-America electric RC event. Whenever Ken Myers or Keith Shaw gives an award, the model has to be a winner! Read the article, Click here. The post Skoda Koba V4 appeared first on Model Airplane News. View the full article
  9. It’s doubtful that more than a handful of people have ever heard of the Lowers-m*nges LM-1. I discovered a three-view in a 1974 Flying magazine article about the up-and-coming Reno Unlimited class racing technologies. Though never built, it was to have been powered by a 500hp Ranger Inverted V 770 V12, yet it only had a 16.5-foot wingspan. No mention was made of m*thods or materials, but I suspect that it might have been planned to be of wood construction, like the Osprey GP-5. Small, undoubtedly fast, and no doubt a handful to fly, I thought it would make a great challenge as a model. Was I ever right on that one!I had an E-Flite Power 25 brushless motor sitting in a box and an E-Flite 60 Pro speed control, as well, so I designed the LM-1 around this power setup. I originally built the model with a scale wing planform, but it proved to be very roll axis sensitive, so I ended up adding a few inches to each tip. Although this helped in roll damping and wing loading, I also added some vertical to the fin and a lower skeg to aid in stability. This was necessary most likely due to the significant side area ahead of the center of lift and neutral point. I also built a simple takeoff dolly as hand-launches didn’t have enough speed for the controls to become effective. With all the bugs worked out, the LM-1 is now a great little ship but certainly not for the faint of heart or an inexperienced pilot—most likely just as the full-scale aircraft would have been! Because this is not a beginner’s bird to build or fly, I’ll just touch upon some of the more tricky and problematic portions of the build. Read the article, click here. The post Lower m*nges appeared first on Model Airplane News. View the full article
  10. JShumate

    The Pharoah

    I like airplanes that look like airplanes. You know, they look like you could hop in, ฀re up the go-power, and have a lot of fun ܀ying. I also like a ship with nice lines and moments that just look right. So this time out, I thought a nice, new, original design would be fun. Back when I was 15, I designed a 2m sport glider that I called the “Pharoh” (missing the second “a”). So this time, I went with the proper spelling and added an ancient Egyptian theme. Note the all-over Aztec Gold MonoKote and the general theme of the covering scheme to convey the Egyptian Pharaoh feel. As it turns out, the Pharaoh has become one of my favorite models ever. It ܀ies beautifully and smoothly, and it is very linear for a sport model. It has a relatively light wing loading, and it builds quickly, using commercially available foam cores and canopy. Anyone who has a little building experience should have no problem constructing this. You can order the wing cores (WT-2) from eurekaaircraft.com to go with the plans. Read the article, click here. The post The Pharoah appeared first on Model Airplane News. View the full article
  11. Used throughout World War II, the Fieseler Fi 156 Storch was a two-place observation airplane with a 46-foot 9-inch wingspan and a gross weight of 2,780 pounds. It was powered by a 240hp Argus As 10 V8 engine and had a range of 240 miles. Tje Storch would climb at 945 feet per minute and had a service sealing of 15,090 feet.The 55-inch-span model uses conventional wood construction and is 37.5 inches long. The model requires a 5-channel radio and has functional fl*ps. It features plug-in wings and has a fuselage hatch. No tools are required for assembly or battery access. With its large fl*ps and a flying weight of only 21 ounces, the Storch’s slow flight speed and short-field performance are exceptional. Read the article, click here. The post Fiesler Fi 156 Storch appeared first on Model Airplane News. View the full article
  12. A four-place, single-engine private aircraft, the Cessna 172 is considered the most successful light plane ever built. First Ԁown in 1955, the earlier models were straight-tail fastback models, and later variations were equipped with the now characteristic swept tail and wraparound rear-cabin window. The Cessna 172 found its way into military service as the T-41 Mescalero and was also used by the United States Border Patrol for surveillance along the U.S./Mexico border, so there are plenty of of attractive paint schemes to choose from. Read the article, click here. The post Cessna 172 Skyhawk appeared first on Model Airplane News. View the full article
  13. JShumate


    Trishula is ancient Sanskrit for “trident,” and after you see this model in ऀight, you’ll understand why I gave it its name: The model looks like a ऀying pitchfork. I wanted this one to be really different. The model has 32-degree forward-swept wings (FSW) and retracts. With this odd planform, the retract geometry proved to be challenging, yet it seems to work just fine. The Trishula actually performs very well. My ऀying buddy, Keith Shaw, ऀew it at the Mid-America Electric Flies and was quite pleased with its performance. Why use a FSW setup? Well, it’s different, and the wing has excellent stall characteristics and increased maneuverability. The drawbacks are the requirement for a very still wing to avoid aeroelastic diversion, better known as “wing twist.” Because of this, I used a fully sheeted foam wing for increased torsional rigidity. This is not a beginner’s model in any sense. It uses some advanced construction techniques and must be built precisely to ऀy well. Any unevenness in the wings or misalignment can—and will—result in an almost uncontrollable model. It must be built correctly. So I’ll assume anyone building the Trishula will have significant building experience, and I’ll provide just a basic overview of the construction. Read the article, click here. The post Trishula appeared first on Model Airplane News. View the full article
  14. JShumate

    Mooney Mite

    I like unique and lesser-known general aviation airplanes, and so, with a little prodding from fellow electric ఀier Mike Brinker, I picked the Mooney Mite for my most recent project. Ѐe model is all-balsa construction, and it features a fully sheeted wing and 3/16-inch balsa tail surfaces and is equipped with E-ఀite 15–25 electric retracts. The model features a large top hatch to make battery changes easy, and the build is pretty straightforward. To help speed it up, I asked Top Notch Kits (TNK) to laser-cut my cowl pieces, Firewall, formers, and wing ribs. I also used the TNK 1/6-scale A-65 scale engine kit to help dress up the nose of the airplane. If you are interested in building a Mooney Mite of your own, TNK has all my CAD files and can cut a short kit for you as well (topnotchkits.com). Read the article, click here. The post Mooney Mite appeared first on Model Airplane News. View the full article
  15. JShumate

    Hawker Hind

    A derivative of the Hawker Hart, the Hind incorporated the newly developed Rolls-Royce Kestrel V engine along with a few other refinements. The most notable of these was the cut-down rear c*ckpit, which afforded the gunner more mobility. With a combination of extremely clean lines and the new Rolls-Royce engines, these rugged biplanes could fly 30mph faster than their contemporary front-line British fighters. Read the article, click here. The post Hawker Hind appeared first on Model Airplane News. View the full article
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