Giant Big Stik Gets a Makeover

Mar 01, 2012 24 Comments by

When Rick Michelena decided to turn a common ARF into something special, he started with a Great Planes Giant Big Stik and spent less than a week giving it a facelift. Here’s his story.

I needed a good sport airplane, but I still wanted the looks of something different than the run of the mill ARF offerings.

Therefore, using a little imagination, I turned this ARF (almost-ready-to-fly) into something that looks cool and is absolutely different from anything else at our club field to fly. From this point on, the captions will be below the photo.

This ARF will now be known as “Capt. Maddog.”

I have done a lot of fabrication. Therefore, I am providing all the information that someone would need to build his own WWI sport scale fighter.


Changes include wire landing gear, WW I style wheels, pilot, machine gun, cowling, and much more.

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About the author

Executive editor About me: I’m a publishing professional who has a passion for aviation and RC, and I love creating issues, books and a website that help RC pilots to enjoy this sport even more. I admire scale aircraft and enjoy the convenience of flying smaller electrics.

24 Responses to “Giant Big Stik Gets a Makeover”

  1. Kevin says:

    Very nice, learned a lot. Do the rulers work over the wing to help rig the ailerons, especially if it is not symmetric?

  2. Phil Artese says:

    Is the wing symetrical? Did you have to make any changes to the wing saddle to get the correct wing incidence?

  3. Ken says:

    Very creative & inspiring! Good luck with the maiden. It would be great if you could post video on youtube.

    Happy Landings!!!

  4. William says:

    Look’s real good better than out of box. It also looks like a EindackerTin Donkey

  5. Ron says:

    Very very nice Kevin. Good luck on the test flight. I’m sure this one will fly nice. Post a video of flying with the smoke on.

  6. Ron says:

    Sorry ’bout that Rick. I put the wrong name on the reply.
    .

  7. member18822 says:

    A wonderful idea and great execution! I do have a few questions. No mention was made of the wing. Are any mods required to the wing or wing mounting? What about the wing incidence? Is the wing removable or fixed? I have searched, and looked in the manual, but found nothing regarding the wing mounting on that model. The forward end of the saddle appears to be vertical on the fuselage yet in photos with the wing mounted it seems to be faired over the wing. What’s with that?

  8. John Morgan says:

    Hi Rick , have had a Stick one kind or another since forever…. What you have done is really a big leap into the fun enjoyable side of modeling …. Hope is flys great, fingers crossed for initial flights.
    Seeing you were so generous with your time detailing the steps…. Well I’m just going to do something along the fun lines that you have!!!
    My last stick was mid-aired…. By another stick!!!!

  9. CalPilot73 says:

    Hey guys, I’m Rick who built this bird. I will try and answer all question in the order I read them. However, I will update you and tell you that this bird flies fantastic. Long wood yardsticks can be used on symetrical wings. I use foam A/C insulation tape. It comes in a roll and can be purchased at any A/C supplu store. It has a number of uses such as fuel tanks, receivers, and padding wood so wires will not chaff.

    As far as the wing, simply turn the fuse upside down. There are no modification required. Even the stock wing dowels will work as originally located.

    I did join the wing into one piece. Stock servo position works, but you will have to run the wires out the old bottom of the wing which is really the new top of the wing….more in a minute

  10. Gordon Seifert says:

    Hi Rick. Member18822 back again. I finally figured out the wing mounting. I missed the picture in the manual of the fuselage-wide notch and the mounting dowels in the leading edge.

    Since the wing is symmetrical and the your servos are still on the bottom I take it you just flipped the fuselage over and used the wing the same side up as it would have been normally? The Great Planes technical info page shows half of a degree incidence for that model. I would expect it to be -.5 degree now unless you have changed something. Let us know if it is noticeable.

    Love the landing gear. Looks great. Thanks for the idea. I will do that with the original Jensen Ugly Stick I will soon be finishing. That will allow me build it slightly taller so I can use a bit larger prop (it’ll be electric powered). And I will be looking for a similar, but smaller ‘cowling’. It really looks good with the power under cover!

  11. A. Adam says:

    I did the same on my Giant Stik and it looks great in a civilian yellow starburst finish on top. I would share it with you if I know how to attach the photo to this reply. Mine has a DLE 30 gas engine and flies great.

  12. CalPilot73 says:

    Hey guys,

    It’s Rick again. Here’s some more information about the airplane. I had a friend who showed up at the field with a Big Stik. I put the “maiden” flight on her in 30 MPH wind. As everyone knows the original stik design has always been a good flyer. I studied his wing, noted that it was symetrical, and thought to myself: this would be easy to do as a “low winger.”

    I have been in R/C since 1982 and it started with a subscription to MAN…I used an old Quadra 52 that I had laying around. I added a Bennett Smoke system and Hitec 645 metal gear servos. I use a Spektrum DX8 on DSM2. I always use two switches and two batteries for all my birds.

    The test flight was perfect. I balanced the model and the TEST flight it did not require any TRIM. It is so easy to fly and lands at a very low speed with only 15 degress of FLAP..do not use more than this or the model will climb upon FLAP deployment. I added a scarf that I cut from the arm sleeve band of an old white T-shirt…it looks great flaping in the wind.

    I’ll be glad to answer any further questions.

  13. eduardo osorio says:

    Hi Debra! I have the honor to witness Rick in action when building RC planes and iI have to tell you he is the best. This is just one of the many projects that he had shared with me over the years. I highly recomend rick for a project of the month because he has many to share. He is a great writer and when it comes to details he will describe step by step with excellent pictures. I am a member of your magazine and would love to see future articles from Rick.

  14. William Simmons says:

    Rick:
    Which plastic bowl did you buy at Walmart? What brand was it? Also, how did you match the paint on the cowl to the monokote? What brand and what shade of paint did you buy?

  15. William Simmons says:

    Rick:
    Would Sal’s Vinyl Graphics make another set of the Das Low Stik decals for a reasonable price? I’m not in the same state, but maybe he could ship them to me.

    William

  16. William Simmons says:

    Which plastic bowl (brand and kind) did you buy at Walmart for the cowling?

    What brand and shade of red paint did you use to match the monokote when you painted the cowl?

  17. Rick Michelena says:

    Dear William,

    The bowl was a Sterlite….look at the container in the original picture…it has a green tab on it….as far as the paint….it is Krylon Cherry Red…I’ll talk with Sal…he usually saves all my work request….remember these decals are for a giant stik and would not fit on a smaller version.

  18. William Simmons says:

    I did find the container at Walmart. I could probably make the lettering by hand, but it would be great if Sal could make me a set.
    I’d like to get my own giant big stik and do the same modifications you did. It really changed the plane’s appearance, and it’s a way to have something unique, rather than having the same old thing everyone else has.

    William

  19. Rick Michelena says:

    William,

    Sal’s business number is 956-787-4949…the bowl was found in the kitchen plastics area.

  20. Ray says:

    Rick, I can’t figure out your gear bracing. Is it wire? It appears to have a twist to it.

  21. John Doyle says:

    I have tried back issues, I have searched the modelairplanenews.com site and still cannot find the entire article on Giant Big Stik Gets a Makeover . Can you please send me the URL where I can read it.

    Thanks

    John Doyle

  22. Daniel says:

    Ok how much I have there giant sticks there cool . O yes i Canadian $$ love These planes

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