Make an F-82 out of two Mustang ARFs

Apr 23, 2012 12 Comments by

Here’s another great project from veteran builder Rick Michelena. This time, Rick does some fun ARF math: P-51 + P-51 = F-82! He writes,  ”The great element of R/C modeling is this: using your imagination allows for any subject to be modeled. Over the past 30 years, I have witnessed the tremendous change that has occurred in our hobby with the introduction of foreign-made ARFs.  In fact, when one club member showed up with a Giant Scale Planes .40 sized Mustang ARF, I immediately thought about turning this into something rather unique. Here is my process for turning two .40 ARFs into an IMAA big bird.

I ordered two of these .40 sized Mustangs from Giant Scale Planes. These birds have painted fiberglass fuselages and are available online for only $99.

This photo shows the pre-painted fiberglass fuselages. These will make a great platform for my new multi-engine IMAA legal F-82 twin Mustang.

I have placed the two fuselages on my saw horses. As far as dimensions, the original wing span is 53″. However, the IMAA rules for a monoplane is 80″. Therefore, I
am going to slightly cheat on these dimensions by cutting my own foam wing. As an aside, the stock wings come covered in painted iron-on material. In South Texas, iron-on
finishes tend to wrinkle in the summer heat. Therefore, my collection of giant scale warbirds consists of models I have built, fiberglassed, and painted. Since I will not use these wing panels, I have donated them to another club member.

I have been cutting foam wings for 30 years and have all the equipment to do this. Therefore, I have cut two outboard wing panels for my “stand-off” F-82 twin Mustang. I also have cut a foam center section.

I made 3/32″ balsa wing skins and attached them with “foam safe” contact cement. I then attached 1/2″ balsa strips for the leading edge. I used yellow carpenter’s wood
glue and taped the balsa planks in place until the glue cured. The core on the bottom shows the balsa plank attached to the leading edge. The wing core on top shows the leading edge after shaping.

I ordered a set of Century Jet .60 sized retracts and made gear mounts in the foam core center section which I had built  earlier. As you can see, I used wing dowels in the front of the fuselage, and I used a single 1/4-20 metal bolt on the rear of  each fuselage. I also made a single center flap that is attached with four Du-Bro giant scale hinges.


This is the top of my center section. When I designed the wing core, I made channels in the wing so that I could route my wires and retract lines. Here is a tip. While this wire looks like FUTABA wiring, it is really 20 gauge security cable.  I have a friend who owns the biggest home security business in town, and while watching him work one day, I noticed the wire he was using. It comes as a shielded “four conductor” wire.  Therefore, I simply strip the covering, remove the green conductor wire, and insert the other three wires into my drill, twisting them together. As a result, I have all the servo wire I need. I simply solder my servo leads to this wire during final assembly.

I could not use any of the tail feathers included in the kit. Therefore, I simply cut another foam core and made some attachment points. Remember that the fuselages will be fixed eventually at a given distance on the center section. Therefore, the horizontal stabilizer will be held in place by pins and bolts.

Here is how my “stand-off” F-82 twin Mustang now sits on my saw horses. I will be using Thunder Tiger PRO.46 ABCs  in this project. Therefore, considering that I will be using 10 X 6 propellers, I chose to make the center section 24″ long. This means the distance between the propeller tips will be 4″. The outboard panels are now 28″, thus providing a total wingspan of 80″ which is the IMAA legal requirement.

As you can see in the frame-up photo, this “stand off” F-82 doesn’t look bad. However, it is now time for filling, sanding, fiber-glassing, primering, painting, and detail riveting. I will save those details for another time and possible future article because I have many secrets to share.

Here is my finished product. I increased the outboard panels to make this project IMAA legal. In fact, the increased wing area makes it easier to fly.  I had a great time building this model. Therefore, I am thinking about ordering a Top Flite Giant Scale Mustang in the ARC version. I will order one additional fuselage and build my own center section while using the kit’s left and right wing panels.

Yes, flying R/C models is a great hobby. However, I also enjoy owning airplanes that are quite uncommon at the field. By developing building skills, your next dream RC project is only limited by the effort you are willing to put forth.”

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About the author

Model Airplane News 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.

12 Responses to “Make an F-82 out of two Mustang ARFs”

  1. Todd Breda says:

    That is SO cool. I love one-of-a-kind RC planes.

  2. ChazM says:

    I am envious of your skills. Great work! :-)

  3. Buzz Evans says:

    I also like one-off designs. And the mustang and the twin mustang are favorites oif mine.

  4. Joe says:

    How about taking this and add more specific information and use it for constructoin article.

  5. Rick Michelena says:

    Hey guys,

    Thanks for the kind words. I’ve been building for 30+years. In fact, Debra published one of my projects in MAN back in 1997. If you wish, you may google “Model Airplane News American Eagle F8-F Bearcat.”

    I am currently working on a “restortaion” of a model that is 23 years old and has several thousand flights. I will, with Debra’s approval, submit this information for future MAN articles.

    I have documented some specific problems that have developed and the way I addressed the repairs. I normally would have been done with it by now, but recently suffered about $100K in damage because of a violent spring storm. Hey, at least I have something to work with. Happy flying!

  6. JJ says:

    ill give you 5k for it, build me one now!

  7. Tommy Flores says:

    At the age of 73 years of age,I find that I enjoy BUILDING planes more enjoyable then flying them.( for now). My fly time is on my “Phoenix simulator for now. I am retired and always wanted to learn to build and fly R/C planes. I like to see “Diffrent” builds as compaired to ‘regular” builds. I have just gotten into the building aspect of R/C models and would like to ask. Have you written or know of books that teach you about short cuts and special ideas as to building 60″wing span R/C planes? I collect all the ones I see on “TECH TIPS” from our R/C airplane magizines.

  8. Rick Michelena says:

    Tommy, I have recently complied some information on finishing radio controlled models. My techniques will work on any sized model, and I will be sending this information to Debra very soon. I would suggest a search the MAN website. You may find what you need.

  9. Mick says:

    That’s a really cool project. I can’t seem to find much shop time, but that would be a fun way to do it.

  10. Charlie Hynes says:

    Good Job Rich, I also am working on an F-82 using TF 60 ARF’s and lengthened the fuselages adding 8″ behind the canopys with an all wood frame it will be more work if you do use the giant ARC P-51 but I think you’ll be able to handle it just fine.

  11. Brian Hamilton says:

    I built a F82 from 2 hanger 9 P51 arf kits and 2 saito 72 motors I flew it once it was destroyed in a garge fire along with 9 other planes If you would like pictures or addisanl info please ask




    email: GLFG@ shaw .ca

  12. David Kenny says:

    I have a “scratch built” F82B control line . Built it in 1983 and is still flying today! It has 2 MERCO 35s It flew at the Britsh Nationals in 1984 and still seen flying at Barton model flyong club’s site. One fault with joining two Mustangs is that the mustang’s fuselarge is shorter than the F52B so its not really a Twin fusang

    David Kenny Barton Model flying Club Lancashure

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