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Road to Top Gun — Mike Barbee — Grumman FM-2 Wildcat — Update

Road to Top Gun — Mike Barbee — Grumman FM-2 Wildcat — Update

No stranger to scale competition or the Top Gun Scale Invitational, Mike Barbee has been very busy in his workshop in progress putting together his newest Top Gun competition machine, the Grumman FM-2 Wildcat.

Road to Top Gun -- Mike Barbee -- Grumman FM-2 Wildcat

The stubby warbird is 30% scale, has a wingspan is 142 inches and a length of 94 inches. The landing gear is scale in function, is electric and features a chain drive just like the full-scale warbird, (minus the hand crank). Mike’s engine is a 3W 240cc twin cylinder engine with twin spark ignition. The paint is all Klass Kote and Mike says that this is his first ever camo paint job. The radio is a Futaba 18MZ with the S-Bus system controlling the servos. Operational features include a sliding canopy, functional tail hook and a tank drop. Mike also gives a lot of thanks for valuable help offered from Greg B. from the Fighter museum in England.

Road to Top Gun -- Mike Barbee -- Grumman FM-2 Wildcat

The retractable landing gear started as Robart unit that were a set Bob Walker had made for the first Wildcat pulled from Bob Patton’s molds. I fitted them up with Frigelli servos but the hard part was finding the correct gear ratio for the chain drive. Most of the parts came from McMaster Carr.

Road to Top Gun -- Mike Barbee -- Grumman FM-2 Wildcat

A separate 12 volt A123 battery and switch from Electro Dynamics drive the retracts. The scale wheels have brakes and 8-inch diameter tires, which Mike say he lifted from a powered wheel chair.

Road to Top Gun -- Mike Barbee -- Grumman FM-2 Wildcat


Updated: July 16, 2015 — 3:38 PM
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  1. Great work Mike. I cant wait to see it at the big show…

  2. Wow! What a workshop!

  3. Terrific! But that’s a GENERAL MOTORS, not a Grumman, FM-2. Grumman made the F4F, GM the FM-2 variant.

  4. Needs a “bullet” spinner or it isn’t accurate!

  5. Spinner on the way mikes shop is so cool my wife thinks I spend too much time there. philosophy is have a plan, don’t just make it good, just make it better than it was. Up close this bird is a work of art a must see!

  6. beautiful paint and panel job.

  7. Think I will go “stomp” all my stuff. That is gorgeous! Spectacular! A true work of art.

  8. There has been so many unanswered questions about S-bus. We would like to see actual pictures of electronics in a plane like this.

  9. Another beautiful piece of workmanship by a true ambassador to our hobby. Great job Mike!

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