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How-tos

From assembly secrets to repair tricks


Pro Tips for Laminating Balsa

Pro Tips for Laminating Balsa

As my online Build-Along for the Sopwith Camel continues, I recently did some lamination work on the top wing, and thought it would make a good How To. This technique has been used for decades but to a new generation of RC model builders might be worth explaining in detail. Here’s how I did. There’s […]
Shop Tip: Extending Landing Gear Axle Length

Shop Tip: Extending Landing Gear Axle Length

The stock hardware that comes with many of today’s ARF models is designed to do the job assigned and for the most part, they all get a passing grade for quality. If however you try adding accessories, the hardware may have to replaced or modified. An example of this is the new E/Z brake system […]
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Fuel systems for Giants — Update your gas tank

Fuel systems for Giants — Update your gas tank

During a recent rebuild project of a Ziroli 77-inch Stearman PT-17 biplane, I replaced the the fuel tank and plumbing with newer hardware. Here’s how to install a new gasoline fuel system in your plane. (Above.) For the Zenoah G-38 engine powering the Stearman, I chose to install a 20 oz. fuel tank. I also used […]
Troubleshooting Gas Engines

Troubleshooting Gas Engines

OK, so you’ve installed your gasoline engine properly, and made sure that the fuel tank is properly installed and the fuel lines and fuel filter are all hooked up correctly, but you still can’t get any fire in the hole—the engine just won’t start. As a safety note here, we always recommend using a properly sized heavy […]
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Fiberglassing Wings Made Easy

Fiberglassing Wings Made Easy

There are many ways to apply fiberglass cloth to a structure. The most common methods use either polyester or epoxy resin and catalysts. Some of the resins require unequal mix ratios, like 1 part epoxy to 2 parts hardener, which is difficult to measure accurately. I also dislike polyester resin because it really smells foul. […]
DIY Wood Model Stand

DIY Wood Model Stand

While some RC’ers like to use PVC pipe and fittings to make stands to transport their planes, I prefer to use my carpentry skills to make them out of wood. I have made several of these stands out of thin plywood and yellow pine boards and they hold up very well. I suppose the PVC […]
DIY Vacuum-Forming Machine

DIY Vacuum-Forming Machine

You know all those models you wanted to build, but did not attempt because they required a vacuum formed canopy? You remember reading about all manner of complicated vacuum formers that took a month to build and cost as much as a seven channel transmitter? Got $20.00 for materials, a few hand  tools and an […]
Exterior Details: Dummy Controls

Exterior Details: Dummy Controls

There’s an old saying that says “scale models are really never finished, you just stop adding details to them”! Each modeler has to decide for himself when enough is enough. For me, I enjoy adding  easy to see details to the top surfaces of the wings and control surfaces and in particular I add dummy control […]
Easy Custom Covering Scheme

Easy Custom Covering Scheme

Here’s how to add a checkerboard design to an already existing color scheme. I used the E-flite Shoestring and UltraCote covering. Because we are using heat shrink covering, this technique can be applied to any balsa covered ARF you have. This is especially useful for club events, such as fun-flys, club 40 racing, or in this […]
Perfect the Positive Snap Roll

Perfect the Positive Snap Roll

At the start of their flying careers, some pilots can only perform certain maneuvers from a particular direction. The proficient pilot, though, must be able to execute figures in all directions. Being able to apply corrective inputs in all directions, no matter what orientation the aircraft is in, is a critical skill. The positive snap […]
Painting Proper Scale Markings — Get the Stars-and-Bars right

Painting Proper Scale Markings — Get the Stars-and-Bars right

If you are one of many modelers who acquired an ARF-type model of an American airplane, the chance that its star-and-bar markings is correct is about one in 10. It’s sad but true. Among models built by usually careful modelers and displayed at meets, like the Toledo Show and Joe Nall, the situation is somewhat […]
Don’t cook your speed control!

Don’t cook your speed control!

Avoid these common power system mistakes Electric fliers all have one thing in common regardless of the size or type of models they fly—the electronic speed control (ESC). It doesn’t matter if you fly helicopters, airplanes, giant-scale, indoor, or micro models; at the heart of your power system is the speed control, and if it’s […]
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