Road to Top Gun: A 12-foot workshop Invader! With Video

Road to Top Gun: A 12-foot workshop Invader! With Video

A 26 invader with Ramon Medina, Master Builder web

Frankie Mirandes is no stranger to impressive scale aircraft and has been competing at the Top Gun Scale Invitational in Lakeland, FL for several years. For our upcoming “Road to Top Gun” special feature in Model Airplane News, Frankie was the first one to share his newest Top Gun 2013 project with us. Frankie says that taxi and flight testing are starting shortly.

The A-26 Invader will be test flown in primer first and then the detailing process will start after the airframe checks out as airworthy.  The A-26 was built using enlarged 1/8-scale Don Smith A-26 plans to produce the new 144 inch wing span version. It features traditional, all-wood construction being “glassed” with various fiberglass cloth weights, then it was primed with lacquer for a base finish. Ramón Medina is the builder with 1,700 hours into the project so far. Everything is custom built to match the real aircraft.  Twin Moki 150cc radial engines are used for power.  The retracts are custom designed and built and all JR radio gear is used for guidance. The engine cowling molds are being worked on now. The selected paint scheme will be “Brown Nose Bear” in Olive Drab finish.  Our plan is to use epoxy paint to complete scheme.

 Taxi Test

“Brown Nose Bear” A-26 Invader

A-26 Invader, brown nose

Updated: July 14, 2015 — 10:32 AM


  1. Very Impressive! Can’t wait to see the “Brown nose bear” scheme.

  2. Great! I was a pilot and flew the A/B-26 from 1954-56. My bird was one of the black ones used in Korea.

    1. My dad was a SSgt at Vance AFB ( 1952-1955) and kept the A-26’s flying for the training missions. I’ve got a couple of different A-26 projects, but haven’t settled on an individual plane. Can’t wait to see this one in the magazine at the Top Gun Scale meet.

    2. remanufactored B-26’s were used on the Trail at night in the vietnam war. Air Force changed the name to “Counter Invader”.

  3. This is an awesome job! Will be one to watch for sure. Good Luck!!!

  4. With all due respect what am I missing? You are spotlighting Frankie Mirandes “as no stranger to impressive scale aircraft” yet Ramon Medina is the builder?! Call me old fashioned but the artist is still the artist regardless of who commissioned the piece

    1. @ Tony. Since Top Gun allows builders and pilots to team up on airplane projects, it would be a good guess that Frankie and Ramon are going to fly in Team Scale. But it could also be one of the Pro/AM classes where there is no builder of the model rule, so will be interesting to find out at the event in May!

  5. Vary nice work. Big is better. Love the radial engines nothing but the best. Keep us posted on the test flights. How about a 35% Grumman F3F-1?

  6. It would be nice to see the actual builder as well as the “money man”.

  7. This is a great sample of the 26, but I still like my B24 and 30 seconds over you know where!
    They were great planes in World War II.

  8. I agree with Tony. I would rather learn from Ramon Medina, the builder, than the financier, Frankie Mirandes. However, as in nearly every other work in the world, the accolades goes to the CEO, a recognized celebrity in book writing or in this case the building of a A-26. At least, Ramon was mentioned in the article.

    1. Tony and Mike,

      Ramon Medina is the one in the photo ! He is the Master Builder and the team member who has the time available to accomplish such a massive project. He is retired now and he has planned his time right. You can also see, in one of the photos, Miriam. Ramon’s wife is another Team member… She is helping us during the balancing checks.

      To add to Gerry’s comments we will actually compete on the Unlimited category in Top Gun. It is a Team effort from start to finish. It takes a minimum of four to move all the equipment ready for the field.

      I need to thank, Frank Tiano for helping us during the entire process and the selection of such an inspirational project.

      For now; all I can tell you is that the twin moki’s sound great ! They do take you back to the 1940’s.

      Stay tune…

      Frankie Mirandes

      1. Thanks for the comments Frankie. I should have mentioned who was in the photo! My bad! I look forward to seeing you again at TG! Cheers!

  9. Great project! Best wishes!

  10. Very nice looking plane, seemingly excellent job.. I,ll be waiting for the flight test…Gregg senior…

  11. I do not understand people that buy an aircraft that somebody elese has built. I think we all understand the pride a builder has in his work, but I will never understand people who pay someone to do the work for them. Where is the fun in that?

    1. Hi Oscar. as you can see from Frankie’s comments, this is a team effort. We’re not talking about ARFs or sport planes, the level of expertise to design, build, finish and fly a Top Gun level aircraft (one that has a chance to win!) is a very complex project. I think you have to look past someone paying someone else to build, it is a team effort and the fun is having a good personal friend work with you to produce a one of a kind airplane. thanks for your comments

  12. those who can’t or are lousy at it provide sour grapes

  13. Looking Great I cant wait to see it in action

  14. Good luck with that beauty! Send flight videos when she takes the first leap with colors.

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