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1935 Curtiss Condor, from static model plans, 200%, converted to electric RC ...

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    #31
    Not good today, again, but I got some stuff done, just the same...
    Here's the undercarriage block glued in place, with a ply plate, held on with nylon bolts, clamping the legs....





    In the event of a major landing incident, I'd rather the nylon bolts sheared off, which may protect the rest of the fuselage. It's not much (and I'm hoping to get her down safely, if ever she flies, of course...); in any case, I think it's enough to keep the gear in place whilst taxiing and landing. That's the hope, at any rate.
    A servo session follows, working out how best to connect 'em to the control surfaces. I try a few things, but settle for 'dominoes' on the servo arms, and adjustable clevises at t'other end. Once the fuselage is covered, it'll be quite difficult (read 'impossible'..?) to access the servo arms, but as I've gone for carbon rod instead of piano wire, I can't do a 'Z'-bend there. I'm not fond of 'Z'-bends, anyway. Here's the 'kit of parts'...



    ... awaiting installation. The runs will cross, to get as straight a line as I can to the control horns. I'm not decided yet whether to make these, or use a pair of nylon ones I have on hand. I'll have a go tomorrow to see what I can drum up; the jigsaw may help to cut a shape from ply. More then, then...

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      #32
      Here's today's progress...
      I've got the dope pot out in order to apply tissue to the empennage, starting with the tailplane and elevator. The pictures I have show a rather dramatic Swiss airline livery of Royal Blue and Orange, so I'll be using my approximation of that. To this end, I'll use orange tissue, and will spray acrylic paint over that. The tissue will heighten the depth of colour. Here's the doped pieces, awaiting a second coat...



      The photo shows a much more lurid orange than reality (it's a bit tern, even, with milky streaks from the doping, which will disappear with the second coat. However, the paint I've got for this is, in fact, fluorescent orange, so it will, in daylight, really resemble this photo..! T'will be visible in the sky, I reckon..!
      Meanwhile, I turn to the upper wing. Here's the provision for the strut tabs, with an 'exploded view' to the left, and the first rib doubler being glued in place...



      The clamps are placed where the square spacers are glued in, leaving a slot for the tab, which will be glued in later, after covering and painting.
      As for the covering, this is my roll of laminating film, from which I'm measuring out and cutting a seven-inch piece for a panel...



      I have stuff delivered from places such as Hobbyking; they use different box sizes, depending on the order. These come in very handy for working on when the dihedral prevents laying the wing down flat ...



      This is the filmed wing...





      Yes, I know that it doesn't show; it's transparent, you fool..! Eerily so, in fact; I have to be careful how I handle it to not poke my fingers through it (although it's pretty darned tough...). One mistake, when I left the heat-gun a little too long (or too close...) on one spot, and melted a hole, but it was easily patched in similar fashion to a bicycle puncture. I'll start doping the tissue on, maybe this evening, maybe tomorrow; we'll see.
      That's all for now, then. I've much left to do on the fuselage (mounting the engine nacelles, finishing the nose, placing the ESC's, fixing the control rods...), and it's possible I'll not get this finished for the end of month, but I'll try, without rushing things. Our daughter and the Littl'un will be over for their Christmas on the 21st, so I'm aiming to have it ready for then, as I'll be busy afterwards. Suspense, eh..?

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        #33
        This is the start of the covering of the upper wing, starting with the underside of the centre panel ...



        ... and finishing with the covering complete...



        Again, the colour is not as perky as that under workshop lights, but that's about to change..! Here's my make-shift spray booth, and the first coat of Fluorescent Orange now drying on the tailplane. For comparison, the elevator to the right is yet to be sprayed...



        It doesn't show up well in my photos, but the fluo adds quite some 'peps' to the piece. Once the two wings are done, the 'plane should be visible, at least..!
        Whilst this is drying, I get on with the motor mounts...



        Again, it's difficult to get decent pictures (well, not for studio photographers, but for dummies such as I ...), but the rods sticking upwards are, in fact, bamboo skewers being glued into the motor mount disks. These are perched on transparent bottle tops, simply as support. Once set, these skewers will be threaded through the wings, between the spars, such that the disks protrude forwards from the LE. I'll then build the rear of the nacelles back from the disks to the trailing edge, probably in 'turtle deck' fashion.
        I'm preparing cowlings to slip over the motor mounts (made from the lower part of the bottle tops in the photo above...). By a rare coincidence, the bottles have mouldings at their bottom, nine in all. I believe that the Condor had nine-cylinder radial engines, at least in some versions, so I've started to paint these cylinders on the inside of the nacelles. The cowlings are white at the front, then blue, like the fuselage. Here's the nacelles so far...



        ... I'll do the blue once the motor mounts are in place, so as to not have the paint too scratched up by trying them for fit.
        Enough for today; more tomorrow...

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          #34
          It's hotting up (well it's still quite chilly, really; maybe 'Things are snowballing' would be more appropriate..?). Here's today's events, then, in order of appearance...
          I wanted a steerable tail wheel, but couldn't attach it to the rudder, as I had to modify its geometry to fit with the elevators. I found, instead, a moderately-priced servo-driven assembly, so took the risk of getting one. Its tail wheel and axis, although looking to be very stout, are too far from proportion to be useful to me, however, I already had a suitable tail wheel, which lends itself quite well enough to adaption. This is the unit being fitted to a balsa platform...



          ... which is then in turn glued into the rear of the fuselage...



          I may have to extend the wiring a little, or maybe use a 'Y'-cable to couple with the rudder servo. I ran a simulation of the two together, using my little servo tester, to be sure that turning left rudder corresponds to turning left taxiing. Just as well, as the installation of the rudder servo had to be reversed; I don't know if it's easy (or indeed, possible...) to reverse a servo's movement, which would have been ideal, but it's looking good for now.
          While that's clamped up, I can get a bit more done on the nose section (or, as I like to think of it, the 'snout'...). I followed advice and re-thought my notching, making a simpler version by using double-sided tape to attach two hacksaw blades together. I added a third blade at one end, and cut the notches in the upper and lower formers with little difficulty. I'll make the tool again though, I think, as the teeth have to be perfectly level to get a good clean cut. Never mind, it worked well. Once cut, the stringers were glued in place, and held to the curve required by a series of elastic bands...





          The pins are there to hold a shim in place on one middle former, to match the curve required. Bad cutting on my part or a faulty trace of the plan..? Dunno, but the shim will be fine.
          Again, this has to dry, so I take on another task; that of spraying the upper wing with the same orange fluo acrylic as the tailplane. Another spray booth is improvised, using a cardboard box, fortuitously delivered yesterday morning. This is a photo of the wing before painting...



          ... and after ...



          Again, the photos don't really show the true effect, but you can at least see that there is a difference..!

          During this time, the tail wheel assembly is ready, so I can embark on another major enterprise: the fitting of the motors to the wings. This will be done in stages, with some degree of improvisation as we go along, as I don't have a definitive 'road map' of how to do this. I do realise, however, that I'll need a lot of flexibility in the placing of the ESC's, as the C of G will not be easily adjusted solely by moving the Lipo. I had wanted to build the ESC's into the wings, inside the innermost panel, but that's not going to be feasible.
          Wherever the ESC's end up, I need to extend the motor wires; by a nice coincidence I'm able to cannibalise an old server chassis for its cabling, which happen to correspond to the motor wires colour coding. Deliberately overly long, these are soldered to the existing cabling and heat-shrunk, then carefully threaded though the wing ribs, profiting from the holes through which the stack of ribs was bolted when they were created...





          As can be seen, the motor mount skewers thread through the wing spars; they will be bound and glued with strong twine and Gorilla Glue, once I've got the line of thrust sorted out. I'll do that using the tried and tested method of That Looks About Right (TLAR...), fixing the alignements by means of the rear nacelle shaping. I'm still pondering the exact method for that, but it's getting closer.
          Having got this far, the usual urge to see how the whole thing is going is too tempting to resist. Only loosely fitted out, of course, but the overall concept seems to be taking form...





          It's encouraging, and a very much-needed morale boost, to be able to recognise the craft and have confirmation that some of the choices made thus far are paying off. We're far from flight, of course, but, step by step...

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