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Author Topic: Top Flite Form-Flite Thunderbolt 18"  (Read 2480 times)

Offline goozgog

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Top Flite Form-Flite Thunderbolt 18"
« on: April 16, 2018, 12:15:51 PM »
   This build is an extension of my molded balsa replica of a
Cox plastic Spitfire, so it might be worth looking at again.

https://stunthanger.com/smf/12-a-building/cox-spitfire-replica-build-flight-video/

   The Top Flite molded balsa 1/2A kits were the "other" planes
we kids flew instead of Muscianos  They were called Form-Flight
by Top Flite. They featured a molded balsa fuselage and wing
that was reasonably easy for kids to assemble. The line
included a Hellcat, a Zero and the Thunderbolt.
Information about these planes is scarce.
Until now.

Here is my previous thread looking for information.

https://stunthanger.com/smf/12-a-building/12a-top-flight-molded-thunderbolt-zero-ect/msg106092/#msg106092

  For some reason, the P-47 I had as a twelve year old has
been in the back of my mind recently. The weather has been horrific
this weekend so in a fit of boredom I was wandering through Ebay
and VOILA! The vendor of this original kit is asking $165.00 for it.
WAY beyond my reasons for having one but they are displaying
very good pictures of the kit parts. More than enough to design
an accurate replica.

   As you can see from the pictures, the big deal here is molding
the fuselage. The technique I used for the Spitfire worked brilliantly
and this  P-47 is a much easier design to consider.

   The first thing to do was to trace the outlines from the Ebay
pictures using Adobe Illustrator.  This was the usual problem of
straightening the photo parallax and averaging the bulkheads.
I know the span is 18" so I used that as a base measurement.
 I'm sure that I'm very close with the other sizes but the printed
outlines on the balsa kit are inside the die cuts by about 1/16".
Lots of fiddling to get the plans to the cuts. Not the ink lines.

   I printed out the "plans" full size on 8-1/2 x 11" paper and
used them to carve a pinewood plug to mold the fuselage.
  Getting the shape to match the kit was easy since Top Flite
simplified the shape. It's simple and symmetrical.
  Obviously they used this same fuselage for the Zero.
So, this was a very slim P-47 or a slightly tubby Zeke!

  Flying season is upon us so progress will be slow, but I
will try to post pictures of each step.
If anyone is excited about this plane, I could mail you
a the outlines.

Cheers! - K.


« Last Edit: May 18, 2018, 02:45:00 PM by goozgog »
Keith Morgan


Offline Chancey Chorney

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Re: Top Flight Form-Flight Thunderbolt 18"
« Reply #1 on: April 16, 2018, 06:25:53 PM »
Nice little plane you got started there. As never seen or touched anything like this before, you do actually have to carve out a fuselage for a build like this? And by the looks of it, is that a piece of 2 x 4?

Offline goozgog

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Re: Top Flight Form-Flight Thunderbolt 18"
« Reply #2 on: April 17, 2018, 01:36:39 AM »
Hello Chancey.

    Yup! It is a piece of pine from a 2x4.
What you're seeing is the plug that the wet balsa
is molded over.
   There is no carving involved with these planes.
The heaviest wood is 1/16" balsa.

 The picture might help to explain it better.

  Basically, the idea is to soak the balsa in hot water
for ten minutes then position it on the plug and
wrap it with a tensor bandage. I buy mine at the
dollar store.
   The 1/16" balsa will bend easily over the plug
but wind the bandage as tightly as possible.
Be careful ( ! ) to keep the windings  flat or
the edges of the bandage will bruise the wood.
The picture shows that I wasn't careful enough.
  The thing seems to dry in a day but putting it
on a forced air heat register speeds it up.

  One mistake I made was cutting a notch in
the plug where the horizontal stabilizer attaches.
This makes it difficult to get the bandage winding
even. It makes more sense to leave the plug
symmetrical and cut the flat area after the two
sides are joined.  I will be repairing the notch
on the plug before I mold more sides.

  Top Flite was very cagey with this design.
The entire plane can be made with just two
sheets of 1/16" x 3" x 36" balsa and a 2" x 1.5"
piece of ply.
That was probably important when your customers
are paying with dimes and nickles hoarded over
months. VERY slim profit margins!
« Last Edit: April 17, 2018, 11:42:20 AM by goozgog »
Keith Morgan

Offline Chancey Chorney

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Re: Top Flight Form-Flight Thunderbolt 18"
« Reply #3 on: April 17, 2018, 11:54:39 AM »
Neat, very neat. Thanks for the detail and explaining how it's done. I guess it is a good way to get a nice light full fuse model. I will be watching this with interest.

Offline goozgog

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Re: Top Flight Form-Flight Thunderbolt 18"
« Reply #4 on: April 17, 2018, 04:36:12 PM »
   I'm starting to feel like this plane is closer to
origami than model aircraft building.
The wing relies on the curve of the leading edge
to add rigidity, just like a hard fold does in origami.
  Maybe Top Flite used 3/32" for the wing. The only
reason I think it's 1/16" is because as a kid I thought
"Wow. It's only made out of 1/16 !
I might have been wrong.

  Anyway, the picture shows the form I ripped on the
table saw to mold the wing over. It cut nice and
straight and was easy to sand to a decent curve
but the balsa could probably be molded over any
curved object like a banister or a hot water tank.
  You can just see the tip of the wing poking out
from under the wrappings. After it dried It came away
stiffer and straight. I think I will apply the  Silk Span
with the wing still on the form, hoping the dope and
paper make it more rigid.  I pretty sure it will work.

  As kids, we just assembled the plane with Ambroid,
then mixed our mother's talcum powder with her
clear nail polish and sealed the wood before smearing
on some of that terrible Pactra dope.
   My mother hated me playing with model airplanes.
This new version will have Silk Span on all surfaces.
That should be stronger than the planes of my
delinquent youth.
Keith Morgan

Offline goozgog

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Re: Top Flite Form-Flite Thunderbolt 18"
« Reply #5 on: April 18, 2018, 12:45:52 PM »
The weather is awful, so I'm trying to distract myself
from everything that I should be doing this week.

Knowing that I would be using the forms to accurately
assemble the parts with CyA, I rubbed them with a
candle and heated it into the pine with my hot air gun.
So far the CyA hasn't glued the balsa to the forms.

 The fuselage is going exactly to plan.
  The dry shells naturally cling to the plug, so I just
overlap the edges and cut through both layers to get
a perfect seam. I stitched the edges together with
CyA and the seam between the halves disappeared.
I checked that the plug would slide out and the
candle wax worked perfectly, so I pushed it back in
and doped on a layer of medium silkspan, built up a
few layers of butyrate dope and rubbed it out with
#600 wet & dry.
 Working on the plug makes everything easy since it
holds the delicate shells straight and sanding and polishing
are much quicker. It will also make aligning the wing
and stabilizer completely logical.
  In the picture the fuselage shell is ready for final dope
and weighs 0.3 oz or 9 gms.

  I wish I could say that the wing is going well.
It isn't.
  I waxed the pine form before I positioned and sanded
the wing. Two coats of Nitrate dope, then medium silkspan
that I laid on wet to the top side, brushing more Nitrate
through the paper.
It looked good, at first, but as it dried it lost it's shape and
warped.
What to do?
  I know I want paper on both sides of the wing, so I
soaked the uncovered balsa side and re-wrapped the wing
back on the form with the paper side down. It took the curve
easily but I will know better after it has dried.

  The molded fuselage and thin wing are what makes this
a real Form-Flite plane but maybe the thing to do is cheat
by using a 1/4" thick wing like on Muscianos or build a
"Spread fingers" wing like I used on the Spitfire.

Cheers!

« Last Edit: April 19, 2018, 11:38:53 AM by goozgog »
Keith Morgan

Offline Chancey Chorney

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Re: Top Flight Form-Flight Thunderbolt 18"
« Reply #6 on: April 18, 2018, 02:10:59 PM »
That's amazing, and very cool. I did not think it would go back on the 'plug' for assembly, and never would have thought that you would be able to get it back out. Just when I thought your coroplast PT-19 I built was cool, you topped it!

Offline goozgog

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Top Flight Form-Flight Thunderbolt Build
« Reply #7 on: April 19, 2018, 11:25:35 AM »
Thanks for the encouragement Chancey!

   As I'm playing on this plane I'm suffering
waves of Work Ethic guilt.  The fact that it is so
much a toy isn't helping.

  Anyway....
 
  The picture shows that the wing turned out
OK after all. Even after several coats of butyrate,
it starts to warp when the next coat is applied.
Holding it down on the form as it dries did result in
a straight and reasonably stiff wing..
   The under cambered "foil"  looks like it belongs
on a 1911 Bleriot, not a P-47.  The leading edge
curves down way farther than my instincts can ignore,
but it is very close to the original so I have to trust that.

  The original Form-Flites had a divot taken out of the
bottom of the fuselage for mounting the wing and controls.
That might have been best for fumble fingered kids ( like I was)
but , as the picture shows, I have extended the wing slot
out past the firewall and will slide everything in from the front.
The test fits show that it works well and I won't need to
cut up my beautiful "Taco Shell" fuselage.

The air frame as shown weighs 1.4 oz (38 gm) with the controls,
and a Baby Bee weighs 2.1 oz (61 gm) with the prop, so 
I think this will be finished at less than five Oz.
Not bad at all.  :-)
Keith Morgan

Offline Chancey Chorney

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Re: Top Flight Form-Flight Thunderbolt 18"
« Reply #8 on: April 19, 2018, 03:16:03 PM »
Wow, you're just truckin' along on that one. I wish I had the energy to build something that fast. Besides the Man-Win Trainers I built, honestly the quickest thing I built was your Coro PT-19! I wish I was closer so I could see this in person, and maybe build one too. As usual, keep up the good work!

Just a question regarding the wing. As you state you applied your dope then put it back on the mold, is it safe to assume that you put wax paper or something to cover the surfaces to protect them from the wing sticking?

Offline goozgog

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Re: Top Flight Form-Flight Thunderbolt 18"
« Reply #9 on: April 19, 2018, 05:26:21 PM »
Hey Chancey! 
You might be the only person watching, so thanks!

   With both the fuselage plug and the wing form,
I rubbed them with a candle , then melted the wax
into the pine with my heat gun. I did this about
three times before I used them to glue things
straight. CyA doesn't seem to stick to paraffin...

 Hope you're flying season comes soon. We're
still thawing out here with lots of snow on the
ground.
  The Beavers are planning our first session this
weekend if the weather forecast is true.

Cheers! - K.
Keith Morgan

Offline kenneth cook

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Re: Top Flight Form-Flight Thunderbolt 18"
« Reply #10 on: April 19, 2018, 05:31:35 PM »
          I'm watching as well and very interested. I have the larger Top Flite P-47 and all of the others with the exception of one in that line of pre formed line. Ken

Offline 944_Jim

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Re: Top Flight Form-Flight Thunderbolt 18"
« Reply #11 on: April 19, 2018, 08:26:30 PM »
I'm watching too!  I have a fondness for puny models.

Offline Chancey Chorney

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Re: Top Flight Form-Flight Thunderbolt 18"
« Reply #12 on: April 19, 2018, 11:05:23 PM »
Hey Chancey! 

 Hope you're flying season comes soon. We're
still thawing out here with lots of snow on the
ground.
  The Beavers are planning our first session this
weekend if the weather forecast is true.

Cheers! - K.

Hey there. There is now minimal snow here, and the weather has finally smartened up at the end of my holidays! As for flying, the field/park I fly at here at home is soggy and a bit of snow left, but at the cottage where I do most of my flying at last report was still covered (talked to neighbour last week and was told could not get in my driveway yet). Anyways, while doing a big spring cleaning here today, I pulld these out of hibernation. Will be bench running these hopefully this weekend if time permits. Ther may be a couple of things you might recognize in the picture (bad picture, but one of the things is mounted on the 'Platter')..... ;D

Offline Chancey Chorney

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Re: Top Flight Form-Flight Thunderbolt 18"
« Reply #13 on: April 19, 2018, 11:06:32 PM »
Forgot to add I hope the weather co-operates for you this weekend too.

Offline Steve Berry

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Re: Top Flight Form-Flight Thunderbolt 18"
« Reply #14 on: April 20, 2018, 09:14:54 AM »
I've been following this thread, as well. Excellent craftsmanship. Just one thing - could you show some detail on the landing gear attachment to the wing?

Offline john e. holliday

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Re: Top Flight Form-Flight Thunderbolt 18"
« Reply #15 on: April 20, 2018, 11:43:57 AM »
The old DOC has been watching this thread and am amazed at the quality of work you are doing.  I vaguely remember those old kits, but like others the price was a little steep for a young kid. D>K
I was always taught to respect my elders, but it keeps getting harder to find one.
Today I broke my personal record for most consecutive days lived.
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Offline goozgog

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Re: Top Flight Form-Flight Thunderbolt 18"
« Reply #16 on: April 21, 2018, 01:04:05 PM »
Hello Doc, Steve and Chancey!

   Doc.  I'm pretty sure we met at Brodak's a few years
back.
   Of course, everyone meets everyone at Brodak's.   y1
I'm planning on being there for the 2018 edition.
Hope to see you there again sometime.

  Steve, I'm attaching a picture of the underside of
the wing and another of the inside of the fuselage.
  The plane is pulled apart so everything looks bad
and off angle. It gets tidied up during final assembly!

  You can see how the L/G wire is just wedged against
strips of 1/16 glued to the underside of the wing.
The Top Flite kits supplied cotton gauze to attach
the wire to the wing with glue.
I remember that it worked OK.
   If you look at the second picture, you can see the
ends of the wire poking up through the pine block
attached to the wing. Not exactly like the kit but the
landing gear is identical and it works the same way.

  You can also see the bell crank made from two layers
of "credit cards"... Actually Wal-Mart gift cards.
This has worked great for me on other projects.
Cheap, easy and available. Just scrape the card with
a knife to remove the graphics and laminate together
with CyA.

  I've made the Bottle Trick canopy and it looks good!
I still haven't learned a good way to attach canopies
made from pop bottles. I'll probably do something
with epoxy.

Chancey!  It looks to me that the Enya has found
a happy home. Hope it's giving good service!

Cheers! - K.
Keith Morgan

Offline Chancey Chorney

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Re: Top Flight Form-Flight Thunderbolt 18"
« Reply #17 on: April 21, 2018, 07:34:01 PM »
Nice little update. I like the credit/gift card for a bellcrank. Never would have thought of it, and, even if I did, I would not have had enough brains to think of laminating it! I am however shocked that CA would bond it that well. I would have thought epoxy, but you do know what you are doing and have done so in the past. Glad I always keep my hotel keys and gift cards.....

Yes, the little Enya has found herself a nice happy place on the 'Platter'. I had a goal of running it today, however I had many problems. I wanted to get my new 'Aircar' out on teh road for a test run today. All my glow starters were dead, flight box 12V batteries dead..... So, I did charge them up a bit to get things going. However, my MDS .40 engine I have on it does not run properly or well. I had tried a long time to get it running right as well as took it to a very knowledgable flieer locally, and on here, to give me a hand. Even then we could not get a good solid running engine. These were known for having carburetor problems. So, until I can find a used carb to fit this engine, I will be throwing it in the corner. Kinda saddening, but that's the way the way the cookie crumbles! So with that said, I am now looking forward to running the Enya tomorrow, and if all goes well, even a couple of Cox engines too!


Offline 944_Jim

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Re: Top Flight Form-Flight Thunderbolt 18"
« Reply #18 on: April 21, 2018, 08:01:04 PM »
  I've made the Bottle Trick canopy and it looks good!
I still haven't learned a good way to attach canopies
made from pop bottles. I'll probably do something
with epoxy.

I like stuff I find at Michael's called E6000. It feels and smells almost like clear silicone glue. It dries clear, cleans up by rubbing off just before it cures completely, and appears fuel proof.

I've used it several times for canopies. And it has found it's way under the engine cowls of my Dave Cowell Scientific reproductions.
I needed to repair my son's Typhoon engine (Cox Babe Bee) after several flights. It took some force to rip the engine cowl off. Enough effort was expended that the original cowl had to be replaced.

PS: I love the credit card bellcrank idea! What do you use to bush the bellcrank? Or do you let it ride right on the mounting screw?
Thanks in advance!

Offline goozgog

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Re: Top Flight Form-Flight Thunderbolt 18"
« Reply #19 on: April 26, 2018, 10:08:25 AM »
THANK YOU JIM!

   I went to  Michael's  and asked a sales woman
if they had E-6000. She enthusiastically told me how
she uses it for everything. A rave review!
  I did a test, as the picture shows, and gave it
90 minutes before I tried to pull it apart.
Wow!
This stuff is strong.
This is the final piece in the canopy making puzzle!
 
Cheers! - K.
Keith Morgan

Offline 944_Jim

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Re: Top Flight Form-Flight Thunderbolt 18"
« Reply #20 on: April 26, 2018, 09:07:38 PM »
Hey, I've seen that bottle trick somewhere before!

90 minutes, and it was stuck tight? I've been a bit of chicken. I usually wait over night. The good part is that I've used it directly on butyrate doped areas. As long as the dope is dried/cured ( again, overnight-chicken), the E6000 will hold your parts.

I did notice it will deform styrene plastic if enough is used on engine cowls. But it doesn't negatively affect bottle plastic.

Should you need to remove the part, then once removed E6000 will rub off like really tough rubber cement...as long as you start from an edge, not the middle of the "puddle."

I'm digging this build! It may be time for me to graduate up from profile fuselages!

Offline goozgog

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Re: Top Flight Form-Flight Thunderbolt 18"
« Reply #21 on: May 10, 2018, 08:20:50 AM »
Bottle Trick Cowling

   I'm feeling guilty that posting this will bump
this post to the top again.
I promise, no more bumping until the P-47 is
finished.

  So, when we were kids, we couldn't keep
the plastic cowls on these planes. Top
Flite supplied a top and bottom clam shell
cowl that was just too hard to glue together.
It was a universal shape that would look much
more correct on the Hellcat.

  So, as usual when I don't know what to do,
I went back to the Thunderbolt reference and
since I'm sort of faking this cowl, I decided that
I have to have the wide at the top and narrower
at the bottom front opening that was so typical
of P-47's.

  The usual easy to carve plug out of pine
using lots of pencil lines to keep it straight.
  I tried using a 2 liter coke bottle and melting
the plastic with the plug sideways but it couldn't
shrink that far.  I tried again with a 16oz soft
drink bottle and it shrunk down perfectly.
 
  I'm using a Baby Bee on this plane since
that's what I had as a kid, but there's room
for just about any Cox.
   I used the engine to mark the hole positions
on the plug then push the plastic cowl back
onto it and marked the holes..  Everything is
nice and accurate.

  So, now I had to do paint and engine tests.
Dope doesn't seem to stick to this plastic
unless I rough it up with 200 wet & dry paper.
I know Rustolem will adhere but I'll wet sand it
anyway.

  As the picture shows, I mounted the .049 and
the new cowl on the plug and did a couple of
engine runs to see if the heat would warp the
plastic.  I was using 35% nitro. This engine is
the type with the narrow slotted exhaust ports.
I don't know if that makes any difference, but the
cowl was completely undamaged by the four
minutes of running.
Time will tell, but this seems like a good way to make
semi scale cowls.

  I won't be finishing this plane until after Brodak's,
then I'll see if it flies!.

Cheers!
Keith Morgan

Offline 944_Jim

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Re: Top Flight Form-Flight Thunderbolt 18"
« Reply #22 on: May 10, 2018, 11:45:20 AM »
I'm digging this build!

I'll be curious to see how well dope sticks to the bottle plastic. Will you prime with something more appropriate and then top coat with dope? I ask, because I've seen dope stick only OK to styrene plastic if sprayed lighly enough to not melt the styrene.

And bump away! This plane is really looking good!

« Last Edit: May 10, 2018, 08:36:30 PM by Jim Matos »

Offline john e. holliday

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Re: Top Flight Form-Flight Thunderbolt 18"
« Reply #23 on: May 10, 2018, 12:26:27 PM »
We have some amazing minds on this forum.  I would have never thought of using the plastic bottle method for making a cowl.  Have made several canopies.   Will also need to go get some of that glue also.    Thanks.
I was always taught to respect my elders, but it keeps getting harder to find one.
Today I broke my personal record for most consecutive days lived.
John E. "DOC" Holliday
10421 West 56th Terrace
Shawnee, KANSAS  66203
AMA 23530

Offline Chancey Chorney

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Re: Top Flight Form-Flight Thunderbolt 18"
« Reply #24 on: May 10, 2018, 09:53:52 PM »
Wow. The bird is looking better and better each time I see it! Your build quality is great, and I very much enjoy seeing your updates. And I am sure that many others do as well. Please don't feel guilty for this getting bumped up to the top. That is what the build thread is for, and things like this give me some inspiration to try to build something that looks good, rather than my simple all sheet planes. I have yet to try my hand at a full fuselage 1/2a plane.

Offline Chancey Chorney

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Re: Top Flight Form-Flight Thunderbolt 18"
« Reply #25 on: May 10, 2018, 09:55:10 PM »
Almost forgot to add that your cowl looks amazing. Heck, if I could ever pull one like that off, I would probably not want to paint it!

Offline goozgog

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Re: Top Flight Form-Flight Thunderbolt 18"
« Reply #26 on: May 11, 2018, 04:41:54 AM »
Thanks for the encouragement guys!

  I should have said that I used my cheap
Chinese "dremel" tool with a 1/2" drum
sander to make the holes in the cowling.
This plastic is not easy to work with, but
it's so cheap and easy that two or three
attempts are no big deal.
  I'll probably make another cowl for the plane.
I think I can do better.

  I'm planning on buying silver dope and
decals at Brodak's. I would normally use
the Testor's water slide decal paper.  I have
drawn the file but my printer is out of colored
ink.

  This plane and the Spitfire is making
me consider a full blown 1/2A stunter.
The Spitfire flies so well because it's light, but
the flat bottomed wing prohibits inverted flight.
   I'm thinking about a plane just slightly smaller
than Larry Renger's Chipmunk, but with a fuselage
like the P-47 but longer and a built up, symmetrical
wing. I bet I could keep it under 10 oz. Maybe 
  It should probably have flaps just to make it look serious. ( ? )
  I have a very nice TD .049, but maybe a Black Widow
would be more interesting. ( ? )
  It will have to wait until next winter anyway.. 

Cheers! - K.
Keith Morgan

Offline Dennis Adamisin

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Re: Top Flight Form-Flight Thunderbolt 18"
« Reply #27 on: May 12, 2018, 07:43:43 AM »
Hey Gooz

Looks like your P-47 is well above and beyond the TF kit that inspired it.  Fabulous work, and lots of ideas.  Keep posting so I can keep copying..!
Denny Adamisin
Fort Wayne, IN

"The good old days weren't always so good, tomorrow ain't as bad as it seems..."
- Billy Joel

Offline goozgog

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Re: Top Flight Form-Flight Thunderbolt 18"
« Reply #28 on: May 13, 2018, 01:34:11 PM »
Thanks Dennis.
"Praise from Caesar!"  y1

Jim, I'll probably wet sand the cowl
before I spray on some automotive primer,
then cover it with Butyrate silver dope.
If that doesn't work, then rougher sandpaper
and just silver dope.
We shall see. 
         
  I've learned with my rubbed out epoxy
fuselages that dope doesn't adhere to
shiny.  It needs some dullness to stick to.

Cheers! - K
Keith Morgan

Online Dan McEntee

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Re: Top Flight Form-Flight Thunderbolt 18"
« Reply #29 on: May 13, 2018, 01:38:48 PM »
  I would like to see more pics of how you did the cowling.  It looks pretty nice as is and will get better as you finish it.
   Thanks a lot,
    Dan McEntee
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Offline goozgog

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Re: Top Flight Form-Flight Thunderbolt 18"
« Reply #30 on: May 13, 2018, 06:08:05 PM »
Hello Dan,
               We were talking about you at the
circle today and how well you land 1/2A's.
   If I remember it correctly, you said to keep low
as the engine is about to quit then to put the plane
on the ground ASAP when it stops. Just let it roll out,
even if it's still going fast.
Do I have that right?

  I'll dig up some 16oz soft drink bottles and
take some pictures of how it works, but seriously,
it's very easy using the smaller bottles.

Good to hear from you Dan.


Keith Morgan

Offline 944_Jim

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Re: Top Flight Form-Flight Thunderbolt 18"
« Reply #31 on: May 13, 2018, 06:36:40 PM »
There is a skinnier-than-most water bottle in stores. The sides are free of textures, the top is smoothly curved, and the bottom rolls into the flat pretty quickly. The heat-shrunk label peels off easily. There is no pronounced seam line on the bottle.
I want to say the bottle is about 2.25" diameter. Great for building a tight fitting buck inside of. Then a big heat source causes the bottle to shrink around the buck. Cut off excess to free your important part.
The trick is to assemble any buck inside so that you minimize bottle shrinkage...it either scorches or turns white and hard. Any localized heating will cause uneven shrinkage. Shrink the side opposite your workspace first. That helps pull the material around the buck with the remaining shrinkage AND shape development in the prime location (your part).
This is one of those things that take some practice and testing/development.
I can't remember the name, but ISTR carbonation like Perrier. I got the last two at my local Air Base  BX. Oh yeah, the water is fine too.

Online Dan McEntee

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Re: Top Flight Form-Flight Thunderbolt 18"
« Reply #32 on: May 13, 2018, 10:56:32 PM »
Hello Dan,
               We were talking about you at the
circle today and how well you land 1/2A's.
   If I remember it correctly, you said to keep low
as the engine is about to quit then to put the plane
on the ground ASAP when it stops. Just let it roll out,
even if it's still going fast.
Do I have that right?

  I'll dig up some 16oz soft drink bottles and
take some pictures of how it works, but seriously,
it's very easy using the smaller bottles.

Good to hear from you Dan.

      I guess that is why my ears were burning today??? I guess you are talking about the video of me flying my Cox Stuka and Super Cub on You Tube. When I flew the Stuka, I had no idea of how it was gonna handle when the engine quit. I was expecting it to fall out of the sky and was getting ready to whip it. But it actually had a better glide than I could imagine, so just did the classic bit of down elevator and about a foot off the ground tried to flair it into a three pijt landing and was successful both times that day. Basically the sae with the Cub. It's time to get those back out again and get a few more ready t o fly also, like a P-40, Skyraider and maybe a Spitfire. It has been a weird spring here in St. Louis. We had accumulating snow on April 16th, and the past 2 days have been very windy and over 90 degrees! We had better flying weather in February! I'll be watching for more on the P-47. I have the line of the profile kits but none of the full body models Top Flite made.
   Thanks a lot,
   Dan McEntee
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Offline goozgog

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Re: Top Flight Form-Flight Thunderbolt 18"
« Reply #33 on: May 15, 2018, 07:03:08 AM »
  Hey Dan. Yup! your videos show just how
well a plastic Cox plane can be flown and your
technique is worth studying.

  As requested, here is a more complete
description of how I'm making these cowls.
I hope Sparky doesn't mind all the pictures!

The first picture shows 16 0z bottle before
shrinking. It really does need the smaller bottles
for these cowls.

  The ugly red thing is a Rustolem paint test
using the shrunken cut off from the first cowl.
It adhered OK, but wet sanding the cowl before
painting makes it stick much better.

  The piece of plywood is an "Extractor" I cut
on my flea market scroll saw. It makes the
cowl much easier to remove from the plug.
Trace around the base of the plug and cut
inside that line. It needs to be reasonably
accurate to push on the thin edge of the
shrunken cowl.

  You can see the pencil guides I drew on the
plug that I will use to mark the openings after
shrinking. BTW..  Make the plug longer than
you need by about 1/2.

The second picture shows how loose the
plug is in the bottle. Line up the bottle's
seams and lines where you want them before
you shrink.
  Jim Matos is correct about (usually) wanting to
fill the empty space in the bottle with wood pieces
to reduce the amount of shrinkage needed, but
not in this case. Notice how the piece of wood
that is holding the plug is smaller than the bottom
edge of the plug. This is necessary to get a tight
fit.

Picture Three shows the plug captured in the
shrunken bottle. It did need some serious heat
to get the sides to pull up tight but it worked OK.
   It's hard to see in this picture, but I scribed
the plastic with a #11 blade using the pencil
marks as a guide. It makes it easier to accurately
grind out the openings with the little drum sander
once the cowl is off the plug.

Picture Four shows the scribe marks and how
I used the extractor. Because the cowl needs to be
put on and off the plug for trimming and sanding,
the extractor is a good idea. It might not be
necessary but I recommend taking the time to
cut one.

Cheers! - K.
Keith Morgan

Offline john e. holliday

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Re: Top Flight Form-Flight Thunderbolt 18"
« Reply #34 on: May 15, 2018, 11:45:37 AM »
Thanks for the lesson .   May have to try that on a plane soon. H^^
I was always taught to respect my elders, but it keeps getting harder to find one.
Today I broke my personal record for most consecutive days lived.
John E. "DOC" Holliday
10421 West 56th Terrace
Shawnee, KANSAS  66203
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Offline Chancey Chorney

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Re: Top Flight Form-Flight Thunderbolt 18"
« Reply #35 on: May 15, 2018, 05:25:58 PM »
Wow. Very well done tutorial. I knew there was some work involved in making a cowl, but I now see the more time and effort put forth in teh beginning can pay off well in the end. Thanks for the tutorial!

Offline goozgog

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Re: Top Flite Form-Flite Thunderbolt 18"
« Reply #36 on: May 19, 2018, 08:04:05 AM »
     It's a rainy Saturday here in the North East.
Canceling the Joe Nall must have been a tough call.
I am so grateful that I didn't have to make that decision.

Phew!              HB~>


   I don't expect anyone to get excited about these
little metal lead outs that I distinctly remember from
50 years ago, (!) but I'm showing them as part of
the record of how these planes were designed.

  I think Top Flite found these eyes in a catalogue  of
electrical connectors and bent them to serve as
leads. The photo of the kit shows the die cut slots 
and positions where they get pushed through the
wing from below. I remember daubing them with
Ambroid to stick them to the underside of the wing.
Childish optimism!

   I made mine from my usual source of thin steel
sheet..  Danish cookie tins make excellent fuel
tank material,  and now, lead outs.
  I drilled the holes first, then cut them out with
scissors.

  Sorry about the blurry picture.

Cheers! - K.
Keith Morgan

Offline Dennis Adamisin

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Re: Top Flite Form-Flite Thunderbolt 18"
« Reply #37 on: May 24, 2018, 08:19:55 AM »
Actually it is pretty exciting to see the level of effort you are making to keep it authentic - these hand cut ledout guides are a hoot, but I for one would not be so nostalgic as to install them with Ambroid!  Overall it looks like you like you are building a scale model to the original kit.

QUESTION: I know not all models have to be built to compete, BUT it seems that this would be a natural for the 1/2A Scale event at the Brodak Fly-In - is that your plan?

I dunno Gooz, between the Wildman 60 sparky and this P-47 I'd say you are in danger of getting charged a "too much fun" tax...
Denny Adamisin
Fort Wayne, IN

"The good old days weren't always so good, tomorrow ain't as bad as it seems..."
- Billy Joel

Offline john e. holliday

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Re: Top Flite Form-Flite Thunderbolt 18"
« Reply #38 on: May 24, 2018, 10:57:52 AM »
Is that why I'm broke?    Too much fun taxes. #^ #^ #^ #^ #^
I was always taught to respect my elders, but it keeps getting harder to find one.
Today I broke my personal record for most consecutive days lived.
John E. "DOC" Holliday
10421 West 56th Terrace
Shawnee, KANSAS  66203
AMA 23530

Offline goozgog

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Re: Top Flite Form-Flite Thunderbolt 18"
« Reply #39 on: May 25, 2018, 04:20:24 AM »
Hey Dennis,
                  I won't have the Thunderbolt ready for Brodak's.
I'm waiting to see what interesting additions can I find there
to give it a little "bling".

BTW. I have always been impressed with your planes and flying.
I am flattered that you're finding this build interesting.

  You have it exactly right. This is a model of a model and I'm
indulging in some nostalgia.  It seems that I'm not alone.
My Cox Spitfire "replica" build has 16,400 views. I don't think
there would be as much interest in just another scale Spitfire.

  There is almost no information about these Form Flite models,
so I'm trying to document them before it's all gone.
  This is actually an easy plane to replicate. It just looks
complicated when each step is considered.

" What another tax?!!
I think I'll risk it and sneak under the radar."   #^


 
Keith Morgan

Offline 944_Jim

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Re: Top Flite Form-Flite Thunderbolt 18"
« Reply #40 on: June 23, 2018, 01:36:34 PM »
Any updates??

Offline goozgog

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Re: Top Flite Form-Flite Thunderbolt 18"
« Reply #41 on: June 23, 2018, 03:07:17 PM »
Hey Jim,

  It's raining here this weekend so I've been
finishing details on the Thunderbolt.
  The trip to Brodak's was great ( as always! )
and I scored what I need to get this bird flying.
   It's taking time to sort out the details but I
should have something to show very soon.

Cheers!
Keith Morgan

Offline kenneth cook

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Re: Top Flite Form-Flite Thunderbolt 18"
« Reply #42 on: July 01, 2018, 04:19:20 PM »
            Keith, I wish you showed this to Dan at Brodak's. I was telling him about it last weekend. I mentioned the Spitfire when you were doing that. That really had his attention, he loves this stuff. Ken

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Re: Top Flite Form-Flite Thunderbolt 18"
« Reply #43 on: July 10, 2018, 11:55:47 AM »
Hey Ken.. I flew Foxberg and Clown racing
with Dan ( very badly for my part) and I
told him what I'm doing with this little P-47.
I'll bring this plane to Brodak's 2019.. 

  So I was hoping to get some "bling" for
the P-47 at Brodak's, and I found something
"Perfect".
  Bill Sequira brought an ancient shop display
of Perfect parts that were sent along by an
aging friend who had closed his hobby shop.
Bill and his lady ( Sorry, I forgot her name)
Hung it up with a "FREE" sign.
  I came to a screeching stop when I saw
what was hanging on that old display. 
The picture says it all.
Thanks Bill!
  What makes me laugh is that my  50 year
old memory was so close. The Perfect item
is in the middle and my hand whittled ones
flank it.

   I'm busy decorating the plane and it's a
slow process. The picture is just a teaser
for now.
   I'm very happy with the cowling. It did require
sanding with 600 wet & Dry before I sprayed
it with dope, and it seems like the dope is bonding
to the bottle plastic.
  Thanks again to Jim for the E-6000 glue suggestion.
The stuff is excellent.

More coming when the plane is decorated.

Cheers!
Keith Morgan

Offline 944_Jim

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Re: Top Flite Form-Flite Thunderbolt 18"
« Reply #44 on: July 10, 2018, 06:53:16 PM »
I've been checking back daily for updates...seeing the cowl just makes me stop... Absolutely breathtaking!
I am inspired to continue on with my DPCModels P40 repro kit. Something about a well formed piece of plastic gets me going.
Please, oh please...end the tease! Show us the rest of the plane, even if it isn't done yet!

Online Andre Ming

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Re: Top Flite Form-Flite Thunderbolt 18"
« Reply #45 on: July 10, 2018, 07:02:25 PM »
From what I can see... WOW!!!  That is superb!!

Andre
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Offline Chancey Chorney

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Re: Top Flite Form-Flite Thunderbolt 18"
« Reply #46 on: July 12, 2018, 06:18:27 PM »
Yep, that is a teaser. As well as a teaser, it is one very nice piece of art with a nice little engine aboard for the ride.... Looking great Keith!

Offline goozgog

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Re: Top Flite Form-Flite Thunderbolt 18"
« Reply #47 on: July 13, 2018, 11:12:16 AM »
Thanks Guys!  Your interest in this little project helps
to keep me motivated!

  There should be three pictures attached. 

  I'm down to the final details and then I'll fly
this thing. I remember being amazed that the tiny
elevator actually works. I'm sure Top Flight had their
reasons but the thing is miniscule. This wouldn't
be a Form-Flite plane with out it, so it has to be!

  I bought some decals at Brodak's but I'm not happy
with them, so I just bit the bullet and hand painted
all of the markings with dope.  I traced the decals
from the kit photo then printed them out onto a
8-1/2" x 11" sheet of peel and stick vinyl like you might
use for lining kitchen drawers. Cut out with a #11 blade
and make sure they're really stuck down before brushing
on the colors.  Military marking were designed to be easy
to apply and these were very easy.
Not perfect but I'm pleased with the result.

The total weight as the plane is shown in the pictures
is 4.7 oz (134 gm).

  I built this plane because I had a hankering for the one
I had when I was twelve, but the reality is that the rough
"kid built" patina isn't good enough for me now, so I have
a replica but it has an entirely different flavor to the original.

You might not be able to go home again but at least you
can visit the neighborhood.
  y1

I'll report back after it's flown and let everyone know if
it flies as decently as I remember.

Keith Morgan

Online Andre Ming

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Re: Top Flite Form-Flite Thunderbolt 18"
« Reply #48 on: July 13, 2018, 12:46:30 PM »
Superb!  Well done! Bravo, bravo!

How 'bout building me a Helldiver replica?   Navy blue of course, like the one I owned as a kid!  Thanks! ;D

Andre
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Offline 944_Jim

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Re: Top Flite Form-Flite Thunderbolt 18"
« Reply #49 on: July 13, 2018, 01:09:04 PM »
BANG (glass breaking sound next): My jaw just hit the ground! Superb build.
Can we get some under carriage detail? I like the landing gear doors. My Scientific clones are designed to have a piece of thin play or balsa doors. I never believed they would stay, so I left them off. But the plane just looks so much better with them.
Details please, and thanks in advance!


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