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Topflite Giant Scale Corsair Build
mecallahan
#1 Posted : Thursday, December 04, 2014 3:15:59 PM(UTC)

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Well here we go again, another build from my workshop. This is one of
my absolute favorite WW2 aircraft. The Chance-Vought F4u Corsair. We've
all seen the Corsair, big, dark blue, funny bent wings, huge three or four
blade prop, air scoops in the wing roots, yeah thats the one.

The Corsair came about from a Navy spec for a new shipboard fighter in the
late 1930's. The engineers at Chance-Vought decided to take a stab at the
potential Navy contract. They started with the biggest radial engine that
they could get, and built a airplane around it!

The big engine needed a very large prop to properly load the engine, 13+
feet in diamater. The size of the prop would have required very long landing
gear struts, too long to be made strong enough to withstand the shock of
landing on a carrier deck, so the Chance Vought engineers decided to bend
the wings down at the wing roots. This enabled them to use shorter struts.
Giving the Corsair its unique gull wing form.

The long nose of the Corsair and a bad habit of bouncing on landing made the
Corsair tough to land on a carrier, so it was posted to land based Marine
fighter squadrons, VMF-214 (The Blacksheep) being one of the more famous groups.

In addition to US squadrons, the Corsair was used by the Royal Navy, Austraila
and New Zealand. Pilots of the Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm are to be credited
with figuring out how to land the Corsair on carriers. By using a curving
approach, which let the pilot see the deck and the LSO all the way to touch
down. Their pilots taught our pilots and the Corsair finally wound up where
it belonged, on US aircraft carriers.

The Corsair was in US service from the start of WW2 to the end of the Korean
war. Surplus Corsairs flew with various Latin-American countries until the
early 1970's.

My history with the Corsair started with stories my grandpa told about Corsairs
attacking Japanese positions on Iwo Jima with rockets and Napalm. Then in 1976
NBC premiered a new series, Baa Baa Blacksheep. VMF-214 and Pappy Boyington,
I've been hooked ever since.

The next post will be about the model.

Mike
mecallahan
#2 Posted : Thursday, December 04, 2014 3:53:26 PM(UTC)

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Ok, so about the kit.

The Topflite Giant Scale Corsair kit is of standard balsa and ply construction
with some hardwoods where you would expect to find it, landing gear mounts, servo
rails, firewall. The wingspan is 86 inches making it somewhere between 1/5th and
1/6th scale. Gas engines can be used up to 62cc. Finished weight should be
around 25 pounds, some have come in as heavy as 30 pounds but there is a lot of
wing to handle the load.

My Corsair will have a Fuji 50cc engine. This engine served well in my last
Corsair. Radio will be Futaba 7C FAAST 2.4 with a 4200 mah nimh battery at 4.8
volts. Toss up on the servos, they will either be Futaba 3010 or Hitec 645 mg.
Both have enough torque to do the job and both have proved to very reliable over
the years. The Hitecs having more torque and the added comfort of a metal gear
train.

Finishing will be fiberglass and paint. I learned a very nice method of fiber
glassing on the warbird forum of RC Universe. Using .75 oz cloth and minwax
polycrylic wood finish. Its easy, it don't stink up the house, its cheap. If
you've seem my big Mustang, you've seen a minwax fiberglass job. I'll get into
details when I get to the glassing stage. I'm going to get paint custom mixed
from Home Depot, Behear exterior latex paint. I'm getting the colors from
testors model paint, they have colors that match federal standard colors.

I ordered the kit from Tower Hobbies on Monday morning and by Tuesday evening
it was on my doorstep.

I have some pictures, the first is the box unopend on the bench. The box had little
damage, but nothing inside was hurt. The box was opend, look at all that wood.
Topflite has the best build manuals out there, Then there are the decals, they are
nice but I'm not sure I'm going to use them. The kit comes with a engine cowl, a
four piece abs thing that I have never had any luck assembling, a after market
cowl will be ordered later.

All for now, next we'll have some parts glued.

Mike
mecallahan attached the following image(s):
corsair1.JPG
corsair2.JPG
corsair3.JPG
corsair4.JPG
corsair7.JPG
mecallahan
#3 Posted : Sunday, December 07, 2014 7:05:48 AM(UTC)

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The gluing has begun! Started on the horizontal stab yesterday. Topflite
always has you start with the horizontal stab, vertical fin, elevators and
rudder. I guess this is to get you into the swing of building without doing
something complicated like the wing center section. One of the neat things
topflight does is their manuals. Lots of pictures and check off boxes for
each step. I like to write in the date I finish a step. Gives a running time
for the build.

Here are some pictures.

First pic is the stab center section, these parts are laminated with 30 min.
epoxy and took all day to set.

Second pic is of the stab skins. Edge glued 3/32 balsa. I like to use Elmer's
wood glue for these.

Third pic is the outter frame of the stab. Not much to say about these. Balsa
sticks, trimmed to shape and pinned to the plans.

More in the next post.
mecallahan attached the following image(s):
corsair8.JPG
corsair9.JPG
corsair10.JPG
mecallahan
#4 Posted : Sunday, December 07, 2014 7:15:20 AM(UTC)

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More stab pictures.

First pic is the completed stab frame with the bottom skin attached waiting
for the glue to dry.

Second is the top skin added to the stab, weighted down with old 12v gelcells,
I knew there was a reason to keep those around.

Third is the stab completed. Get lots of sandpaper, you're gonna need it.

Fourth, well its my old buddy Rosco, he's my shop supervisor. He likes to get
in close and really inspect the work, he usually flops down right in the
middle of whatever I'm doing.

Vertical fin, rudder and elevators are next.
mecallahan attached the following image(s):
corsair11.JPG
corsair12.JPG
corsair13.JPG
cat1.JPG
mecallahan
#5 Posted : Sunday, December 07, 2014 7:07:14 PM(UTC)

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I got on a roll today and forgot to take any pictures. But the vertical
fin is built the same way as the horizontal stab, build the frame, glue
the hinge blocks in, sheet it and sand the leading edge round.

The Topflite Corsair is a great kit and a great flier, but it has some
scale inaccuracies. The shape of the rudder and the wing tips are wrong
among others. There is a thread on RC Universe on modifying the Corsair
to improve its looks. These are all optional and I plan to use some of
them in my build.

The mods are for the smaller Corsair but with a copy machine the pictures
can be blown up to the size I need. The link to this thread is...

http://www.rcuniverse.co...flite-corsair-mods.html

Starting on the rudder tomorrow, and the first modification for scale.

Mike

mecallahan
#6 Posted : Thursday, December 11, 2014 5:29:53 PM(UTC)

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Six days into the build and the horizontal stab, elevators, vertical fin
and rudder are finished. The basic frame up of these parts is no problem.
The less enjoyable part is sanding and shaping the tips and ribs of the rudder
and elevators. They are basicly balsa blocks that have to be sanded to shape
to match the outline of the plan. No problem if you have good tools, a small
razor plane and sanding blocks of varying sizes work well for this job.

The rudder is where a little work is needed to get a more scale look. The
rudder of the Topflite kit is flat (or close to flat) on top. This is true
for both the 60 size and the giant scale kit. Go out and google corsairs
and look at the rudder on the full size plane, see how round the top is
compared to the kit? There is also a good picture on the back of the Top
flite kit manual. Speaking of manuals, did you know you can download the manual
for any topflite kit from their website, for free? It will be a PDF file
that you can save to your hard drive. Back to the rudder, using my downloaded
corsair picture, I marked the outline of the top of rudder on the sheet
rudder base and sanded down to my marks, a little at a time, then built
the rudder per the plans. I have pictures, I think it came out pretty good.

Before I hang it up for the night here is a building tip.

Every kit build I have ever done, the instructions tell you to cover your plans
with wax paper, or in the case of a topflite kit, one of those Great Planes
plan protectors. I generally use wax paper, but I have found that the CA
glues will glue your frame to the plans thru the wax paper. It tears the
plans up and makes a mess on your frame. What I have starting using in place
of the wax paper is clear packing tape. One and a half or two inch wide tape
will be fine. Stick the tape to the plans anywhere there is a glue joint, pin
your parts to the plans and glue. The CA does not stick to packing tape so
when you pull your pins to remove that part, just the part comes up. Your
plans won't be glued to the bench or your part, and the tape is fexible enough
that you can roll your plans up after your done.

Next up is the wing!



mecallahan attached the following image(s):
corsair14.jpg
corsair15.jpg
mecallahan
#7 Posted : Wednesday, December 17, 2014 5:32:55 PM(UTC)

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laminate, laminate, laminate. No not the floors in my house. Wing ribs and spars.

The center section main spar is made up of six pieces of 1/8th plywood. Four of them
are aircraft ply and the last two are lite ply. When you get all six of those parts
glued together with 30 minute epoxy you get a wing spar that you could kill a charging
rhino with. Its pretty dang strong so if you get it warped while the glue is setting
up you might as well get new parts and start over because you're not going to bend it
straight (don't ask me how I know this). A good flat building table and lots of weights
to hold it down flat and you'll be ok. Those old gel cell batteries are really coming
in handy.

The rest of the parts are done with 5 minute epoxy or ca glue and don't take very
long to glue up.

The last picture is all of the parts, ready to glue the front half of the wing ribs
to the front of the center spar. The outside pairs of ribs are where the landing
gear mounts go and are glued on with epoxy. The rest are glued on with ca. Use a
square or triangle to make sure the ribs are 90 degress to the spar.

The next installment will show all the ribs glued on and ready for the leading and
trailing edges. Then the outter wing panels.



mecallahan attached the following image(s):
corsair16.jpg
corsair17.jpg
corsair18.jpg
corsair19.jpg
corsair20.jpg
mecallahan
#8 Posted : Wednesday, December 31, 2014 2:11:14 PM(UTC)

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Twentysix days into the build. Horizontal and vertical stabs are done. Rudder and
elevators are done less hinge blocks. Wing center section and tip panels are framed
up and ready to be joined. Skins for the wing are made and ready to sheet.

Notes on the wing. Don't build up a bunch of glue on the outside of your glue joints
it can interfer with the fit of parts added later. Check the fit of parts before
applying glue. In other words, dry fit your parts. The notches for the spars in the
wing ribs were a little small for the spars and took a little sanding to get them to
fit.

Make sure the jig tabs on the ribs are down on the board and the ribs are fully
seated on the spars, this sets the washout in the wing. Next time will be joining
the wings.

mecallahan attached the following image(s):
corsair21.jpg
corsair22.jpg
corsair23.jpg
corsair24.jpg
corsair25.jpg
mecallahan
#9 Posted : Wednesday, December 31, 2014 2:14:24 PM(UTC)

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more pictures...

This picture is a tip I got off RCSCALEBUILDER. You are looking at the hatch rails
for the aileron servo. The actual rails are basswood. Note that I have added
balsa wood to the outside of the rails.

Glue you wing skin to the balsa rail, not the basswood. This makes getting a nice
clean opening for the aileron hatch easy.
mecallahan attached the following image(s):
corsair27.jpg
mecallahan
#10 Posted : Wednesday, May 31, 2017 3:39:14 AM(UTC)

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Wow, the last post on this build on Dec 31, 2014! I've been taking a break from
the Corsair. In the mean time I have built a 1/4 scale D-VII and finished up Dutch's
SE-5. Both planes have had their maiden flights and now its time to get back to
the Corsair.

I have been kinda working on the Corsair, so the next post will be control surfaces
engine and radio install and getting the retracts working.

Will also be featuring the fiber glassing painting and markings.

So, Mike Mason, since you ask me every time you see me, this update is for you.
mecallahan
#11 Posted : Wednesday, May 31, 2017 5:48:39 PM(UTC)

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So here is where I stand right now. Don't look like much but its getting
there.
mecallahan attached the following image(s):
m_DSCF1341.jpg
m_DSCF1342.jpg
mecallahan
#12 Posted : Wednesday, May 31, 2017 6:01:02 PM(UTC)

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In the last two pictures the wing mounting is complete. I have the same
measurement from the wingtips to the tail post, also have the same from
the tips of the horizontal stab to the wing tips. This means that the
wing and stab are square to the fuselage and I have the same amount of
wing and stab on either side of the fuselage center line. Always a good
thing.

Next step is to build the belly pan and start on the flaps and ailerons.

Stay tuned.
mecallahan
#13 Posted : Saturday, August 18, 2018 5:35:02 AM(UTC)

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I've got the worse case of airplane ADD known to man. Denny's SE-5 is finished,
the D-VII is finished and the 1/3rd scale Triplane (wait, what 1/3rd scale triplane?)
is finished. All are flying and life is good. Now back to the Corsair. Had to
give the shop a good cleaning after the triplane was done. FYI, its a Balsa USA
1/3rd scale. I'm running a Zenoah G-62 and the maiden flight was about 3 weeks
ago at the club field. It was a good flight, very little trim changes and needed
no additional weight to get the cg right on the marks.

As for the Corsair. The wing mounting is complete, the horizontal and vertical
stabs are glued in place and I've started on the hinging of the elevators and
rudder. I am cutting holes in the rudder and elevators to reduce weight in the
tail. Every oz. in the tail has to be countered with 7 ounces in the nose so any
extra weight you can remove from the tail is good.

I will post some pictures soon.

The forever Corsair build goes on.

Mike
mecallahan
#14 Posted : Monday, September 03, 2018 2:33:37 PM(UTC)

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I've been working on the back end of the Corsair. Lots of shaped blocks. Cut, fit
sand, cut fit sand. Decide that you've sanded enough and get out the wood filler!

mecallahan attached the following image(s):
m_20180903_094814.jpg
m_20180903_094830.jpg
mecallahan
#15 Posted : Thursday, September 06, 2018 2:37:20 PM(UTC)

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The rudder and elevators are hinged and covered. They will be set aside now
so I can get ready to start fiber glassing the fuselage.
mecallahan attached the following image(s):
m_20180906_202628.jpg
mecallahan
#16 Posted : Sunday, September 16, 2018 4:59:57 PM(UTC)

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Work on the Corsair has been slow but steady. Got the rudder and elevators covered
and now painted. I tried to simulate the rib tape and rivets that hold the fabric to
the frame of the rudder and elevator. I used strips of covering and small dots of
medium CA glue. I think it came out ok. The color is krylon Gloss Navy Blue.
mecallahan attached the following image(s):
m_039.jpg
m_040.jpg
m_041.jpg
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