Building with Lonnie

This is Flite Test’s newly released F4U Corsair “Master Series” edition, built from “Adams” water-resistant foam board. The wingspan is about 46″ and the model weighs about 20oz, without battery and prop. The unique thing about this new kit series is Flite Test’s new build method. You’ll notice that most all the surfaces are actually curved, and some of them are curved in two different directions!

John Overstreet designed this kit and is known for his unique all-metal aircraft models. He takes advantage of automotive body shop techniques in fabricating his models, such as using an English wheel to gradually stretch and bend the metal into compound curves. John (and others) have figured out that you can also shape ridged foam board into curves if you remove the paper covering from one side and then drag that bare side carefully and repeatedly over a table edge to slightly crush the foam without creasing the still covered opposite side.

This is the 4th FT model I’ve built, but the first one that uses this method. I was rather amazed at how well it works, but it’s certainly “fussier” than the non-curved process. For instance, if you get too exuberant while curving a part, it might not fit an adjacent part that received a more conservative bend. Another thing that happens is that the more you reduce the thickness of the foam by crushing and curving it, the larger the piece becomes along it’s surface. It’s easy to get this wrong in areas like the wings, where one side might be slightly longer that the other. I spent about 14 hours getting to the stage shown in the picture, which is RTF, but without too much care taken in decoration. I rattle-canned the blue paint (and grey underside) after applying a sealer coat on the whole plane. If it flies reasonably well, and if I don’t smash it while trimming, I’ll upgrade the finish using an airbrush and will apply some WW-2 Navy decals.

I intend to do the maiden flight tomorrow morning (Thursday, 3/27). Weather Underground says that the winds will be under 4 MPH until about 1PM in the afternoon. I plan on getting there by around 9-9:30.

See ya,


This entry was posted in Builders Corner. Bookmark the permalink.