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Styrocraft Challenger#2 Build thread

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Old 06-10-2007, 05:09 PM
  #1
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Default Styrocraft Challenger#2 Build thread

As if I don't have enough work to do trying to get my Curare Kit together before the BPA meet, I've decided to put together an old obscure kit I found on Ebay a while back. It's an oddball for sure, as I can't find any info on it or the maker (Sonny Micheals). Spec's are: Wingspan 63" Weight: 6 3/4lbs, .60 engine. It's got a styrofoam core fuselage covered with 1/8th" ply, a foam core wing and horizontal stab. The wing is swept back 5 degrees from what I can measure with, NO dihedral. All I have to work with is a box full of foam and wood, a FUZZY picture, and a hand typed instruction sheet. I have an Evolution .61 laying around and am going to see if I can get it to fit in it. Here's a couple of pics to get an idea of what I've got to work with. I anticipate a few mods to get the Evolution to fit and also needing some advice along the way! Tim
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Old 06-11-2007, 08:34 AM
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Default RE: Styrocraft Challenger#2 Build thread

Pics of the styrofoam fuselage with the 1/8" plywood covering. It looks like the Evolution .61 will fit if I change the 1/2" balsa nose cheek blocks to 1/4" material to gain the 1/2" needed for clearance. Looks like I'll have to lenghten the nose some also.
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Old 06-11-2007, 10:02 AM
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Default RE: Styrocraft Challenger#2 Build thread

That's a unique model. It's interesting that foam fuselages never caught on back then. Today there are hundreds of lekkies made entirely of molded foam.
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Old 06-11-2007, 11:03 AM
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Default RE: Styrocraft Challenger#2 Build thread

The fuselage is very strong and seems fairly light too. It is a tight fit, but I've got the .61 mounted. I ended up modifying an adjustable nylon mount and am making the nose 5/8" longer to meet the back of the spinner.
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Old 06-11-2007, 04:43 PM
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Default RE: Styrocraft Challenger#2 Build thread

The the bottom nose block extended 5/8",formers and sringers installed for the turtle deck, and the vertical stab assembled and installed. This is turning out to be a nice quick build!
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Old 06-11-2007, 06:48 PM
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Default RE: Styrocraft Challenger#2 Build thread

Tim,

I've got one of those "unique" kits from the mid/early 60s called the "Mystifier"....kit looks to be about the same quality as yours except mine has a glass fuselage. I even found an early MAN where they did a review on it... gotta dig that thing out. Make sure you stand close to that fuselage with the sandpaper.... looks like a lot of the Bridi designs where the beauty was in the wood hiding and waiting to be released with the sandpaper. Have fun w/ the build.

Dan
Carolina Custom Aircraft
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Old 06-12-2007, 06:26 AM
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Default RE: Styrocraft Challenger#2 Build thread

Hi Dan, This plane is early to mid 70's, I guessing from the Aug. '74 postmark on the box. The quality of the kit is pretty good in my opinion. The price on the box is $64.95 which back when I was 14, would have been way out of my price range back then! Well, I got the turtle deck skinned, glued up the wing and horizontal skins, and skinned the horz stab with 1/16 balsa using poly glue. Was thinking about Vac bagging the wing skins, but I still need a pressure gauge for my Vac pump! If I can't find a gauge in the next day or so, I'll just do it the old fashioned way
Oh, hey Dan, did you get my PM about Asheville and Huntsville?
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Old 06-12-2007, 07:07 AM
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Default RE: Styrocraft Challenger#2 Build thread

Dang...You building this thing quicker than I can read the Thread..he he

Nize Job!!

Have Fun...

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Old 06-13-2007, 09:42 PM
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Default RE: Styrocraft Challenger#2 Build thread

Took a day off from this project to do some more "body work" on my Curare project. I did manage to finish skinning the horizontal stabs, and get the leading and trailing edges on and shaped/sanded. I decided to go with some 1/4" balsa stock instead is the 1/2" supplied with the kit for the top of the fuselage forward of the turtledeck. The instructions say to glue it in place but I think I'll make a hatch so I have future access to the fuel tank! Last pic is just horz stab and rudder pinned together to see what this plane is starting to look like other than the fuzzy pic on the box Going to skin the wings tommorow, and then let the balsa chips fly and saw dust in the air as I get working on shaping up the fuslage. Not sure if I want to go with Monocote on this one or maybe a nice epoxy paint job?
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Old 06-15-2007, 08:59 AM
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Default RE: Styrocraft Challenger#2 Build thread

Well, I haven't found a vacuum gauge for my pump yet so I just skinned the wings the old fashioned way. So far this has been a nice build, and I'm pleased with the overall looks of this model.
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Old 06-20-2007, 03:51 PM
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Default RE: Styrocraft Challenger#2 Build thread

Things have slowed down a little with all the sanding going on. I finished up the wing cores with the leading and trailing edges as well as the wing tips. Sanding and shaping on the fuselage is comming along well and although not called for in the kit, I think I'll make some nice fairings for the main wing.
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Old 06-20-2007, 04:10 PM
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Default RE: Styrocraft Challenger#2 Build thread

That's turning into a really nice looking plane. I think the fairing will add to the looks, too.

David
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Old 06-20-2007, 04:40 PM
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Default RE: Styrocraft Challenger#2 Build thread

Dave, You're just the guy I was thinking of when the fairings came to mind. Do you remember where you posted the pics and description of the wood fairings you did? I think it was in the 1/2a forum. I'll try to do a search and see what comes up. You did some excellent work, and If I remember you used epoxy on them?
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Old 06-20-2007, 04:53 PM
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Default RE: Styrocraft Challenger#2 Build thread

Tim,
I got my vacuum gauge and relief valve from Grainger and I see they have a branch in Asheville. Gauge is item #6X830 for $6.00 and relief valve is item #5Z763 for $8.47.

George T
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Old 06-20-2007, 05:02 PM
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Default RE: Styrocraft Challenger#2 Build thread

Tim, the key is an X-Acto "router" blade. Cut the fairings out of 3/4" soft balsa sheet using the wing saddle as the template, making the pieces about 1/2" to 3/4" wide. Glue them onto the fuselage sides flush with the saddle. Then, use the router bit to carve out the fairings to create a concave shape. Put some masking tape on the fuselage sides so you don't gouge them and sand the fairings smooth. Then, paint on some finishing resin to harden them.
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Old 06-20-2007, 08:04 PM
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Default RE: Styrocraft Challenger#2 Build thread

George, You are correct I do have a Grainger here in Asheville! Nice prices. I'll call them to see what they stock. Dave, I'm now on the hunt for a router blade! I have a gouge but it's not quite big enough. Those fairings of yours are fantastic. Will attempt your method as soon as I locate the tool. I forgot to post earlier I installed the landing gear blocks and the nose gear mount also.
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Old 06-22-2007, 01:21 PM
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Default RE: Styrocraft Challenger#2 Build thread

Wing halves epoxied together with two plywood spars inside and landing gear mounted. Need to final fill and sand with 220 and dry fit the ailerons and hinges. I decided to just use Monokote for a finish as it'll be faster and I want to complete this bird in time for the SPA event here in Asheville next month. Need to pick up some more hinges and also a 2 3/4" spinner from the LHS as it seems the biggest one I have is 2 1/2" and it's too small. Also, some balsa stock for the fairings and look for a router blade
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Old 06-22-2007, 04:05 PM
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Default RE: Styrocraft Challenger#2 Build thread

Tim,

Great looking project!!! Can't wait to see it finished.

Dan
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Old 06-22-2007, 09:12 PM
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Default RE: Styrocraft Challenger#2 Build thread

Thanks Dan! I think it's a pretty slick looking plane with the swept wing. Just wondering how she'll fly. With the swept back wing and no dihedral it may be a little ahead of my flying skills right now. But, I did trace out every part in the kit before I started building, so in case I need a part or two for repair, I've got that covered. Rudder and elevator servo rails are installed and I shaped the nose down to meet a 2 3/4" spinner. For lack of having anything else laying around, I've decided to go old school and make the pushrods out of dowels and threaded rod.
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Old 07-03-2007, 04:50 PM
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Default RE: Styrocraft Challenger#2 Build thread

Progress on the build has slowed down to a crawl as I've had unexpected company for the last week and my workshop has been turned into the "guest house" temporarily, Things should pick back up by the weeks end. Ihave got a few little things done like installing the aileron servo and wing hold down blocks, as well as dyeing the canopy using the Rit dye method. I picked up some Ultracote and am going with white on the entire bottom, red on the top of the wing and horz stab and an orange and red fuselage. Also picked up some black trim sheets for detailing. The Rit dye worked very well using the liquid concentrate in very hot water. I left the canopy in the dye for approx 45 min checking it every 15 min for the desired tint. Hopefully I'll get finished up soon and start the covering.
The Dye worked great on the Cat too!!
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Old 07-06-2007, 11:06 PM
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Default RE: Styrocraft Challenger#2 Build thread

Well, House guest gone, and I have my shop back! I've been unsuccessful in my search for a router blade to carve wood wing fillets. I've looked everywhere around town and there just isn't one to be had. Speaking with my Dad, he mentioned he's used plumber's epoxy putty in the past with good results and I found this similar product at Home Depot and will give it a try. There was a large gap between the wing and the precut bottom fuselage block and I originally thought I'd take care of it with the fillets. Turns out, that you need that clearance to get the wing on and off ( I should have seen that before!) Bad design in my opinion! I decided to fix that by cutting the fuselage bottom block off and shaping it to attach to the wing itself. I re-shaped the bottom of the fuse a little and now it's a better fit and the fillets will work out nicer. I'll attach the horz stab in the morning and see how the epoxy putty fillets work out for both the wing and the stab.
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Old 07-09-2007, 11:07 AM
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Default RE: Styrocraft Challenger#2 Build thread

I installed the horz stab and while waiting on the epoxy to set up I worked on the Canopy/hatch. I cut a slightly smaller diameter turtle deck former with a tab on the bottom and attached that to the fuse top that covers the fuel tank. Cut and trimmed the canopy to fit and epoxied it to the "hatch" after painting the inside of it white to highlight the orange tint. A nylon bolt and blind nut will hold it secure from inside of the fuse.
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Old 07-09-2007, 12:45 PM
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Default RE: Styrocraft Challenger#2 Build thread

Although not as pretty as Dave's carved wood fillets, the Quikwood epoxy putty method of fillet making worked out pretty good. The epoxy putty has a working time of approx 20 min, which I found to be ample time per fillet. Not having enough thin ply or Obichi, I used balsa (to be coated with thinned epoxy) for the "shelf" attached to the fuselage sides and used two layers of the epoxy putty to get it built up to the desired thickness. The putty is easy to work with. Fairly light in weight, forms and shapes easily, and after getting hard as a rock, sands well too. Wire clay sculpting tools would have been helpful in the shaping process and will try some the next time I use it. All in all, a good experience using it for the wing and also the horz stab fillets (Thanks for the tip Dad)! I think the fillets add a nice touch to the fuse lines and after I get some more of the hinge slots cut, I'll start covering it. I've filled in most of the imperfections I can find, and have the plane sanded down with 220 grit. I've got to quit looking at it so hard (that perfectionist thing) as I'll never stop filling and sanding every little thing I find!!
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Old 07-11-2007, 06:35 PM
  #24
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Default RE: Styrocraft Challenger#2 Build thread

Wing covered with Ultracote, red on top and white for the bottom. Not sure what color for the ailerons and wing tips yet. Fuse will be orange and red with white trim now instead of black, I think.
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Old 07-13-2007, 08:46 AM
  #25
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Default RE: Styrocraft Challenger#2 Build thread

The tail section now covered in red and white. Also been working on little things like the nose wheel and throttle push rod installation as well as the canopy/hatch hold down bolts and MORE filling and sanding on a couple of low spots in the turtledeck. If I ever reproduce this plane I'll just cut a foam turtle deck for it! Also, the tank placement is just a little low in relation to the engine and if I had the foresight, I would have mounted the engine to the side. Then I would have had a nice clean line on the top of the fuselage forward of the canopy and also got the engine lower in relation to the tank. As it is now, the tank is as high as I can get it and I mounted the engine as low as possible. Hopefully there won't be a fuel draw issue. Hindsight is always 20/20 ya know.
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