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  1. #1
    gtopillado's Avatar
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    Expresscraft Thunderbolt build II

    Hello to All,
    I purchased a Expresscraft Thunderbolt hull and ordered hardware from Accu-Tech this week. Wanted to start a new thread on this build, RC Universe members are very helpful and I'd like to achieve the best performance available for my boat. Will be posting pics as hull and hardware arrive in about a week. I've been out of the hobby for 10+ years and wanted to jump back in with both feet.
    [sm=50_50.gif]

  2. #2
    Moderator Justaddwata's Avatar
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    RE: Expresscraft Thunderbolt build II

    Welcome to the forum and congrats on the new purchase/project. The thunderbolt is probably my favorite small cat. Good scale looks and great performance - not often the two mix.

    What are you planning on powering her with.

    Do you have a paint scheme in mind.

    Keep in mind you are going to have some finish work to do to the seams (unless things have changed recently). The seam on the hull from the factory is ugly but it gives you a reason to paint her!!

    Look forward to hearing about your build. Certainly let us know if theres anything we can help with too
    One of the better gas boat picture sites - http://imageevent.com/justaddwata

  3. #3
    gtopillado's Avatar
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    RE: Expresscraft Thunderbolt build II

    Thank you for the positive support and I agree its one of the best looking boats out there. Planning on putting in a QD HT25 and not sure of paint scheme but I've been a professional painter for 22+ years (automotive). As Borat would say "it will be niiice".
    I'll post some pics when hull and hardware arrive so you can see if the work has changed from past. Thanks[sm=thumbup.gif]

  4. #4
    gtopillado's Avatar
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    RE: Expresscraft Thunderbolt build II

    Went to link you posted for boat pics....Awesome! Especially like the Miss Geico and bikinis. [sm=what_smile.gif]

  5. #5
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    RE: Expresscraft Thunderbolt build II

    Hardware from Accu-Tech arrived. Machined to a high tolerance, very nice.
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  6. #6
    Moderator Justaddwata's Avatar
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    RE: Expresscraft Thunderbolt build II

    Your certainly off to a good start. Certainly a plus being a painter - something I wish I had some skill at but alas I must continue to pay for the skill of others.

    The QD will get her moving at a very good clip - you may find you need to add a little weight to the nose to keep her from going over.

    When it comes to bikinis - whats not to like
    One of the better gas boat picture sites - http://imageevent.com/justaddwata

  7. #7
    gtopillado's Avatar
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    RE: Expresscraft Thunderbolt build II

    Just got my hull from Tom at Expresscraft today and I am happy. Pics make this boat seem small but they are a pretty good size boat. Going to do some filler work on the sides but this was something I was expecting and should take me no longer than an afternoon. Also purchased other hardware from Bonzi and CC Racing which you will see as the build continues.

    No motor yet.....but should I start setting in the rudder and strut first? Any advice an a specific way of doing it?
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  8. #8
    gtopillado's Avatar
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    RE: Expresscraft Thunderbolt build II

    Spent the afternoon working on the body of my Thunderbolt and got most of it done, will do a final coat when it comes apart for painting. Started sanding the sides with a DA w/80 grit. to cut down rough edges. Used Evercoat's Quantium body filler, best body filler on the market (light weight and has 2 different temp. hardeners). Finished off with a 180 grit scratch. it took 2 coats but as you can see in the last pic, its thin enough to see light go through the hull.
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  9. #9

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    RE: Expresscraft Thunderbolt build II

    Went to their website but can't find the dimensions of the boat. Could you post them for me as I really luv the looks of this boat. Cheers...

  10. #10
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    RE: Expresscraft Thunderbolt build II

    Got the strut and rudder mounted. Other boaters have used 2* wedges to get the rudder and strut straight but I needed 3*. I mounted the strut dead center instead of an offset, skeg strut should keep the rear end from prop walking.....should.

    Dimensions of boat hull are 50"x 17". Add almost 2" for rudder assembly.
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  11. #11

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    RE: Expresscraft Thunderbolt build II

    Great thread! I'm thinking of doing the same boat....keep up the pictures [sm=thumbs_up.gif] Also, how bad was the seem on the boat? It looks like you had an actual gap in between?

  12. #12
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    RE: Expresscraft Thunderbolt build II

    Seem wasn't too bad, can see through it cause of the clear epoxy and gap was about 1/16 thick. I have about 2 hours in body work and should finish it in about 1 more hour. Any advice from other modelers on the best radio box that works and looks good for the Thunderbolt? I purchased a fiberglass and CC Racing wooden box so far[&o]. Fiberglass box looks cheezy and wooden box is trick but too shallow. Please post a picture and dimensions with your response so I can see the advantages, I want this to be the last radio box I purchase.

  13. #13

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    RE: Expresscraft Thunderbolt build II


    ORIGINAL: gtopillado

    Fiberglass box looks cheezy and wooden box is trick but too shallow. Please post a picture and dimensions with your response so I can see the advantages, I want this to be the last radio box I purchase.
    Why not build one??? Materials are cheap... They arent hard to make... and you already have a wood one to use as a basis to make one that is "just right".

  14. #14
    gtopillado's Avatar
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    RE: Expresscraft Thunderbolt build II

    TCHedOff was right, so I went and built a radio box to the deminsions I wanted. Got 1/8 plywood, maple, epoxy and finished wrapping the base with fiberglass to give it more rigidty. Polycarbonite will finish off the top.
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  15. #15

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    RE: Expresscraft Thunderbolt build II

    Hey Man,
    Looking Good !! I got my Thunderbolt Cat last year but got sidetracked on too many other projects, so she is still waiting to be built. I definitely have seam work to do, also.

    I'm curious on 2 things:

    One,does that accu-tech hardware have rubber pads on the mounts or did you add that ? Haven't seen that before.

    Also, several EC TBolt builders I spoke to said this cat actually likes a NON-skegged strut, so I'd be curious to see how yours fares.

    Keep us posted.


    Cheers, Vance


  16. #16
    gtopillado's Avatar
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    RE: Expresscraft Thunderbolt build II

    Spent the morning laying fiberglass and epoxy on the inside of the hull....what a messy job, but wanted to increase hull strenght. I've read a few debates about doing this but figured the added weight and rigidity would help with overall performance.

    Initial radio box design had some leaks. Increased polycarbonite and rubber gasket size and didn't glue it to box, it sits just like a valve cover gasket on a car. It was in the sink upside down for 15 minutes and didn't leak, now its ready to bolt to stringers.

    I made the pads for the strut and rudder using airplane engine wedges, but I will make aluminum wedges for final build after paint. As for the strut, it seemed to be the best way to go with my research.....we'll see once its in the water.

    Engine and shaft are going in next.
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  17. #17
    gtopillado's Avatar
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    RE: Expresscraft Thunderbolt build II

    Got a lot done since my last post.

    Radio box is aligned and bolted to stringers, shaft and shaft sleeve are glassed in, IV mount and bag are bolted in along with the QD engine. Measured at least 5 times before I took the Dremel or drill to the hull, but I'm happy with the way everything has come together. Mounted the engine as far forward as I could, its about 1/8" or less from the top air scoop and 1/8" off the bottom of the hull. Wanted to do something different than flat black for the pipe so I painted it aluminum to match engine (which I baked in an oven). Might put some fiber glass wrap, like on Harleys, were the pipe is attached to the flex tubing.

    Much of the mechanical side is done and now I'm concentrating on the electronics. Got a Futaba 4PK and in process of buying digital MG servos. Not sure if I should go with a 1/4" or standard size rudder servo, talked to Todd at QD and he recommends a servo that has around 160-200 oz. of torq. Very knowledgable guy and now I'm leaning towards a S9351 (192@6v), wanted to know if any of you have had good luck with them?

    Check it..
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  18. #18

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    RE: Expresscraft Thunderbolt build II

    I have to ask, what pipe and header are you using?

  19. #19
    gtopillado's Avatar
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    RE: Expresscraft Thunderbolt build II

    Its a Quickdraw steel pipe with silencer, Deep Vee style.

  20. #20

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    RE: Expresscraft Thunderbolt build II

    Wondering about the T-bar. Is this required as you have such a short span to collet? Or maybe a better question is what is it's purpose? Also is that 2 stuffing tubes? That is a good idea. Just need to know for my next build. Thanks....

  21. #21

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    RE: Expresscraft Thunderbolt build II


    ORIGINAL: bondobuster

    Wondering about the T-bar. Is this required as you have such a short span to collet? Or maybe a better question is what is it's purpose? Also is that 2 stuffing tubes? That is a good idea. Just need to know for my next build. Thanks....
    tbar-holds the stuffing tube in the correct location and holds in firm

    just need 1 stuffing tube for 1 engine


  22. #22
    gtopillado's Avatar
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    RE: Expresscraft Thunderbolt build II

    I wanted a t-bar to help reinforce stuffing tube glass work. Stuffing tube has a 11/32 sleeve which is glassed in to the hull, that way if the tube gets damaged in any way, I can replace it without having to reglass it in. Its not chopped to the correct lenght yet but it will get trimmed during final build. Boat is completely apart and I'm working on paint and body work. Want to have some air scoops so looks like I'm going to fabricate some. I'll post some pics soon.

  23. #23
    GRANT ED's Avatar
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    RE: Expresscraft Thunderbolt build II

    Very nice. I'd really like a Tbolt but no one is Aus sells Expresscraft boats and last time I checked the shipping was twice what the hull cost. Keep them pics coming.
    He who dies with the most toys wins.

  24. #24
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    RE: Expresscraft Thunderbolt build II

    George at Hobby Depot sells Expresscraft hulls in Australia. Give him a call, He's good to deal with.
    The answer is always more power.

  25. #25
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    RE: Expresscraft Thunderbolt build II

    After 2 molds & many nights looking at designs, I think I have something that looks just right for my boat. This particular scoop (3rd one) was a lot easier to make than the other 2 .... bought a scoop from Bonzi Boats and chopped it up. Used aluminum foil on the cowl, layed fiberglass with epoxy and then placed the scoop on top for bonding. Trimmed it down after everything cured and this is what you see.....one more to go.
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