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  1. #1

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    .50sz Tettra N1-K2 Shinden-Kai "George" Build Thread

    A little over a year ago I picked this kit up from a Japanese man I made friends with through an eBay deal. The Tettra line of kits are unavailable to the best of my knowledge here in the USA and many either don't even know of them or have ever seen a kit. While most these days either have or are making the move to the larger 1/3, 1/4, 1/5 scale war birds I still prefer the smaller scaled ones that are easy to handle and don't need to be disassembled to transport. This means most of what I build is in the 1/7 to 1/8 scales. I even prefer to stay with the slightly smaller .50sz stuff over the .60 size. What I really enjoy about building the smaller craft is trying to add the scale items to them. Most are either designed for 4-5 channels but I even try to at least add scale flaps to them to make them at least 6 channels. Gear doors, retract tail wheels, etc. are the things that I've done to make the builds more interesting. While most are designed for film covering with open bay wings I even try to glass them or do a combination of the two with fabric covering and paint.

    Looking at what Tettra has to offer in kits really interested me so I picked up this .50 size Shinden "George". They have some unique and often not modeled airframes so I know that I will most likely be the only one on the flightline with a "George". The "George" is not fully kitted by any other manufacturer that I know of and I've only seen much larger short kits available. The Tettra kits are die cut and not laser cut but the die cutting is the best I've seen. Ever single part almost falls out and not one single part so far (on the wing build) has been off at all. No spaces at joints or over/under length ribs, etc. The trailing edge, upper and lower spars are just slightly notched for the ribs and those notches line up exactly with the plans. I cannot believe how well and quickly this goes together. I have many full and short kits and was planning on doing my Devastator Short kit next but choose this kit because after looking closely at it I felt I could build it very quickly. Now that I've actually started it I know that will be true. I about 45 mins I set up and completely framed the two wing halves other than the cross ribs. Because this is designed with open bay wing panels and strip ailerons I have decide to change things around some.

    My plans are to use electric retracts, struts, scale ailerons, flaps, fully sheet the wings, glass and paint finish. Instead of two separate aileron servos I think I will even go with the old Nyrod single servo method. There is sufficient dihedral on it to prevent use of the single push rod/bell crank type aileron system so the Nyrod comes to mind but haven't ruled out the dual servos yet. I have included a couple pictures of past builds on old kits that are in the smaller sizes. One is a early Kyosho Skyraider which was glassed on the fuse, coverite on the wings, and all paint including the markings. Small size electric retracts modified to rotate were added. The other is a very old design of Nick Ziroli (1968), a 55.5" P47 kitted by Davey Systems. It is totally silver Solartex with paint anywhere there's a color including all insignias. Full flaps, electric retracts with offset struts, aluminum gear doors, and a Robart mini retract tail wheel. By the way, both fly great even with the added weight so I do not agree with the old adage that these "smaller" planes don't fly well. Like Kevin Costner said in the movie Field of Dreams, "If you build it straight, they will fly".
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    Last edited by chistech; 07-15-2014 at 08:46 AM.

  2. #2

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    Here are pictures of some of the nice features of this kit. The notched spars and leading edges and even shear webbing that is die cut that fits perfectly. One does have to compare the die cut sheets to the plans and mark the duplicate parts. Only one part is marked with the appropriate number, all the others need to be marked. I had two extra sets of plans made, one standard, one mirror image so I could tape two wing halves together. I use my aluminum straight edge to make sure the main spar is perfectly straight before the was paper goes down. Like I said in the earlier post I mentioned the wing went together quickly. I also have pictures of the wing's construction and the changes I've made to the standard kit. Tonight I spent the time designing the flaps and scale ailerons rather than using the strip ailerons. This plane has a half split, half full type flap so I had to design a leading edge for the flap yet keep the original trailing edge for the full part of the flap. Looking at 3 view drawings one can see that the upper flap gap is closer to the trailing edge than the aileron gap. This full flap is about 2/3rds the width of the aileron on the wing top and larger than the full aileron on the bottom. On the wing bottom the flap hinge line is closer to the spar than the aileron hinge line.

    The flap bottoms will be 1/16 ply with a piece of the original strip aileron glued to it to make the full flap section. I made the new inner flap leading edges and new aileron trailing edges for the scale flaps. It had to be done in two separate pieces because of the different widths of the flaps and ailerons. I will be adding some 1/16th sheeting to what comes with the kit so I can fully sheet the wing. I have decided to use bell cranks for the flaps w/one servo and two separate servos for the ailerons. I have a couple small servo wing mounts that accept a small servo which should be enough for this plane. I have a pair of HiTec HS80mg servos that fit these mounts perfectly. Can someone tell me how good or bad these servos are before I start designing the mounting plate for these plastic mounts. All this work took some time because of course I don't read or understand Japanese so I have to built this with my modeling experience only. Originally I thought there was a lot of dihedral on this but it's only 55mm at the tip. Going to use HK 90d retracts so I will need to seat the route ends of the retract rails a little deeper to keep the legs closer to ninety to the ground. The chord is pretty thick so I don't think I'll have a problem doing this. A set of offset VQ struts that I had in the box will complete the gear. Japanese plane all had small wheels compared to the US aircraft and this model is no different calling for a 2-2.25" wheel. I do believe I can fit a 2.5" wheel and if so will use them.
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  3. #3

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    Neat kit of a very cool subject chistech. Looking forward to the build.

  4. #4

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    Here are pictures of the plans and the work done on the flaps/ailerons. When I made the new trailing and leading edges both needed to be tapered and angled to match the ribs. In one picture you can see my straight edge clamped to my Dremel table saw. The blade has been set to the correct rib angle and if you close at the far end you can see a small piece of balsa tacked to the workpiece. The balsa piece is the width needed to make the taper correct on the workpiece.
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    Last edited by chistech; 07-15-2014 at 09:28 PM.

  5. #5

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    More pics of tonight's work and finished changes to the flap and aileron areas. Will start sanding and gluing the top sheeting together so I can sheet each panel. In the first picture you can see the T pin used to hold up the narrower end when the rib slots were cut. The second pic shows one of the flap leading edges installed and the other one laying on top of the ribs. Next pic shows the trailing edge that is cut the length of the flap. The 1/16 ply flap panel will be glued to the lower trailing edge which will also have short half ribs glued to it to help prevent warping. This was the first TE I cut and I didn't do that good of a job. The other one came out perfect as I used a different technique. The last picture shows the wing panels with the servos in there proper places. I left out the cross ribs in the sections where either a servo or bell crank plate will be mounted. All ribs are 1/16th but this has built up real strong.

    Fulling sheeting this will not add much more weight and the glassing technique we use of heating the resin and squeegeeing all the extra off really makes a difference. More to come.
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    Last edited by chistech; 07-15-2014 at 11:03 PM.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chad Veich View Post
    Neat kit of a very cool subject chistech. Looking forward to the build.
    Hi Chad. I like different airframes as I'm sure you know with my other threads and don't have many Axis aircraft in my stable so this was pretty much a must have. I also have a Marutaka Raiden that I will build someday and both of these had pretty much the same colors. What I did like was I found a few pictures of captured Raidens that were shipped back to the US and to the RAF. I don't have many RAF aircraft either so the Raiden might end up with Roundels on it. I can already hear the comments: "what plane is that? I don't remember ever seeing one of those" LOL

  7. #7

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    Well the initial framing up of the wing went fast but now it's slowed down because of the flap planning. I realized the easy way to do the flaps would be to use the supplied torque rods that were intended for the strip ailerons. No bell cranks or multiple flap servos. Used 3 pin hinges per flap. Made up all 4 wing skins and covered the top left panel so I could remove it from the board. The 3 shims under the trailing edge build in 2d's washout and gluing the top sheet down helps keep that washout in. Once the right panel is covered on the top and the other flap set up is done then both wing panels will get glued together with the ply joiners at the main spar. Before I can sheet the bottom of the wings I will need to build the fuse so I can sit the wing in the saddle to center the wing. I can also locate the leading edge ply plate that makes up the beginning of the belly pan and which the dowels pass through into the ply fuse former. The bottom of the wings will then get sheeted and completed. I sanded in the correct dihedral on the left panel and finished the flap set up last night. Couldn't do any work on the right panel but will try and get the flap done, the top sheeted, and the dihedral sanded in tomorrow night.

    In the pictures you can see the top section of the flap which is a "full" section. This was a piece of the original strip aileron balsa I used. I left a slight gap between the trailing edge and the top section so I have room for the glass cloth and resin. A little sanding after and this should give a nice tight joint when the flap is closed. In the second picture you can see with the flap down how the flap itself is half split/half full. You can see the hinge blocks and half ribs on the split section. The torque rod end is also visible on the top of the wing sheeting on the far right near the wing root. What is real nice is the fact that you can sand the balsa on the top of the ply flap down to get a real fine trailing edge and still have a strong edge. Something you just can't do with soft balsa.
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    Last edited by chistech; 07-17-2014 at 10:00 PM.

  8. #8

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    I've been having a hard time signing on to this forum and finally got through. Haven't worked on the George for a couple days until tonight. Got the wing panels epoxied together with the ply wing joiners at the main spar and will sheet the top right panel tomorrow. Will also build the flap on the right panel once the sheeting is secure and glue dry. I built the stab, elevators, vert. fin, and rudder. The plans showed just a small rounded edge on the solid fin leading edge but I've decided to sand it more scale like with a thinner leading edge tapering wider to the average chord of the fin. All tail surfaces got hinged with Robart pin hinges and preliminary sanding has been done. Will have pictures up tomorrow of the progress. Will also start assembling the fuse tomorrow. With the amount of room I have under the cowl I am mounting a Saito .72. I have a bunch of old Saito .65's that are my favorite for these .50 sized kits but the .65 is just too big to work without too much alterations of the nose. The smaller framed .72 will work just fine. Though the kit calls for a OS .52FS, the added weight of retracts, flaps, struts, paint and glass, the .72 will be perfect and add a little more fun factor when wanted.

  9. #9

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    Here is some pictures of yesterday's work and a little from today. Going back down stairs to do more.
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  10. #10

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    Got the ailerons done. They are tapered both width and thickness. Used trailing edge stock with a piece of 1/2 rounded leading edge stock I had in the scrap bin. Robart pin hinges and the dado slots for the hinges cut on my dremel table saw. I find using the table saw makes nice uniform slots quickly. Still have to put in some epoxy around the ply ribs for the landing gear mounts and also put in the ply rails for the gear.

    Started the fuse tonight. This has to be the easiest kit of a war bird I've ever made that isn't a complete "fun scale" type. The plank sided fuse gets the typical top stringer glued to it along with triangle stock for the fuse bottom panel. A full ply wing saddle also gets glued to the sided as step one of the fuse build. Again, I can't read Japanese so going by past builds. There is one piece of balsa triangle stock that helps support the wing saddle and the front ply wing plate (wing dowels go through it) that was hard to tell where it went. Looking closely at the drawings and the supplied views of the fuse formers I was able to get that part in the correct location easily. Again, every single piece fit perfectly everywhere including all formers and strip stock. There is not one joint that has a space or that needed to be sanded to fit correctly. What really impressed me about this kit is the fact that there is balsa angle jigs supplied for each former. These are put in place one at a time and each is numbered accordingly with it's respective former. These jigs get tack glued to each former while one side of the fuse is laying flat on the bench. The jigs hold each former in the correct angle so when you assemble the side to the other side, the formers line up correctly with alignment holes, the curvature of the fuse sides are correct, and the fuse build perfectly straight. I'm not sure if other kit manufacturers use this method but it is the first I've seen for every single fuse former. With these jigs the fuse when together quickly.

    Once the fuse was dry I again started dry laying up other components and finally found one thing wrong in the kit. One former is just slightly (1/32nd) over size where a small part needs to be glued. Less than 15 seconds of light sanding got the former level to where it needed to be. Got the tail wheel block in, bottom rear stringer in place, and the rear bottom fuse decking in. This kit also features full width ply servo rails that get epoxied into pre-made formers so the rails are supported to the fuse sides and perfectly spaced. I know we're all used to ply servo trays in our ARF's but not in a kit. This kit also features a cockpit floor and a pilots chair can be made so that there's more than just the normal rounded top of the fuse with a pilot glued to it. With these size models there is often never a cockpit. Again, a plus for Tettra! At the top of balsa sides a machined balsa rail is glued in. This rail start the flat sides to the rounded section of the fuse. The top panels of the fuse are already pre-bent for you. Doesn't get any simpler than that. Will start on those rails, top stringers, fuse top panels, etc. later tonight.

    I'm thinking I might not go with the old school wood mounting rails for the engine because I like mounting most of my engines inverted. If I don I will have to make a wedge plate for the motor mount to get the proper thrust angles normally built in with the wood rails.. I might still add the rails between the two front bulkheads just for the added strength they supply. All for now.
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  11. #11

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    Some pictures of the fuse assembled. Did a quick mock up with the tail feathers.
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  12. #12

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    Got more done on the fuse. It' all sheeted now except for the small area on the bottom right behind the firewall and in front of the wing. The pre-bent sheeting supplied with this kit was great. Very easy to work with a glue down. The bend were perfectly made to match the curve of the bulkheads. Just some edge trimming was all that was necessary. On the ends I found laying the bent sheeting on a paper towel roll to sand the end straight with a sanding bar.the way to go. Cut out the canopy to check the height of the Japanese pilot. With the pilot on the cockpit floor his height is just about right. I took some pictures of the part #F20 which is the machined balsa piece I mentioned that is used to transition the flat sides to the curved areas. One thing about the George is it is beefy just like the P47 is. This fuse is over 5.5" wide and 6.25 tall. Plenty of room for servos in this fuse. Started working in the electric retracts and struts. Only got one in so far. More to do tomorrow.
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  13. #13

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    Pre-bent sheeting! Can you imagine finding that in a kit today? Great progress chistech, keep up the nice work.

  14. #14

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    Hi Chad, this is a modern kit still being manufactured and sold in Japan. I cannot believe how good the plastic parts are also. The canopy is thick, the wing fairings fit EXACTLY when cut on the molded in lines that are well defined enough to follow with a black fine point felt marker. The line is depressed just enough that the fine point will pretty much stay in the groove. This is a huge plus working with my "not as sharp as they used to be" eyes. The cowl is also clear plastic and is not that thick. It will get fully glassed inside when it's done. I suspect that the wing loading will be fairly high on this one so it will have to flown like a true scale ship and not a typical fun flyer. Only flying will tell just how good the Tettra's fly. If someone is looking to build a warbird kit and they are not that proficient, I would highly recommend a Tettra kit. Just following the plans one can build this without reading a single direction. I have a Skyshark laser cut kit that impressed me a lot. For a die cut kit with perfect molded plastic, and great hardware plus a price of $206 delivered to my door from Japan how can one go wrong.
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  15. #15

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    Finally got back to doing some work on this George. My in-laws have been up for a few weeks from FL and I nicknamed them the "tornadoes" if that gives you an idea about the kaos that goes on when they're here! I did a lot of painting on my old Davey Systems/Champion P47 kit I recently finished. Worked on the bottom of the wing the last couple days. Framed out the retract bays and wheel wells. Built the ply servo plates for the ailerons and put in hardwood mounts for them. Once that was done I sheeted the bottoms of each panel. I've gotten one side of the wing open for the retracts. I've decided to order new struts for it as the George uses a very unique offset strut. The linkage is above the tire and the "elbow of the linkage faces inboard towards the fuse, not rearward or forward like all other warbirds. The offset struts I'm getting are link less as none are made like the George's. I did built the framework for the rearward facing linkage for the struts as you can see in the pictures but the doors just won't look right if I use them. Kit also comes with a nice tail wheel although not scale. It has it's own steering arm that is driven off the rudder horn with it's own push rod.
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  16. #16

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    Ok, gone a different way on the struts. Instead of buying new linkless ones I decided to alter the ones I already have. The offset struts I have came from VQ and are made of steel. I realized if I could move the link retainer on the lower strut then all I would need to do is rotate the top strut tube with the other link retainer.

    A closer look at the strut showed me that the retainer is spot welded on. I carefully pried the retainer away from the strut using a fine flat screw driver. I tapped the screw driver with a hammer at the first spot weld until it broke free. I then worked on the second spot weld then just twisted the retainer off the strut. I lightly ground the spot welds flat and using a brass punch that is the same size as the strut tube, I reshaped the retainer in my drill press vise. Recently I bought a spot welder from Harbor Freight to put on new rocker panels on a 83' Blazer I restored. I turned the two welder tips on my lathe to make them finer and preceded to re-weld the retainer on the struts in the proper location for a Shiden Kai after I had removed the plastic spring plug inside the lower strut tube. (although I moved the link, the full size shiden kai offsets are on the outside of the wheel with the links on the inside. This would not work for my application so I had to go with both the links and offsets to the inside)

    Both struts came out nice and will need to be painted but other than that, they work and look pretty damn nice. They do retract nicely right into the wing and now the doors came remain in the scale shape without any need for covering the link.

    In the pictures with the two struts with their wheels on, the standard strut as it comes from VQ is on the left. My Shiden Kai strut is on the right.
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  17. #17

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    Pretty much finished the wing today. Got the bottom sheeting cut for the retracts, the wing tips on, and the leading edges sanded. Decided not to go with the wood rails for mounting the motor and went with a conventional two sided motor mount. Also went with a heavier Saito .65 rather than the lighter .72 Saito. This plane has a very short nose and I will need all the weight up front I can get. Turns out I had a .65 sitting on a mount and it was positioned on the mount in exactly the correct spot to give me the proper distance from the firewall with just a degree wedge behind it. I needed 1.5d down and 2.5d right so I set my compound miter saw with both angles. I glued a square of 1/4" ply to a 2x4 cut square so I could hold it while I cut it. It ended up working perfectly and the compound degree wedge worked perfect. When I mounted the center of the engine's rear on the firewall where the plans shown center, the prop washer came out exactly where it should have.

    After I mounted the engine I trimmed out the clear cowl and installed it per plans. You can see in the pictures the spinner lines up perfectly in the center of the cowling opening. This is the first time I've ever made the degree wedge and it took a little thinking but the results worked out. As I always do for inspiration during my builds, I assembled the plane to get a look at it getting a little closer. With the retracts sitting on the rails as they are configured in the kit, the struts are not 90d to the ground as they should be. I would say that this is the first thing I've found wrong with the kit. Two small wedges under each retract will correct those angles to the ground as I tried it and there is still plenty of room for the wheel in the well without it hitting the top skin. Ended up using an old pair of Veco tires that have metal hubs and are pretty scale looking plus are narrower than most. The Shinden Kai, like most Japanese fighters uses a small wheel diameter and these are just a little bigger than what was called for and still fit in the bay. One thing nice about this model is the good forward "rake" or angle of the struts when the gear is down. Should help prevent any nose overs. It's getting to look more and more like the picture on the kit box.
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  18. #18

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    Two thumbs up chistech, lookin' real good. I had the good fortune to see the NASM's "George" when it was on display at the Champlin Fighter Museum after it was restored by Gosshawk. I've wanted to build one ever since. I'd really like to do a 1/6 scale one to go with my Hellcat once the big 'cat is finished. (In a decade or so at this rate!)
    Last edited by Chad Veich; 08-10-2014 at 12:02 AM.

  19. #19

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    Thanks Chad. My wife and I did have a trip to DC planned this year and I thought they might have one there but I'm not sure. Was going to take a camera for sure just to take a bunch of pics of all the planes I have kits of to build. (and I have a bunch) so I know what you mean about having the time. I can't imagine how long a one of those big birds can take.

    I worked on the tail tonight. Lined it up straight and even and then started making the fillet blocks for the top of the stab to fin area. These fillets can be a real PIA to make especially with the fin in the way. I used the fin to line the fillet blocks up then used a filler block in place of the fin. I tack glued the block to the fillets to hold everything in place during the shaping and sanding. This made it all go a lot faster. Instead of just rounding the leading edge of the fin I put a more scale like shape/taper to the fin a while back then finished and blended it all in once it was in place between the fillet blocks.

    The plans call for a double push rod to each elevator half but because the trailing edge of the stab ends about 3/4" before the rear of fuse/rudder post, I've decided to use an internal push rod to a wire U-horn which will go into each elevator half. I will still be using an exterior rudder horn and linkage from the rudder horn to the tail wheel.
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  20. #20

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    The NASM George is now on display at the Udvar-Hazy facility chistech. Below are a couple of pics of it my brother in law took a couple years back. This museum is absolutely at the top of my bucket list!




  21. #21

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    Thanks for the pictures Chad. Was supposed to go there this year but my wife has been out of work because the company she worked for (19yrs) closed. We were going to go after my in-laws went back to FL (they left today). Don't you know my wife got a job this week in the medical field so the trip is out. Oh well, next year. Anyway, got to love those small tires/wheels on the George. They're a lot smaller than our fighters had. Almost done with the major wood work. Will soon start radio install/push rods, etc. Then off to my buddy's place for glassing and painting.

  22. #22
    scale only 4 me's Avatar
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    Nice work,, I spy a cool float plane in the background
    You're so smart,, you figured out how to read this!! Or maybe ya just got lucky??

  23. #23

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    I see it too! I think it's actually the same as the set of plans that I got from you. Remember the one all made out of foam sheet? I think it is the same. Will have to look for that set of plans again. I might actually work with foam, you never know.
    Ted

  24. #24

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    Got more done today. I put in the elevator, rudder, and throttle servos. Made the pushrods to the elevator and rudder. Made my elevator horn for inside the fuse. Hooked up the tailwheel linkage. Ran the throttle linkage. Set up the flaps linkage and they work well. Got all the tail feathers sanded and they are now ready for covering with Solartex. Put the whole thing together and set the CG machine at the recommended 93mm. Between the .65 saito and the retracts/struts, the nose weight is up there pretty good and I had to move the battery to just under the cockpit to balance. I know that the tail isn't covered or the pilot/canopy installed but it looks like some simple moving of components inside the fuse and I should be able to balance it. Once the rain stops I'm taking it out to my detached garage for a quick weigh it so I have an idea of what it weighs before glassing and paint.
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  25. #25

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    Got the fuel tank in and finished radio installation last night. Put in the aileron horns and made up the aileron push rods. Covered the tail feathers today with silver Solartex. Might take it with me to a scale meet this week just to show it. Wonder how many will know what plane it is. Now I'm pretty much ready for glassing so it's time to take it all apart and move the pieces to my buddies studio.
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