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Juice 10-29-2006 08:27 AM

TF P-40 Build Thread
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After years of being on RCU and benefiting from the knowledge of others on it, I want to give my little contribution by posting pictures of my current project... a Top Flite 1/7 P-40E Warhawk. I'm not the best builder and I don't have many tricks and tips to offer. In fact, I'll probably be asking many questions along the way. I hope that this thread will be useful for others building this kit now and in the future.

I have some goals that I would like to accomplish with this plane:
1) Must build fast. I want to try to have it built by the end of sping '07 and have it flying all next summer.
2) Must have retracts. Must have GOOD rotating retracts.
3) Must have flaps. Most people with experience with this plane say that this is a must.
4) Must not use film covering. I need practice fiberglassing. I need even more practice painting.
5) Must KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid).

I chose to model the full-size P-40E NZ3009. I don't know the history of this plane, but after browsing for hours on [link=http://www.airliners.net]www.airliners.net[/link], this one had the most vicious set of teeth and the meanest looking eyes (see attached pic). It also has a relatively simple paint scheme. I know it looks like Sky Shark's P-40N ARF, but I really like it.



ramcfarland 10-29-2006 08:58 AM

RE: TF P-40 Build Thread
'Josh'--- If you want to learn glassing why practice on a scale airplane lots of work and a weight increase if you have no experience. If you have Monokoting skills I'd recommend that route then using a quality airbrush you could do the cameo as well as prime and paint the plastic parts . I agree on the flaps but suggest you do a set up where you can readily reach the flap switch while still being in control of the elevator on your TX . I like this kit as well and look forward to your progress and if you do stay the course with glassing PRACTICE on another subject going from glass to final finish coat of paint. [sm=thumbup.gif]

Juice 10-29-2006 09:22 AM

RE: TF P-40 Build Thread
Ram... I actually have experience fiberglassing a TF Corsair. I think I did alright with that job. It had flaps, retractable mains and tailwheel, weighing 10.5 lbs. I really wasn't happy with the paint job on the Corsair. I will be practicing my air brush skills on a plastic model.

It did take a little getting used to landing, controlling the elevator, while dropping the gear, then dropping the flaps, then managing the throttle for the decent. When done right, it looks awesome.


Juice 10-29-2006 09:25 AM

RE: TF P-40 Build Thread
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The kit was actually purchased from a club member who started and, for whatever reason, quickly decided he would not be able to finish it. He built the horizontal stab, the two elevator halves, and the vertical fin. I took it from there.

Here are the pics of all the control surfaces finished.

1) Horizontal stab and elevators
2) Vertical fin and rudder
3) Ailerons
4) Flaps


Juice 10-29-2006 10:14 AM

RE: TF P-40 Build Thread
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I got the wings framed up back in June. Then I took a couple months break to get married.


P-40 DRIVER 10-29-2006 10:35 AM

RE: TF P-40 Build Thread
Sounds like the first statements conflicts with the KISS principle but thats okay. I am building a Top Flite P-40 as well but I'm a little ahead of you. If you do what your talking about, you will end up with a heavy plane in 11 to 12 pound range which will require excelllent flying skills to manage. The only reason these planes require flaps is because everybody builds them into a flying brick. Be very careful about your weight. I'm shooting for 9 pounds with mine stripped down to the basics, maybe a little less, we will see.
Looks like a picture perfect wedding and I wish you all the best in the years ahead.

Juice 10-29-2006 10:36 AM

RE: TF P-40 Build Thread
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The first thing I did after coming back from my honeymoon is to call Darrel of Sierra Precision to order his new .60-size rotating retracts. They came in 3 weeks later and I was back in the workshop. I had to cut then re-inforce the bottom spar to get them to fit. Here's a thread on how I fitted them into the wing:

[link=http://www.rcuniverse.com/forum/m_4867151/anchors_4897096/mpage_1/key_/anchor/tm.htm#4897096]Sierra retracts in a TF P-40[/link]

Once that was solved I joined the two wing panels, and I glued in the retract rails. I didn't use the plywood rails and retract mounting screws that came with the kit. Instead, I used hardwood maple rails, 4-40 bolts and blind nuts.

Next step is the wheel wells before sheeting the wing.


P-40 DRIVER 10-29-2006 10:36 AM

RE: TF P-40 Build Thread
By the way, don't use the stock linkage set up, it leaves alot to be desired.

ramcfarland 10-29-2006 12:00 PM

RE: TF P-40 Build Thread
congratulations s on your marriage its a full time job and nothing is more important.

back to your F-4U i would imagine complexity of paint job depends if it was 3 shades or 1 shade like the Corsairs in the Korean conflict. I think we can all agree here that you need well mixed properly thinned paint and the proper air brush and or touch up type spray gun do not think practicing on plastic model would help much as I think you will agree you need a larger spray pattern. Wish you were near by I would assist you in painting your Corsair project;)

Rocketman612 10-29-2006 12:08 PM

RE: TF P-40 Build Thread

Congratulations on tying the knot. It's good she knows your an RC addict up front:D

The build is looking good. If you use water based polyurethane for the glassing with 1/2 oz cloth along with some trimming she should be no heavier than 10 lbs or even lighter. Think about your Corsair build and TF kits in general. Lots of places to trim excess wood and weight. When you make the spacer mount for the RCV you can hollow out or drill some lightening holes it it without loosing strength.

Take care,

Richard L. 10-29-2006 01:06 PM

RE: TF P-40 Build Thread

ORIGINAL: [email protected]

The only reason these planes require flaps is because everybody builds them into a flying brick.
Here is one thing to remember: "FLAPS LOWER STALL SPEED"

The Top Flite P-40 lands like a pu$$ycat with full flaps, no matter how light or heavy it is. Land it without flaps and it tends to snap or drop a wing.

Juice 10-29-2006 02:13 PM

RE: TF P-40 Build Thread
"Make it light" is always an implied goal, isn't it? I haven't set a weight target. Thinking about it now, I'd be happy between 10 and 10.5 lbs. With flaps, retracts and the RCV 90SP, I don't think I can get it under 10 lbs.

low... I agree with you about the aileron linkage. If you look at the picture of my framed up wing panels, you'll see that I added rails for an aileron servo similar to the rails for the flap servo.


Juice 10-29-2006 02:24 PM

RE: TF P-40 Build Thread
1 Attachment(s)
This is the first of many questions sure to come...

The attached picture is of the retract rails (from the other side). They are already epoxied in. The rib doublers R3D and R4D, which help support the rails, are CA'd in also. Question to those with TF P-40 flying experience... Is that enough? I can still epoxy triangle stock for added support.


P-40 DRIVER 10-29-2006 05:18 PM

RE: TF P-40 Build Thread
I'm not to thrilled with the linkage to the tail either and putting the servo trey where they have it on the plans is just putting allot of weight where it does not need to be. I am moving my servo's forward because I will be running a light motor. The p-40 is a bigger plane than the Corsair; and, therefore will most likely weigh a little more, set up the same. I agree that flaps will are the way to go, but I'm leaving them off for simplicities sake. My plane should be about as lite as you can make it, without getting to crazy. If it was me, I would skip RCV motor, and go with a big 4 stroke which will swing a good sized three blade prop without having to do all the work to get that motor installed and cooled properly. A saito 150/180 will bolt right in and swing 15/8 3 blade prop. Those Sierra retracts are the way to go, but do weigh twice as much as a set of Robarts so keep that in mind in you all up weight. Not having a huge budget for this hobby; its hard for me to justify spending $300 to watch the wheels go up and down, so I'm leaving the retracts off of my plane and putting my money into another Saito. Don't make those gear attach points to strong. I would rather tear the gear out of the wing then rip the wing in two if you know what I mean.

Peter_OZ 10-30-2006 08:27 PM

RE: TF P-40 Build Thread
couple of points to note from my experience on this model.

1. check and double check CG

2. as per 1.

3. drill out lightening holes in the sheet sections on rudder and elevators, it will surprise you how much weight can then be saved in the nose.

4. The wing has a real weakness where the flaps and airlrons meet, right in the little dog leg. If you get a decent wack on a wing tip the wing will break right at that point.

5. Fiberglassing is easy and gives a much nicer finish. If you llok in my TF P40 Wing rebuild thread there are afew pointers on this.

all the best and congtrats on the nuptials. Now is the time to learn to balance family and hobby - oh and work too hehe

Juice 10-31-2006 03:36 AM

RE: TF P-40 Build Thread
Peter... I've been through your thread a couple times already. I'm sorry about that unfortunate ending. Thanks for the tips, I plan on doing all 5 of your points.

Can you tell me how to did you wheel wells? Would it be better to put them in now, while I have full access to both sides of the wing?


Juice 10-31-2006 11:24 PM

RE: TF P-40 Build Thread
1 Attachment(s)
Originally, I was planning on using an RCV 90-SP that I already own. But [email protected] got me thinking more about weight. With the RCV and the Sierra retracts I think the final weight would be close to 11.5 lbs. The RCV 90 could probably fly it, but it would be underpowered. Then I found out that the LHS that I don't normally go to is having a big sale on everything. So if I need to buy a new engine, I should to do it now.

So I've been doing some research and number crunching for the past couple days. I narrowed my choices down to an RCV 120-SP, YS 110-FZ, and the Saito FA-125. With the RCV, I gain half a pound, I don't get as much power as the Saito or the YS, and it would be difficult to cool. The extra power of the YS is only available if you got good ears, hands and experience to dial it in. I also hear that it's more difficult and expensive to service the YS. With the Saito, I can actually drop half a pound. It also get's rave reviews from club members and the LHS owner is a big Saito fan. So I chose the Saito.

Attached is a pic of the shiny new engine.

BTW... I'm a big fan of the RCV SP engines. I actually feel disloyal that I can't use it. Turning a big, almost-scale size prop is really cool. The P-40 just isn't the right applicaiton for them. Too bad. I also like their CD style engines. I wish RCV had their new 130-CD available now.


Peter_OZ 10-31-2006 11:28 PM

RE: TF P-40 Build Thread
I simply followed the sequence in the book to the letter, if you do that they should come out fine.

Peter_OZ 10-31-2006 11:31 PM

RE: TF P-40 Build Thread
u can mount that brute inverted, use on board glow and get a custom header made so the exhaust exists under the belly like on mine.

that way it is completley hidden. I would however ensure your oil content is a tad higher that recommended simply to aid in cooling.

Good luck!

Flak 11-01-2006 09:30 PM

RE: TF P-40 Build Thread
You can see one of my TF P-40's in my gallery here on RCU. She's from a Red Box kit. Personally, I think the Red Box P-40's fly better than the gold edition version, espescially when landing and taking off. Make sure to put plenty of "Wash Out" in the wing tips. This will help diminish the dreaded "Tip Stall" tendencies. Good Luck. BTW, I've been married to the same Gal for 33 Years and I wouldn't trade her for the world. Best of luck to the two of you. Get her on a Buddy Box and teach her to fly so she can share your hobby with you. Two 1/5th TF P-51D Mustangs total price of $700.00, Two G-62 gas guzzlers total price of $650.00, a young newlywed couple to fly them together....Priceless! Good luck.

Note: Ball park guestimates,

Peter_OZ 11-02-2006 10:30 PM

RE: TF P-40 Build Thread
flak is right mate, my wife flies her little pegasus trainer and is badgering me to build her a big T-28 so she has a warbird to fly.

dunno what the guys think about this dolly bird in 4' stilletoes flying a model plane[:-]

tigertooth 11-05-2006 07:42 PM

RE: TF P-40 Build Thread
Flak, Nice Red Box P-40. How did you end up modifiying the flaps? Congrads Juice. Been married for eighteen years and started dating when I was learning how to fly R/C, so model aircraft is part of the family!

Juice 11-06-2006 06:15 PM

RE: TF P-40 Build Thread
My wife is great. She fully supports my hobby, but unfortunately she has absolutely no desire to get into it herself. She'd rather go shopping.

I actually blame her for getting me addicted to this hobby. Back when I she was in school full-time, I would drive 1.5 hours to visit her every weekend. Being in a demanding program, she didn't have time to entertain me all weekend. After getting sick of watching TV all weekend, week after week, I thought to myself "What should I do now? I've always wanted to get into RC airplanes." A visit to the hobby shop followed by a visit to the local club's field got me fully hooked. I was putting together an LT-40 ARF trainer in her living room on the following weekend.

Anyways, back to the build...

1) I've been busy oogling over the new engine and reading all that I can about it. It's on a test stand now and it has one tank (20 minutes) on it. No problems so far.

2) The wheel wells are shaped and glued in. Servo extensions for flaps and ailerons are in. Air lines for the retracts are in. The wings are ready for sheeting. The 1/16" sheets that came with the kit are very badly warped that I don't want to use them. I couldn't make it to the hobby shop until last weekend to get replacements.

I have pictures, but I have to wait until later to post.


P-40 DRIVER 11-06-2006 08:49 PM

RE: TF P-40 Build Thread
That Saito should work out just fine. You are going to need to do something with your tank placement. a Cline or Iron Bay regulator may not be a bad idea due to the fact that you may not be able to get the tank low enough. I'm Getting an OS .91 Surpass for mine because OS makes all the exhaust plumbing you need. I'm also going with the OS aluminum mount as well. I will be going with a 12 oz tank mounted through the firewall and centered on the carb with fuel lines looped above to prevent syphoning.

Debris Field 11-06-2006 09:43 PM

RE: TF P-40 Build Thread

I recently finished my P-40 as my first proper warbird, I found that people get all worked up over fiberglassing. To thin or not to thin, types of cloth, overlaps, two coats or one....blah blah blah...

It had me so worked up soaking up all this information and I couldn't decide what to do. In the end I figured I would follow one person's procedure and stick to it figuring that they had good results and had been so proud of their results that they wrote a webpage on how to do it. So I waded in and enjoyed it from the first lay-up. I never looked back and enjoyed the entire process. It really is a simple, but it seems to get exagerated in difficulty. The worst issue is simply the mess underneath the model from dripped resins...but that's what drop sheets are for!


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