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CorsairJock 07-16-2003 11:16 PM

1/8 scale TopFlite Corsair Mods
1 Attachment(s)
My name is Jim Jager, and I live in Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA. I am starting this thread to help all those who have .60 size/ 1/8 scale Top Flite Corsairs (Gold Edition AND 'red box'), who desire an aircraft that looks much better and is more scale accurate than the ones built just like the one on the box. In other words, ways to make your Corsair a step above the others. Many of the mods to be discussed here could be applied to other 1/8 scale Corsairs as well. Most of the mods that I post are relatively easy to accomplish, add little or no weight, and have little or no effect on the flight characteristics.
I encourage others to submit their ideas as well, but please submit only replies which directly deal the subject of this thread. Many of us subscribe to threads like this, and do not want to be annoyed with meaningless chatter.
I work long hours (still haven't found the right 6 numbers), and every other weekend, so I don't have as much time as some people do for dwelling on the internet. I love my wife, and enjoy spending time with her. I love to build and fly model airplanes, and I love to spend time on the computer. So many loves, so little time. That said, I my goal is to add one 'how to' every week or two, to allow me time between posts and to keep this thread towards the top for newbies. Some of the things I post here will have already been covered in previous posts, I am hoping I can consolidate everything into this one thread.
I will start with the most recent mod to my Top Flight Gold Edition Corsair. You can see more pics of this Corsair by clicking on the "Gallery" button in this post.
This mod consists of the addition of a tailhook. It is a VERY easy project, can be accomplished in about 2 hours, and will add virtually no weight YET will make a very noticeable difference in scale looks. If you look at the pics, and compare to scale drawings, you will see that it is not totally accurate. Without the drawings in hand however, unless you are a true Corsair expert, it will appear very accurate. This mod can be performed on existing / already built Corsairs as well as un-completed ones.
First off, is the 'notch' under the tail. I accomplished this with a Dremel/ sanding wheel. Just 'Dremel' to shape, and add covering material ( I used same color as the rest of the plane). I was actually this far several months ago, before it's first flight. But I went to the 2003 South Bend, IN WarBird Fly-in and several people inquired as to the reason for the 'notch'. So, I decided to complete the project by constructing the tailhook. My tailhook was made from 2 pieces of scrap plastic tubes, which I had purchased at a hobby shop some time ago. One piece is from 3/16" OD plastic tube, the other from ½" OD plastic tube. The sizes I selected were based on what I had on hand, and other sizes could be used based on scale drawings and/ or what looks right. I drilled a hole into the ½" OD tube, then CA'd the 3/16" OD tube into the hole. When cured, I sanded the tubes to desired width and length (using 'that looks about right' thinking), then cut out a portion from the ½" OD tube to form the open hook. A mixture of aluminum and gloss black paint provided the weathered steel look. The 3/16" OD tube is then glued into a 3/16" hole drilled into the slot. As I said, this is all very easy, maybe not exact scale but very eye catching and scale looking, and is guaranteed to set your Top Flight Corsair apart from the others.
Well, that's it until next time, ............Jim

Rocketman612 07-17-2003 01:14 AM

Great Idea
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Great thread you started here. Should be good to see what you and others are doing to modify their TF Corsair.

I am adding +1 incidence to BOTH the wing and Horizontal stab to give it better lines. Extensive testing on Real Flight indicates no bad habits if BOTH are changed.

I made a template of the wing saddle shape and after measuring came up with moving the dowel hole and leading edge of the wing 3/16 deeper into the fuse. the template was adjusted to taper to no adjustment or material removed at the trailing edge. Pete

Rocketman612 07-17-2003 01:28 AM

1/8 scale TopFlite Corsair Mods
1 Attachment(s)
Final results of the wing.

torp 07-18-2003 07:53 AM

wing incidence
Hi Rocketman,
is this a necesary mod and what are the advantages over the stock build ?
Is it purely for looks?

Look forward to you doing the
Horizontal stab.

Thanks Torp.

p.s. Great thread idea Jim . {corsair guru} ;)

CorsairJock 07-18-2003 01:01 PM

1 Attachment(s)
RocketMan: Thanks so much for the help.
What RocketMan is doing is making yet another 'adjustment' to make his Corsair more scale accurate: full scale Corsairs have 2 deg pos. incidence at the roots, stab is 1 1/4 deg pos (see drawing, it shows the 1 1/4 deg), and engine is 0 deg. Top Flite designed this as a sport warbird, and scale inaccuracies abound, th e plans call for 0-0-0, or 0 deg down thrust, 0 deg. wing inc., and 0 deg. stab inc. So what Rocketman is doing (and I have done also) is making a correction which will bring his Corsair closer to looking and flying like the full scale. Performing this mod should also assist in making landings easier, as we should all know by now that a little effective downthrust (relative to the wing) reduces the tendancy for an aircraft to go into a fast dive when power is reduced, and increases the tendency for the aircraft to just go into a slower glide.
I have attached a 1/8 scale drawing here, showing the tailhook area (which BTW, is one of the many details completely lacking in Top Flite plans). This drawing shows the tailhook in the tailwheel down position, and therefor the hook itself is slightly forward of it's completely retracted (up) position. Also, the gear doors are open in this drawing. This should assist all of you in locating the exact position and shape of the 'notch' .
I should state at this point that I suggest that anyone and everyone who builds this kit (or ANY scale warbird kit) do some research, and invest a minimum of $10 more to purchase a book containing scale drawings, pictures, and history/ information about the full scale version of their kit. It is a small investment compared to what the rest of your project will cost, and will assist you in making final choice on finish/ paint schemes. Hopefully, you will choose to come up with a scale/ accurate finish which will make your's different from all the others, and above all, not exactly like the one on the box. Unless of course, you have a 'red box' Corsair, in which case it would be GREAT to have your's look like the one on the box.
NOTE: This drawing is 1/8 scale/ actual scale size for Top Flight (and Royal) .60 size Corsairs. In order to print it correct size, you may need to download it first, then open it in a program such as Adobe Photo Deluxe, and print it from there. It may require cropping in order to fit on a 8 1/2" x 11" page.

shupack 07-18-2003 06:46 PM

1/8 scale TopFlite Corsair Mods
Great idea for a thread Jock,

one of the things that bugged me the most was the wing-tip profile (top to bottom, viewed from the front) the plans show the tips rounded evenly, meaning the top of the wing sloped downward towards the tip-which is all wrong. the bottom of the wing comes up to meet the flat top surface, just changing the way you carve the tip blocks fixes this.

I rough carved then glued the tip blocks on after sheeting, then masked the sheeting to prevent denting, with a long block with rough sandpaper on the end, i sanded for-aft, basically following the ribs, to match the top of the tip block to the top of the wing. periodically lay a straigtedge down and sight along to ensure flatness. then shape the curve, per plan. sand the bottom of the block up to meet the top in a nice taper, leaving about 1/4" vertical flat around the tip, even all the way. glue a small piece of rough paper to some soft foam, and wrap arround the tip to round off the corners smoothly and evenly.
my camera is down, so no new pics, but there are some in my thread (that i've been neglecting) but none of the wing-tips, but some other mod's i've made

I have a 1/48 scale plastic model that was an excellent pattern for this..

RC flyer 2 07-18-2003 07:11 PM

1/8 scale TopFlite Corsair Mods
Purchased this model a few months ago. Tail feathers are complete and the wing needs flaps, ailerons, and tips installed. Did not start fuselage yet. Consider myself to be a good builder, this is my first warbird. Appreciate what you say CorsairJock about all your "Loves" This will be a great place to visit while I build this model.

At this time, I intend to install the full cockpit and have been looking around for a sale pilot for this size plane, any ideas?

Engine: Supertigre 61 - Thinking bigger?? I have this engine in a box.

Retracts: Robart #615 I actually purchased the retracting tailwheel but sent it back.

My biggest decision will be how to finish the model. I am very comfortable with MonKote, but have been reading about glassing.

Anyway, I will send along pictures soon, and look forward to adding your scale touches to my project CorsairJock..

Rocketman612 07-18-2003 11:49 PM

Re: wing incidence
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Originally posted by torp
Hi Rocketman,
is this a necessary mod and what are the advantages over the stock build ?
Is it purely for looks?

Look forward to you doing the
Horizontal stab.

Thanks Torp.

None of the modifications in this thread are necessary. The TF Corsair can be built per plans and flown with no problem. The challenge for me at least was to build something that didn't look like an out of the box TF Corsair. After doing some research (and I totally agree with CorsairJock that you develop a reference library of material for this or any Warbird) I saw many of the scale shortcomings of this kit. With some effort one can improve the overall look of the plane. The change in incidence was something that seemed to be missing so I looked into it, see my thread in the aerodynamics section http://www.rcuniverse.com/showthread...263&forumid=19 I think I will have a good flying plane with better lines.

Finished the horizontal stab with +1 incidence. Notice that the control arm for the Rudder is away from the vertical stab. If you plan on using Robart hinge points then the arm needs to be 1/4 in aft so it's recessed in the Rudder giving it the same axis of rotation as the hinges. Need to do the same for the Elevators too. Take care, Petee

Chad Veich 07-19-2003 12:36 AM

1/8 scale TopFlite Corsair Mods
One of the changes I had planned for my TF Corsair (which has now been sold) was to add scale, airfoil shaped tail surfaces. These could easily be adapted to the kit. If enough interest exists I would be happy to offer a laser cut kit for the new tail.

CorsairJock 07-23-2003 12:59 PM

Rudder Mods
1 Attachment(s)
There are 2 issues that I will address on the rudder: cosmetic (scale accuracy) and structural. The 2 are related in some cases, as you will see.
This drawing below is actual/ 1/8 scale size, so with a little cropping (DO NO "Fit to page") you should be able to print on 8 1/2 x 11. I urge you to print it and compare to Top Flite drawings. You will note that the Top Flite drawings have the rudder slightly more squared in outline. Altho the difference appears to be subtle, it is not. In fact, a rudder built to plans appears noticeably incorrect to anyone who has observed the full scale Corsairs at airshow and museums. I noticed long before I owned my first Top Flite Corsair that the ones I had seen at swap meets and contests just didn't look right, even without the benefit of scale drawings on hand.
The other issue I have with the Top Flight rudder concerns structural integrity. Let me start out by stating that I am one who loves to build light (to fly right), and that I do not like to add strength for the purpose of added crash survivability. BUT, the Corsair rudder is a different story, because if (when) the aircraft ends up on it's back ( I give it a 90% chance within the first 50 flights), the top of the rudder is what it ends landing on (unlike most other aircraft, where the fin bears the brunt). There are many reasons why most Corsairs ( and other warbirds) will/ can end up on their back sooner or later, not even counting pilot error: malfunctioning retracts (especially the unwanted strut rotations), varmit holes in the (grass) runway causing a wheel to stop, grass too tall and/ or too thick, and so on.
My #167 is my second Top Flite Corsair, #102 was my first. #102 had the correct rudder contour, but was easily damaged/ broken when the flip overs occurred. The red lines indicate the areas where the rudder was most likely to break. My #167 has added rudder strength, and has now flipped over a few times and sustained absolutely NO damage. The changes that I made not only strengthened the rudder in key areas, they also actually made the rudder more scale authentic, and did so while adding only a few grams. Observe the blue shaded areas of the drawing: these are the areas that I strengthened. Note also, that these are areas on the full scale that have aluminum sheeting, and thus do not have the fabric over ribs look.
The trim tab (rear, lower rudder area) was made from hard ply, and glued to an area of balsa which was cut out for it. Reasoning behind the needed strength here is that iron on covering tends to pull the soft/ thin balsa too much when being heated, thus causing balsa to flex and making it difficult to get wrinkles out in the lower rear corner. I also added a layer of 1/64 ply to the bottom of the rudder for the same reason, with the most grain going crossways (left/ right, rather than front/ back).
The forward portions of the rudder had additional balsa added on both sides, grain running top to bottom, and filling most of the blue area. After sanding to proper shape, I removed an additional approx. 1/32" from each side of the hinge blocks, and added thin, 1/4" wide carbon fiber strips to both sides, running top to bottom, just aft of the hinge lines. Lastly, I cut 2 pieces of 1/64" ply to match the contour of the blue shaded area, and glued them over the previous reinforcement's.
A few more notes: I like to add a little strength to the thin trailing edge, by removing 1/16" of balsa and then gluing on a 1/16" sq. stick of spruce. The 1/16" spruce bends easily (when dampened) over the top. This will allow you to make the trailing edge thinner/ more scale like while reducing tendency to become easily 'dinged'. Alternate methods, such as gluing a wider piece (maybe 1/16" x 1/4" spruce?) should work well also.
Concerning sanding the ribs: if you look at full scale Corsair photos and/ or see them in museums/ airshows, you will note that the rudder ribs are really hardly noticeable, that the fabric covered area appears to be almost completely flat. I see many Top Flite Corsairs where the ribs are sanded in a manner which makes them way too pronounced. I sand them to a gentle, even arc, rather than leaving most of the rounding towards the rear as most people do.

Chad, I for one would be interested in hearing more of your scale, laser cut tail surface kit. Feel free to add more info on it at this site. You might also consider waiting until I post my wing tip mods, and maybe you could include parts for that mod also.

NOTE: This drawing, like the others, is 1/8 scale/ actual scale size for Top Flight (and Royal) .60 size Corsairs. In order to print it correct size, you may need to download it first, then open it in a program such as Adobe Photo Deluxe, and print it from there. It may require cropping in order to fit on a 8 1/2" x 11" page.

CorsairJock 07-23-2003 03:57 PM

Rudder Mods
RocketMan612 has modified his rudder according the the preceding suggestions. He has taken pictures and posted them later in this thread, so continue reading these posts to see these pictures.

Chad Veich 07-23-2003 05:12 PM

1/8 scale TopFlite Corsair Mods
CorsairJock, I think scale tail surfaces would be a simple mod. I have the 82 inch Brian Taylor Corsair plan which I would use as the basis for the new tail surfaces. Adapting the new, scale horizontal stab to the TF kit should not involve too much more than reshaping the saddles. I don't recall exactly how the vertical was built into the TF kit so I would have to look at the plans to give more details there.

kram51 07-24-2003 10:55 PM

1/8 scale TopFlite Corsair Mods
I'm watching this thread with great interest as I'm #4 (or is it #5) on the Sierra Retract list and will begin building soon on my Corsair. I've been building a PICA 1/8 scale that seems in some ways to have better scale outlines and way off in others. Ah well, it does go together fast though! I expect the TF will take just a bit longer. . .

Keep the great ideas and insights coming!!


Rocketman612 08-03-2003 03:30 PM

Tailhook notch
1 Attachment(s)
Well using CorsairJocks template I notched out the fuse. I had added an extra thickness of balsa inside before I mounted the horizontal stab but I still cut through this and had a hole in the fuse. I want to glass the fuse and to eliminate the hole I took 1/64 ply and glued it in then sanded to shape. Pete

BobH 08-03-2003 09:03 PM

TF Corsair
1 Attachment(s)
Opinions please. Does this (my) corsair look heavily modified or pretty much straight out of the box?.... Thanks.. BobH.

Rocketman612 08-03-2003 10:11 PM

1/8 scale TopFlite Corsair Mods
First off your Corsair looks GREAT. I'm thinking it's pretty much out of the box except for the covering and finish. But like I said earlier you don't have to do anything to the TF kit if you don't want to and have a plane that your happy with. Pete

CorsairJock 08-03-2003 11:43 PM

1/8 scale TopFlite Corsair Mods
Well done, Pete. Very easy detail to add, even to an already completed and finished Corsair.
Bob; VERY nice finish. And this thread isn't about bashing anybody's Top Flite Corsair, but is intended to help those building them to come up with a noticeably more scale finished project. Actually, my intentions are to make every other mod one which can be performed on an already built and finished Corsair, such as the tailhook mod ( it's not too late to add it to yours). But since you ask, your rudder does look a little squared (as per Top Flite plans), and a bigger tip off might be the wing tips (which are not too visible in the pic). You have the 'red box' version, and having your's look like the "one on the box" is not bad (unlike the Gold Edition), in fact it is GOOD. The 'red box' kits have the tri-color scheme shown on the box, which is much more difficult to accomplish but OH so much better looking AND scale accurate than the Gold Edition version. The problem with the Gold Edition kit is that the finish/ scheme does not match the model. That is: the kit is of an F4U-1A OR early F4U-1D, while the finish/ decals are for an F4U-4 OR F4U-5. The red box kit has correct markings/ decals for an F4U-1A.
ADD THE TAILHOOK, it's not too late!

RCHYFLYER 08-04-2003 12:37 AM

1/8 scale TopFlite Corsair Mods

Engine: Supertigre 61 - Thinking bigger?? I have this engine in a box.

O.S. 91fx in mine all fits in cowl and more then enought power

BobH 08-04-2003 12:45 AM

TF Corsair
Guys, thanks for the compliment.. I do appreciate it! The graphics came from the Old "Red box" Corsair that was the first offered by Top Flite. I bought them from a guy at a flea market. Those were much better Decals than the ones offered today.. (money?). As for any mods.. I did make some.. but not many. I did try a technique on the wing that proved very satisfactory for simulating the Rib stations on the wing.. Instead of glassing the wing and then putting tape (1/64) over the glass... I put the tape UNDER the glass (on to the wood) and glassed right over it..The tape was positioned at each Rib Station. As most of you know.. the wing is fabric covered aft of the Main Spar, the results were excellent. Sorry I don't have a better picture of the wing to show that feature.
I sold the Corsair about a year ago. It needed to be either sold or a new Engine bought for it. I had an original OS 90FS with C&H ignition for power. The engine was worn out so I sold the plane. My only problems with the plane were the Retracts (Robart) and I couldn't seem to get the plane to "grove" for landing. It never wanted to settle in for landing??? And YES I had the "Corsair Wiggle" also...
My wing tips are too thick.. and the rudder is not 100% correct in outline. I think I got lazy LOL!!....
Paint is Chevron's, Perfect Paint. Finish is Glass and Poly resin. Rudder is covered with Coverall and doped before painting..
Regards BobH.

Rocketman612 08-04-2003 01:27 AM

1/8 scale TopFlite Corsair Mods
Thanks, The image was smaller than plan and I ran it through my copier at 129% and that made it real close. I had to do the same for the rudder image too. I'm going to start the Rudder mods this week.

I had been thinking of doing the same thing with the 1/64 tape then glassing over it. I didn't want to go through all the work of using two layers of balsa like Luke did on his Royal Corsair. Glad to hear that that approach worked and the final result looked good. That's what this thread is about. Take care, Pete

BobH 08-04-2003 01:55 AM

TF Corsair
Pete.. It takes a little fiddling with the resin to fill the glass ok around the tape but it's doable for sure.. When your finished.. you have ALL the ribs.. which looks really great!... BobH.

jw_j 08-04-2003 06:35 AM

1/8 scale TopFlite Corsair Mods
i was wondering if on all corsair kits, all of the spars and bulkheads were plywood, i have plans for a corsair and its going to cost a fortune to build because all spars, and bulkheads and support structures are straight 1/4" ply

CorsairJock 08-04-2003 12:14 PM

Scale Exhaust
1 Attachment(s)
This mod will add scale exhaust pipes to your early model Corsair. Later model Corsairs, like the F4U-4 and later, have a different exhaust setup, and therefor this mod does not apply to them.
This mod as shown is for a non functional scale exhaust. The suggested plastic tubes could be replaced with brass tubes, silver soldered together, to form a home made FUNCTIONAL scale exhaust, as I am planning to do with my 'red box' Corsair.
I performed this mod as shown in the few hours before going to work today (8/13/'03), showing that this can be accomplished in a very short time AND on an already completed Corsair.

This drawing, like the others, is 1/8 scale/ actual scale size for Top Flight (and Royal) .60 size Corsairs. In order to print it correct size, you may need to download it first, then open it in a program such as Adobe Photo Deluxe, and print it from there. It may require cropping in order to fit on a 8 1/2" x 11" page.

CorsairJock 08-13-2003 12:17 PM

Scale Exhaust
1 Attachment(s)
The size of exhaust pipes on an FG-1D (Goodyear built F4U-1D) as measured by me (full scale is at local museum: the Kalamazoo Air Zoo) is 2 3/4" diameter. Dividing by 8, I arrived at a 1/8 scale size of 11/32" diameter (O.D.). I was able to find plastic tubes that exact size at my local hobby shop, however, I'm sure nobody would notice if you were not able to find that exact size and used 3/8" diameter instead.

So, beginning with the plastic tube, cut off 3 pieces about 3" long. This is longer than you will need, but the extra length makes it easier to work with in the mitre box.

Glue 2 of the pieces together, side by side (I used thin CA), then glue the 3rd piece directly on top of the other 2.

A 45 deg mitre box is needed for this next step: with 2 tubes held flat against one side of the mitre box, saw off one end as shown, so the the tube which is NOT against the mitre box side becomes the longest tube. NOTE: 2 tubes must be held against the side of the mitre box, NOT the bottom. Examine picture closely.

Now make 2 more cuts, about 1/2" to 3/4" ( length not critical)between the cuts, each cut being parallel to the the others. When you are done, you should have 2 pieces like the ones in the bottom picture.

Trim flashings away, then hold them one at a time against your Corsair, using the drawing as a guide. Note that the top exhaust on each side is slightly aft of the bottom one, and that they exit the fuselage about halfway between the cowl flaps and the wing leading edge. Also note that they are slightly below the wing. With an exhaust stack held in proper position against the fuselage, use a marker or scribe to mark the outline. Use an exacto knife to cut out a hole, making sure the cuts go forward at a 45 deg. angle. Use a file and/ or sandpaper to allow proper fit, then glue the exhaust stack into the hole. With the full scale, the stacks do not protrude very much, they are nearly flush with the fuselage. I however chose to leave them protruding about 1/8" for better effect, making them more noticeable.

CorsairJock 08-13-2003 12:20 PM

Scale Exhaust
1 Attachment(s)
Here are 2 pictures of the exhaust stacks installed, but not yet painted. The top picture shows the right side, while the bottom picture is a view of the bottom ( Note: wing has been removed).

Later, I used epoxy mixed with micro-balloons to fill gaps betwwen the stacks and the fuselage.

I will use flat black on the insides, and a very dark flat brown on the outsides of the pipes.

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