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Balsacraft Fw190A


Gary Binnie
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Having finished the Aero-naut A-10 this week I was looking in the loft for something to build (that is easier!!).

 

I have got a few unfinished projects on the go but the enthusiasm for them isn't there at the moment (sometimes it comes, sometimes it goes!!).

 

I guess there are some aeromodellers that won't have heard of Balsacraft or seen the models so I thought I would describe this kit and the main methods of construction.

 

The range, designed by Pete Nicholson, was available in the late 1990s. I believe the kits were made by SLEC. 

 

The Fw190A is 48" span and roughly 1/9 scale. Structure is CNC routed 2mm Liteply with a balsa skin and solid tail surfaces (except the fin). Power was a Speed 600 brushed motor and NimH batteries.

 

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I had/have one (see profile pic). Proper old school, balsa, tissue, dope, paint, speed 600 and NiCads.  Really nice flier.

 

Mine is currently stripped and awaiting upgrade, and re-finishing. Doubt I'll get round to it anytime soon. But hopefully, I can steal some ideas ? 

 

Kits are good, but fetch silly money on auction sites.

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One reason I decided to build this is that the kit is fairly comprehensive, it only needs tissue paper, glue and other sundries.

 

It will need a brushless power system.

 

Photos of the kit contents:

 

1. Instructions for the optional IC engine conversion (the main instructions are missing but I have them on PDF). Vacform cowling, cracked and repaired (something squashed it) and sticky stickers. The motor and prop pack had to be bought separately.

 

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2. Very nice CNC routed Liteply panels, one of each except the wing ribs where two are provided. Spent some time today writing the part numbers on with pencil.  These parts warp on being released from the panel (which isn't anything to worry about).

 

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3. Optional set of Liteply parts for the IC conversion.

 

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4. Vacform spinner, pilot (hidden) and canopy. A slightly odd feature of these designs is that the propeller sits in the middle of the spinner (not the rear). I think this was done to have the motor as far forward as possible for CG reasons.

 

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5. A fair pile of balsa and ply sheet and strip, ink stamped with part numbers. Some sheets are die-cut (fuselage sides and tail parts). 

 

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6. Hardware pack and a mystery remote glow lead!  This is not part of the kit and was either in the box when I received it (was a swap for another kit) or I've placed it in there accidentally (it is the type I use) and forgotten about it.

 

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7. The plan, it comes folded, I have wrapped it round a tube and left it to sit with rubber bands to ease the creases. I've photographed it so that I can refer to it if any parts block the plan lines.

 

IMG_0428.thumb.JPG.0385630f73bc3cebd438705838ebe409.JPG

 

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6 minutes ago, GrumpyGnome said:

I had/have one (see profile pic). Proper old school, balsa, tissue, dope, paint, speed 600 and NiCads.  Really nice flier.

 

Mine is currently stripped and awaiting upgrade, and re-finishing. Doubt I'll get round to it anytime soon. But hopefully, I can steal some ideas ? 

 

Kits are good, but fetch silly money on auction sites.

 

Oddly the kits from this range that I've seen for sale lately have been a reasonable price, even a tad on the low side. The Flair Scout range has gone silly though.

 

It might be that there aren't as many builders out there as there used to be. 

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The Balsacraft fun-fighter kits were years ahead of their time, priced way to cheap IMO for what was a fantastically comprehensive kit at the time and commercially it seems that they disappointed, with the last remaining stocks sold off for less than half price. As GG said, for quite a few years after brushless and lipos became available and the performance of these models took a leap,  the auction prices rose very steeply, with the singles often going for £120-£150 when they popped up on auction. That seems to have abated and in the past couple of years they have become available at the original retail price or even cheaper. I'd attribute that to the emergence of very good performing foamies, with a more scale outline, with less compromises, at reasonable cost but equipped with retracts.

 

I still think they are very attractive models which fly very well and I certainly appreciate mine, for their super flying performance. I've even reconciled myself to the mental leap that the wing is really just a big battery hatch, to put off the pain of attempting to work one in the top of the fuselage.

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I've still got my Balsacraft Spitfire. Super kit, super flyer. As Leccyflyer says they were too cheap at the time I think I paid about £50 for a very comprehensive well made kit. I fitted a single centre aileron with cables to the surfaces as per plan. I fitted a speed 600 motor and an 8 X 4 prop. The only thing I don't like is removing the wing to change the battery.

 

With the brushed motor it needed a good launch to get way but flew OK once going. With the brushless motor and 3s lipo I launch it myself and it fly's on rails. The only thing I changed is the prop as I kept breaking the APCe props on landing, it now fly's on a Graupner 8x4 that is flexible and so far unbreakable. The only other problem I have is the colour scheme as I find the RAF camo green and grey difficult to see on a gloomy day, no fault of the kit.

 

Good luck with your FW190 it should be a great flyer.

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12 hours ago, Gary Binnie said:

 

Oddly the kits from this range that I've seen for sale lately have been a reasonable price, even a tad on the low side. The Flair Scout range has gone silly though.

 

It might be that there aren't as many builders out there as there used to be. 

 

Have to admit I haven't even looked at one on auction recently, assuming they were still selling for silly money. Good to know prices are now more realistic. Wonder if that will happen to other 'desirable' kits? Sorry, wandered off topic!

 

This thread is making me want to bring my refurb nearer the front of the queue....

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£65-80 seems to be the going rate for the singles over the past year or so, which is just about the price that they were launched at. I have three FW190s, three Spitfires, a couple of Hurricanes, the Bearcat and Blenheim and the Model Designs Sea Fury. I wanted to be sure to capture these kits before the disappeared forever. Maybe when I retire I'll get around to building the unstarted kits, but there's enough refurbishment of my existing airframes to be going on with. At one point I was set on making heavy modifications, but I've changed my mind wrt retracts for these models - they work well with handlaunching, or dolly launching and the saving in weight and complexity is worth making.

I'll be interested to see if Gary takes the plunge and incorporates a top hatch into the FW190 build,

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Battery location is a good point and I hadn't really thought about it but the structure might need modifying at an early stage.

 

It might be possible to fit a dumpy shaped Lipo vertically behind the firewall, inserted from underneath. I have an E-Flite Ultimate that uses that system.

 

Might be able to use some of the IC conversion parts.

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I had several conversations with the late lamented Dereck Woodward about this and from those conversations came the idea that the wing is just a big battery hatch, secured with a single screw. ? After that I didn't worry too much about notions of butchering the internal crutch and external planking to make an access hatch.

One of my Balsacraft Spitfires is a second hand model, with retracts fitted, which does have a top hatch, but I believe that redesign had weakened the fuselage structure to the extent that the model threw the whole motor mounting ring on the maiden flight. I've still to repair that model.

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Looking at the plan I don't think there's any benefit in making a special arrangement for the battery as the nose is so short.

 

The instructions say to start with the wing so I've started the fuselage!

 

A junior hacksaw blade with one end snapped off is perfect for removing the Liteply parts from their sheets.

 

1. All the parts needed for the first step of fuselage construction.

 

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2. Dry fitted.

 

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2 hours ago, Graham R said:

I have a bearcat in construction, wings built. Just wondering what motor to fit and the best way of doing it. The 600 sat inside a box that went through the fun. Can't do that with a brushless motor. Interested to see what you come up with Gary.

The easiest fit is with a brushless inrunner, like a Mega 22/30-3 or 22/30-3E, which just drops directly into the Sp600 mount -even the mounting holes are in the right place.  That really limits the prop size to something like an 8x6", maximum 9x5" if you are going to use 3s1p lipo packs, either 3300mah or 4200mah will fit- the heavier pack compensates a little better for the heavy nicds the model was designed around, but you might still need a bit of lead- I did with my BC FW190.

My BC Bearcat has an AXI2820/10, which allows the use of a larger prop - I've settled on one of those bendy orange nylon JP props as the Bearcat is often flown as a bit of a winter model and they are unbeakable even on frosty ground.

 

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They're old motorbike batteries, if you don't trickle charge them over winter they die, lol! All acid thoroughly rinsed out.

 

At one point I had five bikes and one charger, I've only got three now and two don't have batteries (coz I killed them as well!).

 

We had our combi boiler replaced earlier this year, they had to change the flue as it was a different make, I salvaged the lead seal from the roof, will last me forever!

 

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Very nice brace of Fw190s there. This is yesterday's progress, I wrote it up but obviously didn't post it. Luckily the software saved it.

 

A steady day in the shed.

 

Spent quite a while cleaning up formers and parts needed for the rest of the fuselage build, the stringer notches are all slightly undersize and just need tickling with a file.

 

I'm leaving the joined sheet sides to dry thoroughly overnight as they will need to be dampened to curl round the formers (don't want water in tacky glue joints).

 

1 and 2. Test fitting the main longerons (these are glued to the sheet sides).

 

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3. Gluing a longeron to the inside face of a joined sheet side.

 

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4. Sanded the wing seat longerons to accept the sheet sides.

 

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5. Tidying Liteply parts for the rear fuselage.

 

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6. Heeding the note in the instructions I have managed to produce a pair of opposite handed sheets!

 

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7 and 8. Tomorrow's job will be to fix the sheet sides on and turn it into a thing of beauty.

 

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A bit chillier in the shed today, thinking of going slope soaring tomorrow but there is a chance of rain at the moment.

 

The sides have been added plus formers, next job will be to add upper and lower stringers, fore and aft.

 

1.  I have a SLEC building jig but it's buried behind a mountain of 'stuff' so I had to think laterally. I could get to the bag with the plastic supports so I used them with an old MDF shelf and wood screws, the big jig would have been overkill for this anyway.  Excuse the mess!

 

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2. I fixed one side at a time, allowing the glue to dry between each.

 

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3. Joining the sides at the stern post.

 

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4. Then added two more jig supports to keep the tail end inline.

 

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5. I cheated slightly (prior preparation!) and glued in some lengthwise parts on the board.

 

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6. Adding F7 and F6A, cockpit structure.

 

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7. More cockpit structure, still the headrest to add.

 

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8 and 9. Clearer view of the fuselage in the jig, besides keeping everything straight it's a very handy way to hold it to work on. All the formers have been glued at the main longerons only, the sheet is pulled in after stringers are fitted.

 

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Glad I didn't go sloping, a touch too windy for my old woodies.

 

Today I have managed to attach one fuselage side (on the bottom only) and started to build the fin.

 

1, 2 and 3. First job was to add the six longerons/stringers.

 

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4, 5 and 6. Added the two control snakes for the elevator and rudder, the surfaces are driven by wire instead of a plastic inner snake which is a great idea.

 

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7.  Curling the sheet and attaching it to the formers and stringers. I dampened the wood with a sponge and coaxed it gently round, no cracking noises! Initially I dampened both sides but it became clear that fixing one side at a time was the best way to do this. I partly curled in the upper part of the sheet at the same time so that it wasn't pivoting around the main longeron. A sturdy piece of balsa was used as a load spreader and to prevent the clamps from bruising the sheet.

 

I've brought the fuselage into the house to dry thoroughly overnight.

 

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8. The fin is needed to check the profile of the upper rear fuselage during sanding so I made a start on it. The four curved parts are glued in to a sandwich and form the fuselage spine immediately in front of the fin.

 

20211022_133655342_iOS.thumb.jpg.9d18b6180e66de10615ceb1682505315.jpg

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