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 Comet "Phantom Fury" Construction Project Session #4

Comet "Phantom Fury" Rubber Powered
Free Flight Model Airplane

By Tommy Gray
AMA 17063

In our last session I was finishing up the framing of the major parts of the structure.  At this point, I have the structure pretty much complete except for a few 'Bells & Whistles".

The rudder is designed on the Jim O'Reilly plans so that it has a 45 degree slanted piece at the front to allow the rudder/stab assembly to pivot up when the dethermalizer triggers.  As I mentioned early on, I am not planning to use a DT at this point, but went ahead and built most of it into the plane in case I changed my mind later on.  The rudder assembly has a few added parts and short stringers added to it to make the DT movement possible.  You can see this in the pictures below.

NOTE: Jim O'Reilly sent me some pictures of the way he does DT's on some of his rubber models, and he uses some pretty innovative and quite easy methods.  He had a little trouble doing up the pictures so if I can get them cleaned up a little, I will post them for you in a later segment.

Bottom of the assembly:

Side view:

Next, I added the wing and stab hold-down dowels.  I put in some small balsa gussets and drilled them to hold the little pieces of 1/8 hardwood dowels.

(In the pictures below, the dark spots are just shadows in the pictures and not spots on the structure)

There is one in front of the wing,

One in back of the wing,

and then one in front of the stabilizer.

At this point I am ready to start the covering process.  I am using Coverite "Coverlite" tissue on the wing and Stab  I got from Tower Hobbies, and Polyspan that I got from Larry Davidson for the fuselage and rudders.  The Coverlite TM has to have an adhesive applied to the wood surfaces before applying it.  It is an Iron-On covering that when properly applied looks very much like traditional Jap Tissue.  I use either Coverite brand "Balsarite", or Sig "Stix-it" adhesive, whichever I have on hand.  I like both and have had good results out of either product.  I was out of Balsarite at the time, so I chose to use the Stix-It.

I applied a coat of Stix-it to both the stabilizer and the wing, then let it dry.  I lightly sanded it to remove any balsa "fuzz" and then applied a second light coat. I then cut the pieces of covering to size.  Now in the instructions, there is no explanation of which side to put out.  I have even called the Coverite people and they had no answer either.  The covering comes with a piece of protective plastic similar to what is on Top Flite "Monokote", and the side under it appears slightly more shiny to me so that is the side I put to the outside. 

I tack the "Coverlite" at each end making sure I don't do more than tap it with the iron, as I don't want it to shrink out yet.  I then touch the front and back in the middle of the piece and work around it until it is tacked down all the way.  I then trim off the excess, and fold over the edges of the covering. I cover the bottom first, then the top. 

Before covering the top, you have to go back around the perimeter with more adhesive on top of the areas where the new piece will overlap onto the first one, as otherwise there is no way to attach it.  Once the glue is dry (follow manufacturer's instructions), I then repeat the covering process for the other side of the surface, finishing up by shrinking out the wrinkles and making sure that everything is secure.  Any places where it may not have stick down can be easily touched up with a spot of adhesive, and then re-ironed. You should avoid excessive heat as the covering may not stay taut over the long run.  So far, I have covered several planes with the tissue and it has held up nicely.  I covered my 1938 Chuck Hollinger designed "Cruiser" that I built for SOS (Spirit of Sam electric) in 2009 with it and it looks great.

Below you can see the stab after it was covered.  I think it turned out pretty well.  What do you think?

More to come...Tommy!

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