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1/4 Scale Classic Restoration


Skill Collector
Mystery mono-plane Restoration

So I did a bad thing at work the other day. I was bored eating lunch at my desk and in a moment of weakness I opened the RC Groups Classified and hit the "Local Deals" button. And then I saw a guy about 20 miles away selling a whole mess of plane 'projects' for cheap. Just had to give him a ring, and then somehow I ended up with three projects in my car for $120 and on the way home with a big silly grin. Honest, I didn't mean to. It just sort of happened. :confused:

The smallest of the three is a Parkzone Albatros, a long discontinued foamy biplane that the guys on the FT Community Cast keep talking about wistfully. Mine is a little rough around the edges, but all the controls work fine and after installing a receiver I think she's ready to fly.

Project number two will get its own thread here in a bit - it's an Italian made 2.5m composite hotliner glider - or at least it's the wings, fuselage, and tail components of one. No canopy, no cowling, no electronics, and only some of the hardware. Very high quality components, but a project that'll push some new plastic pulling / fiberglass forming skills.

But project number three that came home is the focus for this thread. It was sold as a "1/4 Scale Classic" - but he got it used from an old timer at his field, and the actual name of the kit or plans it was built from is a mystery I'd love to solve. Based on the cutting of the interior framing I don't think it was an ARF or kit built - feels a lot more like a scratch or plans built.

She's a big one for me - 7 foot (2.1 meter) wingspan, tipping the scale at 8.5 pounds without battery, motor, or ESC. The previous owner did most of the work on a wet fuel to electric conversion but he got distracted from the project and stole the power system for another plane.

Here she is after some energetic time with a bottle of Windex to get the garage grime cleared away.

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The motor standoffs aren't bent, just loosely screwed in.

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Oh yeah, she also came with TWO wings! One with some dihedral, and the other straight with some Iron Crosses on top.

There is a small pile of wood cross members that used to be on the top of the open fuselage inside the plane too. Messy glue blobs from failed repairs on them too.

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Both the wings have some hanger rash - and the covering / finishing job on the fuselage is pretty rough too.

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No servos in the straight wing, but good sized Hitech servos in the other wing and the fuselage. The control linkages and hinges all seem in good operating condition too.

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I need to do some investigating to come with a reasonably priced power system for this beastie. Hopefully one that can run on 6s4400 (aka two 3s2200's connected together) so I don't have to spend a fortune on the battery too.

And I also have four other projects on the top of my list right now - Lowrider CNC, FW-42, Psyborg Caudron, and printing flexible nose cones for the Billy Bomb. So what do I do last night instead?

Print out a Snoopy pilot figure for the 1/4 Scale Classic of course! :cool:

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And just cause he came out looking so cool, I printed a smaller one to go into another plane too. Or maybe he just needs a co-pilot.

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I haven't done real finish work on a 3D printed part before, but first step as I understand it is to mount it on a long stick and hit it with some primer to really show off the imperfections.

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Next up on these is sanding, Bondo, sanding, Bondo, sanding.
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Skill Collector
Seeet score!!

Note, to get a 6S 4400 you'll need 4 of the 2200 3 cell packs. Two in series and two in parallel.
Good point! And a prime example of why I shouldn't be making any technical decisions, especially involving volatile objects, that late at night. :black_eyed:

So with a good night sleep behind me, I spent a little time looking at some motor options. I figured with an 8.5 pound dry weight, I should target a power system able to handle a 12 pound plane. That gives me 3.5 pounds for motor, battery, and ESC, which seems reasonable.

So I'm looking for a power setup that will comfortably handle 1200 watts, or 12 pounds of thrust. If it can go a bit more, that's great - but I'm not looking for a 3D flyer or race machine out of this so it doesn't need to get crazy.

At the moment I'm leaning towards this PowerUp 60 motor with a 100amp esc that will put out 1264 watts and 12 pounds of thrust with a 6s and 16x8 prop right in the middle of it's overall capabilities. This way I have plenty of headroom if I need to prop up - the motor doesn't start crying until 1700 watts.


Assuming I go with a new 6s4000 battery and this power setup, I'm at roughly 11 pounds flying weight, which gives plenty of room to add the pilot, BEC, receiver, maybe a camera, and still have a good power ratio.

I think that's right. :confused:

Anyone out there spot big gaping errors in my assumptions?



Aviation Enthusiast
Nice deal on the planes. Why did you tell me about that used plane forum, now I am going to get in trouble looking at it!


Skill Collector
I'm still avoiding wet fuel to keep the peace at home. I know the smell and flamable materials in the house/garage will NOT go over well.

And since TurboJoe pointed me to that classified section when he was clearing out his workshop a bit, I figure it's only fair to pass it along. :p


Skill Collector
So I had a little time in the shop last night, but was short materials for the next step on my Monster FW-42. Instead of starting a new full build, I continued the restoration of this big beastie.

Most of the time was spent with a heat gun and iron reattaching and shrinking up the covering.

It was really loose, with lots of ripples and sags from sitting in an unheated garage for many years. All tight and smooth now though.

Also needed to repair/reinstall the bracing on the top of the aft fuselage. First scraping off the brittle old wood glue, and the hot glue blobs someone used to try and repair things with...

And reinstalling the bracing piece by piece. I have plenty of 1/4" stock to make some replacement pieces but this will take a couple days of 'cut, fit, glue, wait overnight' cycles to finish up.

I somehow forgot to take pictures of the wing work I needed to do too. There was a hanger rash issue - I was storing the wing upright in a closet and the wife accidentally caused a box to drop into it. Damage wasn't too bad - one broken rib and one aileron servo mounts broke free. Honestly, I'm glad the servo mounting glue failure happened in the closet rather than in the air. That would have been awkward. I pushed on the other aileron servo pretty good and it seems solid still.

I'll put up a pic of the covering repair patch at some point - I decided I needed some orientation help on this model so I put a bright orange square instead of the tan color Ultracote :) I'm really not looking to spend any time making this pretty until I get some air time with it and decide if it's worth keeping or will just be a basher for a while.
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Skill Collector
And a few more cross braces glued in, including some cut from new stock. Not sure if I'm going to bother adding the secondary cross pieces or painting it before flight yet.


Gluing a new plate over the firewall so I don't have to look at the dozen holes that have been drilled in it over multiple engine changes.


Next up is mounting motor, esc, receiver, wiring, battery hold downs, and balancing.
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Joker 53150

Mmmmmmm, balsa.
Swap meets are your friend when it comes to big birds. Everything from airframes to engines to electronics at bargain prices. My favorite swap meet score so far is a Balsa USA 1/4 scale Cub, that came complete with a Zenoah 23cc gas engine, all servos, completely covered and needing only minor work (new landing gear wires, new gas tank and lines, new battery, and new receiver). I paid $100 and put maybe $50 additional into it to get it in the air.

There is a swap meet near Green Bay this weekend and I'm hoping to find a couple glow engines. I've got another 1/4 scale Cub that needs an engine, so something around .90 to 1.0 should work well. I'm also looking for a .75-ish size for a Great Planes F-4 Phantom that I got after it was about 60% built. Glow engines are getting very common as well since electric and gas are so popular.


Skill Collector
Yeah, I've noticed at the local RC auction there is a sweet spot of park flyers that get the most attention, and then some big stuff that often doesn't draw too many bidders. Like my Sig Kadet Senior w/ servos and minor covering blemishes for $20. :)

But we've just opened up a new field locally that's giant scale compatible, so that might be changing soon... and honestly I hope so as more flyers in the air means we're more likely to keep the field financially viable and operating.

Joker 53150

Mmmmmmm, balsa.
$20 for a Kadet Senior is a bargain! Mine was closer to $75 and needed a ton more work than bargained for, but I'm a sucker for old balsa and hate to see it get junked. It's such a nice design that flies perfectly, it was well worth the time and effort.


Skill Collector
Progress continues...

When I hooked up the servos to a tester and started moving control surfaces, I noticed a lot of flexing in the elevator control rod. So I added a bulkhead extension with carefully placed slots to keep the rod straight. Will be adding a second wood strip across the top of the slots to fully trap the rods.

I didn't like the idea of needing to grab a screwdriver at the field to get the two screws out to remove the battery hatch. Happened to have some 3d printed thumb knobs handy that I epoxied onto the screws. No more need for tools to get to the battery!

This is the flat wing of the pair - it came with several patches of hangar rash and some gaping holes where the servos were removed.

Sliced off the damaged covering back to solid ribs or frame elements. Had to peel everything off one of the wing tips too.

The new servos I got were just a 1/8" shorter than the originals I think - the covering was going to be too high up on the spline to mount the servo horns correctly. So I glued in some plywood shims to raise up the servos a touch. Also tugged and pushed on the servo rails with a good amount of pressure to make sure the glue wasn't going to fail, which has been a problem in several areas of this frame.

Servo two. Had to remove a second section worth of covering here due to the hangar rash. Also installed control horns on the ailerons.

All patched up and ready for control rods! Waiting for a 2-56 die to arrive this weekend so I can thread the second end of the control rods for a ball socket connection.
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Skill Collector
HOLY COW! my biggest operating plane is a FT 3D!
This step into the big stuff has been fun so far - and affordable by picking up used stuff that needs work. I think by the time I'm done I'll only have about $200 into this airframe and electronics to get it in the air.

So come on in! The water's fine! :)