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Dat Rhino


Well-known member

Ok, here we go. This is not my first scratch built aircraft, but it IS the first one I tried to document through out the entire build process so others could build along if they wish. Even still, as much time as I put into the documentation, this is not my strong suit. So consider it a beta. The plans should be considered a beta as well.

This project started as a side build between my major builds. I wanted something I could just leave at work and fly when the weather was nice. I thought about building an RC Powers F-18 and almost bought the V4 plans. Looking at the pictures of the aircraft, my OCD kicked in. I was not happy with the look of the aircraft or the fact I would have to change the plans to accommodate the use of DTFB rather than depron before I even started the build. So I abandoned that idea an thought I could build a better looking one myself anyway. So I went to my local hobby shop and bought a plastic model kit for reference and started designing.

Pre-Alpha Proto.jpg
My pre-alpha prototype used the standard suppo/grayson 2212 2200kv motor and 6x4 apc prop. To keep the scale lines of the Rhino's thin rear fuse, I had to scale the entire air frame up quite a bit to fit the 6 inch prop. As a result it barely fit in my trunk, (see huge full sized Buick), and although it flew great and had a ton of power I wanted something smaller. Enter the smaller quad motors. These things have a TON of power swinging smaller props with a slightly larger 4cell battery. So I scaled the air frame down to fit a 5" prop which is where it stands now.

CG Rhino.jpg
As I was designing my first beta prototype, I was playing with ideas to make the aircraft just as easy to build, but make it appear more scale. Enter the printable skins. I have a background in Drafting as well as art, graphic design and game modding. I thought the design of folding flat faces of foam board to create three dimensional shapes was not much different than creating 3D models for PC games. Back in the day graphics cards were not the powerhouses they are now so every polygon, (face), was a precious resource. Same with foam folding. Every face and fold just complicates the build.

Proto Rhino.jpg
PC games use textures to fool the brain into thinking there are more details on the model than there actually is. I built a low poly mock up of the aircraft that matched the actually 3D designed foam model and used the build prints as a texture template. Took these templates into photoshop and went to town. I mean I painted every rivet to match the plastic model kit I bought. It took me forever, but the results were spectacular. I printed out the textured templates and started experimenting with bonding the paper to the foam board.

FT Rhino.jpg
Spray adhesive. Wow, what a mess. I do not have a big work area in my small apartment, and spraying glue indoors was out of the question. The spray adhesive worked great, but put my builds on hold if the weather did not cooperate. I mean, even with the slightest wind the over spray got onto everything. Including me. Glue and hairy arms do not mix very well. I absolutely loved the results, and plan to use them on my major builds, but for this "something to fly at work" project it was too much.

Skinless Rhino.jpg
The Now Skinless Rhino
I think the aircraft as it stands looks and flies great, but that is subjective. There are so many characteristics that people might look for, not to mention the air space you have available changes things as well. I absolutely love to fly my EDF's when I get the chance, but they cover sooo much airspace in such a short time I rarely can enjoy the flight. I really got to open them up at FliteFest and never had that much fun.

This aircraft on the other hand is not a speed demon. Throwing a ton of power at it will not change that either. The under cambered wings create a lot of drag in forward level flight, but once you add some AOA and pull some G's this thing comes alive. It will almost hover at high AOA's and will turn on a dime. Great for small ball fields and such.

As far as the build is concerned, it is simple yet complicated. I tried to give you all of the information you will need to build it in the guide, but again, it is not my strong suit. I can build this thing in my sleep, yet describing how to build it to someone else is hard for me. I am not sure of the end users experience level, so I tried to include a little bit of everything. That said, if you are an advanced builder, you might be bored to death over the repetition and annoyed by the commentary.

As the old saying goes, you can't please everyone, and I am not going to try. Tis madness to do so. That said, if you do decide to build this, feel free to ask any questions here and I will answer as soon as I can.

The prints below are in a jpg format and when printed should be 7.5 x 10" when cut down to the witness marks. I have included a Bill of Materials which includes everything I used to build my third prototype. Of course you can substitute with anything you wish to get the job done. Including a 4cell battery to make it an acrobatic rocket.
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Well-known member
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Skill Collector
Very nicely done! And that's a great looking set of skins you put together!

And yeah, I don't have an answer for the spray glue vs. wind contest either. I lose it every time. Tend to do most of my glue spraying late in the evening when the wind dies down.


Building Fool-Flying Noob
How'd I miss this!

Beautiful job! I think I'll need to build one. The Skin has such great detail.

Now I know who to ask about how to do one up for VF-9 build when I test it's viability. :p


Well-known member
Thanks guys!

I have been toying with the idea of doing a tutorial of how I model and skin, but not too many people own mac's. I was looking around for a windows equivalent that would be affordable for most folks and I think I found one that would work. It's $99 and works on both mac os and windows. Other than that, photoshop is what I use to paint the skins, but you could use gimp just as well and its free.

I will pick up a copy soon and see if it will work as advertised and use it to design and build my next project. I hope to document the process from start to finish.

In the meantime, if you do decide to build a Rhino let me know how it goes. It really is a fun little bird to fly.

P.S. Awesome VF-9! I love all things macross. I always wanted to build a YF-21 from macross plus.


Well-known member
I was not sure where to post this. Either here or in the Veterans Airshow thread.

Anyway, here is an update. I had to completely redo my textures as they were setup for my second prototype. It was built a lot different even though the scale was the same. It took me longer than I was expecting, but the heavy lifting is done. This was something I needed to do anyway, just never had the push to do it.

As for the FFVA'18 skin, here was the idea I had for the top...
The reason I try to leave the majority of the scheme white is so the foamboard cross sections and inside faces don't stand out so much. I am still working on the intake area underneath. The texture has been redone, but the 3D model does not have the UV coordinates plotted yet. It is still the US flag scheme I posted in the other thread though.

Any thoughts? I am open to suggestions. I am still looking for a "squadron" name if anyone has any ideas for one.
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Well-known member
I am having better luck with the service branch specific schemes.
The camo looks cool, I just do not think it fits this particular theme.

I like the overall of the USMC scheme. Although I might use something other than the star burst feather design for the top once I am happy with the palette. It's just faster to test colors this way. I plan to do each branch with the same feathers and make them unique if I have time.


Well-known member
Army and Navy. This ones for you PsyBorg...
temp3.jpg :unsure:
I need to play around with some more paint schemes. The nose could use some color. I will add some more details as well. It would be real nice if I could get some unique custom nose art done for each, but realistically I don't think I would have the time for that. :cautious:

Well, Air Force to go and then it's on to really getting custom with each. I hope Staples color engineering prints work for these, once I finish one I will let you guys know who it goes.


Well-known member
Nice works with these mate. That video got you a sub from me. How come you keep all your stuff private?
Thanks bud.
I am not sure really. I just upload a few vids here and there to show people I know what I am up to. Also here because we are all like minded folk for the most part. I guess I figured most other people would not care much really. That and I am what you would call and introvert. It’s weird how that carries over to the internet.

Air Force is done. Tried a little different design this time. I will spend the next week tweaking them to make them more unique and hopefully I can start building one by next weekend. These build pretty quick, nothing like that Phantom. It will be a nice change.


Toothpick glider kid
Great job man! I hope we can get atleast 4 of these up in the air to fly formation. How will we do the skins at the event? I’m guessing they will be printed beforehand. And how much is it to print them at staples?


Well-known member
Thanks foamtest.
That was my thought as well. Could you imagine one of each branch flying over head with those flags showing? I will do a CG render of that once I am done with them just to see the awesome. (y)

As soon as I am done with the skins I will upload the artwork so others can print them and build their own if they wish. The Staples prints are pretty reasonable, like $6 a sheet. You would need 2-3 sheets per plane. I will play around with the different prints sizes and layouts to optimize the cost.

The prototype and the FliteTest skin I printed at home. My printer is only good for 19x13 prints so I had to tape them together. That and the photo paper I had to use is expensive and extremely heavy. That said, you could print these out on regular printer paper and tape them together. The invisible tape seams are not that noticeable. If you look at the the prototype in the original post above, (red one), you can see the tape seams reflecting light on the wings leading edge.

It still looked great in the air though.


Toothpick glider kid
That's funny lol I didn't even notice that until you pointed that out. Once the plans are done I'll try and print and tile them using my 8.5x11" printer, could you tile them like that just in case I can't get the ones from staples? Also I want to make one before I make the actual plane and experiment with techniques of applying and building the model.


Well-known member
I will do both 24x36 and 8.5x11 sheet layouts. (20x30 and 7.5x10 actual print dimensions) I will probably print my first one at home as well just to make sure the skins made it over to the new Rhino 3.0 build. I will try to take pictures and document the entire process so I can use a visual to explain any questions someone might have building one.

USMC skin v 2.0...
USMCv2.jpg :unsure:
I tired to use the colors of the Marine Corps flag on the starboard wing flanked by iconic blue with red stripe seen on the dress blues. The port wing using the midnight blue with red outline referencing the coat. (The midnight blue came out unsaturated when I collapsed the layers. I did not notice it until after the render. I will fix that.)

Other than that, I like it. I am going to call it done other than the squadron name and aircraft numbers. This will be my first build, still shooting for this weekend.


Toothpick glider kid
That looks amazing!!! My friend Kyle and I are both going to be participating in the airshow but he still has some learning to do with this type of plane so I will make the hornet for practice building and with skinning, he'll make a F-22 for practice flying so hopefully we don't crash during the show.

P.S. if my practice plane survives I'll probably gift it to my stepfather as he was in the Marine Corps.
Can't wait for the skins!


Well-known member
That looks amazing!!! My friend Kyle and I are both going to be participating in the airshow but he still has some learning to do with this type of plane so I will make the hornet for practice building and with skinning, he'll make a F-22 for practice flying so hopefully we don't crash during the show.

P.S. if my practice plane survives I'll probably gift it to my stepfather as he was in the Marine Corps.
Can't wait for the skins!
Thanks foam test! I have some other news on that front that will help I hope.

I have been bowling over how I am going to approach these builds. These things are easy enough to build, but not “Flite Test” easy. So for the first one I am going to try to stream line a few things.

1: Elevons only. This will cut down on weight and cost. It may not be as acrobatic, but hopefully it will not be too detrimental to the roll rate. This is something I wanted to try anyway.

2: Remove the wing spar. I am not really sure if this is even needed for this with the two layers of foam board. It’s worth testing anyway.

3: Design a quick mechanical hatch lock rather than magnets. This would be just to use something like the BBQ skewer if someone wanted. It would be easier and cheaper. I will still use the magnets for show builds though.
These will all be tested this weekend and I will upload the working changes ASAP!

X: I am REALLY not happy with the Air Force using the F-18, but there is no way I would have time to make a new plane before FFE’18. You will see “Dat Viper” in the near future though.

?: The Army… So which one of you wants to take on the challenge of making an Abrams fly? Any takers?


Toothpick glider kid
I might try and make a generic tank fly at FFE if I have some spare time lol. There is an A-10 currently being developed in the Bloody WWII thread.

I also thought it was elevon only until you pointed that out, I'll try my build without the spar this weekend. I think it will be plenty strong since the FT F-22 wing is only a sheet of foamboard.


Well-known member
This was a complete waste of time, but I was stuck at work for 13 hours today. I worked on the texture between calls and did a real quick spin animation render so you can pause it at any angle to get a better look at certain parts.
I really need to look into just uploading the 3D assets for an interactive view like the Nutball in the content section.

Anyway, I am off to bed. I have to be up in 6 hours.:sleep:


Well-known member
Dat Longbow?:unsure:

I just had an idea for next year. I think I am actually going to try to make a foamboard AH-64 skin for an RC helo. That way we could represent the Army proper. My helo piloting skills are pretty much limited to flying in a circle, but it would be enough to get the skin built and tested. I have always wanted to get a helo anyway.

Anyone have any recommendations for a second, (first real), RC helo? Not anything too crazy, but something a little better than the little toy jobbers I have flown.

Edit: N/M, this will be easier... and cheaper!
RC-12 Guardrail
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