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Firefeather Rocket Glider/DLG/Hotliner


Hostage Taker of Quads
Staff member
just need to make sure I pay enough attention to the build videos that I don't miss something important - not easy with my attention span... o_O
Just think of it like you're building with your buddy Josh . . . No, not THAT Josh, the other Josh . . . No, not that Josh either, the other other Josh . . .


Skill Collector
There sure are a whole lot of Josh's making build video's around here! :ROFLMAO:

I made some more progress tonight. Next thing I did was break out a rib while sanding the other side of the wing. Luckily there is plenty of scrap from the wing rib sheet to cut a replacement. 20190629_100221-1024x576.jpg

Then I glued on the throwing blade reinforcement pieces - I sanded the edges down to feather thickness before gluing it onto the wing so I didn't have to deal with sanding the balsa by accident once it was installed. Much easier this way I think.

Then it was time to bevel the wing root. Handy roll of plastic wrap just happened to be 2" tall and make a good jig for this - just a matter of keeping the sanding block square to the table at that point.

Then gluing the wing halves together with a little weight on the down one to keep it flat to the table.


After cutting the flaperons free, sanding them, and then fiberglassing the wing join using CA per the recommendation, I started covering. I want to show off the ribs on this one, so I pulled a roll of transparent red Solite from the pile and started on the bottom of the wing.

Always start covering from the bottom going up so that your top layers overlap pointing downwards and on the bottom of surfaces - hides any less than perfect seams better that way. :D
With a little time bending and shrinking with the iron I've got both flaperons and the wing nice and straight now. Going to let them sit overnight and make sure they are still straight in the morning before doing the hinge. Debating doing a Blenderm or Solite hinge... the solite covering hinges can be a real pain to get installed, but they look great (or rather they don't look like anything at all on top of the other covering, which is sort of the point).
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Skill Collector
Separated the tail pieces... it bugged me a little bit that there was a little gap around the vertical brace from the laser kerf - so I added a little layer of thin plywood from the scrap of the throwing blade to tighten up the fit.

Separated and sanded the elevator and horizontal stabilizer.

Nice and tight fit on the vertical brace now - adding some covering to the stabilizer too...

I'm having good results on this one sealing the edge of the covering to the balsa, and then holding the excess covering with the tweezers while sliding the razor blade flat along the balsa surface - leaves very little extra covering to then roll over with the covering iron to seal up nicely.


Tools of covering for little planes - double sided razor blade, tweezers, scalpel blade, and covering iron with sock.


Cut out the covering where the stabilizers met so I could get a good balsa to balsa glue joint.


Then added the tension spring, control horn, and carbon tube

Put on the little extra brace above the carbon tube and now it's time to watch the fuselage build videos... :D


I like the look so far, but I don't think I want to go all black on the fuselage... not sure if I want to cover it or air brush over the fiberglass either... maybe white with some red candy stripes & black pinstripes... gotta think about this some more.



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Well-known member
I like the colors. It's going to be easy to see in the sky. You might try leaving a more generous amount of over hang when covering. You can grasp the excess with fingers instead of tweezers. Extra overhang makes it possible to pull out stubborn wrinkles when heat shrinking alone won't get them out.


Skill Collector
I like the colors. It's going to be easy to see in the sky. You might try leaving a more generous amount of over hang when covering. You can grasp the excess with fingers instead of tweezers. Extra overhang makes it possible to pull out stubborn wrinkles when heat shrinking alone won't get them out.
On a good Monokote, Ultracoat, or even the cheap HobbyKing covering a nice even overhang is easy to work with and I fully support that technique as the only way I know of to get a decent wingtip.

This Solite / Microlite stuff fights back hard though. Doing curves with this stuff drives me mad - luckily this is a pretty straightforward plane compared to some. But if too much tension is on the covering when a cut starts it will rip in a jagged edge, and if the extra overhang piece touches itself it nearly permanently welds itself together. I didn't take pictures of it, but I fought that battle a good bit on the wings. On the tail surfaces I started going much smaller on the overhang and using tweezers and I found it easier to get a nice clean looking finish. Also, when using transparent covering, make sure any overlaps / overhangs are nice and even - two layers of this transparent covering is a very different color than just one layer! :D


Skill Collector
Some progress on the fuse last night.

Going a little off book here and adding some rails along the top sheeting with thoughts of making a top hatch... we'll see how far this gets...

Fuse attached to boom now.

A little sanding trick to get the fuselage to match the airfoil 'as built' - slide a strip of sandpaper in there and gently pull it back and forth.


Free Flight Indoorist
Wow! Masterful building on display here! I bow before the excellence. Can't wait to chat about these planes at Flite Fest. Y'all are already giving me ideas for tweaks to improve the design.


Skill Collector
Thanks! It's a fun little build - and I can never resist tweaking things along the way either! :D

I put in some more rails to support the top hatch going about 3/4 of the way front to back.

I reinforced the top sheeting to become the hatch with some sprues from the plywood in the kit leaving a little tab sticking out on both ends. This should help keep it strong and flexible so it can be bent to snap into place. Also shaved out a little bit of the main former top so the plywood on the hatch would be recessed properly.


First the nose slips into place and then a little bending pressure is applied to fit the rear tab in...


And lookie there - she fits!


And thanks to the way the top sheeting sticks out over the sides near the main former in the middle, it's easy to both fit the hatch into place and grab it to pull it out. Now there will be no wing removal for battery changes! :D

Time for some fiberglassing... I tried the CA method, burned my eyes and stuck my fingers to the plane, and then went back to epoxy thinned with isopropyl alcohol. The CA method goes very quick, but I haven't practiced enough (and don't have enough shop ventilation) to do it well.


And since the humidity level is over 80% today, once the epoxy is spread out it all gets covered with plastic wrap or parts bags to prevent flashing and permanently tacky epoxy.


Once this is all cured, I'm going to do a servo rail installation in case I have as many dead servo problems as @wilmracer
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Free Flight Indoorist
Be careful about the large top hatch. I originally planned a hatch on this plane but chickened out when I started thinking about the weight of an electric motor up front during a full on discus launch. I don't know how much strength is required to withstand that sideload and didn't want to chance it. I'm sure it can be done, but it's one of those 'round tuit' projects. That, and once you start flying pylon ships, you get used to installing and removing wings a gazillion times each flying session.


Skill Collector
This will be an interesting experiment then! :D

I did leave about 2 inches of top sheeting at the nose permanently attached to make sure the front held it's shape - we'll see how she holds up like this long term. Maybe adding one more former between the main former and the nose would help if this version implodes on discuss launch! :LOL:


Skill Collector
Rocket motor tube installed and fiberglassing all finished. Planning to give her a quick touch of spackle and sanding tonight and then give her a quick coat of paint.

I also discovered I installed the tail wrong - I nestled the carbon rod up against the joint of the stabilizers. Now I see it should have only attached to the horizontal stabilizer and the little bracket I thought was for extra gluing surface was instead a stand off from the vertical stabilizer. What this means is that the elevator control horn is miss-aligned to the carbon tube. So tonight I'll also cut and cover a new elevator with the control horn moved over to line up properly and eliminate the binding on the kevlar thread.
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Skill Collector
First a coat of spackle rubbed onto the sanded fiberglass fuselage and set aside to dry for a bit

While that was setting up, I made and installed a new elevator so I could get the control horn aligned properly.

Then it was time to sand the spackle off and spray a coat of black primer.


Not looking too shabby :D


Tested the servos again, and after trying figure out how I'd do rails I decided to go with the servo brick route to try something different! I did use hot glue to put the servos together - couldn't bring myself to use CA everywhere, especially since I only seem to have thin CA in the shop right now. Then I wrapped the brick a couple times with the kevlar thread and did use some CA to lock that in place. So far they all still move!


Next up will be finishing the electronics installation...
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Skill Collector
Last night when I went to bed all the servos moved fine.

This morning when I get up, one of the servos is frozen up and just clicks a little. :mad:

To have a servo fail in 8 hours when it's not even being used doesn't make any sense as a theory. I'm left with the theory that by using the CA glue on the kevlar thread I somehow ended up with a dribble or penetration into a crack that glued the little bugger shut. I was careful to only apply the CA to the thread, and kept the thread in the middle of the servo case, but perhaps because I was using thin CA instead of a thick formula it still found a way in.

Luckily I did order a spare servo, and will be installing that one with hot glue only later today. Also visiting the hobby shop for some thick CA since my last bottle dried up into a solid lump over the winter.

At this point I can't recommend to people to try making this servo brick with CA, especially if you only have thin CA. Use hot glue, or thick CA if you must, but order extra servos and be very careful of this step in the build.


Skill Collector
So these are sold as "metal gear servos" - looks like just the top visible knurled gear is metal. Everything inside the servo is plastic!


New servo installed into the brick & fuselage with hot glue instead of CA (and a little balsa blocking to squeeze the servos in tight).