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Foam Wonder by SP0NZ

SP0NZ

FT CAD Gremlin
Staff member
Admin
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#1
1657579464339.png


The History (2013 - 2022)
2013

When I first got started in RC model aviation back in 2013, after building a few of the early Flite Test designs (Nutball, Flyer, Delta, and Bloody Wonder), I immediately had the urge to start modifying and designing. For some reason, I've always been drawn to some of the more oddball fictional RC airplanes like the Ugly Stick and the Wonder. The original Sig Wonder was designed by Bruce Tharpe and released in kit form by Sig in 1993. I decided that it would be a great plane to try and make out of foam board and built my first prototype in October 2013.

1657559781756.png


The first prototype was drawn and built by looking at pictures and information that I found on the web. The proportions were close, but not quite right. I oversized the control surfaces to be more in-line with the Flite Test style planes I was accustomed to and so that I could use the standard FT control horn. I was also dead set on trying to incorporate the Flite Test power pod into the design to make it swappable like the rest of the FT designs of the time.
She meet her fate a few days later in a nearly head on collision with an FT Bloody Wonder (a fitting fate). It was an epic collision...

1657559977211.png


2014
In early 2014 I decided to revisit the design. I went back to the drawing board, made a few minor tweaks to the design, and built another prototype. This was also around the time I was working on the Bloody Wonder MkIII, the Ugly Wonder, and the Bloody Baron. For the life of me, I can't even remember how this one flew or what ever happened to it.

1657560456561.png


Then came the first ever Flite Fest in 2014. I was still very new to the hobby and had so much more to learn (still do). But, I knew that I had to go to Flite Fest. I jumped in on the Kick Starter and started preparing to go to my first RC event. I also knew that I wanted to bring a couple of my own designs to the event, and that the Wonder would be one of them (the other was the first prototype of the now famous FT Bloody Baron, but that's a whole other story). Funny side-note, when I first met Josh Bixler, I asked him to fly my Wonder prototype because it was the plane I had with me when I met him the first time. He flew it like a boss and said it flew like a Wonder, which I thought was the best possible compliment. Later on in the event he saw my prototype Bloody Baron and he asked me if Flite Test could kit it. He had never even flown the Baron yet!

1657564477896.png

Prototype #003 Flow by Josh Bixler at Flite Fest 2014

This version had a removable wing like the Sig balsa model. It was a pain to install/remove with the horizontal stabilizer butted up to the trailing edge of the wing. I never really liked the way it worked with the rubber bands, but I wanted to keep the build simple. With this, and some subsequent models, the only way to swap out the battery was to remove the wing. It was a pain.

2015-2019
In 2015 The FT Bloody Baron was finally released, and shortly after I began officially drafting the build plans for all the new Flite Test designs released since. I got busy with a lot of other projects and designs of my own. I occasionally went back and tinkered on the Wonder design in CAD trying to find that missing something that would make the design better. Needless to say, my interest in the design waxed and waned over the years. But during this time period, I had not built or flown another version of the Wonder. I did purchase a balsa Sig kit, complete with plans, instructions and decals, but I have yet to build that.

2020
During the pandemic I had more free time on my hands and no where to go. So I decided to resurrect this project and built the latest version of the plans that I had been tinkering around with for years. The build was simple, and the plane flew great, but there was just something that was still off about the whole thing that I couldn't quite wrap my mind around. I knew for a fact I did not like the removable wing/rubber band attachment at all.

1657572513176.png


2021
The urge to finish this project once-and-for-all hit hard. After tinkering with the design here and there, I finally decided to scrap everything and start over. And this time I had the original Bruce Tharpe/Sig plans to reference. I decided to ditch the FT power pod. I also incorporated a lot of newer features that have evolved over the past several years into the new design. I made up my mind to use a fixed wing (glued in place) and opted for a bottom access battery hatch/compartment. I also decided to try to make this foam board model as close to the original Wonder (control surface sizes, nose length, motor placement, airfoil shape, etc.) as possible. For me, those two design changes made all the difference in the world. Then I decided not only to do the Standard Wonder, but the 3 other original versions as well. I also couldn't resist making a German variant based off some pictures of modified Wonders I had seen on the internet way back when I first started this project. I built and flew several prototypes in 2021 including the new German variant.

1657573003678.png


By this time I had also recruited some friends to build and test the prototypes and provide feedback on the plans...

1657573243649.png

2021 Beta version Russian by @FlyingTyger

1657573469055.png

2021 Beta version Standard "Airborne Virus" by Andre

And even more prototypes built and flown by me.

1657574440433.png


I also had the novel idea of incorporating a feature from the Bloody Micks Funbat and FT Bloody Wonder into the Standard Wonder. A modified tail fin that would allow for vertical takeoff (VTO)!


2022
After completing the FT Simple Scout XL in February, I decided it was finally time to finish up the wonder. There were a few small tweaks and changes that I wanted to add/modify and still two more versions that I hadn't built myself yet. The Angel and the Patriot. I decided to build the Angel and bring it to Flite Fest, painted up as close to the original as I could get with a rattle can and my vinyl cutter. I think it turned out pretty good.

1657574131497.png

Prototype #008, the Angel by SP0NZ

All that was left was to build the Patriot, which I decided to try to do 3 days before Independence Day. I finished it at 2 am on July 4, 2022. Wasn't able to fly it on the 4th due to rain, but the successful maiden took place on the 5th.

1657574301446.png

Final prototype #009, the Patriot by SP0NZ

Turns out it was a good idea to build the Patriot. Of the four designs, the tail fins on the Patriot were different enough that it required changing the mounting tab/slot locations on all the other designs to make them all consistent. And that was the final design change!

1659293281988.png

Andre and I at our local flying field.

2022 EAA AirVenture (July 28)
I had the opportunity to meet up with Josh Bixler and John Overstreet to hang out and do some RC flying at historic Pioneer Field during the air show in Oshkosh. Had a great time hanging out with everyone. And, to wrap up this 8+ year journey, Josh flew the final version of the Wonder, and had a blast doing it. Can't think of a more fitting way to wrap up this design.

1659294080050.png

Bix and SP0NZ with the Patriot Wonder at Pioneer Field, Oshkosh.

Free Plans
Angel (coming soon)​
 

tomlogan1

Well-known member
#3
The History (2013 - 2022)

2013
When I first got started in RC model aviation back in 2013, after building a few of the early Flite Test designs (Nutball, Flyer, Delta, and Bloody Wonder), I immediately had the urge to start modifying and designing. For some reason, I've always been drawn to some of the more oddball fictional RC airplanes like the Ugly Stick and the Wonder. The original Sig Wonder was designed by Bruce Tharpe and released in kit form by Sig in 1993. I decided that it would be a great plane to try and make out of foam board and built my first prototype in October 2013.

View attachment 228296

The first prototype was drawn and built by looking at pictures and information that I found on the web. The proportions were close, but not quite right. I oversized the control surfaces to be more in-line with the Flite Test style planes I was accustomed too and so that I could use the standard FT control horn. I was also dead set on trying to incorporate the Flite Test power pod into the design to make it swappable like the rest of the FT designs of the time.
She meet her fate a few days later in a nearly head on collision with an FT Bloody Wonder (a fitting fate). It was an epic collision...

View attachment 228297

2014
In early 2014 I decided to revisit the design. I went back to the drawing board, made a few minor tweaks to the design, and built another prototype. This was also around the time I was working on the Bloody Wonder MkIII, the Ugly Wonder, and the Bloody Baron. For the life of me, I can't even remember how this one flew or what ever happened to it.

View attachment 228301

Then came the first ever Flite Fest in 2014. I was still very new to the hobby and had so much more to learn (still do). But, I knew that I had to go to Flite Fest. I jumped in on the Kick Starter and started preparing to go to my first RC event. I also knew that I wanted to bring a couple of my own designs to the event, and that the Wonder would be one of them (the other was the first prototype of the now famous FT Bloody Baron, but that's a whole other story). Funny side-note, when I first met Josh Bixler, I asked him to fly my Wonder prototype because it was the plane I had with me when I met him the first time. He flew it like a boss and said it flew like a Wonder. Later on in the event I he saw my prototype Bloody Baron and he asked me if Flite Test could kit it. He had never even flown the Baron yet. here is a picture of the signed Wonder prototype that Josh flew:

View attachment 228303

This version (prototype 003) had a removable wing like the Sig model. It was a pain to install/remove with the horizontal stabilizer butted up to the trailing edge of the wing. I never really liked the way it worked with the rubber bands, but I wanted to keep the build simple. With this, and some subsequent models, the only way to swap out the battery was to remove the wing. It was a pain.

2015-2019
In 2015 The FT Bloody Baron was finally released, and shortly after I began officially drafting the build plans for all the new Flite Test designs released since. I got busy with a lot of other projects and designs of my own. I occasionally went back and tinkered on the Wonder design in CAD trying to find that missing something that would make the design better. Needless to say, my interest in the design waxed and waned over the years. But during this time period, I had not built or flown another version of the Wonder. I did purchase a balsa Sig kit complete with plans, instructions and decals, but I have yet to build that.

2020
During the pandemic I had more free time on my hands and no where to go. So I decided to resurrect this project and built the final version of the plans that I had been tinkering around with for years. Build was simple, plane flew great, but there was just something that was still off about the whole thing that I couldn't quite wrap my mind around. I knew for a fact I did not like the removable wing/rubber band attachment at all.

View attachment 228304

2021
The urge to finish this project once-and-for-all hit hard. After tinkering with the design here and there, I finally decided to scrap everything and start over. And this time I had the original Bruce Tharpe/Sig plans to reference. I decided to ditch the FT power pod. I also incorporated a lot of newer features that have evolved over the past several years into the new design. I made up my mind to use a fixed wing (glued in place) and opted for a bottom access battery hatch/compartment. I also decided to try to make this foam board model as close to the original Wonder (control surface sizes, nose length, motor placement, airfoil shape) as possible. For me, those two design changes made all the difference in the world. Then I decided not only to do the Standard Wonder, but the 3 other versions as well. I also couldn't resist making a German variant based off some pictures of modified Wonders I had seen on the internet when I first started this project. I built and flew several prototypes in 2021 including the new German variant.

View attachment 228305

By this time I has also recruited some friends to build and test the prototypes...

View attachment 228306
2021 Beta version Russian by @FlyingTyger

View attachment 228307
2021 Beta version Standard "Airborne Virus" by Andre

And even more prototypes built and flown by me.

View attachment 228310

I also had the novel idea of incorporating a feature from the Bloody Micks Funbat and FT Bloody Wonder into the Standard Wonder. A modified tail fin that would allow for vertical takeoff (VTO)!


2022
After completing the FT Simple Scout XL in February, I decided it was finally time to finish up the wonder. There were a few small tweaks and changes that I wanted to add/modify and still two more versions that I hadn't built myself yet. The Angel and the Patriot. I decided to build the Angel and bring it to Flite Fest, painted up as close to the original as I could get with a rattle can and my vinyl cutter. I think it turned out pretty good.

View attachment 228308

All that was left was to build the Patriot, which I decided to try to do 3 days before Independence Day. I finished it at 2 am on July 4, 2022. Wasn't able to fly it on the 4th due to rain, but the successful maiden took place on the 5th.

View attachment 228309
The last prototype, the Patriot by SP0NZ


?? Plans ??
And now that you have a little background and context, I am pleased to say that I will be releasing plans (FINALLY) for all 5 Wonders by the end of July, 2022!
Thanks again, Sponz, for all you've done for all of us. Just finishing up an FT Simple Scout (old school not XL). Your plans make it an easy process. I'll sure give this one a build. What motor and esc do you use?
 

SP0NZ

FT CAD Gremlin
Staff member
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#4
Thanks again, Sponz, for all you've done for all of us. Just finishing up an FT Simple Scout (old school not XL). Your plans make it an easy process. I'll sure give this one a build. What motor and esc do you use?
I've been running all the later prototypes with the FT Power Pack C (2218B 1180kv motor, and 35amp ESC) with a 3 or 4S 2200 mAh LiPo battery. It has way more than enough power with that setup.

I do intend to try one on a B Pack, because I know it will work. It should be a little more floaty/light with that setup. I also fully intend to overpower one and push it to the absolute limits! :cool:
 
#10
Are there any written or video instructions for the assembly of the Wonder series? The build should be a little different from the Bloody series.
 

SP0NZ

FT CAD Gremlin
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#11
Are there any written or video instructions for the assembly of the Wonder series? The build should be a little different from the Bloody series.
Not at the moment. If you have built a few of the FT style planes, it should be pretty easy to figure out though. I will probably use the reserved 2nd post here to start a build guide. I may even make a build guide PDF like I did with the SideWinder. For now though, if you have any questions please post them here in this thread so others can see it too. I have had a few people build this without instructions already with little or no issues.
 

SP0NZ

FT CAD Gremlin
Staff member
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#12
Nice read fun to here how this plane had it`s start, I like it enough to build one for my next combat plane.
It's a pretty impressive combat ship. My friend Andre flew his "Airborne Virus" Wonder in every combat at Flite Fest 2022 and wrecked up an impressive kill count. With minor pit work in between combats (hot glue, craft sticks, and tape) the plane is incredibly durable.

6 Confirmed kills.
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1659449103421.png
 

luvmy40

Elite member
#13
I'll be building the Foam Wonder with VTO V stabs this weekend. C pack.

First question: Do you glue the wings together first and fold them as a unit or 1/2 at a time?

Next stupid question: What purpose do the wing jigs serve?
 

SP0NZ

FT CAD Gremlin
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#15
I'll be building the Foam Wonder with VTO V stabs this weekend. C pack.
Awesome! Please post details and pictures when you do. good and bad feedback is always appreciated.


First question: Do you glue the wings together first and fold them as a unit or 1/2 at a time?
Join the wing halves together before forming the airfoil. The way I designed the spar you pretty much have to. ;)
Also, make sure you install the aileron servos and route your wire through the wing before you glue the wing in place on the fuselage.

Next stupid question: What purpose do the wing jigs serve?
Not a stupid question at all. The wing jigs are used to help maintain a consistent airfoil shape. The symmetrical style wing is easy to make a mistake with when gluing it all up. I learned that the hard way after building several. In order to maintain a good wing saddle shape for the fuselage I tried an open wing jig (basically just the bottom of the wing was jigged). @FlyingTyger actually came up with the wing jig I used for the final version. I put a thin bead of glue in the crease lines of the wing, then form it and put the jigs on it until it cools. I do one side first (top or bottom, doesn't matter) and then the other. This helps get the shape correct for when you glue the leading edge, spar and trailing edge down. I use the jigs for all three steps. The extra tab on the top/rear of the jigs is so you can fold over the aileron and slide it thru with the wing. Hope that all makes sense.
1659542832108.png
 

SP0NZ

FT CAD Gremlin
Staff member
Admin
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Mentor
#16
For those who, like me, wanted to see more than a 33 second clip, I found this one. Not sure if this is the final version or not.
That was not the final version. Lots of changes made since then, but it essentially flies exactly the same.
 

luvmy40

Elite member
#17
Awesome! Please post details and pictures when you do. good and bad feedback is always appreciated.




Join the wing halves together before forming the airfoil. The way I designed the spar you pretty much have to. ;)
Also, make sure you install the aileron servos and route your wire through the wing before you glue the wing in place on the fuselage.


Not a stupid question at all. The wing jigs are used to help maintain a consistent airfoil shape. The symmetrical style wing is easy to make a mistake with when gluing it all up. I learned that the hard way after building several. In order to maintain a good wing saddle shape for the fuselage I tried an open wing jig (basically just the bottom of the wing was jigged). @FlyingTyger actually came up with the wing jig I used for the final version. I put a thin bead of glue in the crease lines of the wing, then form it and put the jigs on it until it cools. I do one side first (top or bottom, doesn't matter) and then the other. This helps get the shape correct for when you glue the leading edge, spar and trailing edge down. I use the jigs for all three steps. The extra tab on the top/rear of the jigs is so you can fold over the aileron and slide it thru with the wing. Hope that all makes sense.
View attachment 229042
Thank you Sir!
 

FlyingTyger

Well-known member
#18
Not a stupid question at all. The wing jigs are used to help maintain a consistent airfoil shape. The symmetrical style wing is easy to make a mistake with when gluing it all up. I learned that the hard way after building several. In order to maintain a good wing saddle shape for the fuselage I tried an open wing jig (basically just the bottom of the wing was jigged). @FlyingTyger actually came up with the wing jig I used for the final version. I put a thin bead of glue in the crease lines of the wing, then form it and put the jigs on it until it cools. I do one side first (top or bottom, doesn't matter) and then the other. This helps get the shape correct for when you glue the leading edge, spar and trailing edge down. I use the jigs for all three steps. The extra tab on the top/rear of the jigs is so you can fold over the aileron and slide it thru with the wing.
How I did my last build was to preform the wing panels so they fit nicely through the jigs without any glue. I then opened up the wing and glued the spar in place on the bottom wing panels. I ran a bead of Elmer's glue in all of the crease lines as well as along the top of the spar then reformed the wing and slid it into the jigs. While that set and dried, I built the fuse and tail assemblies. Once the Elmers had dried, I carefully opened the wing at the trailing edge and ran a bead of hot glue along that joint. After that had cooled I was able to remove the jigs and the wing was nice and stiff.
 

luvmy40

Elite member
#19
@FlyingTyger Thanks for the reminder that hot glue is not my only option. I took your route with the wing. Hot glue on the spars and Elmer's clear on the fold scores. I don't usually have the patience to make these builds multi day projects, but I thought I'd give it a try this time.

Wing drying before final assembly:
Foam Wonder Wing 1.jpg


And the fuse mocked up, not glued yet:

Foam Wonder Fuse Mock Up.jpg


Next question: How to tape reinforce the firewall?