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Saving an Old Foamie Spitfire

Hai-Lee

Old and Bold RC PILOT
Mentor
#1
I was recently gifted an old foamie Spitfire, (Brand unknown),

The poor old bird had a wooden beam mount for its motor and the mount to fit the motor to the boom was broken. A previous attempt at a repair using Epoxy and plastic ties had been a failure totally.

There was a wing tip missing, possibly lost in a crash.

The canopy/hatch had lost its magnet and would not secure properly.

The landing gear had been ripped out of the foam where it was mounted and the previous repair a "Lake" of epoxy was horrific as was the after market tail wheel glued to the rudder.

The wing LE hold downs for connection to the fuselage was ripped out and severely damaged!

The rudder was detached and on its last legs and the Ailerons are both lack rigidity or a rigid connection to the torque rods. The vertical fin also had a crack at its base though the fin was still attached.

Finally the poor old bird had a large Qty of lead and steel weights epoxied in the fuselage in an attempt to balance the bird after all of the previous repair work.

Here is the bird partially repaired.

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First repair was to clean up the hole where the undercarriage was fitted and to insert and glue in some Foam Board scraps from which the paper has been removed. Sand the foam to profile before fitting the undercarriage holder. Fit the holder and then the undercarriage main wheels when the glue and sanding are complete. Here is the repaired undercarriage fitment.

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Next was the missing wing tip! I used a couple pieces of FB scrap, (minus paper), that were glued together to give adequate thickness. I trimmed the damaged wing minimally and cut the scrap FB bits to the appropriate wing outline using the opposite wing tip as a template. Then trim the FB to fit the trimmed wing and to give the correct wing tip outline. After gluing on the FB pieces to the wing I sanded it to approximate wing profile! See below; Top and then bottom!

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For the motor I removed the damaged beam mount and found a 4 hole mount on an old damaged modern motor that I could trim down slightly and fit to the original motor. I then used a piece of aluminium angle 25mm, 3mm thick, to make a clamp mount to fit over the wooden beam. I trimmed the beam back to allow for the new mount depth requirements and it is ready to go. See below; (More construction details can be supplied if required - it was very simple to make).

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The rudder had the tail wheel removed from it and the damaged hinges removed. The old hinge holes were plugged with Scrap FB and the other holes and missing pieces were replaced with scrap FB also.

The rudder, (Tail wheel side).
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The non tail wheel side!
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MORE LATER and possibly the Maiden flight video!

Have fun!
 

Hai-Lee

Old and Bold RC PILOT
Mentor
#2
Today's progress was minor but then progress it was.

I grabbed a couple of DuBro pin hinges and fitted them to the rudder. (I do not need too many as the pin hinges distribute the forces over a wide area and the rudder is quite small). The use of 2 will be sufficient for this model.

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Fitted rudder to the fin and checked it for pin alignment and freedom of movement! All is well!

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The remaining parts to be repaired are the Ailerons, the forward wing mounting point, and the fitting of a tail skid or wheel, (skid preferred for the weight saving). Oh of course the test flight/s, (not even sure of the required battery size but the ESC and motor both work on a 3S without emitting smoke, (so far).

Have fun!
 

Hai-Lee

Old and Bold RC PILOT
Mentor
#3
A little more progress!

The front wing hold down was well worn and abused over the models life such that it barely held the wing in at all. So I needed to rebuild the area and return the wing alignment to factory original.

The original wing hold down area
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Removed the damaged foam
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Fitted, trimmed, and glued in replacement foam piece from a piece of FB from which the paper had been removed totally.
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The hold down mask plate glued to the foam with Epoxy and after setting of the glue the wing fitment now!
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More later! Getting close to its return to the skies!

Have fun!
 

mayan

Well-known member
#4
Nice work buddy. I love reading your build/repair posts lots that can be learned but mostly inspiring :).
 

Hai-Lee

Old and Bold RC PILOT
Mentor
#5
A little more progress!

I removed the old tail skid/tail wheel support as it was broken and ripped out. Then I filled the hole with FB foam and sanded to contour. Next I glued in a piece of BBQ skewer as a tail skid. (best strength to weight material I have to hand that is simple to fit).

Old tail skid/tail wheel bracket removed.
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The repaired area with a piece of BBQ skewer fitted as a skid.
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On the wings I found that the torque rods were very loose and the ailerons flapped a little. I dug the worst one out to look at the mechanism and then filled the trough with some fresh foam
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Next I dug out the aileron of the torque rods and re-glued the rods to the foam and then sealed the holes that I dug with fresh foam.

Port Aileron
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Starboard Aileron
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It is now ready to do the setup of the pushrods and the torque rods. After they are setup I will assemble the aircraft and do a balance check. Next will be to add nose weight to achieve with my selected battery fitted, (1300mA 3S). After the balance weights are glued in it will just be a matter of doing a full system operation check, (including the motor function and direction of rotation). Finally the refitting of the piece of the nose/cowl I removed at the beginning of the refurbishment to gain access to the motor mount etc.

One more post before the maiden flight, (all things going well that is)!

Have fun!
 

Hai-Lee

Old and Bold RC PILOT
Mentor
#7
No video as yet but the old girl took to the air today on a 1250 3S battery and performed quite well.

It is still a tad tail heavy and the ailerons need to be turned down a bit but otherwise all was good.

May get some video this coming weekend!

Only real thing to worry about now is to whom do I give it?

Have fun!
 

Hai-Lee

Old and Bold RC PILOT
Mentor
#8
Today was a day when flying was not recommended. Too windy and with rain forecast but then I had a student appointment and the repaired Spitfire to video in flight.

It wnt quite well though with a fair bit or porpoising through the turbulence and my not setting the throws for smooth flight, (why should I bother as it will soon belong to someone else).

Here is a link to the video of the flight! https://drive.google.com/open?id=1_pOLEBbXEed1qdByyCxUnJbRE7cHcoWd

Time for the next project!

Have fun!
 

Hai-Lee

Old and Bold RC PILOT
Mentor
#11
I do not know if it qualifies as saving the old bird but today it was returned to service with one of the newbie pilots at the local club. His total warbird collection consisted of a single Trojan:rolleyes: until today. I may see it again in pieces:unsure:.

Anyway this is my last post about this bird unless he tries to bury it at high speed!

Have fun!