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Top Flite Gold Edition 1/8 scale Corsair Build

I have been reviewing Joshua Orchards build on the Top Flite Corsair. I have also been speaking with him directly regarding portions of my build. I am about 1/2 way through building my TF Corsair and have done some scale things on my build similar to Joshua build. I am current working through some initial wing building problems, such as to much filler, incorrect wing tip angles, etc. I have done the sheeting on my overall wing at least twice. I am finishing up the repairs and move forward at the same time with the fuselage. I have added a lot of LED lighting to my Corsair. I have the dorsal (Red color), and tail (White) anti collision lights, I have the single landing light (White), the red/green navigation lights, the IFF (Amber, Green, Red) and formation (Blue) lights. I have dual aileron and flap servos, and E-Flite electric retracts(main gear), with functioning gear door, and a tail wheel retract from the Flightline 1600MM Corsair. I do not have folding wings........ they are still a possibility. I am adding the oil coolers that Joshua used and the sliding canopy. I will have a pilot in mine, there for I am not animating the cockpit. I will be researching what it would take to get the pilot to reach up and act like his is pushing the canopy open since the Corsair didn't have an automated canopy. I repeat researching this item !

I plan on fiber glassing the wing, using 3/4 OZ cloth and the Minwax Polycrylic, with a sanding sealer under the cloth. I have a DLE20-RA that I am using for power with a 3 bladed prop. I started this project in October of 2018. I will be building my own cockpit interior as the Top Flite one is no longer available, and a custom cockpit, while beautiful, is way out of my price range. The pictures that are with this portion are early in the project so they might be difficult to follow. I will add a second set that is more current things that I am working on.

The servo shown here is what I put in the wing for the aileron servos. Plenty of torque for the job. I am going to try and make the control rod come out in the middle of the TE.


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Posting more current pics . This are from January and February of this year. The electronics with the screw drive in the pic is the retract controller from Dave's RC electronics. It is one that I found with work good with the E-Flite retracts, I have tried a couple other that don't work well with the E-Flite product. Also pictured is the Blue control box from the FliteLine 1600MM Corsair to help cut down the connections to the wings. Only 2 medium sized cable and the wing will disconnect from the receiver. I still have to get and install a couple of connectors for the light on both sides of the wing. Also notice the pictures of the lighted dashboard. This dashboard is from the 3d printed file from the Flightline 1600mm Corsair. No reason to reinvent the wheel with some already did. I will be using the back plate and seat from the Flightline 3d printed cockpit. The last photo is one of the connectors for the MFC box from Flightline. Right now I am working on the oil coolers, that I was supposed to sink into the LE of the wing. I didn't do it originally so I am doing it now. I found that Mr. Hobby on ebay has the canopy and vacuum formed oil coolers that are exactly like the original Top Flite parts. I ordered several extra to have on hand in case of issues. I have also split one of the canopies that I purchased into 2 pieces. I have pictures of the micro controller (Arduino Mega 3250) and display that will control the 27 different options for the LED lighting. This will be able to be set from the micro controller or from the radio during flight. Still working on the programming for the radio input during flight. This catches everyone up to where I am at present.


Joker 53150,
The current MFC board has many features, it controls some lights, and landing gear and other servos. The other servos are pass through control, aileron, rudder, elevator, flaps, and throttle. The board also assists in neating up all the wires running through the plane. Check the link out you will see what I mean. It does an excellent job on the landing gear servo, when the gear is up the servo is disabled, therefore no steering. Here is a link to the MFC board and it features, this comes from Flightline and was designed to be used in other aircraft as well.

https://www.motionrc.com/products/freewing-multi-function-control-box-e-mcb-e (MFC Board)
https://www.motionrc.com/products/freewing-mcb-e-main-wing-connection-board (Wing Connectors)
https://www.motionrc.com/products/freewing-connector-wire (Cable to connect MFC to Wing, comes in different sizes)

Since I am using the tail wheel from the Flightline Corsair, I will be using the MFC to control the steering servo. It will turn the servo off when the gear is up and turn the servo on when the gear is down, giving a steerable tail wheel. A 9g metal servo will handle the tail wheel steering.


Well-known member
Sweet! My friend is building one of these with a Saito 120r3 for power and the original pneumatic retracts with the built in oleos. He is going to use a couple of modified servos driving worm gears for automatic wing folding, and use electromagnetic latches to lock it in place. I think he's going to run the whole thing off of a Raspberry Pi so the wings go up and down on just one switch.

One concern though is having a rear exhaust engine might make routing the exhaust hard unless you can get your hands on a very compact Pitts style muffler.
I an going to use stock muffler, then have a friend in a machine shop make me brass and aluminum exhaust port that look like the real one and routing those in the scale places as the original exhaust on the bottom of the fuse before the wing. The will connect to the muffler using the silicone tubing. See photo attached.

The Saito sounds great. Let me know how that works out. Would like to here it idle and at full power.


I might have a problem. I was checking my weight with what was already put together, and the plane with fuel tank and all radio gear in the plane (just thrown in to weigh it) no batteries for radio gear, all controllers, microcomputer, miracle , minus motor, motor mount etc., no glassing, weighs in at about 9 lbs. I put all the motor stuff (ignition module, etc.) into plastic bag and weighed it, it weighs in at 3 lbs. Therefore I am at 12 lbs. without the fiberglass, or the sliding canopy. I am looking for ways to lighten.

Also below is the link to the Actuonix L16 140mm Actuator. This is what will be moving the sliding canopy. Should do the job nicely. Might be a little long.


Picking up a scale tonight on way home from work. This way I can weigh individual parts and see what is going on.


Well-known member
Warbirds in my opinion actually fly better with a little bit of extra weight. I have seen these and similar airplanes built into the 12-14 lb range and they fly in a much more realistic manner. If you do the fiberglassing correctly it should not add a significant amount of weight. It is likely the engine you have will also be able to handle the extra weight though I would say maybe try a prop with a little less pitch than normal for the extra pulling power.

It is very likely that you will have to always land with flaps with this amount of weight, however I wouldn't consider that a problem as the full scale Corsairs always land with the flaps out anyway. This is certainly going to be an airplane that you have to fly in full attention at all times - I wouldn't count on it flying itself or just floating in on landings. No warbird does.

Also, dang, 70 bucks for a linear actuator? I think it would be much easier to modify a servo so the potentiometer is hooked up in such a way that the servo rotation is stopped when the canopy is either in the fully open or fully closed positions, and then just connect it to the canopy with a string or a cable or something.
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Thank you for the advice speedbirdted. I will keep the pitch of the prop in mind. I know that was a lot to spend on the actuator, however if it doesn't work out for this project, there is always my R2D2 that could use it, say for the periscope or the life form radar. So it is money well spent. I know my other half would not agree with that logic. I have thought about other option such as a sail boat servo, with a light cable, those are adjustable for the number of revolutions they make. But those servos and wheels cost around 50 buck.

Thank you willsonman. I knew what your plane weighed from one of your last video entries. Your called your Corsair a "Porker" That is why I am concerned with my overall weight.

I picked up a scale last night and went weigh happy with all the components. I weighed the wing and fuse by themselves. I weighed the receiver and satellite receiver, the MFC box, the retract controller, the machine gun controller, the micro computer and display, etc. I checked the weight of the pilot (4 oz) and the pilot with the servo operated head (warbirdpilots.com) I even weighed an LED, it weighed less that a gram. I weighed one of the 9 gram servos and it weighed 14 grams, what is up with that ??? I still have a little more patching and sanding work to do on both the wing and the fuse. At this point though, I have the weight in mind and will be careful of what I add. I also discovered that my Cat5e wiring that I used to run all the LED's in the wing has a some weight to it. I used approximately 36 inches of cable on each side and that piece alone was in at 30 grams.

At this point of construction I will not be adding anymore LED wiring or LED's so no more weight there. My retractable tail wheel is already mounted, no more weight there. I will note the weight within the next update. At the next update, I hope to have the wing enclosed again and partially, if not completely sanded ready for sanding sealer, in spring fiber glass.
Haven't got much done this week. I have been under the weather. I did get the linear servo purchased and it arrived today. See picture, I will add a video tomorrow. Below is the link to the YouTube video with the linear servo:


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Got a good amount of work done on the wing this weekend. Got all the remaining sheeting done, even the new spot that I created while putting the new oil coolers in. Stuff just happens. I used the oil coolers from the Fliteline Corsair. I cut the centers out of the standard Top Flite oil coolers. I then cut the last oil vent off of the Fliteline ones and glued the to the front of the Top Flite vacuum formed oil coolers. Had to cut some good sized holes in the wing to get the oil coolers to fit. Photos attached


Good Evening All,

It has been a long time since I have posted progress on the Corsair build. I have been working on the flaps and getting frustrated at how they were fitting on the left hand side of the wing. Thinking that I had the flaps completed, I started working on the ailerons. I quickly discovered that my ailerons were 2 different sizes. One was shorter than the other of course it was the left side being short. After repositioning the left side flaps twice, I finally got things straighten out. The ailerons were both the same size. While I also started working on a test rig for the sliding canopy. In talking with Josh he mention using the plastic square tube instead of the brass ones as the slides for his canopy. The plastic slide would have been easier to paint. I then returned my brass square tubes and got the plastic ones. I have discovered that the plastic square tube are difficult to cut a straight slot in them. I am using the dremel and a cutting wheel to cut the slots. Any movement you make with the dremel will cause the slot to shift in some way. Since the plastic is so soft compared to brass, none of my slots came out straight (note in the photos below). Also when you push in the ball ends the plastic tube expands to fit the ball end. So the plastic tubes are expanding and contracting as the ball end is moved along them. I believe this would cause the paint to crack and peal.

Anyway, as I continued along with the canopy, I discovered that even with framework under the canopy, it still "flexed" to the point where the upper slide rail ball ends would not move. The entire assembly would buckle. I will also be adding a video's that show this issue. Therefore I added extra connecting rods into the upper slides. All 4 of the ball ends now move when the canopy is opened and closed. I have a video for that also. I have also come up with a new idea on how to install all this into the plane. Instead of installing it all from the cockpit back to the tail, I am going to install it under the cockpit floor and attach the end of the actuator in front of the dashboard. This will give me with as least one advantage over the previous installation method. When the canopy is closed, the actuator will be in the fully retracted position. In the unlikely (ha ha) event of a crash, I will not risk bending the actuator arm. With the new install method the only time the actuator arm will be extended with be while the canopy is open or on the ground. The current test rig is configured in with the old installation method. Once I have proven that current connection to the canopy works, then I convert the test rig in the new under the cockpit installation.

Video Link 1: Test Rig Sliding canopy Version 1.

Video Link 2: Test Rig Sliding Canopy Part 2 The Flex Issue

Video Link 3: Test Rig Sliding Canopy Part 3 Upper Rod Connections

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I hope that everyone is in good health and staying at home as we should be.

Take care and stay safe.
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Greetings All,

I have spent the majority of my time on the sliding canopy. I have also finished the flaps on my Corsair. I am moving to the ailerons which should move very quickly. Once the ailerons are completed, I can finish shaping the leading edge and do the finish sanding. Once sanding is completed I can fiberglass the wing and its control surfaces and access panels.

I have taken the old test rig apart and setup the current test rig to closer resemble the way that the sliding canopy will actual be installed in the Corsair. I have moved the actuator to directly under the cockpit floor and mounting under the front of the canopy. I have discovered some issues with using the plastic square tube for sliding rails. The first issue is that when the ball link assembly is inserted into the plastic square tube it expands the plastic tube. With the slot cut into the top plastic rails for the ball link, inserting the plastic ball receiver (for lack of better terms) the tube expands. The plastic ball receiver is slightly larger than the plastic square tube, that is why it expands. Sanding the edges of the plastic ball receiver flat so that it is the same size through out is length. I remember Joshua saying that he had to do that for the brass tubes, which makes sense as the brass will not expand. However when you place the plastic square slide rails between to surfaces that do not allow it to expand, it creates a problem of the rails now being to tight to let the ball link slide freely. The second issue that I ran into was with the slot not being wide enough for the small rod between the ball and the threads. If the plastic square tube can expand, the slot will always be the correct size to allow the ball link to pass through easily. Once the plastic square tube is confined, not allow to expand, the slot is therefore also confined and not allowed to expand. I had to manually expand the slots with a razor knife, so that the ball link could pass freely through the square tube. Once I sanded the plastic ball receiver and increased the slot size my back rail were allowed to slide freely enough to remove the connecting rods that I had added. With these restrictions removed the canopy frame is now strong enough to move the back slides without bending or giving at all.

I have added a video to my Youtube channel that show the mostly finished sliding canopy. I am not sure that the plastic square rails are the way to go. The brass would be more stable throughout and might not have gotten me into these issues. Sticking with it paid off in the end.
Hopefully with this article anyone wanting to use the square plastic tube for sliding rails will have an easier time making it work.

Video Link:

In the photos, note that the back slides are at the appropriate angle that they would be in on the Corsair.



Builder Extraordinare
Nice work! The only disadvantage you have is that with the actuator positioned that way, you really cannot fully deck out the cockpit area. That is why I did it the way I did in my build since the point of having the open canopy was to show off the cockpit. Still, your design is far more elegant than mine.
Thank you, Joshua for the complements. In this design the actuator is under the cockpit floor that is lowered for a full cockpit. What is setup as a test rig is to prove the theory. I agree that the idea of having the sliding canopy is to show off the cockpit. I don't have the Top Flite cockpit kit (wish I did) therefore I am building my own interior, using the Top Flite cockpit as an example, along with alot of research. I will not have the movement in the cockpit that you have, which is really cool. I will be putting in a scale pilot with moving head. I also have something else in mind that I would like to keep under raps for now.
Thank you, Joshua for the complements. In this design the actuator is under the cockpit floor that is lowered for a full cockpit. What is setup as a test rig is to prove the theory. I agree that the idea of having the sliding canopy is to show off the cockpit. I don't have the Top Flite cockpit kit (wish I did) therefore I am building my own interior, using the Top Flite cockpit as an example, along with alot of research. I will not have the movement in the cockpit that you have, which is really cool. I will be putting in a scale pilot with moving head. I also have something else in mind that I would like to keep under raps for now.
After some research this morning, I see what Joshua was trying to tell me. The Top Flite Cockpit kit fills the entire cockpit area, from top to bottom. When I say bottom I mean the top of the former that contain the control rods running backward to the tail. I didn't realize how much space the kit takes up, having never physically seen or build one. There really isn't any room for the actuator under the cockpit floor as it would be between the elevator and rudder control rods. Time to rethink the design, again. That is ok, designs are meant to changed for numerous reason. This photo clearly shows how much space the TF Cockpit Kit takes. Even though I do not have the TF kit, my cockpit is going to take the same amount of space.