By continuing to use this site, you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more

Member postings for Steve McLaren

Here is a list of all the postings Steve McLaren has made in our forums. Click on a thread name to jump to the thread.

Thread: Cloud Models Mosquito for PSS
14/02/2016 20:49:55

Thanks for the encouragement on working with plastic mouldings guys! I think I've just about reached the end of it this weekend.

I used the back end of the nacelle top mouldings.


but I will build the front ends in balsa, with a hatch, just in case I ever want to add electric motors.

Then, this is the rear fuselage upper moulding going on:-


after a bit of tidying up, it looks like this:-


But again, I won't be using the plastic moulding for the front half of the fuselage. Instead, I will build a balsa deck which goes over the wing and takes the canopy. I'm hoping this will make the joint line at the front a bit less noticeable than in the original kit arrangement, but we shall see! This is how it looks so far, and I've run out of soft 1/2 inch balsa for now.


Hopefully, I'll be able to find the right shape in there somewhere!

Meanwhile, here's a picture of the elevator servo installation.


One of the down sides of working with plastic mouldings, epoxy and microfibres, is that it all tends to look a bit messy! Or maybe that's just my bad technique?

Overall, I don't think I'll go for plastic mouldings again. I can see that, done well, they could probably save some weight, but they're rather difficult and messy to work with, and I don't think they save any time in the build. But the experience has taught me to appreciate the joys of balsa sanding!

Thread: A-4 Skyhawk colours, photos, scale references
31/01/2016 22:30:39

Hi Dirk, Just ordered mine today too. So, are you planning to be there in September? And any of the other meetings?

Thread: Cloud Models Mosquito for PSS
23/01/2016 21:15:02

Yes the plastic is proving a bit of a complication. I discovered a problem with the rear fuselage where I thought I had cut enough slits in the plastic moulding to be able to form it to shape against the light-ply frame. But after bonding, when I put a straight edge along the light-ply fuselage sides, I find that, at the tail end, where the wood sections are all very slender, the light-ply frame has distorted significantly to meet the moulding. You can see the effect here.


Without correction, this would mess up my tailplane incidence. So I have had to add some thin tapered balsa wedges onto the tailplane seat to restore the correct tailplane incidence.

On the first nacelle I have added some fibreglass internally, and some filler externally. It's now looking like this.



Still rough. It needs more filler and sanding, but I think it might work.

With the tailplane and fin in place, it's now starting to look a bit like a mosquito.


03/01/2016 09:51:35

So, where was I before Christmas got in the way, and my workshop was commandeered as a food store?

Ah yes, nacelles.

I decided to cut slits from the front of the plastic mouldings, so that I could flare them out to meet the enlarged front former, like this:


And then, after bonding in place with an epoxy + microfibres mix (I didn't have the recommended microballoons), and incorporating a few plastic overlap tabs as recommended by Peter above, it looks like this:


These could be useful as extra cooling for the motors! But then I don't have motors!

I didn't bond the front ends of these strips at this stage, just in case I didn't like the shape - I would then have the option to just them off. But I have decided to go ahead with this approach and have since bonded the ends in place. I plan to add some fibreglass cloth to the inside and rebuild the full nacelle shape with slivers of 1/32nd balsa and filler. If that doesn't work, I'll just have the cut the whole lot off!

I found that the nacelle mouldings fitted very well, and trimming them to shape was easy. But it was a different story with the lower fuselage moulding. I found that there was no way it could fit to all the formers at the same time. In the end I got it to fit to all the formers except the nose former and the tail end former. Any attempt to make it fit at the ends caused the sides of the moulding to kink outwards in a sort of fold, so that it wouldn't meet the fuselage side rail. So the only thing I could think off was to cut a few slits to allow the moulding to curve more at each end.




I will patch up these slits with a bit of fibreglass and filler later.

I also decided to take Andy Blackburn's advice and go with a Mk VI fighter nose, rather than the clear Mk IV bomber nose moulding supplied in the kit. I think this will be more durable for slope flying (particularly for my landings!), and it makes the whole business of fitting the balancing weight in the nose a lot easier.


Thread: PSS Tornado F.3
13/12/2015 21:02:19

Good to see some more progress. Beautifully neat work as usual. You've got to be inspired for the final push now??

Thread: One ninth of a Canberra
13/12/2015 20:56:04

I thought it had gone quiet on the painting, but you were holding out for the big reveal!

Another awesome model Scott. Hope I can be there to see it fly.

Thread: Cloud Models Mosquito for PSS
01/12/2015 21:42:24

Hmmm. But that sounds like so much work! I was hoping to avoid all that sanding to shape!

I might end up there, but I'm going to see what I can achieve with these mouldings first!!

Thread: Folland Gnat Build
01/12/2015 20:35:50

Hi Andy, So you are starting on it then? I'm sure I just read read one of your posts on another blog saying you were starting on something else in the near future? It's certainly an impressive production rate down at your factory!

On the wings, I went for 34 inch span. There is a picture on page 1 of the blog which sort of shows the change I made. Basically I moved the tip in by the full width of the tip (about 2.5 inches). What I didn't do (and now regret) was change the taper angle of the leading edge to get the same chord length at the tip. So my wings look a little to 'square' to me. So you have the chance to improve their.

I have been meaning to come back to this blog to finish it off properly, but so far just haven't got round to it. So I'll do it now.

It took me a long time to get to some successful flights on this model. But Phil Cooke has kindly given me permission to add these pictures which show that this model does indeed fly very well, when you eventually get the CG position right. Thanks very much Phil!



My initial problems were all caused because, not being used to highly swept wings, I set the model up using the CG position suggested on the plan, forgetting that I had cut 2.5 inches off each wing tip. So the initial CG was way too far back. This resulted in not one, but two flights where the model tumbled uncontrollably backwards over my head and into the heather!. One of the impacts lead to a slight shortening of the nose, but it did demonstrate what a robust airframe this is!

So then I moved the CG well forward, which resulted in a rather sluggish performance, and I have been gradually working my way backwards. These pictures cam from the last PSSA event of the year at the Great Orme, where I think the CG was getting to a pretty good point.

So if anyone ever uses the same wing size as I did, you may want to know that the current CG position is 155mm from the leading edge (or former F2) and 110mm from the trailing edge (or former F4), where the wing intersects the fuselage sides. i.e, 25mm further forward than shown on the plan. I might take it a bit further back yet, but this should give you a good safe starting point. And if you decide to go for a different wing shape, it might help you to estimate a good starting CG position.

Thread: Cloud Models Mosquito for PSS
30/11/2015 22:57:01

Got the wing attached to the fuselage frame at the weekend.


Then turned my attention to the nacelles, where I found a bit of a complication. The kit was designed around small electric motors (Speed 480s I think I read somewhere), so it's not surprising that the front of the nacelles narrow down to quite a small spinner. The front motor bulkhead as supplied is 35mm diameter. But I don't think this will look right. By my calculations, scaling from the wing span, I think a true scale spinner would be close to 65mm diameter. I found these nice rounded 70mm spinners in the local model shop, and I reckon I could trim away some of the back plate to bring them down to 65mm. But what to do about the nacelle mouldings? I'm still thinking about that - could I cut slices into the front half and flare the moulding out, and fill the gaps with balsa, or fibreglass? Or should I just chop the front off and build a conventional balsa front end?


I have made a light ply former of the vertical shape I want to achieve on the front end of the nacelles, and a replacement front motor bulkhead.


If I understand the kit instructions correctly, it seems to suggest making the nacelles removable from the wing, by locating them on a dowel at the leading edge of the wing, and using a small nylon bolt through the wing close to the trailing edge. But I am thinking that the lightest and strongest approach will be to permanently join the nacelles to the wing, and to use the joint between the two to provide strength to the nacelle. So I have glued the nacelle formers to the wing with PVA. I looks a pretty lightweight frame - I guess a lot of the strength required for belly landings will have to come from the plastic moulding and it's bond to the lower wing skin. But I added the diagonal braces you can see in this picture to try to improve the strength and stiffness of the frame too - not just for the landings, but also to stop me snapping the former off the leading edge whilst I'm building the rest of the nacelle.


Thread: Really Late Start JP
27/11/2015 19:34:35

Ah this takes me back! Great to see another one being built. I expect I'll be building another one soon - if/when the current one gets beyond repair. They just fly so well.

Just wanted to mention - those missing bits of the fuselage sides you mentioned Robert - I could be wrong, but I seem to remember that I did find them in the wood pack - eventually - when there wasn't much else left! It might be too late now, but if not, could be worth another look.

Thread: Cloud Models Mosquito for PSS
23/11/2015 20:44:26

The official answer on the wing section from Phillip Knight at Cloud models is that it is Eppler 205. Which is very good news - it sounds like I'm still on track for a PSS model.

The wings are now joined, the aileron hinges fitted (at least temporarily) and the tips sanded to their rough shape.


The fuselage frame is also complete.


So now it's on to the trickier tasks of making all those plastic bits fit properly.

19/11/2015 21:20:05

I hope it will be ready well before April Andy. I understand the mass build will start late Feb, so I want to be clear for that.

I printed a couple of wing sections today and compared them to the foam cores. I reckon it's closer to Eppler 205 (but with a slightly more pointed leading edge) than to Clark Y.. That's got to be good news right? But good enough?

But as suggested by Daren, I did also refer the question to Cloud Models, so hopefully we'll see what he says.

All this talk of where to put all the lead is focusing my mind on how to lighten the tail end!

Thread: PSS A-10 Thunderbolt II - another one
17/11/2015 21:29:04

Only just caught up with all this. Magic Andy! Really pleased it went well. How much wind was there?

Thread: Cloud Models Mosquito for PSS
17/11/2015 21:00:22

Hmm, that doesn't sound too promising Matt. Scott was expressing the same concerns. And Andy thinks I'll have to add half a pound of lead to balance all that tail! So my cunning choice of a great value, quick assembly, PSS model is not looking so clever now!

I won't give up hope completely, but it seems I may have to hedge my bets. I was always planning to build in the wiring for the motors anyway, so if it just doesn't work for PSS, it may not appear on the slopes more than once!

16/11/2015 20:53:17

Andy, Yes there is some wash-out. Measuring from the foam outers which the wings came in, it looks like the trailing edge is 6mm high at the tip, on a chord of 130mm. So that would make about 2.6 degrees. Sounds about right to me??

I'm thinking B Mk IV. Mainly because the kit comes with the clear nose moulding and the smooth exhaust mouldings. I'm still trying to narrow down on the colour scheme - have seen a few I like so far.

15/11/2015 20:42:06

Thanks for the heads-up on the plastic bits Ian. I've not built anything with construction quite like this before, so we'll just have to see how it goes. Like you say, If I can't get it all to fit, there's always the old traditional solution.

Yes I did buy it from the Balsa Cabin Scott. Like you, I have looked at it hanging there in previous years, and thought 'No- I've got too many other things to do', but this year I had nothing else on the build board. I think I paid a little over £80 for it which still seems like very good value. I paid about that much recently for just a pair of foam wings.

A little more progress today. I cut some channels into the trailing edge 'spars' and epoxied in the torque rods.


Then stuck the trailing edges back on.


and the extended wing tips.


Yes I know they're a funny shape! but hopefully there's enough material there that I can round them off a bit more.

So then I started on the fuselage. It's all built around a self -igging light ply battery box.


to which you then add add some light ply sides and formers.


The idea is that you build a sort of light ply skeleton to which you then add the plastic mouldings.

The wooden part is going together very well. The laser cut parts all fit together perfectly so far. But I haven't got to the tricky bit yet!

14/11/2015 22:03:54

Well, since I came back from the last event at the Great Orme with all my proper models pretty much in-tact (there was also that bag full of polystyrene!, but we won't talk about that!) and the mass build A4 is not going to be available till February, I really need something to keep me busy during these wet and windy weekends.

Well fortunately, at the Wings and Wheels show at North Weald in July, I bought myself a Cloud Models Mosquito kit.

For those who don't know it, it's a 54 inch 'sport scale' model. and it comes with a nice pair of obechi veneered foam wings, and several plastic mouldings - 2 fuselage halves, 2 lower nacelles, and 2 upper nacelles. Apart from that, there are a whole lot of laser cut formers from light ply, and a tailplane, elevators, and fin from 3/16th balsa.

So I'm hoping it's going to be a very quick and easy build!

These are the wings - with a pre-machined slot which defines the aileron cut outs.:-


They provide a cut-out in the lower surface veneer for the aileron servos. But I've had a few models with aileron servos in underside of the wing which tend to grab in the long grass and cause stripping of the servo gears, So I am going to go for torque rods, and servos mounted inside the fuselage instead.

In fact ,I'm going to use the Andy Blackburn design torque rods from the Jet Provost (2014 mass build ), because I was so impressed by how smooth and positive these are. Are these really his design? If so, he should apply for a patent!

So, to fit the torque rods, it is necessary to chop the trailing edge off the wing panels, and glue some 1/4 inch strip onto the main panel, the trailing edge piece, and the aileron:-


The wings are only intended to be 'sport scale' so the profile is chosen for performance and ease of build rather than perfect scale, which is fine for me. But I think it should be possible to improve the shape of the wing tips.


As far as I can ell, the trailing edge of the tip should blend smoothly into the trailing edge of the wing panel. So I thinK I need to add to add a bit of material to the tips to achieve this. Which will make the span a bit bigger.

The Andy Blackburn torque rods are made from 5/32nds inch aluminium tube, running in a blue snake bearing.

The ends are made from bent piano wire, epoxied into the aluminium tube. To fill the gap between the wire and the tube, I find it convenient to epoxy a piece of glass cloth to the piano wire, and when dry, wind it round the wire with a bit more epoxy impregnation and tape it up until cured. If you add too much fibreglass, it's easy to sand it down again until it fits in the tube.


Finished torque rods:-


Since I don't need the servo cut-outs in the lower surface, I am going to try to repair them, and reinstate the strength of the wing skin as much as possible.

I cut the circle of veneer away from the core, then created 2 crescents of 1/32nd ply which I pushed under the veneer. I used gorilla glue on these crescent pieces, in the hope that it would expand and fill the gaps, and bonded the circle of veneer back in the same way.



Then filled any gaps with lightweight filler.


Thread: PSSA Gliding Events 2019
06/10/2015 21:32:55

Yes I'll travel to Llandudno as early as I can on Saturday morning, unless you issue alternative plans. I need to find the instructions you issued last time on how to access the ski slope, just in case i need them.

Looking forward to it!

06/10/2015 20:37:53

Like the plate Andy! And the best thing is that most people won't know its a personalised plate.

I am booked in at Llandudno for Saturday night, and I am staying positive, but I do like the idea of a reserve venue (rather than an outright cancellation) if this forecast doesn't change! It looks like it should be flyable somewhere., and I haven't been flying since the Lleyn meeting.

Is that possible, or is it more complicated than that?

Thread: One ninth of a Canberra
06/10/2015 20:23:55

Pink Floyd definitely working well on this one!

Magazine Locator

Want the latest issue of RCM&E? Use our magazine locator link to find your nearest stockist!

Find RCM&E! 

Support Our Partners
Addlestone Models
Gliders Distribution
Wings & Wheels 2019
Pepe Aircraft
Cambridge Gliding Club
electricwingman 2017
Advertise With Us
Latest "For Sale" Ads
New Poll - Sticky situations...
Q: How often - when using superglue - do you end up with it on your fingers?

 Every time
 Wear rubber gloves

Latest Reviews
Digital Back Issues

RCM&E Digital Back Issues

Contact us

Contact us