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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: Things to do on the slope
28/04/2016 20:44:47

Has anybody used the SLEC bombs yet? and if so, what did you use to glue/fix the the 2 halves together?

Thread: Israeli Air Force A4 Skyhawk - Shalom
28/04/2016 20:27:39

Yes excellent work Peter. You are making me feel that I must get started. But I'm still trying to put my tornado back together!

Just looking at the height of your torque rods - are you planning a different approach to the issue of limited clearance to the wing bolt plate?

Thread: Cloud Models Mosquito for PSS
11/04/2016 23:16:58
Thanks guys. I am looking forward to the weekend too. I don't think I have flown since October!
Dave - good luck with the fuselage plastic mouldings! You may have read that I gave up on the front half of the top one, but I hope you have better luck.
I covered the balsa parts with solar film. It seemed to stick reasonably well to the plastic bits (which I have decided are probably polystyrene). Then I painted the solar film with Prymol, taking care not to get it on the polystyrene. Then I painted everything with Revel Aqua color acrylics. I think these are intended for plastic kits so they seem to work fine on both polystyrene and solar film. The adhesion on solar film seems to just the same whether you use Prymol or not, so you could forget the Prymol in my opinion. Just 1 pot of dark green, 1 of grey, and a mixture of 1 light blue and 1 light grey for the underside, was all I needed. And they are less than 2 quid a pot. It seemed to need 2 to 3 coats to get an even covering, but you can recoat after just 1 hour, so it doesn't take long.
10/04/2016 22:32:55

And this is it all covered and painted.



It took 7.5oz of lead in the spinners to balance it! I haven't weighed the whole thing yet, but it 's not going to be floater!

Anyway, ready to go!

Thread: PSS A-4E 'Top Gun' Skyhawk
31/03/2016 19:44:03

I am impressed! Not just by the quality of the build Phil, but the by the almost daily reports! You seem to be working to a different deadline than the rest of us! Or am I just leaving it too late again?

Hope to get mine started this weekend.

What news of the 2nd Tonka?

Thread: Cloud Models Mosquito for PSS
23/03/2016 20:12:00

Thanks Guys.

It's not really 'achieving scale' Peter. It's just getting close enough to make it good enough for your own eye. At several stages in this build I was thinking it wouldn't be good enough for 'proper PSS', and I might just fit some motors and fly it in the back field. But I'm actually quite pleased with the final result. I just need to keep it well away from any true scale mosquitos!

I haven't balanced it yet, and it's not covered or painted, but it's already weighing 3lb 6oz., or 54 oz. as shown in the pictures above (including battery and Rx). It feels a bit heavy, but then it's got a bigger wing than any of my other PSS models. I shall balance it this weekend and find out if it possible to get enough lead in those spinners!

Thread: Things to do on the slope
23/03/2016 19:39:47

I have ordered a couple of the SLEC type but I'm not sure I can be ready for April. Not even sure which model they might fit on! Phase 6? or does it have to be PSS?

Thread: C17 Globemaster III - 1/15th Scale for PSS
16/03/2016 21:17:49

Yes it makes a good garden table! You could rest your beer on that tailplane!

Seriously impressive!

Thread: Cloud Models Mosquito for PSS
13/03/2016 15:50:25

Yes, I thought about moulding my own canopy, but it's rather a lot of work, and I want to get this build finished for April. It was supposed to be a quick and easy build to fill a few spare hours in the early winter, but it's grown into quite a complex and slow build - seems to happen every time!

I might do my own canopy at some time in the future, but for now I am going to make this one work. This is glazing the missing bits in the front corners:-


And now there's only a little bit of filling and sanding to do before I can get started on the covering.


28/02/2016 09:13:35

Having received new supplies of soft 1/2 inch balsa (along with my skyhawk wood order), I was able to finish blocking the upper fuselage deck.


Then after a bit of sanding, it looks like this.


Then I really struggled to find the right shape around the nose and the canopy. In the end, I printed some card templates scaled up from a different mosquito model plan, And used them to help me gradually fine tune the shape.


Getting the right nose shape is so important to making it 'look' like a Mosquito! In the end I'm quite pleased with it. It will only ever be semi-scale, because the basic fuselage shape is not really right, but I'm hoping it will be good enough to fool the casual observer from a 100yards - as long as I don't put it next to any true scale versions.

I've also done some more work on completing the nacelles - building the upper front sections in balsa blocks again. I've left part of it as a removable hatch in case I ever want to fit motors. But I think I will tack them in place and cover over them initially, so that they don't show.


Since the model now has the sold MkVI nose, I have had to modify the canopy to be consistent. I cut out the front corners, then softened the angled part of t he front screen in a bowl of hot water and attempted to straighten it out. Its not perfect, but again I'm hoping it will fool the casual observer...


Any tips on how I can get that front windscreen to be genuinely flat? Can you iron canopies? without imprinting a nasty texture onto them?

As you can see in the photo above, despite my best efforts, when I position the canopy where I now think it should go, it does not sit completely on the upper fuselage plug! So I will have to chop a little more of the balsa out of the nose section and add it onto the fuselage plug.

Last thing for today - I forgot that there were more plastic mouldings to deals with yet. But adding these radaitors was very straight-forward.


Thread: A4 Skyhawk - Building tips and Plan queries
16/02/2016 20:20:07

Hey Mark! Does that mean you're making it in Balsa??

Thread: C17 Globemaster III - 1/15th Scale for PSS
15/02/2016 21:46:05

Scary!! How will you launch this one?

Thread: PSS Zlin 526A
15/02/2016 21:37:15

Good to see this moving again Steve! So it will be ready for April then?

You must be getting close to giving us an assembled shot?

Thread: A4 Skyhawk - Building tips and Plan queries
15/02/2016 21:16:40

Hi Phil. Just got my plan and wood-pack today.smiley.

I have been studying the plan in anticipation, and I have a question - well more of a comment. If I'm reading it right, the plan seems to show no clearance between the aileron torque rods and F6. So presumably we need to be very careful with the upright length on our torque rods? Or maybe we could move the wing bolt a bit further aft and reduce the size of F6, to create more clearance, and put a bit more reinforcing on the wing trailing edge?

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.

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