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Member postings for Steve Houghton

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

Thread: Avon Sabre Spirit 78
28/07/2020 22:54:39

Phil, Thanks for the rumour - I look forward to the public announcement!

Who knows, with even more time to build, and more builders able to participate and finish, this could be the 'massiest' mass build ever. I hope you bring your wide angle lense for the group photo!

Ikea desk now completed and looking good - ready for her 'not going' to University in the Autumn, and having to study her degree online from home.

28/07/2020 21:43:01

Hi Steve,

Thanks for you inspiration on this one, for using a template strip on the wing.

Yes, I followed other builders' fairing advice (Phil and Dirk, I think, but may have been others too), and left a lip over the rear 3 inches of the fairing to allow the building of a fillet. I've struggled to get my head around what shape each part of the wing fairing and fillets should be. It seems to take a long time for little progress, so will be glad to finish this bit.

Slight delay to the build at the moment, due to house decoration taking priority. My eldest daughter is assembling her first Ikea flat-pack tonight, so I'll try to encourage her to progress to model building if I can!

21/07/2020 17:50:04


Thanks for looking in. I would say we're roughly neck and neck, although you've done more on the tail section of the fuselage.

Trying to keep safe - just ordered 200 face masks from Sarik, ready for the new rules for shopping only with a mask - bang goes the budget for my next balsa order!

20/07/2020 23:08:15

Make Way

F6 has now been trimmed back to make way for the flap torque rods. I added a cross-brace after the hatchet work, to compensate for the removed rigidity:

2007_1701 f6_trimmed.jpg

Are you Seated Comfortably?

I followed other builders' suggestion of lining the wing seat. In my case I cut the fuselage sides back by 3/32" above the wing using Steve McLaren's idea of pinning strips of balsa to the wing to act as the trimming guide - not shown here. I in-filled the missing corners of the F14 keels to make them up to full height, to support the seat sheet:

2007_1702 wing seat.jpg

A little tirimming of the wing bolt plate to clear the torque rods, then I chamfered the bottom of F7 and added a 1/32" ply facing plate to protect the balsa fuselage planks:

2007_1703 bolt_plate_trimmed.jpg

Put on a Happy Face

Despite lagging behind most builders, I thought I'd put on a happy face with a cunningly shaped 1/16" ply load spreader plate under the wing bolts. I made mine the full width shown on the plan, aware that other builders have narrowed theirs down to fit within the under-wing fairing, still to be added:

2007_1704 bolt_spreader.jpg

I left a small gap at the back to allow for the addition of a final 1/32" ply facing when the fairing is complete:

2007_1705 wing_fairing_gap.jpg

The top side is left with a small shelf to be filled:

2007_1706 bolt_spreader_top.jpg

A single piece of 3/32" balsa filled the ledge nicely and didn't interfere with the wing seating:

2007_2001 rootinfill.jpg


I borrowed Dirk's idea of circular stand-offs on top of the wing bolt plate to prevent wing crushing:

2007_2002 boltstandoffs.jpg

I angled the stand-offs to suit the concave shape of the top of the wing:

2007_2003 boltstandoffs.jpg

Congratulations to those of you who have already finished (and flown!). I'm relieved we have been given a little more time, so I'm still hoping to see you up the Orme with a finished Sabre in due course!

Thread: Pete's Cavallino Rampante Italian Aerobatic Team Sabre
09/07/2020 15:49:33


Congratulations on your maiden. Glad it went well.

That's a really nice looking model - great work.

Thread: Aurora 9x
30/06/2020 21:32:33

Stan at Phoenix Model Products is still showing stock of Flash 8 TX. It might be worth giving him a ring:

Phoenix Model Products

Thread: Chris McG F-86 Sabre Dog build blog
26/06/2020 20:47:48

Chris, Nice neat work with the wing sheeting. I enjoy following your progress and hearing your interesting questions.

Keep it up.

Thread: Avon Sabre Spirit 78
24/06/2020 23:30:10

Ah, The Torque Rods!

Nothing very exciting tonight. Just trying to convince myself that I am progressing. The flap torque rod slots were gouged out on the bottom of the wing using the traditional sharpened brass tube, plus a round file:


The ends of the root TE were reinforced with 1/32" ply for ding-resistance, and to support the torque rods:


The torque rods had full length plastic tube bearings which were buried just below the surface, allowing a finishing filler of 1/32" balsa to be inserted to cover the slots, after the application of a smear of vaseline to the sensitive rotating areas:


Chiselled ends to the rods, to minimise the risk of bursting out of the flaps:


Ball links on the rods, and kwiklinks to be used on the servo end, although not yet trimmed to length and fitted. I noted Phil's comment about possible trim changes from the horns rotating, but mine are far too stiff - would need brute force to twist them round.


Thread: Flyer's F86 Sabre
05/06/2020 20:05:56


Thanks for the insights. I'd never thought of using MDF. So far I have a balsa plug that I covered in P38, but found it unsandable so chipped it all off again.

Anyway, I don't want to divert your thread so congrats once again on a fine product.

05/06/2020 08:50:17

Thanks Ade,

It's useful to have a contact like that. I'm still moving on slowly with my Zlin 526 in the background, and will need to form my own canopy, so I'm interested in everyone's approaches as it's something I've never done.

04/06/2020 23:36:57

Brilliant finish on that plug, Ade. I've seen cars in the showroom that aren't that smooth. Great job.

Did you pull the moulding, or use a vacuum rig?

Thread: Avon Sabre Spirit 78
04/06/2020 23:26:51

Pushing On

The wings are now sheeted and joined. Foolishly I sheeted the left panel before joining them together. I feared a poor join coming up, but thanks to the fabulous G&M wing jig I was able to pin and weight the panels into the jig absolutely flush together whilst the epoxy set, without being able to clamp the two R1s together:


Straighten up the Ply Right!

Having completed the remaining wing sheeting, I trimmed the wing seat in the fuselage to see how well the leading edge fitted against F4 before fixing the 5mm ply facing. It was a poor fit, and rather than sanding away at the wing I glued a shim of 1/16" balsa behind the ply. I could then dry fit this and sand away at the balsa shim to level it up against F4. When satisfied, I finally glued the ply into place. The shim is just visible here, needing about 1/16" on one side and virtually nothing on the other. This is the bottom of the wing:


Fattening Up

I bought 3/8" thick TE stock but found it to be slightly undersize for my wing. I laminated a layer of 1/32" balsa to the underside of the TE, where it wouldn't show. I then sanded the top of the TE to fit, rather than risk thinning the lamination to nothing and leaving a thin glued edge that would probably lift in places:


What, no torque rods?

The torque rods will need to be flush with the lower surface of the wing to cope with the bottom hinged flaps. I thought it best to fit the root TE first, and then cut slots underneath for the full length torque rod tubes afterwards. That way I was more likely to get the TE correctly aligned with the wing profile, having the full depth of TE to glue on. Here's the top view:


The slots have not yet been cut, until I finish the wing seating area.

(is it June already?!!)


Edited By Steve Houghton on 04/06/2020 23:27:34

05/05/2020 23:49:49

Root blocks

I nearly forgot - I added a few extra blocks around the wing dowel area. Some in-fill between R1 and R2 to prevent R2 from distorting or collapsing sideways when drilled for the dowel, and small gussets outboard of R3 to support the LE a little more:

2005_0313 dowel supports.jpg

Thread: Alaskan Air National Guard Version
05/05/2020 23:38:45


Great progress. I'm following your glassing with interest as I've never tried it myself. Keep us informed about the pitfalls and tips as you go. I'm toying with glass-cloth and Poly-C (for the first time), which will be somewhat less resilient than glass, but stronger than film.

Thread: Avon Sabre Spirit 78
05/05/2020 23:31:50

A Screw Loose

I'm pleased that the replacement screws for the HS-125MG have now arrived and one has been successfully fitted to replace the stubborn one.


The aileron servo hatch covers are supported on 1/32" ply panels with 1/8" ply lugs for the screws:

2005_0302 servo cover support.jpg

A small border all around with three strategically placed screw mounts, which just about allow the servo to be inserted. This was always going to be tight, with round hatches limited in diameter by the rib spacing:

2005_0303 servo hatch.jpg

Like the proverbial square peg into the round hole, the servo nestles neatly into place:

2005_0304 servo in cell.jpg

Batten down the hatches

Hatch covers will be neatened up later, and will have pushrod holes cut appropriately. I thought about Martin and Gordon's hidden pushrod idea, but don't think I'll have clearance for the servo arm to make it work:

2005_0305 hatch cover.jpg


I hope no-one looks closely at the reverse side of the hatch covers, but I laminated an annular ring of 1/32" ply onto the 1/32" disk, making 6-ply in all, which is slightly more resilient than a single layer of 3-ply 1/16". The centre of the ring was in-filled with 1/32" balsa, then someone came along and scribbled all over them and left epoxy finger prints - sorry!

2005_0306 hatch covers.jpg

Roll your own

I used the old method of rolled gummed paper round a balsa strip former to make oval tubes to guide the servo wires complete with plug, leaving the tube former in place whilst glueing, to prevent tube collapse:

2005_0308 tube exit.jpg

The tubes are just long enough to let the plug reach the inner end:

2005_0309 servo wire run.jpg

Hinge blocks added, and the two wing panels are ready for sheeting and joining:

2005_0312 wing halves.jpg

13/04/2020 11:12:03

Hi Pete,

That's a very kind offer, for which many thanks. However, I've just placed an order for some spares.

Looking online I've discovered that the screws for HS-125MG are M2.2, and standard Hitec servos are M2.6. No chance of sourcing these from my 'regular' size hardware trinkets box then!

So far, all the KSTs fit together nicely. I'm having a go at programming my JR DSX-9 TX today. It'll be the first time I've programmed any mixes for flaps/crow brakes etc., but the manual has a good section about setting up a four servo glider wing.

Regards, Steve

12/04/2020 17:50:35


Thanks for your useful experience comments about the servos. I know the KSTs are OTT on power, but they weigh only a few grams more than micro servos - 24g each.

I've just found that the HS-125MG arm mounting screw doesn't fit on one of the servos, and I can't work out what the thread size is. The screw from the other servo fits either, so the thread in the output gear isn't damaged. Trying other screws I found that M2 is too small and M2.5 is too big, so what can it be?

I may need to buy a replacement horn & screw set. It looks like HS-125MG has a unique set.

Thread: Tony's F-86 Sabre Build
12/04/2020 17:42:52


I agree with Martin about the development of new skills during each mass build. This was my first planking attempt as well, but I now have another technique under my belt (I hesitate to call it 'skill' after one attempt!).

I like your neat work.

Thread: Chris McG F-86 Sabre Dog build blog
12/04/2020 17:38:22

Hi Chris,

If there's going to be a prize for best fitted cockpit, you'll be right in there with a chance. Looking forward to seeing it develop.


Edited By Steve Houghton on 12/04/2020 17:39:16

Thread: Phil's F-86 Sabre build thread
11/04/2020 18:08:39

Very smooth and neat as usual, Phil.

I like your facing strips at the bottom of the rudder. I'm hoping to make mine flap, so I may use your idea for added protection.

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