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Fugly build/kit review

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Geoff Sleath02/08/2017 22:20:32
3485 forum posts
319 photos

I'd fancied a a Fugly as soon as I discovered they were no longer available so I was pleased when Skip Model Designs took on the files and started cutting them. I also had a need for a quick build of a balsa model to get me out of the doldrums so I bought a kit at Cosfrod a couple of weeks ago. It was certainly a quick build as it's now ready to maiden once the gales and rain cease.

First, it's a very complete kit with excellent instructions (but no drawing) a set of CNC balsa and ply sheets and a pack of excellent and very usable accessories. There's everything you need to complete the bare airframe and all you need is covering, a 300/400 watt motor and esc, servos etc. The only accessories I didn't use were the 'extras' (surplus scews etc) and the pushrods which were longer than the standard SLEC 2mm ones (I saved them for another job and used some from my stock).

Here's the completed fuselage:

fugly 1.jpg

and with the wings fitted:

fugly 6.jpg

Costruction is mostly quite straightforward but I di come across a few relatively minor problems.

1: The flappy bits are built from CNC 6mm medium hard balsa sheet. They are interlocked much like a jigsaw puzzle. Unfortunately on my kit the CNC laser cutter had, at best, only cut through 4.5mm and at worst only half way through. This made cutting out the components a job taking several hours rather than a few minutes. Then not only did I get a sore hand but the parts were not as accurately cut by scalpel as the were supposed to be by the laser cutter. However, as you can see, all was not lost and I ended up with perfectly usable parts albeit with a few added bracing inserts.

2: 2 firewalls are provided. One is intended to fit right at the front with the motor mounted behind it. There was no problem if you choose that option. However the instructions offer a second firewall position further back, intended for a motor mounted at the back with a prop drive fastened to the motor body. I chose that option mainly to keep the motor connection leads from committing suicide against the spinning case. Unfortunately the 2 firewalls are identical when the rearward one needs to be slightly wider because of the tapered nose. I overcame that by adding extra pieces inside the fuselage sides as shown here :

fugly 3.jpg

There is an extra part that mounts right at the front to hold the nose together.

The plywood part on top of the front is to retain the front of the motor access hatch. In order for it to fit properly the fuselage sides have to be trimmed. Also the underside has to chamfered to allow the front of the hatch to engage.

3: The CNC wing trailing edge is quite a bit shorter than the CNC leading edge and 1mm plywood sheer spar (the plywood sheer spar works really well and avoids the need to fit sheer webs between each rib). This is inconvenient as the L/E and T/E are notched to take the ribs. Once I'd realised the discrepancy wasn't my poor building it didn't take long to make a new T/E from my own stock of wood but someone without would be in difficulties.

I did email Skip Model Designs about these issues but I haven't heard back. Possibly because I'd told them I'd overcome the problems and didn't expect them to do anything.

However, I still rate the kit quite highly because it does actually go together very well otherwise. I used mostly white glue for construction with epoxy in areas like the undercarriage plate and occasionally cyano when a quick bond was helpful (eg L/E sheeting)


to be continued.

Bob Cotsford02/08/2017 23:03:37
8060 forum posts
444 photos

My flappy bits were cut from medium and medium/soft wood, if anything the laser cuts were too hot leaving sloppy joints that needed filling with thick CA. I didn't have a problem with the TE length though. It does fly nicely.

Dwain Dibley.03/08/2017 00:23:44
1270 forum posts
1265 photos

Looking good Geoff, and well done over coming those little problems..

I am sure, if you need help, Robbie and his Dad won't let you down. Matey.


Geoff Sleath03/08/2017 12:16:32
3485 forum posts
319 photos

Thanks, Dwain. It's all fine now and ready to fly once the wind and rain stop - perhaps next year?

Bob. Interesting that your 6mm balsa parts were in softer wood; mine were very hard to cut and not what I'd call soft. I have needed to add about 45 grams of lead to the nose to get it to balance. Perhaps the heavier tail wood is part of the reason. Strange that my T/E was incorrect and yours was OK. You're making me doubt my memory to the extent that I've searched for the discarded piece amongst my balsa hoard to check but I must have thrown it away. However, I'm very certain mine was short.

Observant readers will have noticed that my pictures of my almost complete airframe didn't have any top or bottom sheeting. That's because I didn't fit the tail until after I covered the parts. I try to do as much work on components as early as possible and before glueing them in place. That includes covering and hinge fitting as well as on other models drilling firewalls for engine/motor mounts.

fugly 4.jpg

There's ample room for the battery ...

fugly 5.jpg

... and the cover is held in place very firmly with plywood hooks under the undercarriage plate at the front and magnets at the back. Lots of sticky-back genuine Velcro is supplied and most of it has ended up in my stock for use elsewhere.

fugly 7.jpg

Here's the completed model. It's covered in HK film which I find very easy to use. The only drawback is the backing which is tricky to remove and can tear if you're not careful. So make sure it's removed completely or you may find, as I did, that bits of film won't stick because remains of the backing are still attached.

I made the sticker by scanning the logo from the front of the manual, colouring it in the new Paint 3D program and printing it on clear decal film.

fugly 8.jpg

fugly 9.jpg

The wire tail skid was missing from my kit so I made one from a 14 gauge stainless steel bike spoke. Not a big deal.

I used these components:

Turnigy SK3 3536 1050kv motor

4 x HK939MG 12.5 gm metal gear servos which fitted perfectly in the model

Aerostar 50 amp esc (I like plenty of current overhead)

APV 11x 5.5 prop

Frsky V8R4-II 4 channel receiver

Motor tests:

12x6 APC prop drew 42 amps @ apprx 8k rpm

11x5.5 APC prop drew 35 amps @ 7.8k rpm

(speed was difficult to measure in the workshop because there isn't much daylight and artificial light gives a false reading)

The spec for the motor gives the maximum current as 34 amps so I opted for the 11x5.5. However as full throttle would only be used in very short bursts and the motor is well cooled a 12x6 wouldn't be disastrous.

I had to fit about 45 grams of lead to get the balance point to 90mm back from the L/E as specified. It fits neatly in the engine hatch cover.

Final weight ready to fly with a 2200 mAH 3S battery is 1.18kg (2.6lbs) exactly as specified in the instructions. despite the lead.

I've set up the control throws so all is ready for the test flight. It took about 2 weeks of on and off building from start to finish. Considering the extra day (at least) involved in cutting the 6mm balsa parts and being distracted by the Tour de France playing on my workshop PC (to say nothing of being joined by my cycling mad wife crowding my small workshop!) I think that's reasonably quick.

Final conclusions after flying but I give the kit a score of 8/10 (and I never score anything at 10/10) so that's a big plus for me.


Andy G.04/08/2017 08:05:08
413 forum posts
215 photos

Geoff, a little tip for your tachometer.... they are only affected by fluorescent or similar discharge lighting. If you supplement the fluorescent lighting in your workshop with a incandescent (filament) lamp, ideally pointed at either the prop or the fluorescent light this will counteract the 50 hertz flicker from them. More modern ' High frequency' fluorescents , the type without starters, operate virtually flicker free and shouldn't adversely affect your tachometer.

Geoff Sleath04/08/2017 10:40:06
3485 forum posts
319 photos

A few years ago I designed my own optical tacho (waste of time really as it cost more than buying one ) and I calibrated it by pointing at normal incandescent light bulbs. I've found the only way is a good old DC battery powered torch. I'm gradually changing over from so-called energy efficient fluorescent bulbs to LED in my workshop but I haven't checked if they're sufficiently flicker free not to affect tacho readings.

I'll experiment a bit.


Kim Taylor04/08/2017 11:53:27
289 forum posts
53 photos
Posted by Geoff Sleath on 04/08/2017 10:40:06:

. I'm gradually changing over from so-called energy efficient fluorescent bulbs to LED in my workshop but I haven't checked if they're sufficiently flicker free not to affect tacho readings.

I'll experiment a bit.


The LED spot lights in my workshop (otherwise known as the front bedroom) are always doing a solid 3000rpm when I've tried!!smiley


Geoff Sleath04/08/2017 12:10:52
3485 forum posts
319 photos

Yes, you're right, Kim. So do the LED light bulbs we have. I rechecked with incandescent bulbs and they're whizzing round at 3000 rpm, too. The only lights we have that don't are the LED lights in our camper van running on 12v DC.

So I guess it's sunlight or DC powered light of some sort.


Mowerman04/08/2017 15:51:31
1542 forum posts
105 photos

Standard daylight, sadly not always readily available sad

Alan Thorpe03/06/2019 16:11:23
210 forum posts
72 photos

Just in middle of putting this kit together, went to start the wing today but alas, the Spar web is not in the kit. I am thinking of trying to make it from stock balsa by using another piece, the False LE, to mark out the slots where the ribs slot onto the Spar web. Theres 8 ribs to fit to it.

Anyway, just wondering if this is feasible or will I order a replacement part for the Spar Web?

Alan Thorpe03/06/2019 16:20:36
210 forum posts
72 photos


Alan Thorpe03/06/2019 16:21:00
210 forum posts
72 photos


Alan Thorpe03/06/2019 16:23:56
210 forum posts
72 photos

Just the instructions and diagram of the spar web and the leading edge to reference location of each rib.

Theres a little slot in each rib to insert the spar web into. Pretty thin balsa, think about 1mm or so.

IanR03/06/2019 18:02:49
775 forum posts
4 photos

Alan, on mine the spar web is not balsa but thin ply.


Alan Thorpe03/06/2019 18:18:39
210 forum posts
72 photos

Hi Ian,

Thank you very much indeed, ok so that is important! Well great I will try source thin ply to do the job. Thank you!!



Alan Thorpe19/06/2019 23:16:11
210 forum posts
72 photos

Hey Ian,

Cheers for the heads up, I managed to get a sheet of ply to fit the slots in the ribs and marked out rib positions from leading edge part. Just completing the wing now happily all going well so far. Would have been impossible without the ply so thanks again!

Have some big bush wheels for this fugly hoping to use them to good effect!



Alan Thorpe31/10/2019 14:42:18
210 forum posts
72 photos

20191031_014854.jpg20191031_015213.jpgNearly completed Fugly at long last...ita not a long build at all.....I've just been very stop/start with it!! Mostly stop!

But anyone have any tips for 1st few flights?

Will definitely use low rates for a while!




Edited By Alan Thorpe on 31/10/2019 14:42:46

Alan Thorpe03/11/2019 13:21:12
210 forum posts
72 photos


Alan Thorpe03/11/2019 13:22:22
210 forum posts
72 photos

Finally getting close to the maiden.

Just need to make up a motor mount and that last bit of covering to do.Then wait for a nice day to fly!

Alan Thorpe11/11/2019 00:25:57
210 forum posts
72 photos

Finished at last. Now to fly!


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