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BN2 Islander, Refurb blog

Refurbing a 30 year old BN2 model and converting it to Radio from Control line.

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cymaz29/10/2017 16:42:08
7592 forum posts
981 photos

I'm in ! I love a refurb job....done a few. Love the Belgian colour scheme , bold and simple.

McG 696929/10/2017 17:21:35
2076 forum posts
887 photos

Thanks Cymaz,

... BE vs NZ > 1-0... héhé...



Andy G.30/10/2017 18:52:07
373 forum posts
215 photos

OH!.. Seems you're ganging up on me now! LOL..

I'm still a long long way off of deciding on my scheme.. We shall see.. Who knows, I may even find a completely different one yet!.

Thought I'd show a few more wing pics today as the fuselage has had it's spell in the lime light..


So.. This is the wing tip that was ''nibbled'' on by wasps. Rather than try and fill the chewed area I cut an easy to fix square area from the tip and then rebuilt it with sheet and a couple of internal formers. On the original Control Line format, this was the 'Outboard' tip, so you can see the adjustable tip weight box just past the area to be repaired, the lid has been removed, primarily to check there was no tip weight in there.


The new bits going in, I stuck a balsa sheet tongue out from the existing wing structure to support the new balsa sheet repair. Once dry the area ws trimmed and sanded back to match the existing shape.


I added ply stiffener/support into each nacelle fuel bay where the tanks had come from. Although the tanks were never intended to be 'structural' I felt they certainly helped with rigidity as they completely filled the bay. I also added a small square section of hard balsa along the edge of the firewall/wingsheet interface as well.

You can just see the old throttle linkage wire exiting through the wing l.e into the engine bay,


First wing flap cut free from the wing main structure, giving me another insight into the wing construction.


Another view of the freed flap, awaiting being stiffened and filled. The Islander's flaps for this model deploy around the rear of the nacelle which creates a little extra work and ingenuity.. I marked out the area to be cut, determined to cut it free in one piece to decrease the possibility of it becoming twisted. Luckily I followed the old adage of .. Measure twice... cut once.. or in this case check twice.. I was just about to cut the wrong half of the inner flap line, which would have forced me to rebuild the flap when I realised! A few choice words and a few swigs of coffee and the job was completed safely!.

............. More to follow..

Andy G.06/11/2017 11:30:34
373 forum posts
215 photos

Progress has slowed a little bit over the past week or so, as the blog has been slowly catching up with the build, plus real life has been a little invasive as well, and set to get worse. I'm having a new window fitted in the workshop this week, but of course masses of my modelling stuff plus several models are in the way, so I'm currently trying to build up the enthusiasm to go and sort the workshop out!

That said, there has been some progress, the flap that was cut free, has been stiffened and it's hinge edge blocked out and sanded off at an angle, as has it's mating surface on the wing. Out of the workshop I've been googling images and 3 views of the fuselage in preparation for marking out windows and doors. I intend to make one of the forward doors openable to gain access for the lipo battery rather than having to take the wing off or have a hatch underneath somewhere which on this size of model really isn't practical.

Having flown most of my RC time using either tail draggers or hand launched models I need to ask advice here. Obviously the BN2 is trike arrangement, and this one having been originally built for control line flying has a fixed front wheel. The front leg is solidly built deep into the nose block and it would take considerable 'surgery' to gain access to it to change it to a steerable unit and link it to a servo. What's the consensus here?.. Do you think it will ground handle ok with a fixed wheel, I don't really want to have to give the fuselage a major nose job!. Taxying out and back into the pits isn't too much of an issue where I fly, the model can be carried to a suitable take off point and recovered by hand again after landing if need be, so it's mainly an issue with keeping straight during take offs, and landing...


Piers Bowlan06/11/2017 17:04:28
1241 forum posts
36 photos

I think you may have talked yourself into leaving it as it is for now Andy. If you find you really need the steerable nose wheel, will it be any more work to do surgery on the nose later, once you have flown it, or to do it now? You could just suck it and see?

A good project, following with interest. yes

Edited By Piers Bowlan on 06/11/2017 17:05:42

McG 696906/11/2017 17:23:03
2076 forum posts
887 photos

Fine that you're back to the build bench, Andy.

I'm tidying up La Grotte as well at the moment, hopefully to be ready when the Vicomte build starts. By cleaning up, I created a lot of new space up to the point that it starts to look 'big' now. Just go for it, you 'll be rewarded as well.

Regarding the nose wheel - steerable or not - I'm unfortunately not really able to advice you. Sorry.

Keep up the progress.



Percy Verance06/11/2017 17:37:51
6483 forum posts
110 photos

I'd forget steerable nosewheels Andy. They're usually rather pointless on the vast majority of models, as you're normally in the air after 15 to 20 yards. The rudder is usually enough on most models, particularly if there is propwash or airflow over the rudder. They're infamous for wrecking servo gears too, as any kickback is nomally transferred right back along the linkage. As you can tell, I don't like them.......

Many clubs don't allow taxiing back to the pits after a landing, usually for safety reasons.

Edited By Percy Verance on 06/11/2017 17:40:11

Andy G.07/11/2017 18:06:45
373 forum posts
215 photos

Well, workshop is currently piled up in a big heap, awaiting arrival of the window guys on Thursday, can barely get in there now! So, very little activity until at least the weekend, can't even get to the bench to charge any batteries..

Still, I guess, it will give me an opportunity ( excuse!) to have a tidy up and even chuck a couple of old models out..

But... at least my fellow forumites have convinced me not to worry about a steerable nose wheel, I was pretty sure I didn't want to do it, and you have convinced me!.. Thanks.

Hopefully get back to normal by the weekend.. ..

Andy G.17/11/2017 10:31:17
373 forum posts
215 photos

Hooray!.. New window is installed in the workshop, and it's warmer in there now! The tidying up, well... I started with good intentions, it was going to be so much tidier, no, honestly it was.. I promised! ... But.. well, you know how these things go! I did run around with a dustpan and brush, and I did chuck a couple of models and some other junk out, but then the rot set in, so it was back to normal!

Then a few other life issues held up building ( and flying) activities

Anyway, the BN2 refurb has finally restarted again. Working from a 3 view I figured out where I would cut the door into the fuselage for battery access, It's not 100% scale position or size, but it looks sort of right. The opening was marked out then the door area cut free. The opening was framed out inside for strength and using the access now available a strengthener was fitted on the adjacent internal fuselage side. The rear of the door was fitted with a cross grain doubler and a diagonal brace to keep it straight and true. I realised at this point that maybe my enthusiasm had preceded praticality and that I should have considered how I'm going to hinge the door before I added the frame/doublers etc. Still, it's not an insurmountable issue, just annoying.

The next job was to take on gaining internal wing access for wiring to the motors and servos, again, as I have no plan, I pricked through the wing sheeting with a pin to find the rear spar and then cut a slot through the sheeting running forward from the spars. This went surprisingly easily. In order to maintain strength and also to provide at least one bearing surface for the replacement sheet I added a vertical grain web between the top and bottom rear spars.

The next phase was online, searching out suitable servos for the wing and ordering up servo extension leads and silicon covered wire for the power wiring out to the nacelles. The servos (4 Hitec .HS-85BB ) have been added to my Christmas list, so won't be fitting those for just a while! The servo extension leads were ordered up but, when your sat at the PC and you're used to thinking in imperial units, 250mm ( a quarter of a metre) seems quite long! Sadly of course, I should have measured the actual length required out in the workshop first. The leads, which arrived from Airtek the next day were sadly far too short! Ah well, they'll come in useful on another project.

A few pictures next,



Aileron has now been cut free as well as the flap. Wiring access slot cut through bottom sheeting.


Rear of wing blocked in for flap mounting.



Door opening cut out.


Trial fit of the wing! No, Only JOKING! That's actually the wing from my Sharkface which is just slightly smaller than the BN2's tailplane! This is what happens when Idle hands start tidying up!..

Once again the build has pretty much caught up with the blog so postings on here will probably slow again for a little while..

Hope it's still interesting though. wink

Edited By Andy G. on 17/11/2017 10:32:05

McG 696917/11/2017 11:03:19
2076 forum posts
887 photos

That Sharkface wing is at least "Adding some Lightness" to your BN2, Andy...

Still following, young man.



Richard Ashworth17/11/2017 11:29:58
27 forum posts
4 photos

Enjoying each posting. You will need a bit of a blow if you want to slope it with that wing! Looking forward to the rest of the restoration.

Andy G.06/12/2017 10:58:30
373 forum posts
215 photos

Thought it was about time I did a little update on this refurb..

Well, as predicted, progress has slowed somewhat, been mainly carrying on with mundane jobs on it, or the mirror image jobs that I had already detailed. So, both sets of flaps and ailerons are now cut free from the wing and blocked out, and the wing t.e blocked out. One pair is near finished, the other pair is waiting shaping and profiling. Been working on creating a route through the wing ribs for all the wiring, fairly easy on the balsa ribs, but the root ribs and the ribs either side of each nacelle are ply, and it's tricky to get a drill in close enough, but slowly getting there. Not an awful lot of room for the wiring, so he decision on whether to put the esc's in the nacelles or the fuselage has sort of been forced on me, they are going out in the nacelles, to lessen the wiring through the ribs!

A sort of 'major' blow came when I went to order the second motor ( to match the one I already had left over from a previous abandoned project). Went onto the 4-Max website to order, only to find that although the part number is the same, the spec had changed! .. So,after a very useful phone chat with George at 4-Max, the only option was to order TWO NEW motors..

No pictures in this post as they are all pretty much the same as previous ones.. Waiting now mainly for my Xmas presents (servos) so I can push on with the wing refurb..

McG 696907/12/2017 20:12:51
2076 forum posts
887 photos

Still watching along, Andy.

No worries about that 'left alone' motor... you'll soon find another project for it. smiley

... and your forthcoming Xmas-servos will be a nice reward as well. yes



Andy G.08/12/2017 08:26:30
373 forum posts
215 photos

Hi Chris, maybe my spare motor could go into one of the Chichat hovercraft! Though at 540 watts it may be a bit of overkill! Lol

McG 696908/12/2017 09:34:56
2076 forum posts
887 photos

... 540W ? Nah, should be OK, Andy.

Just build a few ChtiCats - say 9 of them - then take a few lengths of 307mm x 3mm carbon fiber rods to 'glue' them together in a 'ducks flight' V-shape. Approx 208mm between each of them.

Make sure here that all the gliding skids are perfectly flat on the building 'floor' and bring in the rods at an angle of 37,5° at both sides of the gliders (except the two external ones of course (!). wink

The only fiddly part is to properly connect the 9 rudders to each other, again using the 3mm carbon rods. My recommendation would be to use a beafy MG-ed 64gr servo. Fine tune your adjustments and install your 'famous' left-over powerplant.

Servo & motor should be installed in the central ChtiCat ONLY, obviously. angel

Et voilà, jobs a good un... yes

Connect, bind, glide & have fun, young man.



Andy G.11/01/2018 18:34:43
373 forum posts
215 photos

Happy new year to all!..

Thought it was about time I did a bit of an update on this. Progress was a little stalled due to being forced to wait for Christmas day in order to get my hands on some of the hardware for it.. servos and the replacement motors etc.

Well, the day has come and gone, all the turkey has been devoured, most of the booze consumed and finally back in the workshop. First issue was with the new motors, you'll remember hopefully that the one original electric motor I was going to use fitted nicely in a cage mount and was the perfect length to fit the nacelle. Well, the two replacement motors, although identical in power and Kv rating won't fit using cage mounts. They are too long. So, two plywood stand off mounts have had to be made and a little bit of fettling done around the leading edge of the wing inside the nacelles to get the thrust lines right.


The old motor had the shaft out of the other end, these motors are reversed and I have decided to use them with the bolt on prop adapters for additional security, a prop coming off in such close proximity to the fuselage could be interesting to say the least!

The arrival of the Hitec servos has allowed the cutting away and forming up of the 4 servo housings in the wing to be completed. Longer servo extension leads have today been ordered. Spent today rubbing down and filling hanger rash marks on the upper wing surface and forming and fixing1/32ply blanks inside the nacelles where the cylinders of the original Thunder Tigres poked out so that thes openings can be closed off..


Next job is to give the wing top surface several coats of P/U varnish then cover it with heavyweight tissue before finishing the work on the underside of the wing. This is mainly to try and prevent additional rash damage to it as at least some of the scratches and dings I have been filling today have come from working on the wing. It's a bit big for my work bench and consequently tends to catch on bits and bobs that are around the work surface.. I know I could be tidier, but.... I'm not and so I have to live with the consequences of my clutter..

More updates soon!..

Andy G.21/01/2018 15:21:06
373 forum posts
215 photos

Well..... The weather has certainly stopped any flying ambitions, so no excuse to not crack on with the refurb..

First... I posted a wrong picture in the last posting, I said.. Here's the servo boxes built into the wing, when actually is was a pic I had already posted of the route out to the boxes.. so.. here's the boxes!


First job in this session was to fill and rub down the wing top surface and give it 3 coats of PU varnish, then to cover it in heavyweight tissue,


First half done.. since this pic was taken I have covered the other half and given the flaps and ailerons several coats of PU ready for covering. The cylinder and needle valves holes in the nacelles ( upper and lower halves) were filled in, using 1/32 ply inside the nacelle for strength and flex and with soft balsa outside for a better finish then they were rubbed down, filled where needed and PU coated.


Next job was to work out a hinging system for the door. Eventually decided on using pin type hinges set into small bore aluminium tube, which would then be faired over with balsa to provide sort of scale looking external hinges. Mounting the hinge pins into the tube went easily, creating the fairing pieces wasn't quite so easy. 3 attempts later I was fairly happy with the results. My big bananna hands don't take to kindly to such real fiddly small bits of balsa.. Whilst I had the door on the work bench I decided to reinforce the edge of it, and of the door opening, to add strength and minimise wear and tear. I did this by fitting a thin strip of 1/32 ply around the edge of the door and the door opening, after first sanding a similar amount off the door and the opening.


Hinges and fairings... Mk1 nearest the camera, running up to the Mk3 at the top.


Ply framing around the door. Top section awaiting trimming back flush.

I ordered some more servo extension leads, to replace the ones that i ordered that were too short. Stupidly...... I ordered more of the same length! so.. now I have LOTS of too short leads!

More to follow.... especially if this weather keeps up!.. frown

Andy G.10/02/2018 14:47:31
373 forum posts
215 photos

Hi All....

Been a couple of weeks or more since I posted on here, still making progress, albeit slowly. the two new ESC's arrived yesterday but I was busy, finally managed to catch up and do a little more today and to download and edit the last batch of photos.. The ESC's are going out in the nacelles, a bit of a tight squeeze, but they will fit, I'll just have to make some angled ply mount plates for them..

Also been thinking about the door hinges, not altogether pleased with the attempts so far and been rethinking it, may use 'flat' hinges and fair them in to look like the ones I have tried so far..

Fitted the servos into their mountings and centered them up before installing, they stand slightly proud of the wing in the lowest corner so I have started to make up some cover plates to conceal this and to protect the linkages.

Finally managed to order some servo extension leads which were the RIGHT length! Only 3 attempts to get this right, not bad huh? So I was finally able to get all the wiring run through the wing, tested and then refill the slots I had cut. This allowed me to complete the covering of the wing.. Next job I think will be to hinge and mount the moving surfaces onto the wing.

here comes the photos.. ..


Motor mount boxes going in to the nacelles.




Servo install.


Servo cover plates being made up.


Spaghetti junction at the wing centre section!


Starting to cover the underside of the wing.


Underside covering all on and being second coated with PU varnish.

Hope it's still interesting!

More updates soon.. cheeky

McG 696910/02/2018 16:12:06
2076 forum posts
887 photos

Still watching here, Andy.

Allow me a question, please. What is the material of that orange covering? Is it some kind of paper? Do you glue and shrink it first before applying your PU varnish?



Andy G.10/02/2018 16:19:33
373 forum posts
215 photos

Hi Chris.. Good to know there's some one out there watching..

The covering is ''Heavyweight'' modelspan tissue. I apply several coats of PU varnish to the wood surface first to seal it and enable better sanding, then coat again, lay the dry tissue in place on the wet surface and brush more PU through it, smoothing out any wrinkles ( well... most of them!) with a mixture of.... old credit card,... fingertip.. or the paint brush. Once dry another light rub over with very smooth sandpaper before following coats are applied.. I find tissue quite easy to work with, far more so then film coverings, but then I was brought up on it! The next finishing stage will be a high build primer then top coats, all from ''Rattle cans'' as I have no spray equipment..

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