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ESM Bearcat - powered by Laser

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Ron Gray17/01/2020 09:54:03
2320 forum posts
1000 photos


Ron Gray17/01/2020 09:55:12
2320 forum posts
1000 photos

Another non blog thread based on the build that I'm just completing on the Bearcat. As per the title, it's an ESM offering and I think one of the last, judging by the mixed bag of missing and doubled up components in the ARTF 'kit'. Also, as per the title, it will be powered by a Laser 240v twin.

I bought the kit about a year ago and got stuck in with the wing assembly which was fairly straightforward despite missing bits such as the locating dowels and the wrong plastic gear bay housings. I didn't take any photos of this part of the assembly as it is much the same as other ARTF's. I then mounted the 240 to the bulkhead, mounting it upright to ensure that the feed lines to the carbs were not above the carbs. At that point I put it to one side as there were then lots of fiddly bits to do which I didn’t face doing!!!


Edited By Ron Gray on 17/01/2020 09:57:06

Ron Gray17/01/2020 09:56:37
2320 forum posts
1000 photos

Roll on about 10 months and I swept off the cobwebs and got back into it. Modified the tank to have 2 clunks and mounted that to the servo shelf, mounted the servos then go to grips with the rear end of the ‘plane.


Ron Gray17/01/2020 10:05:13
2320 forum posts
1000 photos

This turned out to be a long process, the tailplane fixings were missing from the kit so I had to make up my own elevator mounting pins and spar tube. The supplied tailwheel assembly was a bit rudimentary so I decided to fit my own which, although still not true scale, looks a lot better than the supplied coiled wired job. The wheel itself is really too big for scale but it does allow for some suspension via the tyre. The actuating mechanism for both the elevators and rudder are hidden within the fuse and although the elevator one is straightforward and easy to get at the one for the rudder definitely isn’t. The instructions for this left a lot to be desired in fact if I had followed them then I wouldn’t have had a rudder connected to any servo! No access holes had been allowed for in the fuse so I ended cutting out a chunk from the underside so that I could feed the actuating mechanism in and then fitted a hardwood block to the bottom of the fuse as a bearing block for the control rod. After connecting the pull pull wires I was then able to fit the mechanism in place and then sheet in the cut out I had made. A mistake that I made at this point was not directly connecting the tailwheel steering arm to the rudder control arm. I had planned to use piano wire from the tailwheel to the rudder servo as this would give me some ‘spring’ to absorb shocks but when I connected this up and tried it out, the difference in height between the tailwheel control horn and the servo horn is too great and allows the wire to flex in the middle, and there isn’t a enough space for me to get inside the fuse to fit a support tube. In the end I opted for a small MG servo to control the tailwheel and whilst not ideal, being mounted at the rear end at least it works. I may revisit this arrangement later.

Elevator control


Rudder control with the hardwood 'bearing' block just visible at the top


Cut out to fit the rudder control subsequently filled and ready for final finishing (later!)


Steering servo and connectors Mk1


Covering piece and tailwheel in place


Chris Freeman 317/01/2020 11:14:57
353 forum posts
525 photos

Nice project this and it should be a great flying aircraft as the ESM Stuff normally flies very well. Pity they lost the plot in the end as they were very nice kits. Look forward to seeing the progress.

Ron Gray17/01/2020 11:25:18
2320 forum posts
1000 photos

I agree with you Chris, they are / were decent kits and it's a shame they went belly up.

Progress (on this thread) should be fairly quick as most of the work is already done but there are still things to complete such as fitting the canopy. Other bits such as making the landing gear doors (missing from the kit as was the drop tank) will be left until after the maiden flight.

Jon - Laser Engines17/01/2020 13:59:49
5621 forum posts
271 photos

I have 3 currently flying ESM models and another 3 to finish off.

All 3 of the flying ones are great fun with the La7 and Sea Fury being utterly super to fly. The P39 is not as easy to fly as the other two but my research indicates that it mirrors full size handling traits almost exactly.

It should also be noted that my La7 will be celebrating its 10th birthday in March which is quite astounding to me. The P39 and Sea Fury will be 7 and 6 years old themselves at some point this year.

The Bearcat is looking great though and it will be cool having it sat on the flight line next to the tigercat. Its just a shame you cant fly both together for some formation passes.

The only thing i would suggest you change is the tail wheel linkage as any impact will break it. You could try using one of these **LINK** spring setups to damp any impacts and protect the servo/mounts

Edited By Jon - Laser Engines on 17/01/2020 14:07:59

Ron Gray17/01/2020 14:29:56
2320 forum posts
1000 photos

Beat you to it Jon, I have already changed the linkage to this (as I said in my post above, this thread is more a record of what I have done, not so much what I'm doing!!)


Jon - Laser Engines17/01/2020 15:34:54
5621 forum posts
271 photos

that will teach me to skim read

Ron Gray17/01/2020 15:36:54
2320 forum posts
1000 photos

My fault, too many words, but that's the problem when retracing 'history'!! It will soon be up to date though, a couple more posts and we'll be there. Here the wordy bits that I had already written to go with the piccy

I did revisit the tailwheel controls and decided that I needed some form of shock absorbing in place so I have removed the pushrods and replaced them with springs.


Edited By Ron Gray on 17/01/2020 15:38:42

Ron Gray17/01/2020 15:41:30
2320 forum posts
1000 photos

So that was the back end sorted, for now, my attention turned back to the wing. I had already machined and refabricated some oleos and they fit quite nicely in the wells. however, the wells themselves need work to them as they are just an open structure and my concern, if flown like that, would be the slipstream getting inside the wing structure and possibly blowing the covering off. As the plastic covers (mentioned above) don’t fit, I’m going to sheet out the wells with some thin balsa and that is the next job on the to do list.



Ron Gray17/01/2020 15:42:05
2320 forum posts
1000 photos

The wheel wells have now been closed in and painted to match the dark blue of the rest of the airframe, just got to fuel proof them now.


Edited By Ron Gray on 17/01/2020 15:42:48

Jon - Laser Engines17/01/2020 20:10:20
5621 forum posts
271 photos

looks great to me. On all of my ESM/YT models i have ditched the plastic wheel wells and just painted/fuel proofed the wood. Why? Well the plastic things supplied are a total pain to fit. They also fit the wheels/legs so tightly that any slight tweak means the gear wont retract. The final one is that most WWII era fighters didnt hav sealed wheel wells. The BF109 had canvas bags to seal them, but most were just open structures so leaving the plastic liners out is actually more scale.

Truthfully though scale considerations are lower on the priority list and i mostly do as Ron has done as it saves so much work.

Ron Gray17/01/2020 22:23:02
2320 forum posts
1000 photos

Some more progress, cockpit canopy trimmed and fitted (I will re-do the cockpit interior when a) the maiden flight has been completed and b)when my 3D printer has been delivered and setup!)


Nose weight added to chin of cowl

nose weight.jpg

Looks nice with the canopy and cowl in place


Nicely encloses the V twin

Cowl front.jpg

Ron Gray24/02/2020 15:12:34
2320 forum posts
1000 photos

Given the poor weather I’ve done some more work to the Bearcat and it’s now ready for its maiden!

Upgraded the cockpit with some 3D printed parts including a new pilot.


Plus decided to change the engine to a new Laser prototype 5 cylinder radial!


Jon - Laser Engines24/02/2020 15:17:41
5621 forum posts
271 photos

At this rate i think model clubs country wide will be awash with new models come the spring as everyone has been forced into build mode!

Its looking great though and im sure it will go like a rocket. Is that a 17x6 prop in the photo? i couldnt quite read it. If so slap something slightly bigger on it. 17x8, 18x8 etc as it will rev like crazy on the 17x6

Ron Gray24/02/2020 15:28:40
2320 forum posts
1000 photos

Yep, this is my third ‘cat now ready for maiden, Tigercat, Bearcat and Hellcat.

Re the prop, well spotted and it will be changed prior to flying, as will the prop washers which are too large! IIRC I ran the 240 with an 18x10 in the Wots Wot XL and it pulled that along quite nicely. So I think that a 17x8 should give me the speed that the Bearcat is associated with.

Jon - Laser Engines24/02/2020 16:12:03
5621 forum posts
271 photos

It should go nuts on a 17x8. I plan to use a 19x8 on the 240 in the hurricane but i am after thrust more than speed

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