My wife took a trip down to the local hobby store and picked out a Parkzone P-51 RTF as a Christmas surprise for me! Although she is not into RC, she shares my passion for aircraft and aviation (she has a Masters in Aeronautical Engineering from MIT). Knowing I am a fan of WWII warbirds, she specifically looked for a P-51. Unknowingly, she picked out an RTF which includes a Spektrum 4 channel transmitter. This works out perfectly as I also have a Parkzone F4F Wildcat bind-and-fly that I won in a raffle earlier this year, but I only have a Futaba transmitter. The included Spektrum radio is pretty basic, but it will definitely do until I am ready to lay out the cash for a full featured Spektrum radio.
I decided to hold off on hinging the elevator/rudder and move on to fuselage construction today. I went back-and-forth a few times, but finally settled on building the razor-back version. So far, I have managed to sort through and separate the parts for the fuse top. Construction in earnest will begin in the morning.
After three short months I have finally finished the tail feathers – well mostly finished anyway. I still need to add the hinges and round the leading edges of the elevator halves and the rudder. To give a more scale-like look, I decided to cut the elevator and rudder tips with curve instead of the straight cut called for in the plans. Below you can see where I marked the elevator for the curved cut near the tip. To generate the curve, I enlarged a section of a three-view drawing on a photocopier (by trial and error) until it matched the size of the stab-elevator assembly. This was transferred onto thin card stock to make a template.
If you look closely, you will see two lines drawn onto the elevator tip. The curve of the “scale” line (bottom line) extends slightly past the solid balsa tip. I modified the curve slightly (the top line) to blend directly into the existing gap – close enough to scale for my purposes. The curves were carefully cut with a jewelers saw. The left tip came out perfect, but unfortunately, the right tip ended up a bit rough. To fix this, I carved the trailing edge of the elevator back slightly and laminated on a piece of scrap 1/16th sheet balsa. Once sanded and blended in, the curve matched up with the elevator perfectly.
The same techniques were used to complete the curve on the fin-rudder assembly.