TF Cessna 182–Construction Begins

After sorting out the problems with my building board, I am ready to begin building! As is typical, construction begins with the tail feathers. The dies must have been new and sharp when this kit was punched out, all the parts have very clean crisp edges with no sign of “crushing”.


The die cut lines are so crisp, that it is hard to tell the rib bottom from the building tab, so I flipped over each rib and used it to mark out the rib profile on its mate.


Then I used my angle sander to bevel the edge of each rib to fit tightly against the leading edge.


The rear trailing edge is made up of three pieces. The instructions call for them to be positioned on the plans for marking, then removed and glued together. I was afraid that it would be too hard to keep the assembly aligned and straight doing that, so I started by gluing the center section of the TE to ribs S3 to establish a horizontal datum.


Next, I glued the outer sections with Titebond while aligning to the outer ribs and using my laser to ensure all was straight and true before the glue set. I’ll confess that it took me two tries to get it right.


After that, it was straightforward construction. I did deviate from the plans slightly to add balsa blocks for hinge points.

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Here is the stab ready for sheeting.


And finally, I have prepared the sheeting using a few drops of my last precious tube of Ambroid.


Note: I am keeping a log of my build time and will be recoding it with each post.

Total build hours to date: 13.5 (no one ever accused me of being a fast builder)

New Build Project–Top Flite Cessna 182

The building bug bit me again, and I decided to start on a new project. I know that I should finish one project before starting another, but I get bored easy and like to mix things up.

The woodworking phase is my favorite part of building, so I wanted a large(ish) project that involved a lot of wood. After looking at my stockpile of kits, I opted for the Top Flite Cessna 182, which I picked up for a very attractive price several years ago.

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While I will be no-where near Top Gun level, I will try to keep this as close to scale as possible. My plan is to ‘glass and paint this plane (as opposed covering with film). As of right now, I am leaning towards finishing this off in a Civil Air Patrol scheme, similar to the photo below.


Of course, I will convert it to electric power. Other plans include the installation of the Top Flite interior kit, lights, and replacing the static front strut with the Robart articulated one.

After unpacking the box, I discovered that the front windscreen, although still in its factory wrapping, was damaged. Its a bit hard to see in the photos, but there was a crease on both sides of the windscreen. Perhaps with a bit of coaxing, it could be salvaged, but I didn’t want to start a new project with a major component like this in question.

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These units are out of production, but I placed a “wanted” ad on couple of RC boards and was able to find someone with a “new old stock” canopy set from Top Flite that he was willing to sell. The seller only charged the me original price of the set plus his shipping cost, but that still added up to $53 (which is just bit less than 1/4 of what I paid for the original kit INCLUDING the interior set)!

Next up will be start of construction.

Building Board Blues

I was about to get started on a new building project (more on that later) and pulled out my balsa building board. It’s been a while since I last used it, and much to my dismay, I discovered that it had taken on a bit of warp. The mid section of the board had taken on a crown of about 1/32” – 1/16” relative to the ends.

My first attempt to flatten the board was to clamp and weight it down to my bench. This worked and between the clamps, weights, and few paper shims, I was able to get the board to within about 0.010” of flat. Not pretty, but this could work. Then I discovered that the clamp was blocking my bench drawer from opening … oops!


I really wanted a more permanent and less awkward solution anyway. After a bit of searching, I found this post on RC Universe. Eureka, I can do that too!

A trip to my local big box store yielded some 1” square aluminum, corner brackets, and assorted screws. A few hours later, I had the the following:

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I am back to being within about 0.010” of flat (measured with a straight edge and feeler gauge). Good enough!

I still want to build a true torsion box table one of these days and have a truly dead flat surface, but this should give me a very flat and stable surface.

On to my next building project!