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Seagull Models Zero by Steve B
I’d picked up the Zero kit a while ago as an airframe for an RCGF 20cc gas engine I had. However the availability of the Saito 19cc 3 cylinder petrol radial, and the check on cowl dimensions indicating that it would fit in, meant a call to Steve Wilson at Firebrand Aero was in order.
Steve dispatched the little radial and it was mounted on my test stand for some running and tuning. It proved easy to start and tune spinning a 13x8-3 blade Master Airscrew at around 8800rpm.
The Zero kit proved a quick assembly job, however the retract mounts and gear doors were modified and replaced with better fitting items. The soft plastic bearings in the retract pivots were replaced with some little shouldered ball bearings (overkill I know) curtesy of Andy Law, based on his earlier experience with his Seagull Harvard retracts.
The cowling on the kit is noticeably longer than scale, no doubt to limit the need for additional nose weight to get the CoG right. I decided to shorten it up by 50mm to get a more scale appearance and mounted the throttle servo and battery packs in the nose between the cylinders to compensate. This also required repositioning the firewall and cowl mounting ring to suit. 370g of lead shot in the nose of the cowl was still needed to get the CoG correct.
The rear of the cowl was cut as per the full size to allow cooling air outlets around the dummy scale exhausts that were then mounted to the cowl mounting ring. By opening the inner ends on the dummy exhausts they are also able to act as cooling air outlets. No overheating issues have arisen, so it has worked well.
A hatch latch was installed in place of the screws on the bottom hatch to enable quick access to the switches that have been mounted internally
I’m very pleased with the outcome, it flies great, looks and sounds good , I think. Like a lot of the value ARF’s, out there, with a little fettling you can turn them into a really nice model.
VQ Models Aichi D35 A1 Val by Steve B
A surplus ASP 70 FS prompted the purchase of this delightful little ARF kit to start the Japanese representation in the warbird collection. Yes, it was sneaked in just before the Zero!
It’s assembly was a quick and easy job, with some niggles. The wheels won’t fit in the spats as supplied as the hubs are too thick. A set of Robart wheels with their offset hubs fixed that. A hatch latch in place of the screws holding the hatch on not only looks better but provides quick and ready access to switches mounted internally. Mounting the battery under the cowl above the inverted engine meant CoG was perfect with no addition of weight to balance.
Opening up the rear of the canopy and putting a gunner in the back as well as subsequently adding the bomb and dive brakes have added to the visual interest.
She’s a great little flier and the ASP 70 FS has more than adequate power, especially since Andy has worked his magic on it for me.
Another one of those great value kits that just needs a little effort to turn it into a fine model.