GWS-T6 (AT-6 "Texan") Build Thread and Flight Report
Well, the postman tried to deliver my kit yesterday, but there was nobody home to sign for it. So instead I went today and picked it up from the post office. This will be a highly detailed build thread, followed by a flight performance report as soon as she's airworthy.
Here's the setup that I plan on using initially:
2408-21 brushless outrunner (BP21)
CC ThunderBird-18A ESC
TP 1320 3S pro-lite lipo
A mix of TowerPro and Hitec 9g servos (depends on what I have on hand)
GWS 9050HD prop
Receiver - XtremeLink 8-ch Rx (I will switch to a 6-ch Rx from this company once they become available next month)
I have pondered paint schemes for some time. I don't want an airframe that's all yellow or mostly silver, so I've decided on the old PT-17 type scheme. A blue fuse, yellow wings and tail, and the red & white striped rudder. The airframe will be Testor's rattle can. I'm only concerned with stand-off scale, so true scale details will not be that important to me. All I want is a plane that flies well and looks good in the air.
Here's some pics from Wings Palette that I will use as a guide for the final scheme.
The first order of business was to get all the parts out and inspect them. Once again, the foam quality is outstanding, such as with the recent new additions from GWS. This kit has a few new surprises though:
- The decals are now waterslide (thank you GWS!).
- The cowling is securd using snap-on button tabs, no more screws through hard plastic.
- The battery hatch is an excellent set-up, and we now have plenty of room for our lipos.
I decided that I would weigh the parts to see what I get before starting construction. Here's the breakdown:
To begin construction, I started by sanding down all the major parts. The top surfaces have the tiny "dimples" in the foam, which on this kit look like rivets as they are alone the major panel lines. It would have been great to leave them as is, but unfortunately they are WAY too large. I took a piece of 240 grit sandpaper and knocked them down.
The bottom surfaces have the typical "flowers" and other mold marks that we are accustomed too. This got a good workout from the sandpaper as well. Once all was said and done, my surfaces were nice and smooth. It did not take a lot of effort to do this.
Building starts with the wings. There are two panels, and they join together in standard GWS fashion. Some GWS glue, a little tape, and all's well. Next I cut out the ailerons, hinged them, and glued them in place (and added the control horns).
Next I glued in the 3 fiberglass wing reinforcement rods, along with part C5. The good thing about C5 is that GWS has now added additional plastic on the rear portion for added strength. I have had this piece split before on older GWS models. Nice improvement here!
ATTENTION - First deviation from the manual. Based on older GWS builds, I decided NOT to glue part C2 to the wing leading edge just yet as described in step 1.8. If you've ever built a GWS kit before, this piece usually does not get glued in until the fuse is together, and the female counterpart of this piece (C1) is glued in place. Then C2 is placed in and the back of it makes a mark in the wing foam to be used as a guide for gluing it on (so that the wing is lined up). It's quite possible that GWS does this differently now as the molding is much more accurate, but I decided not to take the chance.
Next is the landing gear. I'm going to go ahead and build mine stock with the gear attached. I may try retracts later on, but will do fixed gear for now.
These are similar to the P-38 landing gear. Nice foam wheels and spoked wheel hubs. All you do is cut two 5mm lengths of the included hard black tubing and insert them onto the axel, then slide the wheels on and secure with part A3.
As I learned with my P-38 builds, the screws that hold the gear in part C3 are a little too big for the holes. In order to help that, I took a 5/64" drill bit and opened up the two holes I used. The screws now go in much easier, and still have good holding strength. I did not yet glue the landing gear assemblies into the wing. This will be done once the wing is painted.
Next is the fuselage. GWS has come up with another improvement. There is now a brace for the control rod tubes towards the front where they terminate behind the servos. This is a nice touch as on past models I've used scrap foam to brace the tubes with. Plus, the tubes are pre-cut to the proper length.
So with the tubes glued in, you glue the nut into part C6 for the wing mount, and then glue that into the fuse.
And now the next innovation from GWS. You have a choice of where to put the motor mount stick based on the system you will us. I found that my stick needed to be to the far left when looking at the firewall, so that with the motor turned sideways, it was right on the centerline. GWS includes some foam block fillers to fill the gap left once you glue your stick in. All you do is cut the foam (it makes two pieces), and use one for fill as needed.
Next I glued the fuse halves together, and then added the thick plastic firewall. On the P-38, I found that the firewall helps keep the stick in place in the event of a nose over or crash. And unlike the P-38, using the firewall on the AT-6 is not optional as the front of the battery hatch locks into it.
ATTENTION - As described in post #4, C2 was not glued into the wing leading edge yet. In addition, GWS has inadvertantly left out the steps to glue C1 to the fuse, and then the procedure for gluing C2 onto the wing leading edge. Here was my suggestion to Chen for the added steps:
3.6. Glue C1 to the fuselage as shown.
3.7. Using a 1/8" drill bit, remove foam from the openings in C1.
3.8. Place C2 into C1 (do NOT glue).
3.9. Press wing firmly into wing saddle and then remove.
3.10. Glue C2 to wing leading edge using marks as a guide.
Next come the tail surfaces. First you start with the horizontal stabilizer and elevators. The elevators are joined in the typical GWS fashion by using a "U" bent piece of wire. However, another kit improvement is that GWS has molded in the wire location on the bottom of the control surfaces. Before cutting the control surfaces away from the stabilizer, you simply glue the wire in place. At the same time, you glue in the fiberglass support rod and the control horn.
I used GWS glue as much as possible in this build, but on the support rods and control horns I used 5-minute epoxy.
Next you cut away the control surfaces, hinge, and then glue the entire assembly to the fuse. DO NOT put glue on the rear most portion of the fuse as that is an attach point for the verticle stab. As of this writing, the manual shows putting glue all the way back. Dry fit the horizontal stab first to determine where the glue should go.
Next, cut the rudder from the vertical stab and glue the vertical stab to the fuse. Then assemble the tailwheel, hinge the rudder and glue it all together.
The next two items indicate more innovations from GWS. The battery hatch has a new locking clip technique. You glue C10 to the front of the hatch, and Latch A to the rear. Then Latch B is glued to the fuse just forward of the front windscreen. C10 locks into the firewall, and the latch system locks the battery hatch in place.
The other item is the new cowling attachment method. This system uses ball-shaped latches to secure the cowling. The receptors are glued to the fuse, then the appropriate holes are cut into the cowling. To secure it, you simply line the cowling holes up with the receptors and snap in the latches. To remove, you simply pry them off. No mores screws!
EDIT - See post #21 for comments on the fit of the battery hatch, and my 2 proposed methods of construction.
And with this, assembly is now complete for the most part. Next is to add the electronics, which I will tackle tomorrow. At this point, I have about 7 hours into the build.
I'm working on an E Starter. I'm impressed with the kit I would have bought one sooner if I had known. I like the paint scheme you are going to use, looks good. I have always liked the looks of the AT-6.
I see pockets for servos on the wings, and channels for the wires/connector links (and you put on horns). Does that mean that it's designed strictly for a 2-servo aileron setup, or do they still have any provisions for one-servo, torque-link installation like on the Zero and other older GWS warbirds also?
The way you describe installing the C1/C2 pieces is how I did it on my E-Starter too. It wasn't spelled out very well in the manual for the E-Starter either, but it seemed like a good common-sense way to get them to line up.
I like the looks of the wheels -- much better than the usual funky wire wheels (even though the wire ones probably fare better on rough surfaces).
The side-to-side motor mount stick hole/slot seems counterintuitive to me. I guess if they've tested it and it works, then OK, but it surprises me that it wouldn't cause a small balance issue with hanging the weight of the motor off to one side of the plane instead of the center. Thrustwise, I guess it would still pull from the center, but I'm no aero engineer, so I don't really know.
Yikes! I spent all day yesterday setting up electronics and painting and adding decals, so I did not get a chance to go online here and update.
First, thanks for the kind words guys. I really do appreciate it, and I hope that my build can assist others down the line.
smokejohnson, the E-Starter is a great plane. Very easy to fly, and lots of fun with the right power plant in the nose (think 120W motor and 3S 1300 lipo ). Put floats on it and add to the enjoyment!
DamianWalker, great to hear you're getting one as well, and I hope this threads helps. Feel free to ask any questions you may have. It's a pretty straightforward build in typical GWS fashion, but there are a few tricks here and there, which I have or will outline here.
herk_1, the kit is set up strictly for 2 wing servos, not like in past models with one servo and two pushrods. But I think this is a better setup, and the exposed servos and wiring get covered with tape later (see pics below).
The motor mount is very solid. Yes, the thrustline does not change no matter how you orient the motor. The built in down and right thrust works just fine with the motor mounted sideways.
Twmaster, the P-40 should be out to the earlybird members in a month or so. I think we get a twin EDF F-15 first though.
BTW, on the earlybird program, you still have to pay for the kit. Plus you have to pay shipping, which has been running around $30 for each of the last 4 kits. The program is for advanced builders to do things like this thread, and magazine write-ups.
Mr. Baggins, reports are that the P-40 will have a 40" wingspan, the same as the Fw-190 and this AT-6.
In a few minutes I'll add some build updates to this thread. I have to pull pictures from RCG first though.
Well, it's completely done now except for paint and decals. My final AUW with no paint and a 1300mAh 3S lipo is 18.3oz, 519gr. I am pleased with these numbers as I was expecting close to 23-24oz. After paint, I should be close to 20 or so.
I couldn't resist, so I took it to the little park by my house for a quick 30 second flight. It was really too windy to do a maiden, but it worked out. At least I know it flies. Once it's painted, I will do a proper maiden with video and still shots.
After getting everything together, I discovered an interesting problem. Built stock per the manual, the forward portion of the battery hatch does NOT fit underneath the cowling, or at best is an extremely snug fit. Although it's not covered in the build manual, here's what I think GWS had in mind:
If you notice, the forward portion of the battery hatch is raised. I believe that GWS had intended for the cowling to be cut away so that the forward part of the hatch fills in the gap. And although I did not do this on my kit, it seems this would be a viable solution.
However, what I did was take my hobby knife and trim away the raised foam, and then sanded the area down until it fit under the cowling during installation. The first method described above would seem to be the better option as you would then be able to see the forward pins as they slide into the retaining holes on the firewall. But my method works as well, as long as you remove enough foam.
EDIT - I'm adding some pics of the motor mount to help explain the process a little better. Pic 3 is the top view, pic 4 is the view from the left side. Pic 3 also shows how much foam was removed from the battery hatch as outlined above.
The first round of painting is complete. I really like the color scheme, his is going to stand out nicely in the air.
While the paint dries, I'm going to cut out some of the GWS logos on the decal sheet to see how well they work. I'm excited to finally have waterslide decals to apply instead of the old peel and stick. Takes me back to my plastic model building days.
I made more progress on the paint, and started applying the decals. It's really coming along now. I only have a few details left (canopy, finish tail paint, last of the decals) and then she'll be done.
I put it on the scale again, and was astonished at how little weight I added with paint and decals. AUW is now only 18.8oz, 532gr! I actually came in on the lower end of the specified range of 17.6 - 21.5oz.
I will give my opinion of the waterslide decals tomorrow, along with application tips. It's too late right now to go into the details of that just yet.
Here's a few more pics for your viewing pleasure. It's not a scale replica of any particular scheme, just what I threw together. Looks authentic enough though. The 3rd pic shows how well the servos, support rods and wiring get covered (just use packing tape).
OK, here are my findings on the new waterslide decals included in this kit. I have quite a bit of experience with waterslides as I have built hundreds of plastic model kits over the course of my life.
The decals themselves look very well made, and there is not a huge overlap of clear decal material on the edges. They are spaced well on the sheet so that cutting them out is not a problem.
I tried out some of the GWS logos first to get a feel for how these are made. They slid off well and adhered to my crashed Zero wing very nicely. So far so good. However, the first decal I did for my AT-6 was the stars and bars on the upper left wing panel. This decal was much larger than the GWS logos, and I had a slightly difficult time getting it to slide off the sheet after soaking. Somehow I don't think there is quite enough release agent (that slippery stuff) on the sheet. I almost ruined the first decal, but I was able to save it by soaking some more, and then pulling the decal from the paper from one edge, and then dipping in the water.
After a few decals, I figured out how to make them slide off the paper better. First, soak the decal really well (3-4 minutes works). Then, carefully lift the decal from one edge and slide the bare paper back into the water as you go. The decal will tend to float on the water's surface. Once you get the paper surface wet under the decal, it will then slide off with ease.
To apply the decal to the plane surface, first apply a light coat of water to the surface where the decal will sit. Then slide one end of the decal off the backing paper about 1/4". Place the end in the proper location, then simply slide the backing paper away. Then position the decal in the proper spot. Take a paper napkin or soft cloth, and gently wipe the decal from the center outwards to remove any excess water or air bubbles from underneath the decal, and to smooth out any wrinkles. Any air bubbles left will be highly visible when the decal dries, so take care to get them all out. If you can't get one out while the decal is still wet, simply puncture the decal with the tip of a sharp knife, and then tamp down with the cloth.
If the decal winds up in the wrong position and won't slide, then carefully pull up one end and slide the wet backing paper back under it (dunk the paper in the water first). You should be able to get the decal back up, and then just reposition it.
The decals are still just a bit shiny, but nowhere near as much as the vinyl decals were. I may still hit them with dullcote, or possibly some Testors decal set.