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Mountain Models J3 Cub build

Old 01-12-2009, 03:35 AM
  #1  
JustPlaneCrazy
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Default Mountain Models J3 Cub build

Hi All
I decided to attempt a build log on my Mountain Models J3 Cub for two reasons. One, this kit is described as being easy enough to be a first balsa build and second, to help keep the pressure on the build so it doesn't fall too far down the priorities list behind work and family.
This is my first attempt at kit building so we'll see how user friendly this kit really is.
Also, please be patient for updates, I work nights, sleep days and have 4 children between 14 years and 18 months. MY time is usually limited to the middle of the night on friday or saturday.

First Impressions of kit
Good quality wood, beautiful laser cutting, just as expected given Mountain Model's reputation. Printed plans were good, but quality of printed instructions/photos was poor. Text was legible but photos were mostly useless grey blobs with vertical streaks. I just downloaded the instructions from MountainModels.com and printed off a copy on my printer. I'll trade poor instructions for a good kit. I'm only going to use the instructions once. I'm planning on flying this bird many more times than that.

Actual build
I laid the plans out w/wax paper and got out the CA. One pointer here, you really do need fine tip extensions. I'm not sure if I have poor wax paper or what, but my parts had a tendency to stick to the paper. I've heard that parchment paper works better, so I'll have to try that.
If you follow the directions the kit goes together well. A few of the pictures are not real clear but I did manage to figure them out. While the kit is marketed as a beginner builder, some of the parts are not marked and it would be helpful if you know the difference between a former and a stringer. Sometimes I found myself guessing the part shape and then trying to find a part that matched. I think I got them all right. The parts are tabbed so they only really fit if they're in the correct spot.
One more pointer, so far.
When you get to installing F2 and the firewall, you might want to mist the fuse sides with water as bending them in while dry caused one of mine to crack. I misted them and they flexed much easier. I also then skipped ahead a few steps to install 1/8" front stringers and front sheeting to help align the front while the fuse sides were still wet and flexible, seems straight now.
That's all for now. Time for work.
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Old 01-12-2009, 08:01 AM
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Larry3215
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If i didnt hate covering so much Id be all over these Mountain Models kits. From all Ive heard they are very nice.
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Old 01-15-2009, 05:23 PM
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Barry N
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I look forward to reading your reports. I've been considering this kit, so I'm anxious to see how it goes.

I've been away from the hobby for about 20 years. I'm impressed with all the changes, especially with how well electrics have improved. But, all the ARF stuff kind of disapoints me. To me, building kits was always one of the joys of the hobby. Although, I have to admidt, ARFs certainly get you in the air quicker.

Good luck with your build.
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Old 01-15-2009, 05:31 PM
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My Mountain Models Clipped Wing Cub is on the way! I'm watching your build with interest!
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Old 01-16-2009, 02:53 AM
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Sparkie
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Your build is coming along nicely, looking forward to your progress, I agree you really have to keep an eye on the instructions and the plan as with any kit, these MM kits go together so smoothly and quickly ya kinda get caught up in building then ya realize oop's I shouldn't have glue that yet! it happened to me as well , I built this one last year in the Fun build over on RCG, It's a great flying plane.

Glenn
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Old 01-16-2009, 03:20 AM
  #6  
SteveM732
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I learned to fly on a MM Tyro and am close to finishing up the Hellcat. I agree with your assessment that the kits are good quality but the directions could be better (In print quality and clarity). Both of my kits were design by Mike Molt rather than Brain. When you consider that these kits are designed by an individual with a passion for the hobby you can easily overlook the rough edges. However, you might want to pass on your suggestions to MM so that they can revise the manual, these guys tend to be very open to suggestions.

I look forward to following your build and your flying experiences as my Tyro needs replacing and I'd like it to be a MM kit, maybe the J3 Cub, who knows.
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Old 01-16-2009, 04:52 AM
  #7  
mararra
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I envy you JPC! The J-3 was my second balsa build; first all balsa build. Took most of last winter to build mine. what a joy it was I agree that it is a real stretch to suggest it as a first balsa build unless one is somewhat of a craftsman and used to working with all the light weight easily broken fiddley bits. Instruction pics are poor quality, but the superb fit of the parts and the better quality pics online make it a moot point. Besides, it makes you slow down and plan several steps ahead to confirm the procedures and correct assembly of parts. Covering was tedious, but not overly difficult; trickiest part was the transition on the forward part of the fuse from stringers to sheeted area around cockpit. That took some trial and error to get right.
Some pics and comments on my build and maiden here: http://www.wattflyer.com/forums/showthread.php?t=17656

BTW, just noticed you're in Manitowoc. Lived there in '59 and '60. Had my first and only go at a control line model there; about a 3 second flight. just barely escaped with my life, model wasn't mine

fly well,
M

Last edited by mararra; 01-16-2009 at 05:01 AM. Reason: BTW
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Old 01-19-2009, 04:47 PM
  #8  
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Hello everyone
First, let me say "Thanks" to you for your interest and kind words. I wasn't sure if anyone would even watch this thread. Now I feel even more pressure to do a good job
Secondly, unfortunately, there is not much to report at this time. The "lovely" weather this last week turned much of my attention to keeping everything from freezing solid. Wind chills of -30 make flying weather seem terribly far off. Anyway, I did manage to get some work done, mostly some finishing touches on the fuselage, bottom hatches and such. Straight forword stuff, just some minor sanding. It does appear that my concern about covering is well placed. I guess I'll cross that bridge when I get to it. I finshed the landing gear and boy, did I underestimate how tedious and time consuming that was going to be. I'm used to prebent ARF gear.
As I looked at the fuse this last week, it struck me how large the cockpit windows seem to be and how the plane really needed some cockpit detail. Maybe that's just a personal thing, but I ordered a Williams Bros. bust and I plan to install at least a basic cockpit area. The small weight gain will be offset by the enhanced appearance, at least in my mind.
Until next time.
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Old 01-19-2009, 05:56 PM
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Great build so far, JPC.
I love the feeling of sitting down to a work table and picking back up where where I stopped working the previous week. I've only done one kit build, but I would say I enjoyed that process just as much as flying on a calm morning. Well, ALMOST as much!

For me, covering the finished bones was the hardest part. The learning curve for covering is very steep. But Ron (Skysharkster) has put together some great threads here in the builders forum to help out.

Thanks for the pictures and PLEASE keep 'em coming!
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Old 01-19-2009, 09:54 PM
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Sparkie
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JPC, I have a good pic of a instrument panel , If your looking for one, I'll post it here, you may have to resize it a bit , I printed mine on label stock and just stuck it on there

Glenn
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Old 01-19-2009, 10:09 PM
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gfdengine204
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Originally Posted by Sparkie View Post
JPC, I have a good pic of a instrument panel , If your looking for one, I'll post it here, you may have to resize it a bit , I printed mine on label stock and just stuck it on there

Glenn
Sparkie,
Where did you find such a great pic? I may have to borrow that for my CW Cub.....
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Old 01-20-2009, 02:45 AM
  #12  
JustPlaneCrazy
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Sparkie
Thanks for the pic. I've been unable to find a decent one. Yours should do the trick nicely.
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Old 01-20-2009, 03:04 AM
  #13  
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Here's a bunch of good pictures Kev.

http://uscockpits.com/
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Old 01-22-2009, 02:13 PM
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Sparkie
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Cool site Tom, I added that one to my fav's as well.

Glenn
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Old 01-22-2009, 02:19 PM
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gfdengine204
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Thanks Tom. Very nice!
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Old 01-26-2009, 11:43 PM
  #16  
JustPlaneCrazy
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Hi Everyone
Most of my build time this last week was used on the cockpit/pilot. I also finished the tail feathers.
As for the cockpit, I simply created a floor from 1/32" balsa sheet painted flat black. Most of the time was spent painting the pilot bust. I must say it has been a long time since I've attempted to paint detailed figures. He turned out well enough. At least now the plane looks a little more "finished" and it only added 7 grams. I can live with that.
Until next time
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Old 01-27-2009, 12:34 AM
  #17  
mararra
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Lookin good, JPC lookin at your stab and rudder reminded me of a problem I had. On the second flight the tailwheel wire tore out of the rudder. Make sure you have it well bonded. I think I ended up replacing the wire with a plastic assembly that attached to the fuse .....not positive but it's too cold out in the storage shed to go check it out

stay warm,
M
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Old 01-27-2009, 12:42 AM
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gfdengine204
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Chris,

Where did you get the pilot bust from? And what size is he?
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Old 01-28-2009, 02:06 AM
  #19  
JustPlaneCrazy
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Mararra
Thanks for the heads up on that one. I'll be sure to give it a little extra attention.

Kev
The pilot bust is a Williams Bros. 1/8 scale sportsman from Tower Hobbies.
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Old 01-28-2009, 03:38 AM
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Originally Posted by JustPlaneCrazy View Post
Mararra
Thanks for the heads up on that one. I'll be sure to give it a little extra attention.

Kev
The pilot bust is a Williams Bros. 1/8 scale sportsman from Tower Hobbies.
Thanks JPC. I'll have to look for one for my Clipped Wing Cub.
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Old 01-29-2009, 01:10 AM
  #21  
gramps2361
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i've been looking at this kit also looking to build another plane can't make up my mind this just might get me to buy it. looks good i'll be watching also. thanks
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Old 02-03-2009, 07:40 PM
  #22  
JustPlaneCrazy
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Hello Everyone
Just a quick update of last weeks progress. I started the wing assembly. The fit of the pieces is incredibly tight. I broke a couple pieces attempting to press them together. The directions do say that you can sand the tabs to make them fit better. I chose to leave the tabs alone and open up the slots slightly.
By reading through the directions first, I realized the opening in W8 rib was the aileron servo mount. Since I knew that, I slightly enlarged the openings to fit my servos. It was much easier to do before assembly than after.
All in all, the wing assembly is straight forward, simply follow the directions.
One quick note, I was having trouble gluing the parts to my wax paper. For whatever reason, the wax paper was always stuck. I switched to parchment paper and the results are dramatic. If it sticks at all, it pops off with the lightest touch and doesn't shred like the wax paper did.
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Old 02-03-2009, 07:50 PM
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JPC,

What's in the ziplocs? Rice?
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Old 02-03-2009, 10:09 PM
  #24  
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looking good , if it's rice are ya using minute made rice?
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Old 02-03-2009, 10:13 PM
  #25  
mararra
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Lookin good! Had to scratch my head a little when it came to the servo mount setup myself. Then I studied the instructions and the online photos and finally got it.
Don't forget to string the servo wires before you cover :o
M
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