Everyone loves warbirds. The FT Warbird collection has been the staple choice of aircraft for many new pilots getting into RC over the years, and easy to see why: they look great and they're easy to fly. What a combination! It's for this reason that people want more. Here is a suped-up BF-109 that I made that was designed in the spirit of the FT warbirds by LocalFiend.
Plans and resources
Before we get into my build and everything else in this article, here is what you need to build one of these aircraft yourself because I know that you'll be asking! Plans can be found on the forum thread for both a mini version and this bigger version that has a wingspan of 39".
The Real Aircraft
The Messerschmitt BF 109 was designed in 1935 and was one of the first fully metal monoplane fighters in the world. It was mass produced in incredible numbers throughout the Second World War and extensively used by the German Luftwaffe, even after it had (arguably) become obsolete.
My model is based on the early variants of the machine when it the 109 was a lighter, more nimble fighter unhampered by heavy armaments.
Interestingly, the BF 109 was first used in the Spanish Civil War of 1936-9.
- NTM Propdrive 28-30 750kv Motor
- 10x5 prop
- 30A ESC
- Orange RX
- 4x 9g Servos
As I have learned the hard way that I should test before I spend time decorating a plane, the appearance of my 109 on its first flights was rather square. The plans are very good, but modifications can be made to make the plane look more realistic. As the aircraft flew impressively on the maiden, I decided that I could afford to spend some time to make some changes.
Firstly I cut out sections of the nose and glued card around to make a curved cowling.
Secondly, I worked on the cockpit which sits on a removable hatch. I used transparent plastic to simulate the glass canopy with card as the metal frames. Initially, I wanted to make the canopy openable, but this was found to make it too flimsy. In the future, I may experiment with a 3D printed frame.
Since the first few flights and the recording of the video, I have added machine gun cutouts in the nose. these were made from card and a couple of tiny slices of BBQ skewer.
The second flight was even better than the first. The plane is quite 'slippery' in the air. Its thin airframe streaks through the air even with a modest power setup!
The first take off was a little sketchy, the plane dipping towards one of the fences in the flying field. However, the second takeoff was simple with just a little more throttle.
I tend to jog forward when hand-launching planes so as to feel the lift steadily lighten the airframe in my hand.
A quick toss forward and it's away!
The 109 is great fun to fly and I'm looking forward to putting it through its paces in the near future.
After these couple of first test flights (because all flights tend to be test flights), it was time to do some decorating.
Decals were hand drawn and painted on normal printer paper before glueing them the model.
To start with, the plane was primed with gray matt primer.
The lighter blue underside and green patches were handpainted with hobby acrylic paints. After the painting was finished, all that remained was to hit the plane with some spray varnish to seal and waterproof. My experimental tutorial on how to do this can be viewed below!
The frames of the canopy were also painted. The cockpit is nice on this model as it goes the full way down. The receiver can be stuck to the floor to make it easily viewable and accessible.
I'm hoping to include this aircraft in some other projects and challenges in the future. Apart from that, here is a quick list of various things I'm planning on doing this year:
- Mighty Mini Vampire Release
- Real Jet Engine Build
- FPV Missions
- DIY Sound Module
- Rocket powered ejector seat (for a model!)
- New Speed Boat
Other Stuff to Check Out
If you liked this project, maybe you would like to check out either of these that I did last year.
Thank you for reading!
Article written by James Whomsley