Swappable Messerschmitt Bf109 based on FT Spitfire

by ultramicrobe | August 28, 2013 | (53 Ratings) Posted in Projects

When I first saw the FT Spitfire, my first thought was that I wanted one. I got one for Father’s Day: so far so good. But my second thought is that a Spitfire is nice, but it’s even better if it has a Messerschmitt to shoot down. When I looked at the plans, I realized (as the FT guys also obviously saw judging by their recent Planes planes), that the Spitfire could be modified relatively easily to make other warbirds. 

 

So before I built my Spitfire, I set about modifying it to make both the Spit and a Messerschmitt Bf109 at the same time. I selected the Bf109E, as a pretty recognizable version.

 

As it turned out, every single piece of the Spit had to be changed slightly, except for the wing spar, which is identical. But that makes it sound hard - really it is easy because I was careful not to change any parts where two pieces join, so the build is identical to the Spit, and none of the joints are different, so the plane fits together well and has similar (excellent) flight characteristics. Basically, I tried to concentrate on changing major lines to make it distinctively a “Messerschmitt”, and I think the result looks good and flies great. 

 

I visited the RAF Museum in London, which I highly recommend. I have gone back and updated all my old posts with pictures of the real planes. I put a few extras here since they had two nice Bf109s, one European and one desert. 

 

Below I outlined the process and I have posted scale pictures of all the parts, so you can download them, print them, and make your own Bf109E. I left the 1 inch grid lines from my cutting board on all the pictures so you can check to make sure they have printed to scale before you cut out the pieces. If you want to build one, I suggest you print these plans out and also the FT Spitfire plans. Then use the Spitfire plans to double check the Messerschmitt parts at all joints. I also took pictures of the main shapes and lines to show why it looks so Messerschmitty. Here goes:

 

Starting with the wing, I traced the FT Spit wing on a sheet of foam, and then ‘straightened’ the lines. I used a Bf109E schematic from Wikipedia to get the proportions right (wing tip to base and length to width) and the sharp arc on the wingtip. The first 2 inches at the base of the wing was left UNCHANGED so it still fits into the fuselage perfectly. The trailing edge spacer is just a straight piece. 

 

 

For the fuselage I narrowed the tail by about 1cm from the bottom. For the front, I traced the FT Spit, then modified the shape to get the look of a Messerschmitt (longer and snoutier). Again, I did not change any of the parts that join other parts (like the wing hole and former holes). I added one former at the very front, which becomes important later. 

 

 Once the front profile was satisfactory, I cut one side out, then used the cut out piece to trace the other side, to keep the two sides identical. 

 

 

The tail was designed similarly - tranced the FT Spit and kept all parts that join with other parts the same. The vertical and horizontal stabilizers were modified to match the Messerschmitt looks, with proportions taken from the plans again. The bottom of the rudder was reduced in size to match the slightly thinner tail of the fuselage. The Messerschmitt rudder follows the line of the fuselage.  

 

The forward and rear formers are all different. The front four formers are progressively smaller (the Spit has 3, I added the front one to mark where the turtle deck will fold). The two formers behind the cockpit are important, as the first one gives the “square” look to the cockpit that is so distinctive. The assembly is the same as the FT Spitfire. (I actually put carbon fiber sheets on the top and bottom where the skewers go because that is a weak spot)

 

Here is the Bf109 beside the Spit, for comparison. The changes make the plane look completely different. 

 

The back turtle deck is installed the same way as the Spit. For the front turtle deck, line up the notches with the front-most former and attach the back portion (which is sloped downwards). When that is glued, sharply bend the front portion down - basically pull it tight across the front edge of the fuselage to make the change in angle as sharp as possible, then attach the front part with tape. This gives a distinctive snout and sharp taper at the very front of the fuselage. 

 

I used tape for the distinctive yellow parts, and taped it before painting so it really pops. This the plane on test flight day. It flew great, better than my wildest hopes, in fact. I discus threw it at 3/4 throttle and it just took off in a straight line and flew level (see video below). I did basic moves, and it was fine, but I did need to reduce the aileron throws a lot and give it some down trim. Rolls nicely, great for loops. It flies much like the Spit, but maybe a bit smoother even. The power system is pretty much as recommended for the Spit - NTM 1350 Kv and 8X4 prop. I will put a big spinner on it when I get one. 

 

To really make it look like a Bf109, I finished taping the yellow tips, and painted it. I lightly varnished with oil-based minwax, then sprayed with $2 craft acrylic. You can pick your colour scheme, I went traditional to make it Messerschmitty as possible. 

 

 

Lastly, a sheet of Hobby King Luftwaffe decals and a light coat of water-based minwax for belly landings. And a canopy. The canopy is deceptively easy. I put plans for it with the other parts. It is a single piece of clam-shell packaging (that hard clear plastic they insist on packaging stuff in) that is bent into shape and finished with black duct tape strips, all hot glued into place. You can also see the plane beside the painted Spit, for comparison (below). 

Below is a short movie - to prove it actually flies. Most of these were on the first flight day before it was painted because the light was way better, but obviously it flies the same. I also put a series of pictures below showing the overall shape, focusing on the lines that give it the distinctive look, and I also posted prinatble files with all the parts to scale, which should allow you to make your own the same way you make a FT Spitfire. 

Closeups of important parts

 

Plans

OUTLINE are simple PDFs. Other files are photos of parts. All should be to scale.

In the OUTLINE files, all cuts that are identical to the FT Spitfire are shown as dotted lines, all cuts that are different are shown as solid lines. I did not change any joints, so to make sure your plane fits together well, I suggest you print the FT Spitfire instructions as well as these, and then just use my plans to trace out the different parts on the spitfire plans.  

 

Wing OUTLINE

Fuselage OUTLINE

Back Formers OUTLINE

Front Formers OUTLINE

Rear Turtledeck OUTLINE

Horizontal Sabilizer OUTLINE

Vertical Sabilizer OUTLINE

Front Turtledeck OUTLINE

Canopy OUTLINE

 

 

 

Wing

Fuselage

Horizontal stabilizer

Vertical stabilizer

Front formers

Rear formers

Front Turtledeck

Rear Turtledeck

Canopy

COMMENTS

Strix on August 30, 2013
Excellent work!
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TLMARK on September 4, 2013
Fantastic job
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Windburn on August 30, 2013
Wow, that's one great looking plane! Will you be drawing up the plans themselves? I only ask because printing up the pictures is going to kill an ink cartridge...
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ultramicrobe on August 30, 2013
I just posted a wing outline only. Can people please tell me if this is way better? If so I can do the others. I opened the old file in Illustrator and drew the outline over it, made a scale bar, then deleted the background. I found the size was a little off, so scaled it until the scale bar matched the Illustrator rulers. If you print it at 100% it should be the right size, but I would check that to be sure.
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Cortes Gary on August 30, 2013
Great work! You've done a good job of "capturing" the Messerschmitt look. The decals are the finishing touch. I have built and flown the Spitfire, so I have to ask, any noticeable differences in their flight characteristics?
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ultramicrobe on August 30, 2013
I have flown both right after one another with the same 40% expo, and Spit ailerons dialed way back to 40% and the 109 ones at 75% (they are smaller) - they also have the same motor and prop. Both are very smooth and fly great. At first I liked the spitfire better, but then when I got the 109 ailerons toned down a bit, I liked it better. It just floats along, but when you hit the throttle it just goes wherever you point it. Check out the videos and look at how it glides, I think that is always a good sign. I did not include video of it doing a lot of faster stuff because I was up higher and you can't see much. It does great low lazy loops, rolls fine, and does nice snap rolls too.
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GunHog on August 30, 2013
Very nice job! 5 stars.
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Fly'n-V on August 31, 2013
Awesome work! Thanks for posting! I hoped someone would tackle this idea. Beautiful pair of warbirds! 5 Stars!
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gmyers2112 on August 30, 2013
that's purty dang messershmitty

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ultramicrobe on August 30, 2013
I have now posted outline plans for all parts. I distinguished the cuts that are identical to the Spitfire, and I suggest you print my plans and trace the differences onto the FT Spitfire plans, then cut that out. That way your parts will all fit perfectly.
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Windburn on August 30, 2013
The plans look great, thanks! I think I have my next project...hopefully my roommates don't get mad at me for filling the house with even more planes!
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svu9376 on October 14, 2016
hi was wondering if you had plans for the spars at all? or do i just use the FT mustang spars for the mustang you made please :3

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tramsgar on September 1, 2013
It looks really mean, very good job!
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andy_spoo on August 31, 2013
Nice quality job my friend :-) If you've got a spitfire, you definetley need a Messerschmitt
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Pedro Lisbon on September 1, 2013
AMAZING!!!
Great work my friend. Thank you so much for the projects in PDF, I'm go to build one of this planes here in Portugal to me and my RC friends. Big hug
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webdragon on September 1, 2013
how do you think it would do if you left the rudder servo off an didn't hinge the surface?
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ultramicrobe on September 2, 2013
It would be fine. I hardly used the rudder in any of my first flights. It does not need it for normal turns or ordinary flight, ailerons sufficient. I only used the rudder for a few moves so far.
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WoodyFlyer on September 2, 2013
This plane looks really great! Congrats on the good flying charackteristics as well.

By the way, did you copy some original scheme + decals or is it custom made?
I just wonder because I never saw that eagle on any german WW II plane. This Eagle is used on some flags in germany right now, thats why it seems really odd to me seeing it next to the Hakenkreuz.
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ultramicrobe on September 2, 2013
I just used a Hobby King decal set, the only one they had that was any kind of German. I did not put much thought into the decorations, I just stuck on the whole set because it looked better to break up the spaces. To be honest, I wanted this plane to be fast and cheap, because I think I fly them better - less fear - so I just picked up the $3 HK stickers.
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WoodyFlyer on September 2, 2013
Anyway, really cool scheme. ;-)
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LordVader on September 4, 2013
Really cool plane. Thanks for putting plans out and showing us what can be done with alittle ingenuity and know-how. I have my next build while I wait for the spritzer and the other planes the Flitetest guys have built.
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LordVader on September 4, 2013
I meant slinger and FT Duster. Anyway, keep up the good work.
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ultramicrobe on September 4, 2013
Thanks. As it happens I am getting my next one ready now - a Mustang. Hope to post the plans soon, after I see if it flies.
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Nathan_116 on September 9, 2013
Now all I have to do is try and figure out how to put scale leaning gear/retracts on them. :( :)
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Scale-German on September 11, 2013
I have been very eager to see the boys make some more scale Warbirds! Glad you made the Me109- only thing is no matter how I print it or scale it I couldnt get your parts to overlay the original plans????? I ended up re-drawing your Fuselage and wing profiles over the plans in Corel Draw 16- and re-printing them- but thanks for all your hard work, your tail surfaces and Turtle formers were fine, just the Fuselage and wings I had major problems with!
Happy Flying- CHEERS!
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ultramicrobe on September 9, 2013
Mustang plans are in the pipeline, and should have the build info released soon. you can see the videos of it flying already here:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V06Y_JZAmUM

and also flying with a friends Parkzone Mustang here:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ElZ-6AY94vY&feature=youtu.be
(some sort of formation flying at about 1:55 for a minute or so)

Curious to see the P40. A Zero or Focke wulf 190 would be dead easy. I was thinking you could extend the formers to the sides and that would allow you to cover the entire fuselage with posterboard to make it a round tube...or just not bother. An interesting but challenging one would be a Corsair or Stuka - how to do a gull wing. Probably not as hard as it sounds.
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LordVader on September 14, 2013
Can't wait to see what you come up with. I did a Cosair, but no pattern or pics of how I did it. I will try to post some pics of it now. I've got probably 2 dozen flights or more so far. It flys slow, fast is ultra stable and looks cool.
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Nathan_116 on September 16, 2013
I love the scale canopy
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LordVader on October 4, 2013
Wish I knew how to post pics, I would put up some of my builds. Don't have any plans, not good at doing that sort of thing.
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biomecanoid on November 20, 2013
How do you do the upper curved/round part of the fuselage ? is it paper and foam supports ?
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ultramicrobe on November 24, 2013
Yes - check out the FT Spitfire build video. It is done the same way with different shaped forms.
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Nathan_116 on September 9, 2013
Sweet, keep them coming. I'm glad that I'm not the only one that wants to design my own scale looking swappables!!!! Right now I'm working on a p40 warhawk!

Keep up the good work!!!
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Yogenh on December 14, 2013
I would love to see the P-40
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p-51boy on March 24, 2014
do you have full pdf files for this to be printed off?
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ultramicrobe on April 4, 2014
They are posted above (use "OUTLINE" ones). I never put them on a single page since it just makes for more taping, I print them on 8.5X11 or A4.
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Art Lane on April 12, 2014
Hi ultramicrobe....
Well, this one I have to build, for my son..
I was thinking of using the FT Racer plan, but the cord is different than that.. I suppose I could just enlarge your wing plan (on 8.5 X 11") to 23" making a 46" wingspan... I like the Racer plan as it's close to the Messerschmitt 109 to start... Wider but my son doesn't care about scale effects, he wants something bigger to fly..
Will have to change the outline of the cord on the fuse to fit this new wing, but that shouldn't be any problem..
You have done a great job on the 109 and along with my Spit, converted to a Reno Racer, it should look good flying with my son..
I have checked the tail feathers and they are close enough to the Racer , except larger area and not the swung back effect like the Racer.....
Just need one more sheet of foamboard as my stock is pretty good right now.. Lot's of cutoffs for the smaller parts. Just the wing needs one more sheet...
As for painting, will do the same as I've done on my E-Spit, craft paints, thinned down, several light coats, to get away from the warping...
Many thanks for the great job you've done... I'm anxious to get it finished, good weather is coming......................sometime I hope, ha ha...
Any further tips you have would be appreciated...
Art, alias Foamball
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ultramicrobe on April 12, 2014
No tips really, this plane always was easy to fly. I guess the one mistake I made was doing the top and bottom of both wingtips, and the tail and nose all yellow. I loose perspective easily.

I just posted a mini messerschmitt (800mm) and learning from this I painted it in a dessert style, and the visibility in the air is great. Blue bottom and sand top. Hope you post some movies or something to see how your modifications work.
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Art Lane on April 13, 2014
Hi ultra again..
Well, ran into a problem right off the bat..... The plan won't print on my printer, something about Adobe and PDF not in my puter, but, from your pics of finished and partially finished pcs, I have been able to get most of the measurements for the wing halves.... same root cord as the spit eh?
As for painting, I have a book on Messerschmidts, several different color scheems, different squadrons I guess...
Anyway, back to the drawing board to get the wing drawn then, transfer the patterns to foam and start cutting....
Pics, will post em on the FT Spit forum, as I go along....
Again, many thanks for the kick in the pants to build a messy...
Art.
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ultramicrobe on April 13, 2014
That's weird because PDF is supposed to be portable - east to open and print. There are lots of free programs to do this (like Adobe Reader), and installing on would be WAY easier than re-doing it.

One other tip, you can open the PDF file in your web browser too - so then you can just print from there and when you do make sure the scale bar is 5" and you are good.
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Art Lane on April 18, 2014
OK, found the problem..............me! Got all printed off now and am in the process of transfering to foamboard.... Wings cut out and partially assembled, Power box made, fuse drawing transfered ready to start the cutting... Whoops, I see a change to the front, making it more pointy... will change that before I start cutting...
So far, so good.... Tail feathers partially drawn on foam....
enjoying this one buddy...
Art
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Art Lane on April 18, 2014
By the way, I don't see any way of posting pics on this forum, so, posted on the B25 forum...
A.
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Art Lane on April 22, 2014
Good morning again...
Well, wing all built, halves that is, aint joined together yet, fuse was bothering me.... As I previousley said I'm using the FT Racer for the base plan, I liked this one for building, altho no different than the Spit... Anywho, once the fuse was all together I then added the tail feathers, and found............................... they were lower than the Spit... The top of the Spit fuse runs straight through to the rear, not the Racer fuse tho, it's dropped at the rear were the tail feathers are attached.... i seemed to remember you said you "Narrowed" the spit fuse some, which I forgot to do.... Am in the process now of "Tapering" the Racer fuse at the rear, top, to have the tail feathers fit the same as the Spits, altho, there is more of a taper on the top of the fuse now..... Follow me????
Will be printing off the front and rear bulkheads today, cutting the foam and inserting them in place... Power box is all done now and fits like a glove, well a loose glove, ha ha...
I'm posting pics on the "Spit Build" Forum so you can see my progress...
With the nicer weather here now, can't wait to get out to our field to test out my Reno Racer and the FT racer.....
Back to building...................... raining now so must get the Messy finished...
A.
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ultramicrobe on April 22, 2014
As long as you like it and it flies great, then it's a success, right? I knocked an inch off the back of the fuse to taper the tail - looks good and made no difference to the strength. Probably makes it balance easier too. Good luck.
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Art Lane on May 2, 2014
Mornin Ultra..
Well, getting closer to finishing... Mixed the craft paints for my air brushing and tested them on a scrap pc of foam, looks close enough...
Power box hookup is a little difficult, not much room to work with and leads are too short to make it easier.. Some fiddlin around and it will be done, soon...
Cockpit made and fits nicely, just the lines to add to this now..
I'd like to add the landing gear outline on the bottom of the wing. Have you any pics, scale, of how I can draw this?? And, the bottom of the wing, should I add a bit of grey color, for orientation??
Been a good project and am looking forward to it's first flight... When the weather gets better, ha, spring?? Aint here yet....
Thanks again for your help and comments..
Art.
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ultramicrobe on May 5, 2014
Good luck flying. I posted some new pictures above, check them out.
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Art Lane on May 6, 2014
Hey, that one with the "Spots" is the one I'm copying, thanks again for your help.... I posted the latest pic on Spit Build.... What do you think??
Art.
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hursto75 on May 28, 2014
Love this plane. I have built a few so far. I also designed a wingbox upgrade for the BF-109. Take a look. http://attituderc.com/ft-spitfire-wingbox-upgrade/
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Flying Fox on September 3, 2014
Beautiful Plane
Keep up the good work.
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hellcat on November 2, 2014
Hi very nice and thoughtful modification of the spitfire
I have just about finished one in depron based on your plans I have an NTM 2836 2700 and wondered if it might be suitable the motor is rated at a 1.2 kilos of thrust
I thought a 7x5 prop.
my plan comes in at 1.1kilos even with a 4s 2200
thanks so much for your contribution to the site
Ross from OZ

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ultramicrobe on November 2, 2014
Wow, I am not sure I could say what that would be like. It is so different from any of the motors I have ever used (I don't usually have high KV small prop planes). My guess it is that would be a bad idea and I would go with something like a 2830 or a 3536 1000-1200v-ish and a 9x6 or 11X7 prop, but that is just because that is the kind of set up I have tended to use on planes of this sort and size. The power set up described in the article is adequate, but as my flying has improved I have wanted things with more power, so if making this now I would try a 3536 1000v and an 11x7 prop.
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hellcat on November 6, 2014
Thank you for the suggestion I think you are right my spitfire runs on an original the beef emax motor that came with the ft spitfire through lasertoyz. but cant get one anymore too expensive from the us.
What is the approximate weight of your Messerschmitt ready to fly?
kind regards
Ross
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aengland300 on December 27, 2015
Could you try a F-86 Sabre?
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Hoangtugio on May 19, 2016
Can you help me
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Hoangtugio on May 19, 2016

Give me the drawings are not
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ryan.thomas on August 14, 2017
Thanks a lot. Just need some foam board...
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ultramicrobe on October 15, 2016
Wing spars are identical to the FT spitfire. I got a request for them from svu9376 which does not seem to be posted anymore, so if you still need that, please use the FT Spitfire spars.
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Spitfirepilot19 on November 23, 2017
Nice! Only one problem, where are the ACTUAL plans for the Horizontal and verticle stabilizers, turtle decks, formers and canopy?
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