FT Simple Cub Build/Mods/Painting and First Flight

by jtgraham | September 21, 2017 | (6) Posted in Tips

FT Simple Cub: Build, Tail Wheel Mod, Painting and First Flights


The FT Simple Cub build and fly videos convinced me that this plane was my ideal next build. I have built 2 FT designs before this one, and they were successful at two things:

  1. Learning the ropes on building planes using FT designs and foam board.
  2. Learning that the build quality and ease of repair is superior to many (if not all) other building and design styles.

I recently crashed a plane (my first 4+ channel airplane, the Parkzone Stinson Reliant). 

I suddenly felt comfortable attempting a snap roll at about 10' above the ground! WWIT??? I'm not that good! In fact, I am still a beginner. I have loved this hobby for as long as I can remember. I built rubber band balsa planes, gliders, and balsa glow powered R/C planes when I was young, but crashed each and every time. I never successfully flew any R/C plane until 20+ years later when I learned to fly on a Dynam HawkSky. I managed to learn to fly from learning the basics using an R/C flight simulators. Don'y try to fly with out at least using a simulator or a buddy box! 

But I digress...

This is about the awesome, wicked and totally RAD new Simple Cub! 

I have all the technical details below, so you can see each and every item I used for my build.

The two improvements I have made to the design are:

  •  The addition of a simple tail wheel
    • I hope to re-use the tail wheel design in future builds. When I do so, I will be sure to plan out the design and take pictures in the hope of making a simple how to article. In this article, I will show the tail wheel, describe it's performance and provide some video and pictures of the end product.
  • A simple method to paint the new water resistant foam board nice and fast
    • I found that using a highly adhesive primer before painting the foam board makes painting your models a breeze! 

Simple Tail Wheel

The addition of the tail wheel really improves taxiing and improves the scale quality of this design. Fortunately I had the parts from my crashed plane, including the mounting frame; however, I can see this easily being added to any plane with traditional rudder control horns protruding at the rear of fuselage. The part itself is fairly cheap, and the mount can be easily created with some planning, foam, glue and a straw!

The tail wheel is a ParkZone Tail Wheel: SR-10 (PKZ5204), which is ~$4. The use of a straw to act as the mount should make this easy to add to your next build. I will be trying it, when I have time for another build.

As you can see, it makes for a simple and nice way to add better taxiing control to your FT plane. This video shows the plane taxiing with the new tail wheel.

Painting Water Resistant Foam Board

After watching the Painting Water-Resistant Foam | Flite Test video I was curious to see if there might be a simpler way to paint the foam board so that it was as fast as painting paper. 

I found that using a highly adhesive fast drying primer first, made the painting a breeze. The primer was ready to be painted in ~10-15 minutes. The paint was dry and ready for take-off in less than 1 hour.

These primers are:

  • Found at any auto parts store or body shop
  • Designed to improve paint adhesion
  • Dry quickly
  • Available clear or colored

The paint you see in these photos is ~2 hours after beginning to paint. 

The Build

I used a speed build kit for this build and purchased it from Great Hobbies locally. The build took me two evenings to complete and I am very happy with the end product.

FT Simple Cub Build Specs:

MaterialFT Simple Cub Speed Build Kit
MotorEmax XA2212-900KV
Prop9x4.7 slow fly prop
ESCE-flite 30-amp brushless ESC
BatteryE-flite 30-amp brushless ESC
ServosParkZone DSV130 Digital Metal Gear Servo (Rudder Elevator)
ParkZone SV80 Server with Long Lead 3-wire (Ailerons):
ReceiverHiTEC Optima 7 Channel Receiver
WheelsDU-BRO Super Lite Wheels - 2-3/4" (2) DUB275SL
PaintDupli Color Chrome Yellow BFM0363

  * The linkages and control horns I re-used from my crashed plane. The tail wheel modification would work with the standard push rods used in all FT designs.

And here's a video of fortunate landings! ;-)

Happy Flying



winglet on September 23, 2017
Thank you for posting your very well done article. Really enjoyed reading it.
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jtgraham on September 24, 2017
Thank you. I appreciate it. JG
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Taylor on October 10, 2017
Thank you for a great article. Nice idea on the tail wheel mos
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PoorManRC on July 1, 2019
Fantastic Mod!! Love the idea of not using a Fixed dowel as a Tail Skid...
I'm thankful for this design, and Everything FliteTest does for all of us!!
They leave these open for us to be creative with... It's so nice to see ideas like yours! 👍👍

..... Soon I'll be starting my Mod to move the Main Landing Gear forward about an inch. It's an effort to try to make the Aircraft as easy to LAND, as it is to Fly!

~ Carmine
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FT Simple Cub Build/Mods/Painting and First Flight