FPV Warbird Rebirth - Project

by JamesWhomsley | July 28, 2015 | (17) Posted in Projects





About a month ago, I crashed the FPV Warbird, a plane I was quite fond of. Clearly such a fall from grace was unacceptable and scrapping such a good airplane was out of the question, so I decided I would rebuild the mangled mess of an airframe that I was left with. Hopefully some of the techniques that I used here when rebuilding will be helpful to you whilst being interesting.  



The Crash


The crash occurred because of a loss of signal between the plane and transmitter, leaving me a passenger as the plane spiralled out of control. 


The crash site was in the field next to the one I was flying from. It was down a hill and behind trees so I lost video contact with the aircraft a few seconds before the impact. Thankfully no sheep were harmed.


As you can see, it was a bit of a mess.

The Rebirth

I firstly decided that the plane needed a new look, something to make it look extra fresh when it was finished. Previously it had been based on a Soviet fighter bomber, but now I wanted it to look like a German bomber.

The Dornier Do 17 was something that looked like what I was after.

I liked the look of the cockpit and other windows especially, as well as the big radial engines. 

The FPV Warbird was built to be a fun workhorse, something to experiment on. This shape, with a long fuselage and interesting, large cockpit, makes it ideal for this purpose. 

The first thing to do was to cut away the smashed foam board.

I had to rebuild the engines. 

They were both attached where the old ones had been.

I wired it all up. The ESC's are probably a little small, but I have never had a problem with them before. 

They were finished off with some nice card cowlings.

The next thing was to build the nose and camera mounting. 

It is a wooden dowel instead of an elastic band, meaning in a crash or hard landing, the camera wont hilariously fall off again.

Building up the 'superstructure' with foam board and dowels. 

Pretty much done.

Now this was all fine, but it still didn't look like the famous 'Fliegender Bleistift' (flying pencil). I decided some rather heavy surgery was in order.

All it took was to add a box in the middle. 

Et voilĂ : A longer airplane.

Now painting could begin. Sometimes it's a bit of a hassle to get right. But it turned out nicely in the end.

Accidentally painted it with metallic "British Racing Green" which wasn't really the luftwaffes style right? So I painted over it. Word of advice - the small tamyia cans of paint are super expensive and will only paint half of this plane. So I would invest in an airbrush or good old fashioned normal brush applied paint.

Decals were painted on mostly.

From the 'first' flight (post crash) with the newly restored plane.

I'm not completely happy with the new cockpit. Perhaps with a wider field of view it would help so I can see the yellow spinners while looking forward. It feels too much like a cage in front of the plane. Also the controls seem too far away. I also need to add the animatronic control column.

A panning mechanism would be ideal, so I can look along the wings and over the engines while turning. I probably wouldn't need a tilt. I've already started work on a mechanism for this purpose, beginning with modifying a metal geared servo to continuously rotate with the rudder input. All I need to do now is 3D print a geared mount for a Mobius that will transmit and record the FPV video.

Once done, this view will hopefully make the cockpit a lot more dynamic!



If you guys want the plans, comment and I will prioritise it for the next set of plans I release so you can get busy building your own Twin Warbirds.

Coming soon! (maybe!)



I think, if anything, what this process has shown is how versatile this design is for modification and reworking. It takes a beating and can be made to look like pretty much any kind of twin engine machine you want it to. It would be easy to make it a mid or low wing, or maybe have a single vertical stabiliser. You can change the engine pods, or even the wing profiles. As we've seen with this one plane in particular, you can add a big box in the middle and make it far longer with no problems! It is a superb workhorse (dare I say myself).  

Obviously it is really easy to do FPV with this thing as you can customise the cockpit to your own wishes. You could even just put the camera all the way in the nose for an unobstructed view.

Get out there and build something awesome!


Thanks for reading this article!

If you enjoyed it, please rate and comment as it would mean a lot.



Burly on September 7, 2015
You did a supper job in bringing that plane back to life.
The paint job is awesome.

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JamesWhomsley on September 7, 2015
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Krivak957 on September 8, 2015
Very nice cockpit view. I did not think of leaving out the glass/plastic -- that is an interesting idea. Do you get a lot of buffeting or flexing of the canopy frame during flight?
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JamesWhomsley on September 8, 2015
Thanks man, yeah I didn't think I needed any. It would probably be a problem with glare. No problems with buffeting whatsoever at the moment though :)
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The-One-Who-Never-Crashes on September 10, 2015
Awesome build! Can you tell me what electronics you are using and what flight times you are getting?

Also, if there's any way that I could help you with that plans, let me know!
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JamesWhomsley on September 10, 2015
Yeah man, the electronics are as follows:

2x Turnigy D2836/8 1100KV Brushless Outrunner Motors
2x Turnigy ESCs
9g Servos
Orange 6ch receiver

Hope that helps!
And thanks for the offer, I will contact you if I ever need any assistance :)
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tinkerbill on September 10, 2015
Your rebuild into a Dornier Do 17 was excellent! Much better than before the crash! Have you made a flight video now that it's rebuilt? I would very much like to see how that DIY panning mechanism worked out. Maybe you could do another article showing your finished pan-mechanism and resulting panned views? Will
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JamesWhomsley on September 10, 2015
Thanks so much man! I haven't edited a video together yet, but I have done a bit of filming with the GoPro from it. Yeah I will probably make an article on the pan mechanism with a video when I'm done building it :)
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RockNBurn on September 13, 2015
Nice, I was looking for a foam multi engine bomber to build. Nice one.
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JamesWhomsley on September 13, 2015
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Meltzmaen on September 13, 2015
Next community build, i would say!
A German bomber would be a great addition!

Nice build, James!
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JamesWhomsley on September 13, 2015
Thank you! that means a lot! I would love to get one of my designs as a community release. :)
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charleyza on September 13, 2015
Glad to see you rebuilt it my mate! Spray job is super cool! What size props did you run with the 1100 kvs you mentioned above?

Happy landings!
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JamesWhomsley on September 14, 2015
Cheers man!

At the moment I'm running 10x5's which probably are too big. Might downsize to 9x4's or something.
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charleyza on September 15, 2015
I have 10x3.8 on my scratch built twin stick. I think 9x5 would work better for me.

Got some pictures on this site : http://www.avcom.co.za/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=16&t=160836&start=30
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JollyOlBrits on April 8, 2016
Amazing plane!!!
Please could you make it available as a set of plans, this design deserves to be built by others :-)
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NopeFather on June 15, 2017
Fantastic DO 217.
Big fan of warbirds but i am rather new to the hobby so none for myself yet. Maybe you build a ME 410? that cockpit would be a nice fpv ride.
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FPV Warbird Rebirth - Project