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Paul K. Guillow, Inc. Balsa Wood Airplanes F6F-3 HELLCAT

Kit Number: 1005 Wing Span: 33" Scale: 1/16

[IMAGE] The first production F6F-3 took to the air in Oct. 1942, and by Jan. 16, 1943, operational F6F-3's were being delivered to the U.S. Navy. More than 2500 joined the naval service in 1944 with production of the "3's" coming to a halt in the spring of 1944 when an improved version, the F6F-5 began to roll down the assembly lines. Form its first combat engagement, the Hellcat proved superior to its Japanese opponent and maintained this advantage right up to the end of the hostilities. Largely remembered for its exploits during the war in the Pacific, Hellcats served aboard the following as well as other carriers of the U.S. Pacific Fleet- Yorktown, Essex, Enterprise, Hornet, Lexington, Ticonderoga and Intrepid. Notable combat engagements occurred over Marcus Island, Wake Island, Tarawa, and the Marianas.

About ten years ago we decided to see just how big we could blow up the plan for the Guillows P-40. It came out to an 80" wingspan. Then for years we just stood around and looked at the plan, trying to decide if it would be practical to try to build it. Turns out, that sometimes you just have to do, what you have to do.

The plane became a "proof-of-concept" aircraft, demonstrating that the Guillow construction technique is sound for even to largest of models. It has proven that we can build an even larger model, and fly it U-Control.

So, we blew up the plan for the Guillows F6F-3. This time the plan came out to a 92" wingspan. Because we wanted a flying plane, (U-Control) there were quite a few engineering issues to solve before the first piece of balsa wood could be cut. We didn't want to even get started with the expense of a gas powered engine large enough to get this thing into the air. Not to mention fuel proof paint, and other issues related to gas power including noise. So, electric power beacame the best idea. After searching the web for DC Electric Motors powerful enought to drag this airframe around the circle, we found that a hobby shop motor designed specifically to do what we wanted to do would cost in the neighborhood of $700! After pricing batteries, a charger for the batteries, and other related accessories needed, we were looking at $1200, and the plane would only fly for about 5 to 7 minutes on a charge.

Then, we discovered Skycraft Parts and Surplus. We found a motor that would put out the power required for only $5.95 each! Yes, 6 dollars! The motor draws approximately 1 amp no load @ 12VDC. RPM 13,700 @ 12 VDC, 11,000 @ 9 VDC, 7,000 @ 6 VDC. We bought 4 of them. Now, what battery? Enter: PlanetBattery.Com. We bought 2 batteries for $20 each and a charger for $40. After testing with a 19" propeller, we found that hooked up in series at 12 volts, these 6v batteries would give us all the flight time we needed. So much so that we put a switch on the control handle for turning the motor on and off.

The model is covered with 100% cotton muslin fabric, sold at Hancock's. We used Shelac as a substitute for the far more expensive airplane dope. Tite-Bond (yellow) glue turned out to be a fairly good choice for sticking it together.

Insignia from the web, and enhanced in PhotoShop, then printed, and laminated onto the skin of the model with thinned glue. Aircraft total weight is 12 pounds.

The paint is: Manor Hall Exterior Latex from the Monarch Paint Company, as suggested by the paint contractor here in our new subdivision. We mixed custom colors with Testors Model Enamels, then made paint chips and sent them down to Monarch, where they again mixed custom colors. Never used better paint.

What are we going to do with it? WE'RE GOING TO FLY IT!.

NEXT?: (110" wingspan...)

Comet Industries P-38 Lightning

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