Monkee Shines is a 1/12th scale Grumman F8F Bearcat, specifically, the Thunder Tiger ‘Rare Bear’ ARF.
I had a number of problems with the kit, the first of which was that Tower Hobbies sent me an email brochure advertising the plane with a brushless motor. The actual kit contained a brushed motor. Tower offered to take the plane back but I’d already started building so I kept it.
Next up was the foam. The plane I got is made of the softest foam I’ve ever seen. The vertical stabilizer literally would not stand up straight under its own power, but drooped over like a feather on a duck’s ass.
The foam is generally so soft that I left fingerprints in it when I worked to assemble it.
I epoxied a thin sheet of plywood between the two halves of the vertical stabilizer to give it some rigidity.
For the rest of the plane, I decided to try something new: “painting” the plane with colored packing tape. The tape actually adds noticeable rigidity to the airframe, and provides some protection as well. I like the shiny surface that results; the plane looks good on the ground and great in the air.
The plane offers no access to the battery compartment other than unbolting the wing, something I hate to do at the field. The interior is also completely sealed, with no ventilation at all. I cut some vents behind the cowling in the hopes of improving the situation inside.
A nose-in snapped the propeller shaft and, rather than fix it, I decided to take this opportunity to upgrade the plane to a brushless setup. Currently, Monkee Shines is running:
- 2410-12D Brushless outrunner from HeadsUp RC
- EZ Flite 18 Amp ESC
- 8 gram EMAX ES08A Servos
- GWS 9050 9″ propellers
- OrangeRx Spektrum-compatible receiver
The new setup is actually a little heavier, once I’ve made a new motor mount. Its all-up weight (AUW) is now 550 grams, up from 528 grams before. Hopefully, the new motor will more than make up for that.