Bippa Bipe build

Everything starts with something else. This build started with this li’l pig, who I thought looked like a perfect pilot. I didn’t recognize her, but my granddaughter subsequently informed me that she is Peppa Pig, and quite well known.IMG_5441Peppa’s plane, the Bippa, will be roughly based on Flite Test’s Baby Blender.

Each wing will be created from a single sheet of 20″x30″ Readi-Board (i.e. Dollar Tree foam.) Each will have an 8″ chord and 30″ span. I’m putting in some basswood spars that I have on hand. They’re only 24″ long – I’d rather they were 30″ – but I’ll make do.

After removing the inside paper, I used a pair of hemostats (tweezers) to score some lines in the foam to facilitate easy folding. IMG_5431 The ribs are basically a Clark Y airfoil, squashed down a bit to account for the two .20″ layers of foam that will go over the top. If they were just Clark Y airfoils, they wings cross section would be too fat once I add the foam skin.IMG_5433 Gluing the first wing rib at the starboard end.IMG_5434 The ribs laid out roughly in position.IMG_5436 All eight ribs glued in place. The inner ribs are cut to fit over the wing spar.IMG_5437  Starting to wire up the internal LED lights.IMG_5439 A better look at the LED wiring.IMG_5440 I removed the outer layer of paper and folded the wing over, gluing the skin to the tops of the ribs.IMG_5443 The wing covered in Dollar Tree cellophane wrap. I used 3M Super 77 spray adhesive, then shrunk it up with a heat gun.IMG_5430 Both wings, finished up.IMG_5461 Testing the internal lights.IMG_5448 IMG_5454 The interplane struts need to be more than eight inches long. I’m trying to make do by gluing two shorter craft sticks together.IMG_5462

I gave up on constructing wood interplane struts and, instead, went with these cut out of foamboard. I left the paper on for added strength and I also glued a bamboo skewer in the front and back. I painted the whole thing with Minwax polyurethane to waterproof it a bit. In my experience, Readi-board sheds its paper at the slightest hint of moisture.IMG_5463 I painted the finished struts gloss black and cut slots into the wing, just inboard of one of the ribs, to accommodate them.IMG_5467 Test fitting the wing and checking the wiring for the nth time.IMG_5473 IMG_5480 IMG_5477

Gluing the interplane struts to the top wing.

IMG_5482I use some 1/8″ pinstriping that I buy at auto stores to accent the larger stripes. It makes a huge difference as these two photos show.


Without:IMG_5485 IMG_5489Time to make the fuselage.IMG_5490 IMG_5492 IMG_5494 I found the center of the wing so I could glue an extra layer of foam in there.IMG_5495 Running the LED wires from the wings.IMG_5496 IMG_5498 I actually built the fuselage a couple of times, trying to get things straight.IMG_5499 IMG_5503 IMG_5505 IMG_5507 IMG_5508 IMG_5509 The fuselage covered in blue cellophane.IMG_5570 The rear LED strips (left) and the elevator and rudder servos (center.)IMG_5571 The ailerons are cut out of the same foam board with the paper removed. I did glue a bamboo skewer to the front edge of each.IMG_5573I covered the ailerons with some pink packing tape to give the greater strength and more color.IMG_5574 IMG_5575 I decided, rather than fuss with connecting the upper ailerons to the lower ailerons, that I would give each pair – upper and lower – its own servo. Here’s the bottom aileron servo, which will be hidden in the fuse.IMG_5588 Here’s the top servo.IMG_5589 I made several tries at getting a set of tail feathers built – this is one of them – but they all failed one way or another.IMG_5590 The heat gun kinda ruined the surface of this horizontal stabilizer. Just a little bit.IMG_5596 I pulled the tail feathers off of a failed build from a while back and decided to graft them on.IMG_5591 I think they’ll work.IMG_5592 IMG_5595

Making the battery and electronics compartment cover.IMG_5597 IMG_5599 Here’s the dashboard.IMG_5600 Here’s the pilot’s compartment.IMG_5601 Doing a test fit of the pilot.IMG_5603 The battery cover has a hole for a passenger, should one wish to ride along.IMG_5602 P is for Peppa PigIMG_5604 IMG_5605 IMG_5606 Peppa’s dashboard has a bank of LEDs to light her up at night. SPOOKY!IMG_5613 IMG_5618 IMG_5622 Making the rear turtle deck.IMG_5625 and gluing it into place.IMG_5628 Constructing the landing gear. These will turn out to be crappy and non-functional.IMG_5630 IMG_5631 At the rear: a tail skid.IMG_5632 The original battery deck was too fragile. Putting the battery in constantly broke it. The new deck has a panel of thin plywood and several braces that will connect it to the bottom of the fuselage. It’s upside-down in this photo:IMG_5669

The original landing gear was too short, too fragile and just generally crappy. So I started from scratch and tried again, with longer legs. Two pieces of thick music wire form the landing gear legs. I longer piece of thinner wire forms a brace that attaches near the front of the plane.IMG_5685 It’ll look something like this.IMG_5687 IMG_5688 IMG_5689 I chopped off the front of the original fuselage, trimming the front of the plane even with the firewall / engine mount. I added a coat of black spray paint.IMG_5690 I added a ‘radiator grill’ of metal mesh, attached with spray-on adhesive.IMG_5691Here’s the more-or-less finished plane. At first, I thought that the landing gear was too spindly-looking and the wheels too small. But I decided they actually fit with the cartoon character of the stubby-winged little bipe.beauty1 beauty2nite-beauty-1 nite-beauty-2I decided to make a scoop to ram some air into the battery / electronics compartment, where things were getting a bit warm. I cut a simple triangular shape out of paperless foam.IMG_5721

After a quick test fit to determine placement, I cut a matching hole in the side of the fuselage.IMG_5722Once I had my shape right, I covered one side with black packing tape.IMG_5723Here is the scoop in place. I’m using T-pins to hold it until the glue sets.IMG_5724A view from the front.IMG_5727

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