The Squirrel and the TSK (Part I)
Back in 1985, when I first got hooked by RC heli's, I wanted one that looked like a real full-sized helicopter. My favourite was the Hughes 500, which was actually being made as a "hang-on" kit, for my first machine, a Schluter Miniboy. It was a bit of a pipe dream, but it costs nothing to dream.
After returning to the hobby several years ago, I've kept my eyes open for the different fuselages that are available. While the types of scale or semi-bodies that are for sale has greatly increased, there are only a few that catches my eye.
Finally, the chance to actually purchase one came my way. So, after looking over the different manufacturers, I started looking closely at the Funky line of fuzes. They offer a good range of bodies, over several different sizes. So, then the choices came down to:
1. what mechanics will go in the fuze
Well for the first, I looked at the several different makes of machines in my helicopter fleet, and I decided pretty quickly on the TSK Mystar 30. I had purchased the kit assembled by a friend of mine, Terry, who did a great job putting it together. As is typical all the TSK's, the machine is a stable, smooth flyer, which I think is required if you are going to do scale-type flying.
As for the body, I didn't want anything military, or too ordinary. No Jet Rangers, no 222 or Airwolf. That left a few choices, and among them was the Funky Twinstar, which is a semi-scale body, based on the Eurocopter 355A. It's a twin engine machine, as opposed to the single engine Squirrel, the Twinstar's little brother. Since I've always been partial to the Squirrel, the Twinstar was for me.
I contacted Rick's RC Heli's in Texas, and asked if they could help me out by ordering me one. A couple of emails later and I got word that it was on its way!!! It arrived 7 days later, and I carefully opened the box, and saw a sweet looking 2-part fibreglass fuselage. Included in the kit was the vertical and horizontal stabs, both needing to be attached to the tail boom, plus the windscreen, and some basic instructions for mounting some mechanics in the fuze. The mould was made for the Hirobo Shuttle, so the assembly instructions are for that machine, but you get the gist.
This is what they used to call a "hang-on" fuselage. Basically, the fuse requires no structural support to keep the mechanics in place, since the mechanics are lifted straight from the skids and slid into the mould. I will add some additional "touch points", to connect the mechanics and fuze together at several points, to minimise vibration. The other type of fuze calls for all sorts of wood formers to be glued in place, to allow the engine, gearbox, mast, etc, to be held in the correct positions. Lotsa work, if you ask me. If I wanted to work with wood and glue, I'd build planes.
So to start with, after many hours spent surfing the Net, I was able to find a couple of good sites that tell how to do this type of installation.. I then spent an hour looking closely at the mechanics sitting next to the fuze, trying to puzzle out what had to happen to make it fit. After a few tests, and a bit of plastic removed from the tail boom transmission case, I was able to smoothly slip the metal tail boom, through the fuze, and into position. Next, I carefully put the front part into position, holding it in place with some tape. I then checked the clearances inside. And other than the muffler being a bit too close, everything seems to have enough room, with no binding against the inside of the body! This is something that you can't be certain about, unless the fuze has been made for exactly your machine.
Well, the next step for me to get with a fixed wing friend, and have him make
me a thin plywood plate, that I'll glue to the underside of the fuselage, when
the skids will bolt through to the mechanics. Although it doesn't call for it,
I want to lightly re-enforce this area, so the fibreglass is stiffened a bit
in this area. After that is done, We'll look at mounting the two stabilisers,
and then start to think about some surface work.