In February 2001 Ron Daniels asked me: "Want to buy one of my new Tempest kits?" The answer was, with no doubt, YES!! Ron had re-designed his "old" 1/12 series of Hawker fighters to 1/10,9-scale (10% larger). With almost no airframe weight gain!
There are two different versions of the Mk. II and V kits:
A stripped-down economical version with no parts for landing gear, wing fillets, electric motor mounting etc. The Combat Version is also using two top-mounted aileron servos, rather than a bellcrank system. And you combat guys, the 1/4" deep 1/16" stock interlocking sub-leading edge is cut from aircraft plywood :-)
It comes with all of the wooden and pre-bent wire parts needed for fixed main landing gear, as well as including wooden gear doors, and wing fillets. It uses a single central servo to operate both ailerons through a bellcrank system within the wing.
All parts have their identities laser etched on them. If you wish to use an Astroflight 035/05 sized gearbox, it can be mounted directly to the included 1/8 lite-ply former. In the Tempest Mk II, a 1/8 lite-ply radial engine is pre-cut to directly accept this gearbox.
The sport kit comes with a 4-channel hardware pack that includes the wing bolt/blind nut, 2-56 pushrods (pre-z bent), clevises, bellcranks, control horns, and all of the necessary 2-56 bolts for the control horns. Included 1/4 " sq balsa pushrods are used for the elevator and rudder. Aileron pushrod, and tail wheel bracket are left up to the builder. Available, but not included, is a set of wing ribs and fuselage formers pre-cut to allow drop-in installation of Spring Air #603 retractable main landing gear.
After some delay, due to problems with the laser guy and his equipment, I got the kit in June. (During this time I was regulary updated with the status of my order.) Because my kit was one of the first, I got a Mk. II sport version kit with a "Mk. V conversion kit".
The kit was well packaged, and there was no damage despite the long journey from Canada to Sweden.
The first problem was to decide the powerplant. My Astro 05FAI-G or a glow engine?
Ron gave me lots of ideas and advice how to and what I needed to build a Electric-Tempest. But I had to buy a new ESC (my old was without BEC), new cells and probably a new charger (mine was a lousy homemade). I bought a new OS25FX!!
The fuselage builds as a basic box (interlocking and self-alligning). Then the top formers are tabbed into their individually fit slots. The pre-cut sheeting is then added. The fuse is then turned upside down, and the bottom is done the same way. The formers tab into the right slot, and only the right slot.
The simple and durable cowling is wooden. On the round Mk. II cowl, you have an incredibly strong cowling in under 15 minutes. Two laminated rings glued together with four supports between, and then just the sheeting! The Mk. V cowl needs more work with the sheeting, but looks wonderful when finished.
These new Tempests come with a vacuum formed canopy, with frame lines molded into place. A simple cockpit with a pilot is a must! The wing is built in three parts, a centre section and the two outer wing panels. Start by gluing the washout-setting, tabbed ribs an interlocking shear web, and interlocking sub-leading edge . You then install the 1/8 x 1/4 spars (outer panel spars is laser cut), the pre-cut D-tube sheeting, and the pre-cut trailing edge sheeting. The position of all wing components is set without requiring to measure. Thanks to the rib jig tabs you get a perfect, warp free wing!
The tail group is made from interlocking 1/4" balsa. The fin interlocks with stab, for easy assembly alignment.
So, finally it was time for the first flight! The centre of gravity was in the right place (no lead in the nose needed!), surface travels set according to the manual and the new engine was running reliable. No more excuses! The Tempest was hand-launched with a strong toss. It was rock steady with NO torque reactions. I made some straight flight to trim the model, it needed a little down- and right trims. The recommended surface travels were perfect with some exponential. It was easy to make sloooooow rolls and large loopings. The new OS25FX, still running a little rich, is a perfect choice for this model with power to spare. In the air this model feels like a big one, wonderful.
Up to higher altitude to try the stall speed. Reduced throttle, more and more up elevator. No snap, just slowly losing altitude, WOW! I had to make some strafing runs before landing. Love the sight of the Tempest fast and low over the field :-) Where are the German airfields and trains??!! Traffic pattern and at 2 metres altitude I cut the engine and the Tempest glided nicely. Just before touch-down I gave a little up elevator and it slowed down and landed gently. What a model! I have been flying a Cambrian Bf109 for the last 4 years and I loved that model (yes, crashed it this spring....). BUT this model is so much more, not only because it´s a Tempest, but because of its behaviour in the air. Rock steady, easy to fly scale-like manouvers and the performance. Thanks Ron for a well-designed model! I LOVE IT!