Archive for November, 2018


Wire cutting a Glider Fuselage

I blocked out the foam with a profile and template locations 1-23.

Went to start cutting the profile right and left halves on the band saw only to find that my band saw didn’t have the clearance to cut 4 inch foam by a quarter of an inch. Now what? I considered going and buying and new larger band saw when I stepped outside in the back of my shop and saw that my neighbor’s bay doors to his shop were open and staring at me was this huge old bandsaw. I spent the next 2 hours there and cut the profiles and the cross sections.

I had a lot of foam left over so I took and piece and using the two formers I had cut already (F10-F11) and made a test cut freehand with the smaller bow I made using the old battery charger on 6 volts. I haven’t done this in years so I didn’t want to waste a actual section. The cut came out pretty clean and I was pleased.

Dug out my old “Feather Cut Bow” (remember those for cutting wing cores?) and will be stringing it up for better cuts on larger sections and wing core sections.

This was fun to do and it all came back to me. No matter what I will be using lite spackle on the foam to smooth over the areas were the bow hung up. After that I can glass it with 4oz and epoxy. 

I was thinking of using two layers of soft 4oz cloth but then again I have the strength of the foam so 1 layer may be enough and as always I want to keep the weight down. I’ll know after I get the first layer on because I’ll be able to see how strong it is. I can always add another layer.

The templates worked out well. The wire traveled well over the CA hardened edges. Tomorrow I’m going to cut more templates and more foam sections. Bit by bit I’ll have the shape of the fuse.


USS Defiant update

Progress on the Defiant

I forgot how hard it is to install this many lights and sound effects, switches and run it all down a tunnel to the base where the board resides. A Tenacontrol board at that. It has three plugs on the board that easily disconnect in case the board ever has a problem to easily replace it. Never put your board inside the model.

I just taped the model together for a look. I did a lot of simple tricks to get things to light up without removing or drilling out parts of the model as other have done in the past. 

I also used Don’s Light and Magic parts. Just wonderful products he makes.

The coloring on the model is all taken from the studio model and this will be roughed up, scratched and weathered to match the studio model. I don’t like my models to look like toys with pristine paint jobs, they just lack scale and life.

Video will becoming and I’ll get into more of this then. This model has lots of push button lighting effects and sounds that my client wanted. Now I say client because I’m not getting material money and a pat on the back along with social media kudos for building this model. When you get an actual profit for all your hard work, experience and expertise then you can call it a clent build.


Jantar Progress

Not much to see but it was a two hour drive to get this stuff and there’s nowhere to buy it locally in Ventura. Printouts of formers. Got to make a profile for cutting the blocks and stations for the formers. Cut formers on the scroll saw etc. This will take some time as I have client jobs at the studio building a Star Trek model for a client and visual effects for a feature film. I’d rather be building. 😉

On the Defiant I start adding the lighting today.


Year end Newsletter from SNG


Progress on the Jantar

It begins. First off to Lowes. I found a large sheet of marker board for 10 dollars. A sheet of model ply would have been a lot more than 10 dollars and I have more than I need for all the templates. The nice thing about this stuff is the white side for marking is easily cleaned off with alcohol so an Elmer’s glue stick works good for holding down the printed formers and once cut you can easily remove and clean off the glue. It’s easy to cut too. So you can be very precise.

I dug out my old Sears Craftsman scroll saw. Haven’t used it in years but it still works well and did a good job of cutting two test templates. After they were cut I cleaned them up, lightly sanded the edges smooth and hardened them with some medium CA. Once the CA dries I sanded again. This made the edge very hard and slick for the wire to travel over. I have even done this with just cardboard for smaller scratch built foamies.

Tomorrow I pick up my large sheet of 4 inch thick blue foam but before I do any cutting I have to make up today the profile of the fuse and the station points for the templates. Nice to be doing this again after more than 10 years of dormancy.  The movie business has a way of taking over every moment of your life at times. Something I don’t miss but building planes I sure have.


Scratching building a 1/3rd scale Jantar Standard 2 sailplane

I have been looking at a number of possible builds for me. It’s been awhile since I’ve made a fiberglass fuse from scratch but I have done plenty in the past. But rather then make a plug and fiberglass epoxy molds and produce a composite fuse, considering doing something I did once that worked out very well for a one off. I don’t want to make kits anymore, I’ve done that.

What I did was wire cut blue foam using model ply templates both outside and inside of the fuse and glassed it with West Systems epoxy. This has worked out very well in the past with 90mm sized EDF jets. But what I’m planning here has not been done (to my knowledge) for a third scale plane.

I wanted to do a sailplane with a less complex wing then a Duo Discus or ASK 21. The wing for the Jantar can be easily wire cut in white foam, sheeted in balsa and glassed. I’ve done this many times but at 1/3rd scale for the Jantar I would be 195.6 inches and a fuse of 90 inches.

I ask you more experienced 1/3 scale builders, would it be more practical to go with a 1/4 scale build using this style of building or just go for 3rd scale and see how it rides?

It’s a beautiful older design and I really like the looks of the plane. If I do build it at 3rd scale it would be my first.

So far I have found plans that I can clean up and enlarge. A source for blue foam and I have several bows for wire cutting.


Busy stuff at the Studio

Between doing motion picture visual effects for a low budget feature, building a USS Defiant for a client and getting back to my hobby I love the most I have been busy.

I’m in the planning stage of a 1/3rd scale Jantar Standard 2 RC sailplane with a 90 inch length fuselage and a wingspan of 200 inches.

I’m also in the planning stages of a documentary on model aviation I plan to start shooting next year. This has never been done before certainly not the one I’m planing because it will be a real film not just talking heads.

Here’s some pictures of some of the things I have been doing and some pictures of the huge model glider I’m starting to build.


Slingsby Perfect build

Easy Built Models Slingsby freeflight to RC conversion continues. 

Converting a freeflight plan isn’t always the easiest thing to do. You need to think ahead.
I needed to be able to remove the cockpit top so I could install the Spektrum brick RX and servos. I had to sheet between the stringers to strengthen the cockpit area and then carefully cut it away. It was difficult not crushing the fuse while grasping it.
I needed to beef up the tail feathers and allow for them to be converted into work surfaces, elevator and Rudder. I added addition;a ribs to both the horizontal and vertical stabs.
Still to come I’m going to strengthen the wing mount area, and add balsa sheeting in the aft for the pushrod exits to the rudder and elevator.
It’s going well and she really light so I’m not worried about weight at all.
First picture is of the actual glider.

What I’m doing now and why

It’s been awhile since I have written much here. This has been mainly due to my lack of interest in social media and current events.

Without getting too political or at least trying not too I couldn’t be more disappointed in the human race. Those of you that use your common sense don’t need me to tell you exactly what I’m referring too but as one example, I have observed that for all the Star Trek fans I have encountered you’d think they’d had listened to Gene Roddenberry’s message. But they don’t.

As a race, the human race, we all came together, stopped being nationalists, stopped war among ourselves, and became a global brotherhood that reached to the Stars. That was and is his message. One I concur with.

I made a film and book about my life experience and the amazing things that happened to me and it went without as much as a whisper. Very few wanted to see a film “about that stuff” that was honest, on the level and truthful. They wanted sensationalist entertainment. They wouldn’t even watch it for free.

I spent 2 years of my life working on the film and in my opinion we made a good film, one that many who have had this experience with the unknown praised the film for.

But the rest, in fact the entire so called “UFO Community” turned their backs because I didn’t give them what they expected and dared to be forthright. We dared to break outside of their little paradigm of fantasy and to say they are not aliens, “But Something is There.”

The trolls on Facebook and the other social media sites and even YouTube just so disappointed me I didn’t need it in my life anymore. As it was after coming forward about my experience with the paranormal it cleared out my facebook page into salience.

This was robbing me of precious time better spent doing the things I love such as spending more time with my family, writing, painting, sculpting, and my hobby (I love the most) of model flight.

Recently I have been building larger and larger planes, Sailplanes to be exact. I got rid of the “War Birds” and jets. I guess I’m just tired of violence and war and the planes remind me of it.

Something snapped in me and I wanted to soar the skies in silence. No more loud motors breaking the silence of the sky. I wanted that Zen that only soaring can deliver. Maybe it was the expression I stumbled over, “If flying was the language of man, soaring would be its poetry”.

I started with the scratch built Aquila and it was love at first site when I flew her the first time. But it didn’t stop there. I built larger models. The bigger they are the better they fly.

profile background

I’ve started getting into aerotowing which is how we fly the larger planes. Like their full size counter parts they are towed to altitude by the tugs, once released we catch thermals and climb and fly sometime for hours before landing.

IMG_5506 (1)

I’ve also taken up freeflight modeling again. There’s just something building a stick and tissue model that’s so relaxing. And the payoff is going to a peaceful grassy field in the country, winding the rubber band engine and letting it go into the sky.


They fly on their own without the aid of sophisticated technology. It was the way actual full sized airplanes were born. That jet you fly in to go see your family or visit other parts of the world all started with that little model and would have never existed without it, not to mention the pilot flying it or the engineers that designed it. It all started with model flight.

Although I’m still doing client builds of models, some visual effects for clients my real interests are purely selfish. I’m 66 years old not 26. There’s so much art still I want to do and the odd short film and or documentary. In fact I’m starting on a doc about my hobby.

I’m currently working on art and sculpture for my first art show later next year. I’m writing my life’s story that includes my career.

Time moves quickly and I need to use every moment wisely and social media, self promotion and making videos about life at the studio isn’t using my time wisely. The views were low, I was lucky if I got 300 views and I was never in it for the money anyway which is why I never monetized.

So as always I will post work I have done here and talk about it. Out of all the so called friends on Face Book and other sights few have come over to the blog and that’s fine. But it does speak volumes.

I’ve posted a couple of videos that really share with you the beauty of my hobby and why it’s so important to me. I hope that you can appreciate and enjoy them as much as I do.

This video is beautifully done and explains visually what a tug is and how these sailplanes fly.

Be sure to watch the flight at the end of the above video. It’s why I like this hobby so much.


SNG Studio Update

I know there hasn’t been much posted lately but we have been busy on CGI special effects for a client for a feature film.

I will be getting back to the Reliant this week so you can expect a build video this week on the model.

I’ve also been working on an art show that we will have later next year that will include my paintings and sculpture. But at present I can’t share with you the pieces I’m doing until after the show.

In addition to that I have been building very large scale and small scale radio controlled scale gliders. This is a serious hobby and some of the planes are 3-4 meter and towed by gas plans to altitude and released.

I’m not sure if this is something that will interest you or not but if it does I can do videos on that progress just for subscribers.

The next one I plan to build is called a Slingsby T-7 British sailplane from the 30’s. It will be around 4.5 meter with a wingspan approaching 200 inches or more.

Currently I just finished the Sinbad build with a 94 inch span. Lou Delmaso did my graphics for the plane. I dig the metal flake Lou!

I’m also writing a book about my life’s story and career.

And I’m starting to shoot a documentary about my beloved hobby that will attempt to enlighten the public to the fact that this hobby has changed the world and we wouldn’t have the technology, aircraft, pilots, astronauts, engineers, and trips to the moon without it. It’s much more than a toy hobby.

As always thank you for your support of this site and our studio!



November 2018

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 331 other followers

Steve’s Archives