Introduction: RC Foam Dusty Crophopper (Disney's Planes)

I love to fly! Every since I was a kid I was always amazed with how something so big and heavy could fly so far and fast! So when the Disney Movie "Planes" came out, I wanted to make one to actually fly! I fly remote control and am skilled enough for the flight part... but what about the build? This build is based on a scratch build kit and is for the kid in all of us! But be warned! This plane is foam and while kids don't know this, DUSTY is popular! Be careful around kids that will want to grab it and be rough!!

This is my first ever Instructable but bear with me! This can be fun! This project assumes that you know how to fly RC planes... otherwise you can build this as a static display and save money on electronic servos (3), ESC, Motor and pushrods!

The original plans are from, a small business that makes the plastic molded parts for this plane to shape the foam internals. But all the rest is up to you! You'll need the following (besides your remote controlled transmitter)

  • One foam sheet , 3mm 28 inch X 40 inch
  • One foam sheet , 6mm 24 inch X 24 inch
  • Gorilla glue
  • 1 bottle 5 Min. epoxy
  • 1800 KVA Out runner motor
  • GWS 7x4 prop
  • ESC (10 amp minimum)
  • Battery (800 to 850 MAH three cell lipo)
  • KS Steel wire Main gear P/N 505 . . .17 inches
  • Aileron torque rods / Tail gear P/N 502 . . .12 inches
  • Control rods...P/N 501 36 inches
  • Wheels Main gear Dubro 2 1/2 diameter.... P/N250 DL
  • Tail wheel 1 inch dia..... P/N
  • 100mw Axle spacer used Sullivan golden rod P/N 506
  • control rod guide tubes , Sullivan P/N 507
  • masking tape
  • razor blades
  • sandpaper
  • wood glue
  • paint (a good orange, white, silver and black)
  • airbrush (or spray cans)
  • adhesive backed vinyl or monokote
  • perfectly flat cutting surface
  • Pins??

Depron foam is pretty durable and easy to shape. The plans give you the pattern, measurements and shape of the foam cuts you need to make. But it is VERY IMPORTANT to use sharp blades (X-acto blades are excellent and dull after a few long cuts to keep a good supply!) to cut the foam but also the cuts need to be 90 degrees to the cutting surface. This makes for clean lines and surface area for the glue to bond the foam. The Gorilla glue expands with water so don't over do it!!! It will add weight too if used in excess and that is never a good thing for flying planes!

Masking tape (low tack) helps hold pieces in place until the glue sets. Used sparingly and in small strips. Wings are built separate and with a middle "saddle" to fill the gap and provide dihedral for the wing. I found it easier to male the inner edges of the wing airfoil a bit longer since they have to be sanded to shape and to fit the middle wing piece snugly. From here, the main fuselage gets assembled!

The ribs and side walls are pretty straight forward, but once again, the clean, 90 degree, cuts make the assembly easy and precise. The glue has surface area and the pieces require less sanding to get out imperfections (3mm is pretty thin!) Masking tape holds the ribs in place and one at a time add gorilla glue and place. I used pins to hold them in place as well. Give the sections time to set before doing the last few ribs near the back of the plane as they will have to be set with the tail and rudder in place.

Cut the vertical stabilizer and elevator parts with clean edges with a little over cut (you'll be sanding this part to get the right shape). Slice free the rudder and elevator and gently with super fine or fine grit start to profile the stabilizer shapes (template included in the plans). Hinge the control surfaces and add your control horns as well as control rods into the fuselage before mounting both pieces to the plane. Test fit everything and offset the horizontal stabilizer angle to match the engine thrust line (noted in the planes... small cuts to the fuselage mounting area take care of this before gluing in place). Cut the ailerons on the wings, using a sharp knife, and be sure to keep it 90 degrees to the top skin of the wing and notch out a 45 degree wedge end to end to allow for deflection of the surface once hinged (very next step).

Bending the wire for the wheels is also pretty easy. Basic angles are provided on the template. The wheels mount easily and I added a little height to my tail wheel so Dusty sits a little taller and more parallel to the ground. It won't roll easy in much grass so smooth or paved surfaces are best. Used a thin double coat of wood glue on the leading edge of the wing and outer airfoil edges to harden them and make them less susceptible to hangar rash. With wheels mounted and the cockpit trimmed to fit, it is time to install all servos and electronics to the fuselage and test with the receiver and transmitter. Hinge all surfaces and make sure they move in the right directions!

Trim the top, plastic frame pieces and fit to the fuselage. make sure the cowl, access panel and fuselage cover all fit well and glue in place. Gently test fit the wing to the fuselage saddle cutout. Running a strip of sand paper between both surfaces (rough side up) should trim the surface so that it fits the wing snug. It doesn't have to be tight, but it needs to fit firmly for the glue to have good adhesion! Make sure it is centered and looks proper before the glue sets.

At this point, everything else is cosmetics! For the eyes, I used blue adhesive backed covering and traced a dime for the two pupils. And a whole punch for the center of the eye in black adhesive backed film. And a small dot of white primer on the end of a wooden pain brush handle (cut square) for the reflection. I drew the "smirk" of Dusty with a marker after looking online for a few pics to reference. Same with tracing the windows. And everything else is masking and painting!

NOTE: The orange color used had to be mixed as no one had the exact or close color. I used some Testors Cub Yellow and sprayed it into a cup. And slowly sprayed in Bright red and mixed, a little at a time, until I had about 3 oz of a good orange I felt was close. From there mask off areas not to be sprayed and spray the entire plane in gloss white. End to end. Then mask off the white with low tack tape and paper (after the white is dry) and spray the orange. Little at a time, light strokes and thin coats to build it up. stick on the eyes, cut the tail stripes from the same black and white adhesive film and stick them on the rudder and the fun is done!

Take LOTS of pictures before your first flight! It is foam and electric... once the battery is placed, center of gravity checked (not too nose or tail heavy) and everything is ready to fly it gets real! This is the moment you built this plane for so trust your build... and FLY IT!

Help me get better! Review, comment and subscribe! More to come!

Make It Fly Contest 2016

Participated in the
Make It Fly Contest 2016