The Orlando NCR Fleet

I thought it might be fun to see who is taking what to Orlando for the First Footy NCR. If it’s not too ‘black’ a project I invite you to show and tell here.

To kick this off I have just started to build a brace of Pond Sprites. These are serving a dual purpose in checking my latest laser parts too. The Pond Sprite prototype came second at the Sheboygan Footy Fest back in May, second to the very talented Tony Johnson I might add (in my defense :rolleyes: ).

Since then it has gone through some changes on deck to give easier access to the internals with a single bigger hatch. The sides and bottom are now ply rather than balsa which is so much easier to finish smoothly and tougher to resist the occasional bump. This is a medium width boat, 105mm (4 1/8") at the waterline with a low rocker and blunt rounded bow. She handles very nicely, beating hands off and is very good down wind, but I may be biased :sly:. So here are a couple of photos to illustrate the story so far.

Graham McAllister

Graham ~ oh how I wish (thats another one of the three) I were there with you guys to take part ~ your K2 would be an example to be very proud of.

I would like to wish all competitors the best of winds and hope you all enjoy taking part. I will be with you in spirit

Ok now I am panicking… are they all black projects :scared:

Ah Graham, you’ve had a glimse of my pushme-pullyou design, which is as you note black but with a few yellow bits. I suspect that everyone south of the Mason Dixon line is stiil doing sea trials on their MK 7 thro 19’s while the rest are suffering from the shivers or just in a frozen torpor. Not everyone has a warm basement workshop like yours.

Where is the Mason Dixon line anyway Paul. Warm basement yes, soft water no, it’s one or the other for us it seems… do you not have basements in Florida?

The Pond Sprite Orlando twins are coming along nicely in my warm basement. The third coat of varnish will be going on the hulls today so the shine and depth is building up nicely. The hatch covers are balsa with a ply frame and have been treated to a coat of thinned epoxy inside and out before painting. I’m going to make them white to aid visibility. I love the look of varnished wood so these boats are a treat to build.

PS:02 will be my personal boat which will be racing in Orlando.
PS:03 will be up for sale when it’s finished with servos installed and possibly full radio gear.


Not all black projects, Graham…just took a while to finish it to the point of being pic worthy. In fact, I usually just give my boats a couple coats of white or clear…and this project reminded me why! :stuck_out_tongue:

The boat is Cobra Mk3. This one will sail for the first time in Orlando, though Scott Spacie has had a chance to sail his a few times and is happy with its performance. Hope that means mine will work, too!

The paintwork is inspired by my friend Bob Shea, who is suffering from cancer and had to quit sailing. I’ve named the boat “Sheady Lady.”

Bill H

That is one very nice looking boat Bill, fine craftmanship, thank you for letting us see it. Looks like you are going for both servos on deck, sliding mast too? Is this a diagonal boat? I do like the look of it with the small extra chine.

What I love about this class is how much it allows us to develop and display our crafting skills. I still think there is nothing more beauiful than a wooden boat and nothing more satisfying than buiding and finishing one. Like all good things the more you put in the more you get out. I’ll take the great satisfaction of floating a boat I have actually built over the blandness of an RTF anyday.

Our best wishes to your friend Bill.


Sheady Lady is a diagonal boat, and the servos will be mounted in the hatch cover. I’ll put the sliding rig thingy on her that I used in Sheboygan, combined with my Spacie-built McRigs. The fin has a bolt embedded in the bottom that allows the bulb, held on by a countersunk nut, to be changed for different displacements.

My craftmanship was pretty good assembling her, but finishing is challenging on balsa without adding a lot of weighty filling and priming. To be honest, she looks better in the pics than up close…except the green is brighter than it looks in the photos.

Since Scott has said nice things about her handling, I’ll be publishing this design on the Footy site…after Orlando! :wink:

Looking forward to seeing you in Orlando, Graham…and if anyone else hasn’t registered with Darrell yet, git 'er done!!

Bill H

Finishing balsa has been something I have found tricky too, the grain lines can run pretty deep and show through many coats of primer and paint. Being old school I know that I should use tissue and dope first but I like to use methods which are easily copied and these days who knows how to tissue and dope a balsa model.

I might have stumbled over a solution though while doing a little filling on ‘Dragon’. I used that very light weight white filler sold as lightweight spackling to fill a ding I had made with the edge of the sandpaper on the balsa. I was fairly generous with the area I covered with the filler. After sanding down and a couple of coats of thinned epozy I noticed that that whole area was very smooth. So what I would suggest is worth a try is to spread the filler all over the balsa with a plastic card working across the grain. Sand it back with fine paper and finish. I think a lot of the deep grain lines will disappear and the weight added will be minute.


I’m familiar with that product Graham, I’ll try that out on the next one. My only fear is that it might not adhere well enough to not chip out, but hopefully the paint coats would encourage it to stay put.

Thanks for the idea…Bill

I was thinking of putting it on the bare wood Bill, under a couple of coats of thinned Z-poxy. That should keep it in place. Give it a go on some scrap wood if you have some, I’ll try it too. I think it will have to be primed too or painted before it’s obvious if the grain was filled.

It seems to me that the more paint you put on balsa the worse the grain lines look. I suspect that the grooves may be so narrow that the paint refuses to go into the groove and builds up on either side instead… maybe?

Hi Graham,

I tried to post this a couple of hours ago, but kept getting error messages, so I’ll try one more time. The airplane guys are still using tissue or silk span to seal balsa grain when they want to represent a metal surface, but a lot of them have switched to Polycrylic instead of dope, if for no other reason than the fumes. While I have reservations about Polycrylic’s stand-alone waterproofing capability, it seems to work fairly well as an undercoat, especially when covered by a good coat of oil-based enamel. When I was a kid, I carved model car bodies for my slot cars out of balsa wood, then used a piece of my Mom’s nylon stocking (torn ones only!) stretched tightly over the body and held in place with airplane dope, followed by a coat of auto-body primer. This was all painted on with a brush (because I couldn’t afford a spray can), but after careful sanding to remove the brush marks but not break through to the nylon stocking, it was so smooth you couldn’t see from any grain that it was balsa wood. The stocking will take much better to compound curves than glass cloth (legs have lots of compound curves!), and will stretch tighter over the edges too. I’m not sure exactly how much weight using a nylon stocking (as sheer as possible), Polycrylic, and body primer would add to a hatch (or even a hull), but I suspect it would be less than glass & epoxy or polyester. I may try this on my next balsa hull, just to see how it works out.

Bill Nielsen
Oakland Park (Ft. Lauderdale), FL USA
AMYA #0835
Footy #835

Graham, I think I’ll do a test piece this weekend…I’ll let you know how it goes. I’ll put the spackle on bare balsa, sand it, prime and sand until it looks good, then finish coats. If I still remember what I’m doing by then, I’ll weigh the balsa first, then after it’s done…though my scale at 2 grams precision may not be fine enough. Thanks for the idea.

Bill H

507 and a v-12 here…not sure which one I’m going to sail yet…

On second thoughts Bill it might be better to get one water thin coat of epoxy into the balsa first to get the penetration requited to harden it. Then go with the lightweight filler and another coat of thin epoxy or primer.

Hi Bill N. Yes you are right the skills are still out there. Locally everyone seems to want RTF aircraft and taking longer than an afternoon to ‘assemble’ a so called model is just too much trouble. So I tend to get depressed about what the new builders (not modellers) are actually capable of. A better way than avoiding traditional methods might be to go ahead and specify such methods and hopefully the skills of todays builders will then develop just like ours did.


V-12’s seem to be my nemisis Marc… so bring the 507 :slight_smile:

I’ve got to bring Walter’s boat and gear, John’s boat and gear, and my boat and gear. I don’t know if I have room in the car for the extra boat…:slight_smile:
we have had some mild (40’s) temps and the water is starting to soften I might get a few holes in the lake to do a proper shakedown on my new 507 (as yet only bathtub tested)

But dont’ worry I’ll bring both…:slight_smile: Just in case

Heh, I just read Bill’s post about stockings as covering. That’s what I used on my Razor. It worked great but I don’t think Footys’ even need that much strength. Plain 1/32 balsa sealed and stiffened with spar varnish worked well for the second hull without the added weight.

I can’t find my original build thread. It was in 2006 so maybe it’s gone. (update: a few photos of my nylon covered Razor are on the FootyUSA Yahoo photo section under tallastro’s builds.)

See all y’all soon,

I’ve used lightweight filler on balsa for airplanes and found that it absorbs paint/dope/epoxy almost as well as the wood surrounding it, creating a good bond, which should help it stay put on a hull after a couple of coats of paint/sealer/etc.

Hi Allen,

Can you tell us the brand name for the filler?

Also…email me about your indoor flying schedule…Ronnie and I want to give it another go.

Bill H