Landing Gear – Modifications for Grass Fields

 Concepts, Mechanical, Scale, Plane Aerial Concepts Belgium, Patric Dietvorst, AS3X,Eflite, P-47D, Spektrum, Thunderbolt

P-47D Thunderbolt Landing Gear - detail

What makes the best Warbird for grass landing? Something with bigger and particularly sturdy wheels/landing gear. The Eflite P-47D is a tail dragger and with the factory retracts and stock wheels, nose overs are occurring on take off and landings, especially when the grass is not short. A good thing is, the landing gear is wide and there are possibilities to modify the landing gear to improve stability and take flying precautions to successfully take off and land like a scale plane, also on a grass field.

I have exchanged the 2,5″ (5 cm) wheels with Dubro 3″ (7,5 cm) lightweight wheels. It’s possible to retract these wheels. They fit the openings in the wings. Use a copper bus 4-3 mm to adjust the inner diameter of the wheels. Grind away some plastic at one side of the wheel to fit the wide of the wheel on the landing gear.

I change the inclination of the landing gear to use longer bolts and spacers. The wheels are now 2 cm more to the nose of the plane. This makes a real difference.

Take off with Flaps 1/4 out. Give full elevator up before gently apply throttle to get the plane moving. Apply full throttle only when the plane is already rolling through the grass.Take off with a  gentle slope. Retract the landing gear when the plane is airborne. Flaps up when leveling the plane.

Landing with maximum 1/2 flaps deployed, and with a relative fast final approach. (approx. 45-50 km/h). Start losing speed when you are 1m above and at the edge of the grass landing field. Flare when the plane is 50 cm above the field, but keep 10% -15%  throttle so air keeps flowing over the wings and the plane will not tip over. Retract the flaps when you have landed. If you like to taxi, don’t stop the plane first on the grass field. Always taxi with full elevator up and flaps retracted.


Weathering – To get a real Warbird Look

 Concepts, Plane, Scale, Visualisation Aerial Concepts Belgium, Patric Dietvorst, Eflite, P-47D, Thunderbolt, Vallejo

P-47D Thunderbolt Weathering - detail

These washes from Vallejo come in medium size 35ml Bottles. There are 12 different colors. For this model I have used 505 (Light Rust), 515 (Light Grey) 517 (Dark Grey), 519 (Olive Green), 521 (Oiled Earth). They are water-based and so thin with water. The wash itself is made with an acrylic resin so that the surface tension of the wash behaves like a solvent-based material, but it has the benefits of clean-up and dilution with simple water. The wash itself dries in around 15-20 minutes depending on the temperature and humidity of where you are working with them. You can also layer washes on top of each other as well. You could suffer some light deterioration of the original coat of paint.

I started with the panel lines. With a small paint, the 517 and brush carefully fill only the panel line. Let 2-3 minutes drying, then use a cloth to wipe away some wash. Wipe carefully in the direction of the panel lines. The idea is, less weathering is better and you can always add some more in a second layer.

The second step is washing the olive green surfaces. With a brush paint the  519 and apply this wash on the surfaces. After 30 to 60 seconds wipe most of the wash gentle with a cloth. Repeat if you like more wash. In the middle part of bigger areas, you best remove more to get a lighter effect. If the wash is to dry to remove use a little water or isopropyl alcohol to remove more. On the lighter surfaces at the bottom of the plane use the 515 wash with the same technique.

The third step is to add some details like dark gun strips (517), rust areas, add some chipping with silver acyl paint. Most details you do not wipe with a cloth. Just apply a little and let it dry.

The fourth step is to paint some elements, like paint the machine guns silver, and dry brush the motor part behind the propeller with some silver strips. You can paint the cowl internally black. I have added I yellow tape inside the front of the cowl and use some varnish to fix the tape.

Fifth step. If you finish the weathering and you are satisfied with the result, you can apply a clear varnish by aerosol. Do not overdo because this only adding weight to your model.

P-47D Thunderbolt

P-47D Thunderbolt - detail
P-47D ThunderboltAfter two flying seasons with a lot of flying hours, this plane was taken out of service to make room for the bigger 1500 mm Thunderbolt Razorback.

WW II Warbird Thunderbolt P-47D from Eflite with a bubble canopy, olive green with D-day stripes on the bottom. A fighter aircraft produced by the United States between 1941–1945. Its primary armament was eight .50-caliber machine guns and in the fighter-bomber ground-attack role, it could carry five-inch rockets or a bomb load of 2,500 pounds.


Bigger wheels and modify landing gear inclination to make it plane suitable for grass fields. Added Spektrum Airspeed, voltage, and Flight power telemetry. Put in Spektrum with AS3X technology 9 channel RX. Added some extra carbon rods in the fuselage and wings after a small crash (wingtip stall). Used different types of weathering techniques to improve the look of this model.

Aircraft Characteristics after Modification

This Aircraft made room for the bigger P-47D Razorback “Flying Floris” also on this Website. After the recuperation of spare parts, the foam was shredded.


P-47D – Weathering to Get a Better Look
P-47D – Modify the Landing Gear for Grass Fields