Cardinal (oz4418)


Cardinal (oz4418) by Phil Smith 1951 - plan thumbnail

About this Plan

Veron Cardinal. Free flight sport cabin model. Lightweight power model.

Quote: "The Cardinal free flight powered model has been designed as an extremely simple and easy-to-build model for small motors from .5 to 1cc diesel or glow-plug, which at the same time will ghive instructive and trouble free stable flying. The model has extreme inherent stability, and can be thoroughly recommended to the beginner to powered flight. So long as wing and tail are reasonably warp free, the balance correct and test glides carefully made to check incidences - then this model is capable of contest performance..."

Update 21/05/2013: Added kit instructions, thanks to RogerClark.

Update 08/12/2017: Replaced this plan with a clearer copy, thanks to otech66 who posted a scan on HPA. Have spent a couple of hours now cleaning up that scan, to arrive at this point. This (later?) version of the Veron Cardinal plan also happens to show full wing layout with both sides in full, so easier to work on than the previous copy.

Update 17/03/2021: Added kit review from Aviation Modeller International, June 1997, thanks to RFJ.

Quote: "The Veron Cardinal. Mark 'diesel' Lubbock reviews this ever young old-timer.

When I suggested to our editor that he might like to re-visit some of the older free-flight and control-line kits still available, I had two things in mind:

a) To try and tempt seasoned R/C flyers into taking a sideways look at our hobby and to realise how much fun per can be gained from these models. b) To encourage newcomers to power flying without the associated costs and complication of R/C, (you know the scene; Dad takes little Johnny - or Jennifer - into a model shop and asks how much it costs to start R/C modelling, is presented with a prospective bill approaching four figures, Dad turns pale and promptly marches his charge down to the nearest toy shop where the latest computer game is bought and another potential recruit to our hobby is lost).

The kit chosen was the Veron Cardinal, a 35 inch wingspan free-flight model for 0.5 - 1 cc engines which dates back some 45 years, making it almost a vintage model. So how does a kit of this vintage stand up to modern eyes?

Opening the attractively illustrated box reveals pre-cut fuselage sides, some die-cut sheets for ribs and formers etc, a bundle of stripwood including pre-shaped trailing edges, engine bearers, wire, tissue covering, an excellent, well detailed plan and an instruction leaflet, detailing step-by-step all stages of construction right through to covering and flying. Full marks here! One of the lightweight plastic wheels was missing, so I substituted one of my own.

The first job is to check and trim the fuselage sides to match the plan after which the cabin sides are added together with the longerons, taking care to construct a right and left side. The instructions suggest using balsa cement or PVA glue. I can see no good reason these days for using balsa cement so I used PVA throughout, although modern adhesives such as cyano's etc could also be used, of course.

While these parts were setting I turned my attention to the die-cut sheets. The quality of the cutting varied from fairly good in the case of the wing ribs, to die-squashing of the wing tips, to hardly marked in the case of the fuselage formers, where the wood was extremely hard. I think a beginner would have had difficulty in this area (my fingers were very sofe after I had finished and I have access to better tools than most beginners).

At this stage it is necessary to decide which engine to fit. The instructions suggest spacing the bearers to suit the engine, but I prefer to move the bearers out as far as possible, fixing the engine to a thin Paxolin plate, which is in turn screwed to the bearers. This method allows easy thrustline adjustments and also affords some crash protection, the engine breaking away without damaging the fuselage in a heavy landing (hopefully!). As I was using one of my own Midge 0.5cc engines, which is radially mounted, I installed a ply bulkhead, details of which are given on the plan, but you have to supply your own plate. The sides are now joined, taking care that all is square, especially when joining the tail. The undercarriage is now added and the top and bottom sheeting completes the fuselage.

The wings are constructed next, the only problem being that the slots in some of the ribs were a bit wide - not too much of a problem using PVA but balsa cement would shrink in the gaps, introducing warps in the wing. The instructions tell you to set the root ribs at an angle, using the template shown on the plan, but I have rarely found these to be correct, so I always fit them at the same time as joining the wings. The plan gives the dihedral measurement to the wing tip i.e. the top surface, while the instructions tell you to measure under the tip rib. I chose the latter as this more closely matched the pre-cut dihedral brace, and more importantly, looked right!

The tailplane is next, constructed similarly to the wing. The only thing to look out for is that the centre ribs are spaced correctly and they are vertical to accept the all sheet fin. A few minutes with the sanding block to knock off all the rough edges gave a model ready for covering.

You could use tissue and dope as covering, but if you want a coloured finish it would pay to substitute coloured tissue for the white supplied, as colour dopes, used excessively, are very heavy and models of this type should be kept as light as possible. In the interest of marital harmony, and the health of our baby son, I decided to use Litespan in a simple orange and black scheme which, I think, resulted in a very attractive model. The covering process added only loz to the model to give a finished weight of just under 7 oz, within the 6-7 oz quoted by Veron - not bad considering the heavy wood in places and my relatively heavy engine. The model balanced almost exactly as indicated without the need for any ballast.

After what seemed like an age, a suitable day for test flying arrived, although still not ideal, there being a heavy frost and a gusty wind blowing. 1/16 in packing under the tailplane trailing edge produced a nice flat glide with just a hint of a left turn - ideal! On with the power tests then.

A short low powered run gave a gentle climb, the model weathercocking into the now increasing breeze, followed by a gently left-hand glide. Increasing the power, and introducing just a tad of left on the trim-tab gave a perfect left-left flight pattern, the model handling the breeze effortlessly. I was well pleased! Later, the model's strength was tested when, following a premature engine cut and a sudden gust of wind, it stalled and with insufficient height to recover, dived vertically into the frozen ground, wings and tail flying off in all direction! On reassembly, the only evidence of the impact was a lump of grass on the spinner! 10/10 here!

So how does a 45 year old kit stand up today? Very well, it has to be said. At £16.99, it is difficult to imagine many ways of getting more fun per £ nowadays, and its flying performance is as good today as it always was. An experienced modeller could build one in a few evenings, whilst a beginner should be capable of completing the model successfully whilst still finding it a satisfying challenge. With a little more attention to wood selection and the die-cutting (I wonder if it could be re-engineered to use modern CNC cutting techniques), it would be a perfect beginners' model.

A final thought occurs for hardened R/C flyers. Back in the early 1970's we flew Cardinals using Cox .049's and single channel radio. Now, modern 2 or 3 function radio is even smaller and lighter than those old systems, so why not build one for R/C? You could even just fit one servo and re-discover another lost art! Now where's my balsa knife? Good flying! "

Supplementary file notes

Previous scan version.
Printwood formers, 11 pages of A4.


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Cardinal (oz4418) by Phil Smith 1951 - model pic

  • (oz4418)
    by Phil Smith
    from Veron
    35in span
    IC F/F Cabin Kit
    clean :)
    all formers complete :)
  • Submitted: 20/05/2013
    Filesize: 612KB
    Format: • PDFbitmap
    Credit*: vintage1, otech66
    Downloads: 7385

Cardinal (oz4418) by Phil Smith 1951 - pic 003.jpg
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User comments

Hello Steve, Firstly, I'd just like to thank you for all of your work in providing and maintaining, it is by far and away the best free plan site that's ever been on the Internet. My friend and I are regular attendees at the BMFA Nationals and this year decided to build a couple of models for the free flight mass-launch on Saturday evening [see more pics 003-006]. After referring to the Outerzone, we settled on the Cardinal because it's relatively simple so could be built in the few weeks we had before the August Bank Holiday and we both had spare power-plants sitting around doing nothing; his a brushless electric motor, mine, a DC Dart that I bought about twenty years ago but had never even run. We made a few small modifications to the design along the way, we've added a couple of extra 1/8th square balsa spars to the top of the wings and a small amount of sheeting near the centre sections. The fuselages have also been sheeted completely between the trailing edge of the wing and the sternpost with 1/32nd balsa, top and bottom. These mods were simply to strengthen the models slightly as the mass launch always involves a lot of obstructions - Usually observers! Built as designed they would have been lighter and no doubt would have been perfectly strong enough for normal sport flying. We've also made our fins a tiny bit taller to eliminate any tendency for the famous Cardinal Dutch Roll. Both models are covered in domestic tissue, very much like what would have originally been in the kit, and they are finished with Halford's car rattle cans, my friend has added printed tissue Union Jacks to his too. Mine, being diesel powered, is fuel proofed all over with gloss Aerokote ...Both models have flown and flown well, mine covered about two miles on its first powered flight with absolutely no trimming required and I was very lucky to find it again ...I hope you enjoy the pictures. Keep up the good work on the Outerzone, it is much appreciated by me and doubtless thousands of other modellers worldwide. Cheers,
Pete - 03/09/2015
Besides being a highly successful F/F sport model Phil Smith's delightful little Cardinal also makes an excellent electric R/C park flyer. The red white and green model [see more pics 007] is my R/E/T model which started life 10 years ago with a GWS twin motor geared unit. This suited it very well until one of the motors died when performance became somewhat marginal. A very cheap brushless "bell" motor was installed and that is how it has flown ever since accumulating a lot of flying hours as it has been my "go to" model for teaching visiting non-modellers the rudiments of R/C flying for the last seven years. The fact that it has survived this unblemished (albeit with the colours somewhat faded by exposure to the sun) is a tribute to how easy it is to fly. Specification of my model: Weight 10.5/8 ounces, wing loading 8 oz/sq. ft. Motor Towerpro bell motor. Prop GWS 8 x 4.3 EP, battery 2S 850. Full throttle watts 60 at 8.2 amps gives VERY rapid climb. Lively flight at 25 watts/3.1 amps, level cruise at 12 watts/1.5 amps. Maximum watts/pound - 91
Sundancer - 28/03/2016
My Cardinal pictures are attached to this e-mail, to can add to the Outerzone plan page [more pics 008-010]. You can see my build thread here:
MehmetA - 22/11/2016
My Veron Cardinal, awaiting test flight [pic 011].
Brian Berwick - 06/07/2020
Hi, Some pics of my Veron Cardinal with MP Jet engine, TX is a 2,4 conversion of a Futaba single channel [pics 012-014]. Regards,
Jef Lemmens - 15/02/2021
Delighted to find this site. I set a New Zealand Free Flight Category B record with my Cardy powered by a Mill .75 back in the early 60’s. Subsequently improved the design by making a flat section in the middle of the wing span so it sat better on the fuselage.
Ian Ferry - 28/09/2021
My Cardinal (main pic) has single channel rc and a Boddo Mills 0.5cc as power, flies very well and is the quintessential FF sports plane. Easy to build, fairly rugged and well suited or those wishing to recapture their youth. The RC is rudder only and to ensure I can nudge it back towards my general direction.
Graeme Hogg - 23/02/2022
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