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Adam's Tour Diaries #21: A Gorgeous Little Town

Dec. 12, 2014: I’m here to testify to the fact that Fayetteville, Ark., is a gorgeous little town. Really sweet. I woke up and had a couple of interviews. After some computing work, I headed out for a 90-minute walk around town. Like I said: Gorgeous!

Fayetteville is full of buildings like this...
… and windows like this ...
… and manhole covers like this!

I did an NPR interview in the morning with a woman named Antoinette Grajeda (you can listen to it here) and she told me about an awesome bookstore around the corner from the Walton Arts Center, where we were performing. I decided to go and I was NOT disappointed.

Tested Builds: LED Hypnocube, Part 4

Soldering steel wire proves to be more challenging than either Will or Norm anticipates, and both struggle not to stay off course or burn themselves with the soldering iron. Taking bets in the comments as to whether this build will success or fail, and whose mistake screws it up! To watch and follow along with the build, sign up for a Tested Premium Membership by clicking here.

12 Days of Tested Christmas: Portal 2 Atlas + P-Body

For the eleventh day of Tested Christmas, Norm shares a recent find: highly detailed articulated figures of Portal 2's Atlas and P-Body characters. These sixth scale figures were made by a collaboration between Valve and 3A, a maker of incredible collectibles. Time to set these figures and their Portal guns up for display in the office!

How to Get Into Hobby RC: Building Foam Airplanes

Electric airplanes made of molded foam are very popular in the RC world right now. While this class of airplanes used to be limited to small models with modest power, there is seemingly no limit to the size and power handling of modern “foamies”. Perhaps the largest contributor to their popularity is the marginal effort that’s required to assemble an attractive and nice-flying foam model. There are, however, some things to be aware of, and habits you should develop to court success with these aircraft. I recently assembled and flew a newly-released foamy to illustrate what I’m talking about.

THE COMPLETED FLITEWORK STEARMAN IS AN ATTRACTIVE AND AEROBATIC MODEL. UNFORTUNATELY, I ALSO TESTED ITS TOUGHNESS.

The Flitework Stearman

The model that I used for this article is the Flitework PT-17 Stearman. It is a 1:8 scale model of the 1942 Boeing PT-17 that is owned and flown by The Flying Bulls in Austria. Most of the model is constructed of molded Expanded PolyOlefin (EPO) foam, a popular material for RC planes. This is a Receiver-Ready (RR) model, meaning that all of the control servos and power system components are included and installed. The user must provide a radio receiver and transmitter, as well as an appropriate battery to power the airplane.

This was my first experience with a Flitework model. Overall, I would consider it a little above average among the current crop of RR foamies that I’ve seen. The mold quality of the foam components was excellent and the finish applied to the airplane was well executed. There is nothing worse than factory-applied trim schemes with sloppy paint overspray or crooked decals. I was happy that neither sin was displayed here.

THIS SHOT WAS CAPTURED WITH A MOBIUS CAMERA MOUNTED IN THE FRONT COCKPIT OF THE STEARMAN…WEEE!

Despite my positive first impressions with this model, my unboxing inspection also revealed a few common shortcomings that I would need to address. The positive side of this is that the corrections were easily implemented and didn’t incur any extra cost. As I outline the basic assembly steps, I will cover those changes, as well as some tips and tricks that may not be intuitive.

Tested In-Depth: Boosted Electric Skateboard!

Many futuristic ideas seem too farfetched to be practical, but this electric skateboard really works and turned out to be both fun and useful. Norm learns to skate with the Boosted electric longboard and we discuss how this board is more than just motors and batteries attached to a normal longboard. (Thanks to Jeremy Williams for helping with video coverage in this review!)

12 Days of Tested Christmas: Earphone Upgrade

On the tenth day of Tested Christmas, Will recommends a way to improve the comfort of your existing earphones. By using fitted foam tips by Comply you can get your earphone closer to your ear canal and block out external noise. They're a great stocking stuffer!