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Bell 206B  Jet Ranger III

Bell 206B  Jet Ranger III  Project

 The Vario Bell Jet Ranger Kit No.1008  features:    


  • Model:             Vario Bell 206 B III Jet Ranger kit no. 1008

  • Mechanics:      Vario Scale Mechanics

  • Engine:           OS 61 SX H WC with Vario scale tune pipe      

  • Rotor head:     Vario Delta Head with 510mm flybar and heavy paddles

  • Blades:            Vario 1530 mm Glass Blades

  • Radio:             Futaba 8UHPS 4- 9202 servos on HELI-2 type mixing, 9402 tail servo with Futaba 153BB gyro 

Scale Features:

  • Remote controlled dual halogen landing lights

  • Navigation lights on tail feathers and tail cone

  • Xenon strobe light

  • Rotating beacon on belly
    Scale paint scheme color matched with authentic decals

  • Four working doors
    Scale cockpit with pilot

  • Cockpit includes: seats, functional seat belts, instrument console, control column, pedals,  fire extinguisher

  • Surface details: Grills, screens, rivets, panel lines, luggage compartment, turbine intake spoiler, weathered exhaust stacks, Antennas, pitot tube.

  • W.S.P.S Wire strike protection system with windshield guide

  • Scale landing gear with anti slip surfaces.



Winter shots  


Built by Daniel Grandmaison    


Building the Bell 206 Jet Ranger III

Choosing a subject

    I had  my mind set on building a scale Jet Ranger for a few years. There was no doubt the subject was to be a law enforcement helicopter.   I wanted to replicate something that would be recognized in this part of the world.  The RCMP( Royal Canadian Mounted Police) have 206s and 206Ls but the paint scheme was not at all attractive to modeling because of high amount of dark blue covering most of the machine. On a cold January night I was flipping through the TV channels and stumbled on a documentary on the Discovery Channel  about the RCMP flying fleet.  Featured were all types of aircrafts of the RCMP fleet.  The RCMP had  just changed the color scheme on their cars and aircrafts.  I had struck gold, the new Bell 306 III featured the new paint scheme and met all my expectation as a subject.  I was able to record this show a few days later and this video became the most important part of my scale documentation.  I then contacted the RCMP bureau in the Capital and I was provided with pictures and small water transfer decals which were just the right size.


Selecting the fuselage/ mechanics

  There are many manufacturers of 60 size Jet Ranger fuselages that can fit conventional mechanics.  But the selection of a fuselage/mechanics system that would allow me to finish the cockpit without having to modify the servo arrangement was simple.  Only Vario Helicopters currently supplies a "system" where the fuselage/mechanics are designed for one another.  No modifications to the mechanics or fuselage is required to give unsurpassed engine cooling and perfect servo layout while leaving the cockpit fully available for scale detailing. Vario goes as far as building in forward tilt in the main mast as with full size machines. Browsing through the extensive Vario catalogs leaves no doubt that these machines are designed for scalers.  Vario offers 3 types of Jet Ranger scale fuselages.  One designed for the Vario Scale Mechanics, another for the Sky Fox  Mechanics ( pod and boom type) and the last for the Benzin (gas) Mechanics.

I chose to go with kit no.1008 for the Vario Scale mechanics.  This is were the mechanics are suspended from the top of the fuselage inside a fiberglass cooling duct. This leaves the interior clear and clean for full cockpit detailing.  With the Vario Scale Mechanics one has the choice of of servo layouts from "Heli-1,2,3,4" or in other terms "Swash 1,2,3,4". The type 1 & 2 is normally found on all heli radios were type 3&4 require CCPM (Cyclic-Collective Pitch Mixing).  I chose the Swash 2 were 2 servos operate the swashplate for collective and roll control.  I chose this configuration is because at the time I was building this kit,  I did not have a radio which supported CCPM.  By using this configuration the servos are located in the cockpit ceiling.  This does not interfere with cockpit detailing and contributes positively to CG location by having the servos forward of the mechanics.


Preparing the fuse

The first thing I did once I received the fuselage was to wash the inside and outside with a Prime Wash followed by hot dishwasher solution.  This is to remove any mold release or residue from the fiberglassing process.  I then sanded the inside of the fuse where gluing of the formers will take place with a coarse 180 grit paper.  This was followed with a Hobbypoxy thinner wash on the inside to get rid of silicone residue from the sand paper.  Although the Vario fuselages are of very good quality, I like to do the rough sanding and nick repairs on the seam before cutting holes in the fuselage.  This gives me unobstructed sanding and I find this much easier.


Fuselage construction

The Vario Jet Ranger kit is very scale, and building it as per the instructions will result in a nice sport-scale helicopter.  I modified a few things to give it still more realism. 

Since I wanted to modify this kit to have opening doors,  the next thing I did was to install the cooling duct. By installing this before any holes were cut in the fuselage, the original shape of the fuse can be maintained.  I then made up paperboard templates for the reinforcement bulkheads which would  provide structural strength to compensate for the door cutouts. Once I had good fitting plywood formers 1/16", I proceeded to cut out the doors.  This process was long but simple.  Since I was cutting out the door to have opening door, I needed to keep the door itself.  So cutting was done by hand with a combination of no.11 blade and no.13 saw type blade. For any cutouts it is a good practice to sand the out out area with a 360 sandpaper and draw in the cut out line with a pencil .  This makes the cut line very visible.  The door frame was made of 1/32" ply with a 1/16" lip all around.  The doors were reinforced with 1/8" plastic square tubing all around to give them rigidity.  Heating the tubing allows bending them into shape.  The doors were fitted with the no.104/5 door handle and hinge set.

The landing gear was modified considerably to have the recessed rear strut.  This require a rear strut bearing block to be fabricated out of 1/8" plywood, and installed in the fuselage.  The struts themselves were 10mm aluminum tubing bent to shape using plywood gigs.  Full size drawing is available for anyone wishing a scale landing gear. The step on the landing gear was made from brass channel bolted/glued in place.  As set of Bear Paws part no.12/20 were fitted to the skids.  Anti slip paint effect was achieved with flat paint and fine sand.

I chose to build up the horizontal and vertical stabs using the balsa parts provided.  The balsa part supplies with the kit has an airfoil shape to it. Since I wanted to have functioning navigation lights,  a slot was cut on top of the stab to run the wires in. I then covered the top of the stab to hide the wires, and sanded in the camber in the top part of the stab.  The vertical stab was made up about the same way leaving a slot for the wires.  The original piece was then laminated with a 1/4" balsa into which I sanded in the appropriate airfoil.

I then proceeded to finish off the remaining of the fuselage work.  Cutting and fitting in the removable belly pan was strait forward.  Small blocks were made to hold in place the tail cone. The cutting of the openings for the grilles and exhaust pipes was done using a Dremel with cutting wheel.  Vario PVC grille material no 20/16 was used through.  These were glued in place after the fuse was painted using CA.  I then masqued the finish fuse around the grilles and air brushed in the proper colors.

The tail rotor and drive system was installed using the supplied hardware.  I elected to stay with the 2mm drive system which is more than adequate for scale type flying.  Rough fitting of the cockpit completed the fuse construction.



The entire fuse was sanded down using 360 wet paper.  Since I need to rent body shop time; any suspected problem areas were given a brush coat of primer which was then sanded down.  This prevents me from going in the shop for 2 primer coats.  Once the epoxy base primer was done, it was sanded down wet with 400 grit paper.  The entire fuse was washed down with Prime Wash again.

 Now comes the fun part of scale building.  Using photographs of the full size machine, I laid down the major panels to be reproduced. Panel lines and rivets lines were drawn on the primer using a flexible ruler and a .5mm pencil. At this point the model comes alive. I used a technique describe by Mike Ellis in his book Building & Flying Scale Model Helicopters were a 1/64" tape is placed down to simulate panel lines.  If you don't over do it this technique yields very impressive results.  The panel line were done with a syringe and glue.

After overnight drying the model was painted with Sherwin Williams Ultra 7000 Base Coat / Clear Coat system.  First the white base was applied to all components.  The following evening, the masking for all the colors was done and by uncovering only selected areas the different colors can applied one after the other followed by the clear.  The quick drying of the Base Coat/ Clear Coat system allowed me to applied all colors, decals and the clear in a one day visit at the shop.  The result is a high gloss durable finish that should last the life of the model.


Set up and flying:

The  DELTA rotor head was set up for beginner/scale flying with the links on the inner most hole of the variable rocker.  Using a 510mm long flybar with thick paddles, the control response is very soft but powerful.  Along with a set of 1530mm glass blades this set up yield hands off hover.  The head speed is set at 1250 rpm with a pitch range from -3 to +6 at hover and +12 at full collective.  With a 14 lbs. flying weight, this setup yields a very scale flight envelope. Take-offs and landing approaches are scale due to the low head speed and the weight.  Using the Vario tune pipe system and the sound dampening material no. 9/20 this machine is by far the smoothest and quietest at fun flies. You can actually hear the blade angle being changed at liftoff and during the flare.  The 60" rotor disk proves very good during autorotation.  Yes, through the 7 gallons of fuel I experienced 3 dead sticks due to running out of fuel.  All three were uneventfully.  I now use a 10 minutes timer to interrupt my fun so I don't run out of fuel.

 A long 30 degrees landing approach at dusk  is one to seen and heard.....  Totally awesome!

Copyright, 2001 VarioCanada.com. All Rights Reserved.


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Eastern Helicopters,  Canadian VARIO Helicopter dealer for the best "Scale R/C Model Helicopters"
100 Bosse Ave,
  Edmundston N.B  Canada  E3V 4A2
PH: (506)-737-8700
  Fax (506)-737-8701  Email: Info@VarioCanada.com

Copyright, 2005, VarioCanada.com. All Rights Reserved.