Monday, September 15, 2008

Nitroplanes Flymodel Cessna 401 Twin

Flymodel keeps growing and learning, it really shows in this plane. The quality and engineering is excellent. It goes together VERY fast, far and away the fastest twin to build I have ever done. Everything fits perfectly, and the level of prefabrication is very high. The instructions are English and decent, a step above what this factory has turned out before, about middle of the road as far as instructions go. It shows that they have been listening and trying very hard.
It comes with fixed gear, and it's set up for retracts, too. I am waiting on a set of Robart air retracts to complete my plane. Mechanical retracts could be done, with a little engineering on your part.
I am using two each of Exceed Monster Power 46 outrunners, Raiden 80A Escs, and Fusion Power 3200 5s lipos. The servos are all Towerpro SG5010 standards. I have used a bunch of them before with no issues, they are quite a bargain. Normally, on a plane this size, which will end up at least 10 pounds, I'd use something stronger on the elevators, but this plane is set up with two elevator servos, so standard servos are just fine. I will be using a seperate UBEC on one of the batteries to power the radio. Actually, maybe two of them.
On previous large twins like the B25, P82, and Mosquito, I have used 5000mah packs, but long flights of 10 minutes or so have left me landing with over half the battery still left, so this time, I went with 3200, should be plenty.
The nacelles are each one large fiberglass piece. This makes access to the interior very easy. If you wanted to, it would be easy enough to cut off the cowl portions to make them seperate. What engines will fit? It is set up for two 40s, I think four strokes should go in without any real problem, too. With my electrics, I made up my own plywood box motor mounts, but nice nylon mounts and good quality fuel tanks and tubing are all included in the kit, if you want to go glow.
Did I mention how nice the glasswork and paint are? Along with all the woodwork and covering? Nice quality, and LIGHT. Much lighter than anything by CMP, as much as I like CMP stuff.
Oh...and you can't tell from the pictures, but it includes split flaps, too.
I swapped out a few pieces of hardware along the way...what is included is good quality, but I don't like using EZ connectors on flight controls, so I soldered threaded couplers onto my elevator and rudder pushrods and added clevises instead. The rest of the hardware all got used.
There is a nice set of decals(stickers) included. Not sure what of them I will use, I want to make mine a little different from the box top.
Update...the plane flies BEAUTIFULLY, with no bad habits, and a VERY slow landing speed.
Fast, aerobatic, but easy to fly. The flaps work great.
Here is my setup:
2x Monster Power 46 outrunners
2x Raiden 80a ESCs
2x Fusion Power 3200mah 5s lipos
Towerpro 5010 standard servos
Tigertracts spring-down air retracts
Seperate BEC running off one of the lipo batteries...
12x6 props, 2" spinners

I love it. It looks great, and it flies great, and it gets a ton of attention at the field. Everybody who sees it is impressed, and nobody can beleive this model is only $200, it looks like a $700 model. And the electric systems I used to fit it out are dirt cheap, too. It's awesome.
Many pleasant surprises with this model, you get more than you pay for, for sure, it's not cheap Chinese junk, but a first class product from a company that is really going places.

Exceed Starmax Lockheed F-35 Lightning II ARF EDF

Another one from Andy Chen. And it's GORGEOUS. Spectacular appearance, very scale, great paint and decals.
Assembly takes about 45 minutes. Skip the included contact cement, use epoxy instead. It is set up with three servos...linked stabs and ailerons on each side, but it gives you the option of adding two more servos to operate stabs and ailerons seperately if you prefer. An extra set of four pushrods are thoughtfully included, along with spots to drop the two servos right in.

And it flies BEAUTIFULLY. Fast...maybe the fastest of all the 64mm EDF jobs out there, with excellent vertical performance. Very stable, but very maneuverable. I am flying off pavement, have not tried hand-launching it yet...

Update...about 50 flights later, the plane still does not have a scratch on it, and it's still one of my favorite foamy jets, it's just a lot of fun to fly, and very high quality.

ArtTech Jetiger EDF

A very nice model. Molded from EPO foam, much tougher than the regular EPS, it can take quite a beating.
Everything needed to fly except 8aa batteries for the transmitter are included. Even a screwdriver!
Assembly takes only fifteen need to screw the two fins into place, then stick on the nose and tailcone, then off you go.
A nice simualator disk and a cable to connect the TX to your computer are included as a bonus.
There is a 1320 15c lipo battery and a quality 110v balance charger also.
The TX is a very decent FM narrow band job, the RX is a six channel, and both have worked with no issues to the limits of vision. does she fly? Very nicely. Hand launch is super easy, there are hand grip holes built into the bottom. She is clean and pretty fast, maybe 70mph, and capable of doing most aerobatics. Very easy to land, slows down well. A great introduction to jet models, or a nice bit of fun for the more advanced pilot. One very nice aspect is it does not take up a lot of room in the car, and the nature of the EPO foam is that it is very resistant to dings and scratches, so you can throw it in the trunk and not worry so much.
I noticed a substantial performance increase when I used one of the new Nitroplanes Red 20c 1500 lipos over the stock one...the extra power is great. The battery compartment could be easily opened up to accomodate something even larger, if you wanted.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Exceed RC F-18 EDF

A very nice model, designed by Andy Chen at Starmax. If you are bored with the performance of the regular 64mm EDF models out there, and are looking for something a little larger, with much higher performance, this is for you.
It has a 70mm fan and uses a 4s 2200 lipo, and is capable of 80mph at least right out of the box.
It also can handle whatever power upgrades you want to throw at it.
The landing gear is unique, it is fixed gear with the mains in a non-scale semi-retracted position for much less drag. It looks a little funny, but it works well, landings are very easy. It will also hand-launch with no problems.
I really like it so far, after about 5 flights, handling is crisp, speed is excellent, vertical performance is good, it's great for someone who wants a higher level of performance, and the quality of molding, engineering, and construction is to Starmax's usual high standard.

China Model Productions Me-109 ARF

Simply the best ARF warbird I have ever seen. It's a whole new level for CMP. Quality is top notch. It goes together quickly, but keep in mind that this is a somewhat complicated airplane with lots of features, so you are not going to get it together in two evenings.
The fuse is fiberglass, prepainted. It has a tremendous amount of detail.
The tailwheel is in the scale position, rather than just sitting on the rudder post, and it has a neat linkage to connect to the rudder.
There are multiple scale details on the fuse, such as seperately molded fiberglass exhaust stacks, airscoops, belly pan, and a neat belly tank that uses standoffs for better appearance rather than just being stuck to the bottom of the fuse.

The wings are very cool. There are three servos per wing...flaps, ailerons, and airbrakes. All servos mount from the bottom with the neat CMP servo mounts with fairings, and all hinging and horns are done with hinge points and horny hinge points for better appearance. The airbrakes are very cool, one pops up from the bottom and the other from the top, using a clever provided mechanism.
The plane is set up for retracts, and the retract mounts are hardwood and well-secured. Fixed gear with scale strut covers and gear doors are also included.
The spinner is amazing, about six inch diameter, of scale profile, made just for this model.
The canopy frame is prepainted.
The wingtips have places for lights to be inset, and clear plastic covers are included.
The stabs are airfoiled, and the LE of the elevators is inset into the stabs in a scale manner.
The rudder is built up and fairs neatly into the rudder post.
Soft mounts are included for a glow engine, a neat bonus.
Mine is going to be electric, with a Monster Power 160 motor and two Maxamps 6s 5000 batteries and a Castle Creations 85 controller.
I am beyond pleased, as a matter of fact, I am floored, by the quality and low price...flight report ASAP...
With the Monster Power 160 and a 17/8 prop, it flies beautifully. Overpowered. Half throttle flies it around fine. It has almost no tendency to tip stall, it slows down really well, it's not intimidating at all. The landing gear has been fine, you can tip it up on the nose or scrape a wingtip if you are not being careful, but that's par for the course for a plane like this, the position the designers found for the gear in the stock position is a great comprimise between good ground handling and scale positioning. It works great.
I am incredibly pleased with this plane in all respects, it's an awesome warbird.