Twisted Hobbys Vector 31Ē EPP Review
Twisted Hobbys Vector Review
3D foamies are a dime a dozen, you can throw a rock into your local hobby store and youíll probably hit one. Just going by looks, itís sometimes hard to tell a good design from a bad. But over the last few years, smaller companies have refined their designs, altered the materials used and come out with a good crop of light weight, excellent flying, durable planes. Picking the one that is right for you sometimes requires a bit of research. I hope this review will help.
The first thing you will notice is the Vectorís striking paint scheme. The rich use of paint gives solid coverage on the porous epp foam which is rare to see. But as an added bonus, it also helps stiffen the normally bendable foam with no loss of durability. I do want to point out that the final trim scheme on the Vector is going to change a bit from the prototype I am flying. The Vector is the perfect travel companion. At 31Ē wingspan and 6.7oz, it easily fits in most trunks, back seats or on top of the rest of your larger planes in the back of your SUV. Its light weight and EPP construction allowed the Vector to survive 11 Ďtestingí crashes with only a single broken prop to show for it. Its durability combined with its very good 3D abilities makes it a great 3D trainer or lunch time flyer.
The kit arrived in a box that included 3 layers of cardboard on the bottom and newspaper stuffing above to make sure that the plane arrived safe and sound.
- airframe with pre-hinged control surfaces and alignment tabs
- carbon fiber pushrods, z-bend wires, control horns
- stick motor mount
- shrink tubing
The Power Combo supplied by Twisted Hobbies includes:
- 24 gram, 1500 KV motor with prop saver
- 12 amp ESC
- 9 gram servo
- 5 gram servos (x2)
- 9x4.7 GWS Slowfly prop
- 2mm bullet connectors (x3)
I supplied my own Spektrum AR 6100 receiver, micro
Deans connectors and 2s 460mah Rhino lipo packs.
Required to Complete:
- Hot glue and CA or Welders Adhesive
- Hot glue gun
- Soldering iron
- Small phillips screwdriver
- Hobby knife
- Lighter (for the heat shrink)
This is one quick build. I managed to assemble and glue the entire plane, motor mount, servos, and control horns in the span of my sonís 1Ĺ hour nap. Actually setting up the pushrods was the most time consuming process in the build and even that was pretty straight forward. The total time for the build including soldering the electronics was 3 hours and 45 minutes. Iím not going to walk you through the entire build as the manual does a good job of that, but Iíll point out a few areas where I deviated from the manual or thought it needed a little more explaining.
You start off the build by gluing in the plastic stick motor mount with CA or Welders Adhesive and gluing in the 9 gram aileron servo into the fuse. The holes for these are already precut into the fuse. Near the end of the build, you will glue the front horizontal section of the fuse to the vertical fuse, in the process covering the sides of the motor mount and aileron servo.
Assembling the fuse and wing
The carbon fiber spars for the wing and the elevator are already installed and the control surfaces are already attached, so you can just right in to assembling the fuse. Tabs are cut into the fuse that line up with holes in the wing and horizontal fuse pieces. Itís just a matter of sliding the wing, horizontal fuse piece and horizontal stab into place. I used a triangle to make sure the wing and fuse were at a 90 degree angle. Also, it doesnít hurt to measure from the wing tip to the fuse on each side to make sure everything is aligned. Do the same for the horizontal stab and elevator.
Then lay a bead of hot glue along the seams to glue it all together. Hot glue is easy to work with, but itís also heavy, so try to use a light amount. I completed the entire plane using less then ĺ of a stick. You can use CA to save a few grams of weight, but it tends to make EPP foam brittle.
Wing (after installing into the fuse)
The ailerons are pre-hinged using Welders Adhesive. This makes a very nice looking, strong hinge along the length of the ailerons. Slots for the control horns are precut and all that is left to do is glue in the control horns. Make sure to align the holes of the control horn over the hinge line and then glue (I dripped in thin CA around the edges of the horn).
Servos and Pushrods
After the entire plane is glued together, glue in the elevator and rudder servo in the pre-cut pockets. The stock elevator servo arm was not long enough to get the throw I wanted. To do a quick extension, I took one of the unused servo arms that came with the servo and cut the servo arm from the circular base. I then glued the cut arm to the servo arm that I was going to use, leaving it sticking up a few millimeters and then glued it down with CA. I followed that up by wrapping some thread around both servo arms and adding a bit more CA to make it solid. Make sure not to get glue in the hole that the z-bend will be going into.
Setting up the pushrods is the most time consuming part of the build. Start off by measuring the distance from the end of the servo arm to the control horn. Then cut one of the carbon fiber rods 6mm shorter. Take one of the pre-bent z-bend wires and scuff it up with a file. Then glue it to the pushrod using thin CA. Use a clip, clamp or vice to hold the z-bend wire while gluing. Then using the supplied heat shrink, slip it over the carbon fiber rod and end of the wire. Shrink it down with a lighter.
The other side of the pushrod is a bit trickier. You need to make sure the control surface is perfectly neutral and the servo arm is at 90 degrees. Take another piece of heat shrink tubing and slip it on the carbon fiber pushrod and move it to the middle. Now take a spare piece of heat shrink and cut a 1-2mm piece and place that on the pushrod. Insert the completed side of the pushrod into the servo arm. Insert the non glued piece of z-bend into the control horn, hold it next to the pushrod and slip the 1-2mm piece of heat shrink over it and shrink it with the lighter. This will hold the z-bend wire in place while you adjust it length. When satisfied with the length and with the control surface level, hit the pushrod and z-bend joint with CA, being careful not to let the CA drip onto the fuse or into the control horn. Then slide the piece of heat shrink over the joint, heat it and your all set.
Now that the servos are glued in and the pushrods connected, go ahead and solder your bullet and battery connectors and install the motor. Then using a phillips screw driver, loosen the nut on the motor mount, slide the back of the motor in the hole and tighten the nut back up. Finally stick on the Velcro to hold the receiver, esc and battery.
Control Surface Setup
The hinges are all done for you at the factory which is a great time saver. The hinges are attached using welders adhesive and look great as well as being strong. I recommend flexing the hinges a few times to loosen them up, after that, they are very smooth. Also you will notice some aileron differential due to the fact that there is only one aileron servo. I didnít notice it affecting the flight characteristics. If you wanted to use two 5 or 6g servos for the ailerons, it would be easy to modify the plane for that setup.
Unlike balsa planes or larger foam planes, there is nothing stressful about maidening this foamy. You just throttle up, let it go and it flies. I had my CG back a little past a 1/3rd of the wing and it only needed 1 click of elevator to fly level right side up and inverted. I have flown this plane in winds ranging from calm to 10mph, but it is a lot more fun in 5mph or less.
Enough canít be said for the Vectorís crash durability and good 3D flight characteristics. To improve your reaction times and train your thumbs for low to the ground 3D on your bigger planes, small foamies like this are invaluable. It might not look as sexy as your balsa planes, but your balsa planes also canít hit the ground a few hundred times without taking any damage either. Plus, having the plane low to the ground allows you to see exactly what it is doing in different orientations, which makes it easier to train your thumbs.
And you canít forget the fun factor. Take the stress of crashing away and it frees you to try all kinds of maneuvers you wouldnít risk on other planes. My favorite was hovering the plane over the runway and bouncing the rudder on the ground like a pogo stick (see video). This is a plane that was built to last.
The Vector is a great hover trainer. Once you get it in a hover position, it takes very little throw to keep it there. The hardest part of learning to hover this plane is to not over control it. But once you get the hover locked in, it likes to stay there. I can also add that this was one of the easier planes I have flown to hand catch out of a hover.
Harriers were rock free right side up and inverted. They could easily be steered around using the rudder without inducing a lot of rock. Elevators were also rock free, although the wind can really blow it around on the way down.
On a calm day, itís easy to get a nice long knife edge pass a foot off the ground, all the way down the runway. The Vector takes very little rudder to hold a knife edge, but give it too much and she will roll out. The left knife edge had almost no coupling, but the right needed just a few clicks of rudder to aileron and rudder to elevator mixing. After that, it held the knife edge perfectly straight.
It can do very nice rolling harriers, but I found myself rolling out of them often at the beginning. At first I thought it might be due to the aileron differential from the single aileron servo. But after doing them for 12 flights or so, I noticed that it was actually my thumbs that were the problem. On high rates, the Vector is so responsive that I kept over controlling it by giving too much rudder and elevator. Switching to low rates was one option, but I chose to up my expo to 70% on the elevator and 50% on the rudder to help tone it down for this maneuver. After that, the rolling harriers looked great.
The plane does a great axial roll, so the first part of the blender looks great. But I had a hard time getting a good snap at the end of the maneuver. It would always seem to just mush out of it, instead of snapping to an inverted flat spin. Now I have to say that none of the light weight EPP planes on the market that I have flown do a good blender. The light weight, combined with the flat epp build simply doesnít allow them to be as impressive as larger, heavier 3D plane.
Knife Edge Spin/Waterfall:
With 50 degrees of down and flying it at slightly rearward CG, I still wasnít able to get the knife edge spin as tight as I would have liked. But they were fairly easy to enter and maintained the spin all the way down with ease. One other cool trick you can do with this plane is a climbing knife edge spin with enough rudder and throttle.
They were nice and quick for a light weight flat foamy. I also didnít have a lot of problem stopping them where I wanted.
The Vector does a good job of keeping its wings parallel to the ground when doing these maneuvers and showed little sign of wanting to snap or drop a wing. Again, because this plane is so light, it doesnít really do a hard stop and pitch rotation at the end of these maneuvers like larger planes. It does more of a quick, forward flying 90 degree rotation and then stops.
Is this for a Beginner?
Being that itís a plane with ailerons and has large control surfaces, this does not make a good first plane. But it does make a great first 3D plane after you have some aileron experience. On low rates, itís very docile, but switch to high rates and itís extremely nimble. Also, being made out of durable EPP and being very light, it will withstand tons of those ďlearningĒ crashes without taking damage.
Vector from Twisted Hobbies (5 min 26 sec)
Twisted Hobbys Vector Fun (4 min 9 sec)
If youíre looking to improve your 3D skills or just want a nice small plane that you can leave in the trunk and have with you at all times, I would seriously consider the Vector. If youíre looking for a plane that doesnít cost an arm and a leg to get in the air and will last you many hundreds of flights, again the Vector fits the bill. This is very competent 3D plane in a small durable package. And when you crank the rates up, this plane is more nimble then most other EPP planes in this size that I have flown.
I really donít have a single bad thing to say about the build, it was fast and very straight forward. The flight characteristics for general flight and 3D flight were both excellent, but take the time to find the throws and amount of expo that is right for you. The Vector is still fun to fly in moderate winds, but on calm days, itís a blast.
Nice review been waiting for the vector after flying an early prototype and now flying a model in between it's nice to see how Brad has continuely improved the model even though each model has flown great. Can't wait to get one
First up great review, video and flying Matt!!! You have shown alot of detail and explained the characteristics of the plane very well. I must say I've never flown with anyone on my back before, thats pretty cool your son has the best seat in the house to watch you fly.
As mentioned in the review Dan has come up with a little different scheme then the one Matt is flying for our first run of the Vectors. We can do the Hard Edge scheme also if there is enough interest. Also I've added more cuts and tabs to the design which is alittle different from Matts prototype (not seen in photos above). Which include a rear stab alignment connection/front wing to fuse alignment location tab/horn slots/front nose notches for 9g servos and even servo wire holes all to aid in easier building.
I got a chance to get out and fly one of the prototypes with the hard edge scheme this past week before the big snow. Here is the Vector on a 3s setup, I love this plane since its so agile and maneuverable. The Vector is definitely a great choice for an extreme epp 3d light weight profile flyers.
Joined Jan 2007
What's the difference between the Yedge and Vector?
BTW, I got the EPP-Piper kit from Twisted and it is impressive. I haven't built it yet, but the appearance is great, the manual is printed in color with lots of big photographs, and the amount of things already done for you is great. I bet it will go together in a fraction of the time of my other kits.
I actually never flew the Y-edge, but from what Brad was telling me, the Vector has a more axial roll, more pitch athority, stiffer fuse and wing and with the updates in construction, it's easier and faster to build. I'm sure Brad or Dan can go into more detail.
That's what I thought!
You guys remember Master Blaster? He was the little guy that rode on the back of the big Guy(master&blaster), in The beyond thunder dome The little guy was the brains, the big guy was "a bit special"
Cheers! It looks like you had some fun with this review. Well done!
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