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Hobby-Lobby J-Power F/A-18 Tiger Scheme Review

Modelers have been asking for it and Hobby-Lobby has heard them! The new J-Power F/A-18 Tiger Scheme (Canadian) is available in RTF, ARF or an AirFrame only form, all of tough EPO foam construction. Michael Heer shares the details and happily reviews the ARF version.

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Introduction

The new F/A-18 Tiger Scheme comes as a RTF, an ARF and in an AirFrame only version in which the modeler supplies his own servos, battery, motor and ESC. These AirFrame only versions are now available for many more planes at Hobby-Lobby so check their website, but only after you read and watch this review of the J-Power F/A-18 ARF!


Wingspan:23 7/8"
Wing Area:170 sq. in.
Weight:22 oz. (+ or -)
Length:34 3/4"
Foam:tough EPO foam
Servos:5 required
Battery:11.1 V 1300 mAh
Motor:Brushless outrunner
Fan Unit:64mm
ESC:30 amp
Manufacturer:Hobby-Lobby
Available From:Hobby-Lobby
Price:$89.90 AirFrame only (with fan unit)
Price:$199.90 as an ARF (Tested)
Price:$229.90 as a RTF

Kit Contents

The Airframe Only version includes fully decorated EPO foam airframe with 64mm fan unit as well as control horns, pushrods and landing gear.

Included parts for the ARF (plane reviewed here):

  • Fuselage with fan, brushless motor, Esc and 5 servos installed
  • Two foam wing haves with servo installed and connected to hinged aileron
  • Two foam horizontal stabilizers with hinged elevators
  • Two foam vertical stabilizers
  • Landing gear (optional)
  • Fuselage nose
  • Canopy with pilot installed
  • Battery charger and 3-cell 1300mAh Lipoly battery pack
  • Tube of glue
  • Instruction manual
  • Elevator hardware and control rods
  • Y-connector for aileron servos

Items Author Supplied:

  • Spctrum DX7 transmitter
  • Spectrum 5 channel AR500 receiver
  • 5-minute epoxy glue
  • toothpicks
  • 3M white plastic 1/2" decoration tape

Everything from the two above kits as well as a four channel transmitter and a six channel receiver come with the RTF version.

Assembly

Before starting the assembly I plugged in my voltage converter and connected the supplied 12 volt charger to it and charged the included battery pack so it would be ready to go when the plane was assembled.

The first step in the assembly is installing the nose of the plane using the supplied glue and securing it to the front of the fuselage. I applied glue to the edges, side and bottom of the wings that would be in contact with the molded spaces for the wing on the fuselage. I stuck on the left wing panel and held it firmly against the fuselage for one minute. I then held the fuselage and applied pressure against the wing onto the fuselage with my left hand and applied the right wing with my right hand. I held the wings securely to the fuselage while watching TV for ten minutes. I set it down and let it dry for another twenty minutes.

Tail

While the glue for the nose and wings was drying I mounted the control horns onto the elevators. For one side, I simply put the screws through the control horn, the foam in the elevator and then screwed in the securing base plate. For the other side I had no base plate (missing part). I drilled the holes and then applied some glue into the holes and on the bottom of the control horn. I pushed the screws into and through the control horn and the glue in the holes and held the horn in place for a few minutes while it set up. I mixed up a small batch of five-minute epoxy and made a base plate out of epoxy to secure the two screws at the top of the elevator and then set it aside to set up further.

I trial fitted the two vertical stabilizers into the slots for them at the top of the fuselage using a toothpick to spread the supplied glue into the molded spaces for the stabilizers and installed the vertical stabilizers in place. They have no working parts, so that was really all I had to do for the vertical stabilizers. I trial fitted the horizontal stabilizers with their prehinged elevators into place, removed them, applied the supplied glue and inserted them, holding them firmly in place for a few minutes.

I set the plane aside for five minutes, and when I checked on it, everything was in place and setting up as it should. I glued the rockets onto the wing tips and held them in place for five minutes. I let it sit for another fifteen minutes for the glue to set up further. Then I installed the control rods between the control horns installed on the elevators and the elevator servos mounted in the fuselage. I was a leisurely hour and a half into the assembly, and I stopped there for the night.

Radio Installation

The next morning I got out a new Spektrum AR500 receiver and bound it to my Spektrum DX7 transmitter. I used the Y-connector that came with my plane and plugged the aileron servo wires into it and placed the wires in the slot molded for them in the fuselage. I ran the front of the Y-connector into the fuselage, covered and secured the wires in place with white plastic 3M decoration tape and turned the plane right side up to install the receiver. I trial fitted my AR500 receiver and plugged all of the connectors into their proper locations, turned on my transmitter and connected the charged battery pack to the ESC. I then made sure the controls were all working in the proper directions and trial fitted the battery pack and looked for the plane to balance on the recommended Center of Gravity (C/G).

Completion

When I was happy with the planeís C/G balance, I applied Velcro to the receiver and the battery pack, and using 5-minute epoxy, I secured the matching Velcro to the foam. I hadn't yet installed the landing gear because I planned to handtoss the plane for the first flight that morning, but I later added the landing gear as shown in the pictures below.

.

Flying

Basics

The plane uses two servos for the ailerons and two for the elevators. Those sets both used one connector each to plug into the receiver. The front wheel servo plugged into my receiver's rudder control. Basic turns are made using the ailerons and finishing with a little bit of up elevator. Speed passes and inverted flying maneuvers are performed with ailerons and elevator. The plane tracks nice and level with little or no elevator stick needed with change of speed or to maintain inverted flight. The F/A 18 has a nice top speed, and it appears even faster when I fly it around a bit at lower speeds before hitting full throttle. The only surprise was how well she flew with very little power. By managing throttle and doing some very slow maneuvers I got a bit over 7 minutes of flying time. With mostly high throttle flight the battery pack lasted only about five minutes of flight time. As shown in the second video below, it is possible to glide to a landing with a dead battery pack: I forgot to switch to a second pack after seven minutes of flying on the first pack when videotaping.

Taking Off and Landing

Depending on what you want to do and the state of your flying site you can either take off from the ground or hand launch this plane. The landing gear does not retract, but it can be quickly added or removed. I think the plane looks much nicer in the air without the landing gear, and it can be easily launched with a firm hand toss forward while applying full throttle. When flown without gear, it belly lands on the grass. Clear tape can be added to the main points that touch down if desired. Landings on grass have proven to be very easy.

I have also flown with the included landing gear, and the nose wheel is steerable. The wheels are fairly small so I have only used the gear on hard packed soils and asphalt. I would not try to use it on anything other then very very short grass when flying off grass. On asphalt, the jet was quickly up to speed and lifted off into the wind without a problem. With a reasonably sufficient runway, landings into the wind were not a problem. Cross wind landings were a little more tricky as there ls no working rudder. I only used the landing gear when I could basically takeoff and land into the wind.

Aerobatics/Special Flight Performance

Although the A/F-18 uses five servos, it has no rudder control so some maneuvers can't be performed. It does very nice loops of different sizes as well as split Ss and axial rolls. Using aileron and elevator, a barrel roll of sorts can be performed. Everyone's favorite is when I dive down from altitude and make a fast past right down the runway at full throttle and start my climb with an axial roll. The inverted high speed pass is even more impressive. I just need to trust myself more and bring it closer to the deck. The plane flies very nicely at moderate speed, and flight time is longer when I lay off of the throttle. The top speed even seems more impressive with this plane after flying a few laps at half throttle and climbing before kicking it into high and diving down on the deck.

Is This For a Beginner?

No! This plane goes where itís aimed and has no self recovery flight characteristics. While it is an excellent plane for the intermediate to more advanced pilot it might not last long with a beginner. If the pilot can fly an aileron equipped plane they should be able to fly this F/A-18 as it is a fairly easy plane to fly for a pilot familiar with flying aileron equipped planes.

Flight Video/Photo Gallery

Downloads

Conclusion

This model of the Canadian F/A-18 in Tiger scheme is an eye catching plane on the ground or in the air. It assembled extremely quickly and very easily using the supplied glue. I had my first flight with the F/A-18 the morning after I received the plane. I really like the ARF version of this plane, but I am also happy they have come out with the frame only version.

Pluses:

  • Having the plane available in three versions is very nice
  • Assembles very quickly, and the supplied glue worked well.
  • Had her in the air the morning after I received her.
  • Flies nice fast or slow and uses the same battery packs as my F9F Panther from Hobby-Lobby

Minuses

  • The lack of rudder can make cross wing takeoffs and landings a challenge.
Last edited by Angela H; Apr 08, 2009 at 04:13 PM..

Discussion

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Old Apr 08, 2009, 04:59 PM
Honey, I got more planes!
ghee-grose's Avatar
USA, AL, Athens
Joined Jun 2003
4,274 Posts
Love that video!!!! Nice flying plane!
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Last edited by ghee-grose; Apr 09, 2009 at 10:36 PM.
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Old Apr 09, 2009, 12:11 AM
Love my Raven's!
cryhavoc38's Avatar
United States, WA, Woodinville
Joined Mar 2007
8,044 Posts
great jet. bought mine from nitroplanes.

One mistake in your review in the details section. Hobby-Lobby isn't the manufacturer.

Fan Unit:64mmESC:30 ampManufacturer:Hobby-LobbyAvailable From:Hobby-LobbyPrice:$89.90 AirFrame only (with fan unit)Price:$199.90 as an ARF (Tested)Price:$229.90 as a RTF
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Old Apr 09, 2009, 12:35 AM
Registered User
shschon's Avatar
United States, CA, SF
Joined Aug 2004
2,362 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by cryhavoc38
great jet. bought mine from nitroplanes.

One mistake in your review in the details section. Hobby-Lobby isn't the manufacturer.

Fan Unit:64mmESC:30 ampManufacturer:Hobby-LobbyAvailable From:Hobby-LobbyPrice:$89.90 AirFrame only (with fan unit)Price:$199.90 as an ARF (Tested)Price:$229.90 as a RTF

Nitroplane Tiger paint F-18 has the same paint scheme but is a different plane made by different manufacturer and different material. Nitroplane F-18 is made by StarMax and made of EPS foam. Your battery bay is on the belly side with plastic doors. The EPO F-18 Hobby-lobby sells and reviewed here is made by J-power and the material is EPO (more resistant to damage than EPS) and it has large removable cockpit hatch to access the battery. These are two different planes.
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Old Apr 09, 2009, 12:40 AM
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shschon's Avatar
United States, CA, SF
Joined Aug 2004
2,362 Posts
About the included glue

The included glue is like GWS glue and Uhu glue. It is a contact glue the correct usage should be apply a thin layer at one side of the joint and then first push the two joints together to smear thin layer on both surfaces to be joined. Then you should separate the two surfaces to let the glue air dry a while till the glue feel almost dry to touch. At this point carefully align the two surfaces and then press them firmly together for a few seconds and then you are done.

In the review I find that the surfaces to be joined are pressed together immediately after the glue is applied. This can cause long cure time and maybe weaker joint. Better revise the review to avoid misleading other modelers who read the review.
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Old Apr 09, 2009, 09:59 AM
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Michael Heer's Avatar
Stockton, Ca. USA
Joined Apr 2001
9,356 Posts
Dear Shschon:
You may be completely correct in your assesment of the unnamed glue. I have used GWS glue in the past and you perfectly describe the way to use it. I found my tube of glue with the F/A-18 to set up much quicker then GWS glue ever has for me. As stated in the review I flew the plane early the morning after I did the glueing and the plane performed perfectly and all parts stayed together. Reviewers can read your recommendations here and I endorse them but with the proviso that they monitor the air dry time and not rely on past experiences if they have used the GWS supplied glue that I found worked well but had a longer curing time. I also want to acknowledge that the two glues may be chemically identical but I found the initial texture of the glue to be quite different and that in my assembly it set up much quicker then I have experienced with GWS glue I have used in the past.
The Nitro plane referenced by another above uses a different design and foam and most likely has different electric components as well. Mike H
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Old Apr 09, 2009, 06:04 PM
KK6MQJ
Bajora's Avatar
Joined Sep 2004
13,583 Posts
Yeah, these are manufactured by JPower
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Old Apr 09, 2009, 09:16 PM
EDF Addict
Wisconsin
Joined Aug 2005
649 Posts
I have one of these and really like it so far. I managed to break one of the wing tip rockets and could not find the piece that broke off. When I inquired with Hobby Lobby about the availability of spare parts, I was told the only way I could get a new rocket would be to buy an entire airframe. The availability of spare parts, or lack thereof, is the only issue I have with this plane. Hopefully they will get spare parts in the future??
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Old Apr 09, 2009, 09:47 PM
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Waltjg's Avatar
Crystal River Fl.
Joined Jul 2008
3,681 Posts
Great report guys! One of the guys in the club just got one of these, different color scheme, it flies great.. w.
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Old Apr 10, 2009, 09:04 AM
Flying Fatboy
Gordito Volador's Avatar
Tampa, FL
Joined Apr 2003
1,295 Posts
Nice review Michael. I will be test flying mine this weekend if the wind is agreeable. So far I am very happy with the quality of the airframe and how it went together. I bought the airframe only and stuffed it with my own goodies.

Regards, Bill
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Old Apr 10, 2009, 12:26 PM
Registered User
Joined Apr 2009
8 Posts
ihave an exceed f4 that is beyond repair, does anyone know if the motor will work in th j-powers f18?
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Old Apr 11, 2009, 10:04 AM
12 year old flyer :p
Zett-Vampyre's Avatar
Brampton, Ontario, Canada
Joined Aug 2008
370 Posts
When I first saw this, I thought it wasn't a real scheme, but my friend told me that they use it on some cf 18s. Anyway, this looks better than the grey ones.
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Old Apr 11, 2009, 04:27 PM
Love my Raven's!
cryhavoc38's Avatar
United States, WA, Woodinville
Joined Mar 2007
8,044 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by shschon
Nitroplane Tiger paint F-18 has the same paint scheme but is a different plane made by different manufacturer and different material. Nitroplane F-18 is made by StarMax and made of EPS foam. Your battery bay is on the belly side with plastic doors. The EPO F-18 Hobby-lobby sells and reviewed here is made by J-power and the material is EPO (more resistant to damage than EPS) and it has large removable cockpit hatch to access the battery. These are two different planes.
Ah yes, you are correct. thanks for pointing that out. They do look very similar don't they.

however, its still not manufactured by Hobby Lobby.
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Old Apr 11, 2009, 06:25 PM
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manuel v's Avatar
Mexico, BC, Mexicali
Joined Aug 2004
5,061 Posts
Were is your CG?


The GC is not in the manual where it says,
For good CG, put the battery in the compartment made for it under the cockpit and ready.

Manuel V.
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Old Apr 13, 2009, 04:16 PM
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Michael Heer's Avatar
Stockton, Ca. USA
Joined Apr 2001
9,356 Posts
manufacturer: http://www.jpower.hk/products.htm
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