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RCGroups Exclusive! ElectriFly DeHavilland Tiger Moth ARF Review

ElectriFly begins 2010 with their foamy rendition of the venerable DeHavilland Tiger Moth as a lightweight 30" wingspan model designed for both indoor and outdoor flying venues.

Splash

Introduction


Wingspan:30"
Wing Area:282 sq. in.
Weight:8.1 oz.(8.6 oz. as flown)
Length:24.5"
Wing Loading:4.1 oz/sq. ft.
Servos:Futaba 3114 Sub Micro (2)
Transmitter:Futaba 10C 2.4 GHz
Receiver:Futaba R6004FF 4 channel
Battery:ElectriFly 7.4v 300mAh 20C
Motor:Electrifly RimFire 250 (1750Kv)
ESC:Electrifly Silver Series 8 amp speed controller
Manufacturer:ElectriFly
Available From:Your local hobby retailer or Tower Hobby
Price:$64.99
Flight Duration:9-11 minutes

One of the first new releases from Great Planes' ElectriFly division for 2010 is a nifty little indoor/outdoor Tiger Moth foamy biplane. The Tiger Moth is constructed primarily of ProFormance foam, a 3mm extruded polystyrene foam. Unique to this particular foam is the way that details, like ribbing, are molded right into the foam. These foam details, along with other scale details like windscreens and plastic fuselage details, contribute to a semi-detailed and scale little lightweight foamy biplane. The twin cockpits feature pre-installed instrument panel graphics and a pair of two dimensional pilot caricatures. Add the optional wing rigging, which is nothing more than black thread that most builders will have lying around the house already, and the end result is a quick building little biplane that pops when in the air!

ElectriFly’s Tiger Moth!


The recommended Rimfire 250 motor, combined with an eight amp ESC and 2S 300mAh lipoly battery, will provide flight durations of ten minutes. With rudder and elevator only, a pair of micro servos and a 3 to 4 channel radio system are all that are required to completely outfit the radio compartment of the Tiger Moth. Though I do little-to-no indoor flying, I do enjoy heading down to the neighborhood park in the early morning hours or late in the day, when the winds are calm or even nonexistent, for a quick flight or two. Would this new Tiger Moth biplane manage to win a spot in my hangar and heart?

The authentic DeHavilland Logo graces the wheel covers.


Kit Contents


In The Box:

  • Fuselage
  • Bottom wing, top wing
  • Horizontal and vertical stabilizers
  • Pre-applied color decals
  • Pilot caricatures (2)
  • Cowl
  • Wire landing gear
  • Wooden wing struts, cabanes and landing gear struts
  • Hook and loop fastener
  • 15 page black and white photo-illustrated assembly manual
  • Small hardware package








Required for Completion:

  • Minimum three channel radio system
  • Two micro servos
  • Electric power system
  • Propeller
  • Black thread and one wooden toothpick, for optional wing rigging

Included for Review:

  • Futaba R6004FF 4 channel 2.4GHz receiver
  • Futaba S3114 Micro High Torque Servos (2)
  • ElectriFly Silver Series 8A Brushless Electronic Speed Control
  • ElectriFly RimFire 28-13-1750 Brushless Outrunner Electric Motor
  • Great Planes 8x6 Power Flow Slo-Flyer electric propeller
  • ElectriFly BP Series Lithium Polymer 300mAh 7.4V 20C Battery Pack








Assembly


ElectriFly Tiger Moth Assembly Manual

The included black and white assembly manual does an admirable job of guiding the builder through the relatively few steps involved in assembling the Tiger Moth. The illustrations are abundant and provide visual clarification of many of the steps. ElectriFly has issued one Technical Bulletin in connection with this kit. I have included it in this review for your convenience. It is in connection with the insertion of the two cabanes into the fuselage, which is found in the "Wings and Fuselage" section of the review.


The sum total of the hardware in this kit

Wings and Fuselage


The wings and fuselage feature pre-applied color graphics. Assembly of the wings to the fuselage is done using foam safe CA. My wings aligned to the fuselage nicely, although I made no assumptions and verified that they were both properly aligned before using adhesive on them.




A center of gravity template is provided in the rear of the assembly manual. It is used to pre-mark the acceptable range of CG before gluing the wings to the fuselage. The push rods come pre-installed in the fuselage. A small foam hatch is press fit into place on the forward under belly of the fuselage and will need removed for servo and radio installation. I used a few small pieces of Blenderm to secure it back into place at the end of radio installation.






The pair of wood cabanes slide into slots on the top of the forward fuselage. I experienced no difficulty inserting mine but a technical bulletin from ElectriFly offers a tip in case the builder has a difficult time getting them in properly. The top wing gets glued to the two cabanes. It is important to verify that the two wings are aligned and symmetrical to one another before using adhesive on them. I like to look at them from all possible angles to see if they just "look" right. A cloth tape measure can also be used to provide absolute verification.



After the two wings, cabanes and outer wing struts are all installed and in place, ElectriFly recommends using RC-56, AKA as canopy glue, to make fillets along all of the mating surfaces of the above listed components. I really like this little building trick and technique and plan to use it again in future foam projects. While CA is great for the initial glue joints, the flexibility and clear final finish of canopy glue is sure to greatly reinforce these joints.



The wire landing gear slips into a slot in the bottom of the firewall. It is a snug fit, and no adhesive is recommended or required in my opinion. The wooden landing gear struts get glued to the wire struts with CA and kicker. The included tires/wheels come pre-mounted on the wire landing gear assembly. The level of detail in just this one part of the kit is notable. The wheel covers feature the authentic DeHavilland company logo. The tires, though a part of the molded plastic wheels, feature the cracks and aberrations no doubt found on real biplanes tires from this era.


Tail


Assembling the tail components of the Tiger Moth involves more CA adhesive, followed by the same technique using RC-56 canopy glue as a secondary glue joint. The little wooden control horns are included in the kit and are glued to the tail surfaces with CA. The pre-installed push rods have a 90 degree bend that goes through the control horn. A Faslink connector holds it in place. It is easier to attach the push rods to the control horns first, and then glue the control horns into the slots on the rudder and elevator. The other end of the push rods will get attached to the servo horns using a quick link style of connector. The wooden tail skid is installed at the factory. It is the same type and appearance of wood as the control horns and the outer wing struts.


Radio Installation



The little Futaba four channel receiver included for this review is unbelievably tiny. It is not a full range receiver but I would think one would lose the ability to discern the orientation of the wee Tiger Moth before you managed to get to the limit of the receiver’s 300 foot range. I suppose a little caution is in order nonetheless when using such a limited range receiver. I filed a mental note with myself for my flights to come. The twin Futaba 3114 servos wold not fit into the cutout in the fuselage. I used a hobby knife to increase the size of the opening appropriately. Servo mounting screws are included with the Tiger Moth kit. Futaba does not include servo mounting hardware on some of its smaller micro servos. I used a few dabs of hot glue to secure the little Futaba receiver to the rear of the firewall.



Power System Installation



The little Rimfire 250 motor comes with a prop saver already mounted to its shaft. The bullet connectors come pre-installed on both the Rimfire outrunner and the ElectriFly Silver Series 8 amp speed controller. Thus, power system installation is little more involved than mounting the Rimfire to the ply motor box with three screws and mounting the ESC to the bottom of the motor box with hook and loop material. (I prefer hot glue) After the motor and ESC are mounted, the cowl can be mounted to the front of the fuselage. Three tiny screws do the job nicely. The manual cautions against drilling pilot holes that end up being too large for these very small screws. The battery mounts on the firewall, behind the motor box. A strip of hook and loop is all that is required to hold the smallish 2S 300mAh lipo in place.




Completion




I was amazed at how little time was required to complete the assembly of this little Tiger Moth. Though not necessary, rigging can be added to notch the scale appearance of the Tiger Moth up a bit. Pre-drilled holes are supplied in the cabanes and wing struts. Black thread is used to run the rigging. Since I have old eyes, it took me a while to finesse the thread through the tiny holes. Once complete though, I was well pleased with the end result.



The final steps to officially mark the build complete involve setting up control throws and checking the CG. Using the recommended 2S 300mAh lipoly battery results in the CG being a bit too far aft for my comfort. The assembly manual hints that this may be the case and details how to add weight to get the CG into the correct range. Not being one that likes to add dead weight to an electric model, I instead decided to upsize the battery to a 2S 700mAh class lipoly. There is a little extra room in the battery mounting area, which can easily accommodate a slightly larger pack. With a slightly heavier lipo in place, the CG was perfect. A trip across the hangar scales found the Tiger Moth weighing in at 8.6 ounces. Another option is to run a pair of the recommended 2S 300mAH lipoly batteries in parallel.




Control Throws

Low Rates High Rates Exponential
Rudder 3/4" 1-1/4" 30%
Elevator 3/8" 5/8" 30%



Lets FLY!!!

Flying

Basics

The ElectriFly Tiger Moth can fly either indoors or outdoors if the winds are very light. At 8.6 ounces, and with only rudder and elevator flight controls, it does not take very much wind to buffet the little Moth around. Springtime in California brings us many wind-free mornings. The final hours of the evening, when the sun is casting its final rays for the day, are also a splendid time for a flight or two. Though I did have the Tiger Moth out when the winds were probably 5 MPH or so, I would not recommend flying it when the winds exceed more that a couple miles an hour. While flying it in higher winds, a quick gust of wind succeeded in flipping it onto its back several times. It can be difficult to right it with only a rudder to make corrections to its orientation. However, when the winds are very light or even absent, the Tiger Moth is a real joy to putt around outdoors. It tracks nicely and is very predictable.

Taking Off and Landing

Tail draggers with only a skid at their rear instead of a tail wheel usually demand a deft touch on the rudder stick when maneuvering on the ground and in the take off roll. I was very surprised when the Tiger Moth was actually well behaved and easy to control on the ground, in spite of its little wooden tail skid. The landing gear is absolutely perfectly positioned on this airframe. I feel this way because this Tiger Moth performs the prettiest little scale take offs and landings. With just a small application of rudder and a bit of up elevator to keep the nose planted until rotation speed is reached, the Moth will almost immediately pivot up onto the mains and track straight down the runway. With only a small amount of forward velocity, the elevator and rudder become effective.


Fail to hold up elevator on the first part of the take off roll though and the Tiger Moth will nose forward and over. The same is true when landing. Landings are incredibly easy, and fun too. I decrease the throttle to a couple clicks above the full off position and fly the Tiger Moth down to the runway surface. The way it alights on its mains is really cool looking. The landing gear possesses a certain springiness that serves to absorb those landings that are a little less than perfect. The tail will not drop back to the runway until the final bit of momentum is lost.



Both of the wooden struts fell off on my first few landings. The assembly manual had recommended CA and kicker to attach them to the wire landing gear legs. My instincts had suggested that CA probably wouldn't be the best adhesive for this application but I like to try it the way the manual recommends first. I used small pieces of Blenderm tape to reattach mine after the CA failed.

Aerobatics/Special Flight Performance

The little Tiger Moth does not really possess an extensive arsenal of aerobatic maneuvers. Loops are possible if airspeed is carefully managed. I even managed a stall turn or two while playing around with mine. The instructions recommend using several strips of strong packing tape to reinforce the two wings if you intend to perform aggressive flight maneuvers or plan to fly in stronger winds out of doors. I preferred to not mar the appearance of the bright yellow air frame with packing tape and I instead enjoy flying a plane like this in a semi-scale fashion. I really enjoy an occasional outing where I simply cruise around the skies and enjoy the scenery. The Tiger Moth surprised me in that I really enjoyed doing just that, as well as shooting touch and gos and repeated landings and take offs. The little Rimfire 250 motor has a surprising amount of power and though the Tiger Moth will not go straight up, full throttle results in a fairly steep departure and climb out. Flight durations of 9-11 minutes are easily possible with varied throttle settings. The Tiger Moth will putt around at half throttle quite happily.

Is This For a Beginner?

The Tiger Moth could serve as an acceptable beginner airframe. Though I did not fly the Tiger Moth indoors for this review, its stability in calm winds is impressive. The undercambered wings make for excellent slow flight capabilities. A beginner could probably handle its conservative flight envelope, provided they remember to pull the throttle back after take off and keep their turns shallow. When flown on low rates, the Tiger Moth is noticeably docile. And it is not a difficult plane to take off or land.

Flight Video/Photo Gallery















Downloads

Conclusion

I was very pleasantly surprised by the ElectriFly Tiger Moth. I will come clean and openly confess that I was in no way drawn to it when I first saw it on the ElectriFly web site. However, its easy flying performance won me over in short time. I get a real kick out of the way it instantly comes up on the mains when initiating a take off. And the same when landing it! For a tail skid equipped plane, it is very easy to control on the ground. The little Rimfire 250 brushless outrunner barely sips on the 2S batteries, making relaxing slow flights of ten minutes duration and more possible.

Pluses

  • Short build time
  • Beautiful take offs and landings thanks to optimal positioning of landing gear
  • Modest price of kit and components
  • Can be flown indoors or outdoors on calmer days
  • Rigging adds a nice scale touch

Minuses

  • Recommended battery requires adding a little nose weight to hit proper CG


A special thanks to my wife Susan for helping me capture all of the media of the Tiger Moth!!
Last edited by Angela H; Mar 23, 2010 at 08:47 AM..

Discussion

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Old Mar 22, 2010, 03:38 PM
KK6MQJ
Bajora's Avatar
Joined Sep 2004
13,642 Posts
ElectriFly Tiger Moth (2 min 36 sec)
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Old Mar 22, 2010, 08:18 PM
Balsa just crashes better
Cub Fan's Avatar
Bradenton, FL
Joined Nov 2004
599 Posts
Cool little plane- The moth looks great. Looks like a lot of fun - guess it will go on the list to get.

Nice review

Cubfan
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Old Mar 22, 2010, 09:10 PM
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Martin Irvine's Avatar
Canada, ON, Kingston
Joined Aug 2000
2,013 Posts
So....how does it compare to the little GWS version?

Martin
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Old Mar 22, 2010, 09:56 PM
KK6MQJ
Bajora's Avatar
Joined Sep 2004
13,642 Posts
Well, unfortunately, I am one of the few people who has never flown the GWS Moth. So, a comparison will have to be made by someone other than me.
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Old Mar 23, 2010, 05:21 AM
Registered User
Chicago Northwest subs
Joined Jan 2007
2,240 Posts
Stringin' Riggin'

Jon- What I do to thread rigging wire through tight clearances is to hold the string under tension and then drip a drop or two of thin CA on it and smooth it along with my fingers. (latex gloves are nice here) Then hit it with a shot of kicker. The end result is that the string becomes it's own needle, but it is it's own diameter. Worked like a charm on my E-Flite JN-4.
MR2
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Old Mar 23, 2010, 08:58 AM
"the bouncer"
mackone's Avatar
Australia, VIC, Vermont
Joined Nov 2006
4,759 Posts
Nice Jon , great review and pics . I think i have some gear kicking around that would drop into this plane , hope they hit OZ soon .

cheers

Pete.
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Old Mar 23, 2010, 09:04 AM
Registered User
Joined Jun 2005
3,783 Posts
Nice looking model.

Too bad about the cowl.
Not that it would in any way keep me from buying one, but a subtle change in the shape of the cowling, (maybe the marketing dept. got to dictate to
engineering, i.e.; "We must use the Rimfire with a prop-saver, so the cowl-shape will have to accomodate that, even if it compromises the look of the model"), or something like that. Oh, well. Nice presentation, anyway. We will
be flying them soon!
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Old Mar 24, 2010, 09:36 PM
Flyr John in Floyd VA
United States, VA, Floyd
Joined Nov 2007
542 Posts
Picked up one of these at the LHS yesterday, assembled last night and today. Very nicely done kit. Everything goes together well, fit and finish really good. Maidened this evening as the winds died down. Wonderful flyer! Light and floaty. Very well behaved. Responds really well to controls.

I'm a long time fan of the GWS Pico Moth, but I must say, I think this one's better. Improved scale detail, and flies as well, or perhaps, better, than the Pico Moth. I really like the way it responds to rudder input. Also exit from turns when centering the stick. Take offs and landings are fantastic, as pointed out in the review.

I've also been a fan of E-flite ARF's, but this one is far superior to the Jenny/SE5/Neiuport series in every way.

BTW, I'm using a Park 300, 2S 460, 9X4.7 prop. Balance was spot on with no added weight. 8.3 ounces. 12 minute flight used only 330 of 460 mah.

Try it; you'll love it!

John in Floyd VA
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Old Mar 24, 2010, 09:51 PM
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Bajora's Avatar
Joined Sep 2004
13,642 Posts
Thanks for your comparison of this new Tiger Moth against the very popular GWS one John. I know a lot of people probably want to know how it compares! Appreciate you taking the time to post.
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Old Mar 24, 2010, 10:49 PM
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PfalzPflyer's Avatar
Omaha, Nebraska USA
Joined Dec 2003
277 Posts
I taught myself to fly R/C on the venerable old GWS Pico Tiger Moth. It was my favorite "no wind day" flyer for a long time, and it also saw a lot of duty as an indoor plane at the soccer center we fly at.
But after 6 years of service, the airframe was getting a little tired. It was time for a replacement. I have been considering getting another GWS TM, but to be honest the GWS design is starting to show its age. ARFs have come a long way in the last few years, to be sure.
I saw this in the hobby shop today, and snapped it up. I was going to wait to build it, but after reading jhark37's comments, I may have to bump it up a couple of notches on the build list. If it flies half as good as the old GWS one, I'll be satisfied.
Does anyone have any suggestions as to possible substitute components for the motor/ESC/servos? Something a little more economical than the "name brand" stuff? I'd still like to keep it light, as this will primarily be flown indoors.

Best regards,
Dean in Omaha
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Old Mar 25, 2010, 02:53 AM
Flyr John in Floyd VA
United States, VA, Floyd
Joined Nov 2007
542 Posts
"Does anyone have any suggestions as to possible substitute components for the motor/ESC/servos? Something a little more economical than the "name brand" stuff? I'd still like to keep it light, as this will primarily be flown indoors."




Dean, I used components that I had around, but from experience, I'm quite sure that a Hobby City 20 gram outrunner, one of their 10 amp esc's, and HXT 500 servos would work fine.

John in VA
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Old Mar 25, 2010, 10:21 AM
Wind Powered
george@dream-flight's Avatar
United States, CA, Goleta
Joined Oct 2004
538 Posts
Awesome looking review Jon! I hope you have fun with your new put-put bird!
take care,
George
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Old Mar 25, 2010, 01:36 PM
I love my ID.
Fairfax VA
Joined Aug 2004
656 Posts
Is this a Micro or Indoor model? I don't think I have seen this size/weight model posted in this forum before.
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Old Mar 25, 2010, 02:22 PM
What stalls falls
Ta152's Avatar
Joined Jul 2006
1,821 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by jhark37 View Post
Picked up one of these at the LHS yesterday, assembled last night and today. Very nicely done kit. Everything goes together well, fit and finish really good. Maidened this evening as the winds died down. Wonderful flyer! Light and floaty. Very well behaved. Responds really well to controls.

I'm a long time fan of the GWS Pico Moth, but I must say, I think this one's better. Improved scale detail, and flies as well, or perhaps, better, than the Pico Moth. I really like the way it responds to rudder input. Also exit from turns when centering the stick. Take offs and landings are fantastic, as pointed out in the review.

I've also been a fan of E-flite ARF's, but this one is far superior to the Jenny/SE5/Neiuport series in every way.

BTW, I'm using a Park 300, 2S 460, 9X4.7 prop. Balance was spot on with no added weight. 8.3 ounces. 12 minute flight used only 330 of 460 mah.

Try it; you'll love it!

John in Floyd VA
John in Floyd Va,

I am in Salem, are you a member of RVRC? If not, why don't you join? We have lots of fun and socializing too. Send me an email and I will send you my contact info if you would want to fly at RVRC as my guest.
Larry
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