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Hobby Lobby Escale Samurai Powered Glider Review

The eScale Samurai sets the bar high among this fun aircraft type with outstanding flight qualities resulting from a well designed airframe and excellent components. Join Dr. Dave as he takes to the sky with a noble Samurai.

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Introduction


Wingspan:69" / 1756mm
Wing Area:462 sq. in. / 29.8 dm. sq.
Weight:33 oz. / 850 – 950g (959g as flown)
Length:41.75" / 1060mm
Wing Loading:10.4 oz/sq. ft. / 32.1 g/sq. dm.
Servos:Corona DS-939MG Digital (3) and DS-929MG Digital (2)
Transmitter:Futaba 9 Cap Super with TM-7 Module
Receiver:Futaba R617FS - 7 channel 2.4 GHz.
Battery:Turnigy 2200 mAh 7.4v LiPo
Motor:C2829-1800KV Brushless (Included)
Prop:10 x 6 Folding with 30mm Aluminum spinner
ESC:45 Amp ( Included)
Manufacturer:Model Engines
Available From:Hobby-Lobby
MSRP:$229.00

I have spent hours soaring over thermals created by the plowed fields across from my airstrip and just as much time finding and following the slope uplift as those southern breezes intersect with my hillside, and so I am always excited when I get my hands on powered gliders. If you have not ventured into powered glider flight you are really missing something. Gliders, and especially the Samurai, are so stable in the air and fun to fly that I can’t wait for those days when everything else is grounded by the wind, and I can grab my Samurai and head out to fly.

The eScale airframe is top of the line. It has a balsa and lite-ply covered three-piece wing and tail, a gel-coated fiberglass fuselage and a carbon tail boom. It is a tight fit for components, but well worth the time when you take to the air. The Samurai employs ailerons, rudder and elevator and includes flaps that significantly increase lift.

Kit Contents

The Samurai comes in a small box, but this is a high performance powered glider that comes complete with a brushless motor and a 45 amp ESC. More or less this is an ARF, but some detail is required to get the build correct. I would allow several days to complete this high quality aircraft.

What’s included?

  • Fully covered wings and tail
  • Gel coated fiberglass fuselage
  • Carbon fiber tail boom
  • Lite-ply servo tray and aileron servo mounts
  • 45 amp ESC
  • 1800kv brushless motor
  • Wing servo covers
  • All linkages and servo arm connectors
  • Plastic canopy
  • Screws and control horns
  • Foldable 10 x 6 prop and aluminum spinner

What you need:

  • 2 wing servos
  • Rudder, Elevator and Flap servos (3)
  • 12” Servo extensions (2)
  • 1800 – 2200mAh 7.4v LiPo
  • 5 channel transmitter with mixing
  • Epoxy and CA
  • Hot glue

Assembly

Give yourself some time to build the Samurai correctly. I found that most of the time, the step-by-step instructions left me little doubt as to what went where, but at the same time, be sure you get your symmetry correct: This did take some thought. You do not want to make cuts and then later realize you were slightly off, so take your time.

Samurai Walk-Around

Let’s take a look at some of the components.

Wing

This is a three-piece wing which begins with installing the aileron servos. I chose the excellent Corona DS-939MG since they have plenty of torque and I have yet to have a problem with them. These install first before the wings get too big to manage. Mounts are constructed and then hot glued into the wing. Trial fit to get this right before gluing.

I epoxied the two outer wing portions to the center panel after installing a plywood joiner and two wooden pins to align the wing. The wing is extremely strong and once mounted is stable with the mating surface of the fuselage. There is a slight dihedral so you are instructed to cut two 18mm pieces of wood to set under the wing tips when you glue them. I found the joiners to be a tight fit, and I did not need to lift the wing tips when I glued them. They were at the 18mm.

You will need 12” servo extensions to reach to the fuselage. The threading of the servo extensions is with a string. Be careful to not pull too hard as the servo lead connector must fit through the wing and be aligned with the opening. The servo openings are easy to see for the lead exit points in the center panel.

Be careful when you install the aileron control horns that you do not push them too hard and have them push up on the covering. The ailerons use the large control horns, and the rudder and elevator use the smaller horns. The flaps use a completely different control horn. The servo linkages are typical. The wings are completed with servo covers which are just barely big enough to cover the servo and the linkage so make sure you align them correctly.

Fuselage

The fuselage requires the installation of the servo tray. This is first constructed and then the servos are installed before slipping the entire unit into the fuselage. The tray has to be level and must be stabilized in the fuselage to make sure it does not move. I used 5-minute epoxy to get the tight fit. I aligned the tray so that the linkage exit points are level and towards the back of the fuselage and routed the servo wires forward.

Tail

You must make sure your symmetry is correct. If you are like me, you do not want to make cuts that result in misalignments. First, I had to get the horizontal stabilizer (HS) mount installed on the tail boom. This required some sanding until the mount slid onto the boom. There are two measures to make to control symmetry: The mount must be installed so the HS is level with the wings, and the HS must be symmetrical with the wing tips, and to do this, you must install the wing.

I placed the Samurai on a foam mount so that I could look down the tail and measure the symmetry. I made multiple measures, and when it was correct, I marked the underside of the HS and removed the covering and then glued it with epoxy. I used 30 minute set so I could once again measure and make sure it was correct. After I had the HS glued to the mount, I glued the mount to the boom, making sure the HS was level.

I used a square to make sure the vertical stabilizer (VS) was installed perfectly. The linkages are routed through the tail boom with the rudder routed up and out of the boom near the VS and the elevator routed within the boom and exiting out the back of the boom.

I completed the linkages by installing a piece of foam inside the boom to make sure both linkages were stabilized and could not flex.

Flaps

These are an excellent addition and something that would be present in a high performance glider. The linkage setup is not too difficult, but you will need to mount the servo tray first to get the proper linkage exit point from the fuselage and to get the correct linkage length. The linkage does not use a Z-bend, but rather just has a 90 degree bend that slips into the flap control horn which allows you to get the linkage out of the fuselage and not have to guide it into the servos EZ link every time you remove the wing.

Motor and prop

It is important that you get the motor wires down and into the recess of the fuselage so that they do not rub the outrunner. I used hot glue to secure the wires and then placed the battery on top of the wires. The prop uses a very high quality aluminum foldable prop system. I used lock-tite to make sure the prop is secure.

Canopy

The canopy has a wire that protrudes forward and into a hole you drill in the fuselage. The wire is secured with fiberglass tape and super glue. Use your accelerator sparingly so you do not get the glue too hot and melt the canopy. The rear portion of the canopy uses a hook and loop system to secure the canopy.

Radio Installation

I installed the 2200 mAh LiPo on the bottom of the fuselage and then mounted the receiver towards the wing saddle. The ESC tucks along the side of the battery or on top. I added 17 grams to the nose to get my CG correct.

Completion

I used my Futaba 9 Cap Super with the 2.4 GHz TM-7 module that has been my go-to set up for many models. I like the dials on the 9 Cap that allow me to program the flaps as a potentiometer. I marked my transmitter with 10, 20 and 30 degree flap indicators. This type of setup works well. The CG was pretty close (55mm behind the leading edge), but in the end I added 17 grams to get the nose down. My AUW was 959 grams.

Before taking to the air I mixed the flaps and elevator and ailerons and elevator. My amps at full throttle showed 33 well under the 45 amps provided.

Flying

The Samurai is one of the nicest flying planes I have in my hangar. No fooling here; This is a high performance aircraft that can do it all. It is also one of the most stable planes in the air that I fly. The land launch is very easy, and once you let go, the plane leaves your hand level and is ready to fly. The vertical performance is just that. It will climb to 1000 feet in no time. The glide slope is outstanding, and when the flaps are employed the Samurai does not want to let gravity take over. I mixed my elevator with the flaps so that when I dial in some flap I can keep the nose down. The flaps are great for slowing down the Samurai on landings.

Basics

The aerodynamic capability is impressive. The Samurai can loop, roll and fly inverted with incredible stability. I like the big loops and lazy rolls. The range of flight conditions is impressive. I have flown the Samurai in calm winds and in winds well over 15mph. I believe I can fly this aircraft in much higher winds and enjoy the excellent wind penetration. There is no ballooning or wing rolling with high winds, and stalls are gentle.

Taking Off and Landing

The hand launch is gentle and requires no effort to get the Samurai airborne. I think this is one of the really fun flight characteristics of powered gliders. There is no high-start launch needed. The Samurai is under your control and never does anything you do not expect. The landings are not at all like hotliners. It will come in slow and with no stall tendencies. With flaps you can get even slower. I did notice I had to set up a little further out on final as it does want to float.

Aerobatics/Special Flight Performance

I really enjoy the sustained flights I get with some lift. It is fun trying to stay in the air without using any power. It is also fun to perform maneuvers with no power. As a powered high performance glider, the aerobatics are totally up to the skill set of the pilot.

Is This For a Beginner?

I would think it unlikely to invest this kind of money for a first time plane. But if I was a betting man, I would put my money on the Samurai as one of the best powered gliders available today. If you want to get something really special and fly something that has a great design, high quality components and looks great, then get a Samurai.

Flight Video/Photo Gallery

Downloads

Conclusion

This is well worth the money. With the included motor and ESC, you have an outstanding setup for many types of flying. Get yourself a lawn chair and some cold water and figure on one-hour flights without ever touching the throttle. The Samurai loves to fly.

Needs No Improvement:

  • Quality design and components
  • Rock solid performance
  • Power curve

Possible improvements:

  • Supplemental notes on build
  • Slightly larger servo covers
Last edited by Angela H; Oct 10, 2011 at 05:35 PM..

Discussion

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Old Oct 10, 2011, 06:29 PM
Registered User
venice ca
Joined Feb 2011
51 Posts
thank dave nice review this glider seem to have it all aerobatics,stability,good penetration,and it thermals. the price is right one thing dose the flaps go up thanks don
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Old Oct 10, 2011, 10:31 PM
Flightcomp.com
ak79's Avatar
United States, CA, Torrance
Joined Apr 2006
1,692 Posts
Where you able to get the brake working on the esc?
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Old Oct 11, 2011, 05:05 AM
Dr. Dave
USA
Joined Nov 2005
1,316 Posts
I did not work with the brake. I read your posts so I know you were working with Jason. Did anyone call him to sort the brake out?
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Old Oct 11, 2011, 08:17 AM
Silent Majority
Bert's Avatar
Monrovia,MD,USA
Joined Mar 2000
289 Posts
ESC link with PDF Manual.

That should sort out the brake... but I do not own one so cannot verify.
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Old Oct 11, 2011, 01:20 PM
RCG Staff Member
Jason Cole's Avatar
United States, TN, Nashville
Joined Oct 2003
5,463 Posts
Here's the deal on the brake. It's actually a lot easier than I remembered. The manual is obviously not the right one.

All you do is this:

Turn on radio and move throttle stick to full.
Plug in battery to plane.
You'll hear 4 beeps, two lower tones followed by two higher tones.
Right after the 4th beep, move the throttle stick all the down.

If the brake was off, that turns it on. If the brake was on, that turns it off.

Hope that helps,
Jason Cole
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Old Oct 11, 2011, 02:04 PM
Registered User
UlteriorModem's Avatar
Joined Aug 2011
729 Posts
Mmmmm shiney!!!

Nice looking model but the price point is out of my range I am afraid.
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Old Oct 11, 2011, 06:04 PM
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chip.greely's Avatar
Carlsbad, Ca
Joined Mar 2007
3,096 Posts
Nice Review Dave,

...I guess we've reached the timelimit on 'Classic Glider Name' reuse, as for most pure glider enthusiasts The Samurai will forever be connectd to a Twisty Wing Flier (TWF).

It reminds me of the Cermark Victor, albeit a very complete ARF Motor Glider
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Old Oct 12, 2011, 12:10 PM
Cumulus Altimus
FASTBEN's Avatar
KELLER TEXAS
Joined Feb 2002
3,608 Posts
i think this can use a little better motor maybe a scorpion 28mm or a hyperion to get about 600 800 watt.
im going to order one for that ptice cant loose...you can also use this plane on the slope.
Ben
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Old Oct 12, 2011, 12:19 PM
RCG Staff Member
Jason Cole's Avatar
United States, TN, Nashville
Joined Oct 2003
5,463 Posts
Doesn't need an upgrade motor at all. It already climbs vertically! How much more do you want?!?

Jason
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Old Oct 12, 2011, 04:54 PM
Cumulus Altimus
FASTBEN's Avatar
KELLER TEXAS
Joined Feb 2002
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@ what speed?
Ben
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Old Oct 12, 2011, 06:23 PM
Registered User
United States, OH, Cincinnati
Joined Nov 2001
441 Posts
Looks like a plane that cant decide what to be. Too slow for even a 'warmliner' and too high a wing loading to float around and catch a few thermals
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Old Oct 12, 2011, 07:33 PM
DSX
Registered User
Joined Jul 2011
46 Posts
Sky

.

Nice review on the Escale Samurai, Dave

I however am looking for a higher performance 1.7 M electric sailplane and
I found one at ( arthobby.com ) called the SKY - EV 1.7 M

arthobby.com/index.php?page=item&category=30&sub_category=39&it em=224

Would you be willing to do an in depth review on this sailplane, Dave ?

Cheers,
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Last edited by DSX; Oct 12, 2011 at 07:47 PM.
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Old Oct 12, 2011, 09:38 PM
RCG Staff Member
Jason Cole's Avatar
United States, TN, Nashville
Joined Oct 2003
5,463 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by AndrewsJr View Post
Looks like a plane that cant decide what to be. Too slow for even a 'warmliner' and too high a wing loading to float around and catch a few thermals
Actually, that's totally wrong. This really is one of my favorite planes right now. Plenty fast and aerobatic for a warm liner, and catches thermals with the best of them. It actually almost feels like a hand launch glider wing loading when floating power off, add a touch of flaps, and the glide slope is crazy. You really have to see one in person or fly it yourself to get a good idea.

Jason
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Old Oct 12, 2011, 09:52 PM
Registered User
Joined Dec 2009
78 Posts
...seems a bit slow and lazy in that video ...could be just how you were flying it, but I hope that wasn't anyway near full throttle? I noticed only a 2S Lipo is used and is perhaps why it's a bit on the lazy side ...can that motor handle a 3S?

For those questioning the thermalling ability; wing loading seems just fine for that, but this plane is probably best at home on the slope.
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