|Wing area:||181 sq in|
|Motor:||Graupner speed 300 geared 7.7:1|
|Prop:||Included scale 3 blade|
|AUW:||14 oz (13.8 oz as tested)|
|Batteries:||8 cell 720 AAA NiMH|
Diving through the clouds, you regain sight of your prey, the red balls on the wings glistening. A quick burst from your 6 .50 caliber machine guns send pieces flying from the Zero as he breaks away. Pulling up into a high-speed yoyo, you maintain perspective and a decided advantage over the hapless Zero. Falling back into the downline puts you in a perfect position for the kill. Picture yourself flying the P-40 Warhawk in the Pacific theater of WWII. The P-40, unmistakable by its sleek lines and gaping engine intake, is recreated in nearly every detail in parkflyer size by Flying Styro.
Upon opening the box, it quickly became apparent that most of the major work had been done for me at the factory. Things such as the fuselage halves being joined, wings assembled, and even control surfaces hinged were already finished! This drastically cut down on the assembly time, leaving only what could best be defined as “finishing” to do. I was quickly blown away by the raw detail in this kit. Panel lines, rivets, door outlines and the like are all pre-molded onto the foam. After a quick scan through the instructions, I was ready to get started. Construction looked to be rather straightforward right from the start. The instructions include plenty of diagrams and are perfectly adequate for kit construction.
The wings came pre-assembled with the ailerons pre-hinged, leaving me to join the halves and hook up the control linkages. Joining the wing halves was as simple as gluing in a main spar and connecting the halves. Beyond the basic joining, everything else glued onto the wing may be done for the sake of appearance but is not required for the basic flying structure. This includes, but is not limited to landing gear fairings, artificial retracted gear, and gun muzzles. Also included, and fully optional, is scale extended landing gear for static use only. There are even provisions to make the scale gear removable for flight ops.
Fuselage construction consists of gluing in some longerons, the firewall, and the tail feathers. The stab and elevator are pre-hinged, and only need to be glued into position with no prep. The firewall took a bit of sanding to make it fit, but once down to size, it’s got no slop whatsoever. The firewall comes custom cutout for the recommend 7.7:1 gearbox, so it does indeed seem to be the perfect matchup for the plane.
At this point, I have to recommend a few slight modifications to the kit. Looking ahead to the “flying” section of this review, you will notice that I point out a slight challenge with yaw stability in this aircraft.
The first suggestion I have is that the P-40 would benefit greatly from a few degrees of right thrust to offset the massive torque of the scale 3 blade prop. This would be the time to do that. I’d recommend planning this in before gluing the gearbox to the firewall as you’ll need to do some trimming to the right side of the fuselage to make things fit. This is necessary as the spinner is custom fit to match up perfectly with the fuselage. Inducing right thrust without cutting some foam to the same angle will produce an unsightly gap between the left side of the spinner and the fuselage nose.
The second suggestion I have is that adding a functional rudder would be a good idea. The extra weight of the servo and linkage would be negligible and invaluable for the degree of control it would allow, though this is admittedly a matter of opinion.
Again note that both of these modifications will need to be done before the kit construction is complete and would prove difficult if not impossible to do afterwards.
Once satisfied with internal structure on the fuselage, I epoxied the wing to the fuselage. The pre-formed plastic wing fairings make this dead simple, as the wing is mostly self-aligning. A quick measurement while the glue was setting confirmed positioning for me.
The radio gear all sits within relatively easy access through at hatch underneath the canopy. The receiver ended up sitting to the side of the fuselage just forward of the servos. The servos themselves sit in holes through the top of the wing, re-enforced with ply doublers. The pushrod guide for the elevator comes pre-installed for me. All I had to do was string in the pushrod itself and terminate it on either end.
My radio gear was kindly supplied for this review by www.hobby-lobby.com and consists of a Hitec Focus III SS with a 555 receiver and HS55 servos. Hobby Lobby also supplied a Jeti JES110 ESC to power the system.
Also supplied for this review was a Lightenna from www.eflightproducts.com . This antenna on the 555 receiver has proven to provide flawless performance. I have, in fact, yet to see a single glitch or interference hit with this setup.
As it turns out, the battery ended up in precisely the spot the instructions said it should. As I plan to fly this with more than just the one supplied NiMH pack, I left myself a small strip of Velcro to allow for some pack movement rather than a set box location. This was my own prerogative and neither adds nor detracts from the kit itself.
Preparing the plastic scale details was, for me, the most time consuming part of kit construction. They are all pre-painted but come in sheets of parts, requiring cutting out and trimming. Something that should be pointed out here is that included in this kit was a set of touchup paints. This was invaluable to me. In particular, I found the canopy frame needed to be touched up heavily after I had cut it out. I was quite impressed in that the touchup paint, once applied, is 100% invisible as to being added overtop of the base color. It not only matches but blends into itself beautifully.
With the battery in position, the CG came out dead on where the instructions said it should. A quick check of the controls ensured that they were going the right direction with recommended throws. The day chosen for the test flight, while dark and dull, was dead calm. Off to the field I went, photographer in tow.
As the P-40 has no functioning landing gear, handlaunching is the only option. I did one final control check, making doubly sure that the controls were going the right direction. I found the best spot to grab the plane for a hand launch is just off the trailing edge of the wing on the plastic fairing itself. Yes, the fairing does hold up quite well to the rigors of a handlaunch.
I pushed the throttle to full and gave her a good medium strength throw forward. Immediately the pucker factor went up. She torqued to the left in no small manner. Full right aileron was inadequate to correct. A quick check during the initial tense circle confirmed control direction yet again. Not only that, but I could see the ailerons jammed to the right per my command on the stick. After one complete circle around myself deftly avoiding trees and the like, I cut throttle back to around 2/3 which allowed me the control authority to level out. Level flight proved an adventure all its own as the torque, even at 2/3 throttle, was enough to pull the nose over enough to induce a 200 foot diameter 360 circle with zero wing bank. A few circuits of the field proved enough for me, and I landed to do some adjustments.
I bent in a few degrees of right rudder and decided to try another launch. Also, for the second launch I opted to try her at 2/3 throttle as opposed to full. Needless to say, things went much better. The launch was greatly improved to the point that I recommend launching not at full throttle but at 2/3 on the stock power setup. The second launch still endured some left-hand torquing, but not nearly to the degree of the first launch. In this situation, the P-40 would benefit greatly to my above recommended few degrees of added right thrust and rudder control.
After the second launch and upon getting up on step, I quickly came to admire the P-40 for just how strikingly scale she appears in the air. Low passes at a higher rate of speed are purely beautiful and reminiscent of WWII era newsreel footage. Without adequate yaw stability, I find myself limiting my throttle to ¾, which is just fine for a decent climb rate anyway. The P-40 gets up and moves nicely at that throttle setting but in a scale fashion. Once in the know of just how to handle her, I found myself doing passes a few feet off of the ground banking to show off both the shark’s mouth and insignia.
I’ve kept my aerobatics with the P-40 limited, and rightly so. She will loop and roll, but in a scale fashion. Yarding back on the elevator will produce a tipstall, particularly aided by torque. Rolls are done in a very scale barrel fashion, losing a good deal of altitude from level flight (estimated 50 feet or so), but then again, I’ve never been trying to do axial rolls with this bird.
Slowing down the P-40 allows her to re-enter the realm of uncontrollably torquing to the left. As such, I hesitated in slowing her down too much. I chose to do my slower flying at no less than 1/3 throttle and even landings take place with the throttle between ¼ and 1/3, cutting only at the 6” altitude mark. Landings done with power on are relatively easy. She slows down decently without falling from the sky and slides to a stop in less than 5 feet once touched down on grass.
With the few mentioned modifications, I have no doubt that The P-40 would be a relatively easy flyer. Even so, I’d recommend having plenty of aileron aircraft experience before flying this model, which is fairly typical of warbird designs. Are you looking to wow the crowds with an ultra-scale looking warbird? The P-40 fits the bill perfectly. Between flying sessions, you’ll also be proud to show off the P-40 in your hangar.
|Dec 29, 2003, 05:55 PM|
Very nice looking model. I read the review. I just had the first flight on my Alfa Models Corsair. So all this is fresh in my mind. Given that the Styro P-40 requires some assembly (which some people prefer), is $10 more expensive, has smaller ws (not by much though), had issues on first flight ( may or may not be repeatable in other kits), and motor is hard to access,... I think the Alfa Models has'm beat,.. but then Alfa dosen't make a P-40. And we all know we buy on emotion. But jeez, these are nice models. I guess we are lucky to have so many choices of manufacturers of fantastic looking models. I'm slowly turning into an ARF addict. Nice review very refreashing to get an honest review,.. not used to that I guess.
|Dec 29, 2003, 07:13 PM|
Martin has done a very nice job with the P-40 review, however I have to make a comment to his flight assesment.
Torque from the motor does not directly effect yaw stability, nor can it be corrected by right thrust. An aircaft "YAWS" to the left with a CW rotation prop (from the cockpit) due to P-effect. This is the differential thrust produced by the inclination of the prop disk to the true direction of flight. The downward prop blade is at a higher angle of attack than the rising blade creating more thrust on the right side of the aircraft. This "yaws" the model to the left.
The "roll" to the left is a result of the rotation of the prop. With speed (and typically lower Angle of attack) both "problems" go away and neither are easy to trim out in low speed, high power flight with fixed-type configurations. Right thrust does help the left -yaw problem, but will do nothing for the roll-torque problem.
Some aircraft had offset vertical fins (hurricane) (or cambered ones, BF-109) rather than engine thrust offest. This was found to be easier to implement in the production line, and caused less grief when engine upgrade changes were made.
Trimming a model with a fixed rudder can work too, but becomes speed sensitive. A lot of deflection is required at slow speeds (where the problem is worse) and as the aircraft speed increases (and the AOA reduces) the amount of rudder trim required goes to near zero. If the model is carrying a lot of rudder trim in high speed flight, there surely will be a penalty in trim drag and the model will turn slightly better in one direction than the other.
To avoid snap-rolling any of the flying styro scale models with these large diameter multi-bladed props is to always launch the model with a brisk, level toss. With good speed, and a low inclination of the prop disk, yaw and roll out-of trim effects can be minimized.
(still flying is FS spitty)
|Dec 29, 2003, 08:04 PM|
Thanks for the indepth analysis, Tom.
Coming from a pattern and newly 3D background, I do know that left/right thrust can drastically decrease the change required in the set rudder trim from low to high speed. Right thrust in an airframe will decrease the left pull due to P-factor as it's simultaneously pulling to the right. The amount of right thrust required is the question mark. At speed it's not a matter of P-factor as the nose is not raised. Even in a high speed cruise on the initial test flight, she wanted to drastically pull to the left - symptom of too much left/not enough right thrust.
The simplest solution providing the least worries in the end is what I put in the review - a few degrees of right thrust and adding rudder control.
Your launch technique is exactly what I got into after the test flight. I don't go above 2/3 throttle in flight. Nor do I go below 1/3 throttle, including on approach. The yaw and roll effects are too severe otherwise.
|Jan 01, 2004, 11:59 PM|
Joined Feb 2002
I found this review to be very informative. I have just had a similar experience with another small flying styro plane, the Teady bear. Mine was overpowered with a razor motor, and 9 inch prop. First flight was almost as described in the flying tiger review. Lots of torq, yaw instability at lower speed, tip stall. Well, it all happened so fast I didnt know what really went wrong. This review has shed light on my situation. Thanks!
|Jan 02, 2004, 08:22 AM|
Agreed! I have already emailed Mr. Hunter about my experience with the FS Spitfire which was the same, if not worse, than his P-40. Although the Spit's 4-blade prop REALLY made throttle management slippery as a fish.
Only I anticipated this and added a rudder servo to the Spitfire during construction. I also offset the prop 3 degrees to the right and 3 degrees down. But it was still a slippery fish. Nonetheless, I highly recommend adding rudder to these models. It only adds about 10 or 12 grams, including a 6-gram servo.
|Jan 02, 2004, 11:04 AM|
Joined Feb 2002
My intentions for teady bear are for extreme aerobatics, so am leaving it with zero offset. After its rebuilt, will change to a lower gear ratio, smaller prop, and second flight will be from rog to get a bit of airspeed over the vertical fin before jumping into the air. After mastering the teady beast, I may try the p40. Its one of my all time favorite fighters.
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