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Tower Hobbies Hellcat EP Rx-R Review

Tower Hobbies has a released a beautiful new Hellcat to the EP market. The plane is a ready to fly model, receiver ready and value priced. Just add your receiver and 3s battery and you will be ready to fly.

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Introduction


Wingspan:39" 990mm
Wing Area:271 sq in 17.5 sq dm
Wing type:EPO foam semi-symmetrical
AUW weight:Advertised 28-31oz 795-850g Actual 26.6oz 755g
Length:31.5" 800mm
Wing loading:~14.2oz/sq ft
Cube loading:10.3
Transmitter:Futaba 7c 2.4GHz
Servos:Micro included
Receiver:Futaba R617FS 7 channel FASST 2.4GHz
Battery:FlightPower 2100 3s LiPo 25c
Motor:1000kv Brushless Outrunner included
ESC:SuperTigre 30a ESC included
US distributor:Tower Hobbies
Available: Tower Hobbies F6F Hellcat Rx-R
ARF Price:$119.97

Tower Hobbies has added an all new warbird to their lineup the F6F Hellcat. This model is Rx-R or receiver ready out of the box. You simply add the receiver of choice and a 3s battery and you are practically in the air!

With the popularity of ready to fly models it is no doubt Tower Hobbies has had great success with their RX-R ready to fly WW2 classic fighters. This is a stunning model molded from Aerocell (expanded polyolefin) foam that has a impressive, tight bead. The final paint finish will have you really squinting to see any imperfections. It has a three-color scheme common the Pacific theater and it looks fantastic! The markings are installed for you and I should note they are also very impressive looking as if they are painted on. They seem to melt right into the painted finish.

What is even more impressive is the finish level of the Hellcat. It is a receiver ready model (Rx-R) and will be ready to fly in less than an hour. The servos, ESC, motor control surfaces, horns are all installed. All you have to do is add the receiver and setup the radio. Then with some quick work planning on how to secure the battery you are ready for flight!

Kit Contents

The review package shipped from Hobbico and it arrived in perfect condition. It was exceptionally well packaged, triple-boxed and the contents in the box were isolated and protected from shifting during shipment.

As expected with Tower Hobbies products, the there is an excellent, plain English, pictorial manual with complete step by step instructions Manual.

Kit includes:

  • Pre-built and assembled model receiver ready (Rx-R)
  • EPO foam with expertly painted finish
  • Horizontal stabilizer ready for attachment
  • Conventional landing gear
  • Canopy
  • Pilot figure
  • Factory hinged surfaces
  • All hardware installed and ready for flight (Pushrods and horns)
  • Decal type markings
  • Clear well-written picture assembly guide

Kit requires:

  • 3s Battery 1800-2200 mAh recommended
  • 4 channel receiver

Included for this review:

Assembly

The Tower Hobbies F6F Hellcat is listed as a Rx-R airplane and true to expectation it was factory assembled essentially ready to fly out of the box. You simply add the horizontal and vertical stabilizers, receiver and a 3s 1800-2200 mAh battery and you are ready to go! Most will find the Rx-R Hellcat will be ready for flight in less than an hour.

Done by the factory:

  • Entire model painted and attractive markings
  • Surfaces hinged by the factory
  • Servos and linkages are all installed
  • 30 Amp ESC installed
  • 1000 kV Brushless outrunner motor installed and connected
  • Magnet attached cowl for easy access and no exposed screws

The builder needs to:

  • Install the landing gear
  • Install the horizontal stabilizer
  • Installed the vertical stabilizer
  • Install the receiver

Wing

The wing comes as one piece with dual servos for the ailerons. They are installed with no work for the builder other than verifying they are centered and ready to go. Tower Hobbies has included a Y harness that was factory connected to the servo wires. All that is needed for completion is feeding the installed wires into the fuselage and using one small nylon wing bolt to attaches the wing from inside the fuselage. No exposed screw - very nice!

The F6F Hellcat was setup from the factory with the correct amount of throw on the ailerons. Both were centered and ready for radio system setup.

The landing gear plates are factory installed and you simply slide the wire gear into the accepting slots. Simple and quick! Since the landing gear is just a friction fit it is very easy to remove them for hand launch when the grass is a bit too long. Easy to do in seconds!

The wing assembly attached with ease to the fuselage with a single nylon bolt. The front section is retained with a plastic flange in the fuselage. Since the connection is internal there was no screw exposed on the bottom of the aircraft very nice.

Fuselage

The F6F Hellcat fuselage is also EPO foam with an exceptionally tight bead. It is really difficult to see any bead separation at all. It was very smooth and made for an impeccable factory applied finish.

The servos for the elevator and the rudder as well as the pushrods were installed and ready for use.

Tail feathers

The vertical stabilizer is also of the same high quality as the fuselage and wings. Both the horizontal and vertical stabs need to be attached. The elevator and rudder are both installed hinged and ready to go.

The canopy attachment was very secure with strong magnets no worries about accidental loss while in flight.

The battery for the Hellcat needs to be as far forward as it can be. Since the front of the battery is not user accessible I actually made one more slight modification and added a wood dowel to keep the battery from shifting rearward. Simple and easy and no hook and loop needed. The hook and loop is included if you wish to use that but I prefer the simple method since the battery is forward of the hatch opening.

Cowl

The Tower Hobbies Hellcat also includes an EPO foam cowl that has factory installed magnets to secure that to the model. It sure makes motor access easy. I like that there are no exposed screw heads to attach the cowl. This is an excellent feature especially considering the budget price for this model.

Motor

The 1000 kV motor is factor mounted and installed. No work for you to do here.

Power system

The Tower Hobbies F6F Hellcat has a 1000 kV motor and generic version of the SuperTigre 30 Amp ESC installed and ready for use.

Amp draws

The included brushless motor is perfect for use with 3s packs. The 2100 FlightPower EON Lite pack was used in testing of the power system. The powerful 1000 kV motor produced the following results:

Motor statistics on 3s
Included GWS HD Propeller Amps Watts Voltage
10x6x3 23 265 11.5v

These power levels gave the Hellcat exceptional performance in the air. You can lift off in less than ten feet. I found that the F6F Hellcat flew with authority with the standard power system. No need for upgrades on this plane!

Battery

The recommended FlightPower ION Lite 25 3s 2100 MAh pack was used to provide power for the Hellcat. This pack tips the scale at exactly 187g. Performance of this light pack was stellar as can be seen it provided good voltage with the 23 amp load.

Finish

The Tower Hobbies F6F Hellcat is Aerocell foam but it has a very dense bead. This makes it nearly impossible determine that this is actually a molded foam model as the surface finish was smooth. The three-part paint was very attractive and followed schemes from the Pacific theater. The attractive markings really helped to set the model apart. They were not the cheap "stick-on" type but rather looked as if they had melted right into the surface of the model. These markings were exceptional quality for a model with a value price.

Pre-Flight

Some ground shots of the F6F Hellcat. It is a stunning model and is represented well in scale detail. I am so impressed with the quality of the foam models that are coming out these days. The Tower Hobbies Hellcat, just like the full scale F6F is a real looker!

CG

The CG was easy to obtain with the Hellcat so long as the 2100 3s pack was all the way forward in the battery area. This means it will be touching the rear of the firewall. I did not add any additional weight for balance of the Hellcat and it flies great!

Rates and transmitter setup

The Futaba 7c FAAST transmitter was used to control this plane. Rates were set as recommended in the manual per the chart below:

Control Throws
Low RatesHigh Rates
Elevator
6mm 10mm
Aileron
6mm 10mm
Rudder
19mm 25mm

Exponential rates were not recommended so I set those at 25% for the primary flight controls. I found that the elevator low rates were spot on but I increased the Expo to about 30% to soften them just a bit more to my preference. Aileron control was perfect for me as well. Rates are very much a pilot preference - set yours accordingly.

The flight timer was set to count down from 5 minutes giving an audible warning to land well before the battery was depleted. The FlightPower pack and stock motor were easily able to supply the Hellcat with stunning power. I was happy the stock propeller provided decent speed as well. I loved the look of the three blade propeller and yellow tips a great touch.

Flying

In the air the Tower Hobbies Hellcat is remarkably well behaved. It felt very light and extremely agile especially when using the rear CG recommendation. I don't know why I was surprised as it is a light model out of the box! It will perform any sport aerobatics you feel like doing and the Hellcat did not exhibit any nasty snap characteristics. I was pleasantly surprised by how easy this model was to fly.

In flight pics and video come from me while Tom my flying buddy did an excellent job of posing the F6F. After flight number two he was very impressed. I told him about the bargain price and that it was receiver ready! I am sure that he just might visit the Tower Hobbies website soon and place his order. Yes, it is that impressive!

Takeoff and Landing

The F6F Hellcat comes with large tires that make grass take-offs and landings an easy task. I was also surprised that is was easy to keep tracking down the runway with some rudder input. I found that take off power was reached before advancing the throttle stick very far at all. It will start to lift before half throttle stick position. There was a large reserve of power. Top end speed was fine with the 3 blade propeller as well. All around this was a perfect combination of power, performance, and looks all at a bargain price.

The addition of a steerable tail wheel was a huge improvement over the Tower Corsair. It is always nice to have that ground steering authority.

Landings were a piece of cake with the Tower Hobbies Hellcat. It is a good size park flyer type model and it slows very well on landings. It is totally predictable and does not exhibit any bad behavior right until stall. It is advisable to keep just a small amount of power on in landings as that will help control the bounce if it slowed too much.

Special Flight Characteristics

The Hellcat does not have any bad habits that I can coax out of this stunning performer. It easily managed 4 channel aerobatics with no complaints. Understandably, it is a scale model not a 3D ship in any way and was flown very much using the wing.

Loops required a bit over half throttle setting and were easy to keep very round and large. The Hellcat rolls well with the recommended rates used for aileron throws. The rolls were axial with a tiny bump of down needed at the half point.

I am having a blast flying the Tower Hobbies F6F Hellcat. You will be hard pressed to find a small warbird that is this well behaved. You will also have a hard time finding one that looks better - it is simply stunning both in the air and on the ground. I was very happy with the budget priced model in every aspect.

Recommended power system

Power on 3s voltages was stunning with the included 10x6x3 GWS HD propeller. I was fantastically impressed in fact with the vast power of the stock system. It is guaranteed to put a grin on your face and is very "fighter" like.

Is this plane for a beginner?

The Tower Hobbies F6F Hellcat is intended for pilots with basic flight skills. You do need some comfort with flying but it is very easy to manage due to the light wing loading.

Flight Video

Tower Hobbies F6F Hellcat eZone Review (2 min 41 sec)

Conclusion

The lines of the classic, beautiful Hellcat are impossible to miss. While this a molded foam model you will not easily detect that fact due to the sharp looks of the Tower Hobbies F6F. The foam beads are very dense and the paint is impeccable.

The Hellcat was a snap to assemble, and it went together faster than quick. The hard work was done for you at the factory, leaving you with little to do. A few short assembly tasks and radio setup are all that was needed.

Ground handling of this small model was positive and easy to manage thanks to the addition of the steerable tail wheel. The main gear was a strong point with the large main gear the Hellcat was able to handle grass with ease. Once the tail is in the air it actually steers very nicely. Another great point is the gear is very easy to take off if the grass is too long. The Hellcat was easy to hand launch and skids to a stop on long grass. The main gear removal takes all of 6 seconds.

In flight the Tower Hobbies Hellcat really comes to life. Considering its heritage as a prized WW2 fighter in the Pacific it was no doubt performance was in the genetics of this model. The model is a pure joy in the air. It will do any sport aerobatics and yet was very easy to handle.

It was great that the designers kept this model light and with the pack all the way in the nose the balance was fine with no additional weight needed. A larger 2200 pack works well too so if you have a stash of those like most of us do have many of those size packs. They will fit without modification.

The F6F is lightly loaded and floats very well on landings. Wind handling was excellent and this spring was a real test of its ability to cut through the wind. I could not have been more impressed. This plane has quickly earned a spot in the car every time I go to the field. It is remarkable!

The Tower Hobbies F6F Hellcat Rx-R is a real treat to assemble and fly - get yours today!

Hits:

  • Magnet secured battery hatch
  • Magnet secured cowl
  • Complete hardware package
  • Essentially ready to fly out of the box
  • Detailed instruction manual
  • Short assembly time
  • Great fight performance

Misses:

  • Hatch tough to remove without the fake antenna
Last edited by Angela H; May 07, 2013 at 01:53 PM..

Discussion

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Old May 31, 2013, 12:24 PM
Registered User
roversgonemad's Avatar
United States, ID, Idaho Falls
Joined Feb 2013
598 Posts
I have the Hellcat and I absolutely love it. My only mod was bending the landing gear forward just a little bit to prevent it from nosing over on slow grass landings. The RC field I fly from is all grass, so the big tires are also a nice addition. I'd belly land, but I really like rolling it in. I do have to hand launch most of the time or it does nose over. The finish is really nice out of the box, but it is also very fragile. I have some transport damage on my horizontal stabilizer, done on the very first trip to the flying field. This is also a plane where you have to land with a little bit of power, I find the best landings are done with power on, on the mains and then letting the tail settle as it slows. Once it's slow enough, a little down elevator puts the tail wheel on the ground. With the semi-symmetrical airfoil, it flies inverted REALLY well! I have flown whole batteries inverted almost the entire time. Stall turns, rolls, it does it all quite well. I have not really tried to knife edge it yet, but I think I may need to move the linkage on the rudder to get enough travel to knife edge really well. I find that gently sliding the hatch to the side makes it release quite nicely. I don't have a lot of planes, but this one is one of my favorites.
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Old May 31, 2013, 12:58 PM
Registered User
United States, CA, Oceanside
Joined Apr 2011
4,867 Posts
I have all three of the Tower Hobbies warbirds in this series and the Hellcat is my favorite. Rover is correct about landing any of these birds. They must be flown all the way to the ground using a bit of power. My only gripe about these planes is the very fragile tail wheel. I think TH could have designed it a little better.
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Old May 31, 2013, 01:18 PM
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roversgonemad's Avatar
United States, ID, Idaho Falls
Joined Feb 2013
598 Posts
The plastic part on my tail wheel broke almost immediately as well. I took a piece of 1/16" wire, bent a 90 in it, drilled out the plastic collar and epoxied it together. So far, so good. I have quite a few landings on this tail wheel and no issues.
]

An absolutely fun plane. I am having a hard time not buying the other TH warbirds. Only problem, I am out of memory slots on my Tx Time for a new Tx!!
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Old May 31, 2013, 01:22 PM
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pda4you's Avatar
USA, TX, Trophy Club
Joined May 2002
14,479 Posts
That is odd - my tail wheel assemblies are still going strong stock - on both my Corsair and Hellcat. No question they are light duty. I am just really glad the Hellcat is steerable.
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Old May 31, 2013, 02:32 PM
"World's Foremost Authority"
Tepid Pilot's Avatar
South Central Texas
Joined Aug 2009
629 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by chucksolo69 View Post
I have all three of the Tower Hobbies warbirds in this series and the Hellcat is my favorite. Rover is correct about landing any of these birds. They must be flown all the way to the ground using a bit of power. My only gripe about these planes is the very fragile tail wheel. I think TH could have designed it a little better.
When my Hellcat arrived with a broken tailwheel assembly in pristine inner and outer cartons I suspected that the OE part must be junk and replaced it with a DuBro 40 size tailwheel assembly, but kept the original tailwheel.

I also learned from flying the airplane that the specified balance point can be rearward of the recommended one. Truthfully, I've no idea where it is now, only that I place the 2200 mah battery further back from the firewall.

Also, I've found that it lands just fine, in a lovely three-point attitude, with the power off. It lands beautifully with a little power, too. It's a great lander is what it is.

TP
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Old Jun 02, 2013, 10:16 PM
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Sherman, TX
Joined Aug 2003
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Review

Excellent review with all the photos, video and build portions explained. Looks like I need a new plan. Nice review Mike.
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Old Jun 03, 2013, 07:40 AM
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Thanks Sir - you would like this one.
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Old Jun 05, 2013, 01:11 PM
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flyrc61's Avatar
United States, NY, New York
Joined Feb 2011
36 Posts
Hellcat

Great review Mike.
Here's what i did to protect the finish, i spayed on a couple cotes of polycrylic. It gave the plane a nice finish. Nice idea of putting on the antenna to aide in the removal of the canopy. Just about ready to fly mine.
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Old Jun 13, 2013, 03:14 PM
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United States, NY, Schenectady
Joined Sep 2009
237 Posts
The best $115.00 I have spent on this hobby. I fly mine w/o landing gear. Impeccable flight characteristics and very tough - like the original that the Greatest Generation pilots flew to victory in the Pacific.
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Old Jun 13, 2013, 04:45 PM
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Yep it is a keeper ....
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Old Jun 13, 2013, 04:58 PM
Parkstormer!
Raleigh, NC
Joined Jan 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Buster1000 View Post
The best $115.00 I have spent on this hobby. I fly mine w/o landing gear. Impeccable flight characteristics and very tough - like the original that the Greatest Generation pilots flew to victory in the Pacific.
Agreed--I love mine. I'll also admit to checking the Tower site pretty much every day for the next in the series!
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Old Jun 17, 2013, 03:30 PM
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Hemet, California, United States
Joined Aug 2001
2,607 Posts
Hi guys,

I just ordered a Hellcat too. Anyone know of a good alternative for the stock prop? I went to order a spare and saw they are back ordered until October!

I'm a pretty decent pilot, but can I fly for 4 months and not break a prop on a tail dragger? Maybe.....
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Old Jun 17, 2013, 06:14 PM
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United States, NY, Schenectady
Joined Sep 2009
237 Posts
Apc 9x7.5e
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Old Jun 18, 2013, 10:25 AM
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United States, CA, Oceanside
Joined Apr 2011
4,867 Posts
Put a little tape on the prop adapter and you can use the Parkzone 3 bladed prop with the yellow tips. It works great on my TH Corsair and will probably work fine on the Hellcat.
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