Dynam RC Messerschmitt BF-109 RTF
|Flying Weight:||49.5 oz. (1400g)|
|Wing Loading:||.19 oz/sq. ft. (50g/sq dm)|
|Construction||Expanded polyolefin airframe; composite propeller with plastic spinner; plastic servo control horns; aluminum propeller collet; fiberglass horizontal stabilizer and wing support tubes; steel pushrods; clear polycarbonate windshield; plastic pilot bust|
|Servos:||Four Detrum 9g analog; two Dia 3.6 75 self-contained electric retracts|
|Transmitter:||Dynam five-channel 2.4GHz sport aircraft with analog trims, aileron sub trim, servo reversing and throttle hold|
|Receiver:||Dynam seven-channel 2.4GHz aircraft which includes two auxillary channels|
|Battery:||Dynam 2200mAh 4S 25C lithium polymer with Dynam power connector and JST-XH balance tap|
|Motor:||Detrum BM3720A brushless outrunner; 500Kv|
|Propeller:||Dynam 13x7E three-blade composite with scale plastic spinner|
|ESC:||Detrum 40A brushless|
|Minimum Operator Age:||14+|
|Minimum Operator Skill Level:||Intermediate|
|Manufacturer:||Shenzhen Dynam RC Industry & Trade Company, Building C-2, Nanshan Industry Park, Yantian, Fenggang Town, Dongguan City, Guangdong Province, China 523000|
|Manufacturer's Catalog Number (RTF):||DY8951|
|Distributor's Catalog Number (RTF):||60A-DY8951-BF109-RTF-24G|
|Price (USD) RTF/ARF:||$219.00/$129.00|
"Messerschmitts! A whole mess of Messerschmitts!"
Great minds think alike, which explains why I married my wife.
When I told her that a Messerschmitt was on its way, I thought of the above quote.
She actually said it.
Though I am a rabid Looney Tunes fan, we've gathered here not to discuss the merits of a more than 70-year-old Friz Freleng cartoon but rather the merits of the EPO Dynam RC Messerschmitt BF-109 RTF from our friends at Nitroplanes.
I had the pleasure of meeting some of the Nitroplanes crew at their AMA Expo booth back in January 2013. Among the crew was Bobby Guarisco, Nitroplanes' marketing manager as well as the sponsorship and promotions manager for their Gens Ace division.
Bobby was happy with the review I'd done for their Dynam RC Gee Bee Y which I reviewed in ARF form in late 2012. So, Bobby later contacted me through RCGroups to ask if I'd review this new model.
Available in a so-called "RTF" version with a Dynam five-channel radio system and which requires minimal final assembly or an "ARF" version less transmitter, receiver and battery requiring the same final assembly, the 50" (1270mm) wingspan BF-109 comes in at a price close to that of many RTF micro-sized models. Add to that a pair of Dia self-contained electric retracts, a detailed pilot bust and preinstalled LED navigation lights and you have a recipe for one impressive model.
If it proves to be anything like the Gee Bee, this promises to be really impressive.
The BF-109, also known as the Bf-109 and ME-109, was an all-metal monocoque fighter designed in the 1930s by Willy Messerschmitt and Robert Lusserr. As in the case of the Gee Bee, Dynam's rendition represents an actual aircraft.
D-FWME is a BF-109 which started as a Hispano HA-1112 M-1L Buchón, essentially a BF-109 built in Spain under license in 1950. The plane was later used in the famous motion picture Battle of Britain and was disguised as a P-51 Mustang for use in another motion picture when it was damaged in a crash during takeoff.
It was then sold to buyers in the UK and later in the US where it flew only once before being crash damaged again. Ambitious buyers in Germany bought the plane with plans to restore it to full WWII BF-109 specs, eventually moving it to the Messerschmitt plant beginning in 1998. It took 30,000 hours of work over six years to bring Rote Sieben or Red Seven back to flying condition, only to have it damaged yet again when the gear collapsed.
Today, D-FWME belongs to Messerschmitt Stiftung, a Munich-based charitable foundation founded by Willy Messerschmitt in 1969 to aid in preserving German heritage. The foundation enters it in shows all across Europe with pilot Walter Eichhorn at the controls.
A history of the plane can be found here.
The model comes complete with:
The RTF version requires:
The ARF version requires:
Recommended for both versions:
All of the model's individual components come in their own boxes:
The wing is ready to go in only three steps...or four if one takes the time to wire the LEDs.
A red LED belly pan nav light is first glued to the inside of the left wing with a dab of the supplied contact cement. The 8x400mm fiberglass wing spar tube is next, the halves are then joined together and the rear wing hold-down (described only as the "plastic part") glued in.
As far as the LEDs are concerned, Dynam has left rigging power to them up to the builder. Before I was done, I had them working by wiring them in parallel to a servo connector for use in one of the open auxillary channels on the receiver. They were just too cool not to fire up, but they aren't particularly bright. The red LED on the belly wouldn't light, either.
Somewhat less cool are the mold ejection marks beneath each wing. In fact, I can't recall ever having seen more on molded foam parts. At least they're on the underside and will be invisible in flight.
They simply look unattractive on the ground, but such is the tradeoff for the sorts of molded details possible only with foam construction.
Since we're on the subject of the underside of the wing, I noticed a very interesting detail there.
There is a seam along the underside of the ailerons and foam block-off plates which look to be the exact same size as the openings for the aileron servos.
In short, one can easily add flaps.
That more than makes up for the ejection marks in my opinion. If I ever upgrade the radio, I'll almost certainly add flaps and perhaps a bit of green chromate paint to the cut foam.
The first step here is to glue what the manual calls the "plastic scale exhaust stacks" to the fuselage.
The stacks are actually preinstalled; what the photo refers to is the scale air intake scoop. Mounting pins and a recessed mounting area make for a good fit.
Frequent Nitroplanes reviewer Tony mentions a simple but very useful modification to the fuselage in the beautifully produced YouTube video linked below. In it, he suggests cutting a hole in the fuselage in the scoop's recess before actually installing the scoop. This makes the scoop functional rather than simply cosmetic and helps to cool the ESC and battery in flight. It's a brilliant idea and one which should be addended to the manual. I'd already glued the scoop in place before learning of the modification, but since I had attached it with the contact cement, I was able to carefully remove it, cut the hole and glue it back down.
As for the fuselage itself, the paint job is fairly nice, the rudder and elevator servos neatly mounted and the receiver partially prewired but incorrectly so except for the throttle, which I presume was for shipping purposes. A 3M double-sided tape square is already mounted beneath the receiver, ready to be affixed once everything is connected and ready. Once the receiver was mounted, I taped down the twin aerials at 90 degrees from one another. There isn't anything specific in the manual regarding aerial placement, but virtually all twin aerial receivers I've encountered have this recommendation.
What wasn't nice were a series of glue smudges all over the thing, not to mention a really rough and peeling area of paint near the underside of the nose.
Worst of all was an improperly glued seam underneath between the wing saddle and the nose. I used some medium foam-safe CA and kicker to reattach the seam, but there wasn't much I could do about the smudges.
Given the sheer amount of hand labor that goes into any model of this type, it's a wonder they're as good as they are. Since this is a warbird and not a Scale Masters entry, the flaws add some character.
The wing is first wired up to the receiver and then bolted down with a 6x50mm nylon screw and a couple of small 2.3x20mm screws. The latter seemed ridiculously small to actually do anything, but most of the work of holding the wing is between the nylon screw and the mounting tab up front. The screws seem to help hold the wing against the saddle more than anything else.
Since the manual seems to hint later on that the pilot bust and canopy are already installed - which they weren't - I took the opportunity to glue down the nicely detailed but slightly off-scale bust with its own tube of CA and the canopy with some Pacer Formula "560" canopy glue which I already had on hand. The contact cement would no doubt have worked, but I've always had nothing but the best possible results with the Formula "560."
The RCGroups discussion board dedicated to the Dynam Fw-190 suggests the factory Y-harnesses are a potential weak spot. Some name-brand harnesses might be in order here and are cheap insurance. I spent the eleven bucks on a couple of 6" extensions since I didn't want to "lawn dart" this model in front of a video camera, or at all for that matter.
On the subject of radio connections, there's a little PC board covered in shrink wrap with male and female servo leads at either end. There's no mention of it in the manual and no addendum; I assumed it might have been a device used to slow down the retracts for more scalelike operation.
A quick email to Bobby Guarisco solved the mystery. The device is an amplifier, used to eliminate a low-speed stutter in the motor due to a slightly weak signal from the ESC. It simply plugs in between the ESC and the receiver.
I'll assume that Dynam ordered up a huge number of these motors and ESCs, so rather than trash them, they came up with the amp.
The tailwheel is a nice setup with all of the linkages hidden inside. The 1.5mm allen wrench is used to secure the wheel in its aluminum collar. A scale radio antenna is glued behind the canopy, but the fit was a bit loose on mine. I opted for a dab of CA in this case.
Unless I come down inverted, it's on to stay.
Here's the part where a couple of incredibly maddening omissions in the manual come in.
Step 11 shows the installation of the horizontal stab halves and their fiberglass spar.
It also shows the rudder and pushrod horns already in place. Honestly, this is the sort of thing that a simple proofread would have caught. Had I not seen that the horns were not in place, it would have been far more difficult to install them later.
As for the rudder, it came with some preinstalled pinned hinges. I installed it the traditional way with some petroleum jelly to protect the hinges from being glued by the CA.
Once the elevator pushrod horns were in place, on went the horizontal stabilizers.
I almost went the CA route with these and I wish I had.
The stabs are a snug fit and as such, the contact cement went oozing out all over the place even though I'd used only a small amount. I wiped it up as best I could, expecting the worst cosmetically.
When I got home from work that evening, the cement had dried almost invisibly, leaving only a trace of slightly wrinkled paint along the inner edge of one of the stabs. It isn't perfect, but it could have been a lot worse.
What really does look worse is a poorly molded tab on the fuselage which was simply painted over by the factory, leaving a really ugly gap.
A shot at the Scale Masters is looking less and less likely for this model at this point, but then again, I'd rather fly.
After popping some batteries in the Dynam transmitter and turning it on, I plugged in one of the flight batteries to see how well the servos would line up before I attached the elevator and rudder pushrods.
To my astonishment, everything lined up to near perfection.
I had a big problem with the Gee Bee in that regard, especially at the aileron servos. The servo arms should have been removed and reinstalled in a different orientation, but they were impossible to remove without risking some damage to the wing.
Not so the BF-109.
I needed only to reverse the rudder and elevator switches on the transmitter, readjust the rudder clevis a few turns and ever so slightly readjust the tailwheel pushrod at the servo.
That was it. Not bad at all.
The final steps show the installation of the propeller and spinner, but I thought it best to first check the control surface throws before doing so.
I used the battery supplied by the factory to fire up the receiver and I can say, with all honesty, those Dynam battery connectors are a bear to connect when they're new. I don't know what the resistance is, but the very large gold-plated pins and sockets suggest it's quite low. They did become easier to connect after a couple of cycles, but they gave me no way to connect to my wattmeter for current draw readings.
The recommended elevator and rudder throws are 12 - 15mm and the ailerons 15 - 20mm.
The very simple Dynam transmitter has no end point adjustment capability, so I had to depend on the holes in the servo horns.
I managed to get about 12mm from the elevator, but the rudder swings close to 20mm and the ailerons only about 12mm.
Since that was the best I could do, I installed the prop and applied the pressure-sensitive stickers with the aid of a spray bottle of water.
The scale Rote Sieben diecut stickers and Iron Crosses really make this model look great. Less impressive were the non-scale manufacturer stickers, the English "NO STEP" stickers on a German subject and some others announcing "2.4GHz" and danger of a rotating propeller.
This was a big gripe when I did the Gee Bee. There is no shortage of photos of the full-scale D-FWME, so why not go all the way and spend the time, effort, money and tooling to do proper scale stickers?
The maiden flight came on a somewhat warm, breezy Sunday at the Coachella Valley Radio Control Club outside of Thermal, California where I met up with club videographer George Muir. George got a few beauty shots of the BF-109 in the pits before I performed a successful range check and a double-check of the CG.
There's just something about a warbird that gives me a case of the butterflies just before the maiden flight, but I bucked up and taxied out to the runway.
The breeze blew the tail around a bit, but I was able to finally get it lined up on the runway for flight number one.
As seen in the video, the headwind prevented any attempt to take off in a scalelike manner. Instead, the BF-109 took off at near vertical, but I was able to get it flying straight and level almost immediately.
Careful setup paid some real dividends; the model required no trim adjustments whatsoever.
I generally don't go too crazy when flying a non-aerobatic model for the first time, so I raised the gear and kept it in the pattern, both for my sake as I got used to the controls as well as for George's.
As on the ground, the retracts don't quite pull up flush with the underside of the wing while in flight, but that clean undercarriage still managed to look stunning in flight.
Speed was not quite as fast as I would have expected from a model motivated by a four-cell li-po, perhaps hampered somewhat by the three-blade scale propeller or maybe even the signal amplifier.
Still, it was no slouch, flying at an eyeballed 50 MPH (80 km/h) into the wind as I did a low runway pass and a bit faster with the wind, but not by much. It cruised beautifully at about 3/4 throttle, but going to full didn't increase result in a heck of a lot more speed.
Lining up for a landing was a bit difficult given some wind shear, but it tacked great with the rudder. I found out right away this Messerschmitt really wants to fly. It almost didn't want to come down and the wind shear was trying to blow the model toward the flight line.
It looked great on video, so I elected to leave it in.
I aborted the landing and brought it around again, this time for a somewhat Harrier-like landing down the center of the runway.
George couldn't stay and as luck would have it, the wind died down soon after he left. Back in the air it went for flight number two.
This was more like it. The takeoff was far more scalelike and the controls considerably calmer once the BF-109 was in the air.
That calmed me down as well. I settled down to enjoy the flight.
As I'd predicted, the limited control surface throws resulted in a near-complete inability to roll even with the oversized ailerons, so I can't comment on aerobatic performance. I tried to at least enter a loop, but it felt kind of mushy and I didn't want to risk a stall. The example flown by Nitroplanes in their video linked below was guided by a high-end JR radio which unquestionably added a lot more throw and therefore rolling and looping capabilities, not to mention such niceties as exponential.
Despite the lack of aerobatic potential with the stock radio, it was still lots of fun to fly and that radio system flew the model without the slightest glitch.
The landing was far better than the first one, done with gradual lowering of the throttle. I didn't think it was wise to simply glide a warbird in, but proper throttle management helped it to come down smoothly with the model kissing the tarmac on the mains before the tailwheel dropped down with a bit of up elevator.
I'd used the supplied 25C battery for this flight and thanks to the now-functional air scoop, it came down at barely above ambient temperature, despite that temperature being close to 90F (32C).
As seen in Nitroplanes' YouTube video, the BF-109 is capable of basic rolls and inverted flight when set up with a computerized radio as opposed to the supplied radio.
Unlike most wardbirds, the BF-109 not only glides well, low speed performance is also quite good as evidenced by the Nitroplanes video.
It flies more like a sport plane than a warbird with its terrific gliding ability and solid control, even with a basic radio.
However, this airframe cries out for a more advanced radio.
No model of this type is suitable for a beginner. One has to be absolutely comfortable flying an aileron-equipped model before even attempting to fly something like the BF-109. It's a real good time for at least an intermediate pilot capable of flying ailerons, but someone stepping into the BF-109 from a trainer would be well advised to seek the aid of an experienced pilot before doing so. Like any low-winged warbird, there are no self-righting characteristics like those in a trainer.
|New Dynam BF-109 (5 min 38 sec)|
|Dynam RC Messerschmitt BF-109 RTF from Nitroplanes.com (2 min 6 sec)|
Despite a few manufacturing glitches, the Dynam RC Messerschmitt BF-109 RTF turned out to be a winner.
There are a few anomalies, chief of which is the performance. I stated earlier that a four-cell setup such as this should have been faster than it was. The power setup seems to almost be an afterthought in light of the inline signal amplifier for the ESC and what may have been an attempt to get at least some acceptable oomph with the four-cell pack. By the way, the amp worked fine. No glitches.
Much of that performance can also be attributed to the propeller which seems to sacrifice a bit of overall speed for more scalelike looks and performance. The 500Kv motor certainly plays a role as well.
The radio is a bit of an anomaly. Someone who is capable of flying a model such as the BF-109 surely has a radio capable of flying it. It's certainly not a bad radio, but it fails to allow for even the minimum recommended aileron throw and barely allows for the minimum recommended elevator throw.
So, if one already has a radio, buy the ARF and put the difference toward some Sky Lipo 30C batteries which, when in stock, may be found here. They're a terrific bargain at only US$25.28.
If one doesn't wish to tie up a model's memory slot in one's radio or if the model memory is full, get the RTF and get the added benefit of a Dynam 25C battery.
That said, I give the BF-109 two thumbs up. It looks great, goes together quickly, flies beautifully and does so for a price less than many bare airframes or even some micros regardless if it's the ARF or RTF version. It's also supported by affordable replacement parts, all of which are available through Nitroplanes. It's absolutely worthy of consideration, especially if one wishes to add one particularly wicked looking German warbird to their hangar.
To paraphrase Daffy Duck, expect to see a whole mess of Messerschmitts at the local field before long!
Almost all of the thanks for making this review possible must go to Nitroplanes' Bobby Guarisco. Meeting Bobby and the rest of the Nitroplanes crew at the AMA expo was one of the highlights of my trip. It was through Nancy Chung, aka "Nitro Nancy" here on RCGroups.com that I was able to meet Bobby and to begin a closer working relationship with Nitroplanes. Both are striving to improve customer service and the quality of the products offered. This terrific model is just such an example.
No review here is possible without administrator Angela Haglund nor are any possible without our readers worldwide.
Enjoy your stay here on the internet's biggest and finest hobby site and don't forget to order your own BF-109!
There is a heck of a lot to like about this model:
Mike, you're right about the CA, but I didn't recall having to glue any of my previous EPO planes after finding that split seam and I wasn't sure just what to use. This isn't my first EPO plane by a long shot, but again, I never had to glue any of the others. The online buzz was that it was OK to use regular CA but to first test it.
Since I didn't want to ruin the looks of a model which I needed to photograph, I decided to err on the side of caution and go with the medium foam-safe with a shot of kicker both per the internet and per the hobby shop.
Nice review. I'm putting mine together on the kitchen table. I did not receive the amplifier and noticed that the motor stuttered at low RPM as other owners have observed in another thread. I will be replacing the ESC with another 40a unit.
Question. Did your bag of parts come with black anodized light metal washer-looking thing with a bevel on one side? It seems to be the same material as the prop collet, but I can't figure out where it goes. The manual does not mention it or show it the list of spare parts.
I don't recall seeing anything like the part you described. My guess is that it may have been part of the hardware package from another model. That and the issue with the amp is proof that Dynam needs to step up their QC. That's something I've mentioned to Bobby as well as to Nancy Chung who posts here as "Nitro Nancy."
I've been tempted to try another 40A ESC, but that would mean that I'd have to change out the connectors either on it or on the batteries. Please let me know how the performance is with a different ESC. Or, if you decide to keep the factory unit, I'd email Nitroplanes instead of trying to call for an amp.
BTW, Gardena is kind of my old stomping ground. I grew up in Torrance, both my wife and my brother were born at Gardena General and I had uncles and an aunt who lived there. One uncle lived on Denker and my other uncle and aunt lived on Gramercy. Long time ago, though. Small world, no?
While I'm at it, the servo splitters I referred to aren't really Y-harnesses so much as they're a servo extension with a double plug and exposed pins. Their true Y-harnesses are color coded like JR units and work well. Those are the ones which came with my Gee Bee and with the P-47D I'm currently reviewing.
Thanks for the quick reply. Dynam is definitely headed in the right direction. With some minor improvements in QC and a line up of interesting models they could be even more of a force to recon with.
We moved to Gardena to get closer to the inlaws. We are a very short walk from El Camino and, to paraphrase Sarah Palin, I can see Torrance from my house! It is a great part of the South Bay. As a lover of Japanese food, the access to the real deal is fantastic. The local schools have large enough fields for some decent flying, too.
The Japanese food is out of this world, but I miss going to Ramona's on Western Avenue for the fresh versions of their refrigerated burritos.
Good luck on the maiden flight! She's no pylon racer, but she's quick. In fact, the factory setup might prove to be a good choice for a relatively small field.
For those tempted to skip the directions, note that although four of the iron cross decals appear to be identical, they are not. The decal sheet has three pairs of iron crosses in different sizes, although telling the difference even when right up on the model is difficult. Also, I found the swastikas I had sitting around from my prematurely deceased Parkzone Bf-109 to look very scale.
great review. I have been looking at this plane for some time now. Bummer to hear that it is under powered even on 4s. The Dynam radios must have changed to a newer version as all of my Dynam 5 channel radios have an expo knob. The aileron sub trim knob you speak of is were all of mine have an expo knob. My expo knobs control all throws evenly on all functions except the throttle and retract gear were there is no change as there should not be. I buy Dynam radios off of ebay for dirt cheap just for the expo function.
All that knob did was to move the ailerons and nothing else. It had no effect that I could see on the other surfaces. The manual isn't much good in describing it:
servo degree-adjust knob clockwise, all servo drgree augment
Yes, that's exactly how it's described, misspelllings, no caps, no period and all. We always provide a link to the reviews to the distributors before they go public so that any errors can be corrected and it came back as OK before it went public. It's unclear in that mangled English what "servo degree" actually means in this case, so all I could report was what I saw.
It's definitely no wimp speed-wise, but I'd expected faster. The motor has a relatively low Kv rating coupled with the three-blade prop which probably necessitated the four-cell battery. The P-47D I'm presently reviewing has the same power setup. Lots of torque, not as much top speed but definitely not disappointing. Both planes are a heck of a lot of fun and this BF-109 is absolutely worth considering. You'll love it. If you want a really fast WWII German subject, consider their Me-262 twin EDF. I've never flown one, but I've seen one in the air and it's a screamer.
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