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HobbyKing Assault 450 Helicopter Review

The Assault 450 RTF Helicopter Gets the Rundown

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Introduction

It's been a little while since I've flown a traditional helicopter. They are a blast, but I've been busy flying multirotors and other things. Lately I've been wanting a 450-500 class heli to play with so I was delighted when Hobby King offered to send me their new Assault 450 to review. Hobby King's tag line is "The Assault 450 DFC - Everything a Ready to Fly helicopter should be." We're going to find out if that holds up.

What's in the box

When I cracked open the box, my first thought was "Dang, that looks pretty good!" The box has a handle and is useful to transport the heli, radio, and battery. Inside the box was the helicopter, radio, battery, manual, a bag with some extra screws and nuts, a velcro strap with some extra velcro, the blade holder, and some allen keys.

First Impressions

After pulling the heli out of the box I took a closer look and my overall impression was that it was solidly built. There were no loose screws, the wiring was nice and tidy, and the canopy paint job looks great. The servo linkages were tight and the ball links were adjusted properly from the start. The first look at fit and finish seems excellent.

Frame and Mechanics

The main frame plates are carbon fiber and are a little over 1mm thick. The main frame was solid and I couldn't detect any flex when putting pressure on the sides. The horizontal and vertical fins are also made with carbon. The horizontal fin is pretty small and I doubt it does much beside look nice. I really liked that it came with aluminum upgrade parts for the head, swashplate, and tail. Even the tail servo and horizontal tail fin mounts were aluminum. The metal seems to be of fairly high quality and it really makes the machine stand out. I couldn't find any discernible slop in the head setup, but I did have just a bit of slop in the tail assembly. The ball links used seem to be ok, not super high end, but not terrible. The carbon main blades look great and are stiff as you would expect. The tail blades are plastic and plenty stiff to do the job. This is my first DFC heli and I love the simplicity in the mechanics. Very low parts count in the head means less stuff to break and makes it nice to work on or repair. The tail is belt driven and the belt was perfectly tightened at the factory for my review unit. As far as the mechanics go, I didn't have to fix a thing to feel comfortable taking it out for the first flight. The main shaft is a bit soft though. During a low inverted hover, the blades scraped and the heli flew out of it. Upon a landing inspection, the main shaft was slightly bent.

Electronics

The electronics are holding up well. The Turnigy 40A ESC is well built and has a 3A BEC to power the servos. It's positioned underneath the frame and doesn't get a lot of cooling air, but was still only warm after a flight. The servos are digital and this review units servos had nylon gears. I haven't had any issues out of them so far even after a light hit inverted. When you power up the helicopter and move the servos, they will seem sluggish to respond, but that is a feature of the flybarless gyro system and is not an indication of how the servos perform when flying. The 3-Axis Gyro system comes pre-setup out of the box and I didn't make any adjustments to the settings during this review.

Flying

Flying for me took some getting used to. This is my first flybarless heli and it feels different from what I was used to, not in a bad way, but it took a few minutes to feel it out and get comfortable, not to mention it's been awhile since I've flown a traditional heli. I usually take off in normal mode and do some basic circuits at first and then transition to idle up. Roll control felt a little sensitive for me, but that is a personal preference thing so I added in about 25% expo to soften it up some. The tail felt pretty solid, I could make it kick during a hard punch out, but mostly it just stayed put until I told it to move. The DFC head allows for precise pitch and cyclic movements and once you get the feel for it, it flies naturally. Performance was really what I expected out of a RTF 450 sized heli. Power was really good and the rates were fast enough for aerobatics without being crazy. I wouldn't call it a hard core 3D helicopter, and I'm not a hard core 3D heli pilot, but this heli is a great start to getting there. The canopy color scheme was easy to see in the air and keep orientation. This size heli is not that large as helis go, so I needed to stay fairly close in when doing aerobatics to make sure I could see what was happening. At the end of the first flight I had a smile on my face. I had almost forgotten how much fun flying helis were.

Video

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • No adjustments needed to fly
  • Canopy looks great and is easy to see
  • Frame and aluminum parts are nice quality
  • Electronics do not need to be replaced
  • Flybarless design keeps it simple for repairs

Cons
  • Main shaft is a bit soft

Conclusion

The Assault 450 RTF Helicopter holds up well to its "Everything a Ready to Fly helicopter should be" tag line. It actually exceeded my expectations! I was impressed by the quality of most of the parts and frankly surprised at how well it was setup at the factory. I literally didn't touch a thing to get it flying. It's really geared towards heli pilots who are looking to go to the next level from a fixed pitch heli and wants to get into aerobatics. It's not a hard core competition 3D helicopter, but it can help get you there being capable of most 3D heli maneuvers. At that point, it's up to the skill of the pilot more than the capabilities of the heli. Practise, crash, practise, crash, this is the life of a 3D heli pilot. At least with the Assault 450 the starting price and parts are very affordable. I'm looking forward to many more flights.

Discussion

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Old Dec 31, 2013, 10:38 AM
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JHawk19's Avatar
United States, SC
Joined Apr 2008
2,060 Posts
I thought that it was advertised to come with MG servos, but actually shipped with plastic geared servos. HobbyKing was offering a replacement set, but that means tearing down the heli to replace them and then setting them up at 90, centering, etc...
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Old Dec 31, 2013, 01:28 PM
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United States, SC, Irmo
Joined Sep 2011
4,774 Posts
Yep, definitely a goof up on the write up on HK's site, but at least they sent out replacement free to those who want it. Remember the nice expensive blade helis come with plastic gears too. I see that you're not too far from me in SC. Where do you fly?

Great review BTW.
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Old Dec 31, 2013, 02:15 PM
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JetPlaneFlyer's Avatar
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Joined Mar 2006
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Looking at the photos I'm sure it's a Trex 450 Pro DFC clone, so it should be Align compatible when it comes to spares and upgrades (like a better main shaft for instance).

It even has the mounting holes in the frame to accept the Trex 450 Pro type tail servo mount rather than the boom mount featured on the stock RTF.
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Old Dec 31, 2013, 02:22 PM
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JHawk19's Avatar
United States, SC
Joined Apr 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JetPlaneFlyer View Post
Looking at the photos I'm sure it's a Trex 450 Pro DFC clone, so it should be Align compatible when it comes to spares and upgrades.
It is a clone and is 100% compatible with Align's DFC.
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Old Dec 31, 2013, 02:58 PM
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St. Louis, MO
Joined Dec 2008
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This deal is really hard to beat for getting started in heli's!
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Old Dec 31, 2013, 03:04 PM
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JHawk19's Avatar
United States, SC
Joined Apr 2008
2,060 Posts
Bad news is shipping and availability...Just checked shipping to SC...$68 and only 3 units left right now.
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Old Dec 31, 2013, 03:07 PM
Grumpy old git.. Who me?
JetPlaneFlyer's Avatar
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Quote:
Originally Posted by viper7 View Post
This deal is really hard to beat for getting started in heli's!
I agree to a point, the only word of caution is that I started on an almost identical Hobbyking 450 clone (kit built but virtually same airframe and mechanics) and it did end up costing me in the long run due to replacing virtually every moving part because they all either failed or worn out very quickly. There was a fair bit of 'consequential damage' as a result of some of the failures too.

But as a way to get into 'proper' helis with minimal initial investment or hassle then yes, it's pretty much unbeatable.
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Old Jan 01, 2014, 01:03 AM
Registered User
United States, KY, Harlan
Joined Feb 2013
21 Posts
That is one thing that has always kept me away from HobbyKing. Their shipping charges are ridiculous, even from their US wharehouse. Would be nice to find someone that lived close to their wharehouse in WA, and pay them to do local pick up and ship it themselves, would be wayy cheaper.
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Old Jan 01, 2014, 03:17 AM
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Joined Jul 2011
1,026 Posts
Nice write up but to play devil's advocate, the unit was sent out specially to the OP. It may not be representative of what Joe blogs may get set up wise.

Lots of unanswered questions. FBL? If I didn't know better I'd say it was a Bx rip from appearances. Never got to see it naked.

Still, if it's a hundred bucks I'd get one. Curious enough to find out how much. Surfing there now.
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Old Jan 01, 2014, 08:25 AM
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JHawk19's Avatar
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spykez View Post
FBL? If I didn't know better I'd say it was a Bx rip from appearances. Never got to see it naked.
It's a rip off of the Bx. Uses the same manual.
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Old Jan 01, 2014, 12:47 PM
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JetPlaneFlyer's Avatar
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JHawk19 View Post
It's a rip off of the Bx. Uses the same manual.
Is it available on it's own?
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Old Jan 01, 2014, 08:41 PM
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JHawk19's Avatar
United States, SC
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JetPlaneFlyer View Post
Is it available on it's own?
Used to be...Looks exactly like the Turnigy 3D-H which HobbyKing no longer sells.

http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1886382
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Old Jan 01, 2014, 08:50 PM
Newbie,3D Wannabe :)
United States, NJ, Somerset
Joined Feb 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JHawk19 View Post
It's a rip off of the Bx. Uses the same manual.
It Sure Looks Like The AR7600BX...Look At The Two Rows Of LED's Just Like BeastX.Only Thing I cant see on the photos is Whether It has Bulit in Antennas or Uses a Satelite ONLY.....Would love to test it to see how it behaves Compared to Genuine BX(Got Few Laying Around) Ar7600BX uses antennas For Smaller Helis (I use it with out Sat On Trex 450 ,300 and 450X ..Nicde review..
Whats The Price On This Heli (RTF With The Orange RX?)
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Old Jan 01, 2014, 08:54 PM
Newbie,3D Wannabe :)
United States, NJ, Somerset
Joined Feb 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JHawk19 View Post
Used to be...Looks exactly like the Turnigy 3D-H which HobbyKing no longer sells.

http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1886382
This One Even Case Looks Like BX Except For LED Layout,Great Thread
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