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Mountain Models' Dandy Kit Review

Richard Andersen builds the now almost classic Dandy kit and gives us his impressions of building and flying it. If you are looking for your first kit to build or simply a relaxing (but never dull) flyer then Dick says: "Look no further, the Dandy is it."

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Introduction


Wingspan:47"
Wing Area:320 sq. in.
Length:28"
Weight:10.6 ounces all up weight
Servos:2 Hitec 55s
Transmitter:Hitec Eclipse 7
Receiver:GWS 4P
Battery:GWS 1050 2 cell lipoly
Motor:GWS EPS geared 300
ESC:GWS ICS 100 5 amp
Manufacturer:Mountain Models
Available From:Mountain Models

I have been flying a number of Almost Ready to Fly planes the last couple of years and was up for constructing a kit for relaxed flying. I liked what I saw in posts about Mountain Models kits so when an opportunity to review the Dandy came up I decided to do it. My "review kit" included two wings and one fuselage. I have built the first of those two wings which is for the more basic, relaxed beginner version of the "Dandy." In the future I will build the second "sport" wing and convert the motor in the fuselage to a more powerful motor for the "Dandy Sport." But the Dandy Sport will be discussed in the future. For now let me share my experiences building and flying the basic Dandy.

I found the Dandy to be a great little plane for the beginning pilot or any pilot who wants to do some relaxed building and flying. The laser cut parts and excellent instructions with lots of pictures made it an easy build. In the flight review I found it met my goal for relaxed flying. I learned it was also capable of some very quick maneuvers for a rudder/elevator controlled plane when I wanted some excitement.

Kit Contents

The complete kit contents:

  • laser cut balsa rib sheets,
  • laser cut plywood sheets,
  • landing gear wire,
  • plywood motor mount sheet,
  • heat shrink tubing for the pushrods and wheel retainers,
  • Velcro strip for mounting the battery,
  • wing hold down dowels,
  • battery magnet and tack,
  • tire rubber onto laser cut wheels,
  • aluminum tube wheel axle bearings,
  • clear plastic covering material,
  • Tyvek battery compartment hinge strip, and
  • a plywood battery mount.

Tools Needed:

  • Xacto with #11 blades,
  • thin and thick CA,
  • sanding block with 200 grit sandpaper,
  • smooth flat work table,
  • wax paper to protect the plans,
  • needle nose pliers,
  • wire cutters,
  • hobby iron and heat gun for covering.

QUESTION ON REQUIRED ITEMS WAS HERE BUT HAS BEEN ANSWERED BELOW!

Required items:

  • Motor: recommended GWS: EPS 100C-A for basic flying, or EPS 300C-C for more performance,
  • Prop: GWS 1060 propeller
  • ESC: 5 amp needed such as GWS ICS 100,
  • Battery: 8-cell 720 NiMH pack or 2-cell 1050 Lipoly pack,
  • Radio system including 3+ channel micro receiver, 2 submicro servos,
  • Paint to cover wood or the supplied clear covering material,***
  • Tape to hinge the elevator/rudder or use 6 micro hinges.

**Precolored shrinkable covering such as Monokote can be substituted for the clear covering.

Assembly

Stabilizers with elevator and rudder:

The vertical and horizontal stabilizers and their control surfaces were built and painted first. Instead of using the recommended tape as a hinge, I used 4 thin micro hinges on the elevator and 2 on the rudder.

Wheels

Although the number of parts makes it seem complicated, it wasn't. I simply followed the instructions, and there was nothing to it I just sandwiched them together in the order spelled out in the instructions over the aluminum axle and glue it all together with thin CA while keeping the glue out of the aluminum axle, then painted.

Wing

All the wing parts were labeled and the instructions were step by step and very detailed including a number of pictures that made assembly of the wing very quick and easy. The vertical spar had the polyhedral bend already in it. I am used to building polyhedral wings in four sections, but this wing was built in two halves. The trailing edge, horizontal spar and leading edges fit together like jigsaw puzzle pieces with the "polyhedral break" designed in each wing half. A turbulator spar was added to the top front area of the wing in slots pre-cut into the ribs and the wing tip simply glued onto the outer end of the wing . It was easier to actually build the wing per the instructions than to describe the process.

The wing halves can be left in two pieces for ease of travel but with a total length of only 47 inches I decided to glue the two halves together to make mine a one piece wing. Unfortunately I got so wrapped up in the building process that I forgot to take any pictures as I went along so I took a couple pictures of the instruction manual to show the process.

Covering the Wing

Although Mountain Models supplied a clear plastic covering that could be glued to the wing, shrunk and then painted I decided to save that for the Dandy Sport wing that will be done later. For the Dandy wing I used some old blue MonoKote covering that was left over from a previous project. As a last step I made sure I had about 2-3 degrees of washout (trailing edge of the wing higher than the leading edge) in the wing tips. It took a couple hours to cover and thus finish the wing.

Fuselage

The fuselage build was very straightforward.

The battery tray was installed inside the fuselage and Velcro to hold the battery in place was added to the tray. The door to the battery compartment was installed with Tyvek hinge material at one end to hold it to the fuselage and a magnet at the other end to keep the compartment door closed for flight. Next the tack (which attracted the magnet) was installed into the fuselage per instructions and I found that the magnet and tack make a very strong connection.

The 4 motor mount sides were glued together and then the completed motor mount was glued into bulkhead F1 and F2. this made a very strong but light mount. Once framed, the fuselage was sanded with 200 grit sandpaper and then lightly painted with Cub Yellow paint. - (paint is heavy, so go easy!)

The landing gear wire was installed as a plywood sandwich with two pieces of plywood on the outside and the landing gear wire with a balsa wood V and triangle pieces on either side of the wire (holding it in place) in the center of the sandwich. The wheels were installed onto this landing gear wire axle and were secured in place using heat shrink as the wheel retainer.

Radio and Motor Installation

Throws and CG

I used 6 of the 12 rubber bands that came with the kit to secure the wing to the fuselage.

The rudder at the trailing edge should move 1.5" to each side and the elevator should move 3/4-1" in each direction. The center of gravity (CG) should be directly under the wing spar and the battery can be adjusted forward or backward until the CG is correct. With Lipoly battery the Dandy's all up weight ready to fly was 10.6 ounces. I checked control directions and range. Everything checked out fine so my Dandy was ready to fly at the field!

Flying

First Flight:

Overcast skies, intermittent showers, and light winds blowing from the south couldn't stop the much anticipated first flight of my Dandy. I drove to the local park where my friend Michael Heer videotaped the maiden flight. I turned on the transmitter, plugged in my receiver/motor battery, checked the controls and performed a second range check. Since the baseball infield was muddy and too rough for a ROG, I hand launched with 3/4 throttle. The Dandy powered itself in a nice climb with a right turn. I throttled back and added left trim and flew the plane around several times and I even did a couple of loops with no problems and plenty of power. I landed the plane safely, disconnected the battery, and put the plane away, awaiting more flights on a sunny, calm day. Overall, I was very excited and happy with how the Dandy performed and I couldn't wait to fly the Dandy again.

Adjustments

During the first flight I had to use all my left trim tab as the plane wanted to go to the right. Inspection at home showed that the left leading edge on the center panel had developed a slight upward twist. Using my heating iron and air gun I was able to remove this twist from the wing and I made sure that I still had the washout in the wingtips. I also had to make a new wheel lock with some heat shrink tubing. My Dandy was ready for round 2 -- I just needed the weather to cooperate.

Additional Flights

The weather was much better the next day with just a slight breeze and a partially cloudy sky. I called up my friend to videotape my flights and we met at a park with an infield in better condition. This time I tried a roll off ground (ROG) and it was a piece of cake. The adjustment to the wing mentioned above made all the difference in the world. The Dandy now wanted to fly straight with the controls in the neutral position and turned equally well to the left and right. I had complete control and I got in several flights. It flew well both slowly and fast. Slowed down it still remained responsive and wasn't sluggish in flight. With full power it needed very little down trim to fly level and it had a surprising amount of speed. Into the breeze the climbs were very quick and responsive as you can see in the video below. When I intentionally induced a stall, recovery was quick and automatic. Its speed range was very good. I am sure it would have flown well with the smaller recommended motor for the Dandy of a GWS IPS 100. With the 300 it had a very impressive speed envelope. Watch the video and notice the different range of speeds!

Taking Off and Landing

Take offs can be long and slow with partial throttle or quick and dramatic with full throttle. If you set-up nicely for your landings and plan for the roll out you can bring it back to your feet in landing. It starts equally easy from a hand toss or ROG.

Is This For a Beginner?

From the ease of construction following the step by step instructions and looking at the included pictures I think this plane is a great first time build. For the beginner pilot I would recommend the smaller GWS 100 size motor, unless they can truly discipline themselves to keep the speed low while they learn to fly. Set up properly the plane will self correct to stable flight if one has sufficient altitude when they go hands off. The plane showed no bad characteristics when I didn't try to over-control it. With a little instruction, and especially with some time on a simulator, a beginner should be successful with the Dandy.

Flight Video/Photo Gallery

We got a break in the rain and we went out for the first flight.

Downloads

Finally got some sunshine to fly and videotape the Dandy.

Downloads

The Dandy can be flown with some speed and do some basic aerobatics.

Downloads

Conclusion

As mentioned above the building process went very smoothly. It went so well I sometimes forgot to stop and take pictures for my first review. DOHH! Covering the wing by yourself can be a challenge, especially for a beginner. A second pair of hands can really help with this part of the build. The layout for the radio gear was well designed and easy to accomplish. The battery compartment allowed access with the wing in place and that was very convenient. I think the 2 cell Lipoly was the perfect battery for this plane but it will also fly fine with a 8-cell NiMH flat pack.

While perfect for relaxed flying and even some thermal chasing it also has a lot of spunk with full throttle. I'm looking forward to trying the Sport wing but meanwhile I am having a ball flying the Dandy.

Discussion

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Old Feb 12, 2005, 08:17 AM
Registered User
Isle of Wight, UK
Joined Jun 2001
212 Posts
Nice to see the standard Dandy under review, as the Sport tends to get all the attention. I'd like a balsa plane as a change from foamies, and this is very much on my short list. Thanks for a great review.
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Old Feb 13, 2005, 06:29 AM
Team Polecat
drone's Avatar
Morehead City, NC
Joined Jan 2003
670 Posts
What a great plane... Very nice review as well.

I started the Dandy revolution at our field (mostly slimers) and there are quite a few flying now. Since then I have built a Dandy GT, a SmoothE, a Tantrum, a Flashback, a Park Jet and even a DL50.

My only criticism of the review is suggesting the use of Monokote on such a light frame, especially the wings. On my SmoothE, I covered the fuselage with Monokote and the warp induced by the very "strong" covering caused all manner of problems trying to trim the plane. Mountain Models recommends Solite but it is a bear to work with and has poor colors in general. I have used Ultracote and Ultracote Light with great success. A better combination is Ultracote on the fuselage and Solite on the wings.

I totally agree about the use of a 2 cell LiPo but think the 350 motor is tame enough for most flying. One of our flyers uses that combo but has "burned up" a half dozen motors already. Plenty of power for acro with the GT wing.

Thanks for the review...

Leon
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Old Feb 13, 2005, 08:56 PM
There are FOUR LIGHTS !!!
psycho_klown66's Avatar
Long Beach Municipal, California, United States
Joined Sep 2004
1,134 Posts
The Dandy is a great plane. 2 Cell Lipo with 350 is a great combination when I was flying. Another great thing is that you can get replacement wings to change the flying characteristic of the plane.

Mountain Models is a great company with great customer service!
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Old Feb 19, 2005, 12:16 AM
Registered User
Joined Feb 2005
1 Posts
Dandy Review

My wife and I read the article and saw the videos and we really enjoyed the review. It looks like a great plane and very easy to build. You did a nice job with the picture taking and really covered nicely all aspects of the parts of the plane. It would be interesting to hear in future articles about how many other planes you have and where you store them all. GREAT JOB!!!!
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Old Oct 01, 2009, 01:54 PM
Shelter Kitty "Orange Death"
bartricky's Avatar
United States, FL, Monroe
Joined Jan 2008
3,165 Posts
Nice Review..

I may be going retro but I just ordered a Std. Dandy from MM. I have had several of their planes and they have all flown very well.
Just thought I needed a relaxing break once in a while and not scare those little biplanes that clutter the airspace at the park on occasion.
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