The Tiger Diablotin has really filled a gap in electric flight. Not too many foam parkflyers can be classified as a truly aerobatic fun fly model. While this is not a "full house" 3D model, it is sure to please a wide range of modelers looking for some fun aerobatic flying. The instructions in the kit are very limited. Therefore, my goal in this review is to touch on the major assembly steps so that the novice modeler can enjoy this kit and have a blast flying the Tiger Diablotin.
The Tiger Diablotin kit is a truly an ARF. The kit comes complete with a hardware pack and a generous number of multicolor decals. The hollow foam wings are made with a wooden spar, and the ailerons and tail feathers are already hinged. Additionally, the foam fuselage has a light ply firewall and pushrods already installed.
In retrospect, I find it amusing that one of the longest steps in construction was applying the decals. I usually do not care to apply a lot of decals, but these are very nice. In addition to adding some strength to the foam, they really do finish out the look of the Tiger Diablotin.
Preparing the Fuselage
In order to glue the wing, it is necessary to cut out the bottom of the fuselage with a #11 knife. This also allows better access to the front of the fuselage.
Here is where you will get your "money's worth" in reading this review. The recommended power system for this plane is really pushing the limits of the foam fuselage. The gyroscopic loads on the firewall are more than the plane was designed to handle.
Reinforcing the front of the fuselage with fiberglass and carbon tow is highly recommended. Without reinforcement, you run the risk of ripping your firewall out of the fuselage.
This is a very simple process that took me about 30 minutes. Just cut some carbon tow to length and wet with 30-minute or 1-hour epoxy. I found it easiest to hold the very end of the carbon tow and lay it on some wax paper. Use an epoxy brush to apply the glue. Make sure to brush away from your finger that is holding the tow. Brushing towards you will create a mangled mess of carbon strings. Lay up the tow along the top and bottom of the stringers and at the firewall.
Additional reinforcement was accomplished with 3/4 ounce fiberglass cloth inside the fuselage. I applied the glass from the firewall to the wing leading edge saddle on the top, bottom, and sides of the fuselage.
Gluing on the Wing and Stabilizers
There really is not much to add here. Epoxy the vertical and horizontal stabilizers in place with 5-minute epoxy. The wing fits right into the saddle. Cap the bottom of the fuselage with the piece that was cut out earlier.
Make a Battery Compartment
In order to get the proper center of gravity, the battery must be placed against or very close to the main wing spar. This can only be accomplished by removing the foam wing material from in the center of the wing. Just use a #11 blade and slice away. This will not affect the structural integrity of the wing, as the wooden spar is what gives the wing strength. Additionally, the glue joint around the fuselage and the wing adds considerable support.
Now that the top and bottom of the wing have been cut out, you have access to the floor of the fuselage from the main spar forward. I glued a long piece of 1/8-inch thick balsa from the trailing edge of the wing to the light ply former that extends from the firewall. I did this because I am aggressive with Velcro for my battery packs and did not want to break the foam when removing and battery pack.
Installing the Radio Equipment
The kit provides some light ply stock to make a servo tray. Simply cut two rails to glue on the fuselage sides and then add cross pieces to mount the Hitec HS-55 servos. The Hitec 555 receiver is taped behind the servos in the back of the fuselage.
The ailerons are pre-hinged and torque rods are already installed on the wing. Glue the torque rod supports onto the wing, and then glue on the control horns.
The pushrod housings are already installed inside the fuselage. I supported them by taping them to the fuselage sides with masking tape. This prevents unwanted flex in the pushrods.
Mounting the Motor
Remember that this gearbox is inner driven, so the motor does not have to be reversed. The motor just slips inside the gearbox housing. To prevent the motor from slipping out, I found it essential to add some clear packing tape around the motor and gearbox.
My kit required that the firewall hole be enlarged slightly so that the gearbox could pass through the firewall. A Dremel tool with a sanding disk makes quick work of this task. The motor and gearbox are simply mounted to the firewall with three screws that pass through the gearbox.
The cowl is simply taped onto the front of the fuselage with a supplied decal. Do yourself a favor and make a template of this decal, as you may need to replace it, and the template will come in handy of you need to make a new decal.
- Make sure the jumper on your Jeti speed control is installed. This will disable the brake system. If you keep the brake on, you run the risk of stripping your spur gear.
- I am using tape to keep the canopy on during flight. I simply taped a small piece to the front and back of the canopy. The kit provides a small rubber band and hook that keeps the canopy on the fuselage with tension.
- The center of gravity is on the spar, or slightly behind the spar for more sensitive control response.
- Control Throws (Not in instructions... just my personal preference)
- Ailerons are set at 1-1/4 inches up and down
- Elevator is set at 1 inch up and down
- Rudder is set at 2 inches left and right
I am using exponential with my Hitec Eclipse 7 transmitter. This really helps soften the sticks near center.
- 60% on ailerons
- 85% on rudder
- 75% on elevator
The Tiger Diablotin flies the way it looks it should fly.
- High thrust aerobatics are possible at fairly low speed.
- Fast, axial rolls will make the novice pilot look good.
- Inverted flight is very easy. I have never really been comfortable with inverted flight, because most of my other aerobatic planes are fast. You can slow the Tiger Diablotin down to a very comfortable speed and practice extended inverted flight.
- Inside and outside loops are no problem.
- The high thrust of the 12 x 6 propeller and the huge rudder allow for very nice stall turns.
- I have not been successful at a knife-edge. However, it may be possible with a little more practice.
- I have been able to get the Tiger Diablotin to hover for a very short time.
The beginning of the review provides a link to a digital video of the Tiger Diablotin in action. I can write all day long about how this plane flies, but I suggest you take a moment to download the video and see for yourself.
The Tiger Diablotin is definitely one of the most fun aerobatic parkflyer models that I have ever seen or flown. This plane should really turn some heads at your local field. The thick airfoil keeps the speed down so that you can fly slowly.
The kit lacks detailed instructions. However, the kit should be simple for someone who has assembled a model or two. I hope that this review will be utilized as a supplement to the instructions.
I cannot stress enough the importance of reinforcing the front of the fuselage with carbon tow and or fiberglass. You do not need any previous experience with fiberglass and carbon tow. This is such a simple procedure with this model that is actually makes for a great learning experience.
If you have been considering a fun, aerobatic model that requires little assembly, the Tiger Diablotin is a great choice.
If you have any questions about this model, please feel free to drop me an email. (Click on my name at the top of this article.)
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