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Hobby Lobby's Flying Styro Brand Mustang P51 ARF Review

Albert Wahrhaftig explores this great looking, great flying, highly detailed modeler's mustang, and finds, that once a few 'oops' got resolved, it is as amazing in the air as sitting on the runway.

Splash

Introduction


Wingspan:32 1/4"
Wing Area:170 sq. in.
Weight:14 oz.
Length:28"
Servos:2 x HiTek HS55
Transmitter:JR
Receiver:HiTek Electron6
Battery:Thunderpower 3x1320
Motor:AXI 2212/34
ESC:Jeti Avance8
Manufacturer:Flying Styro
Available From:Hobby Lobby

With their North American P-51 Mustang kit, Flying Styro has produced an exceptionally realistic version of this famous World War II fighter and done it in two versions, “Shangri-La” with a conventional canopy and “Old Crow” with its British Malcom hood. In the air this Mustang is remarkably realistic and can execute any manoeuvre of which the prototype was capable. If you are looking to chase some Messerschmitts, this Mustang might be a good choice.

Important: Be advised that you must build this kit with care, and we recommend you pay attention to some of the notations in this review, if you want your Mustang to fly. There are some challenges with this kit, but none that cannot be overcome.

INTRODUCTION

This is really quite a kit. It can be made with enough detail to show off in any static competition. With vivid decals, chubby drop tanks and an imposing four bladed prop, it is a flashy model, and if you don’t want to go to the trouble of fitting all the details, fine, leave them off. I did one with and one without details, so you can see pictures of each.

As compared with a Flying Styro warbird I built three years ago, the quality of this kit is much improved. The molded foam fuselage has a harder finish and is much more scratch and ding resistant, the instruction manual is much more clear, there is a complete cockpit interior, and several vials of touch up paint are included so you can keep your Mustang looking primo. In general, this is a much more robust plane, but nevertheless it is very light.

Like it’s Shangri-La companion, Old Crow, the version I built, comes in a colorful box with clear and helpful pictures on the top and on the sides. Within, all parts are carefully packed in layers and in protective plastic bags. Everything arrived undamaged.

THE INSTRUCTION MANUAL

Once you have admired all the beautiful parts, and before you even think of doing anything else, take out the “Owner’s Instruction Manual” read it through carefully, and mark in it some of the things I am going to mention. And don’t you dare skip this section, because I am going to mention some things that are crucially important.

CHECK FOR POSSIBLE DEFECTS

I encountered two defects in my Mustang.

First check to see if the spars in the two wing halves align. In one of my two Mustangs the two spars failed to meet by 3/16” inch. George Voss in his eZone review of the Flying Styro BF-110 encountered a similar problem, and I have seen this mentioned by others in discussions of the P-51on E Zone. Hobby Lobby’s representative says that the spars can be repositioned in the wing if care is used to separate the wing skin to spar joint. You could try that, or you could ask Hobby Lobby for a replacement. Their service is excellent.

"check the angle of attack...The manufacturer indicates that the tail should be 0 to the fuselage centerline, and the wing should have 3-4 degrees positive incidence."
Even more crucial, before actually building anything, slip the stabilizer in place in its fairing and check the angle of attack of the stabilizer relative to the angle of attack of the wing. The manufacturer indicates that the tail should be 0 to the fuselage centerline, and the wing should have 3-4 degrees positive incidence. On both of my Mustangs, the stabilizer was a full five degrees out of alignment, which produced the effect of flying with full up elevator. Unfortunately I didn’t notice this when building the model, with the result that my first Mustang never survived its first launch. My solution on the second was to cut a narrow vertical wedge out of the fuselage under the leading edge of the stabilizer, pull the aft end of the fuselage down, and reglue it along the cut line. This “fix” worked and the scar was practically invisible. Of course, had I realized there was a problem initially, I could've simply filed or sanded the saddle to correct the incidence.

THE CONSTRUCTION SEQUENCE

Once you have inspected your parts, you can turn back to the manual and start building.

Notice that pages 1-3 and 16-18 were written for a version powered by a Speed 300 6v. motor (which, by the way, ought to fly it quite well) and with no instructions for adding a functional rudder. The interior pages (e.g. Building Instructions) assume an AXI PM221234 motor, detail installation of a functioning rudder, and have some inconsistencies, so get out your red pen and follow along with me.

First of all, decide whether you want to build a no-detail version (which will nevertheless look great) or whether you want to go for the scale landing gear, cockpit interior, and drop tanks.

Steps 1-17 of the photo illustrated instructions describe assembling the wing and installing the aileron servo and linkages. Quite straightforward.

After step 17, at the bottom of the same page, there are two drawings and an unnumbered instruction that appear to be left over from the original Czech instructions. They described gluing the wing to the fuselage with epoxy. DON’T DO THAT NOW!! This instruction is misplaced and, while it is FEASIBLE, following it now resulted in all sorts of problems.

In fact, I don’t think you should glue the wing on in the first place. If I were to build another, I would experiment with making the wing removable. This does not appear that it would be particularly hard to do with a tab at the leading edge and a screw perhaps hidden beneath the underwing radiator. Notice, for one thing, that with the wing joined to the fuselage, there is no way to maintain the aileron servo or adjust its linkage. (Editor's note: The manufacturer indicates there are a variety of other challenges involved in this, and does not recommend attempting to make the wing removable.)

Steps 66-88 describe installing the scale landing gear. It is a lot of work, but it does look great, and although I choose not to risk taking off and landing on it, that can be done if you wish and Hobby Lobby has videos on its site to prove it. But if you are going for the gear, why not do that after step 11 when the wing halves are joined but the servo is not yet mounted. That way, you can flip the wing over and it will lie flat while you work on it.

Steps 18-24 deal with installing the elevator servo and push rod and the rudder servo if you choose to add one.

If I were you, and if I were going to install an instrument panel, pilot, and cockpit interior I would skip over to steps 51-61 and do that work now while there is no tail in the way and no heavy motor to juggle. With a radio box covering the elevator servo, all the electronic equipment is completely out of sight, but at this point make sure that you are leaving enough room to install your battery.. Things are going to get tight.

Even if you aren't going to install a pilot and interior, this is the time to plan where your battery will fit and how it will be retained.

Now you can install the firewall, motor, and propeller. This is explained in steps 37-49. However, here make an IMPORTANT MODIFICATION. The firewall-motor should be glued in with at least two degrees of down thrust and about two degrees of right thrust. By the way, I don’t glue my propeller blades to the hub. They stay well enough with a press fit and pop out without damage in case of a nose-down landing.

Now you can at last attach the wing. If you do glue it, be careful to ensure the adhesive attaches to the fairing AND the fuselage.

The manufacturer provides the following suggestion and advice for this challenging step: "While we used to epoxy all of our wings on these models, recently we have switched over to using Uhu Por styrofoam safe glue. (Note that this glue can be used two different ways. If a thin layer of glue is placed on both parts and the parts are allowed to dry for about 10 minutes before they are put together, the glue works like a contact cement. This provides an instant bond, very little ability to adjust the parts once assembled. The other method is apply glue to one part and immediately slide the parts together. This second method is the one for assembling the wing to the fuselage.)

The P-51 is one of the more difficult FSK kits to assemble the wing, as the radiator is in the way. Do make sure that the finished radiator scoop (made of styrene plastic) is removed prior to attempting to install the wing. The finished radiator can be re- installed after the wing is in place."

I agree completely regarding the UHU Por and the 2 uses mentioned above! I used this product a lot during this assembly and others I've completed, and cannot praise it highly enough. Had I thought of it, UHU Por would've been a great choice for mounting the wings.

With the wing in place, add the stabilizer and vertical fin. Don’t trust their fit into the fairings. Check alignment, especially the verticality of the fin and adjust as necessary.

Put on the canopy, steps 89-94, and you’re ready for decals and finishing touches.

I’ll mention one other optional modification. Since I did glue my wing on, I found it convenient to cut a hatch on the underside of the nose to provide easy access for inserting the battery. If you would choose to create a removable wing, there would be no need for this. Perhaps different sizes of battery would fit more easily through the factory provided opening.

Now to get the airplane ready for flight, there is AN IMPORTANT MODIFICATION. Instead of the CG specified in the Instruction Manual at step 99, set the CG at 1-1/4” to 1-1/2” back from the front of the landing gear door opening. For the first test flight, set the CG at 1" and adjust rearward later.

FLYING

Let’s start with the good news. Both my trusted test pilot, Red Jensen, and I flew this plane and once we finally got it sorted out we both like it very much. It is amazingly realistic in the air, so much so that spectators were quite impressed, and is as easy to fly, set up and launched as I am suggesting, as any other low wing aileron equipped plane. With a functioning rudder, I am sure it will do anything a full scale Mustang could do. Mine, with only ailerons and elevator, can loop, roll, fly inverted, and do other characteristic World War II manoeuvres. It has loads of power and is fun to fly.

However, the news wasn’t good at first. On launch my first Mustang, flown by me, climbed at an uncontrollable angle, rolled, plunged to earth behind my back, and was destroyed. My second Mustang, flown by the much more skilled Red Jensen, did the same thing, but he was just able to pull out and saved the plane.

We discovered that the stabilizer on both was a full five degrees out of alignment. After the stabilizer was aligned to the fuselage centerline, the CG was moved forward, and the motor was installed with down- and right thrust, the Mustang flew beautifully. That’s why (in case you started with this flying section) there is so much talk about cautions and modifications in the construction sequence text.

One of the things that the two of us enjoyed was the fact that the big four bladed propeller has a braking effect when the throttle is cut back, keeping airspeed manageable when the plane is headed downward. For the same reason, however, on landing it is best to maintain a little bit of power until just before touchdown.

For a safe first flight, do this

  1. Set the CG well forward.
  2. Trim in a little right aileron and, if you have one, right rudder
  3. Make sure the elevator is not trimmed up. Neutral is OK. A little down trim might be a good idea on first flight.
  4. Launch with the plane banked slightly the right
  5. Launch at a little more than half power and then smoothly increase power.
  6. When landing maintain a little power until just before touchdown.
  7. Enjoy!

Flight Video/Photo Gallery

Downloads

SUMMARY

This great looking and nice flying Mustang is not a simple ARF. As a builder, you should have already built at least a foamy or two, and you should be prepared to spend some time putting this ’51 together, but when you see the excitement it generates when you fly it, you’ll think it has been well worth the effort!

Discussion

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Old Dec 26, 2005, 02:09 PM
Registered User
Midland Texas
Joined Jan 2005
57 Posts
Nice to know the same problems weren't encountered by me alone

I had the same problems as mentioned in the review. These tips would have been great during my build and should be heeded by anyone building this kit now. I made the insturment panel removeable on mine allowing for battery access. And do put that battery as far forward as possible! Nose heavy is always better than tail heavy!
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Old Dec 26, 2005, 02:54 PM
Registered User
Sebastopol, CA, USA
Joined Dec 1996
537 Posts
Nice to know I'm not alone.

Thanks, Old Shep. I'm sorry to hear you had trouble (did your '51 survive?), but it's nice to know I wasn't alone in my misery and I do want to express gratitude to HL for giving me a second kit with which to look for a solution.

I wish FS would include a plastic four bladed prop spinner instead of the very flimsy thing they now include. A little more nose weight would be all to the good.

Even a bit battered from testing, in flight my '51 wows people. Not only its static appearance but also its way of flying looks exactly like full scale P 51s I have seen at air shows.
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Last edited by wahrhaftig; Dec 26, 2005 at 02:57 PM. Reason: typos
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Old Dec 26, 2005, 09:36 PM
Registered User
Midland Texas
Joined Jan 2005
57 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by wahrhaftig
Thanks, Old Shep. I'm sorry to hear you had trouble (did your '51 survive?), but it's nice to know I wasn't alone in my misery and I do want to express gratitude to HL for giving me a second kit with which to look for a solution.

I wish FS would include a plastic four bladed prop spinner instead of the very flimsy thing they now include. A little more nose weight would be all to the good.

Even a bit battered from testing, in flight my '51 wows people. Not only its static appearance but also its way of flying looks exactly like full scale P 51s I have seen at air shows.
Actually, this was my son posting from my computer! He did build me a very nice ME-109 for a Christmas present (last year was the P-38) and we were able to fly his Mustang a few days ago....it did fly well enough, and your comments about needing nose weight were right on. It does look impressive in the air....as does the ME and the Lightning. Lots of building, but nice results.
Old Shep (and not WilliamCIV)
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Old Dec 29, 2005, 03:14 PM
jrb
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Edina, MN, USA
Joined Oct 1999
11,398 Posts
Hobby Lobby link goes to a not too family freindly site ( http://www.xxx.com/ )!
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Old Dec 29, 2005, 03:33 PM
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Villa Grove, Illinois
Joined May 2000
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Oops! fixed now, sorry about that.
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Old Dec 30, 2005, 06:16 PM
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USA, OK, Oklahoma City
Joined Mar 2001
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Albert,

Nice job on the P51 review. I was surprised to see my name mentioned, but it's true, I did run into the same problem. It's and easy fix. I think they use UHU-por to install the spars so they can be repositioned. Again, great job.

George Voss
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Old Jan 12, 2006, 09:13 AM
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United States, CA, Garden Grove
Joined Oct 2000
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The E-Flight P47 is much easier to assemble and fly well without any mods and using the provided geared brushed 480 for under $80. I read an unhappy assembly thread about the FS P-40, lots of tweaking required and didn't fly well. Builder shouldn't have to do much tweaking if designer and kit maker do their prototyping and beta testing properly. I really don't like the idea of permanent wing attachment and loss of access to innards. Foam kit makers should do a much better job on instructions and update them as needed. Building a foamy warbird shouldn't require much re-design effort or experience IMHO
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Old Jan 12, 2006, 09:40 AM
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Villa Grove, Illinois
Joined May 2000
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E-Ch,
For what it's worth, these 2 kits are designed for 2 very different types of modeler. EFlite is focused on the beginner and the "instant gratification" set, the ultimate reach of the ARF generation in RTF models with all but nothing for you to do to prep it to fly, and the easiest flight parameters they can generate.

FS is a different breed entirely. These models are focused at the more hard core modeler. the modeler who likes to build almost as much -- or more than -- fly. These models have extensive scale detailing available to the modeler, and a lot more labor of love to put into the bird than just rushing it to the field.

Don't misunderstand me -- what I'm trying to say is that both models have their place and that, IMHO, our hobby desperately needs BOTH types. Just isn't fair to try to compare them 'apples to apples'. It's no more fair for the hardcore modeler to say that the ARF and RTFs don't belong in our hobby, than for someone who prefers the RTF approach to say there's no place for this class of model either.
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Old Jan 14, 2006, 02:47 PM
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Sebastopol, CA, USA
Joined Dec 1996
537 Posts
I like building, enjoy the complexity of Flying Styro kits and lament the fact that there are so few balsa kits to build these days, so I agree with much that AMC has to say. On the other hand, E Challenged is dead right. There is no excuse for releasing kits with poorly translated instructions and defects that result from inadequate testing. As I said in my review, this P51 was much better thant the ME 109 I built a couple of years ago, so let us hope that FS reads these reviews and will continue to improve its products. Meanwhile, I am grateful that the continue to produce these intricate and exceptionally interesting kits. Do you think they will ever make a Grumman Skyrocket for me?
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Old Jul 30, 2006, 01:19 PM
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Joined Jul 2006
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http://www.hobby-lobby.com/p51b-shangrila.htm

Hi guys i just bought this kit and I need help in building it. I am in San Jose CA, my MSN is writehaseeb@hotmail.com, if someone has build this successfully please do ping me over MSN or here.
Thanks.
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Old Sep 20, 2006, 02:42 PM
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Joined Dec 2005
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http://www.hobby-lobby.com/p51b-shangrila.htm on sale at hobby lobby now.
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Old Mar 14, 2007, 04:52 PM
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Joined Oct 2006
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I got the E=flite Razorback with brushless updates and it is a terror in the skies.Nothing against the b-mustang I got one in 40 size thats from VQ and it is a champ too!!!!
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Old Mar 19, 2008, 09:04 PM
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Joined Feb 2006
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This is my P51B

Spent many hours on this one. Powered by E-Flite 450 outrunner, 25amp ESC, E-Flite S75 servos w/rudder, and a TP 11.1V 1350mhr Battery. Custom painted (by me) pilot from Just Pilots.Belly landing only. Flys as Mach2, lands like a trainer, well all most. Have spent may hours staffing my local flying field. Repainted the whole model using Tamiya acrylic paints. It looks awsome. Flys like a Mustang!
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Old May 29, 2011, 05:56 AM
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Ontario, California
Joined Apr 2007
64 Posts
While searching Google for rc P-51 I found this old thread. Ordinarily I wouldn't post to something this old, but I guess lots of people are coming here, following the search result. I don't think there is any place that has a listing for a wider variety of the rc P-51 than at this site. Hope it helps anyone looking for one:
http://www.aviationtrivia.info/North...51-Mustang.php
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