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Hobby Lobby Cessna 337 Mixmaster Brushless RTF Twin Review

Hobby Lobby's Mixmaster brushless RTF Twin is a big, nicely rendered semi-scale model made of beaded foam. It's a ready-to-fly model that is a powerful aerobatic flier!

Splash

Introduction

First produced in 1965, the Cessna Skymaster is a twin-engine civil utility aircraft built in a push-pull configuration. Instead of mounting the engines on the wings, one is mounted on the nose and the other at the rear of the pod-style fuselage. The combination of a tractor and a pusher engine produces a unique sound. The military version of the 337, the Cessna O-2 Skymaster, was featured in the 1988 film "Bat 21".

Wingspan:50"
Wing Area:387 sq in
Wing type:molded bead foam construction
AUW weight:39oz
Length:37 1/2"
Wing loading:14.51 oz/sq ft
Servos:5 – 9 gram micro-type
Transmitter:4-channel twin stick mode 2
Receiver:6-channel
Battery:3 cell 2200 mAh LiPo with balance taps
Motor:Twin Outrunner-type brushless
ESC:Two 18 amp brushless
Charger:12V DC cell balancing 2 to 3 cell Lithium battery charger
US distributor:Hobby Lobby
Available From:Hobby Lobby
Retail Price:$239

Kit Contents

The review package shipped from Hobby Lobby and it arrived double-boxed and free of damage. Everything was secured inside the RTF box and was well protected in a foam shell. Since it is a RTF design, the Mixmaster has a very low parts count, and I only needed a small Philips screwdriver and hex wrench (included) to complete the few assembly steps.

Kit includes:

  • Fuselage with twin vertical tail boom, elevator and twin rudders installed
  • Removable wing panels with pre-mounted wing struts
  • Hardware package
  • Heavy duty main landing gear and wheels
  • 4-channel 72 mhz transmitter with pre-installed 6 channel receiver
  • Battery compartment with ventilated door
  • 2- 8 X 6 propellers with spinners
  • Monofilament line reinforcement 'spar'
  • Assembly guide and instructions

Kit requires:

  • Eight AA-type batteries for the transmitter

Assembly

The instructions are photo-illustrated and printed on one double-sided sheet. Although this is a “ready-to-fly” aircraft, there are a few assembly steps. The written portion of the instructions was a little difficult to understand, but the photo illustrations are a big help. All the assembly steps could be completed at the field with only a small Phillips screwdriver and the included hex wrench.

Wing

The wing center section and aluminum struts are already installed, and all that is needed is to plug in the two wing panels and attach the monofilament wing reinforcement wire. The unique electrical connectors in each wing panel supply power to the aileron servos.

Fuselage

No assembly is needed, except to install the steerable nose wheel with the provided hex wrench.

Tail assembly

The twin tail booms, elevator, vertical tail fins and rudder are already glued in place. I simply attached the horizontal fin/elevator with two screws and fastened the clevis to the pre-installed elevator pushrod.

I installed the pre-bent main landing gear into the slot in the fuselage, then inserted the plastic 'keeper' clip which holds the gear in place. Be sure the lading gear sweeps rearward, otherwise the plane won't balance on its landing gear and will appear tail heavy!

Motor, ESC and battery

The included 12V Lithium Polymer charger/balancer was simple to operate, and it took less than an hour to fully charge the battery. The twin outrunner brushless motors and twin 18 amp ESCs are factory installed. The battery is secured in place with velcro (optional) and a rubber band. A removable magnetic hatch provides easy access to the battery compartment.

Finish

After charging the battery, I installed it in the pre-molded battery bay. The battery is held in place with a rubber band, but I decided to install some velcro for added peace of mind. I verified that the control surfaces were at neutral trim and moving correctly. After a quick range test I headed to my club field for the maiden flight!

Flying

I couldn't find a reference to the CG location in the instruction manual, so I simply measured 1/3rd of the wing chord from the leading edge where it meets the fuselage, and the Mixmaster balanced perfectly at this point.

The maiden flight was made at my club field on a fairly windy afternoon. Even on a short grass runway, the Mixmaster felt very maneuverable with its tricycle gear and steerable nose wheel, with no tendency to ground loop.

Takeoff and Landings

With the stock 3-cell LiPo battery, the Mixmaster was well powered with its twin outrunners and 8 X 6 propellers. Just a few clicks of throttle and the Mixmaster began moving forward. As the throttle advanced to full, the twin outrunners spooled up, and the Mixmaster was airborne. The plane climbed at a fairly shallow angle but gained altitude quickly.

With an all-up weight of 39 oz., power was needed for a smooth landing, but the plane was very stable and predictable with no surprises during the approach. I did not attempt a power-off landing.

Power

The twin outrunner brushless motors are very powerful. They provided plenty of motivation for a smooth takeoff, and both motors seemed to get enough fresh air cooling although the battery was fairly warm upon landing after several full throttle passes and some climbs. Though I did not have motor test data for this review, I would say that the 8 X 6 props are the proper choice for these motors.

Flight Characteristics/Aerobatics

The Mixmaster has a fairly gentle stall, but full throttle was needed to recover quickly. The plane never appeared to want to tip stall or snap, however.

Loops were big and smooth, with only a slight amount of wing flex. Just begin with a shallow dive and ease back on the elevator stick with power applied until the bottom of the loop. The large elevator was very effective for this maneuver.

Rolls were crisp and fairly axial but not particularly fast. Just a bit of down elevator was needed during the inverted portion to make them smooth.

Hammerheads were a lot of fun to do, again thanks to the Mixmaster’s twin rudders. The tail kicks right over at the top of the maneuver.

Is this plane for a beginner?

I would not recommend the Mixmaster as a beginner plane; it is a heavy plane and flies fairly fast, and it requires some experience on the sticks. It would make a good first aileron plane. With its built-in dihedral, it self-corrects well and is easy to maneuver on the ground with its nose wheel steering. It is capable of some nice aerobatic maneuvers and its speed will keep you on your toes. The Mixmaster's smooth flying characteristics and beautifully rendered design make it a pleasure to fly!

Flight Video/Photo Gallery

Downloads

As you can see from the photos, the Hobby Lobby Mixmaster is a great looking aircraft!

Conclusion

The Hobby Lobby Mixmaster RTF can be ready to fly in just a few minutes with only a small Philips screwdriver and the included hex wrench. The stock twin outrunner power system cranks out plenty of power, and its stable flight manners, great looks and large presence in the air make it an exciting flier for intermediate and advanced pilots alike!

Pluses:

  • Nicely painted and finished with factory-applied decals
  • Large, stable and self-correcting
  • Quick assembly
  • High-quality hardware
  • True 72mhz radio system
  • 3-wire servos allow the use of other 72mhz or 2.4ghz radio systems

Misses:

  • The written instructions are a little tough to follow

The Hobby Lobby Mixmaster is a very good performer and a solid value. It looks terrific the air, is a very stable flier and handles wind well. It would be a good choice for a first aileron plane or for the RC pilot who wants a scale-looking aerobatic plane that is exciting to fly. See it at your local hobby shop or at Hobby Lobby!

Last edited by Angela H; Aug 12, 2007 at 08:57 PM..

Discussion

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Old Aug 13, 2007, 03:30 PM
No Guts, No Glory
flyin C's Avatar
Simi Valley, CA
Joined Feb 2007
2,024 Posts
Great review, looks like an excellent plane. I wish they would sell something like a Plug-n-Play version with out that Tx battery and charger... I have heard good things about the MM. Im glad HL started making this one instead of the Skymaster...

i love when reviews come out!
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Old Aug 13, 2007, 03:40 PM
There is no place like Hodges!
edge5foamy's Avatar
United States, GA, Byron
Joined Mar 2007
3,549 Posts
Great review! Nice in-flight pics.
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Old Aug 13, 2007, 04:25 PM
Registered User
lowdive's Avatar
anaheim, ca
Joined Apr 2005
2,542 Posts
this is definitely much better than the previous version they had. the motors are a great match for the model. i'd recommend keeping some power on for landing. all of my landings were with power off and well, it becomes a handful keeping it flying before it touches down. in my case, i missed my runway (track field, long straight of the oval) and would bounce into the grass center field. eventually ripped out my nose gear. it was still fun to fly after that, too! i made it a little tail heavy so it would balance on the main gear and tail booms. full throttle with up elevator (to keep the nose up) and it would leave terra firma with authority! i recommend it this one.
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Old Aug 13, 2007, 04:26 PM
Test your skills....fly IMAC!!
sun.flyer's Avatar
Swanton, Ohio
Joined Feb 2005
7,990 Posts
Excellent review Ronnie!! As always your pics. are second to none and Wendell did a great job of showing the planes capabilites in the video.

Tim
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Old Aug 13, 2007, 04:27 PM
There is no place like Hodges!
edge5foamy's Avatar
United States, GA, Byron
Joined Mar 2007
3,549 Posts
I wonder how this plane would do with some floats on it?
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Old Aug 13, 2007, 05:01 PM
Registered User
lowdive's Avatar
anaheim, ca
Joined Apr 2005
2,542 Posts
i'd imagine it would do well with floats, actually. it has plenty of power to ROG and, maybe after a longer run, could ROW.
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Old Aug 13, 2007, 05:21 PM
The sky is my playground.
Dora Nine's Avatar
United States, NH
Joined May 2005
7,756 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by edge5foamy
I wonder how this plane would do with some floats on it?

That could be fun..
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Old Aug 13, 2007, 05:33 PM
That Guy Who Flies Wings.
La Vista, Nebraska
Joined Mar 2007
395 Posts
Glad to see the new version flies better than the original, brushed 400 and NiMH. It was a dog, anything other than full power would cause a loss in altitude and airspeed. Be careful of the wing connections, the plastic clips that hold the outer wing on do not hold well (at least not on the original). I had to add servo mounting screw to keep the wings from falling off. Another thing to remember to make all your landings perfect, as repairing the foam can be difficult. It tends to crumble into sand sized pieces. Gorilla Glue works wonders! Yes, I've got experience in this field thanks to the under-powered problems of the original.
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Old Aug 13, 2007, 09:13 PM
"Have Glue - Will Travel"
dawnron1's Avatar
Ft. Worth, Texas
Joined Jan 2004
2,428 Posts
Thanks guys, glad you liked the review!

Ronnie
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Old Aug 13, 2007, 10:16 PM
Registered User
Atlanta, GA
Joined Sep 2003
78 Posts
Ronnie, your review was very informative and entertaining. Thanks for taking
the time to do such a super job.
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Old Aug 13, 2007, 10:22 PM
Member 120mph Club
ATIS's Avatar
New Bern, North Carolina, United States
Joined Oct 2004
12,455 Posts
Dawnron1... happy to see you finally received it and enjoyed the flight... she is fun... and her size is a head turner... fixing mine after the hard landing... got a little side tracked with my A-10. Another good lipo is the EVO 3s 2500 lite lipo for a little longer flight.... great review!!
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Old Aug 14, 2007, 12:27 PM
anti-wind activist
thrashaero's Avatar
Joined Dec 2002
474 Posts
What is the flight time on this?
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Old Aug 15, 2007, 01:08 AM
Foam is my friend?
San Fernando Valley, CA
Joined Oct 2004
40 Posts
Very helpful review Dawnron1. I picked up the earlier Skymaster a few months ago during the HL close-out sale and I've put it away until my flying skills get up to speed. Because of all of the negatives about the inadequate power of the brushed motor system for this somewhat overweight model, my plan has been to go brushless (with Lipos) from the start. I've been assuming I would shoot for 300 watts total, so about 15a per motor with 3S. You didn't mention any static power measurements, but I see you used ESCs rated at 18a, so I'm guessing that 300+/- watts is where you are with your plane. If you have any further insight on this topic I'm all ears! Thanks.
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Old Aug 15, 2007, 10:26 AM
"Have Glue - Will Travel"
dawnron1's Avatar
Ft. Worth, Texas
Joined Jan 2004
2,428 Posts
Thanks Jim and ATIS!

thrashaero,

I'd estimate 8-12 minutes, depending on throttle usage. After about 7-8 minutes of 3/4 to full-power climbs, loops, rolls etc we never hit LVC, but decided to land just to be safe.

Thanks e-Rod! The included 18amp ESC's seemed to be ideal as these motors couldn't be pulling mure that 14-15 amps, and I'd guess your at around 280-300 watts combined power. More than enough, anyway!

Ronnie
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