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Hobby People BH Models Chipmunk 61 ARF Review

Mike Llewellyn looks at the stunning new BH Model Chipmunk 61 ARF from Hobby People. This "60" size glow ship gets converted to electric and makes the Canadians proud!

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Introduction


Wingspan:~64”
Wing Area:~704 sq”
Wing type:Built up - Symmetrical
AUW weight:Advertised – 7 lb. 4 oz., Actual - 7 lb. 6 oz.
Length:~53”
Wing loading:24 oz/sq. ft.
Servos:6 standard size
Transmitter:Spektrum DX7
Receiver:Spektrum AR6200
Battery:Impulse 4000mA 4s LiPoly
Motor:KMS 4120/05 710Kv Outrunner
ESC:Motrolfly USA 80 AMP
BEC:Dimension Engineering SportBEC
US distributor:Hobby People
BH Models Chipmunk:BH Models Chipmunk
ARF Price:$139.99

Hobby People imports a wonderful line of ARF airplanes made by BH Models. For those who have not seen this impressive line, do not let the budget price fool you. All of the BH Models that I have seen are well built, have scale lines and look fantastic.

The BH Models version of the de Havilland DHC-1 Chipmunk 22 is no exception. It is a highly prefabricated ARF and will be ready to fly in just a few short hours.

Kit Contents

The review package shipped from Hobby People, and it arrived in great shape. It is well packaged, double boxed, and the contents in the box were very well protected. All parts are individually protected with cardboard separators and plastic wrap.

Kit includes:

  • Built fuselage, wing and tail surfaces all covered in genuine Oracover
  • Pre-attached canopy and pilots
  • Factory hinged flight surfaces
  • Hardware (push rods, horns, clevis, tires and tail wheel assembly)
  • Decals and markings
  • Picture assembly guide and text instructions

Kit requires:

  • 750+ watt Motor or .60 size glow motor
  • 4-6s LiPoly battery
  • 6 Servos (2-Flaps, 2-Ailerons, elevator, rudder)
  • Receiver
  • 5 channel minimum transmitter

Included for this review:

  • KMS 4120/05 710kV Outrunner Brushless Motor
  • Impulse 4s 4000 LiPoly battery pack
  • Motrolfly USA 80 AMP Brushless ESC
  • Dimension Engineering SportBEC

Assembly

The BH Models Chipmunk is a true ARF and will be ready with just a few hours of work. I must say, I was very impressed with the quality and the scale looks of this ship. A true highly rounded fuselage like this bird has is not easy make! The balsa and plywood used was of good quality with many "holes" laser cut for weight savings.

Done by the factory:

  • Surfaces hinged and glued (except the rudder)
  • Push rods installed and ready to hook up
  • All surfaces covered
  • Canopy and pilots installed

The builder needs to:

  • Install the tail surfaces
  • Glue the wing together
  • Install the cowl
  • Install a ply battery tray
  • Install radio system
  • Install the power system
  • Apply decals

Wing

Assembly of the wing components is completely standard. The wing has plywood hatches that serve as servo mounts. Then short linkages then go directly to the control surface horns. The wings have pull strings installed for the servos - a great touch.

Once the servos are installed, the wing is ready to be joined. Use the supplied aluminum wing tube and 30 minute epoxy to glue the wing tube in and join the wing halves together. Use 30 minute epoxy - you will need the extra time to assure the wing is positioned properly.

After the wing glue has set for a couple of hour, you can add the landing gear assembly. The wing includes pre-mounted in-wing blocks for the factory bent gear.

Now we add the scale outline strut covers. These are made from balsa and are a bit too long as the scale strut covers end before the tires on each side. Cut yours before gluing!

The factory has pre-drilled wing bolt holes making wing to fuse fitting a snap. After removing the covering from the bolt holes, install the included plastic wing bolt retention washers in the wing.

The BH Chipmunk comes with a vacuum formed red tray to attach to the wing bottom. This rounded tray conforms to the wing center and makes the bottom fairing.

Fuselage

Since we are converting this model we will have to perform some modifications for the battery and power system. I prefer starting with motor and battery mounts. It is also a good idea to plan for battery and ESC cooling now as well.

This model will not have a battery hatch, so the wing must be removed for battery access. While that is not ideal, cutting a large hatch in this amazing scale model was simply not something I could do. With the light motor and battery behind the firewall the model will not balance properly. You may want to extend the battery further forward than I did by cutting a larger access hole in the lower firewall.

Horizontal Stabilizer and Elevator

Installation of the tail feathers is fairly standard with surfaces attaching to pre-cut slots in the tail. The elevator push rods were both preinstalled for you at the factory. I prefer single pushrod runs and elevator joiners, but both methods are perfectly acceptable.

Pay careful attention to the instructions for the internal rudder horn assembly. It runs both the rudder and the tail wheel steering.

Several small vacuum formed pieces are used to cover the pushrod and internal rudder horn access.

There is plenty of room to work inside the fuselage, and you can see the installation is made easy with a factory installed servo tray.

Power system

The BH models Chipmunk will be powered with the KMS 4120/05 710Kv Outrunner Brushless motor. This fine line of motors is available from Hobby People.

Amp draws

This fairly high KV outrunner motor is perfect for use with 4s packs. It produced the following results:

Motor statistics
APC Propeller Amps Watts Voltage
11x8e 58 850 14.4v
12x6e 57 814 14.5v
13x6.5e 74 1,000 13.6v
13x6 Sport 60 890 14.3v

The motor indicates that it is a 710 KV, but after testing I suspect it might be just a bit higher. For example the 12x6 APC-e propeller was spinning at 10,500 RPM. I was shocked that the APC sport propeller drew 15 less amps than the "E" type. For these high power motors the APC Sport line of propellers certainly make a viable option.

I fly the Chipmunk with the APC-e 12x6 propeller. This gives the plane 108w/lb performance that allows for very respectable power. The model with this power system has short take off rolls and is capable of performing aerobatics.

ESC

Motrolfly 80 AMP Opto ESC

  • OPTO (No BEC)
  • Program Card
  • User settings via program card:
  • Braking
  • Battery type (NiMh/NiCad or LiPoly)
  • Cut-off voltage for both LiPoly and NiCad/NiMh
  • Rotation direction
  • Startup settings
  • Timing
  • Power Protect - Off / Limited / Cut-Off
  • PWM Frequency 8KHZ or 16KHZ

This is my first Motrolfly ESC and I can say that I am impressed. These ESCs are priced right, and it has performed well. The program card is very easy to use. Both are recommended and available at MotrolflyUSA.

Battery

I used a single 4s 4000 MAh Impulse LiPoly battery to provide power. This pack weighs in right at 16 oz.

BEC

With the OPTO controller it is necessary to provide power for the airborne system. You can use a 4-5 cell battery pack, but I hate the weight, and it is too easy to neglect charging the airborne battery. I much prefer the use of a separate BEC.

Dimension Engineering SportBEC

  • Switch Mode BEC
  • Input voltage - 3s-8s
  • Output Voltage - 5 or 6 volts switch selectable
  • Output current 3.5 AMPs
  • Output will power up to 8 standard or 4-6 digital servos
  • Weight 13g

I have used many of the Dimension Engineering products, and their Sport BEC supplies the power needed. It also offers 5v or 6v operation with a simple flip of the switch. I have used a number of these fine BECs, and all of them performed as designed and without a single hitch.

I especially like the Sport BEC design. You actually plug the ESC servo connector wire into the BEC, and then in turn, plug the SportBEC into the throttle channel on your receiver. For non-opto controllers the Dimension BEC will automatically disable your existing speed controller BEC! So the Dimension Engineering BEC will pass along the throttle signal to the receiver, and it will power the receiver power through the throttle channel. Plugging the SportBEC into the throttle channel saves an extra receiver input slot as well. Smart thinking, Dimension Engineering! Highly recommended.

Finish

The BH Models Chipmunk is finished in a very attractive 3 color gray, white and red scheme. This Royal Air Force finish is among my favorites. The model was well covered, and only a few wrinkles appeared needing some attention from the iron. The ARF includes accurate sticker markings that were very easy to apply.

The model included a wonderful fiberglass cowl, and the paint match was good. The black antiglare area on the cowl nose was slightly larger than that on the fuselage, however. The color match was good. The cowl also has one other minor error: there are pre-cut cooling openings on both sides of the cowl whereas the inline motor only had one cooling hole offset to the left side.

The rounded fuselage is a work of art. It also incorporates a beautiful fillet where the wing joins the fuselage. These details really add to the overall looks. I must say this model gets a great deal of attention at the field. It is very attractive and has a really commanding presence.

Pre-Flight

CG

With a light electric power conversion and electric motor CG is generally an issue. That was the case with the light motor and battery used in this Chippy. It was necessary to add 8 oz of nose weight to attain the proper CG. It would have been possible to remove large portions of the firewall and motor box to move the battery further forward into the cowl area.

Rates and transmitter setup

I used my trusted Spektrum DX7 transmitter for this plane. Rates were set as recommended in the Alfa manual with ailerons and elevator at 15mm each direction. Rudder was set at the recommended 35mm each direction. No exponential rates were mentioned so I used 25% for all the primary flight controls. These settings worked well for me in flight, however, rates are a very personal preference.

I set the flight timer to count down from 8 minutes of mixed flying. With mixed flying this gives an audible warning to land before the 4000mAh battery is depleted.

Flying

The large BH Models DHC-1 Chipmunk is not only impressive on the ramp, but in the air where it matters.

Takeoff and Landing

With the APC-e 12x6 propeller the model takes to the air in less than 75 feet. I use about 10 degrees of down flap on the take offs. This allows for a very high lift yet fairly low drag, perfect for take off. The large rudder makes it easy to keep the war bird trainer going straight down the runway. The Chipmunk will need a large amount of right rudder on take off so do not be afraid to get on the sticks.

Landings are easy especially with the flaps engaged. The model does slightly pitch up when you apply the flaps. The pitch change is fairly minimal - so small I have not mixed an elevator compensation. With the flaps deployed at about 25 degrees the model slows quickly, and it is easy to bleed off speed and perform spot landings. Remember the up elevator on flair with the forward cant of the gear. You will get bounces if you are not near stall on landing.

Special Flight Characteristics

The BH models Chipmunk is a pure pleasure in the air. It does not exhibit any bad behavior and flies extremely well. I did not note any issues whatsoever.

The flaps add a great dimension of fun to the flying as well. They are very effective especially on take offs and landings. I found the flaps when deployed at low speeds to not effect pitch much. That is rare and makes the use of flaps on this bird simple. On approach with flaps, keep the nose low.

The plane stalls very predictably for a model with a mid 20's oz/ft wing loading. When pushed to a stall the model slows down considerably and drops the nose. No wing tip drop at all - impressive. Recovery is very quick with the KMS motor pulling it through.

Loops require full power and are easy to keep large and round. Rolls are picture perfect with the recommended aileron. In fact, they are pretty quick. They are very axial, giving the Chipmunk the fantastic aerobatic prowess it was well known for. Although this is not the "Super" Chipmunk made famous by Art Scholl, it shows its strong aerobatic heritage and can manage just about anything you can throw at it.

Stall turns are a favorite with the Chipmunk. It is very graceful and does not speed up dramatically in the down lines. I could not be more pleased with the way this large Chippy flies!

Thanks to Dawnron1 for these excellent flying shots:

Recommended power system

Power from the brushless motor is excellent. The KMS Quantam motor likes a fairly small propeller on 4s voltage, but it pulls this 7.5lb airplane around with authority. The 6 turn motor would also make a great option if you wish to spin a larger propeller.

Is this plane for a beginner?

Although this DHC-1 Chipmunk 22 was used as a primary flight trainer in several countries it is certainly not an RC trainer aircraft. With that said, the Chipmunk is extremely well behaved in flight. No bad habits were noted. This plane is not for the first time pilot as it does not exhibit any self correcting characteristics. It would make an excellent trainer for preparing you for a larger war bird.

Flight Video

Downloads

Conclusion

As many of you know I am a war bird fan and have long appreciated the lines of the DHC-1 Chipmunk. When I saw that Hobby People was introducing this I knew that it would make an excellent addition to the hangar, and I was correct.

Assembly is easy and straightforward. The DHC-1 Chipmunk flies extremely well and proves itself to be an excellent performer in the air. Flaps are large and very functional and blast to play with in flight. The Chipmunk is highly aerobatic and has no issues accommodating whatever request you have of it! It has quickly turned into my large airplane of choice when going to the club field.

This is my first BH models airplane, and I can assure you it will not be my last. I have seen a couple of their other offerings and they all seem equally impressive. The Chipmunk flies well, and it is also built straight and true.

Hits:

  • Excellent looks
  • Scale details are well represented
  • Short assembly time
  • Stellar flight performance
  • Low price
  • Exceptional value

Misses:

  • Cowl antiglare paint lines do not align with the fuselage covering lines
  • Strut covers are a bit too long

The BH Models Chipmunk will make a great addition to your hangar. I highly recommend it! Check it out the hobby shop or buy direct at Hobby People.

Last edited by Angela H; Dec 18, 2007 at 10:07 PM..

Discussion

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Old Dec 19, 2007, 06:45 AM
Dr. Dave
USA
Joined Nov 2005
1,316 Posts
Great Review Mike. Lots of detail, pictures and really great flying. Looks very stable especially on landing. BH stuff is fantastic. Great to see a.61 as an electric conversion.
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Old Dec 19, 2007, 08:32 AM
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Thanks Dave - the model has quickly earned the spot as a favorite. It flies very well, and does not have any bad habits. For a .60 size ship on 4s the power is amazing as well.

I am a long time fan of Chipmunks - and the Military DHC-1 is a favorite - especially with the greenhouse canopy.

It has earned a prominent spot in the hangar for sure.

Mike
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Old Dec 19, 2007, 08:39 AM
www.ReaperBrushless.com
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Motrolfly USA

dear mike

awesome review the plane flew great, good to see some larger conversions out there. glad our Motrolfly USA FM80 esc and Program card worked out for you keep these great reviews coming.

scott
www.motrolflyusa.com
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Old Dec 19, 2007, 10:21 AM
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United States, CA, Petaluma
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I enjoyed the review Mike. I think it is very well written and clear in it's presentation.

I also am completely blown away at the quality you get with these BH Models ARFs. The price is amazing and they fly very well. It is not abnormal to spend more than what one of these cost on a typical park flyer sized ARF?! When you couple them with the affordably priced KMS motors and Impulse batteries that Hobby People carry, you have 60 sized electric conversions for the masses! I think we will be seeing a LOT of these large BH Models ARFs showing up at the fields! They are just that good!
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Old Dec 19, 2007, 10:25 AM
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Michael Heer's Avatar
Stockton, Ca. USA
Joined Apr 2001
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Very nice review Mike. I am waiting on a motor and mount for my BH Spitfire but I also have been impressed by the build of my kit by the manufacturer as well. Final assembly has been very easy. I'll be back to watch your video again. Maybe even download it as well. I will be using the same ESC from Motrolfly but with a different Quantum motor and 6 cells. I have been impressed with the two ESCs of Motrolfly that I have used thus far. I am encouraged by your review about my ESC and the Quantum motor as well in my Spitfire project. Hope to have my review up in late January. Mike
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Old Dec 19, 2007, 10:28 AM
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Thanks Scott - that ESC is doing a fantastic job!

Jon - I could not agree more. Every BH models plane I have seen is very impressive. They fly well and look great too. There is no reason to stay in park flyer mode when you can get these models for a very reasonable price.

The KMS motors are a steal - and I have been impressed with the batteries as well. Those not wanting to use LiPoly could certainly he A123 packs in parallel would work well also.

Mike - thanks - it is a keeper for sure.... I am much better at doing wheel landings with it now too! It slows down to a crawl with the flaps down!

I am looking forward to my next BH Models - a twin! O yea.......

Mike
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Old Dec 19, 2007, 11:25 AM
Timelord
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Joined Mar 2002
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Mike,

Nice job on this review. All of the BH Models reviews have been very good and I am looking forward to adding mine of the P-47 soon to the list.
Too bad we all live so far apart, would be nice to have a group shot. I guess it could be done in photoshop.
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Old Dec 19, 2007, 05:08 PM
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watching the movie, it looks like this model will fly more scale like and faster with 10x8 instead of the 12x6 that makes it fly like a parkflyer
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Old Dec 19, 2007, 10:24 PM
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Joined Sep 2007
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Looks nice, and they didn't ruin it by making it a Super Chipmunk.
Looks like you put a hell of a powerful motor on the plane. Should move along well.
I almost made the mistake of making 2 cowl vents, until I looked at some reference pictures more clearly.


I'm amazed how few kits/arfs there are of the standard version. Dynaflite had one around this size. There are none in the park size, that I know of, which is why I'm building one now. I enlarged the 17" Guillows plan to 34", and used it as a guide.

I should have done the red bottom fuse scheme. I got lazy, and didn't want to do all that 2-tone covering work. Could have painted as I did the cowl area, but it always chips eventually, and would then look like crap over that much fuse area to see chips. The wing was easier to apply 2 color covering on, so that's what it got.
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Old Dec 20, 2007, 08:00 AM
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Nice! Thanks!
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Old Dec 20, 2007, 08:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doctor Who
Mike,

Nice job on this review. All of the BH Models reviews have been very good and I am looking forward to adding mine of the P-47 soon to the list.
Too bad we all live so far apart, would be nice to have a group shot. I guess it could be done in photoshop.
That would be fun - thanks!

pimaa - the plane flies very fast - no parkflyer. With the 6" pitch it is in the 60-65mph range at the 10,500k RPM range it is in. Plenty fast - over scale for sure. A 10x8 would not have adequate thrust. Trust me it is a monster power wise.

Bill - I agree - the old style is where it is at! A parkie size version would be great. I can also say this model exhibits all the aerobatics prowess that the Chippys were known for. You can easily see why they made the Super version with such a nice flying airplane as a base.

Thanks Dora!

Mike
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Old Dec 21, 2007, 09:51 PM
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Yep, someone does have to make a parkflyer Chippie. I mean there's only about 5000 each of the popular warbirds.

I'm hoping mine flies well. I've built a few other plane's with Guillows construction that are heavier than this Chipmunk that fly well, so I'm looking forward to flying this one.
Fabbed a canopy the other night for it. Better than none. I'll have to find a replacement canopy for a GWS Texan, and shorten it a bit.
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Old Dec 22, 2007, 09:01 AM
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It looks fantastic Bill - I think it will fly well. All the Chippy's I have had flew well.

Mike
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Old Dec 26, 2007, 10:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pda4you
It looks fantastic Bill - I think it will fly well. All the Chippy's I have had flew well.

Mike
Flew well on Christmas day maiden Mike.
Horrible pics taken with my digi-cam while flying at the same time. I took a few closer shots, but they turned out to be all blue sky and no Chipmunk.

Being that in scale models, a low wing trainer and a warbird are basically the same since they all use the same motors and don't have guns , I'd say it flew about like my ME109s do. Fast, manuoverable, and not really a trainer. Nice flyer though.
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