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Great Planes P-40 Warhawk ARF EP Sport Scale Review

Albert Wahrhaftig looks over this almost ready-to-fly .25/EP sport-scale aircraft that can be built as "an electric or glow sport plane.

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Introduction


Wingspan:39"
Wing Area:242 sq. in.
Weight:38-46 oz. (38 oz. as tested)
Length:34.5"
Wing Loading:23-27 oz/sq. ft.
Servos:3 x Futaba S3115 or micro equivalents
Transmitter:4 channel
Receiver:4 channel
Battery:3 cell 3200 mAh 3C LiPo
Motor:GP RimFire 35-30-1450kV outrunner
ESC:GP 45 A Silver Series
Manufacturer:Great Planes
Price$99.99

Suddenly the sky is full of P-40s... electric powered ones, that is.

Since childhood, the shark mouthed '40 flown by General Chenault and his American Voluntary Force in China, the Flying Tigers, has been my personal icon of daring and bravery. So now I welcome the arrival of each new P-40 in model form, and I am delighted that the task of reviewing the Great Planes P-40 Warhawk fell to me.

Great Planes bills their version of the P-40 as an "almost ready-to-fly .25/EP sport-scale aircraft" that can be built as "an electric or glow sport plane - or even as an AMA event 750 combat class model." Let's see!

Kit Contents

The main components of the P-40 are built up from balsa and lite plywood and covered with MonoKote. All the necessary hardware is supplied, and it is all of good quality. A very sturdy and prepainted fiberglass cowl is included.

You can download the complete Instruction Manual and Parts List directly from Great Planes.

The Warhawk came securely double boxed with informative pictures on the top and sides of the inner carton.

The contents arrived undamaged, carefully bagged and packed in two layers separated by cardboard.

As for the .25 glo, all the parts necessary for both that and the EP are there. My general experience suggests that this airplane will do quite well on a .25 although I have not flown it in that configuration. As you will see, it does well on EP too.

No one is going to mistake this airplane for anything but a P-40, but is it P-40ish enough to satisfy P-40 fans? Why are those wonderful windows that allow the pilot to look over his shoulder to see if anyone is on his 6 represented only by silver panels in the MonoKote covering? Where are the distinctive large wing fairings? Where are the conspicuous exhaust stacks? Frankly, I wish GP had been more generous with the detailing. However, once this fighter is in the air, you know you are seeing a Warhawk.

Kit Contains

  • Prebuilt balsa and ply fuselage, wings, stabilizer-elevator, and vertical fin-rudder precovered with MonoKote
  • Prepainted fiberglass cowl
  • Prepainted clear canopy
  • Prebent landing gear and foam wheels
  • Spinner
  • Ply motor mount for electric, motor mounts and fuel tank for glo
  • Hinges, pushrods, servo connectors, all required bolts and allen wrenches
  • Decals
  • Instruction Manual

Kit requires

  • Four channel radio
  • 3 microservos, minimum 35 oz-in torque (4 servos for glo)
  • 1450kV outrunner brushless motor (.25 for glo)
  • 45 Amp ESC
  • Bullet connectors for ESC
  • 3 cell 3200 MAh 20c Lipo battery or niMh equivalent
  • APC 9x6 sport propeller
  • The usual tools and supplies. (For first time builders, a very detailed listing is included in the downloadable Instruction Manual)

Assembly

The Great Planes Instruction Manual, 32 pages long, is unusually clear and complete. In addition to assembly instructions (and the usual legal boilerplate), it includes sections on safety, on the AMA, on recommended equipment, tools and supplies, on ordering replacement parts, on preflight and on flying. There is also a useful checklist and even a full page flight log. Very nice Great Planes; you really covered all the bases!

I think GP did a good job of making a plane rugged enough to withstand the vibration of a glo motor while also keeping it light enough for effective electric power. However, there is at least one area where glo design took priority over e-design: There is no battery hatch. To service and/or charge the battery, you must remove the wing which, moreover, is retained by two bolts rather than the more common one.

All in all, assembly is simple and straightforward. Everything fits, and the result is a strong and solid structure. Is it Almost Ready to Fly? You bet.

Wing

The wing consists of two prefinished halves. Hinge the ailerons, join the wings, install the aileron linkage and that's it.

Tail

The tail surfaces are sheet balsa. Hinge, attach control horns and install. That's all.

The pushrod connectors supplied are a type I have not seen before, with an Allen head setscrew to retain the pushrod and a knurled thumbnut to attach the connector to the control horn. I like these a lot, and I also appreciated that the needed Allen key (along with a second one for motor mount bolts) is included in the kit's hardware. Please note that I deviated from the hook-up in the Instruction Manual because I don't like Z bends and use Dubro connectors. Great Planes recommends that you follow their instructions, especially if you are a beginner.

Fuselage

The fuselage itself is completely prebuilt and ready to go. It is left to you to build the motor mount and motor and install the electronics.

When building the motor mount, notice that the front piece of the motor mount is not glued in until AFTER the mount is bolted to the fuselage. You may find that the blind nuts you install in the backside of the motor mount's front project beyond the corners. Once the nuts are securely in place, file down the excess metal so the front will be a precise fit into the mount.

Radio Installation

There is plenty of room for your radio equipment. The recommended large 3000 mAh LiPo battery fits snugly in the nose, and the receiver rubber banded to its own mount is a nice touch.

All of this is well planned, but once the battery is connected and the wing is bolted in place, the airplane is "hot", the safety features built into ESC notwithstanding. An external on/off switch would be a wise safety feature to add to this setup.

Completion

The cockpit and cowl are both prepainted. The instructions show a large air inlet cut into the bottom of the cowl, and I followed the instructions as intended for this review, but I'm not convinced this is really necessary. Left to my own devices, I would have tried using the cowl as-is unless trial flights proved the vent necessary since there is lots of airflow through the face of the cowl.

By e-standards, the landing gear seemed heavy, but when you realize that this airplane's wing loading can be up to 27 oz/ft, and since it is a warbird, it is probably not wise to slow it excessively on final approach to landing. The robustness is clearly necessary.

The recommended C.G., 1 1/2" back from the wing's leading edge where it meets the fuselage, struck me as oddly far forward, but in flight it seems just about right. Maybe because the wing is so sharply tapered, the "forwardness" of the C.G. is an illusion. I suggest you use this position at least for your initial flights.

Flying

Basics

The P-40 Warhawk flies like a sport model should. It is very fast when you want it to be, can slow way down when you want it to, is not at all quirky and is very maneuverable.

Taking Off and Landing

Equipped with the recommended Great Planes RimFire 35-30-1450kV brushless outrunner motor and corresponding ESC, prop and battery, the P-40 Warhawk is something of a hotrod. Full throttle is far more power than you need for takeoff. Take it easy, and advance the throttle slowly until the plane wants to lift off smoothly. That will look more scale and avoid any surprises due to the sudden onset of P-factor.

Landing takes lots of room. Remember, 38 to 46 ounces of airplane and 23 to 27 oz/ft of wing loading. We're not talking floater here. The '40 glides quite respectably, but it really retains inertia. You need to make your approach from further out than perhaps you are used to, keeping the descent as shallow as possible and bleeding off airspeed. Touchdown is likely to be be at a higher speed than you are used to if you have mostly been flying smaller and lighter 3D style electrics.

Aerobatics/Special Flight Performance

Every time I fly this airplane I immediately hear awed comments about how fast it is. If you like speedy, you have it, yet the plane is stable and easy to handle. Feel free to slow it down when you want to; it is not prone to stalling.

What a 1:1 P-40 can do, this one does: loops, rolls, stall turns, inverted, etc. are all in its repertoire. True to Great Planes' claims, this is an apt sport scale airplane. Fly it like they flew in World War II, and go ahead and try combat. Fast, responsive, fun flying. That's what this one is about.

Is This For a Beginner?

No. From the thoroughness of the instructions, you might think that Great Planes had a beginner in mind, and there is no reason why a beginner would have trouble assembling this model. But when it comes to flying, this is not for a beginner. You want to be comfortable with low wing and aileron equipped airplanes before you try this one. Given that much experience, you will have no problems with this Warhawk.

Flight Video/Photo Gallery

Downloads

Conclusion

Great Plane's version of the P-40 is a high performance sport model that can be hot when you want it to be hot and gentle when you want it to be gentle. For a plane of its kind, it is capable of awesome speed as you zip around the airspace, but you can fly it with confidence. It is not the kind of hot plane that is going to turn around and bite you.

It is nice to see this plane's well done wood construction and wrinkle free carefully applied MonoKote covering. In terms of quality of materials and craftsmanship, this airplane is a good value.

GP produces a similar Spitfire, but who are the Warhawk and the Spit going to dogfight with? Is something from Germany or Japan on the way? Cross your fingers, folks.

Things I liked

•Hey, it is a P-40. How can you not like a P-40?

•Well built airframe and wrinkle free covering

•Thorough Instruction Manual

•Wrenches included with very complete hardware for electric and for glo

•Careful attention to provision of cooling air

My gripes

•No battery hatch

•Craves a few more scale details

Something I would like to have

•A pilot

•An external on-off switch

Last edited by Angela H; Jan 21, 2008 at 08:10 PM..

Discussion

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Old Jan 22, 2008, 02:10 PM
No, you can't fly it.
SwissBoy's Avatar
United States, WI, Menomonie
Joined Nov 2006
699 Posts
Great review, but the video was very low quality...I could hardly tell that it was a '40. Thanks though!
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Old Jan 22, 2008, 03:17 PM
Registered User
Sebastopol, CA, USA
Joined Dec 1996
538 Posts
Swiss boy, my apologies for the video quality. There is a long story as to why it came out this way. This was edited in Mac iMovie and saved as a QuickTime .mov where it plays on a screen about 2 or 3 inches across. At that size it at least looks like a P-40, though on a larger screen it must look like a bunch of pixels caught in a cyclone. Have done better before, will do better next time, meanwhile, sorry!
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Old Jan 22, 2008, 06:22 PM
Balsa just crashes better
Cub Fan's Avatar
Bradenton, FL
Joined Nov 2004
597 Posts
NICE REVIEW- P-40'S ARE COOL.
Too bad you need to remove the wing to change batteries- not very handy at the field. Does it appear a battery hatch could be cut ?
Thanks for the info
Jay
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Old Jan 22, 2008, 07:55 PM
Registered User
Sebastopol, CA, USA
Joined Dec 1996
538 Posts
As a reviewer, I think we have an obligation to take 'em as they come. Leaving that aside, owing to the large battery size and the way the insides of the fuselage are constructed, a hatch would require a major revision.

Don't tell anybody, but I only use one of the two bolts to hold the wing on. Since the weight of the battery is not sitting on the wing, the tongue at the leading edge takes the load, such as it is, and the bolt at the back doesn't do much more than keep the incidence aligned.
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Old Jan 22, 2008, 10:05 PM
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Bill Covert's Avatar
Grove City, PA
Joined Sep 2007
955 Posts
I bought that motor for a Seabee project I'm nearly finished with.
I'd imagine that it really rips in a 38oz plane.
Quote:
Originally Posted by wahrhaftig
As a reviewer, I think we have an obligation to take 'em as they come. Leaving that aside, owing to the large battery size and the way the insides of the fuselage are constructed, a hatch would require a major revision.

Don't tell anybody, but I only use one of the two bolts to hold the wing on. Since the weight of the battery is not sitting on the wing, the tongue at the leading edge takes the load, such as it is, and the bolt at the back doesn't do much more than keep the incidence aligned.
It really makes more sense when they design with 1 hold down bolt anyways. I'd rather just make one mount a little stronger, than have the hassle of 2. This is especially true with front wing dowels, as some seem to think that you need 2, which is far more difficult to set up.
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Old Jan 23, 2008, 02:46 PM
Registered User
United Kingdom, England, Milton Keynes
Joined May 2007
596 Posts
hey .
at the specs box at the top i think there is an mistake with the battery info.
3 cell 3200 mAh 3C LiPo?? 3C??
just to let you know

great review btw
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Old Jan 24, 2008, 11:49 AM
Registered User
Sebastopol, CA, USA
Joined Dec 1996
538 Posts
airheli,

Yeah, there seems to be a short circuit somewhere between my brain (such as it is) and my keyboard. Let's make that 20c.
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Old Jan 25, 2008, 10:35 AM
R.I.P. Mom & Airshow Friends!
BigTonE's Avatar
Titusville fl.
Joined Sep 2006
778 Posts
Great review and heres my vid of my buddy Eliot Cross flying the full size.

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Old Jan 28, 2008, 12:20 PM
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Bill Covert's Avatar
Grove City, PA
Joined Sep 2007
955 Posts
"....but is it P-40ish enough to satisfy P-40 fans? Why are those wonderful windows that allow the pilot to look over his shoulder to see if anyone is on his 6 represented only by silver panels in the MonoKote covering?"

That's the one they could have done better on. Real windows versus "stickers" are what is supposed to differentiate a plane like this from the GWS Beaver. I think they cheesed that one.
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Old Feb 18, 2008, 07:44 PM
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Joined Feb 2008
10 Posts
Im pretty new with R/C airplanes or actually the whole R/C hobby and i've bought one of these nice p-40 as a secondary plane. My first plane that i've bought was a Dynam Super Cub
http://www.dynam-rc.com/products/airplane/supercub.htm

. I was wondering if I could strip the guts from the super cub and use them on the P-40. I'm pretty much low on a budget and if anyone would like to help me find parts that will work for this P-40 it would be a great help. Thanks in advance
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Old Feb 24, 2008, 07:59 PM
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Pampa Texas
Joined Feb 2005
123 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by ReKLiS
Im pretty new with R/C airplanes or actually the whole R/C hobby and i've bought one of these nice p-40 as a secondary plane. My first plane that i've bought was a Dynam Super Cub
http://www.dynam-rc.com/products/airplane/supercub.htm

. I was wondering if I could strip the guts from the super cub and use them on the P-40. I'm pretty much low on a budget and if anyone would like to help me find parts that will work for this P-40 it would be a great help. Thanks in advance
Try www.hobbycity.com for motors, ESC's, and lipolys at cheap prices. Steve
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