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Millennium RC Micro SSX and Micro SSX Biplane Kits Review

I was impressed with the Micro SSX, and once I saw the prototype of the Micro SSX Biplane, I knew I had to have both!

Splash

Introduction


Wingspan:21.5”
Wing Area:240 sq”
Weight minus battery:6oz
Length:18”
Wing loading:Approximately 3.6 oz/sq. ft.
Servos:4 – JR S185's
Transmitter:Spektrum DX7
Receiver:Spektrum AR6100
Battery:Thunder Power 480mA - 720 3s LiPoly
Motor:RC-Model 2100 Kv
ESC:Castle Creations Thunderbird 9
Available From:Millennium R/C
MSRP:$54.95


Wingspan:21.5”
Wing Area:120 sq”
Weight minus battery:4oz
Length:18”
Wing loading:Approximately 6.33 oz/sq. ft.
Servos:3 – Blue Arrow 3.6g
Transmitter:Spektrum DX7
Receiver:Spektrum AR6100
Battery:Thunder Power 480mA - 720 2s LiPoly
Motor:Hacker A10-12S
ESC:Castle Creations Thunderbird 6
Available From:Millennium R/C
MSRP:$44.95

I first met James Karpy of Millennium RC at FITS in January of last year. At that time he had recently started Millennium RC and was showing off his new SSX. By the time SEFF rolled around, he had added a smaller version of the SSX called the Micro SSX and began to offer ARFs as well as kits. Then to my surprise, at the Zephr late last year he unveiled the prototype Micro SSX Biplane. The Zephyr was also the first time I got to see both the Micro SSX and Micro SSX Biplane fly in high winds, and I was amazed at how well these small, lightweight planes faired in far from ideal conditions.

One big advantage about living near to Millennium RC is that when the Biplane was ready, I had the opportunity to pay a visit to James and Moe of Millennium and see where these great little planes were created and developed.

Kit Contents

Biplane Kit includes:

  • 1 decal set
  • 4 balsa sticks 3/32x3/32x24
  • 4 balsa sticks 1/16x3/32x24
  • 2 sheets 1/8 balsa laser cut parts
  • 2 sheets 1/16 balsa laser cut parts
  • 1 sheet 1/32 balsa laser cut parts
  • 3 sheets plywood laser cut parts
  • 6 Dubro micro control horns
  • 2 Dubro micro light wheels
  • 2 Dubro wheel retainers
  • 3 1-foot pieces of .031” piano wire for push rods, aileron linkage and tail skid
  • Preformed wire landing gear
  • 6 control horns
  • 2 micro light wheels
  • 2 micro wheel retainers
  • 15” Wrapped carbon fuselage
  • Carbon fiber struts
  • Velcro pads
  • Velcro “One Wrap” Battery strap (RED)
  • Double-stick foam tape (Used to hold speed control in position)
  • 8 # 0 - 1⁄4 sheet metal screws (Servos & wing adjustment)
  • 2 # 1 – 1⁄4 sheet metal screws (Motor)

Needed to Complete:

  • Cyanoacrylate or CA Glue (thin and thick)
  • Hobby knife
  • 220-grit sandpaper
  • Sanding block
  • Hinge tape (recommend 3M Scotch ™ 3⁄4” Transparent Tape)
  • Ruler
  • Square
  • Razor saw
  • Hand drill or small drill with #56 (.046”) drill bit.
  • 1/16” drill bit.
  • Micro screwdriver set
  • Micro-receiver
  • Motor (recommend Hacker A10-12S brushless outrunner motor, 2900 Kv)
  • Speed control (recommend 6 to 9 amps)
  • Propeller (as recommended by motor manufacturer)
  • Four servos (less than 7 grams each, recommended. Ideal is 4 grams)
  • Battery (recommend 2-3 cell lithium polymer battery, 480-730 mAh)

Micro SSX Kit includes:

  • Laser-cut balsa parts
  • 4 Dubro micro control horns
  • 2 Dubro micro light wheels
  • 2 Dubro wheel retainers
  • Wire for push rods, aileron linkage and tail skid
  • Preformed wire landing gear
  • 15” Wrapped carbon fuselage
  • Velcro pads
  • Velcro “One Wrap” Battery strap (RED)
  • Double-stick foam tape (Used to hold speed control in position)
  • 6 # 0 - 1⁄4 sheet metal screws (Servos)
  • 2 # 1 – 1⁄4 sheet metal screws (Motor)

Needed to Complete:

  • Cyanoacrylate or CA Glue (thin and thick)
  • Hobby knife
  • 220-grit sandpaper
  • Sanding block
  • Hinge tape (recommend 3M Scotch ™ 3⁄4” Transparent Tape)
  • Ruler
  • Square
  • Razor saw
  • Hand drill or small drill with #56 (.046”) drill bit.
  • 1/16” drill bit.
  • Micro screwdriver set
  • Micro-receiver
  • Motor (recommend Hacker A10-12S brushless outrunner motor, 2900 Kv)
  • Speed control (recommend 5 to 6 amps)
  • Propeller (as recommended by motor manufacturer)
  • Three servos (less than 7 grams each, recommended. Ideal is 4 grams)
  • Battery (recommend 2 cell lithium polymer battery, 300-480 mAh)

Assembly

Both the Micro SSX and the Biplane are simple builds. They are laser cut, and the builder does not need to build a fuselage. Even a first time builder would have no trouble with one or both of these kits. Millennium RC has their own forum in the Vendor area here on RCGroups, which includes threads with photos for both planes, taking the builder step by step through the build.

Wing

The wing or wing(s) for the Biplane are put together almost completely before gluing. The only exception is the ribs that support the struts as seen here.

Once all ribs and stringers are in, the amazingly strong wing(s) are glued.

Tail Section

The tail sections on the two planes are different. On the Bipe you build the tail with interlocking pieces, and with the Micro SSX the vertical and horizontal stab have a lot fewer pieces.

One trick I used on some of the exposed pieces of wood is coloring them with a Sharpie. It did a great job in making them match the airplane.

Covering

The Bipe is covered with Solite, and the Micro SSX is covered in Solarfilm. Both coverings are fairly easy to work with, but the Solite can be a little challenging as it really likes to stick to itself. The technique I used on both was the same, and I learned it from James from Millennium RC.

Basic steps:

  • Cut covering to the approximate size, and remove the plastic backing
  • Lay covering sticky side down on glass, and squeegee all the air out with a credit card wrapped in a paper towel.
  • Lay additional covering to be laminated onto the covering on the glass.
  • Iron the covering to laminate the different pieces together.
  • Then iron the laminated piece on the wing as you would regular covering.

I used this technique to add the white stripes to the top wing on the Micro SSX as well as the white patches on the top wing on the Bipe.

Final Assembly

The final assembly for both kits includes hinging the control surfaces with tape, mounting the servos, putting together the landing gear and attaching everything to the fuse stick. On the Bipe, you have to attach the top wing using the carbon struts.

The manual gives good instructions on how to tape the hinges while ensuring you get maximum throw. This is done by putting tape along the rear trailing edge of the surface you are hinging. Turn the surface over so the sticky side of the tape is facing up, take the elevator, rudder or aileron with the beveled edge facing up and at a 45 degree angle place it up against the trailing edge of the surface you are hinging, and secure the tape. Turn it over, and fold the (elevator, rudder or aileron) back onto the surface and tape along the hinge line. You then can work the hinge and confirm that you are getting full throw.

The landing gear is sandwiched between the balsa blocks.

It is important when sliding parts onto the fuse stick that you do them in the proper order and pay attention to when to glue parts together.

The final assembly to the fuse stick on the Micro SSX Biplane:

The servo tray and P12A are slid on the fuse stick first and then the tail mount, which is glued.

The lower wing and tail is added next, then the landing gear. The landing gear should be 2-1/32" from the front of the fuse stick. The top wing is then added, and it is very important that the carbon wing struts are fully inserted in the wing before gluing. Then we add the battery tray and motor mount.

The Micro SSX Biplane has an adjustable incidence. When making adjustments to the rear wing mount you just have to remove two screws. What a great idea!

For final assembly of the SSX, slide the servo mounts on the fuselage stick. Next, attach the wing through the front wing saddle and then slide the rear saddle on the wing and glue. Attach the tail, landing skid, landing gear, battery tray and motor mount. Attach the motor and radio gear to allow for balancing 1/8" to the rear of the main spar. You can adjust the position of the hardware to get CG, and if an adjustment is still needed you can move the wing. Once balanced, adjust the horizontal stab so that it is parallel with the wing, and then glue the wing saddles.

Flying

Biplane:

  • CG 1.2" back from the top wing spar.
  • Rudder: Full Deflection
  • Elevator: 20 degrees
  • Ailerons: 20 degrees

Micro SSX:

  • CG 1/8" to the rear of the main spar
  • Rudder: 45 degrees left and right
  • Elevator: 45 degrees up and down 20 degrees on low rate
  • Ailerons: 45 degrees up and down 20 degrees on low rate

The first time I flew the Micro SSX was in James’ backyard over a lake. Apart from being a little nervous about putting it in the lake I was impressed with how well this little lightweight plane handled the 10-12 mph wind. The first flight of the Biplane was at a school track, and the takeoff roll was about fifteen feet. It could have been shorter, but the plane looked so nice once the tail came up that I let it roll a little further before lift off. Either plane can be airborne in less than ten feet. As I made my first pass with the Bipe, I was already thinking how cool a little mock dogfighting would be with two of these in the air at once. My first flight was cut short due to rain, but it was a blast to fly and easy to land.

Flying weight and duration can vary a little depending on which size pack you decide to use. In the Biplane, a 3 cell 480 is a nice combination, and in the Micro SSX I like flying on a 2 cell 720. Both these packs weigh about the same. For props, I am using a GWS EP-7035 on the Biplane and a EP-6050 on the Micro SSX.

Take-Off and Landing

Both the Biplane and Micro SSX can be airborne in less than 10 feet and will take off from very short grass. Either can be hand launched as well. Either plane can land at a walking pace with the motor running or cut the throttle and glide to a nice landing. The Biplane really excels at this with its extra wing area. I experimented with a tail wheel on the Micro SSX, and since it is not a steerable tail wheel, I found that as the plane slows, there is not enough air flow around the rudder to allow it to steer. I have decided to stick with the tail skid.

Aerobatics/Special Flight Characteristics

Basic aerobatics are no problem at all for either of these planes. They also do spins and hammerheads quite well. Due to the lack of fuselage, knife edge is the one maneuver neither can really do. To me, the special flight characteristic of the Biplane is its slow speed and handling (great for fly-bys and touch and go's) while the Micro SSX is quite aerobatic and has the ability to handle a lot of wind. I have flown mine in 15 mph of wind without a problem. Both planes are quite happy to fly close and low to the ground, and as your comfort level grows, you will find yourself doing aerobatics lower and lower to the deck. Either plane should succeed in putting a smile on your face.

Is This Plane For A Beginner?

No. I would not recommend the Biplane or Micro SSX to a beginner as both can be quite nimble on the sticks. However, with the throws cut down, either one would be a good 2nd aileron plane.

Photo Gallery/Flight Video

The video and some of the pictures were shot at the Prop Busters RC club in Lakeland. James & Moe from Millennium RC were flying while I shot pictures and video. The video of the Micro SSX was shot in James’ backyard over the lake.

Downloads

Micro SSX Biplane  40.56 MB
Micro SSX  29.69 MB

Conclusion

The Millennium RC Micro SSX Biplane and Micro SSX are nice looking and easy to build as far as kits go. Either would make a nice project for the first time builder or experienced builder alike. Don't plan to spend a lot of time building, as the lack of a full fuselage makes for a quick build. If the thought of building has you running for cover, Millennium has an ARF version for the Micro SSX and the possibility of an ARF version of the biplane in the future.

Pluses:

  • Short assembly time
  • Small size makes it easy to transport and fly in a small area
  • Handles the wind quite well
  • Good hardware provided in the kit
  • Good support and documentation available here on RCGroups in the vendor forum

Minuses:

  • A few laser cut parts needed a little cutting to get them out of the sheet
Last edited by Angela H; Mar 02, 2008 at 07:39 PM..

Discussion

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Old Mar 02, 2008, 10:10 PM
War Eagle!
Spackles94's Avatar
Birmingham, Alabama
Joined Feb 2007
7,876 Posts
Great job with the review, sir! These definitely look like very fun planes — and nicely designed, too. The little jig for adjusting the incidence sure is a neat trick.

I'm glad you're having fun with these planes — the videos sure did show it. That was really funny about the dogfight "soundtrack," too!

I thought they'd be gentler-flying machines, but they sure can zip along!
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Old Mar 02, 2008, 10:32 PM
The Eh Team
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Joined Aug 2000
954 Posts
Nice review! I enjoy my Micro SSX, which I bought as an ARF at NEAT last fall. The main thing I wish it could do better is fly slowly, and it looks like the biplane version is just the ticket for that. :-)
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Old Mar 03, 2008, 11:49 AM
Been There! Done That!
boomerace's Avatar
Eugene, Oregon, United States
Joined Sep 2001
19,187 Posts
Great review! Well done! Really liked the videos.
boomer
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Old Mar 03, 2008, 12:14 PM
did a reversed Immelman..once.
SKYPILEIT's Avatar
Novi, Michigan
Joined Nov 2002
2,249 Posts
Great review....

I'm glad you really hammered the sticks,that's the way I would have flown 'em..the coolest was taking off as a biplane....You flew the snot out of it....then landing with both wings still attached.hey hey...
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Old Mar 03, 2008, 05:44 PM
Balsa just crashes better
Cub Fan's Avatar
Bradenton, FL
Joined Nov 2004
599 Posts
Great review - two really cool planes
Looks like a bipe in my future
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Old Mar 04, 2008, 07:21 PM
Chillin till SEFF
bildo baggins's Avatar
Warner Robins, GA
Joined Aug 2003
14,638 Posts
Very nice review Doc. I was thoroughly impressed with the micros I saw fly at Perry last weekend. Thanks
Bill
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Old Mar 04, 2008, 07:41 PM
Timelord
Doctor Who's Avatar
USA, IN, Muncie
Joined Mar 2002
2,412 Posts
Thanks for the compliments, they both really fly well and it shows in the video.
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Old Mar 05, 2008, 08:40 AM
jkarpy's Avatar
USA, FL, Orlando
Joined Aug 2006
2,022 Posts
Thanks

Thanks Doc, the review looks greate!
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Old May 03, 2008, 11:00 PM
Fly it like you stole it..
Tram's Avatar
Florence, Al
Joined Oct 2000
29,300 Posts
Man, I finally got my hands on the micro-bipe..

I *had* to come home with one (and another SSX).. The bipe absolutely rocks.. Now to decide how to cover it..


Jeff
www.CommonSenseRC.com
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Old May 04, 2008, 05:13 AM
It's just a hobby
MLT67's Avatar
USA, GA, Hoschton
Joined Nov 2005
10,200 Posts
Tram I picked up a Bipe at SEFF as well, can't wait to get started on it.

MLT
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Old May 04, 2008, 06:42 PM
Timelord
Doctor Who's Avatar
USA, IN, Muncie
Joined Mar 2002
2,412 Posts
Just got home from SEFF

You guys will like the bipe
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Old May 04, 2008, 11:08 PM
Fly it like you stole it..
Tram's Avatar
Florence, Al
Joined Oct 2000
29,300 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by MLT67
Tram I picked up a Bipe at SEFF as well, can't wait to get started on it.
All I gotta say is..

Climb to some altitude..

Power out..
Full left rudder..
Full right aileron...
Full down..

or bottom left corner mixed with a lil' top right corner..

The bipe rocks at this..

Top left corner.. Top right corner rocks too..
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Old Sep 18, 2008, 10:26 PM
Registered User
United States, IL, Effingham
Joined Feb 2008
79 Posts
can someone help me?

OK - I just finished my micro ssx bipe and m having some flight issues. When I open the throttle all the way up the plane pushes down, at half throttle it flies straight and level and then less throttle it tries to nose up a bit. everything appears to be true but it is not as stable as I had hoped - any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
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Old Sep 18, 2008, 11:26 PM
jkarpy's Avatar
USA, FL, Orlando
Joined Aug 2006
2,022 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by jorno67
OK - I just finished my micro ssx bipe and m having some flight issues. When I open the throttle all the way up the plane pushes down, at half throttle it flies straight and level and then less throttle it tries to nose up a bit. everything appears to be true but it is not as stable as I had hoped - any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
Move the motor back to 0,0. if you cut the carbon to exact length, the upper wing ends up slightly negative to the lower wing. Set the lower wing slightly positive. Make sure your tail length is also correct. If you need to adjust the carbon length, I have had some success removing the carbon with a CA solvent from Golden West.

James
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