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Hobby Lobby Alfa P-47D ARF with Retracts and Flaps Review

Alfa and Hobby Lobby team up to bring the latest offering the P-47 "D" model with functional flaps and retractable landing gear! Mike Llewellyn reviews this impressive Jug.

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Introduction


Wingspan:32 3/4”
Wing Area:~192 sq”
Wing type:Semi-symmetrical extruded foam
AUW weight:Advertised – 16oz Actual - 15oz
Length:28”
Wing loading:11oz/sq. ft.
Cube loading:9.74
Servos:5 Micro/Mini
Transmitter:Spektrum DX7
Receiver:Spektrum AR6100e
Battery:PolyQuest 800mA 3s LiPoly
Motor:AXI 2208-34 1100Kv Outrunner
ESC:Jeti SPIN 11 AMP
US distributor:Hobby Lobby
Alfa P-47 with Retracts Flaps:Alfa P-47 ARF
ARF Price:$169.90

Hobby Lobby imports the impressive line of scale ARF airplanes produced by Alfa Models. For those who have not seen these stunning models you are truly missing out. The Alfa ARFs are really second to none in looks and flying qualities.

This P-47 "D" model fits with Alfa’s reputation for stunning scale models of exceptional finish quality. This version of the P-47 (they have others!) takes things to the next level and includes functional retracts and flaps. This creates a full house park flyer nearly unique to that model class raises the already high benchmark set by previous Alfa offerings.

This highly prefabricated ARF was ready to fly in just a few short hours of assembly time.

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

Kit Contents

Kit includes:

  • Built fuselage with attached tail surfaces
  • One piece wing
  • Pre-attached canopy and unpainted pilot figure
  • Factory hinged flight surfaces
  • Retractable landing gear for mains
  • Hardware (Push rods, horns, clevis, tires and tail wheel assembly)
  • Decals and markings
  • Picture assembly guide and text instructions

Kit requires:

  • ~100 watt Motor
  • 3s LiPoly battery
  • 5 Micro Servos (flaps, ailerons, elevator, rudder and retract)
  • Receiver
  • 6 channel minimum transmitter

Assembly

The Hobby Lobby Alfa P-47 required a few evenings of assembly but most of the tough work is done for you. I was very impressed with the Alfa quality and the remarkable scale lines of this ship. The highly rounded fuselage of the Jug is not easy to replicate but Alfa does a wonderful job with the formed foam and plastic.

Done by the factory:

  • Surfaces hinged and control horns attached
  • Push rods installed
  • Servo trays installed ready to accept servos
  • Professional paint job
  • Installed tail surfaces

The builder needs to:

  • Install radio system
  • Assemble and install the retract system
  • Install the tail wheel
  • Install the power system
  • Apply and seal the decals

Wing

The wing comes joined from the factory and you simply have to install the retracts, aileron servo and flap system.

Retracts

The retracts were assembled from the factory "tree" of parts. I was a bit apprehensive about assembling the retracts but that turned out to be unfounded. After reading through the instructions I found they assembled quickly.

Ailerons

Ailerons are prehinged using the foam material, and the horns were factory installed on both ailerons. The aileron assembly is actuated via factory installed tubes and push rods. The push rods are actuated by a single servo in the wing center.

Flaps

Flaps were factory installed and hinged. Both flaps are actuated by a single Hitec servo located in the belly pan area of the Jug. Each flap surface had a small wood dowel extending into the center section of the wing. You simply use a spare servo horn, drill it and then slide it over the dowel and CA that horn to each dowel.

Fuselage

The motor mounts directly to the factory installed plywood motor mount. The short AXI 2208 motor fit perfectly, and this short motor allowed the proper propeller gap.

This new Alfa P-47 comes with a small hatch for battery access on top of the fuselage.

Radio installation

The radio installation is standard with the factory installed tray. This tray holds both rudder and elevator servos and the battery.

Power system

The Alfa Jug was powered with the impressive AXI gold 2208 outrunner brushless motor. AXI is really a leader in outrunner motors - they are light powerful and use high quality components.

Amp draws

Do not let the small, light 48g AXI motor fool you - it is a powerhouse! It produced the following results:

Motor statistics (both motors)
GWS HD Propeller Amps Watts Voltage
8x6 10.5 109 10.4v

I fly the Jug with the GWS HD 8x6 on the Polyquest 3s pack. It simply does not need more power than this and flies very well with a light power system.

The small 3s 800 MAh Polyquest LiPoly battery weighs in right at 2.4oz and helps to keep the overall weight down. I recommend the use of the smaller packs as you have great weight savings which helps to offset retract and flap systems weight.

I am using the capable Jeti SPIN 11amp ESC for the five servo setup in this Alfa. It has a built-in switch mode BEC that is much more efficient at stepping down the 3s voltage for the radio system. Linear BECs are not recommended since we are running 3s voltage and 5 servos.

Finish

The Alfa P-47 is finished in a very attractive all silver scheme. Silver paint shows every single surface flaw, but the molded foam construction on this Alfa is flawless. Alfa includes decals that include several different marking sets so you can personalize your model a bit.

Alfa decals are accurate, but very thin. I use decal solvent when applying water slide decals, and it actually "melts" the decals into the panel lines and creates a strong bond. After overnight drying, a clear coat was airbrushed on to help protect the decals.

Flying

I usually snap some pics of my airplanes before the first flight, and here you see the stunning Alfa out of the box with no weather detail. The in-flight pics show weathering that was added after the stills were taken.

The correct CG was easy to attain with a variety of battery packs since the Jug balanced without a battery! So whatever pack you use, goes right over the CG. Very nice.

Rates and transmitter setup

I used my trusted Spektrum DX7 transmitter for this plane. Rates were set as recommended in the manual with ailerons and elevator at 10mm each direction. Rudder was set to 15mm each direction. Flaps were set to roughly 10 and 20 degrees - my preference. No exponential rates were mentioned so I used 25% for all the primary flight controls. I used about 12mm for aileron throws in my final configuration but control surface throws and rates are a very personal preference so adjust yours accordingly.

Both flap settings worked well in flight for me with a notable, expected pitch change with flap actuation. A tiny bit of elevator mixing had that fixed.

I set the flight timer to count down from 6 minutes of flying. With mixed flying this gave an audible warning to land just before the 3s 800mAh battery was depleted.

Basics

The small Alfa P-47 is an impressive model both on the ground and in the air. Even though it is a small model, it has a commanding presence and always draws attention when those wheels slowly retract!

Takeoff and Landing

The P-47 takes to the air quickly on a paved surface. Of note, you should advance throttle slowly with this and most war birds. I generally find myself at around 60-70% when I rotate. I continue to advance throttle in the air, but not much power is needed to get this bird off the ground. As is common with conventional gear war birds, right rudder will be required to keep the roll out straight.

I used about 10 degrees of down flap on the take offs. This allows for a very high lift yet fairly low drag - perfect for takeoff.

Landings are easy with the P-47 - just remember to flip the retract switch! With the flaps engaged at about 20 degrees, the model slows well. It is important to control approach descent with power just as in full scale flying when using the flaps. It is easy to get slow to a walk landings with the flaps - very impressive.

On my grass field, I do choose to land on the belly to save the wear and tear on the retract system and mounts. I highly recommend a hard surface for the retracts. As you can see from the video, grass takeoffs are possible, but that adds a great deal of stress to the light retract system.

Special Flight Characteristics

The Alfa Jug is simply a blast to fly. It does not exhibit any bad flight characteristics. It flies wonderfully, and even at 100w it really tears up the sky.

The flaps and retractable landing gear both add a great dimension of realism to the flying. It is very cool on takeoff to see the flaps down and watch the wheels retract slowly. The servo slowdown module from Hobby Lobby can be set to slow the servo from .7 seconds all the way up to 14 seconds. This always generates positive comments from the crowd - I highly recommend it.

Hobby Lobby carries the Servo Slowdown Module. Remember, this module will only work with a proportional servo.

The plane stalls very predictably for a model with a light wing loading. When pushed to a stall, the model slows down considerably and then drops the nose and the right wing. Smooth power application recovers quickly.

Loops require near full power but I am not taxing the power system much. Rolls are picture perfect with the recommended aileron throws but aerobatics are not my favorite task with this bird. The big smiles are from the high speed, gear up passes! Very cool!. I can just imagine hearing that "radial" roar.

I took the following shots while Doug flew the Jug around:

Recommended power system

Power from the brushless motor was excellent. The AXI motors are very impressive. They provide excellent power and are well made. All of my numerous AXI motors are top performers.

Is this plane for a beginner?

Although not terribly difficult to fly this P-47 war bird is not beginner level. The Jug is well mannered and would make an excellent plane for someone with aileron experience. It has no bad habits in the air.

Flight Video

Downloads

Conclusion

It is not hard to conclude why the US flew so many P-47 aircraft. They were formidable foes and carried significant bomb load and fire power. Not only that, but the armaments brought most of those pilots home safe and sound. The Jug is a long time favorite of mine and its distinctive lines and retracts and flaps make this a must own bird.

The retractable landing gear takes a bit of time to set up, but the remaining assembly of this highly prefabricated ARF is completely straightforward. I can certainly appreciate how much work and careful engineering went into the Jug before I received it!

The Alfa P-47 flies extremely well with large flaps and light weight retractable landing gear. It is a blast to raise the gear and flaps and book around. It slows well and I can not find a single flight flaw.

It is remarkable to see the engineering enabling both flaps and retract systems to be added to this small model. Even with those additions the Alfa Jug flies wonderfully. Hats off to Alfa engineers - an impressive feat! It follows the long standing Alfa tradition of being an excellent airplane - Highly Recommended.

Pluses:

  • Excellent looks
  • Scale details are well represented
  • Short assembly time
  • Stellar flight performance
  • Magnets used for hatch hold down!
  • Functioning Flaps and Retracts

Minuses:

  • Would have been nice to include the flap horns rather than using surplus servo arms

Admit it, flaps and retracts are cool so this new Alfa P-47 will fit the bill and make a great addition to your hangar. Check it out the hobby shop or buy direct at Hobby Lobby.

Last edited by Angela H; Feb 03, 2009 at 07:31 AM..

Discussion

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Old Feb 03, 2009, 10:06 AM
Warbird Enthusiast
LICobra's Avatar
Long Island, NY
Joined Jan 2008
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pda4you...Thank you for the excellent review....I was actually going to modify my art tech mustang with retracts and flaps but I see no reason to as the alfa p-47 is done so nicely from the factory...

Question....Do you feel a rudder upgrade would benefit the p-47 or is it just too many servo's for this parkflyer ??
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Old Feb 03, 2009, 10:25 AM
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pda4you's Avatar
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Thanks LiCobra...

The rudder is well worth it on the Jug. But really not an upgrade on this version the rudder is hinged, pushrod installed and ready to go. I see that is not pointed out in the review but it has a functional rudder.

In fact here are some pics of the steerable tailwheel that I installed. Love and it works great....

Mike
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Old Feb 03, 2009, 10:30 AM
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Evansville Indiana
Joined Aug 2006
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nice review, and a nice looking plane. I just got the razzor back from H-L and was impressed with the alfa quality. One question on the weathering, what method did you use? I'd like to give it a go with my P-47.

Thanks
Jay
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Old Feb 03, 2009, 10:36 AM
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Thanks Jay...

Airbrush weathering - Doug did that for me... I also have one of Doug's Pilots installed and need to get some pics of that.....

Mike
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Old Feb 03, 2009, 10:47 AM
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Evansville Indiana
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Mike, thanks for the info, I don't believe I have the skills to do airbrush weathering.....guess it's something I need to learn.

jay
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Old Feb 03, 2009, 10:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dellavex
Mike, thanks for the info, I don't believe I have the skills to do airbrush weathering.....guess it's something I need to learn.

jay
Nor I thus Doug....
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Old Feb 03, 2009, 11:40 AM
The sky is my playground.
Dora Nine's Avatar
United States, NH
Joined May 2005
7,636 Posts
Here's hoping that Alfa will continue this trade towards advancing other birds like the FW-190.


And for those not in the "know" the P-47 has to be on the best belly landers out there...as demonstrated in the vid here. Both of my Jugs are my favorites to fly..
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Old Feb 03, 2009, 11:50 AM
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Manu Simon's Avatar
Belgium
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dellavex
nice review, and a nice looking plane. I just got the razzor back from H-L and was impressed with the alfa quality. One question on the weathering, what method did you use? I'd like to give it a go with my P-47.

Thanks
Jay
I personally use the cotton swab method: Make some graphite dust just by scratching a soft pencil on sand paper. Dip the cotton head in the graphit dust and apply gently to all panel lines, That will make a nice soft rendering, that can be darken easilly if you insist a bit longer.
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Old Feb 03, 2009, 11:59 AM
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Long Island, NY
Joined Jan 2008
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Mike

Thanks for the reply and the pic's....thats great it even has a rudder...whats not to like about this bird....

Since im not familar with alfa's...do most of there WWII warbirds have rudder contol ??
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Old Feb 03, 2009, 12:15 PM
Foam flies better
Fly Or Die's Avatar
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Joined Jan 2006
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I am so close to deciding to get this thing. I have everything I need except for the motor and the plane. Oh and the battery (costs almost nothing). A question. How good does the plastic sheeting on this look compared to a balsa model? Im sick of the look of eps. And how well does the sheeting hold up to hangar rash compared to a balsa on that level too? Oh, and I would want to paint it to look like my last lend lease p-47. Does the sheeting hold paint on well if you spray an overlay of spray glue on first, as Ive learned to do with my other foam models?
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Old Feb 03, 2009, 12:29 PM
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Birmingham, Alabama
Joined Feb 2007
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Mike,

Thanks for the great review. It looks like an awesome plane all right! The P-47 has always been one of my favorite aircraft from WWII.

I recently maidened my first Alfa plane (a Mig-15) and it's absolutely amazing. The detail is great, and the flying is even greater. It's just awesome, and it looks like the P-47D is just the same.

I wasn't too impressed with the way my Alfa plane built, but this looks a bit simpler and more straight-forward. The good thing about all these planes is that it builds light — and I like light planes!

Again, great review!
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Old Feb 03, 2009, 12:54 PM
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LICobra - most of the Alfa's do not have rudder control. It can be added without too much work however....

Fly Or Die - The plastic "sheeting" looks great. It is vacuum formed and blends so well it is hard to distinguish it from the smooth foam. The Alfa's all look every bit as good as a balsa sheeted fiber glassed model. The Alfa's take paint well - make sure if you use rattle cans that it is foam safe - you will not need any spray glue first.

The are foam and will dent and hangar rash easily so you must take care....

Napo - thanks! The Alfa Jets are a bit more work, but they too look great and fly well. The prop jobs are all easier. Yes - light is good!

Mike
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Old Feb 03, 2009, 01:50 PM
buy a lot, fly a little!
stuart warne's Avatar
Hong Kong, Hong Kong Island, Central And Western District
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Great Review Mike, thanks for posting. It would be great if they release the Corsair too, those split flaps and twist and turn U/C look too cool. I don't even have a good surface to take off from, but I'd buy it just the same, just so I could do it in flight!

BTW the image of the motor mounted to the bulkhead... it looks as if Alfa have now made the mounting of motors more universal, is this so? On all Alfa's before this the motor mount pilot hole's have always only ever been to suit the mpjet range of motor's. Now by the looks of it there is a selection of pilot hole's, so mounting another brand as Axi for example need no modification. Is this so?

Stuart.
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Old Feb 03, 2009, 01:52 PM
buy a lot, fly a little!
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seem's to be the case with this image from the Alfa site:
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