PZ Warbirds...buy BNF, PNP or build from parts? - RC Groups
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Jul 27, 2010, 01:15 PM
Registered User

PZ Warbirds...buy BNF, PNP or build from parts?

I'd like to put together a little fleet of parkflyer warbirds. So far, all talk of the PZ planes seems to be very positive. I'm thinking, specifically, of the P51BL, F4U, T28 (which I have and love), and F4F. I also have a HZ SuperCub, just to mention. Talk of the Spit and BF109 seems to be a bit more mixed, but I'd like to get the BF109 as well.

I'm looking to get the best bang for the buck out of these builds. This is leading me to considering the pros / cons of BNF, PNP, or building from parts.

BNF pros: Ready to fly, just bind my radio. Comes with standardized gear, battery and charger.

BNF cons: Not sure I couldn't put together a better performing package for the same / less money. Turnigy 3536, higher capacity battery, etc.

PNP pros: less expense than BNF

PNP cons: For the $20-$30 difference, getting a DSM2 receiver, pack and charger with a BNF doesn't seem unreasonable. Also, my "extra" Rx's are older 72mhz, FWIW. I do not have additional batteries / charger, so I'll need to buy those (though those costs can be spread across several models).

From parts pros: Most cost effective, and I can set up the plane just as I want. Servos, ESC, brushless motor, pack of my choice.

From parts cons: Sounds like getting "good quality" replacement parts from Horizon can be (at best) a hit-n-miss affair. Lots of anecdotal evidence that the "parts" are 2nds that weren't used for full kits. Several guys have built SuperCubs from parts, but that's an all-natural (white) plane, so there is no worry about paint placement, overlap, matching, etc.

Anyway...I'm just trying to decide which method of plane acquisition makes the most sense. I like the cost aspect of building from parts, but with the pre-painted warbirds, and the anecdotes I've come across, I'm afraid I'm setting myself up for failure.

Just curious to see what input you all may have.
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Jul 27, 2010, 01:51 PM
Wandering IT geek
ronin4740's Avatar
Hmmm... Here's my .02...

Spit: If you want this one and have the skills I'd suggest buying the parts and building your own to spec. This way you can choose your own brushless and TX/RX package.

P-51/F4F/F4U: Buy the PnP versions. You'll be happy with them in this configuration and if you decide you want to hot rod one of them you can with a minimal amount of expense. Buying all of the bare airframes and building them is of course possible as well but you'll be in the air with a minimal amount of fuss with the PnP's... Besides, how much does buying just the airframe really save you over the cost of the servos/esc/motor?
Jul 27, 2010, 01:52 PM
Registered User
I think it comes down to what you want to do with them. If you're one of those people who like to have a ridiculous power-to-weight ratio and are going to end up replacing the ESC and motor with bigger ones and the servos with stronger ones, then it makes no sense to buy one with all that equipment.

On the other hand, if you're not likely to change all that much, than the PNP one probably makes sense.

As for the spit.. it flies fine. If it has any flaws, it lacks a rudder and has a brushed motor. Otherwise it's excellent. If you can build one from parts though probably the better way to do it.
Jul 27, 2010, 02:55 PM
Registered User
I figure if you already have a spektrum Tx you go BNF or you go bare airframe. The PNP really doesn't make sense if you're getting a spektrum rx anyways. Sure the charger is garbage, but a RX and battery for the price difference is worth it.
Jul 27, 2010, 03:18 PM
Registered User
ronin: My thought isn't so much the savings over servos / esc / motor, as much as "for the same final dollar amount, can I have equipment that I like better. Ie, higher A ESC, little more powerful brushless motor, higher capacity battery, etc. I think the final cost either way will be similar. It just seems that I may be able to put together a better performing / more expandable plane if I choose the electronics.

Also, I think I've decided to hold off on the Spit until a ZFoam version comes out. Given the Frankie / Gunfighter situation, I think that's a reasonable assumption. I'd still be interested in the BF109, though.

Kalnaren: I do NOT want a warbird that can hover on the prop. I think it's only fitting that these planes be flown on the wing, in a relatively scale-like manner. If I want a crazy capable plane, I don't mind putting together something more fitting (Extra, Sukhoi, etc). I have no desire to see a T28 climb out of sight vertically. Somehow, for me, that just takes "something" away from it.

geekybiker: I've got a Futaba 9CAP, but I do have the DM8 Spektrum module for it. As such, I guess this means I have a BNF ready transmitter.

I forgot the P51 and BF109 are available as "airframe only" kits. Hopefully these would address the "poor spares quality" that I've seen mentioned, when buying only replacement parts. I guess the other upside of the BNF route is that I'll have spares (motor, esc, packs) available should I decide to upgrade later.

The pricing on the F4U from parts only came to right around $100 that I could see. These prices are from the ParkZone site / pricing:

Bare Fuse: PKZ4667 $33.99
Bare Wing: PKZ4620 $37.99
Horiz tail: PKZ4625 $10.99
Cowl: PKZ4626 $5.99
Canopy: PKZ4613 $11.99

That does not include things like the wing vents, tail wheel, landing skids, etc. I'm not sure if they're included with the above parts, or much be purchased individually.

Unfortunately, it looks like the Corsair is available only in a $279 RTF setup, or a $170 PNP setup. The $80 (or so) dollars for the PNP gets you a few of servos, a 30A ESC, and a brushless motor. For this plane, I wish an "airframe only" version was offered.
Jul 27, 2010, 03:20 PM
Long live the Nuge!!!
skywarp1's Avatar
If all of your 72mhZ still works, buy PNP and put one o those receivers in. Just because 2.4 is the newest does not mean 72 is worthless. You can save money this way also.

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