Horizon Hobby Blade 450 3D RTF Review

Crackroll.com's "CSpaced" reviews the new Blade 450, 3D collective pitch helicopter.



Retail Price:$469.99
Main Rotor Diameter:28.4"/720mm
Tail Rotor Diameter:5.6"/142mm
Motor:420H brushless outrunner, 3800Kv
Transmitter:Spektrum DX6I DSMX
Receiver:Spektrum 6115e
Battery:3S 2200mAh 30C Li-Po
Motor:E-Flite 420H brushless outrunner, 3800Kv
ESC:E-Flite 35 amp
Available From:Horizon Hobby

With the enormous popularity of the Blade 400, the folks behind the heli took a look at what could be improved, and the Blade 450 was born. Offering both a ready to fly version, as well as a much wanted bind and fly version, the Blade 450 is a great helicopter for people looking to take a step up to a 3D capable collective pitch helicopter.

Kit Contents

The RTF version comes with everything you need to get going, including the AA batteries required for the DX6i transmitter. Everything is neatly packaged in the box, which also doubles as a carrying case.

Kit Contents:
Blade 450 Helicopter RTF
Spektrum DX6i Transmitter
2200mah 3S Lipo Battery
DC Balance Charger
4x AA batteries
Instruction Manuals
Setup CD

Blade 450 Specs:
E-Flite 420 Motor
G210 MEMS Gyro
6115e Spektrum DSMX Receiver
E-Flite 35 amp ESC
DS76 and DS76T Digital Servos
Aluminum Head Block
High Quality Head Dampers

Spektrum DX6i Specs:
2.4GHz DSMX Modulation
10 Model Memory
Helicopter and Airplane
Model Match
Large LCD Display
Roller Selector UI
Integrated Timer

Instruction Manuals and Setup CD

The battery attaches to the charger through it's balance plug, and each cell is balanced accordingly. The charger is labelled as putting out 1.8 amps, which would be a little under 1C for the 2200mah lipo. This makes for safe charging, but takes just a little longer than charging at 1C. The charger is powered by a 12v DC input, and must be hooked up to a 12v battery such as your car battery.

The DX6i is a proven 2.4GHz computer radio. With the addition of Spektrum's new DSMX technology, you now have the benefit of a frequency hopping signal. The DX6i comes preprogrammed with two different model setups, intermediate and advanced. The intermediate profile is programmed to model 1 and 9 (the radio defauflts to 1 out of the box), while the advanced profile is programmed to model 10. The differences between the two programs are throttle and pitch curve settings. In intermediate you get +/- 10 degrees of pitch with a flat 72.5% throttle curve in idle up, and in advanced you get +/- 12 degrees pitch with a flat 100% throttle curve in idle up. Normal flight mode in both profile vary slightly from one another.
The factory performs a test flight using model number 1, so in order to use model 9 or 10 (the second intermediate or advanced mode) it is important to copy the sub trim values from model 1 to either 9 or 10 depending on what you want to do. Either that, or you can just trim the model yourself. The manual then recommends copying model 9 or 10 to model 1, but I prefer to just switch models.

Check out the RCG review of the DX6i here.

The DX6i uses Spektrum's new DSMX modulation.

The Blade 450 3D

Out of the box the new Blade 450 will be very familiar to previous owners of the Blade 400, but there are a number of key differences. Starting with the rotor head, the center hub has been upgraded to an aluminum part making it stiffer and less susceptible to developing any slop. Add to that some much improved head dampers and you have crisper feeling cyclic response. The flybar cage has also been redesigned into an inverted "v" shape, to allow more extreme throws for 3D style flying.

The electronics are also improved. The 450 sports E-Flite DS76 digital servos, with a DS76t for the tail. The DS76 boasts precise centering at less than 1 degree, and is rated at 24.2 ounces of torque at 4.8v. The tail servo is pretty impressive at 0.03 sec/60 degrees, and also has the same precise centering of the standard DS76. Paired up with the DS76t tail servo is the new G210 MEMS gyro.
The G210 is able to offer great holding power beacuse of the fact that it uses MEMS (Micro Electro Mechanical Sensor), and is drift free, holds well in a cross wind, and has consistent pirouette rates.

The E-Flite 420H brushless motor is powered through an E-Flite 35amp ESC, and is well up to the task of providing consistent power during 3D maneuvers. The supplied 2200mah 3S lipo is rated at 30c, and provides ample power. This is a big improvement over the 400, which could sometimes get into trouble when flying 3D as the ESC could overheat.
The AR6115e receiver is a microlite park flyer receiver with end pins. It weighs about 4 grams, and is already installed in the Blade 450. As mentioned earlier, it operates on Spektrum's new DSMX technology, and even though it's listed as a park flyer receiver I have been able to fly the Blade 450 almost out of sight without losing signal.

Another cool feature of the Blade 450 are the integrated tail weights on the tail blade grips. I first encountered tail weights when setting up a T-Rex 250. The tail felt loose in flight, and the gyro gain was low, and once I added the tail weights on the 250 I was able to increase the gain without getting any tail wag. The weights help by taking some of the load off of the servo, allowing for increased holding power. The Blade comes with them already installed, so you are good to go!

There are 3 canopy options available.


Taking Off and Landing

I started out in advanced mode (model 10), as this was more suited to the way my other helis are set up, and right off the ground into a hover it settled in nice and the tail held well in the moderate cross wind. I modified the pirouette rate slightly so that it matched both directions, and a little trim was required. The DX6i felt good, and I reduced the preprogrammed timer to 6 minutes to take into account the heat and humidity. The cyclic felt crisp, and the Blade felt as though it had a lot of power.

Aerobatics/Special Flight Performance

Flipping the switch into idle up produced a noticeably higher pitch from the motor as it spooled up. The Blade had plenty of punch out power, and it wasn't long before I was flipping the Blade and flying around inverted. It behaved well inverted, and had no strange pitching tendencies in fast forward flight. I became comfortable with it very quickly, and it felt like a larger helicopter as far as stability. It tracked very well, and the wood blades were pretty good too, although they did feel a little "draggy" through flipping and rolling maneouvers. Not to worry though, once you're at the stage of trying out 3D you can upgrade to some carbon fiber blades.

The Blade handled everything I could throw at it. Backwards flight was uneventful, with the tail holding consistently. Tic tocs took a little getting used to, but they did improve once I got some more flight time. The few times that I flew backwards while inverted the tail still showed how good the gyro was, and didn't drift.

I did find that after a couple of flights that the battery had shifted and had been rubbing against the motor. I decided to remove the included velcro that attaches the battery to the heli, and replace it with 3M dual lock. The 3m dual lock will not allow the battery any lateral movement, so a single velcro strap is all that is required to hold the battery in place. The dual lock will only unfasten when you pull it straight up, and once I had made the switch I no longer had any problems.

Is This For a Beginner?

Absolutely! With the optional training gear, you can use the Blade 450 as a trainer in the intermediate mode on the transmitter. The nice thing about this model is that you get everything you need (except the training gear), so that with a single purchase you get everything you need to get in the air, and you can concentrate on learning to fly rather than trying to figure out exactly how to set it all up. You can learn how it all works as you are learning to fly it, as well as how to tune it to your own flying style.
When you are ready to move on to 3D flying, or if you are already at that stage, you can simply select the more advanced model (or program your own in any of the spare model memories of the DX6i). The Blade will handle 3D very well, and as your skill set grows (or if you already have it) there are many after market upgrades that allow you to customize the model. The Blade is defintiely a fun model for people of all skill sets.

Flight Video/Photo Gallery


I found the Blade to be a great heli that I can throw in my truck and get that quick flying fix in where ever there is an open space. It is powerful, and can handle anything I can throw at it, and I know that parts availability will be great as most major hobby shops carry Blade parts. The simplicity of being able to take the model out of the box and start flying, without having to figure out how to program the electronics and set up the mechanics, will be appealing to people who have limited free time to spend on the hobby. The convenient box/carry case means that it's a no-brainer to grab the box on the way out the door in case you get a chance to fly, and know that you have everything you need when you get there!
Pros Cons
3D out of the box AC power for charger not included, available here.
Great for all skill levels Could use an extra battery strap

Check out the Blade 450 at Blade, Horizon Hobby, or your local hobby shop!

Last edited by CSpaced; Sep 19, 2011 at 03:58 PM..
Thread Tools
Sep 21, 2011, 07:59 PM
Pronoun trouble...
DismayingObservation's Avatar
I'm liking this one, Chris. A BNF may be in my future...
Sep 21, 2011, 08:50 PM
Team Futaba
CSpaced's Avatar
Thread OP
Originally Posted by DismayingObservation
I'm liking this one, Chris. A BNF may be in my future...
You should totally do it, I had more fun with the Blade this past weekend than anything else! (have the scraped up blade tips to prove it! )
Sep 22, 2011, 01:02 PM
Suspended Account
I LOVE my new Blade 450 3D BNF. Running a DX7 TX and Hyperion 2200mAh 35C batteries. It was put together and set up very well. I pretty much tore it down before flying to inspect everything and it was lock-tited, lubed and greased in all the right spots. Mechanical set-up was dead on with perfect zero degrees pitch at center stick. I just needed one turn on a grip link to get perfect blade tracking. Nice and smooth hover, but still fast! A little "soft" in hard core 3D for my liking, but that was easily fixed with TX setup/programming. I started with the settings for Advanced and went from there. Best "buy and fly" heli I've ever owned and I've had a few over the years. The Blade stuff is pretty good in my experience with an mSR, mCP X and, now, the Blade 450. Glad I didn't waste money on the 120SR, CP Pro, SR, Blade 400, etc.
Sep 23, 2011, 03:21 PM
JohnVH's Avatar
Finally a reviewer that knows what their doing, great job man!
Latest blog entry: HKing Paramotor fun!
Sep 23, 2011, 03:30 PM
Suspended Account
I'm not loving my B450 as much...now... I've picked up a serious side-to-side vibration in the vertical tail fin. I haven't crashed it or done ANYTHING to it since setting it up and initially flying it. Mechanical issue I need to sort out.

Also, I read about a problem (because I experienced it myself and was researching) where the swashplate rams into the anti-rotation pins on the bottom of the head when at full negative pitch. Remember, this heli is opposite, so the swashplate moves UP for negative pitch. So, I'm now limited to -8 degrees at the top end and my cyclic obviously binds with any movement at that point. BAD design. There's a big thread about it on another forum and Mikel, the DESIGNER, came in and posted that it's "normal" and it was all of us with "bad flying techniques" and that we should never "experience that condition in flight". Really? -10 degrees with no cyclic binding is asking too much? Not even -8 degrees, which is unacceptable anyway? He also whined that "lots of other helis" have this problem. Uh yeah...never ran into it before, myself... Others posted the same thing and asked for specific heli examples. Not surprisingly, he just up and disappeared from the thread. Go figure...

I could fix this right now, easily, if the stupid head didn't have so many NON-adjustable links. I can move the range of swash pitch movement "down" away from the pins, but the mixing and bell/hiller arms won't be parallel at zero degrees/half stick, so I'll need to find/make some custom links. Then I'll be able to get that extra couple degrees of negative pitch for a symmetrical 3D setup since I have 13.5 on the top end for positive pitch. BUT... I shouldn't have to do this with an out-of-the-box BNF heli, especially seeing as how this is a rather major setup change and the values in the manual would be way off...
Last edited by mhunter; Sep 23, 2011 at 03:40 PM.
Sep 23, 2011, 03:36 PM
Team Futaba
CSpaced's Avatar
Thread OP
Now I'm curious, I'm going to take a closer look at mine and check for interaction, I don't recall seeing any earlier.
Sep 23, 2011, 03:41 PM
Suspended Account
Originally Posted by CSpaced
Now I'm curious, I'm going to take a closer look at mine and check for interaction, I don't recall seeing any earlier.
Yup, stunt mode/idle-up 2. I could actually hear my swashplate "tink" when it hit the pins. If yours doesn't do that, please measure the amount of max negative pitch you can get without the cyclic hitting the pins at max deflencion.
Sep 23, 2011, 03:51 PM
Love my scale Whirlybirds
Keyrigger's Avatar
When I see a situation where there is more positive pitch than negative, it ususally points to the swash not being in the middle of the travel. I would hazard a guess that at true mid-throttle stick, you have a couple of degrees of positive pitch. I would adjust the links or even use sub-trim to lower the swash and set your links for zero pitch at mid stick. Then I would bet that you will get full travel without hitting any bind position. I just rebuilt three 450's and one of them needed some adjustment of the sub-trim to set the swash for proper travel and zero pitch at mid stick, so I know that it could very well be somone on the assembly line not getting the swash in the right position before doing the rest of the setup. Take care.

Sep 23, 2011, 04:05 PM
Suspended Account
Nope. I have zero degrees at mid-stick. All head mixing arms level with servo arms at 90 degrees. Perfectly neutral mechanical setup. Again, I CAN fix it, but I'm going to need to make up some adjustable links to replace the fixed length ones.
Sep 23, 2011, 04:38 PM
Suspended Account
Keyrigger, if I may ask... How tight do you set the belt tension? Where you can push it over about 1/2 way? Also, how tight/loose do you run your main blades? I know plenty about glow helis, but I'm pretty new to the mini electrics.
Sep 23, 2011, 05:41 PM
Team Futaba
CSpaced's Avatar
Thread OP
I just checked mine, and there is indeed a little interaction where the swash meets the washout pins. It doesn't seem to affect flight, but I agree that it shouldn't be there.
Sep 23, 2011, 05:47 PM
Suspended Account
Originally Posted by CSpaced
I just checked mine, and there is indeed a little interaction where the swash meets the washout pins. It doesn't seem to affect flight, but I agree that it shouldn't be there.
I thought about the possibility of grinding down the pins a mm or two. There's still plenty of pin left (about 1/2) in the anti-rotation link base at full positive pitch (full down swashplate).

Might want to keep an eye on it, though, especially since these birds are a fairly new release and aren't that old. People have reported actually wearing holes in the top part of the swashplate.
Last edited by mhunter; Sep 23, 2011 at 05:54 PM.
Sep 23, 2011, 06:06 PM
Registered User
I was at a fun fly last weekend and a newbie came by with the Blade 450 3D and asked for some help with it. My first impression was on the negative side. Most of the parts are plastic, it comes with wood blades and I believe the servos do not have metal gears, if that's the case what do you guys think will happen in your first crash..I'm guessing there will be some gears that need replacing, in comparison, I've crashed my 450's well over 20 times and my metal gear servos have never stripped. I doubt the Blade 3D servos will provide the same kind of protection but I dont know for sure if they are metal gears or not.

When I spooled it up the first thing I noticed was the tail was wagging so much that it was out of control. We lowered the gain so it was manageable, the next problem was the swash plate, it was all over the place. It was a fight to simply hover this heli. Trim didnt work because none of the links were setup so the swash was level, I had to guess since there was no manual to give me a reference(the newbie told me it didnt come with one that had that info).

I did get it so that he could start to begin the basics of hovering but there was no way it was RTF out of the box for a beginner.

IMO, for the money, there are better alternatives than this machine.
Sep 23, 2011, 06:11 PM
Suspended Account
Look, knock off the Blade bashing, okay? This is NOT a thread for you to slobber all over your Trex clones or whatever and slam the B450.

And, for what it's worth, I learned on a .30 sized glow plastic heli (Shuttle ZX) with wood blades and plain old airplane non-metal gear servos. Futaba S148s, if I remember right. I bashed the heck out of that thing and never stripped a servo and the airframe generally always came out fine. Of course, the blades needed replacing, but that happens with EVERY heli almost every time in any decent crash/tip over.

It wasn't RTF out of the box because either he or someone else jacked it up. Your hint was "it didn't have a manual with those settings". Wrong...there are beginner and intermediate/advanced settings for several TXs, especially the DX6i that comes in the RTF kit, in the manual or the included amended flyer for the DX7/DX8. Mine was definitely RTF enough to hover and do basic forward flight. It's only when I closely looked at a symmetrical 3D pitch curve that I noticed an issue, which is easily fixed, as I've already stated. My tail/gyro/servo combo was rock solid from the first flight on, too.
Last edited by mhunter; Sep 23, 2011 at 06:19 PM.

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