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Nov 19, 2011, 11:48 AM
Electric Coolhunter
Thomas B's Avatar
Thread OP

Small Icon A5 from HobbyKing-1.09 meter (NOT Guanli)

Thought it was worth starting a seperate thread for the smaller 1.09 meter version of the 1.8m Icon A5, commonly available from Hobby King.

This thread is NOT about the earlier Guanli Icon A5. It has already been covered in a number of threads. Add in the new Parkzon Icon A5 and modelers now can choose from no less than four Icon models, of about three different sizes.

This is about this 1.09m Icon A5:

I was unable to find a current supplier for the kit alone, so I went ahead and got the PnP version from HK USA.

IMO, this is a MUCH better looking Icon A5 than the Guanli one.

Does not appear to be a great motor choice by Hobby King on the smaller Icon, but I predict the motor wil be useable on something else. Will test before I make the final decision, though.

The good news is that the horrendous set of decals that Hobby King put on the little Icon do come off very cleanly, thank goodness. I think the glossy clear finish applied to the epo foam helped them come off cleanly.

HK and other Asian model vendors do tend to ruin nice models with really ugly decal sets.

I will have to gen up a set of correct Icon decals. Just for fun, though, I think I will do the red trim in blue on this smaller Icon.

I will add the optional flaps. there are no servo pockets premolded bt it will not be a big deal to excavate for the flap servos.
Last edited by Thomas B; Nov 19, 2011 at 11:58 AM.
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Nov 19, 2011, 01:33 PM
Andy2No's Avatar
I think it's worth adding a link back to the older thread, for reference, which was meant to be for the bigger 1.38m NFD Models version, if I understand it correctly, but also covered a larger model, and mentions a smaller one, which may be the same one HobbyKing are now selling:

I've only looked at that thread briefly. I got a bit confused by it as there were discussions of at least three different models going on. It's much better to have a separate thread for this one, so thanks, Thomas, for starting one.

I ordered one a couple of days ago. I'm looking forward to getting it, but I guess I'll be waiting a few weeks.

The problem as I see it with the motor is that there won't be any leeway to change the prop to get more power, or even the same power, since it's a three blader of a very odd size - 7.5" x 6". Three bladed props are fairly hard to find anyway, but that one's clearly been made specially, and presumably there isn't any room for a bigger one.

Although having a 3 bladed prop is a scale detail, I'd rather have a 2 blade prop for efficiency, but that would mean having a higher Kv motor to get the same performance.

I'll be interested to hear what the maximum prop size is (presumably 7.5"?) and how easy it is to change the motor. I'll still try to fly it stock first though.

Incidentally, they have these in the European warehouse, in Germany too, though I ordered mine from the international one because they were out of stock (still are), plus I wanted some other stuff, and the free boat hull that they tempted me with as the daily freebie offer.

I've no idea if that offer is still on - things just got offered at random times while I was looking at things on HKs site.
Last edited by Andy2No; Nov 19, 2011 at 01:58 PM.
Nov 19, 2011, 01:42 PM
Andy2No's Avatar
There are some other nice pictures of it on HobbyKing's site. I thought it would be a good idea to post those here, so they're in the attachments for future reference.

I thought I'd attach the manual too, even though it can be downloaded from the Files section of the product listing on HK's site. It might not be there for ever. [EDIT: I've replaced the one I uploaded earlier - most of that file was missing. It should be okay now]

Confusingly, HobbyKing haven't given this model a proper name. They've just called it "HobbyKing EPO Seaplane - 1090mm (PNF)".

I was looking for videos of it on Youtube, and a thread about it on RCGroups (there wasn't one, until now), but the lack of a proper name made it almost impossible to find anything about it, and because there are so many different Icon models around, I couldn't be sure if I'd found anything relevant or not.

I started a thread on HobbyKing's forum to ask for the name to be changed Feel free to join in:

Someone suggested I make a poll so people could vote for a new name, which I'd be happy to do, but I don't know if polls can be done in that forum. Any suggestions for a name would be welcome. HobbyKing claim they listen to customers so maybe we could get them to change it.
Last edited by Andy2No; Nov 19, 2011 at 03:47 PM. Reason: replaced the manual - other one was damaged
Nov 19, 2011, 02:21 PM
Electric Coolhunter
Thomas B's Avatar
Thread OP
Actually I was avoiding posting more pictures of the stock HobbyKing model....the decals ruin the model, in my opinion....

They really should have done scale markings, not a blatant HobbyKing advertisement.

I do not think there is anything magic about the three blade prop they suggest. It does ahve a good bit of pitch and area, which contributes to some of the reported tendancy for the torque to put a wingtip in the water when the throttle is advanced.

I plan on using a 2 blade APC, likely with a different motor. I think the stock 10A ESC will go as well...I would like something more like 150 watts in a seaplane like this and will need a 15-18 amp ESC.

Will add a couple of HTX500 servos for the flaps, as I have a number of them on hand.

Also planning on adding a little bit of extra volume to the sponson, to assist in tipping issues in crosswinds. (Sponsons never scale well)

Here are some pics of my model, partly assembled and decals stripped away to a bare white airframe, ready for more correct scale markings.
Last edited by Thomas B; Nov 19, 2011 at 02:32 PM.
Nov 19, 2011, 04:04 PM
Andy2No's Avatar
It's looking more scale already, Thomas. Did you have to warm the decals to peal them off?

I'm actually thinking of covering mine with strip LEDs though, so I'm not too bothered about the appearance. It's nice to be able to fly a bit later into the day. I plan to fly it in the snow (which I'm sure will be here soon), and use it without undercarriage.

Is there enough clearance for an 8" prop? I assumed they'd picked 7.5" diameter because that was the biggest that would fit, and 6" pitch because the motor doesn't spin fast enough with that size prop to get it to fly as it should.

The most efficient props are two bladers, with a diameter to pitch ratio of 2:1, as I understand it. If an 8" (2 blade) prop fits that would be nice, but it would probably need a different motor to suit an 8x4 or 8x5 and still get enough pitch speed.

I'm sure there's nothing magic about the prop either, but if there isn't room for a bigger one, a two blader isn't going to give as much thrust as the three blader. If someone wanted to stick with the stock motor, getting replacement props could be tricky.

I wasn't aware there were any sponsons... I think of sponsons as being on sticks, towards the wing tips. Do you mean the float shaped bits that have to be glued on the sides of the fuselage? (part 8 on the parts list).

Incidentally, that manual is for the kit version. It looks like a useful reference though. The video guide on HobbyKing's site is probably enough information to assemble this one, I guess.
Last edited by Andy2No; Nov 19, 2011 at 04:10 PM.
Nov 19, 2011, 05:29 PM
Electric Coolhunter
Thomas B's Avatar
Thread OP
Devices that keep a seaplane from tipping over that are attached to the fuse are always called sponsons. Devices attached to the wing are more commonly called tip floats, but a few folks do call them sponsons as well.

Sponsons work well when properly sized, but do not scale down to smaller sizes well. Most models of seaplanes with sponsons greatly benefit from sponsons larger than scale.

As long as the LED strips are flush to the surface and the wing airfoil is not changed, they ought to be ok. Rmember, this model does not have much wing area. Much better to not add any excess weight and to not affect the airfoil. Personally, I would do scale like LEDS as landing and position lights. I would NOT add stips of LEDs to the outer surface of the wing....they act like spoilers and have a negative impact on performance on small models with small wing areas.

The decals can off with no heat needed (heat is usually bad on a foam model). I used a new exacto number 11 blade to lift one corner of the decal, then carefully peeled it back on itself. Left nearly no adhesive on the model and what little there was was easily removed with a bit of Bestine (rubber cement thinner). I have also used CA accellerator for the same purpose.

Have not yet measured for the largest possible prop...will do so later. I have never found three bladed props to live up to the promise of better performance over two pladed props, at model sizes and RPMS.

A higher Kv motor and the proper matching two bladed prop will greatly outperform the stock motor and three bladed prop.
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Nov 20, 2011, 10:53 AM
oosul's Avatar
Omg the decals are hilarious
ordering one any way,, good thread-start call.
Nov 20, 2011, 01:42 PM
Andy2No's Avatar

Yes, I was planning to just put strips along the wings and shorter ones in a couple of other places, but I guess the wing loading is higher than my other planes - I'll get a better impression of it when I get my hands on the one I've ordered.

Maybe I'll save those strips for something lighter and slower. I'll order a scale set at some point.

I agree, a higher Kv motor will probably be the best solution. I'll experiment a bit with the stock motor before I decide to change it though. Quite often, RTF / Plug and Fly models are sold over propped so maybe just a 7x5 two blader would work well.

The kit manual recommends an APC 7x5E, but I don't know if it was for the same motor. It would spin faster than the 7.5x6 3 blader so you'd probably get at least as much pitch speed, even if the thrust was a bit lower. Flight times would be longer too.
Nov 20, 2011, 02:00 PM
Andy2No's Avatar
Originally Posted by oosul View Post
Omg the decals are hilarious
I'm definitely taking off the ones that say HobbyKing. The rest can stay on for a while. They'll help with orientation while I'm getting the hang of flying it.
Nov 20, 2011, 11:24 PM
oosul's Avatar
Can't find icon a5 decal set,, bummer.
(wait for HZ to come out)
Nov 20, 2011, 11:43 PM
Electric Coolhunter
Thomas B's Avatar
Thread OP
Got the maiden flight in on my little Icon today. Ran it up at home and the stock motor and prop seemed to have decent power...more than some have implied. Decided the flaps could wait for a future modification session.

I was using a 40c 1300 lipo, so it might be delivering a little more voltage under load than the smaller suggested battery. To get the proper balance, the 1300 3 cell was strapped in crossways, almost touching the servos in the fuse. The RX (Orange 6 channel Spektrum) ended up under the wing.

I lucked out on the Icon tail markings. Turns out the extra Icon logos that go on the nose of my large Icon are a perfect fit for the tail markings on the little Icon. Since you get three nose decals on the alrge Icon, I had all I needed for the tail of the small one.

Did the maiden from land, on the supplied landing gear, flying off the local high school remote parking lot.

Nice ground handling on the stock gear. Flew nicely! Rapid acceleration and a smooth lift off. Not all that fast at full throttle, but more than fast enough. Model needed about 3/32" of up trim under power...not unexpected. the stock ESC is not very linear, but that is common among low end ESCs.

Roll rate was satisfactory with the fairly small ailerons. Tested the torque effects of the stock motor and prop and it did exhibit some left wing drop when I blipped the trottle from low to high in slow flight. Not an issue at higher speeds. I can see how it could cause the left sponson to go under during a water takeoff....Looks like it would be fairly controllable if power is advanced at a slow pace. I stil plan on adding a little volume to the sponsons before taking it to the water.

Did a number of passes in slow flight and was glad to see that the model does slow down nicely without flaps. Did about 10 touch and go landings and discovered that the model does best with a little power down to the flare, going to idle as the flare starts. Got a good number of very smooth landings at a low touchdown speed.

I did sand down the leading edge of the wing a little with some 280 grit paper to remove a faint trace of the mold line there.....I always do this with my foam models to make sure that the mold line does not act like a stall strip

The pusher prop does make some noise, being quite close to the trailing edge of the wing. Moving the motor aft about 1/4" might reduce the noise a little.

Getting late in the season here for water flying, but might get a chance to try ROW at the local park pond in the next few weeks.

Liking the little Icon so far!
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Nov 21, 2011, 04:28 AM
Andy2No's Avatar
I'm glad it went well, Thomas.

How much does that battery weigh?

Is the motor connected with bullets, or just hard wired to the ESC? I'm wondering how hard it will be to get it out to change that battery connector.

I haven't seen a manual for the ESC yet. It would be nice to know how to at least set the brake, if it's not on already.

Mine has been despatched, according to HobbyKing. Hopefully, I'll have it in a couple of weeks.
Nov 21, 2011, 07:57 PM
Electric Coolhunter
Thomas B's Avatar
Thread OP
I have not noticed if the ESC has bullets...think so, but will check tonight.

My 3s 1300 40c Sky lipo is 122 grams. (corrected)

Brake appears to be preset in the on position.
Last edited by Thomas B; Nov 22, 2011 at 08:39 AM. Reason: Error correction
Nov 21, 2011, 08:05 PM
Andy2No's Avatar
Thanks, Thomas. A brake set to on is good.

Did you miss-type that weight? My Loong Max 3s 1300mAh 20C lipos weigh about 115g. I assumed a 40C lipo would weigh considerably more - 25C Loong Max ones weigh more than the 20C ones, not unreasonably.
Nov 22, 2011, 08:25 AM
Registered User
shigetyann's Avatar
Oh! nice thread!
Great thanks Thomas B.
I'm glad you did the great maiden flight.
I suppose HK Icon seems to be the same figure as NFD Icon from your pictures on #4 reply.
But its gears seem strong enough to do touch and go, besides NFD Icon has weak ones.
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