P-47D Hun Hunter XVI
|Horizon Hobby P-47D-40 Thunderbolt 30cc ARF by Hangar 9|
|Length:||71.0 in (180 cm)|
|Wingspan:||81.25 in (210 cm)|
|Weight:||16.0 - 19.0 lbs. Review plane weighed 23lbs. 6oz.|
|Wing Area:||1165 sq. in. (75.1 sq. dm.)|
|Wing Loading:||31.7 - 37.6 oz/sq ft. Review plane is 46.23 oz/sq ft.|
|Servos:||8 standard servos required (7 for EP), 1 mini servo for optional air retract|
|Receiver:||AR8000 recommended - AR9110 9-Channel DSMX PowerSafe Receiver by Spektrum used|
|Battery:||(2) 5000mAh 5S 18.5V 30C LiPo|
|Motor:||E-flite Power 160|
|ESC:||Phoenix Edge 120HV, 50V 120-Amp ESC by Castle Creations recommended - Castle Creations ICE 120HV used|
|Typical Flight Duration:||6.5 minutes|
|Available From:||Horizon Hobby|
From the manual ... "The P-47D-40 Thunderbolt 30cc from Hangar 9 features a true to scale outline that fans of WWII warbirds will love with a ton of optional details to increase the level of realism. With its wide stance, this bird offers great ground handling capabilities for a WWII airplane, and delivers the performance and handling in the air that customers have come to expect from Hangar 9.
The P-47D-40 comes with several scale features out of the box, such as a fiberglass cowl, flaps, scale looking wing guns, a dummy engine, a top access hatch with hidden switches and three different sets of decals for a customized, clean look. Designed to use Robart retracts, the P-47ís scale details can be further enhanced with options like the full depth cockpit tub and retractable tail wheel assembly. The P-47D-40 30cc is EP (electric power) capable with separately available parts, should the customer want to run with an electric powerplant."
As soon as the P-47D-40 30cc was announced, I daydreamed of reviewing an electric version of this model, especially considering there is a factory electric option instead of having to convert it on my own. Little did I know a few months later and I would be sitting here typing this review completely amazed at how well this aircraft looks and especially flies ... but I am getting a little ahead of myself, it wasn't all smooth sailing.
I was aware of how big this model is, but it hadn't quite sunk in until I had the shipping box in front of me. I was going to need to clear off a little more room on the build table. I couldn't wait to get a look at the kit so I immediate took the kit box out of the shipping box and began to open it. I was a bit surprised to see the corner of the bottom kit box fall open immediately after I pulled the top off of it. The corner of the box was soaked in oil! The metal parts bag, which has oil in it to prevent corrosion, had opened and left oil everywhere in the corner of the kit box. It is my understanding that newer kits have much less oil included in the metal parts bag.
Since I was doing the electric version of this airframe, I was anxious to get a look at the hatch and hatch latch system ... and more importantly how easy it would be to access the batteries. I started to try to remove the canopy hatch but could find a way to get it off. There was a small hole behind the hatch, but it was just that ... a hole. I felt a little defeated so I turned to the manual to see how to remove the hatch. The manual states to remove the hatch by placing a phillips #1 screwdriver in the hole and pressing the "release". It became clear quickly that I had a hole in my fuselage but I didn't have the release and the hatch pin was locked into the hatch. This hatch wasn't coming off. An email to Horizon Hobby with a picture of my situation had another fuse on its way.
Note: The replacement fuselage was placed in a plastic bag and shipped in a large shipping box. There was no packing material included. The fuselage did sustain some minimal damage to the top of the vertical fin. I was surprised that was the only issue.
Since I wasn't going to be able to get a peek inside the fuselage at this point, I began to check the other parts and inventory the contents. Overall, I was impressed with kit. The fuselage itself was rather large but quite light. The UltraCote covering is applied as well as I could have hoped for, but there were a few areas with wrinkles that I fixed with my iron. The fiberglass cowl is rather stout, it is not light but its not overly heavy either. It seems a good compromise since this kit can be either gas or electric. The cowl was painted with precision and the difference in color between the paint and Ultracote was minimal. The wings and tail surfaces were built very well and once again covered as good as I could have hoped for. I knew that the kit came with ABS plastic bombs, a centerline tank, and a dummy radial engine but I was pleasantly surprised with how solid they were. No flimsy plastic here! All of the supporting hardware looked up to the job. I was very excited about completing this model after surveying the contents, and after reading the manual once over I was confident this would be a quality build.
Additional components used.
Once again, Hangar 9 delivers an instruction manual that is well written and very easy to follow. The manual also includes clear pictures that help guide the modeler through those assembly steps that might not be completely clear from text alone. Informative sections on included parts, safety, pre-flight checks, flight, and warranty information are also included.
As provided, the yellow and black stripes that are applied to the airframe do not completely wrap around the control surfaces or the matching areas they attach to. It simply makes the airframe look unfinished because you can see the gaps in the trim. I decided to cover these areas with matching Ultracote prior to assembling the model.
Although CA hinges and pinned hinges have been used by most modelers with building experience, I would still recommend test fitting all of the hinges on the wing hinge line before installation. Getting the flaps to work perfectly and also line up with the ailerons can take a little practice.
I followed the manual and had the ailerons hinged, but not glued, while I worked on the flap hinges. The ailerons need to be on in order to line up the flaps properly on the wing panels. I glued the flap hinges in with epoxy.
The flap servos are mounted to servos covers and then screwed in place on the wing panels. The flap linkage is entirely hidden!
The aileron servos are mounted to the aileron servo covers and attached to the wing with a set of small screws. For the ailerons, the servo control horns exit the servo covers and attach to the aileron control horns via the supplied control linkages.
After the covering was removed from the wheel wells on the wing panels, I ran my airline for the retracts through some factory provided airline "fittings" in the wings. This is a nice touch which makes the installation neater and keeps the airlines away from the retracts and wheels.
The Robart retracts fit into the retract mounts perfectly and are secures with 4 screws.
The manual describes a process which involves taking several measurements to line up and drill holes in the gear doors for installation on the retract struts. After a small attempt to use their method (I wanted to try it for review purposes, but I knew I had a somewhat simpler process that might have better success), I decided to use a template process that I had used many times before to find the correct position for the holes in the gear doors.
To install the gear doors, I taped a piece of paper (on one side to act as a hinge line) to the wing while making sure it covered the wheel well and retract strut. I then took a pencil and scribbled on the paper while looking for the holes in the gear strut. Once you find the holes in the strut with the pencil it will outline the strut holes perfectly. Once I had the outline of the holes scribbled on the paper, I lifted the paper template back on my tape hinge line and then taped the gear doors in place on the wing panels. After the gear doors were in place, I then folded the paper template down onto the gear doors and drilled the gear doors with the location of the holes from the template (Use a very small bit here and do not go deep. You just want to mark the location for the holes). I then removed the gear doors from the wing and drilled the final hole size at the marked locations. Once the holes were drilled, I installed the gear doors onto the struts with a set of small screws. It is a simple process and the gear doors came out fitting perfectly!
As noted in the manual, I prepared the rudder by centering the hinges in it and then sliding it into position against the back of the fin and fuselage. As I was sliding the rudder into position it became evident I was going to have more work to do than I had intended. The yellow and black stripe on my rudder did not match the replacement fuselage I had received and it also had a larger than satisfactory gap at the top. Upon further inspection, I also notice the hinge line was off as well. My rudder was not centered on the back of the fuselage.
Since it would involve less time, the first thing I decided to fix was the hinge line on the fuselage and fin. I simply re-slotted the hinge line and moved the hinges to the left to compensate for the off centered rudder. Next, I removed the covering from the top of the rudder and recovered it to match the fuselage. While I had the covering off, I added a small piece of balsa to the top of the rudder to fill in the rudder to fuselage gap I had noted earlier.
The fix was in! Everything eventually came out perfect.
I have been building flying models for most of my life and RC models for right at 20 years. During that entire time I have never built a model with a retractable tail wheel. Considering this model had factory considerations for a retractable tail wheel built into the design, it made the decision easy. I was going to have a retractable tail wheel based on the scale factor ... and cool factor as well!
The manual describes a method of installing the pull-pull cables for the steering onto the retractable tail wheel steering arm with a ball link system. I tried this method at first but was not entirely satisfied with the results. I went back to a method I had used before when dealing with pull-pull cables. I simply threaded the pull-pull cable through the steering arm while making sure there was no slop.
After the pull-pull cables and the air lines are routed, the retract assembly is installed into the fuselage with 4 socket head screws. Next, the retract cover is cut to insure that it allows the retract to pass through it freely. The cover is held in place with 5 small screws.
The rudder servo is installed in the fuselage in the spot outlined in the manual. This servo will work both the rudder and the steering for the tail wheel retract. The control for the rudder is via a solid pushrod and the control for the retractable tail wheel uses the pull-pull cables that I had previously run.
Before the stabs can be glued on part of the covering must be removed from the stab saddles on the fuselage. I ran the aluminum stab tub through the hole on the rear of the fuselage and glued the stabs on with 30 minute epoxy. Note: The manual mentions installing the smaller aluminum anti-rotation pins, but my stabs came with them already installed. After the stabs were installed, I installed the elevators using C.A. hinges and thin C.A.
After the stabs were installed, there was a small gap on each stab to fuselage joint. I decided to cover these joints with some UltraCote strips.
The elevators for this airframe use separate servos. I am glad I did not have to deal with an elevator joining wire on an airframe this size. The elevator servos are installed into their respective slots in the fuselage and solid pushrods are run through factory installed tubes in the fuselage. I used the same 3 screw method to install the control horns on the elevators. The pushrod is attached to the servo and rudder control horns via 4-40 metal clevises.
Being an electric only modeler, I was very happy to see that this airframe was designed to accept many different kinds of power plants ... especially electric power. Larger airframes usually get overlooked when it comes to electric power.
Before the E-flite Power 160 motor could be mounted, I first needed to mount the optional motor box to the firewall. To make this process easier, Hangar 9 includes a plywood template to help properly mark where the mounting holes need to be drilled.
With the motor box attached to the firewall with 4 machine screws, I attached the motor to the motor box with its included hardware. I mounted the ESC to the bottom of the firewall with heavy duty Velcro.
After I assembled the battery tray support, I glued it into the fuselage with 30 minute epoxy. The battery tray then locks into the tray support with a tab at the front and two screws at the back.
There isn't much to do to insure proper installation of the cowl itself ... the mounts are factory installed. The hard part comes when you install the fake radial to the cowl. Care must be taken to ensure that the hole in the front of the fake radial is centered around the motor.
To get the radial centered, I set the radial inside of the cowl and then mounted the cowl to the fuselage. I then centered the radial around the motor and tack glued it to the cowl by inserting some C.A. through the front of the cowl. Once I was sure of the radial fit, I removed the cowl and glued the radial to the cowl with epoxy and microballoons.
The manual recommends gluing the retract servo tray to the side of the fuselage. Unfortunately, when glued in as recommended it is a little hard to get to the servo easily. I decided to make a system by which the tray itself would be attached to another tray installed in the fuselage with Velcro. The system proved advantageous almost immediately! The servo that I had chosen to operate the air valve began to chatter the day after I installed it in the fuselage. I also made a separate mounting tray for the air fill valve and the pressure gauge.
Another great feature of this kit is the fact that the canopy is already precision cut and painted with care. To install the canopy, I lightly scuffed the inside of the canopy and glued it to the canopy hatch with RC56 canopy glue.
The optional cockpit is a big upgrade from what is provided in the kit, but it also adds about 5.5 ounces (over the stock cockpit) to the finished airframe. I was not questioning my decision to go with the optional cockpit at this point since it looks so good, but when I saw my final weight I began to question my decision. My ultimate decision was to stay with it. It looks great! The optional cockpit is installed in the fuselage with two tabs at the front and two screws in the floor.
As shown earlier in this review, the canopy hatch is installed and removed by pushing down on a latch mechanism that is located just behind the trailing edge of the canopy hatch on top of the fuselage. in the manual they recommend using a small screwdriver. I modified my antenna to be able to release the hatch latch instead of using the screwdriver.
As noted in the manual, I used RC56 canopy glue to attach the abs plastic scale accessories.
Although the manual mentions to remove the covering over the gun holes and pitot tube hole, my wing panels already had the covering over the holes removed. The guns and pitot tube are glued into the wing panels with thin C.A. I decided to leave the guns off for the first few flights, since those are the type of scale additions that seem to get bent or broken easily.
The centerline tank is installed onto the bottom of the fuselage using the centerline tank fairing and two 4 1/2 inch thumb bolts. The bombs are secured to the pylons with 1 inch socket head cap screws, but first the bomb pylons are attached to the wing panels with socket head cap screws.
As mentioned in the manual, the decals are installed onto the fuselage by floating them onto the airframe with a small amount of soap and water. The water is then squeegeed out and the decal is left to dry.
Now that I was finished assembling the P-47, I programmed the recommended control throws into my Spektrum DX-18 transmitter and prepared to balance the airframe according to the recommended center of gravity.
At first, I used a C.G. stand that had a pad footprint (the part that the wings rest on) of about the size of two quarters. Big mistake! The wing sheeting is soft and there is no plywood reinforcement at the point on the wing where the C.G. is. The wing sheeting cracked as soon as I set the airframe on the balancer. Back to the workshop to soak the sheeting with some thin C.A. glue. Although the sheeting was now stronger it started to crack again slightly but I moved forward and began to balance the airframe (the sheeting would be fixed after balancing - and a new larger balancer would be purchased later). After all was said and done, I needed 41 ounces of lead in the nose (I built a shelf on top of the motor box and added the weight to that) to balance the P-47. It was very surprising and disappointing. After adding that much weight I was very nervous to put my P-47 on a scale for its final weight. It weighed 23 pounds and 6 ounce ready to fly. Ouch! At this point I was a little discouraged, but that would almost all go away after the first flight.
I was eager to see what the power system could do now that I had the airframe completed. So I plugged in the power system and my watt meter. Although a 18x9 prop is recommended, I already had a balanced 20x10 prop so I went with that for now. With the E-flite Power 160 motor, Castle creations 120 esc, 20x10 prop, and the 10s 5000 batteries I was seeing 2543 watts at 69 amps. Since this was under the rating of the motor, I decided to stay with this prop instead of dropping to something smaller.
Almost a month had passed between completion of the P-47 and its first flight. I wasn't too nervous about flying it for the first time, but it would be disingenuous to say that I hadn't thought about my final weight of 23 pounds 6 ounces in that time frame. At his point it was time to go flying, so I headed out to the field to see what the Hangar 9 P-47D-40 Thunderbolt 30cc ARF could do ... or not do.
For the maiden flight ...
After doing a range check and checking my control throws one last time, it was time for the moment of truth. I taxied out on the tarmac, lined the P-47 up with the runway, and slowly began to feed in some throttle. At just over 1/4 throttle and maybe 15 feel the tail wheel lifted off slowly. At this point I had very good control of the airframe with the rudder and made a slight adjustment to line up with the runway better. I started to push the throttle moderately to about 3/4 throttle while feeding in a little elevator, but before I could make it to 3/4 throttle the airframe lifted of very gently. I proceeded to go to 3/4 throttle while making a very gentle right hand turn to enter the pattern. I was a bit surprised to see the P-47 lift off earlier than I had expected, but I was in complete control the during the entire takeoff sequence. The weight issue was still on my mind, but that takeoff definitely put me at ease a bit.
Subsequent take offs have proven to be a non-issue as long as I am smooth with the throttle and add a little right rudder. The P-47 lifts off very gracefully with just a little back pressure on the elevator. It does not leap off of the runway unless I force it to. I really enjoy the takeoff sequence with the P-47. It is easy to accomplish that scale looking takeoff!
I was having so much fun during the first flight that I actually forgot to do any stall testing. That is a first for me but I was running low on time and needed to land soon. The stall testing would need to wait for another flight. The wind had increased and shifted a bit during my flight and I now had a direct cross wind to deal with. I dropped the gear and flaps (first setting) and did a somewhat slow pass parallel to the runway to get a feel for how the wind might blow me off course. The wind was blowing pretty good but the P-47 looked solid in the air so I made my "downwind" pass and turn to final. At the point where I was lined up over the runway I was just under half throttle. Now I slowly began to lower my throttle setting while feeding in a small amount of up elevator. The P-47 settled in very nicely. The glide slope looked good to me so I pulled the throttle back slowly and worked the elevator until the wheels were close to the ground. I did a final flair and slowly put the main wheels on the ground. After a small roll out on the mains, the tail wheel settled on the tarmac gracefully. At the point of touchdown my throttle setting was probably just under 20 percent. After touchdown I pulled the throttle back to idle and coasted out on the tarmac. Wow! To say I was amazed at how well a warbird landed at over 23 pounds on an 81.5 inch wing was an understatement.
Subsequent landings have proven to be a non-issue. I am still amazed at how well the P-47 lands at this weight. The flaps are incredibly effective. Personally, I prefer landing at the first flap setting because is easier at this setting to avoid getting the airframe too slow. With other aircraft I have, I sometimes use the throttle often to help adjust the glide slope during the landing sequence, but with the p-47 I find it easier to use one throttle setting after it has settled into a nice glide slope and work the elevator more. Always set it down on the main gear first. If you try for three point landings you might be rewarded with something less than smooth. I have yet to have anything remotely close to a bad landing and I have 7 flights on this airframe as I write this review (there was one landing where the tail wheel retract former popped loose, but the landing itself was still good). For me, the landing sequence is hassle free but as with any warbird care must be taken to not try to force it on the ground.
Basic flight with the Horizon Hobby Hangar 9 P-47D-40 Thunderbolt 30cc ARF is very smooth. The airframe tracks well and flies light on the sticks even though my final weight might suggest something different. The airframe remains positive in control during the entire flight envelope ... I always felt like the airframe was going to do what I was telling it do. The maiden flight went as well as I could have hoped and I became comfortable with the airframe quickly. I find that the low rate settings for the aileron and elevator control are perfect for all flight situations except aggressive maneuvers. Obviously, on high rates the plane is quicker in response to inputs but I find the elevator to be a little too sensitive for smooth scale flight. When it comes to rudder control, I prefer the high rate setting, especially when landing in any cross-wind situation. You will need that extra rudder deflection to keep the airframe pointed down the runway during takeoff and landing. The turns with the P-47 are smooth without needing to be coordinated with rudder input. The only time I find that I need rudder in a turn is when turning left under hard acceleration. A little opposite rudder is needed to keep the nose from tucking under those conditions. The P-47 excels at scale flight and high speed passes during each flight are a must! The sound of the large electric motor and prop is something that needs to be heard. I personally feel it adds to the cool factor of this airframe. Overall, I am amazed every time I fly the P-47 at how well it flies and how light it feels on the sticks.
I will admit there was one thing I was a little anxious about doing with this airframe for the review ... testing the stall characteristics. For the testing, I took the airframe up about "three mistakes high" and began to slowly pull back the throttle and feed in up elevator. Nothing happened, the airframe continued to slowly move forward while losing only minimal altitude. At this point, I chopped the throttle and pulled full back elevator (low rate). I was amazed at what I was seeing! The P-47 slowed to a crawl and began to softly porpoise while losing some altitude but the nose never dropped. The airframe was falling slowly while remaining flat! This stall test was into the wind so I decided to try the same thing down wind and ended up with the same result! The only other aircraft that I have had this same result with was a Long-EZ, which is a canard aircraft.
My comfort level with the Horizon Hobby Hangar 9 P-47D-40 Thunderbolt 30cc ARF was very high in a short period of time. I really enjoy how well this airframe flies when flown in a scale manner, but I also like to push it a little and watch it come to life with powerful graceful maneuvers. Rolls with the P-47 are fairly axial and require a slight amount of down elevator when inverted to maintain level flight while in the low rate setting. At higher speeds and the high rate setting rolls are easily accomplished and don't need any corrective input, but the ailerons feel a little too sensitive for my liking. Inverted flight is a breeze. Only a minimal amount of down elevator is needed to maintain level flight. I am actually surprised at how stable the airframe is when inverted, even in turns. I had noticed early on that the rudder was very effective at the higher rate setting so I was anxious to try one of my favorite maneuvers on any airframe ... the 4 point roll. Four point rolls with the P-47 are very graceful and the airframe stops on each point fairly precisely. It's not pattern plane precise, but it is better than I was thinking it would be. Although the rudder is very effective, it is not effective enough to hold knife edge flight indefinitely but you will be able to make extended passes on knife edge (there in minimal coupling with only a slight pull to the canopy). Loops with the P-47 can be rather large but the P-47 does not have unlimited vertical so care must be taken to maintain airspeed and pull the airframe over the top before it gets too slow. Many large warbird models can perform graceful stall turns and the P-47 is no exception. With a little kick over at the top, the P-47 turn gracefully and comes back down with minimal tail waggle. The P-47 handles basic 4-channel aerobatic very gracefully when not pushed too hard on high rates. Loops, rolls, split-s turns, stall turns, immelmans, Cuban eights, and the like are all easily executed. The Horizon Hobby Hangar 9 P-47D-40 Thunderbolt 30cc ARF is a warbird pilots dream. It is a well behaved, incredibly smooth flying, and an easy to land airframe.
The Horizon Hobby Hangar 9 P-47D-40 Thunderbolt 30cc ARF is not a beginnerís airframe. Although it is incredibly easy to fly using warbird standards, it probably should not be attempted by anyone without a significant amount of sport plane experience. Although, it might be the perfect first large warbird for someone looking to take that step up from .40 or .60 sized warbird airframes.
|P-47D-40 Thunderbolt 30cc ARF by Hangar 9 (4 min 41 sec)|
|30CC P472 (5 min 6 sec)|
Let's go back and look at what Hangar 9 states in the manual ... "The P-47D-40 Thunderbolt 30cc from Hangar 9 features a true to scale outline that fans of WWII warbirds will love with a ton of optional details to increase the level of realism. With its wide stance, this bird offers great ground handling capabilities for a WWII airplane, and delivers the performance and handling in the air that customers have come to expect from Hangar 9". They won't get any argument from me there. I have come to expect great things from Hangar 9 and for the most part they have delivered. The finished airplane looks great and flies even better although the road to get there had a few small bumps that I might not expect but the issues were handled immediately by Horizon Hobby (yes, I understand they knew this was for a review and it would be in their best interest to act quickly, but you might still be surprised).
Although many might not consider and airframe this size (or a warbird) as an everyday flier, I find myself bringing it along almost every time I head to the field now. Overall, I couldn't imagine myself being much happier with this airframe. Well, I guess if I didn't have to sling 41 ounces of dead weight on the nose I would be happier (the retractable tail wheel plays a role here - and scale tail wheel). But the airframe handles the extra weight incredibly well in the air. Time will tell if the extra weight takes a toll on the landing gear system and main landing gear mounts, but so far all is fine. The electric conversion with the E-flite power 160 provides more than adequate power, even at my weight, for strafing passes and powerful scale aerobatics. I am thrilled to have the P-47D-40 Thunderbolt 30cc from Hangar 9 in my Hangar.
An easy way to move the packs up further or through the firewall for electric conversions.
*Note: If you are going to build the electric version with the recommended power setup, I would suggest skipping the retractable tail wheel to save on the RTF weight. The addition of the retractable tailwheel also means additional weight up in the nose to balance it out.
*Thanks to Tim Vincent, Michael Magnacca, and Chris Fry for their video and photographic services.
I think they are about to discontinue this bird. I am seeing if I can do layaway from local hobby shop ass at 399 its a great bargain. I paid 320+ when I bought my .60 size 4 years ago. I think if I get this I would go with new power 180 and up prop it or the rimfire 50 CC motor on 12S.
I noticed this large scale beauty in the Horizon Hobby Outlet store several weeks back.
If you want one, it would appear that you will have to locate one in stock somewhere at a hobby retailer. It looks the "mothership" just depleted their inventory?
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