Thunder Tiger - 1/25 ETNZ 1M America's Cup Racing Yacht Kit Review

Having tackled the Ready to Run Naulantia the author now assembles and sails the Etnz, his first kit sailboat, and shares his experiences and some tips.



Stock Number: TTRB5554
Product Number: 5555
Length: 39" (993mm)
Beam: 6.75" (172mm)
Mast Height: 51.4" (1306mm)
Sail Area: 744 sq in (48 sq dm)
Overall Height: 67" (1700mm)
Overall Weight: 7.7 lbs (3.5kg)
Winch Servo: Ace #8141 winch servo, Standard Servo for Rudder
Rudder Servo: Futaba Standard Servo for Rudder
Transmitter: Futaba 3PL on 2.4 GHz
Receiver: Futaba R2004GF
Booms and Mast: Extruded aluminum
Stand:Aluminum with black anodized finish
Battery: 4.8V sub C for boat, 8 AA for transmitter
Manufacturer: Thunder Tiger
Available From: Fine Hobby Stores every where, Tower Hobbies
Price: $249.99 KIT

I was in the process of reviewing my first RC sailboat, the Naulantia, when I was given an opportunity to review the Etnz as a kit. I want to say that the kit does take more time but the result can be more rewarding as I was more involved in the build starting with a kit. I also found a few sequences in the assembly that I disagreed with and I point those out in this review. Where I disagree with the instruction or the sequence I share my opinion. Still, over all I found the instructions and illustrations very helpful and rate them good over all. I learned a few tricks in doing the final assembly of the Naulantia which shares a common hull and mast rigging with the Etnz. Information gained in that review is shared here as applicable. This is a beautiful kit and boat and gets a lot of positive comments on display or when sailing. I have highlighted my main tips with the headings: "Reviewer Recommendation" I hope you will read those sections closely as they are designed to save time and help streamline the assembly process or result in the boat being properly set up for sailing. I learned a lot with the Naulantia in properly setting up the control lines and the winch and that information is shared here as the Etnz setup is identical. I have found the Etnz to be a good learning experience both as to assembly and how to sail, but please refer to my "Reviewer Recommendation's" for some helpful hints.

FYI: the striking colors on the hull are not paint by rather vinyl that was applied and dried at the factory. The builder attaches decal to the Keel to continue the color scheme. Everyone I have seen when sailing this boat have really been attracted to the color scheme.

Kit Contents

Kit Contents

  • Parts for stand
  • Hull
  • Jib sail
  • Main sail
  • Parts for mast and boom
  • Lines for rigging and controlling the sails
  • Rudder, Keel and ballast
  • Hatch Cover
  • Epoxy
  • Bags of hardware and decorative pieces
  • Decals
  • Instruction Manual

Additional Items Needed

  • 2-channel radio with 1 standard servo and 1 sail winch servo with drum
  • 4.8V 3600mAh NiMH receiver battery pack
  • Charger for the NiMH battery pack
  • Clear sealing tape
  • small piece of sponge
  • paper towels


Promoted Features

  • Officially licensed by ETNZ (Emirates Team of New Zealand)
  • High-quality ABS hull
  • Low-drag, hydrodynamic steel ballast
  • Lightweight, strong extruded aluminum mast and booms.
  • High-performance, tear-resistant racing sails
  • Deck fittings
  • Rigging thread
  • Black, anodized aluminum display stand
  • Comprehensive hardware package
  • Decals
  • Limited manufacturer's warranty

Tools For Assembly

Tools Used For Assembly

  • Hammer
  • Needle Nose Pliers
  • Phillips #0 & #1 Screwdrivers
  • Hobby Knife #11 new blade
  • Scissors
  • CA Glue
  • Drill and bits: 1/16", 5/64", 1/8", 5/32"
  • Toothpicks
  • Single Edge Razor Blade
  • Sandpaper #400 grit
  • Paper towels
  • Rubbing Alcohol


I will be covering the assembly step by step as described in the instruction manual. When I do an assembly out of sequence I will discuss that and explain my reasoning. The instructions list all parts needed for each step and there are pictures and numbers to identify the parts which I found very helpful. They even have correct size pictures of the screws which I found very helpful but there were two small screws not accounted for but I came up with a good use for them.

Step 1: Display Stand Assembly

The tools I used for this step included: a hobby knife, scissors, a #1 Phillips screwdriver and a hammer.

There are six aluminum pieces used with two that have holes for screws near their ends for the cross supports and four plain aluminum pieces for the legs. There are also the two plastic end stands, two tubes of foam for the stand ends, four screws for the cross supports and four plastic feet for the legs. Assembly was easy. I trimmed off the plastic pieces on top of the boat supports and cut off the four feet for the legs on those parts. I installed the cross pieces into one support and used the hammer to fit them into the mounts in the plastic all the way with light tapping. I used one screw per piece to secure the cross pieces into the boat supports. I repeated the process on the other end with the second boat support. This time I was lightly tapping on the boat support opposite where the cross piece fit into it.

Next, I installed one of the legs into the bottom of the plastic boat support and tapped on it with the hammer until it was fully installed. I repeated the process with the other three legs. I inserted the feet into the bottom of the the legs making sure I had the angle correct so the feet would be flat on a table or the ground. The last step required the scissors I cut the rubber tubing along one side so it was open and would fit over and onto the top of the boat support. I repeated this with the second piece of tubing and the stand was complete and ready for use. (Much later I glued the foam onto the support stand to help keep them in place.)

Step 2: Keel Assembly

The tools I used included: the supplied epoxy, paper towels, rubbing alcohol, #1 Phillips screwdriver.

The first step was to apply the four decals to the Keel. Next I threaded the O-ring onto the Keel Shaft. I just hand screwed the rubber O-ring down the threaded portion of the shaft and then it slid down the smooth metal portion of the shaft into position. Next I mixed up a big batch of epoxy and inserted it in the slot of the ballast bulb and inserted the Keel. I wiped off the excess epoxy that came out and quickly installed an M4 Locknut onto the bottom of the Keel in a hole recessed in the bottom of the ballast bulb. With that in place I cleaned up the remaining excess epoxy. The last item was installing the Stabilizer to the bottom of the bulb with two 3x8mm sink head screws. I set aside the Keel Assembly until Step 4.

Reviewer's Recommendation:

If I was assembling my boat over I would skip ahead to Steps 4 and 14 and install the front Winch Line Guides before performing Step 3! The front winch line guide is in front of the both the Keel tube and the Reinforced Bulkhead. I found both were in the way, especially the bulkhead. They make getting the Winch Line Guide in place from inside the hull much more difficult than if I had done this step first. This made the front installation several times more difficult than it needed to be and I was mad at myself for not seeing this in advance. My solutions and recommendations are posted in steps 4 and 14. Read my notes on those steps BEFORE proceeding with Step 3.

Step 3: Keel and Rudder Tube Assembly

For this step I used my hobby knife, the supplied epoxy and some tooth picks. I trial fitted the bottom end cap #16 and the top end cap #21 in the hull where the Keel is installed and trial fitted the Keel tube in place as well. I used my hobby knife to trim the hole in the bottom of the hull just slightly to get the #16 end cap to fit. I prepared some epoxy and applied it all around the outside of the #16 end cap and installed it into the hull. I added a bit more epoxy to this end cap inside the hull on its outer wall and installed the Keel tub in from above. I applied epoxy to the outside wall of the #21 end cap and installed it in place. This tube needs to be water tight.

I repeated this process with the rudder tube assembly which uses two # 21 end caps. While the tubes were now assembled there was one more item in Step 3. I needed to install a Reinforced Bulkhead Assembly. This was a plywood piece and by its shape and looking into the hull I had a general idea where it should be installed but curiously the instructions did not say or illustrate where specifically it should be installed inside the hull. However, since I already have an ARF Naulantia with the same hull I looked in there to see specifically where they installed the reinforced bulkhead and used that as a guide of where to position this one in the Etnz.

On the Naulantia the reinforced bulkhead was just behind the Keel tube. I trial fitted it into place a couple of times with no glue on it. I mixed up a batch of epoxy and let it start to set up on the recommended places as shown in the instructions and then got the bulkhead in place. I mixed up some more epoxy and ran it against the sides of the bulkhead where it met the hull to fully secure it in place. The bulkhead must be installed before step eight.

Step 4: Keel and Rudder Assembly

For this step I used my power drill and my drill bits and worked my way up to the 5/32" drill bit for the two winch line guide (WLG) holes. While my drill was out I jumped ahead to Step 7 and drilled all of the holes in the deck for that step. (DON'T SKIP AHEAD! See my recommendation in Step 7 before drilling the holes for the front railings.) My drilling practices were to drill all of the holes with a 1/16" drill bit. The larger holes were all drilled with the 5/64 drill bit. The hatch cover holes were then drilled with a 1/8th drill bit as were the WLG holes and finally the WLG holes were drilled out with the 5/32nd drill bit. This may not have been necessary to work my way up but I got nice holes in the proper locations for Steps 4 and 7.

With the WLG holes drilled I installed the rear line guide into the deck. It was easy to reach into the hull and install up through the hull from inside and then the top screwed into place.

Reviewer's Recommendation

As mentioned before Step 3 I had a lot of difficult with the front winch line guide. After multiple failures I came up with the idea of cutting a string and running it down into the hull from the front winch line guide hole. I snagged the string and in the hatch cover area I ran the string through the guide. I pushed the guide along the string and up to the hole while holding the string. I got the tube in line with the hole and was able to push the guide up through the hole and grabbed it with two fingers of my left hand. I grabbed my needle nose pliers with my right hand and got a hold of the top of the line guide with the pliers. I pulled out the string and started screwing on the line guide cap. I removed the pliers and with my right hand back inside the hull I pushed the guide up as far as it would go and screwed the line guide cap on tight. Job done! However, when I got to Step 14 I had trouble getting the winch line to feed through the caps and then the bent guide. I recommend using the jib sail control line as I used the string here to help ease the assembly and do it before doing Step 3. Keep the jib control line in front of the bulkhead area for now and avoid getting epoxy on the line.

I assembled the rudder through the hull per these instructions at this time. However, I did not install the Keel at this time and will cover that later. You can install the Keel now per the instructions if you wish but I found it easier to save that for a completion step later in the process. This is because I install my mast differently and will discuss that when I get to it. I did install the winch line guides per the instructions during this step both for the jib and the main sail but as previously stated I would do it earlier in the assembly process if I had it to do again.

I did install the rudder with the control rod attached but I also installed the clevis on the control arm at this time before running the control rod into the hull and that worked well for me. This is not critical so it is your choice to do as I did or screw the clevis on later.

Step 5: Hatch Cover Assembly

This was the quickest of all the steps. I just peeled the decal for the Hatch Cover and made sure the six sided piece was out of the decal and started installing the decal around the raised six sided piece on the hatch cover. I carefully pushed down and out from there in all directions and the decal was installed.

Step 6: Hatch Cover Assembly II

The first action in this step is installing the Silicone Tube underneath the hatch cover. Here I worked carefully and followed the instructions as this will be important in helping to keep water out of the hull.

Next I added the decorative winches, steering wheels and winch handles. I simply followed the instructions with one exception. The illustration shows the steering columns being anchored to the Hatch Cover from underneath with two # 5 screws. I found those didn't fit very well and there were two smaller wood screws (just two) that were not in the instructions. I used those and they fit perfectly. It also gave me two #5 screws that I needed in Step 7 to secure all of the chain plates.

I RECOMMEND using the two smallest wood screws to secure the steering columns to the hatch cover. As discussed just above.

Step 7: Hull Fittings Assembly

The tools used for this step included my drill bits, my #0 and #1 Phillips screwdrivers and CA.

Here I went around the deck of the hull drilling holes per the instructions and installing the hull fittings using screws and CA glue per the instructions. As stated earlier I drilled these holes when I was doing Step 4 and when I got here I learned the holes for the front railings did not line up properly so I have another recommendation.

Reviewer's Recommendation

As I just mentioned the hole marks for the front railings were not properly positioned. They would have the railings not mount in a smooth arch on the deck. I recommend drilling the front hole and fitting the front railing mount into position. Swing the railing over the deck and see where the second mount should be and drill the hole there and do the same for the third and fourth mounts. Some of the holes may line up. The rail will cover the pin marks that weren't drilled through. In my case i sealed the wrong holes and drilled new holes where needed. I secured the rail in place with CA. The rails cover the holes I didn't use.

Step 8: Servo Tray Assembly

Here I used my hobby knife, sandpaper, thick CA and epoxy.

I used the hobby knife to cut free the small connections to the servo tray parts on the sheet of plywood. When all the parts were free and the interior blocks punched out; I used the sandpaper to smooth off any rough pieces. I fit the servo tray together and glued it together with the thick CA. I then lightly sanded inside the hull where the servo tray was to be installed and trial fit it. I then mixed up a batch of epoxy and glued the servo tray in place under the hatch, 2mm from the hatch leading edge. Confirming it was properly situated I let the epoxy dry and made a bigger batch and added more epoxy to be sure the tray wouldn't come loose even in rough weather,

Step 9: Main Mast Assembly

For this step my main tools were my #0 and #1 Phillips screwdrivers and I also used my 5/64 drill bit and a little bit of epoxy and Locktight. The instruction manual was very good with 8 subsets of assembly instructions and I followed those with three minor exceptions and those are what I will describe here and you can decide if you want to do them or not.

The first deviation is that I glued the small top portion of the mast in place with a small amount of epoxy inside the mast sections. This mast and sail set up is similar to my Naulantia and there I didn't glue the top mast in place but I have since learned there was no reason not too. I still secure the top section with rigging line A in Step 11 and that is really all that is needed but the glue does no arm and keeps the mast in one piece as I worked on the rigging. Do this or not at your discretion.

My second deviation was that I used my 5/64 drill bit and drilled out the holes on the boom that secure the end pieces and the chain plate in sub-sections 1 and 2. I found I was starting to strip my screws and I expanded the holes with my drill and got the screws to go in and still hold firmly. You can also use a little epoxy on the sides of the boom ends but don't put any on the bottom where the screws are installed. Don't over tighten the bolts and nuts on the spacers. Step 9 made the assembly seem like it was really coming along.

My third minor change was I added a small drop of Locktight to the bolts and nuts securing the spreaders but being careful to get none on the spreaders.

Step 10: Main Sail Attachment

Step 10 only required my ruler and scissors as a tool to cut the string used at the end. The first step for me was laying out the main sail face down on a table and installing the PVC strips as shown in the illustration. I used my ruler for this step and pressed hard on the self sticking PVC strips several times. I next assembled the head crane which involved screwing the Sail Wire into a plastic pivot mount called the "Wire Base". The base was then secured into the Head Crane with a metal pin that allows the Base to swivel. The pin is held in place by friction as it is a tight fit.

Next I thread the supplied plastic PE string into the leading edge of the main sail and ran it down the back of the mast in a slot designed to hold it in place. I ran the PE String all the way through the mast. As the top of the sail neared the top of the mast I ran the sail wire into a slot for it at the top of the sail and the head crane was installed into the top of the mast along with the top of the sail. No glue was used as I might need to remove the head crane at a future date if the sail ever needs to be replaced. (The Head Crane is secured with rigging in the next step.) I cut off the excess PE string at the bottom of the mast.

The last action in this step was securing the sail to the boom with supplied black string following the example in the illustration.


Before securing the back of the sail to the boom note the three illustrations showing sail tension found on the upper right portion of page 23.. Tension is controlled by a combination of how tightly the sail is secured to the boom and how much tension the winch applies to the boom as well. With the Naulantia I made the mistake of securing the sail to the back of the boom too tightly at first and did not get enough camber in the sail to really move the boat properly. Be prepared to redo the tension at this location as you learn your sailboat and the conditions change. The sail must have room to blow out into a camber shape to perform properly. The amount of camber depends on the conditions. (Look at the first pictures of her sailing in the Photo Gallery.)

Step 11: Main Sail Rigging

For step 11 I used the supplied black line, a pair of scissors, a ruler, my hobby knife, a single edge razor blade, some CA and a paper towel. Follow the instructions and you will find that the rigging alone really will properly secure the mast to the boat.

There are four rigging lines in this step and they are A, B, C and D. I started with rigging line A and it is the easiest. I measured out 48" of line per the instruction manual and cut the line using a single edge razor blade at a 45 degree angle (I used a left over piece of plywood from step 8 as my cutting block.). After cutting I put a small drop of CA on the line and wiped off the access pulling the line out and past the just cut tip of the line. I ran the line where I had cut it through the inner hole on the second spreader, through the outer hole on the first spreader, through the hole in the head crane, down through the other outer hole in the first spreader and through the inner hole on the second spreader. I tied a double knot under the second spreader where I had first run the line. I used a drop of CA on the knot and used my hobby knife to cut the excess string away from the knot. I pulled the line tight to secure the head crane to the top of the mast and tied a knot under the second spreader's inner hole to secure the line and then sealed the knot with CA and cut away the excess string. This was a very easy start to the rigging process.

For Step B I measured and cut the line per the instructions. I tied a knot in one end and ran the first line through one spreader and crossed over to the next spreader below it and back and forth to the bottom spreader per the illustration. I repeated the process with the second B line on the other side spreaders. I started on the outside of spreader two but I did not tie the lines off under the bottom spreader. I saved that step for later.

Step C started like the others with measuring and cutting the lines and a knot tied on one end and running the lines through the inner holes on the first spreader bar. The lines are then run through the four lower spreaders outside holes. The complicating part of the process is that these are small holes and there are already lines in these holes from the B lines.

Reviewer's Recommendation

To get the C line through the holes that already have the B line going through them I needed a point on the end of the line. As described above I used my razor blade to make a new sharp cut and added the CA and wiped it off with a paper towel. With the glue dry and the line in a stiff point at the end I was able to get the line to go through the holes even with line B in place. This was the slowest part of this step but was much faster then when I did the same rigging for my Naulantia.

With line C in place I tied off the ends of the B lines under the bottom spreader bar. I added the stringer adjusters and the swivels to the bottoms of the C lines and installed the D lines as well. Just follow the illustration in the instruction manual and stick to it. It took me about two hours to complete this step. I suspect I am the slowest rigger there is.

Step 12: Jib Boom and Jib Sail Assembly

Only tools for this step were my #0 Phillips screwdriver, my hobby knife and a small batch of epoxy.

I applied the PVC strips to the back of the Jib sail as shown and pressed them on as hard as possible. I left them on a flat table and pressed a couple more times while doing other things. The jib boom was very easy to assemble. I secured the first slider on the boom with a screws as indicated. I next secured the other slider with an end piece and a screw and finally secured the other jib boom end with a small amount of epoxy. I used black thread to tie the jib boom sail to the jib boom per the illustration.

Step 13: Jib Sail Attachment

This step involves cutting and attaching lines to the jib sail, mast and the Head Crane. I chose to do it on a large flat table. I followed the instructions and illustration and there is really nothing more to add in describing this step.

Step 14: Radio Installation

Here we install the the winch servo, rudder servo, on/off switch, receiver battery and receiver. We also start the process of installing the sail control lines. I started with the white sail control lines and cut two pieces each 39" long. The control lines are threaded through the winch control line guides on the deck and into the hull. The tread was hard to get through the hole on the top of the winch control line guides and when that was done I had trouble feeding it through the guide. I eventually got it done for the front jib line by using my cut and CA the angled tip on the line as described in the last step. and secured the line to the deck with masking tape and snagged the line in the hull and brought it into the area under the hatch cover. I did the same with the back sail control line.

Reviewer's Recommendation

As mentioned previously, if I did this again I would cut the lines, run them through the line guide caps and into the hull and through the bent line guides and then run the guides through the hull and screw on the guide caps. I would do this before Step 3.

Step 15: Radio Installation II

Here sub-step one explains how to connect the rudder control rod to the rudder servo (The control rod was attached to the rudder back in step 4). Just follow the instructions.

As with my Naulantia I did not follow sub-step two where they want me to glue the mast mount in place in the tub for it in the hull. I did however install the Keel with the attached ballast bulb as explained back in Step 4. It is now time for me to get the Keel in place. I secure the Keel in the manner described back in Step 4.

Instead of gluing the mast mount to the hull I glued it to the bottom of the mast. This way I can access the keel connection if I ever need to in the future. I have found no disadvantage to my approach with the Naulantia but I leave the choice of how you want to do it up to you. It will work either way and it is the rigging not the mast mount that really secures the mast to the hull.

The rudder connection is also covered in this step. I had to sand the cover to get it to fit properly into the space for it on the deck. Once sanded I applied the cover decal and drilled a hole for the receiver antenna. I ran the antenna through the hole and then applied the cover over the rudder well and flush with the deck. The edges of the black decal secured the cover to the deck.

The rest of this step explains how to secure the swivels to the sail lines that were taped to the deck in the first section of Step 15 and the other ends to the winch lines. Pay close attention to the recommended amount of line that is to be outside of the winch line guides. They discuss the importance and reason for the proper adjustment and set up of the sail lines in Step 17. I recommend you go read why it is important and come back to Step 15 II and do it.

With the winch drum off of the servo, I turned on my transmitter and plugged in the receiver battery and moved the winch servo to where it would be holding the control lines for the sails to be over the center line. I unplugged the receiver battery to keep the servo in that position and turned off the transmitter. With 1 5/8" of line between the control line guide cap and the swivel tied in place I mounted the winch drum onto the winch servo with the rear line having no slack while in the previously described position. I slid the swivel onto the front sail line and adjusted that line so there was no slack from the drum to the guide line. I tied the swivel in place with 1/8" of line between the winch line guide cap and the swivel. This arrangement with the transmitter control for the winch in the all down position is not only recommended in the instructions but proved critical to proper operation of my Naulantia.

Satisfied I had the setup as recommended I secured the drum with the screw that came with it into the winch servo. I trimmed the two marked spots for the line in the white servo cover and drilled the two holes in the sides of the cover and the servo mount board as shown in the illustration and using two long screws through metal guides under the cover secured the cover over the drum and into the servo mounting board.

Step 16:Attaching the Rigging Snaps

If someone is available to hold the mast up as the rigging is connected to the hull it will make this step easier and quicker. If someone isn't available it is especially important that you start with all of the swivels open. When by myself I hold the mast in place and slip the mast rigging swivels into the chain plates screwed into the deck to the sides of the mast. I tighten the string adjusters on alternate sides making sure the mast is straight. With those four attached in relatively calm conditions I can let go of the mast and connect the jib boom swivel to the bow and the snap on the swivel of the back stay.

I connect the sail control lines to the main and jib sails. I make sure all snaps are closed and adjust the string adjusters starting with the one for the jib sail up on the mast. When I have finished this process the mast is up straight and may be slightly tilting depending on my sailing experiences as discussed on page 23.

Step 17: Adjustment

"When the sail winch transmitter control stick is in the full down position, the sail winch servo drum should rotate and the sail control lines are tight." This means the two sails should be lined about about even with the center line of the ship. It doesn't mean the jib or main sail should be under stress and being pulled down by the sail lines. It is important to adjust the position of the winch drum so that the condition I described of alignment without too much tension is obtained. Trim on the transmitter can help with this but I like to get it as mechanically correct as I can.

When the left stick is full up the winch should let out enough line for the jib boom and main sail boom to swivel out to either side about 80 degrees. If the down stick set up was done correctly this should happen automatically. Now check the down stick in sail setup and adjust it again if necessary. Getting this adjustment is critical to having your boat sail correctly and to avoid straining your boat with too much tension.




The Etnz is dependent upon the wind, current or tide to sail. Unless you are an experienced RC sailor I strongly recommend against sailing where there is a current such as a river or a a tide such as the ocean. That means we are dependent upon the wind. If there is no wind there is no sailing! There can be uncontrolled floating but that isn't much fun. It is important that I am aware of the wind and bring in the boat when the wind starts to die or gets too strong. The rudder is only of help when the boat is moving through the water. That means it is important to catch and use the wind to keep the boat under way. When a change in direction is desired it is best to come about as quickly as possible to keep from loosing the wind during the transition in direction. Proper use of the rudder and adjustment of the control lines with the winch is critical for keeping under way. I have found that practice is very helpful in learning how to control the boat in different wind conditions. I have also learned it is important to be ahead of the boat in controlling a turn and not having to respond suddenly to what happened as an obvious result of the turn. By that I have learned to sail the boat and not have the boat sail making me respond. Sudden wind shifts will do that but that is part of the challenge.

In strong winds the Etnz is capable of a strong lean and water readily flows over the deck and the hatch cover. It is extremely important to have properly taped the edges of the hatch cover to the deck to keep water out of the hull. The black covering over the rudder control will keep water out of there provided it was applied properly and remains stuck to the deck around it. If not then it should be sealed with tape as well.

When tacking or changing direction use the servo winch to keep control of the sail lines. I have had no problems with the sail lines on the Etnz. I have had no line brakes or tangles. When tacking if the sails are well extended I use the transmitter to have the winch servo draw in much of the line as I come about even if I just let it out again. This avoids strain on the control lines when the sails do suddenly switch sides and has avoided my lines tangling with anything on the deck. I have had a friend get a line tangled with an object on the deck but it came free so we didn't need to bring the boat into shore. By keeping aware of the line positions and what the sails will do when tacking and planning for it control can be maintained.

Launching and Docking

Since this is a sailboat and requires at least a breeze to sail it, be aware of the weather conditions. The water needs to be deep enough for the Keel and Ballast Bulb to be free of the bottom of the lake or pond that you sail in. At sailing ponds and lakes I can launch from the shore wall or docks in most cases but I sometimes had to walk out in the water to get to a spot deep enough for the Keel to clear before launching. I prefer to launch into a wind from the side or from in front as it should make it easier to get back then if I launch with a wind behind me. For docking I like to come in from the side to the dock or if standing in the lake and slower down to dock softly. A friend can be most helpful for this part of the experience but with practice bring her in becomes easier and easier.

Racing Performance

Even when sailing for fun and with no race course on the water I find it fun to make an imaginary mark and a need to turn and head off in a certain direction as if racing. I have found that this has helped to give me better control of the Etnz and make my relaxed sailing more fun. I have no plans at this time to race but I do plan to go to some of the local races and see what they involve. For now I am having fun with both relaxed sailing and my imaginary races as I still learn how to control by boat.

Is This For a Beginner?

Yes! There is no reason a normal adult or mature teenager cannot build and sail this sailboat. I hope that this review along with the instruction manual will make the assemble and setup of the boat a quick and painless process.

Flight Video/Photo Gallery

Etnz RC Sailboat kit from Thunder Tiger (3 min 9 sec)


In the assembly I felt that overall the instructions were good and very helpful but as I pointed out I changed or would change the sequence to make some of the construction easier. Drill only the first hole where marked for the front decorative deck rails and then drill where needed based on visual observation for the rest. Don't trust those guide holes, the other guide holes all seemed good! Everyone has loved the looks of this boat and its colorful hull and decorative sails. The decals for the stand also made a nice addition and there were so many I put a few on the stand for my first boat the Naulantia. The number decals on the sail don't really want to stay on and the PVC stays on the sails needed some CA after a couple of sailing adventures.

This was my first kit but my second sailboat and I had no troubles setting her up. She has been a sweet sailing boat from the start! I set up the transmitter and the winch sail lines very nicely and my line securing the back of the sail to the boom allows for a nice camber that really lets her move in a wind. My skills are improving with practice and I have let several friends sail her. My friend Jeff had his first RC sailing experience with this boat while I shot the video posted above. Jeff really enjoyed it just as I have. Our first love remains sailplanes but there is a definite joy in operating a sailboat.

I believe that with my assembly recommendations this is a very enjoyable boat to assemble and to sail and both can be done by a Beginner. I had so much fun sailing her the first time I didn't even notice I was getting sun burnt. Be sure to use some sunscreen and have a recovery system that doesn't involve swimming for the boat if something should go wrong.

Pluses & Minuses


  • Parts well identified by number and pictures
  • Most of the assembly was easy and step by step except where noted
  • Boat was assembled in a week of nights
  • Boat is a real eye catcher with colorful hull and sails
  • When hatch cover taped shut the boat is very water resistant
  • I learned a lot in the assembly process
  • Pages 23 & 24 were more helpful than I initially realized
  • Looked great on display at a friend's office located on a man made lake


  • As discussed I felt some Steps should be done in a different sequence.
  • I am still learning, may have operational minuses as I become more experienced


My thanks to Thunder Tiger and Hobbico for the chance to review this kit. My thanks to our editor for her assistance with this review. My thanks to my Jeff who sailed the Etnz while I took pictures and video of the Etnz.

Last edited by Michael Heer; Jul 15, 2014 at 10:10 PM..
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Aug 29, 2014, 09:54 AM
Registered User
Good review Mike, much appreciated.

One question though, can you describe how you are using a pistol grip/car type radio unit to control the sailboat? Wheel controls rudder I assume, but how is the winch drum controlled and how does it feel compared to a non spring loaded stick style radio...

Aug 30, 2014, 04:22 PM
Boaters are nice people.
Hi Eric,

A pistol radio is very rarely used for a sailboat, it can be done, but the spring loaded trigger will require constant control, where a stick (with the spring off and a ratchet installed), allows you to take your finger off the sail control.

Having a pistol radio also gives you these awkward video's where the sailsetting is almost always off, after the boat has changed direction.

This review may point out how to assemble the kit, the video is not really showing how a well set-up and dialed in sailboat should perform on the water.

@Michael; get a seasoned (sail)boater to pilot the boat in the promotional video.
Get (a lot) more sticktime yourself before attempting a video.

With more sticktime (preferably in the company of fellow boaters) you'll come to realize what a terrible design this boat is.

Regards, Jan.
Nov 10, 2016, 03:36 PM
Registered User
where can I buy this boat? I like it
Nov 11, 2016, 12:13 AM
Rusty Nail's Avatar
Ah a masochist!

Available in a variety of disguises including: China Team, Phantom, Thunder and currently Naulantia.

But first read and digest the experience of others:

Better spent, money on a Dragon Flite or Force.

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