Maxford USA SPAD XIII - RC Groups
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Nov 26, 2014, 01:32 PM
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GringoTuerto's Avatar
Discussion

Maxford USA SPAD XIII


I didn’t see any thread on this one. So here is some information/review on the SPAD XIII.

General impressions:
I like this plane a lot. It flies very well, like a WWI plane should, with no bad characteristics. The sliding engine box is a convenience, and make it easy to adapt any motor mount. Well done.

My setup:
1. E-flite Power-90 on 8S, with 3300maH. The power is fine and can pull it into the air very quickly. But I should have gone larger on the battery capacity. I ended up putting a lot of lead in the nose.
2. Sound board and LED machine guns from Model Sounds Inc. in Canada. They make an excellent product.
3. Painted as Ser No. 504, the last plane of Georges Guynemere.

Build tips:
1. The stickers that come with it are horrible. Maxford website has a thread on how to apply large stickers, but it is really not possible to make them look good. I used paint instead of stickers. I also think vinyl decals (as from Callie Graphics for example) would work fine.
2. The C.G. in the manual is wrong, and you should move it forward. There is an addendum on the website explaining this.
3. Like many WWI planes, there is a short distance from CG to nose, so you potentially have to add a lot of weight. Be careful of weights behind the CG (such as the pilot figure, etc.). Of course, keep adding weight until the CG is good, even if it seems like a lot of weight. Otherwise, you will regret it. Don’t worry about engine/battery weight. You will need all that and then some.
4. The gear are very stiff for a bird of this size. It often hits one wheel first and receives a huge jolt pushing it the other way, then bounces from wheel to wheel. I am considering re-working it with functioning bungees. This needs bungees, or something.
5. I dry-brushed streaks of a nearly matching color of acrylic paint on the off-white ultracote, then sprayed with a matte finish. It looks almost exactly like fabric, without doing much work at all.
6. Regarding sounds system - I put the speaker in the cowl, facing out the grill area. I only used one speaker due to weight concern, but in retrospect two would have been fine (as I added lead to the nose anyway). Also, the speaker system has a large operating voltage range, but you MUST go to the highest voltage to get good sound …power is proportional to V^2. I ended up constructing a very light 6S battery just for the sound system. It only has 200maH capacity, but lasts about 4-5 flights.

Overall, I highly recommend this. There aren’t many high-quality ARFs of this size, and this is a good one.
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Nov 28, 2014, 12:02 AM
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Very nice. The extra detail adds a lot to the plane
Taylor
Nov 28, 2014, 03:46 PM
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How did you put the batteries in and out? The cockpit opening is very small.
Nov 28, 2014, 10:20 PM
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GringoTuerto's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by sailr
How did you put the batteries in and out? The cockpit opening is very small.
Ah, good point. Yes, I think it is too small and too far back to get good access to the battery. The batteries need to go far forward. It might be possible to reach a hand in the cockpit and reach far enough forward, but then you would be attaching and detaching the battery blindly in a difficult-to-reach-spot with one hand. I didn't think it was feasible. And if the battery were far enough back to make this manipulation any easier, the CG would not even be close to correct.

I ended up putting mine inside the motor-mount box, firmly attached to its floor. So, the batteries are not easily removeable (it would require removing the cowl and motor-mount box, which is not something I want to do every time I charge it up). I put a hole in the bottom of the motor-mount box and cut a big door in the bottom of the cowl, so I can access everything from there - charging, plugging in, unplugging.

I don't really like charging batteries inside the plane, but that is how I ended up doing it in this case. Another option might be to mount them to the outsides of the motor mount box, forward of the firewall, and access them by making, for example, the bottom half of the cowl detachable. I don't know if there is really room for that, but that's all I can think of. The bottom behind the firewall is not a place for access, since there is a lot of heavy structure there for supporting the gear. And besides, the batteries should not be wholly behind the firewall, or you will have CG problems.
Nov 29, 2014, 11:43 AM
Registered User
Everything you describe is true! That is why mine is powered by a CRRCPRO 26CC gas engine!
I put in a floor in the area just in front of the cockpit and mounted my Receiver battery and ignition batteries in there, as far forward as possible. I use LiFE batteries and have no fear of charging those inside the airplane. I did several other mods. After being incredibly frustrated trying to run the pull pull cables and the elevator pushrod, I mounted the rudder and elevator servos in the fuselage at the rear. I cut the appropriate holes and put in 1/8" plywood inside on either side of the hole to accommodate the mounting screws. This, of course meant I needed more nose weight. I added an 1/8" ply platform to the top of the motor box, extending out over the engine and added my weights there. About half a pound or more. Sadly, my Spad spun in on the maiden flight. No idea why. Nothing wrong with the radio, etc. I balanced my Spad at 3.25" behind the leading edge of the top wing rather than 3.625" as the manual recommends. The only thing I can figure out about the crash is that it was still tail heavy as the elevator was incredibly sensitive. I thought while flying it that I just needed to dial back the throw but after a lot of deep thought, I think she was tail heavy and in slow flight simply snap rolled and went in. DAMMIT. I have another one on order. I will balance it even more nose heavy this time hoping for the best. I had spent about 3 months detailing the airplane. I gave it a flat finish with weathering, airbrushing, etc. (I hate shiny coat on a scale airplane). I had built it special for a warbird meet and crashed it a few days before. I also will be entering a WWI scale meet with it at the end of January at which I have won the ARF category two years running. I want it again next year! ;-)
Nov 30, 2014, 04:17 PM
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GringoTuerto's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by sailr
Sadly, my Spad spun in on the maiden flight. No idea why. Nothing wrong with the radio, etc. I balanced my Spad at 3.25" behind the leading edge of the top wing rather than 3.625" as the manual recommends.
Oh, too bad! Do you have any pics of it?

Anyway, the note on their website now mentions 2-1/2 to 3 inches. I'm at about 2.75. But I think 3.25 is not enough to spin it right into the ground. Anyway, I hope the new one works out better! It is a good flyer when trimmed and balanced.
Nov 30, 2014, 04:48 PM
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I will definitely move the CG further forward in my new one! Here are pics of my Spad.
Dec 01, 2014, 01:04 PM
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GringoTuerto's Avatar
Sailr, you did a really nice job detailing this! Well done.
Dec 01, 2014, 04:36 PM
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Thanks. I have another Spad coming. I'll have to do it all over again! haha.
Dec 03, 2014, 07:56 AM
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JIMA's Avatar
Beautiful airplane. What brand of prop were you using?

Jim
Dec 03, 2014, 11:15 AM
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I hate to say this but I don't remember! It's a scimitar design but I don't remember the brand. It is a 17 x8. However, for flight I ended up using a master airscrew 18x6 because I could not get the engine to idle down enough with the smaller prop.
Dec 03, 2014, 11:23 AM
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GringoTuerto's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by JIMA
Beautiful airplane. What brand of prop were you using?

Jim
I was using the Scimitar prop made by Xoar (18x6 if I remember) - if you look under the Maxford website for this SPAD, you can see it as one of the "extra items" at the bottom. I can't tell if Sailr is using the same prop or not. Xoar makes a couple varieties of nice looking WW1 props. I found that the hole in the prop was very slightly smaller than 1cm, and the Eflite power-90 uses 1cm shaft. So I had to drill it.

Also one problem with Maxford SPAD that I forgot to mention - I found that the grill on the front of the cowl was very "thick", and requires a long motor shaft. If I put the motor far enough back to not hit the back of the cowl, then the prop shaft didn't stick out far enough to clear the front of the cowl. I ended up addressing this from both ends - cutting out some of the back of the cowl, and also putting a washer behind the prop to give it more clearance (leaving barely enough shaft for the prop nut to grab onto).

Attached two extra photos showing the prop. Also shows the door and charging method.
Dec 03, 2014, 11:37 AM
Registered User
I just remembered! Haha. The Scimitar Prop is also a WOOD Master Airscrew prop.
Dec 03, 2014, 11:39 AM
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Very well done! I'm curious. Did you paint the front of the cowl and the grille? My Spad came with those area in blue.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GringoTuerto
I was using the Scimitar prop made by Xoar (18x6 if I remember) - if you look under the Maxford website for this SPAD, you can see it as one of the "extra items" at the bottom. I can't tell if Sailr is using the same prop or not. Xoar makes a couple varieties of nice looking WW1 props. I found that the hole in the prop was very slightly smaller than 1cm, and the Eflite power-90 uses 1cm shaft. So I had to drill it.

Also one problem with Maxford SPAD that I forgot to mention - I found that the grill on the front of the cowl was very "thick", and requires a long motor shaft. If I put the motor far enough back to not hit the back of the cowl, then the prop shaft didn't stick out far enough to clear the front of the cowl. I ended up addressing this from both ends - cutting out some of the back of the cowl, and also putting a washer behind the prop to give it more clearance (leaving barely enough shaft for the prop nut to grab onto).

Attached two extra photos showing the prop. Also shows the door and charging method.
Dec 03, 2014, 12:41 PM
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GringoTuerto's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by sailr
Very well done! I'm curious. Did you paint the front of the cowl and the grille? My Spad came with those area in blue.
Yes, spray painted with tan enamel. I was going for a specific SPAD (Georges Guynemere's ser number 504). Of course it is hard to tell the colors from photos, but this tan front appears in all color depictions of this plane, so it is either correctly deduced from documention, or a universally accepted mistake.


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