Multiplex ParkMaster PRO from Hitec RCD Review

Fun, fantastic and totally flat! Multiplex does it again with its updated 3D profiler.

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Introduction

Multiplex ParkMaster Pro

Wingspan:38.4" (975mm)
Wing Area:450 sq in (29 sq dm)
Bare Airframe Weight:18.4 oz (522g)
Length:40.5" (1029mm)
Wing Loading:5.9 oz/sq. ft. (18g/sq dm)
Center of Gravity:4.3 - 4.7" (110 - 120mm) back from the LE of the wing at the fuselage
Construction:Multiplex Elapor foam airframe; carbon fiber landing gear struts and axles with Elapor covers; plastic wheels with Elapor foam tires; plastic motor mount; carbon fiber reinforcement spars
Servos:Hitec HS-65HB Mighty Karbonite Feather micro
Transmitter:Hitec Optic 6 Sport 2.4GHz six-channel computerized spread spectrum aircraft
Receiver:Hitec Optima 6 2.4GHz six-channel AFHSS protocol aircraft
Battery:Mad Dog 1000mAh 3S 35C lithium polymer
Motor:Himax HC2816-0890 brushless outrunner; 890Kv
PropellerAPC 11x5.5 thin electric
ESC:Hitec Energy Sport 20A brushless
Operator Skill Level/Age:Advanced; 14+
Manufacturer:Multiplex Modellsport GmbH & Co. KG, Westliche Gewerbestra▀e 1, D-75015, Bretten-G÷lshausen, Germany
Distributor:Hitec RCD/Multiplex USA, 12115 Paine Street, Poway California, 92064
Available From:Any hobby shop which stocks Hitec and Multiplex products
Retail Prices (USD):$165.95 airframe #M214275; $183.95 power pack #M993231

Few manufacturers do foam sport aircraft better than Multiplex Modellsport GmbH. In fact, I still have my original FunJet used as a test platform for a lightweight FunJet power system which I reviewed for RCGroups back in 2010. Though it isn't the FunJet Ultra since the Ultra was still a couple of years off, that model will easily top out at nearly 100 MPH (160km/h) and still be easy to fly at almost walking speed. At about that same time, I assembled a Multiplex Mentor for a friend. Trainer or not, that was one of the sweetest flying models I'd ever flown.

When RCG's Jason Cole posted this news story, I had to toss my hat in the ring. After a couple of emails to Jason and to Suzanne Lepine at Hitec RCD in Poway, California, I received the green light to review this brand new model.

It's my pleasure to present the fantastic new Multiplex ParkMaster PRO 3D profiler. This is a decidedly higher end Elapor foam model with its nearly $166 retail price without electronics; the single-box Multiplex "power pack" adds top drawer Hitec components along with a Himax motor and APC prop. Add four Hitec HS-65HB Mighty Karbonite Feather micro servos and the result is an amalgamation of some of the greatest components in the hobby in one of the finest sport flying/3D airframes on the market today.

Power is going to come from Mad Dog 1000mAh 3S 35C li-po packs from Mark Grohe at 2DogRC.com. Mark has come through with batteries for a number of RCGroups.com reviews and his batteries are simply fantastic.

Some assembly including some painting is necessary, so I'll begin.

Kit Contents

The ParkMaster PRO comes with the following:

  • Elapor foam airframe parts
  • Full hardware package
  • Illustrated assembly manual in multiple languages
  • Die-cut vinyl decal sheets

Needed to complete the model:

  • 2.4GHz computerized aircraft radio system
  • Four high quality 11g micro servos
  • 900 - 1000mAh 3S lithium polymer batteries with suitable charger
  • 20 - 30A brushless ESC
  • 890 - 1100Kv brushless outrunner motor
  • Access to an arbor press or drill press to press the shaft of the factory motor flush with the endbell
  • Thin electric propeller in the 11x5 size range
  • Basic hand tools, paint and adhesives for assembly
  • Clean spray bottle with soapy water to aid in decal installation

The motor, ESC, propeller and related hardware can be purchased as a matched set under Multiplex part number M993231.

Multiplex does a superb job of packaging their products with all of the airframe parts shipped upright and unwrapped without any sort of tape. The EPS foam rack they use is similar in design to what one might see on a windshield delivery truck or plate glass delivery truck.

They also do a superb job of molding their proprietary Elapor foam parts.

While there are a lot of tiny injection marks all over the airframe parts and three big injection marks on the right side of the canopy, the fuselage is a near work of art. Molding is crisp, clean and with beautifully molded pockets for the servos, their leads and propulsion system. Adding to the delight is the smooth, near flawless finish of the parts. Just amazing.

This isn't my first Multiplex model as I'd pointed out, but I never cease to be amazed by my impressions of these quality engineered models.

The manual, a warranty sheet and an addendum sheet all in multiple languages comprise the documentation. There's also a Multiplex catalog showing the full line of their goodies.

As for hardware, everything comes bagged together while the longer carbon fiber parts come in a separate bag inserted into the bottom of the shipping tray.

Given the low parts count, making them come together into a fantastic 3D airplane doesn't take long.

Assembly

Control Surface and Fuselage Prep

Many European products have instructions written in multiple languages and the PRO's manual is no exception. To keep number of pages down, the instructions in German, English, French, Italian and Spanish refer back to the outstanding engineering drawings at the center of the manual by panel number.

Since the canopy is unpainted and is molded as part of the fuselage, the first thing to do is to paint the canopy. This RCGroups.com thread suggests several methods; I went with a "rattle can" of gloss black Testors Model Master. The results were fantastic with a perfectly even, glossy coat, although a bit of wayward paint managed to sneak past a couple of areas of my careful masking. Some packing tape and careful application of an ultra fine sanding sheet did a fairly good job of removing the light overspray.

Assembly begins with installing the control horns on the control surfaces and slicing the surfaces at the marked areas for later installation of the hinges.

Once those are set aside, the firewall support is installed. A test fit showed the support to be nice and snug; between the CA and the carbon fiber stiffeners which extend well back along the sides of the fuselage, the firewall isn't going anywhere.

Installation of the carbon fiber "longerons" on either side of the fuselage followed by the elevator and rudder servos are next. Keeping things neat are channels for the leads along the left side of the fuselage, but the channels aren't deep enough for the necessary 6" extensions. One extension came with the power pack, so it was off to the hobby shop for the second. Rather than remove material from the fuselage, I pressed the plugs into the foam as far as they would go and taped the leads with clear packing tape per the instructions. I didn't tape over the plugs and my plan was to trim the decals accordingly later on.

Undercarriage

Most models with fixed landing gear have a relatively simple setup. Not so the PRO. The undercarriage isn't difficult to assemble, but there are a surprising number of parts involved.

Once the support is screwed together, it's glued beneath the fuselage followed by gluing the CF axles to their brackets, and gluing the flat strip CF legs to the brackets. The wheels are then secured with starlock washers (making for a permanent installation), installing the fairings and last but not least, installing the legs to the support. Lots of parts to be sure, but the end result is not only beautiful, but stronger than heck.

Wing and Tail Surfaces

Some care must be taken here since the wing halves aren't keyed together.

The panels have to be glued flat, carefully followed by the CF wing spars both top and bottom. The ends of the spars want to pop out at their ends, so the wingtips must be raised slightly as the spars are glued in place.

Slicing the wing at the designated slots for the aileron hinges is next, followed by the installation of the left aileron and the wing's installation in the fuselage. Installing the right aileron, centering the wing in its saddle and gluing it in place completes the basic wing assembly.

Installing the servos and attaching their linkages is both easy and straightforward. So too is the installation of the horizontal stab, elevator and rudder. They're "trapped" in place in much the same way as the wing.

I ran into a problem when installing the motor; the shaft extends from the wrong end for this model! Naturally, motor shafts are a very tight press fit even with the setscrews removed. An arbor press or drill press is needed to press the shaft flush with the rear of the can. I took the can to several places which didn't want to take a chance on damaging it. Some friends with a motorcycle shop suggested a nearby auto alternator shop. They allowed me the use of their arbor press free of charge which made very quick work of the job.

Although the mount is adjustable for thrust and offset, it's suggested to start at zero and adjust the motor angle to one's personal preferences after several flights.

Installation of the propeller completes the model and while Multiplex suggests the prop be balanced, I've never had an APC prop which ran out of balance and this one was no exception. Nice and smooth.

At this point, I had a flyable but unadorned model. Decals are definitely called for.

"Gilding The Lily"

I remember being amused by this quaint description of the decal application when I assembled the FunJet and Mentor. Unlike those models which required cutting out each and every individual decal, the pressure sensitive decals of the PRO are die-cut! Yup, peel and stick with the aid of a spray bottle of soapy water.

I decided to apply almost all of the decals per the box art, including the Himax, Elapor and Multiplex "sponsor decals." I'll say that applying these decals took a lot less time than it did for me to apply decals to my first two Multiplex models! I did have to trim around the big "PRO" decal on the left side of the fuselage per my previous comment in order to accommodate the servo extensions.

Applying the decals, cutting out the foam covering the battery mounting area and applying the supplied hook-and-loop to secure the batteries complete the model. With the CG coming in between the 110-120mm range behind the LE of the wing, the control throws and expo set and some Deans Ultra-Plugs soldered onto the battery leads, it was fun time!

Flying

The holidays and inclement weather kept the PRO grounded right after its completion, but my patience was rewarded by a beautiful Saturday morning during New Year's weekend. I took the PRO to the nearby grass field for its maiden flights and after a control and range check, I was ready.

Takeoff was fast and smooth, but were those controls twitchy! I had no problem flying the PRO since it was so smooth, but the control inputs were simply too abrupt. Problem: I didn't save the expo settings in the transmitter! Even so, the model was a joy to fly with and without aerobatics and it was a joy to land.

Problem solved by the next day when I met my friend George Muir at the Coachella Valley Radio Control Club near Palm Springs. Regular readers of my reviews know George as the club's historian and videographer.

That slightly cloudy, nearly dead calm Sunday morning found George and I alone at the club, so after some "beauty shots" on the flight line, I was off.

With the expo now set, the PRO was utterly transformed into a fantastic flying sport plane, although the elevator needed some up trim as evidenced by the video. Easily fixed and double checked by the model's second flight.

Huge control surfaces and throws make for an incredibly nimble model; loops, rolls and inverted flight were nearly as simple as those done on a simulator. My first attempt at a knife edge, seen in the video, nearly resulted in a knife edge loop! Even with the "new model bugs" such as trim still needing to be dialed out, I quickly concluded that the PRO was not only among the finest models I've ever flown, it's among the most confidence inspiring as well. No butterflies, no nerves, just confidence as if I'd flown this model for years.

It is not a trainer by any means. Coordinated turns are a must; the PRO will quickly dip a wing without elevator input. I always coordinate rudder and elevator in turns, but the PRO simply seemed to need more elevator than the norm. No big deal and I quickly adapted.

All of the wing area granted by the profiler design allowed the model to practically glide in. The video shows my first and second landing attempts on asphalt; the landing gear's narrow track will cause it to dip a wing if one isn't careful as evidenced in the video.

In short, this is one fantastic model regardless of the narrow track.

Aerobatics and Special Flight Performance

If one can imagine it, one can do it with the PRO. It's just as simple as that. Practically unlimited vertical performance, excellent top speed and generous control surfaces mean that every type of aerobatic maneuver up to and including 3D is possible. Though I didn't attempt 3D, I will do so soon and report back in the comments section.

If Multiplex's own video is any indication, I'm in for a great time!

Is This For a Beginner?

Though the PRO can be flown rather gently, it is by no means a beginner's aircraft. Center mount wings with no dihedral coupled with symmetrical airfoils and tremendous control surface throw and area place this model squarely in the pro ranks per its name. So too does its price. The airframe and power pack together are US$350 without batteries, servo or radio. This is a very expensive and unsuitable model for a new pilot. Someone comfortable with a four-channel warbird or sport plane should be able to handle the PRO.

Flight Video and Photo Gallery

Multiplex produced a terrific video which really showcases the PRO's 3D capabilities:

MULTIPLEX ParkMaster PRO [english] (2 min 33 sec)

Here am I flying somewhat less aggressively but still having a blast with the PRO:

Multiplex ParkMaster PRO from Hitec RCD - RCGroups Review (3 min 30 sec)

Here are a few more beauty shots from the maiden flight:

George snapped these at the club prior to the video shoot:

I felt the need to get George's terrific screen cap in just once more:

Conclusion

The Multiplex ParkMaster PRO from Hitec RCD was worth the wait if my experiences and this model's RCG discussion thread are any indication. As I'd indicated at the start of this review, few manufacturers do sport foam aircraft as well as Multiplex and the ParkMaster PRO carries that tradition well.

This model is a world class winner and I give it two thumbs up just as high as I can.

Super special thanks to Suzanne Lepine and the team at Hitec RCD for making this model and its matched power pack available for review. I greatly enjoy working with Hitec and I look forward to doing so again soon. Quality products and quality people.

Mark Grohe is the man behind 2 DogRC and huge thanks go his way for the Mad Dog battery packs which worked so flawlessly. Mark has come through with many a battery pack for these reviews.

Jim T. Graham and Angela Haglund are the folks at the administrators' desk here at RCGroups on behalf of our worldwide audience. Thanks for visiting and come back soon for the latest, greatest products in all of radio control!

Pluses and Minuses

Pluses include:

  • Incredibly high quality components
  • Outstanding flight characteristics
  • Quickly and easily assembled
  • Excellent manual
  • Excellent parts support
  • Looks fantastic in the air with the stock decals
  • Elapor foam can be painted with regular paints for endless customizing
  • Will quickly become any pilot's favorite model

Minuses include:

  • Motor shaft is on the wrong end of the motor for this model
  • Rudder needs a wheel or skid for use on asphalt
  • Wiring grooves could be deeper for the benefit of the servo extension plugs
  • Painting the canopy would have been easier and faster had it been a separate part
Last edited by DismayingObservation; Jan 12, 2016 at 02:35 PM..
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Jan 22, 2016, 12:48 PM
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Xpress..'s Avatar
Excellent review! Glad to hear you are enjoying it!

I put together a couple of these for the AMA Expo and there are a couple of tips I have that'll help keep the appearance of the airplane neat and tidy, and give you different performance options:

-First, I buried the servo plugs on the extensions into the foam so that they were flush with the surface. Makes for a bit cleaner looking install, I just used an xacto #11 blade and carefully cut out a deep and wide enough slot for the plug, then slipped it in. On the fuselage side, the stickers will hold them in place sufficiently.

-Next we experimented with a couple of different props. The APC 10x4.7SF prop is a good mix of power and smoother performance for those who are more of low and slow style of pilots. This prop also works well indoors. The APC 11x5.5 makes for a good rocketship vertical performer and makes the airplane feel more aggressive outdoors, especially in windier days where the extra power is needed.

-I opted to allow the CF spars on the fuselage and in the wing, as well as the motor mount and wing joint to all dry on their own rather than using kicker to accelerate the drying process. I've found that it makes these areas SUPER strong and durable, ready to handle every bit of abuse you can possibly throw at this airplane without fear of breaking it or ripping it apart in the air. The glue of my choice was BSI Insta-Cure + CA in the purple label. It doesn't take very long to cure on its own and seems to be the strongest CA out there from my experience. Highly recommend using it to assemble your ParkMaster Pro kit. All other glue joints I used kicker on to speed up the assembly process.

We will have the Kit PLUS version of the ParkMaster Pro available sometime at a later date which includes the motor, ESC, propeller, propeller adapter, servos, and extensions inside of the box with the kit airplane- assembly is still required, but at least the hard work for selecting electronics is done for you

Looking forward to more discussion and videos!
Jan 22, 2016, 02:23 PM
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DismayingObservation's Avatar
Thread OP
Thanks, X! It is, without question, a genuine pleasure working with all of you fantastic folk at Hitec.

I should have hollowed out the space for the servo extensions based on your recommendation, but I didn't want to weaken the fuselage. Seems that isn't a problem, so I stand corrected. I also did what you just mentioned regarding the spars - no kicker. This model is as stiff as steel as a result.

Will definitely look into that BSI CA. I used a relabeled BSI store brand which did the trick. I couldn't be happier with this model and I heartily recommend it.
Jan 22, 2016, 03:10 PM
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Xpress..'s Avatar
BSI actually supplies their CA's with blank spots on their labels that the hobby shop or retailer can use to put their logo or store name in. The side of the bottle should say BSI on it.

No issues with strength when I made shallow channels for the extensions. The carbon flat spars REALLY up the strength on the airframe, so there shouldn't be any kind of issue there
Jan 22, 2016, 04:21 PM
Registered User
rpstar's Avatar
I'm just gonna say, $163 for airframe only. Really? Love my Multiplex but thats just "plane" crazy. ..

Update:

http://www3.towerhobbies.com/cgi-bin...MouhoCuSnw_wcB

Article must be wrong as its a more reasonable $104 at Tower for one example.
Last edited by rpstar; Jan 23, 2016 at 12:10 AM.
Jan 22, 2016, 06:18 PM
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DismayingObservation's Avatar
Thread OP
Hi! The $163 is the retail price.
Jan 24, 2016, 10:19 AM
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TOMZILLA's Avatar
I picked mine up for $88.98 with free shipping from Tower as a member of there club. I didn't get it yet, but I'm planning on using a a NTM Prop Drive motor. This motor has a ton of power, nothing worse then being under powered. I'm hoping its 30mm length fits in ok, any thoughts?

https://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/s...arehouse_.html
Jan 24, 2016, 03:18 PM
Registered User
rpstar's Avatar
Seems about equivalent to the one Himax motor they specd so it will probably be all right.
Jan 25, 2016, 12:08 PM
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Xpress..'s Avatar
The Himax HC2816-1220 motor is not underpowered in the slightest. We were actually kind of surprised with how much punch out power the airplane had with that motor on the APC 11x5.5 and a Thunder Power 3S 950mah 55C pack. The 890kv version of the 2816 motor would provide smoother power with the 11x5.5 prop for those looking for more indoor type performance, or for those who aren't looking for ridiculous unlimited vertical
Jan 25, 2016, 12:33 PM
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TOMZILLA's Avatar
I'm not saying the Himax is under powered. I'm just simply stating I plan on putting the NTM motor in it and it shouldn't be under powered. I will say though, I'm not paying $150 for some servos, esc and a Himax motor. When I already have all but a proper motor for the plane. And yes I under stand there Hitec servos, but I already have Hitec's.
Last edited by TOMZILLA; Jan 25, 2016 at 12:43 PM.
Jan 25, 2016, 12:46 PM
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Xpress..'s Avatar
Looks like the Kit Plus version we are introducing later this year will retail somewhere around $100 more than the standard kit version (kit plus is motor, ESC, prop, adapter, and servos). No word on final pricing or availability yet.

The beauty of a kit/ARF airplane is you get to choose what equipment you want to use. Have a different preference than what the airplane comes with? Not a big deal, fit the equipment you like best and go thrash it! Don't want the hassles of selecting equipment for the airplane? No problem either, we already did the hard work for you to get you airborne quick with the Kit Plus!

I believe the 2816 motors are about 30mm in length so the motor you chose should work just fine, though the motor mounting holes may be different. Keep in mind you will have to use longer motor mounting screws to fit through the thicker firewall.
Jan 25, 2016, 03:42 PM
Registered User
rpstar's Avatar
Himax motors are like tanks but I agree at standalone prices they are hard to justify. i have one (oversized one) in my Funcub and I abuse it at least several times during the year and so far it just takes it.
Jan 25, 2016, 06:36 PM
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Xpress..'s Avatar
I concur, they are built like tanks. I have one that is 12+ years old that I punish routinely. It has been through water, sand, dirt, intense heat, and doesn't hesitate for more. I have total confidence running those motors.
Jan 26, 2016, 05:42 PM
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TOMZILLA's Avatar
I got my PM Pro today, very nice looking kit. I found the Multiplex catalog inside very interesting, I see they make a spray paint for epo/elapor foam. Now my question is and directed toward Xpress, does Multiplex/Hitec/Tower Hobbies plan on importing the paint to the USA? I can find myself buying it for a lot of my models.


http://www.multiplex-rc.de/en/produc...465e6168f68451
Last edited by TOMZILLA; Jan 26, 2016 at 05:47 PM. Reason: added link
Jan 26, 2016, 05:59 PM
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Xpress..'s Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by ofpd9330
I got my PM Pro today, very nice looking kit. I found the Multiplex catalog inside very interesting, I see they make a spray paint for epo/elapor foam. Now my question is and directed toward Xpress, does Multiplex/Hitec/Tower Hobbies plan on importing the paint to the USA? I can find myself buying it for a lot of my models.


http://www.multiplex-rc.de/en/produc...465e6168f68451
It's just a water based paint, any quality water based paint you can find in a local hardware or craft store will be the same quality. We can't import the Multiplex paints, Multiplex primer, or Multiplex glues because of the high import cost, it'd be far too costly to purchase.

Painting Elapor is actually pretty simple- just clean the foam surface with a damp cloth to rid it of any oils or debris that may be clinging to it, mask off where you want to paint, then apply multiple very light coats to build up the color to your liking.


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