Whether in the air or on the ground, the Alfa FW 190 is a pleasure to look at. There is a tremendous amount of detail in the skin surfaces, including panel lines and rivets.
|Wing Area:||186 sq. in.|
|Wing Loading:||12.3 oz/sq. ft.|
|Servos:||2 HS55 servos|
|Transmitter:||Hitec Single Stick|
|Battery:||6-8 NiCD, 2-3 LiPo|
|Brushed Motor Tested:||Speed 300 w/ Gearbox|
|Brushless Motor Tested:||MP Jet 25/25 w/ Gearbox|
|ESC:||Jeti 012 (brushed); JESA18 Advanced (brushless)|
|Available From:||Hobby Lobby|
The above, from the Hobby Lobby Website, very accurately describes the Alfa Focke Wulf.
The kit arrived in perfect condition. One really great feature of the Alfa 190 is that the kit box can be used for transportation too. This will keep the FW 190 looking good and protected from hangar rash. It seems I do more damage to my planes getting them in and out of the truck than I do flying, so the storage box keeps the edges of the plane in better shape.
The 4-page instruction manual covered everything from the time the box is opened to flying. There was also a large isometric sheet included to show how the plane is assembled. Experienced modelers will find the isometric drawing virtually all they need to get the plane assembled. It doesnít, however, cover the wash out or the CG, so the instruction manual was still required to assemble the FW 190.
Hobby Lobby offers a recommended package that includes everything needed to complete the plane at a discounted price. The recommended accessory package included a Hitec 3-channel FM radio with 2 HS55 servos, a 5-channel micro receiver and a single stick transmitter, and was used in this review.
"I'll save you the suspense; the Speed 300 unit flies the FW 190 at about the same speed as the brushless unit...the brushless setup [is] about $40 more expensive."
There are a number of motor/gearbox combinations that will work with the FW 190, from a Speed 300 motor attached to an MP JET gearbox, to a small ďoutrunnerĒ brushless motor without a gearbox. For this review I used the Speed 300 w/gearbox, and an MP JET AC 25/25 motor w/gearbox. Iíll save you the suspense; the Speed 300 unit flies the FW 190 at about the same speed as the brushless unit.
The only reason I can see for buying the more expensive brushless set up is that the motor wonít wear out like the brushed unit will. The brushless motor with gearbox costs $58 while the Speed 300 w/gearbox is roughly $40. The speed control for the brushed motor costs about $38 and the brushless ESC $69, making the brushless setup about $40 more expensive. I could buy a couple of Speed 300 motors and have enough change left to buy lunch with the money saved by getting the brushed motor set up.
The Alfa FW 190 is made from dense foam with a hard layer, a crust if you will, on the surface. This doesnít mean it canít be marred, it can. The crust keeps the plane looking good as long as it isn' abused. The wing and tail are hollow cored. The wing uses a wood spar system to handle flying loads, while the fuselage has several formers to help keep its shape. The skins come pre-painted in the camouflage scheme shown in the photos.
There is an extensive decal sheet for two different series of aircraft. I chose the ďalternateĒ color scheme because I liked the white rudder decal. Speaking of decals, their installation was the most time-consuming step in the entire project. While I could have easily had the Alfa Focke Wulf flyable in less than three hours as stated in the ad, I chose to take my time installing the water-slide decals. I didnít have any trouble installing the decals, but Iíve heard some complaints from other modelers.
There are two chemicals used to help the decals lie smoothly on the surface and stay on virtually indefinitely that can make the difference in how enjoyable decal assembly might be. The first is Glutoglue from Hobby Lobby (ART707 ... $ 4.90) This powder will make enough glue to get you through dozens of models. While the decals can be installed without using Glutoglue, the glue helps adhere the decals to the skin and keep the edges of the decal firmly attached to the skin. The second item is typically used for plastic models and itís called ďDecal SetĒ. The product I have is Testors brand No. 8804 and cost the amazing sum of 99 cents if I remember correctly. I took my time installing the decals, and they took about four hours to install them. I was pretty anal about their installation and thatís what took me so long to put them on.
The only items to be installed were the motor and radio. The aileron servo was installed in the wing. The aileron pushrods had already been glued in place. The pushrods overlapped each other inside the EZ style connector. Since the pushrod wire was so small, plastic bushings were used to fill up the hole in the EZ connector. I had to make sure the setscrew was tightened down hard enough to keep the aileron pushrods from sliding out of the EZ connector. The only other thing unusual for the aileron installation was the recommendation of having the ailerons raised up 1.5-2mm (1/16-3/32Ē), creating wash out at the tips.
Radio installation in the fuselage was limited to installing one HS55 servo for the elevator, placing the receiver on the radio deck, and positioning some Velcro for the motor battery. There was enough room in the Alfa FW 190 for NiCad batteries, but I used LiPoly cells for longer flight times and less weight. Radio installation took less time than the decals' installation! There was plenty of room in the fuselage for all of the radio equipment. My installation had the receiver as far back on the radio deck as I could get it. The motor batteries were placed beside the elevator to achieve the proper balance. The firewall had three dimples in it for the motor/gearbox installation. If I had chosen an outrunner, the firewall may have needed to be modified. Using the recommended motor/gearbox combination only required installing the three screws to install the motor.
The cowl came temporarily installed and must be removed to install the motor. There were many ways to install the cowl, after the motor was installed. Two drops of CA worked as well as any method. If I would need to remove the motor for any reason, the cowl could then be popped off with little trouble.
With the decals and radio installed, I only needed to wait for a reasonable day to test fly the 190. Unfortunately, I recently had several thousands of dollars of camera equipment stolen, so I wasnít able to get flying photos. For flying photos, I recommend Hobby Lobbyís website. They have a number of static and flying photos along with some very cool flying footage, linked below.
To aid in launching, the FW has a rib on the bottom of the wing and fuselage so you have something to hold on to. This is better than having to grab the plane by the fuselage. The recommended motors provide plenty of power for the Alfa Focke Wulf 190. There is no reason to run before letting go of the plane, as flying speed is easily reached with a gentle hand toss. The rib on the bottom of the wing/fuse also helped during landing by providing a hard-point on the bottom of the plane. The plastic rib took more abuse then the foam would.
The 190 goes exactly where I point it, so itís not a beginners plane. That doesnít mean itís hard to fly: itís not. What that does mean is it isnít self-correcting. Itís more of a pattern plane than a trainer, which is what the full size Focke Wulf was. With some small airplanes you have to wait for virtually calm days; not with the Alfa FW 190. The 190 can safely be flown in 10-12mph winds without becoming a handful.
This is one great looking and great flying scale warbird park flyer!
Iím going to put myself out on a limb with my next statement. Iíve had to answer this question before and after reading this review you will probably be asking the same question. Is the Alfa series of airplanes worth the price difference from the 3-digit models? Iíve flown the 3-digit models and I can say the Alfa model looks better and flies better. This FW 190 doesnít need to be flown at full throttle all the time. It looks much better with its panel lines and extensive decal set. The Alfa isnít grounded when the wind comes up, making it flyable on more days than the 3-digit models. The hollow molded skins look very realistic and you wonít find ejector pin marks, or large beads on the surfaces. This has been a very satisfying and enjoyable review.
I canít wait until they come out with my favorite WW2 model, the BF 109!
Great review except for one point. The aileron push rods should definitely be secured with the small white tubing included in the kit. The push rods can be easily knocked off by grass and other ground clutter on landing. And if you don't notice it's happened the next time you toss it in the air...
This happened on my Alfa P-47 and it will fly on one aileron but it's not a pleasant experience.
Installation of the tubing used to secure the control rods is mentioned in the instructions:
Secure the control rods against disconnecting from the control arm by gluing (CA) a piece of tubing onto it. (fig. C4).
I just bought the FW-190 for my future project. I'm not ready for a warbird yet...I have the Wing Dragon and R/C Simulator to learn on. Now when he says to give the ailerons a certain amount of wash out, does this mean I have to raise both ailerons to the measurement suggested at the servo, or do I slightly bend up the foam at the aileron?
Another thing - following the write-up's instructions on how to install the servos and wiring, and looking at the picture, the thing ended up being reversed. Unless this individual has the stick set up backwards, one has to use caution when following the installation instructions on this review.
The servo tray also does not have predrilled holes either. This made installation difficult, to say the least.
Last edited by LuftwaffeOberst; Feb 10, 2006 at 05:14 PM. Reason: Installation issues.
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