Hobby Lobby V-Diamond All-Wood ARF Electro Parkflyer Review

Mike Llewllyn explores this bright, fast, exciting looking ARF parkflyer and finds "power and performance are simply stellar!"

Splash

Introduction


Wingspan:36”
Wing Area:193.8sq” 12.5dm2
Wing type:Built up sheeted balsa
AUW weight:Advertised – 27oz Actual - 28.2oz
Length:33”
Wing loading:21 oz/sq. ft.
Servos:3 – E-Sky 8g Micro
Transmitter:Airtronics RD8000
Receiver:Hitec Electron 6 w/Micro Antenna
Battery:Poly-Quest 1800mA 3s LiPoly
Motor:AXI 2212/20 Gold Outrunner
ESC:Jeti ECO 25 amp
US distributor:Hobby Lobby
Available From:Hobby Lobby

I spend a fair bit of time on the forums and ran across a thread on the Hobby Lobby V-Diamond ARF. Those who know me best understand that I like airplanes that tend to be quick and the V-Diamond appears it will fit that bill very well.

The review package was shipped from Hobby Lobby and it arrived with no damage. It was double boxed which is a big plus. The contents in the ARF box were also very well protected. The parts were separated, bagged and taped to the box.

The V-Diamond ARF is all wood and nearly assembled right out of the box. It will be ready to fly in short order.

Kit Contents

Kit includes:

  • Three color covered model fuselage and wing
  • Lightweight plastic canopy
  • Hardware (EZ type connectors, pushrods, clevis and horns)
  • Landing gear and wheels
  • Wood for motor mount
  • Picture assembly guide and instructions

Kit requires:

  • Motor
  • 8x8 Propeller
  • 3s LiPoly battery
  • 3 servos 7-10g type
  • Receiver
  • 4 channel minimum transmitter

Used for this review:

  • AXI Gold 2212/20 brushless motor
  • Jeti ECO 25amp Brushless ESC
  • Poly-Quest 1800 3s battery pack
  • 3 - E-Sky 8g servos
  • Hitec Electron 6 Receiver and crystal
  • Lightenna 72 Micro Receiver Antenna
  • MP Jet propeller adapter
  • APC 8x8 “e” propeller

Assembly

This aircraft is nearly ready to fly right out of the box.. The surfaces are all slotted for hinges and the wing is joined. The builder simply needs to install the two tail pods, add the stabilizer, install the motor and radio equipment.

Most builders should allow 5-6 hours to complete the plane.

Instructions are essentially pictorial. Any builder with a plane or two will have no issues. They do recommend the liberal use of epoxy – even for the CA type hinges. I used CA for the hinges, attaching the tail booms, motor box and the stabilizer with no issues.

Wing

The wing is fully balsa sheeted and has a nearly flat bottomed airfoil, and differential is recommended and easily accomplished. The eyeball test showed the wing to be straight and true.

Even the aileron torque rods came preinstalled in place for you. Mine worked freely, but I have talked to some who felt theirs were a bit stiff.

The included wire and clevis connections were problematic. The threading on the wire was so fine, that the clevis's were not adequately secured. I replaced them with "Z" bends and Dubro mini-connectors.

Tail pods

I marked a center line on the wing, allowing the pods to be centered properly.

Horizontal stabilizer ... starting to think about CG

Every single pusher model I have built is tail heavy. It appears the V-Diamond will not be an exception to this rule. Instructions call for the elevator servo to be installed directly under the stabilizer, allowing a short direct linkage to the elevator. I normally would have taken the builder license to relocate that servo in front of the CG. In fact it would have been a simple matter to move that servo to the underside of the wing near one of the tail pods and then run a flexible cable linkage to the elevator. This would allow the servo to be forward of the CG instead of directly on the tail, helping the tail heavy nature of pusher models.

That said I followed the instructions and mounted the servo to the horizontal stabilizer. I did slightly deviate however. The instructions called for two hardwood blocks to be used for the servo mounts, I just glued to servo directly to the stabilizer. I also moved the servo as far forward on the stabilizer as possible. These actions helped save the weight of the blocks and screws.

Fuselage

he kit includes the pre-bent nose gear and hardware for nose gear steering. The nylon cam is already installed inside the fuselage on a former. It is accessible via the wing opening but a bit tight to work on. This took some time and patience to slide the nose gear wire up, attach the arm, collars and pushrod wire.

I did run across one small problem. The included steering arm had a brass collet and the allen type set screw for it instantly stripped. Likewise the wheel retention collar stripped. I did not have this problem on the main gear collars.

One nice touch was the fact that the nose gear wire had nice flat spots machined on it. This assures the gear wire will not twist in the steering arm.

Motor mount

Assembly of the laser cut motor mount box does have a proper sequence so follow that so the pieces will key properly.

Now we attach the AXI 2212/20 brushless motor on the firewall. The end former in the fuse has a nice cutout to allow the elevator servo wire and ESC motor wires into the fuselage.

Canopy

The V-Diamond includes a very attractive red trimmed canopy. The canopy was pre-trimmed and it fit perfectly. I installed a pilot from another model in the V-Diamond. He was painted by a friend (Doug Cohen) and he looks great in the model. The kit includes 4 small screws to attach the canopy to the fuse sides. Since the canopy was made of very light, thin plastic, I chose to use clear tape to attach it rather than screws.

ESC installation

The ESC was placed in the fuselage with wires going through the formers in pre-cut holes. That was not only a nice touch but important as it keeps the wires and ESC away from the aileron servo and linkages.

Hatch

Hobby Lobby included some magnets to attach the battery hatch door. This is much better than using the kit's supplied screws. Installation was easy using two of the included small wood screws then drilling a hole into the plywood piece by the leading edge former. I used my rotary tool to recess the plywood so the screw heads would be flush with the top of the plywood. This allowed the hatch to fit flush against the fuselage side. Then I cut small holes in the ply hatch to accept the magnets. I have been using magnets in this manner for two years now with excellent results - much easier than removing screws.

In the battery area there was a light ply battery tray installed. The tray had holes cut in it. This is something I do not care for as it makes application of the hook and loop material difficult. I added a piece of 1/16" scrap balsa to the tray floor then added the hook and loop to that balsa.

Finish

The model was covered in low temperature iron on covering. The model did have a number of wrinkles typical of models covered in humid climates over seas and then shipped to us. These were easily removed with the iron on low and a bit of pressure.

Power system

AXI 2212/20 Gold Outrunner

  • Motor statistics:
  • Diameter – 27.7mm
  • Length – 30mm
  • Turns - 20
  • Weight - 57g
  • Shaft – 3.17mm
  • Peak current – 16 Amps
  • KV (rpm/v) - 1150

My thoughts on the motor: The motor is small and light. This is important for this pusher model. AXI has really set the standard for brushless outrunners. Highly recommended.

Motor

The AXI Gold brushless motors have been around for some time now. I have used many of them in a number of applications and have been extremely happy with the power they offer. They have been reliable and maintenance free. Highly recommended.

Amp draws

On the included 3s 1800 Polyquest battery the motor produced the following results:

Motor statistics
APC-e Props Amps Watts Voltage RPM
8x8 21.2 215 10.47 5900

As can be seen the AXI motor is very strong and it gives this 28oz. airplane plenty of motivation. The bearings were smooth and the cogging was as expected. The AMP draw is a fair margin above the maximum recommended by AXI. However at the end of flights the motor was only warm, and showed no ill effects from the 21+ amp draw. I fly it at full throttle a fair bit of the time as well. No question that the amp draw drops slightly in flight as well.

Jeti ECO 25 AMP ESC

Jeti 25 AMP ESC

  • Size – 1-3/4" x 1" x 7/16"
  • Weight - 28 grams (1 oz.)

My thoughts on the controller: I have long been a fan of Jeti ESC’s. This was no exception and it performed flawlessly out of the box.

You will need to extend the battery wires on the Jeti controller to reach the battery tray. I extended mine about 4 inches. I then attached my battery connector and the MP Jet 1.8mm connectors to the ESC and motor wires. These fine connectors allow for ESC or motor swaps to be made quickly.

The Jeti ESC starts the AXI motor smoothly and quickly. It did not stutter or hesitate. The ECO line saves you some money and they work just great. I use mostly Jeti ESC's as I like their ability to start outrunners smoothly. I have yet to run across one that does better.

Battery

I have used the Poly Quest 1800 batteries for some time now.

Poly-Quest “Twenty” 1800 pack

  • Cells - 3s
  • Capacity - 1800 mAh
  • Weight – 140g / 5oz (measured)
  • Size – 4-1/2 x 1-1/2 x 7/8"

My thoughts on this pack: The pack has performed flawlessly and is very impressive. It holds voltage very well at these near 22 AMP draws.

I still really like the Poly Quest venting system they use. The shrink wrap actually has cooling holes cut along the sides of the individual cells. Each cell is spaced away from the other, making the pack thicker, but allowing air to circulate between each cell.

Weight

As with all ARF kits the builder has very little control over the final flying weight. The V-Diamond is not a light weight park flyer type aircraft.

Total weight of the plane ready to fly is 28.2oz or 800g. Although a small package the weight should not be too large a concern. The V-Diamond handles wind very well even with the 21oz/sq foot wing loading.

Pre-Flight

CG

CG is shown as 100-105mm from the leading edge. To attain this it was necessary to add 1oz of weight to the nose. I hate to add weight to any airplane, but the battery tray area just accommodates the 1800 3s pack. There is no ability to move that forward as it would hit the nose gear system.

Rates and transmitter setup

Rates were set as recommended in the manual with ailerons at 15mm up and 10mm down. The elevator was recommended at 18.5mm in each direction. This seemed excessive so I used about 26mm total. I usually like 25-35% expo on ailerons and elevator. I used 25% expo for ailerons and 35% for elevator.

Of note - I have since decreased the elevator expo to about 15% and increased the throws to near recommended. The elevator was much too soft at my reduced rates. Sometimes it is just best to trust the manufacturer recommendations!

The flight timer was set to count down from 8 minutes. This allows for flights that are long enough yet still giving time for landing before the 1800mAh batteries are depleted.

Flying

I always snap some pictures before first flights. The plane looks fantastic on the ground and in the air.

First flight

The Hobby Lobby V-Diamond is a fantastic rock solid flying airplane. It is responsive and it burns up airspace very quickly. I really enjoy quick airplanes and this is no exception.

Takeoff

The plane is well powered and the 8x8 propeller it gets to speed in a hurry. You must use elevator to rotate the plane for it will not lift off without rotation input. The near 22 amp draw and 215+ watts allow the V-Diamond to have an aggressive 45 degree climb rate.

Power

Power from the AXI 2212/20 motor is simply amazing. As can be seen, the 8x8 prop is drawing over 21 amps. That is a bit above the 16amp motor recommended maximum, but this sleek plane and fast airspeed likely unloads quite a bit in the air. In fact, the motor came down nice and warm, but not overly hot - even in these Texas 95+ degree days. I am not concerned at all about this propeller. In fact, I did not even try another, something rare for me.

Stalls

This plane slows much better than I expected. The stall is fairly gentle, but it does drop a wing. With full power applied recovery is quick, but watch for p-factor and torque as you advance throttle.

Landing

Landing the V-Diamond is as expected with a 21oz+ wing loading. You MUST use power when landing or the elevator becomes much too soft. Keep it ticking over at about 20% power rates. You will find that this plane has a high sink rate so watch your speed and power settings carefully. It will slow well as you flair on landing.

Flight #2

With the initial flight tests out of the way lets open it up and see what the V-Diamond can really do!

Loop

Loops are simple to control and keep large and perfectly round. It easily loops from level flight and does not exhibit any snap characteristics even on fairly tight loops. If you have full throttle and full up, it will snap out as expected.

Roll

Rolls are axial and very fast! It really shines here and this will be a trademark maneuver for the V-Diamond.

Split S turns

Again anything with a roll as part of the maneuver will work well with the V-Diamond. These make a great quick turnaround maneuver for the plane.

Spins

I still have not tried a spin, but my other testing tells me it should recover well. The very large dual rudders should make spin stability a reality.

Recommended power system

The recommended power system gives the V-Diamond excellent motivation. The APC-e 8x8 propeller keeps the pitch speed high which is good for this plane. I enjoy high pitched propellers as you can throttle back and still maintain good flight speed. The V-Diamond likes to be flown fast, and will use a great deal of airspace - I recommend it for the club field.

Is this plane for a beginner?

The V-Diamond is not for low time pilots. It is very fast and quite responsive. It does not exhibit any self correcting responses, something a beginner must have for success.

Flight Video

Downloads

As can be seen in the video the plane handles wind with ease. The video was shot at the 20th annual DEAF event here in the Dallas area. This was the very first flight of the event as the early morning wind was keeping most of the pilots chatting rather than flying. It is great to have a plane that will fly in about any wind. I would say that it was easily 12-15mph and the only issue I had was the large vertical stabs and rudders kept me from turning around after landing. I should note the landing was kept hot for effect - it slows down very well on landings.

Conclusion

The V-Diamond is a very attractive plane with the 3 tone colors. My eZone stickers fit right in as well! It is easy to assemble and requires minimal set up time. Power and performance are simply stellar. It is a FAST airplane and it goes exactly where you point it. Just what you would expect from its sleek jet appearance.

Hits:

  • Excellent looks
  • Quick and smooth flight performance
  • Fast assembly
  • Complete hardware kit

Misses:

  • Overall hardware quality
  • Collars easily stripped
  • Included threaded wire did not properly secure the clevis

The Hobby Lobby V-Diamond is priced right and the recommended power system yields a very fast airplane. This plane should also be well suited to EDF conversion for those who would like the cool factor that would add. Check out the V-Diamond at your local hobby shop or buy direct at Hobby Lobby.

Again special thanks to Ronnie for the Video! I tested his skills with those high speed low passes!

Last edited by AMCross; Dec 28, 2006 at 03:59 PM..
Thread Tools
Oct 03, 2006, 08:42 PM
K4UAV
dalbert02's Avatar
She would look pretty cool with retracts and maybe a bit faster. Good review!
-dave
Oct 03, 2006, 09:01 PM
Registered User
pda4you's Avatar
The wing is very thin, but if you could find some that would "fit" it would be fantastic.

Speed is very good, remember the 15mph(ish) wind made things look a bit slower. Downwind was generally at 60% power settings or so.

I have talked to someone who ise going to try it without gear, that may increase speed a bit.

At 215+w I really didn't find it lacking! But you are right it could be a bit faster for a larger pilot grin!

Mike
Oct 04, 2006, 01:38 AM
Permanently Banned
kogibankole's Avatar
i would not feel confortable pulling too many g's with that wood frame...unlike the twinjet epp foam that can belt and not break
Oct 04, 2006, 09:49 AM
Registered User
Michael Heer's Avatar
Mike, wait until you get a calm day and do a slow fly by in a nose up angle and hit the throttle and pull away. It really can look like an F-16 at an airshow with that manuever. They almost did it in the Hobby Lobby video. I demo flew one for an advanced beginner/intermediate pilot and had to get my own. It really is a great little plane. Enjoyed your review. Mike Heer
Oct 04, 2006, 10:58 AM
Registered User
pda4you's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by kogibankole
i would not feel confortable pulling too many g's with that wood frame...unlike the twinjet epp foam that can belt and not break
A couple have reported 400+watt systems with no issues.

I am not concerned about the structural integrity...it is fully sheeted and I think you would be hard pressed to stess it to breaking.

Quote:
Mike, wait until you get a calm day and do a slow fly by in a nose up angle and hit the throttle and pull away. It really can look like an F-16 at an airshow with that manuever.
Excellent idea! I will have to try that.

I have noticed (when I do slow it down) that it does get very nose high and just seems to bleed off speed forever. With the fairly large 8 inch prop when you advance it pulls out HARD.

I will give it a go!

Mike
Oct 05, 2006, 09:37 AM
Registered User
ekotil's Avatar
Great review and also super job on the piloting and video. I really enjoyed it.
Oct 05, 2006, 03:04 PM
Registered User
pda4you's Avatar
Thanks ekotil - it is a fantastic little plane....

Mike
Oct 06, 2006, 08:53 AM
"Have Glue - Will Travel"
dawnron1's Avatar
Thanks very much Mike, it was a pleasure to film. I am amazed at how well this plane handles wind!

Ronnie
Oct 06, 2006, 04:30 PM
Registered User
pda4you's Avatar
Thanks Ronnie - you did good to keep up with me!

It was rather breezy.....

Mike
Oct 07, 2006, 11:50 AM
"Have Glue - Will Travel"
dawnron1's Avatar
Here are some shots of the V-Diamond I took a couple of weeks ago.

Ronnie
Oct 07, 2006, 04:00 PM
Registered User
pda4you's Avatar
Great pics Ronnie - as you can see it climbs out well!

Mike
Oct 16, 2006, 08:30 AM
Registered User
Michael Heer's Avatar
Mike I hope to meet you in person some day. I bought the V Diamond that you reviewed and you bought the SE5a that I am currently reviewing and our thoughts on both planes seem to be almost identical. Have you had a chance to try that slow fly-by yet and then hit the excellerater for near vertical climb with the V Diamond? Mike
Oct 16, 2006, 08:58 AM
Registered User
pda4you's Avatar
Likewise - I can tell we would get along well......

I hope to be doing the Fokker dVII review as well. So our taste in planes is the same also!

My buddy was flying the v-Diamond at DEAF and didn't rotate (although the plane was going 60+mph on the ground) and it slid off the runway and the nose gear broke the former. So it is now fixed and I will do it Saturday!

A fun airplane for sure.....

Mike
Oct 18, 2006, 06:22 PM
It's hot here!
babenson's Avatar
Do you think I would get a better performance if I stuck an AXI 2017 on it? I am not much of an EP flyer, but I bought this plane on site. I only had an e-flight 400 motor and it barely pulled it around.... nearly crashed.

I want flat out speed for this plane. Any recomendations of a good set up for max speed... within reason of course, nothing crazy.

Thanks,

-Brandon


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