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Stevens Aeromodel 1919 White Sport Monoplane Review

A scale plane with struts and realistic wheels that's under three ounces? But of course! Stevens Aeromodel is at it again with a monoplane kit, and Napo Monasterio hits the workbench to see if this really is an oldie but a goodie.

Splash

Introduction


Wingspan:22"
Wing Area:100 sq. in.
Weight:2.7 oz.
Length:14"
Wing Loading:3.88 oz/sq. ft.
Servos:Two BMS-303 sub-micro servos
Transmitter:Spektrum DX6
Receiver:Spektrum AR6000
Battery:Common Sense RC 2S 200mAH 10C LiPo
Motor:GWS LPS-B2C-CS geared set
ESC:Castle Creations Pixie 7P
Manufacturer:Stevens Aeromodel
Available From:Stevens Aeromodel
Price:$29.95

Back in 1919, if you had a cool $365, you could be the proud owner of a White Sport Monoplane. That was sans-engine, of course but it did come with a propeller, tires and everything else you needed (probably not those funny-looking goggles, though) to get you up in the air. It was, indeed, touted as "everything simplified."

Oh, how times have changed.

But now, Bill Stevens of Stevens Aeromodel has brought that 200-pound (without engine) monoplane back to life, squeezing aeronautic history into 3 ounces of balsa, and it's still "everything simplified." Balsa sheets, full-size plans, wheels, tires, struts and more all for $29.55... and that's in today's dollars!

Kit Contents

Just like all the indoor/backyard models from Stevens Aero, this model comes well-packaged. The sheets are taped to cardboard, and everything, including the spindle wheels, foam tires, dowels and other small items are bagged. Full-size plans are also included, and there you will find rather detailed instructions.

After taking a closer look at the kit, I was taken aback by the great amount of detail Stevens Aero was able to add to it and how much of it is already prebuilt or at least ready to assemble. For example, the grill that hides the motor is already precut and the foam tires were laser-cut. On the back of the cardboard you'll also find, along with the control rods and landing-gear wires, two pieces of ever-so-thin carbon-fiber rods (those will be the struts), and they look too cool to be true in such a tiny plane.

Here's what you'll need to build this kit (which is not much and you'll likely have already):

  • X-Acto knife and sharp blades
  • Thin CA with CA tips. I used Mercury Adhesives' M5T, but I also used some M100XF (high-performance glue to attach the CF struts, though it's not required.
  • Sandpaper (400-grit is what I'd suggest, and preferably in some sort of sanding block)
  • Tack cloth (or similar cloth material you can use on the balsa after sanding)
  • Clear finish — either water-based or lacquer-based, usually available at your hardware store or hobby shop
  • Hinge tape (Blenderm is my hinge tape of choice)
  • So-Lite covering
  • Covering iron
  • Soldering iron and heatshrink
  • Hobby square and ruler
  • Velcro tape
  • Motor: GWS-LPS-B2C-CS motor gearbox combo, comes with two 7x6 props and spinners
  • Receiver/ESC: Either a micro receiver and a brushed speed control (five to seven amps is more than plenty) or the recommended receiver/ESC combo from Stevens Aeromodel, the SA-SPF-5-ESC
  • Servos: Two BMS-303 ultra-micro servos (recommended by Stevens Aeromodel) or similar
  • Battery: 200-250mAh two-cell LiPo battery. Stevens recommends the LiPower (LP-250), available from his site.

Assembly

The 1919 Monoplane, just like the rest of the backyard series, is a beginner kit. However, this build is a bit more involved than the rest since it has struts to put up, a bit more complicated control rod setup, and the instructions, while quite detailed, still leave a bit of ambiguity during the build process.

But fear not, for even a beginner builder can (with the help of this review!) build a fine-looking monoplane in the estimated two to three evenings.

So, give the balsa sheets a quick sanding and dust off your modeling tools, and let's get ready to build.

Wing

There's nothing special about the wings, especially if you've built any other Stevens Aero offerings. The wings are made of two balsa parts, and the airfoil is shaped by a set of ribs and spars. You want to make sure you're not building two right wings, so be sure to glue the ribs (starting from the trailing edge to the leading edge) on the side of the wing marked by the laser etching.

One interesting thing about the wing (and this is just shows the superb design of the kit) is the addition of some washout. The way it's done is simple: a shaped piece of plywood is glued to the wingtip. Voila! You have washout in 60 seconds.

Fuselage

Building the fuselage is as simple as the wing. Like the rest of the Stevens indoor planes, there's little need for a hobby square or any other tools other than your thin CA. Everything fits so well that it almost builds itself!

There's a bit more building to this kit than the rest of its sister kits, though, and there are a couple of extra techniques that you won't have to deal with on other indoor models. Most noticeably, you have to bend the cowl. You'll do that by soaking the balsa a bit with glass cleaner or water. In hindsight, I wish I had used water, since it doesn't stain the balsa as much as blue glass cleaner does. But either one should do fine.

You need to install the ply pieces for the landing gear (not mentioned in the instructions). It's a small detail that's omitted, but it's something you don't want to forget.

Tail

The tail design may just be the part of the plane where Bill Stevens' ingenuity truly comes out, especially when it comes to the rudder. It's just two pieces of balsa, but all the control parts are hidden from view, adding immensely to the scale look.

One thing I did, however, was to replace the aluminum tubing with a piece of carbon fiber. I've always found this thin aluminum to be rather flimsy (I addressed that in my review of the Stevens Aeromodel MudBug, which uses that same aluminum tubing for its landing gear, and it kept getting bent). So, if you have the chance, I recommend you do that — otherwise you could end up with a bent rudder.

One thing I wish I had done is to wait to glue the control horn until I had the control rods ready to go. The ply control horn won't bend (it will likely break, though), and it can be a pain getting the control rod through.

The horizontal stabilizer also is cleverly designed, and the added reinforcing on the edges are a nice touch. And, just like its more scale-looking siblings from Stevens Aero, there's little need to sand both the horizontal stabilizer and the elevator since you won't need a huge amount of throw for flying this plane.

Landing gear

It's amazing how many little details are in this plane, and the landing gear is no exception. Best of all, it's almost completely precut and won't take long to finish. Be sure that you glue everything that's supposed to be glued in (small pieces of tubing to wheels, long aluminum tubing to fuselage and if needed, music wire to long aluminum tubing) but that you don't glue anything else in the process (small aluminum tubing to music wire). Sounds simple, sure, but it's very easy to get thin CA through all those unwanted places.

When you're done, you'll have a fantastic-looking landing gear!

Covering, details and completion

Now that you have all the parts finished, it's time for a quick clear-coating. I used the recommended Deft lacquer, but feel free to use your favorite flavor (just don't use too much, since more coating equals more weight, and we don't like that around here).

After making a copy of the wing plans, cut the template and then trace them (remember: cut one for the left wing and one for the right wing!) into your favorite So-Lite color (I went for white, though black would also look good). Anything scale-looking will look fine, but if you're a fan of hunter orange, be my guest!

Now that you've got your plane coated and your wings covered, you can attach them all to the fuselage, and then hinge the elevator in place. Hold on, however, to the rudder until you've got the servos in place.

The last thing to do is to add the struts. They're a very nice scale detail, but they also aid with providing a bit of extra washout to the wings.

Radio Installation

The instructions are a bit vague (in fact, they don’t mention anything at all) about where the servos are supposed to go. But, they go in the only place you can put them: inside the fuselage, side by side and glued with a touch of thin CA. If you run the wires to the cockpit, you can then slide your receiver there. I used a bigger than usual receiver and didn't have any problem fitting it there.

You'll have to cut the servo arms really close to the center, otherwise, they'll hit each other as they move. You will want to attach the control rods to the innermost hole.

I soldered the Castle Creations Pixie 7P speed controller (which Castle Creations provided for the review) straight to the motor wires. The cowl area is big enough that you can keep the ESC, along with all its wires, right inside of it, and it gets plenty of airflow so it won't get too hot.

Slide the motor in, tack the grill in with some CA glue, attach a piece of Velcro for the battery, and you'll be ready to take this fine-looking model to the field (or the cul-de-sac).

Flying

For the maiden flight, you will definitely want to wait for a calm day. At three ounces, this plane can get tossed around rather easily, and you won't be able to tell much of a difference between needing to trim the rudder or a 2 mph side wind.

I finally found a silver lining amid the wintry, windy clouds of December and took it out to a local football field. A flying area that size will be more than plenty, and once you get more comfortable with it and get it trimmed out, you'll be able to fly it in even smaller spaces.

Basics

Unsurprisingly, the plane handled as advertised. I had to trim the rudder to the right a little bit and add a bit of up elevator, but once I did that, the monoplane just zipped along as you might expect: slow, graceful — and a beautiful-looking model in the air. Just like the MudBug causes people to do a double take because of its funky looks, this one will cause the same reaction, but rather because of its classy looks.

The dihedral and washout in the wings provide the right amount of stability to the plane, to the point that it will right itself out if you let go of the sticks. Turns are quite coordinated, too, and there's little need to input much elevator while turning, since it won't lose much altitude.

The recommended travel rates work well, too —*there's little need to go beyond that, since it will likely do more harm than good (You're using a small brushed motor, remember? And you're flying a scale model, too, remember?)

Thanks to its low speed, this plane is a joy to fly at eye level and close to you. That way, you'll be able to appreciate the details in the air even more.

Taking Off and Landing

For the first flights, I tossed the plane at about half throttle, and that works just fine. I did that because that was the best way to deal with the rest of the other indoor planes I've reviewed.

I was, once again, mistaken.

The White Monoplane will actually take off from the ground better than any of the other planes. The fact that it has more prop clearance, much larger wheels and a sturdier tail skid definitely contributes to that. It was a joy to watch it take off from the short grass.

It will take a bit of space to roll off the ground or the grass, though. Well, a bit of space in scale terms, anyway! It was on the ground for about 5 yards or so, and then it just lifted off. It was a sight to behold, and one that you won't often see with the rest of the micro planes (especially on the grass, which was extra-surprising).

Landings were a pleasant surprise! If you set yourself right and are careful with the rudder on approach, you won't have a problem having a scale landing. One thing you want to make sure of, however, is that you still keep your motor at 1/3 to 1/2 throttle as you approach, otherwise, you'll be belly up before you even realize it.

So, if seeing this beauty fly was cool in and of itself, imagine how much cooler it is to be able to take off and land on grass!

Aerobatics/Special Flight Performance

Don't even think about it. There's not enough power in that small geared motor, and the design itself won't even let you perform even a clean loop. I tried and ended up with something that didn't even closely resemble one.

But then again, it's a scale plane, and back in 1919, Lomcevaks were not in fashion anyway.

Is This For a Beginner?

You bet! While the assembly might be a bit more involved than that of its indoor siblings, it's still quite simple, and someone with basic modeling skills shouldn't have much problems building it (and if you come across questions, you know where to find me). The parts fit along nicely, and the satisfaction of flying a plane you built yourself greatly outweighs that of maidening an RTF plane (at l think so). . The 1919 flies very gracefully, too, and it self-corrects quite easily. It's slow enough that you can keep it in close quarters, and it is extremely easy to trim. A first-time pilot should not have much problem flying it, though he may have a problem putting it down, for it's as addictive as it gets.

And it's durable, too. Simple repairs can be made at the flying field with some thin CA.

Flight Video/Photo Gallery

Downloads

Thanks very much to my wife, Sally, for the field photos and some video and to Shannon Wheatley for the rest of the video!

Conclusion

Small planes are neat. Scale planes are equally neat. Mash those two together, and you end up with a double-neat plane — the 1919 White Sport Monoplane. It looks great in the air, but more importantly, it flies equally well.

This is a great plane for a beginner because of its easy-going flying characteristics. For the seasoned flier, it's an equally rewarding model, because it's both a hangar showcase and a hoot at the field. And for those who need their late afternoon or (yawn!) early morning flying fix, the Monoplane can be flown in the smallest of places, so you don't need to drive all the way to the flying field for it.

And, of course, it's a great indoor model, too — perfect for those who can't get much stick time in the winter.

Building it is a joy, and the price can't be beat.

Pluses:

  • Great scale look — much more detailed than many of the other backyard/indoor offerings.
  • Easy assembly and superb engineering, from the tail assembly detail to the addition of washout.
  • Fantastic flying characteristics, both for small spaces and indoor flying.
  • Extremely affordable for what you get.

Minuses:

  • Instructions have a couple of gaps, but they're not hard to figure out.
  • Rudder may be a bit flimsy if you choose to use aluminum — that's why I opted for a small CF rod.
Last edited by Angela H; Jan 06, 2008 at 03:08 PM..
Thread Tools
Jan 06, 2008, 03:10 PM
Registered User
echoplanar's Avatar
Napo-great review as usual! Nice video-especially the old film effect-perfect!

I am really fond of my 1919 and it is really turning me on to scale planes. Since it is so small I can keep it on top of the dresser. I found some black solite and added some trim yesterday since an all white plane just begs for it! I do like the natural wood look too. Maybe it needs a sibling!

That was a good idea to use cf on the rudder. I used the stock aluminum and it holding up so far, but I have to be careful not to knock it-bends too easily. The gear axle is the weakest point-unless you can grease it perfectly it will bend easily. The hollow cf is holding up great.

Well, my wife has a new digital camera so I tried it out this morning for a few shots. I'll post a few. This is a fantastic little plane-looks great just sitting or in the air!

Keep the 1919s flying! Can't beat it for a small, fast building scale plane!

-Jon
Jan 06, 2008, 03:21 PM
I prefer XT's
Phaeton's Avatar
@Napo

Great and clear review, thanks! And well chosen black-whith effect in the video, almost real

Well, another plane on my wish list I guess...

@echoplanar
Wood finish GWS prop ? Looks good.

Yvo
Jan 06, 2008, 03:23 PM
Registered User
echoplanar's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phaeton
@Napo

Great and clear review, thanks! And well chosen black-whith effect in the video, almost real

Well, another plane on my wish list I guess...

@echoplanar
Wood finish GWS prop ? Looks good.

Yvo
Brown sharpie-quick and easy "wood finish"

-Jon
Jan 06, 2008, 03:41 PM
War Eagle!
Spackles94's Avatar
Jon and Yvo,

Thanks for the kind words — yeah, I really had a good time with the video, Macs are wonderful computers, and adding effects is a breeze with them. I thought the old, grainy effect would be fun.

Jon: Your plane looks awesome — and nice touch with the prop, since you didn't have a black one, it looks very real! Did you get the pilot from Hobby-Lobby? Nice job with the So-Lite trim, too!

Yvo: Yes, you would really enjoy this plane if you like the MudBug and the Lil'Squirt. The build is really fun, too.

Thanks again!
Jan 06, 2008, 04:10 PM
Registered User
echoplanar's Avatar
Thanks, Napo. I don't remember where I got the pilot-it could have been HL. I've had it for too long to remember . I don't see it on the HL web site though. Maybe someone else will recognize it. It is very light which is why it got the job of piloting the White's!

-Jon
Jan 07, 2008, 12:05 AM
Suspended Account
Quote:
Originally Posted by echoplanar
Napo-great review as usual! Nice video-especially the old film effect-perfect!

I am really fond of my 1919 and it is really turning me on to scale planes. Since it is so small I can keep it on top of the dresser. I found some black solite and added some trim yesterday since an all white plane just begs for it! I do like the natural wood look too. Maybe it needs a sibling!

That was a good idea to use cf on the rudder. I used the stock aluminum and it holding up so far, but I have to be careful not to knock it-bends too easily. The gear axle is the weakest point-unless you can grease it perfectly it will bend easily. The hollow cf is holding up great.

Well, my wife has a new digital camera so I tried it out this morning for a few shots. I'll post a few. This is a fantastic little plane-looks great just sitting or in the air!

Keep the 1919s flying! Can't beat it for a small, fast building scale plane!

-Jon
Hi Jon,

Would you happen to know the AUW of your plane with the whole thing covered?

Thanks,

Chuck
Jan 07, 2008, 01:15 AM
Registered User
echoplanar's Avatar
Hi Chuck,

Just weighed it-since adding the pilot scarf and black trim it is now 2.8 oz auw.

AR6100, phx 10 (shortened wires), cirrus 4.4 servos, eflite 180 motor, 2s 250 battery pack.

-Jon
Jan 07, 2008, 01:18 AM
Suspended Account
Quote:
Originally Posted by echoplanar
Hi Chuck,

Just weighed it-since adding the pilot scarf and black trim it is now 2.8 oz auw.

AR6100, phx 10 (shortened wires), cirrus 4.4 servos, eflite 180 motor, 2s 250 battery pack.

-Jon
Thank you, Jon!!!

I'm going to do mine like yours... I LOVE light planes!!!

Chuck
Jan 07, 2008, 01:35 AM
Registered User
echoplanar's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by NoFlyZone
Thank you, Jon!!!

I'm going to do mine like yours... I LOVE light planes!!!

Chuck
Awesome-glad to hear you are building one. It does have a very light feel and slows up nicely. My last flight I was doing some pretty tight circles around myself. You don't much rudder at all-it's got tons of authority. I also used some good expo to tame it down nicely. I think mine is just a touch tail heavy by the feel. I didn't need to trim it on the maiden but the elevator feels like it is. I do have that super light motor up front. I cut the firewall so I can push the battery forward, but I haven't had a chance to fly it since doing that. I will let you know how it goes and I'll also try to get some video though I still lack a good camera.

-Jon
Jan 07, 2008, 02:16 AM
Suspended Account
Quote:
Originally Posted by echoplanar
Awesome-glad to hear you are building one. It does have a very light feel and slows up nicely. My last flight I was doing some pretty tight circles around myself. You don't much rudder at all-it's got tons of authority. I also used some good expo to tame it down nicely. I think mine is just a touch tail heavy by the feel. I didn't need to trim it on the maiden but the elevator feels like it is. I do have that super light motor up front. I cut the firewall so I can push the battery forward, but I haven't had a chance to fly it since doing that. I will let you know how it goes and I'll also try to get some video though I still lack a good camera.

-Jon
Hi Jon,

That sounds perfect to me. I usually push my C/G as far aft as I can till I find that 'sweet spot' of super slow flying. Almost to the brink of it being too tail heavy. But I'm a fan of slowwwww flight, and that's the best way I can get there...

Chuck
Jan 07, 2008, 05:15 AM
War Eagle!
Spackles94's Avatar
Chuck,

Glad to hear you're going to build one of these. Given the kind of planes that you fly, this is right up your alley. I think mine came to about 2.8 oz. AUW or so as well.

The plane balanced rather easily, too —*with the Lil'Squirt and the DiddleRod, I did have more of a problem hitting the CG (no big problems, just a bit harder since there's little wiggle room) — but with the 1919, I just hit it the first time by putting everything wherever I had the room for it.

By the way, I know you use AR6000 receivers, and they fit snugly in the cockpit area — you don't even need Velcro for them — and they're easy to take in and out if you want to swap them between models, like I often do with these indoor planes.

By the way, if anyone needs some more build pics, I think I've got plenty more — so holler if you need anything.

Napo
Jan 07, 2008, 07:10 AM
Hiigaran member
Lone Yankee's Avatar
w00t!
Jan 07, 2008, 07:18 AM
We shall serve the Lord
kingsflyer's Avatar
Great Review Napo. What a sweet looking little monoplane. I'd love to see the video, but my QT player died. Reload due later today. Can't wait to see the 1919 White in the air.

Mike McD
Latest blog entry: LEDs on my T-28
Jan 07, 2008, 08:46 AM
War Eagle!
Spackles94's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by kingsflyer
Great Review Napo. What a sweet looking little monoplane. I'd love to see the video, but my QT player died. Reload due later today. Can't wait to see the 1919 White in the air.

Mike McD
Thanks Mike! Yeah, I usually put everything in Quicktime format — sorry! It is sweet-looking, indeed. Lots of charm, like the MudBug, but in a "real" way.


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