Modeltech Magic V2 Funfly Electric Conversion Review

Steve H. reviews the new and updated version of the famous Magic Funfly which could only be called what else, but the Magic V2!

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Introduction

The Modeltech Magic has been around for a while. In fact, I have had 2 of the older Magics and am still flying one with a 46 glow engine and homemade mouse can muffler. When I saw the Version 2 had been released, I just had to have one. With improvements like the new covering scheme, bolt on wing and hatch in the bottom I knew it would make a great electric conversion.


Wingspan:52 Inches
Wing Area:725 sq. in.
Weight:3 to 4.5 Pounds
Length:44"
Wing Loading:9.5 to 14.3 oz./sq. ft.
Servos:4 standard size
Battery:4 cell 14.8 Volt Impulse Lithium Polymer
Motor: KMS Quantum 4120/05 Brushless Outrunner
ESC: Phoenix 80
Manufacturer:Modeltech
Available From:HobbyPeople
Retail Price:$99.99

Kit Contents

Kit includes

  • 2 wing halves
  • Fuselage
  • Pre-bent and brazed landing gear
  • Covered tail surfaces
  • Well written manual
  • Pull pull set
  • Bag of misc. screws/parts, wheels
  • Decal sheet

Kit Requires:

  • .46 size glow engine or electric motor
  • 80 amp speed control and external BEC if electric
  • Battery if electric
  • 4 high torque servos, preferably metal geared
  • 30 minute Epoxy
  • Thin CA
  • Miscellaneous tools, pliers, hobby knife, etc.

Assembly

After going over the covering with a covering iron and reading the well written manual with pictures, the first step is to hinge the ailerons with the included CA hinges. The hinges are already glued to one half of the surface, so no need to use pins to hold them centered, just slide them in and add thin CA. I did use a sharp knife to remove some of the overlapping covering around the hinge. The instructions mention to use a T-pin so you get the correct gap, but I just deflect the surface, and then use the thin CA so I know that I will have enough throw.

The wing lines up on the fuse and the ply support for the hold down screws glues on. Be sure to drip some thin CA in the wood threads where the mounting bolts thread and let it dry as the manual says; this will harden the wood and make the screws a tight fit.

The aileron servos mount in place. The included pushrods were the perfect length; it was a matter of threading everything together. There is no mention of installing the control horns until the end of the manual, but while I was working on the wing I did them at the same time. They bolt in place with the included screws.

The tail surfaces are a simple matter of lining them up with the main wing and making sure they are level. My kit only needed a touch of sanding to get it level with the wing.

The rudder has 2 small triangle stock pieces that glue to the side of the rudder after it is mounted in the fuse. This is a new addition to the kit and really helps strengthen the rudder. I have heard stories of them breaking off on the older kits, even though the rudder on my glow version is still there and it has been through a lot!

The landing gear bolts to the bottom of the fuse with the included plastic clamps. The instructions say to use a plastic spacer on the inside of the wheel, but with the spacer in place there was no room for the wheel collar on the outside of the wheel so I didn't use the spacer.

The original version of the Magic had a pull-pull setup, but it used thin and very inflexible music wire. This new version includes a wire pull pull setup, and it is very easy and works great.

For the elevator, the control horn needs to be cut so it can clear when the elevator is in full deflection downward. With the control horns installed on the rudder and elevators halves, I ran the pull pull cable through the tubes in the fuse and attached them to the surfaces and the servo control horns with the included aluminum crimps which are really nice. It takes some time to adjust them correctly and tightly before crimping, but it is not difficult.

The only problem I had with the install is that one of the threaded pull pull ends in my kit did not have enough threads on it and was not usable since the clevis could not be threaded on far enough. I replaced it with one from my parts box.

I used the recommended power system per Hobbypeople's website: the KMS Quantum 4120/05 outrunner motor and a 4 cell 14.8 volt Impulse Lithium Polymer battery. The motor is very complete and includes the back mount plate and prop adapter.

To mount the motor I first drew center lines on the firewall per the manual. The manual said they would intersect directly in the middle of the hole that is normally for the fuel tank stopper to fit thru, but mine were off center a bit.

After lining up the center of the firewall, 4 holes were drilled for the blind nuts and the motor was bolted to the firewall using Loctite on the bolts.

The manual does not give much information on how to mount the battery, but shows a picture of it installed and explains how to mount it to the plywood landing gear bracket with Velcro. Having to go under the plane and through the battery hatch would make it difficult to change the battery easily. The recommended battery also will barely fit through the hatch on the bottom making it even more difficult to mount it securely through the hatch. I decided to make a ply tray and just mount the battery from the top, so I had to remove the wing to change it out. I did let the wire out of the bottom of the fuse so I could plug/unplug it without removing the wing.

For power to the radio I used one of the just released Castle Creations 10 amp peak BEC units. This is a simple device that taps into the main battery leads and lowers the voltage to power your radio system. They are user programmable via the Phoenix Link and free software downloadable from Castle’s download page. You can program the voltage you want from 4.8 to 9 volts.

I used the DX7 Spektrum radio in the Magic, and had only one problem: since the BEC has a signal wire in the lead for programing, it tricked the receiver into thinking it was in bind mode. To fix this, all you need to do is gently lift the plastic tab on the servo connector lead coming from the BEC and slide out the signal (orange) wire. Then it will work perfectly with the Spektrum receiver.

Since the fuse was tight where the battery mounts, I decided to just strap the receiver and BEC to the bottom of the fuse. That way it was also out in the open for good cooling.

Completion

After bolting the wing on the Magic with the nylon screws it was complete. All up weight with battery was 63 oz. For a comparison I put it beside my glow version, and other than the covering they looked the same. With the battery in place, the CG was right at its recommended spot: 4 1/2" back from the leading edge. I setup the control throws per the manual.

Here are the recommended throws:

  • Aileron lowrate 1" - 1 3/8" up and down
  • Aileron high rate as much as you can get both ways
  • Elevator low rate 1" - 1 3/8" up and down
  • Elevator hogh rate as much as you can get both ways
  • Rudder low rate 3 1/8" - 4 1/4" right and left
  • Rudder high rate as much as you can get both ways

I pretty much flew it on high rates all the time. I used 40% expo on all the surfaces, and I also added flaperon mixing which is a must for tight loops on the Magic. I put this on a switch so I could turn it on and off. Both ailerons should go down when up elevator is pulled and the ailerons should go up when down elevator is input.

Flying

I charged up the 4000 Impulse pack and went to the field. The Magic V2 flys just like the first version . With the KMS outrunner it is way overpowered and pulls close to 70 amps on the 13x6.5 APC-E prop. After a few circle around the field I tried some hovering, but the 13x6.5 seemed to lose its grip on the air and "cavitate" like a boat prop can when its not "grabbing," and the plane would drop. I later changed it to a 14x6 Vess prop and this was the perfect match for the motor and airframe. It pulled right at 70 amps with the 14x6 at full throttle. The owner of Vess props, Robert Vess, is a local friend of mine and his props really do work great, he has them in almost any size you need up to 32" and on my Giant scale planes I have found no better prop.

The Magic is my windy day plane as it handles the wind with ease. Sure it gets thrown around a bit but it is as much fun in the wind as it is on a calm day. You can even get it to fly backwards in a stiff wind!

Takeoff and Landing

Takeoff is in about 5 feet if you give it full throttle, it is so overpowered there isn't even a need to correct with rudder. The Magic seems to land by itself, just cut the power and it glides right in to a slow touchdown, no stalling or snapping.

Special Flight Characteristics/Aerobatics

To say the Magic can do tight loops in a understatement, this thing will flip around and bite its own tail off with the Flaperon mixing turned on. Just ease a little up elevator, hit full throttle, and pull all the way back on the elevator on high rate. It only needs a tiny burst of throttle before it has already looped over. Touching the wheels on the runway then flipping a couple of loops is a well known trait of the first Magic and will be of this V2 as well. The Magic won’t knife edge very well, but thats to be expected with not much side area.

Hovering is simple and the large diameter of the 14" prop really helps make it stable. Torque rolls are possible as well although they aren't quite as easy as a mid wing design.

Flat spins are another one of the Magic famous traits. The magic will get into a flat spin flatter than any other airplane I have ever seen. It’s so flat, that I land my glow version in a flat spin with no problem. The only reason I don't do it on the electric version is that if I did have a prop strike, the Aluminum prop adapter on the outrunner would be bent pretty easily, and I am not sure if they are sold separately or not.

Leave the Flaperon mix turned on and the Magic will do square loops just as good as round loops. The only thing I dislike is the lack of steerable tailwheel but its not that big of a deal; it’s made to fly, not drive on the runway!

I suggest using fast digital servos in the Magic as you can definitely notice a difference in control, but if you plan on just flying around like a sport plane you won't tell a difference.

Flight Video/Photo Gallery

Downloads

Is This For A Beginner?

Although not for a beginner, the Magic could be a 3rd plane with the throws turned down. It is really easy to fly. You can also turn down the throws and fly around like any other sport plane, but that is a waste of a perfectly good Funfly if you ask me!

Conclusion

The Magic V2 is all of the things that I liked about the first version plus more. It will fly great either as an electric version or glow and is a perfect fun fly type plane. No other ARF fits the term “Funfly” better than the Magic does, and you just can't beat it for the price.

Pluses

  • Great covering scheme
  • Ease of assembly
  • Good manual with pictures
  • Bolt on wing
  • Works well - glow or electric

Minuses:

  • Can't mount battery through hatch easily
  • Lack of steerable tailwheel
Last edited by Angela H; Oct 09, 2007 at 01:56 PM..
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Oct 10, 2007, 10:07 AM
"Have Glue - Will Travel"
dawnron1's Avatar
Very nice review, Steve!

Ronnie
Oct 10, 2007, 05:09 PM
32 yrs. Of aircraft Flying!
epoweredrc's Avatar
Thanks for the review, I have been considring one of these, and doing electric, I do not like that you put the esc and bec on the outside ( looks messy in my opioion) but I guess they could be room inside if you fooled around a bit more, you dont have a great pic of the hatch area from the bottom so not sure how that looks, if batery went on top half of fuse couldnt the esc and bec go under that?

the hatch with battery might be a joke, but if I do one I would want to use A123 cells

could you messure and tell me how wide the fuse is and how much room back to front you have where the battery goes?

I guess the servos are in the way also in there. you didn't have a pic of those.


question, how hard was it to run the aileron servo leads once the wing was glued together?
Latest blog entry: OMP M2 Helicopter.
Oct 10, 2007, 06:00 PM
Registered User
Thread OP
Thanks for the compliments, it is a very fun plane.

It is tight in the fuse to fit the BEC and ESC but it could be done, I put them outside for better cooling as I don't care what a funfly looks like as long as it flys good and you cant tell they are there when its in the air.
The battery fills most of the fuse, there is no top and bottom to it.

Running the aileron servo leads was the same as it would be with the wings separated, joining them did not make a difference.
The fuse is roughly 2 1/2" wide and tall and 7" back without the receiver in there which takes up 3/4" or so.

The picture above does show the hatch, right behind the ESC. Here is another one though which shows the complete opening as the one above did not. The wood tray is what I made to mount the battery to.
Oct 10, 2007, 06:30 PM
32 yrs. Of aircraft Flying!
epoweredrc's Avatar
Thanks for those two pictures, I can see it better in those, I only ment by top and bottom was that I thought the flat ( where the battery sits) thought it was half way between the top and bottom of the fuse, it was hard to see for sure...

I seen one fly at my local club, it does look like a fun plane, But I would miss KE, as everyone says it doesnt have the fuse for that... plenty of rudder for sure. wonder if winglets ( now called SFG) would help it KE, Cause thats one thing I enjoy doing..
Latest blog entry: OMP M2 Helicopter.
Oct 10, 2007, 06:55 PM
Registered User
Thread OP
The flat spins and tight loops more than make up for the lack of knife edge IMO
Jan 10, 2008, 06:54 PM
Registered User
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve H.
To fix this, all you need to do is gently lift the plastic tab on the servo connector lead coming from the BEC and slide out the signal (orange) wire. Then it will work perfectly with the Spektrum receiver.
Steve,

Coincidentally enough, I also have a Phoenix 80 (w/BEC) in my Modeltech Magic and a Phoenix 10 amp BEC in a drawer waiting to maybe be installed. Not sure if I need it or not. Been using a big Mega with a 5 cell pack but I like your power setup better so it's in the mail.
The plane seems to fly great with just the Phoenix 3 amp BEC (HS-225 servos). Did your Phoenix 80 come with a 3 amp BEC like mine or no? If so. did you figure the 3 amp wasn't enough or just didn't want to take any chances? Also, you never mentioned taking out the middle red wire on the ESC wire from the phoenix to channel 3, something I've had to do on all my electric conversions when using the Koolflight UBEC.

Thanks,

Chris E
Warrenton, VA
Jan 10, 2008, 07:01 PM
Registered User
Thread OP
As far as I know all Phoenix 80's have a 3 amp BEC, the only one they recently upgraded was the 25 amp esc. According to Castle specs the BEC should only be used up to 12.6 volt max or a 3 cell lipo pack, so using 4 cell Lipo packs on it is over the recommended ratings.
Yes I removed the red wire from the ESC.
Jan 12, 2008, 01:56 PM
Registered User
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve H.
According to Castle specs the BEC should only be used up to 12.6 volt max or a 3 cell lipo pack, so using 4 cell Lipo packs on it is over the recommended ratings.
Yes I removed the red wire from the ESC.
Thanks, Steve. Good stuff! I put my Phoenix BEC in, works perfectly! I've got exactly the same setup as you. Except the Vess prop. I'll get that this afternoon.

Thanks,

Chris E
Mar 20, 2008, 11:35 PM
fay
fay
Registered User
fay's Avatar
Hi guys,

I've flon my Magic v1 almost 2 year with GP setup and now buying v2 for EP setup.

Currently I've
- 35-48-B 900kv Brushless Outrunner Eq: AXi 2826
- HW 60A ESC

I'll use ubec for my receiver power. I've plenty of 3S1P 2200mah lipo.. does 3cell lipo will be enough for flying this v2? or i still need to get 4cell?

and lastly what prop you guys recomended for this motor?

thanks
Apr 04, 2008, 09:42 AM
Registered User
I don't think 3s is enough to do much of anything with this model. It will just barely fly unless you use them in parallel and a heck-of-a prop. Better go 4s. I think your motor will work with the 4s ok according to the specs and you'll get pretty good, acceptable performance. Not prop hanging, but good aerobatics. Try a 13x6. I'm using a 13x6 with the 4s pack as recommended above and also the recommended motor in this review. Since I'm doing aerial photography with it and not 3D, I wanted slow, steady and solid and that's what I'm getting - with aerobatics at will. Best of both worlds.

Chris


Currently I've
- 35-48-B 900kv Brushless Outrunner Eq: AXi 2826
- HW 60A ESC

I'll use ubec for my receiver power. I've plenty of 3S1P 2200mah lipo.. does 3cell lipo will be enough for flying this v2? or i still need to get 4cell?

and lastly what prop you guys recomended for this motor?

thanks[/QUOTE]


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