3D Hobby Shop 47" Katana 3D/Precision ARF Review - RC Groups
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3D Hobby Shop 47" Katana 3D/Precision ARF Review

Looks great, performs even better! Steve Davidson reviews the versatile 3D Hobby Shop 47" Katana 3D/Precision ARF.



Wing Area:440 sq. in.
Weight:37-40 oz.
Wing Loading:12-13 oz/sq. ft.
Servos:(4) HS-65 or equivalent servos
Transmitter:Spektrum DX7
Receiver:Spektrum AR6000
Battery:3DHS 3s 2200 or equivalent
Motor:Torque 2818-900
ESC:Airboss 35
Available From:3dhobbyshop.com
ARF Price:$149.99
Combo Price:$269.99

3D HobbyShop is one of the fastest growing hobby shops on the electric scene, and over the last 3 years, Iíve had the privilege of getting to know the owner, Ben Fisher. Ben is serious about the hobby, serious about great products and serious about customer satisfaction. When I heard Ben was bringing several balsa ARFs to the market, I knew they would be successful, especially the 47Ē Katana.

The Katana is a precision aerobatic plane that is 3D capable as well. Donít be fooled by its 47Ē wingspan, this plane flies BIG. Letís take a look at this great looking and versatile ARF by 3D Hobby Shop.

Kit Contents

Donít let the plain box that the ARF arrives in deceive you, 3D Hobby Shop has left nothing out!

Kit Includes:

  • Expertly covered fuse, tail and 2 piece wing
  • One piece canopy/hatch with retaining magnets
  • Carbon fiber wing tube
  • High quality carbon fiber landing gear
  • Fiberglass cowl and wheel pants
  • Complete hardware package
  • Velcro, velcro strapping and wire tie
  • Decals
  • High quality assembly manual with detailed setup section and "Basic 3D Guide" by Scott Stoops

Kit Requires:

  • 350 watt motor (Torque 2818-900 recommended)
  • 35 amp brushless speed controller (Airboss 35 recommended)
  • LiPo capable of at least 35 amps continuous discharge (3DHS 3s 2200 recommended)
  • HS-65 or equivalent servos
  • Servo extensions
  • 4 Channel Transmitter and receiver (6 channel computer radio recommended)
  • 1 3⁄4 ď Spinner (Great Planes Ė GPMQ4755 White used for review)
  • Thin CA Glue
  • 12-30 minute Epoxy Glue (NOT 5-minute Epoxy)
  • Hobby knife
  • Small Phillips Screwdriver
  • Metric Allen wrenches
  • Masking tape
  • Scissors
  • Small pliers
  • Pins
  • Clear tape
  • Wire cutters


The assembly is very straightforward. 3D Hobby Shop has engineered their ARFs to assemble quickly and easily. An experienced builder can build this plane in two evenings and probably not much more for the novice builder.

There are 20 basic steps:

1. Hinge ailerons.11. Install wheels, pants and landing gear.
2. Install aileron servos.12. Install motor, esc and battery velcro.
3. Install aileron control horns.13. Install cowl.
4. Install horizontal stabilizer.14. Install receiver.
5. Hinge rudder to vertical stabilizer.15. Install remaining horns & control linkages.
6. Install elevator joiner wire.16. Cut air exit for batter cooling.
7. Install elevator halves.17. Install prop and spinner.
8. Install vertical stabilizer/rudder to fuselage.18. Program transmitter (rates and expo).
9. Install tail wheel assembly.19. Check CG.
10. Install elevator and rudder servos.20. Go Fly!


I used T pins when installing CA hinges to insure half of the hinge was in the aileron and half in the wing. To install the control horn simply push the horn into the aileron, trace around the horn, remove the horn, remove the covering that is beneath the horn, and finally, epoxy the horn in place. Make sure to let the epoxy overlap on top of the horn. This may not look strong enough but I've yet to have one come loose.


The manual provides excellent instructions for installing the tail surfaces. The most important steps here are making sure the horizontal stabilizer is lined up properly and parallel to the wing and that the vertical stabilizer is perpendicular to the horizontal stabilizer.

Landing Gear, Wheel Pants, Wheels and Tail Wheel

The landing gear and tail wheel assembly definitely put the 3D Hobby Shop Katana in a class of its own. The two piece carbon fiber landing gear is designed to go together fast and looks great. The wheel pants are slotted to allow a precise and easy fit of the carbon fiber gear leg.

To install, simply insert axle into wheel, install wheel collar and insert wheel/axle assembly into wheel pant.

Then install threaded end of axle through the landing gear leg and secure with lock nut.

Each leg assembly is then bolted to the bottom of the fuse.

The tail wheel assembly is also very easy and super fast to install. Simply align the assembly with the last hole that retains the wire lined up over the hinge line. Drill a hole for the wire to insert into the rudder. Epoxy the wire into the hole in the rudder and screw the bracket to the bottom of the fuselage..

Motor and ESC

The recommended power setup is the Torque 2818-900 outrunner with the Airboss 35 ESC. This, along with at least a 3S 20C 2000 mAh LiPo, provides plenty of power for the Katana. Whatís awesome about the Torque 2818-900 is that it can also run on a 4S LiPo and produce 600+ watts. A larger ESC and separate BEC is required unless you use the newer Airboss 45 ESC, which is capable of running 4s without using a separate BEC. Also, running 4s requires a LiPo that can handle 40 amps continuous if running an 11x5.5 prop. Please note that the manufacturer does not recommend 4s or that high of an amp draw from this motor, so do so at your own risk. With that said, the motor has never been beyond warm to the touch after a flight. Here are the combinations that I tested.

Torque 2818-900
Airboss 35 ESC

Tanic 3S 2150 LiPo

APC 12x6E prop

350 watts

32.5 amps
Torque 2818-900
Airboss 35 ESC

Thunder Power Extreme 3S 2070 LiPo
APC 13x6.5E prop

370 watts

37 amps
Torque 2818-900
Airboss 35 ESC

Tanic 3S 2150 LiPo

APC 12x8E prop

376 watts

37 amps
Torque 2818-900
Airboss 45 ESC

Tanic 4S 2150 LiPo

APC 11x5.5 prop

600 watts

40.5 amps
Torque 2818-900
Airboss 35 ESC

Tanic 3S 2150 LiPo

APC 13x6.5E prop

390 watts

38.4 amps
Torque 2818-900
Airboss 45 ESC

Tanic 4S 2150 LiPo

APC 12x6E prop

715 watts

50.3 amps
Torque 2818-900
Airboss 35 ESC

3D Hobby Shop 3s 2200 LiPo

APC 13x6.5E prop

398 watts

38.6 amps
Torque 2818-900
Airboss 45 ESC

3D Hobby Shop 4S 2200 LiPo

APC 11x5.5E prop

604 watts

43.1 amps

I recommend the 3s setup for precision aerobatics and 3D flying. If you are out for power and mainly precision aerobatics, the 4s setup is awesome, but does add some weight which can be a benefit on a windy day. The Katana carries the extra weight just fine. Also note that with the 4s you will be slightly nose heavy. The heavier 4s pack needs to be moved aft, but is limited by the wing tube which prevents a perfect neutral CG, but the Katana still performs well. I highly recommend purchasing the Torque 2818-900 / Airboss 45 combo which will give you the ultimate versatility for your Katana.


To complete the Katana, install the cowl and create an air exit for motor, ESC and battery cooling by cutting away covering on the bottom of the fuselage.

I would also like to note two additional unique features of the 3D Hobby Shop Katana: the canopy has magnets on two planes for securing the canopy in flight and provides a tight snap fit for a very secure ride,

and the thumbscrew wing bolts make attaching the wing halves fast and easy, and no tools are required.


For high rates, use the maximum throw available at the surface. For the elevator, this must be at least 40 degrees (2.5 inches). It is recommended to use 70% expo on all surfaces on high rates.

Ailerons Low Rate: 5/8 inch (35% Expo) Elevator Low Rate: 3⁄4 inch (35% Expo) Rudder Low Rate: 1 inch (35% Expo)

Center of Gravity (CG) for the first flights is 5 1/8Ē (130mm) back from the leading edge of the wing where it meets the fuselage. Adjust CG for neutral flight upright and inverted for precision flight and as far back as you are comfortable with for 3D flight. I recommend making small changes (1/4Ē) in the CG until you find your comfort zone. Follow the manual for additional trimming and mixing. The manual is very comprehensive not only for assembly but for setup and tuning (rates, CG, expo, mixing, etc.). In addition, Ben includes a bonus section entitled ďBasic 3D GuideĒ written by Scott Stoops, which guides you through several 3D maneuvers like the elevator, harrier and blender.

Takeoff and Landing

Takeoff requires only minor rudder corrections with the short roll out. Once in the air the Katana is point and shoot; it goes where you command. Stalls are very predictable, and once stalled it mushes straight ahead. Landings are pretty straightforward but require slight power all the way to touch down.

Special Flight Characteristics/Aerobatics

The Katana excels in precision aerobatics. I found minimal rudder correction needed on up lines and loops, and rudder authority is very good. Roll rate is fast and very axial. Snap rolls are extremely fast. Knife-edge is not 100% free of coupling but very close with some speed is needed. Knife edge snaps are possible but I found myself overrotating when performing them, which I attribute to the pilot and not the plane.

The Katana is very 3D capable as well. My favorite maneuver is the blender into an inverted flat spin, and the Katana does it very well. It will flat spin upright all day long as well. Inverted harriers are very stable, and upright harriers have some light rock. While Iím not that good at hovering or torque rolling, the Katana will hover and torque roll very well in the right hands.

The 3D Hobby Shop Katana 3D/Precision Report Card

ManeuverGrade Notes
Snaps A + These are lightning fast
Knife Edge A Beautiful with only slight coupling
High Alpha Knife Edge A Keep some airspeed, and these are nice. Transitions into knife edge half loop nicely.
Loops A+ Tracks straight with no tendency to snap out.
Hammerheads A+ These are very simple and fun to do with the Katana.
Spins A+ Does them upright and inverted very well.
Inverted Flight A Some up elevator required with aft CG but perfect with neutral CG.
Hover A Very stable and locks in very nicely.
Harriers A Slight wing rock upright and zero rock inverted.
Blenders A+ Blenders are excellent with the Katana. Finish it off with an inverted flat spin.
Elevators A+These are excellent upright and inverted.

Is This For a Beginner?

The 3D Hobby Shop Katana is not for the beginner. This plane is for intermediate to experienced pilots and would be very suitable for pilots who have had successful stick time on low/mid wing sports models. While not a beginner plane, on low rates, the Katana is very tame.

Flight Video/Photo Gallery


The 3D Hobby Shop Katana looks AWESOME! Ben nailed it with this color scheme.

Additional Videos

If this review has not whet your whistle then take a look at these exciting videos by Higher Planes!

Chip Hyde guest pilots the Katana

Matt Richards 2007 SEFF demo

Mountain Madness Part I

Mountain Madness Part II

Twin Peeks II Ė Introduction

Lake Cruise Lullaby (Twin Peek 1.5)

3DHobbyShop.com introduces two new ARFs. 10/31/06. Twin Peek


The 3D Hobby Shop Katana is an extremely durable well-designed airplane that looks fantastic and performs great in the air. You will be impressed with itís top quality lightweight design, awesome graphics, high quality carbon fiber landing gear, wheel pants that look great but more importantly are a breeze to install, magnetic hatch thatís easy to remove but hangs on for the ride and one of the most comprehensive assembly/flight manuals Iíve seen. Give the Katana a tryÖ you wonít be disappointed.


  • Canopy has retaining magnets for quick access and it holds every time
  • Thumbscrew wing retaining screws for fast installation and removal of wings
  • The easiest wheel pants Iíve ever installed
  • Overall assembly is fast and easy.
  • Manual is very complete with extensive setup and includes Basic 3D guide by Scott Stoops
  • Overall quality and value is excellent


  • Had to install elevator joiner
  • Some knife edge coupling but very minimal and is easily mixed out
Last edited by Angela H; Oct 07, 2007 at 08:39 PM..
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Oct 07, 2007, 09:38 PM
Test your skills....fly IMAC!!
sun.flyer's Avatar

Great job on the 47" Katana review!! The Katana is truly a fantastic airplane to fly and I find that it is indeed a great precision airplane but yet at the throw of a switch it 3D's with the best of them.

Excellent review on a terrific airplane!! AWESOME videos, thanks for all the links.

Oct 07, 2007, 10:08 PM
ExtremeFlight - 3DHS - Legacy
blucor basher's Avatar
Great job, Steve - thanks for all the work getting this one up!
Oct 07, 2007, 10:23 PM
I used to be all thumbs...
NumbSkull's Avatar
Great Review!

The 3DH Kat is one of my all time favorite planes. Great flier, durable, and damn good looking!!

Wouldn't expect anything else from 3DH.
Oct 08, 2007, 02:10 PM
Guerilla Huck Power..activate!
smelyal8r's Avatar
Very well done Steve!
Oct 08, 2007, 02:13 PM
Real Men Fly Pink Planes...
kepople's Avatar
Great review...I like this plane also, flies really nice...

Oct 08, 2007, 02:17 PM
3DHobbyShop disciple
waltj2k's Avatar
Outstanding review on an amazing airplane.

You gotta get yourself one of these.

I love how well the Katana tracks in the air. It knife edge really really well. Once you find the sweet spot the plane just stays there.
Oct 08, 2007, 02:28 PM
davidsons's Avatar
Thanks guys! I really appreciate all the nice comments.

Oct 08, 2007, 05:51 PM

Excellent Review!

Extremely detailed review that will set a new standard for FIRST CLASS REVIEWS. But that is how you build all of your airplanes......just don't let Kirby fly them.... Just kidding Kirby.
Oct 09, 2007, 07:46 AM
3DHS Junkie
800mZero's Avatar
Great review steve on one of my favorites!!!!
Oct 09, 2007, 03:28 PM
iFly SL
What was YOUR RTF weight with the batteries you used?
Oct 09, 2007, 04:10 PM
davidsons's Avatar
Hey Sportjet.

39 oz. with Tanic 3s 2150.

Oct 09, 2007, 04:41 PM
"Have Glue - Will Travel"
dawnron1's Avatar
Excellent review, Steve!
Oct 11, 2007, 07:36 AM
davidsons's Avatar
Thanks Ronnie!
Oct 13, 2007, 09:55 PM
Closet 'Air Supply' Fan!
rscarawa's Avatar
Any idea how the Katana compares to the Extra SHP? Do they use the same airfoils and tail sections?



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