***Pinata and Assassin Building Instructions*** - RC Groups
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Mar 27, 2008, 12:30 PM
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***Pinata and Assassin Building Instructions***

UPDATE 5-30-09

We have been researching how to make the Pinata into a more economical, more durable, fin-less combat style wing that is quieter, has better slow speed characteristics and is easier to build. We also had a new 18 gauge stainless steel motor mount machined just for us that is designed for the recommended motor. We have also gone to a flat spar that is easier to install and stiffer. There are so many changes a new name is in order to identify the new plane. We have decided to call the new combat plane the Assassin. The Pinata Gorda will be updated in the near future with a new more swept finless Pinata with EPP elevons and SS motor mount.

The 36" Assassin is less swept, has a longer thicker wing clear to the wing tips making it fly slower and more stable without fins. Flying slower makes it a better plane for combat because it will slow down and not over fly the action. It can turn in a smaller circle than any other flying wings we see and it still has a good top speed of over 70 mph. It also comes with 1.9 lb EPP foam elevons if you buy the kit. The EPP elevons are just as flexible as the wing reducing combat rash and keeping you in the air while the competition is our for repairs.

We still love the Pinata's and there are hundreds of them flying out there but we now have a new variation that is better for the beginners and comes as a kit that will take the guess work out of much of the building process. This is a link to a new thread but there is a lot of information in this thread that can help you with the new design so bookmark both of them.

May I introduce the new EPP ASSASSIN thread. Watch the videos!!!!


Here is another place you can find more information if you want to know where to get one.


These are photos showing a Pinata Build.

Please also refer to the original Pinata thread for more ideas and instruction at:


Post #8 on this thread by Jeff J. also has a good start to finish tutorial that uses a more traditional motor mount. Thanks Jeff!

Look in post #1 of this thread for suggestions to help you get the materials you need to build the plane.


The Pinata story goes like this. I was cutting flying wings back in the 80's, before EPP foam was invented and before flying wings became popular. During this time I taught a new flyer to cut foam and he showed up at the slope with a thick winged plane that he had designed and cut. I was surprise how well it flew and also surprised how durable it was. I was sure the thin airfoils were the best way to go but the fact his plane could fly with the best of the planes never left my mind.

I started cutting EPP planes for myself but had many club members request wing cores and kits in the new www.utahflyers.org club. I started with a plane I called the Wild Wing that was a high performance light EPP wing. (before Hobby People had a wild wing.) It became so popular that it has become one of the favorite planes in the club with over 500 of them having been cut so far.

As we got more into combat I kept seeing battery and radio damage and started trying to design a plane that could provide better protection. Just for fun I built a super thick wing that was thick enough we could stand a 1300 lipo on it's side and still hide it in the foam. I took it out to the field and started to fly it in combat. It flew great and within weeks it was the plane everyone wanted. It became so popular that no one wanted the old high performance thin Wild Wings anymore. This plane was named the Pinata Gorda. I ended up giving the old cores away as door prizes at a club activity.

This thread is dedicated to the Pinata Gorda and marks a period of time and certain building techniques that we still use at times. The evolution didn't stop there. We continue to try to improve the plane and the latest upgrade is the Assassin. It is also a thick wing like the Pinata.

These thick EPP fighting wings are tough. They are made to hit things and survive. One day at the park I was flying one of the Pinata Gordas and a flyer with a pre-built balsa glow plane came to talk to me. He didn't like flying wings and didn't like foam. He said the planes were over rated so I flew some incredible high G aerobatics then with the plane at half throttle flew into a brick wall. I then turned to him and told him it was his turn. I have never found any other plane that can compare with the flying wing light weight performance, ease of building and EPP durability.

Here are videos from the Un-Civil wars (our local club vs club fly-in) filmed by Jon L. I am pleased to say he survived. Notice how tough these planes are and don't forget to go to the new Assassin thread and see the videos there:

UFO CIVIL WAR 5/17/08 MIDVALE, UT (4 min 9 sec)

Second Semi Annual Civil War 11-1-08 (3 min 18 sec)

These videos are from a hike we took to fly the Pinata off the cliffs at 12000'. One of the main reasons I originally designed this size and weight of plane is to make this single trip.

Flying RC at 12000' #1 of 4 (6 min 24 sec)

Flying RC at 12000' #2 of 4 (6 min 3 sec)

Flying RC at 12000' #3 of 4 (6 min 33 sec)

Flying RC at 12000' #4 of 4 (8 min 39 sec)

A little park demo

Pinata flown by Jeff P. (3 min 17 sec)

Last edited by Lee; Mar 07, 2010 at 07:43 AM.
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Mar 27, 2008, 12:30 PM
Lee's Avatar
This section discusses the parts you will need to purchase and the preparation of the plane for covering and then the covering of the plane.

This is a parts list of the items you will need to finish your Pinata.

We have kept the supplies simple and The parts needed are:

1. Elevons and rudders. We have recently been using coroplast from the paper store. We have also been using the thinner coroplast that comes with the make your own sign available at Walmart. 3/8 balsa is lighter and the good old reliable but takes more work and is more likely to be broken in combat. Old political signs will work especially signs from the opposing canidate.
2. 1" Fiber tape from Walmart.
3. 3M90 (hrdware store)
4. Ultracoat (hobby store)
5. 1x 4mm Carbon tube 18" long (hobby store or mail order)
6. 2x push rods, (hobby store)
7. 2x horns, (hobby store)
8. Motor mount of light ply, adapted sprinkler fitting or purchased motor mount from hobby king.

I spray 3M90 spray adhesive to coat the EPP foam before applying the reinforcement tape and the iron on covering. EPP foam has a waxy surface and the iron on covering won't stick without a spray adhesive. Let the 3M90 dry overnight before continuing. 3M90 has sprays with lumps and globs. Don't worry about it. It dries flat and will look great.

Another 3M spray adhesive product is 3M77. 3M77 remains tacky and is heavier in the finished product but it does work well and is my second choice if you can't find the 3M90. Other brands have not been as good as either of the 3M products and one even ate my foam.

After the spray adhesive I put fiber packing tape across the leading and top and bottom on the trailing edge to keep the EPP plane from tearing in an accident.

We cover our planes with a heat shrink plastic covering. I recommend Ultracoat applied with an iron. Ultracoat is a low temperature plastic iron on covering that adds significant strength to the plane.

I discourage the use of the colored packing tape commonly sold for covering. Colored tape doesn't stay stuck and isn't as strong.
Last edited by Lee; Feb 05, 2009 at 01:39 AM.
Mar 27, 2008, 12:32 PM
Lee's Avatar
Covering ideas and basics.

I like to use bright flashy colors to make the plane easy to see in all light conditions and against all backgrounds. This plane can be set up to be high performance and it is wise to make the top and bottom of the plane different colors for the high speed rolls.

The center of gravity is always an issue. I don't want to over state the problem but your satisfaction with this plane will be higher if your plane is light and balanced well. My thoughts are...

Don't put too much tape behind the CG (center of Gravity)on the TE (trailing edge). I have never torn a wing through the elevon but tears are usually between the elevons. We have used 2" fiber tape top and bottom between the elevons but not the entire length of the wing to save weight on the trailing edge.

Keep the battery, receiver and servos forward but remember the foam is your shock absorber in an accident.

If you use the Ultracoat and fiber tape you don't need carbon tubes to the wingtips.

In the past we have used the lighter balsa for elevons. WE have recently started using Coroplast because it is stronger and cheaper. The Coroplast elevons together weigh about 1 oz. They have held up well in combat.

This plane can easily carry a little extra weight from a little lead in the nose, but it can't fly tail heavy. If you plane does not fly well first check your center of gravity then recheck your elevons are moving in the right direction.

Last edited by Lee; Dec 10, 2008 at 12:38 AM.
Mar 27, 2008, 12:33 PM
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Mounting the radio and battery.

I like to use a Formica jig and a soldering iron to cut the holes for the battery, ESC, receiver and servos. We discovered that a single slot will hold the receiver ESC and the servos making construction even faster and giving a slot to route the wires. This speeds up the process especially if you are building a fleet of them like I often do. ( I usually build about 4 at a time. )

I like to keep the battery sideways to protect the battery from smashing an end in combat

Notice the small cut for the Spektrum 6100E antenna. The more I use this radio the better I like it.
Last edited by Lee; Dec 10, 2008 at 12:38 AM.
May 22, 2008, 11:19 PM
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Radio and Fins.

Notice how the servos are centered. Flying wings have to have a little up elevator in order to fly. When you do a roll the elevator trim will make the plane corkscrew rather than do an axle roll. To over come this tendency you want more down elevator than up. This can be easily accomplished by positioning the horns off center rather than centering them. Look at the pictures.

The fins are toed in to decrease yaw. This wing will fly without fins because of the deep sweep of the wing but having the fins pigeon toed in 1//4" each will help to make the plane track true and straight.

I like exposed control rods and clevis's. Some of the other flyers like to bury the rods in the wing. My logic is if I can see them I can fix them easily and if the wing gets broken the external rods are much easier to replace. the push rods also act as shock absorbers and protect the servos by bending rather than breaking the servo gears, arms or control horns. I do not recommend the light weight servos. In combat you will be glad to have metal gears.

I know that the plane would look better if I covered the radio and battery but remember this is a combat plane. I am going to smash it into Todd's, Jeff's and Darren's planes and any other planes that get in my way. If I break something I can change any electrical part out at the field in less than 10 minutes and be back in the air to hit his plane again. (I hope!!!)

Everything here is designed for quick building and repair. The thick airfoil is the most durable I have ever cut and it flies extraordinarily well even when built heavy which you can't say with most planes. The thick airfoil also helps to slow the plane down for combat but it will still fly at 70-75 mph as shown. With the FC 28-12 or a BP21 and a 7x6 prop this plane will go vertical with 3S lipos at about 15 amps.

Happy flying!!!

Last edited by Lee; Feb 05, 2009 at 01:36 AM.
May 23, 2008, 02:43 AM
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Last edited by Lee; Dec 09, 2008 at 04:08 PM.
May 24, 2008, 11:02 AM
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May 24, 2008, 12:51 PM
Hit Me! Please!
jwjohnson's Avatar

Pinata Gordo Construction - Copy

Lee asked me to copy my original post over to this thread. The plane was completed in Dec 2007 and is still dishing out whacks just fine.

Here is it:

I just maidened my new PG today. It was a bit tail heavy, but once we figured that out, it flew very nicely. Lee asked me to post a bunch of pics or a video of the construction. Since I don't have a video camera that means pics. I pretty much followed the directions Lee has posted earlier in this thread. Since it is a bit tail heavy, I'm going to move the battery forward about 3/4" which should take care of it.

Final weight is 15 oz with TP Prolite 1320 3s pack, Castle Creations Phoenix 25 ESC, Spektrum 6100 receiver, two Hitec HS-81mg servos, and the Emax motor. I'm using a 7x6" APC slowflyer prop with a prop saver.

I've tried to comment on the steps in the photo captions, so here goes.

Last edited by jwjohnson; Jun 01, 2008 at 03:50 PM.
Jun 17, 2008, 01:54 PM
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230@10's Avatar

Sprinkler mount

I've been lurking for over a year now. I bought enough foam for 6 panes. I am finished with my power supply. I'll build my jigs over the next few days. I will be building planes for my father, son, and myself. I was wondering how the new mount is working out?
Jun 18, 2008, 05:52 AM
Lee's Avatar
The mount works great so far. The only trouble is keeping the weight forward. I had to add 1.5 oz lead to the nose but the plane carries the weight well. I've had a couple of good hits with the plane even ripped one of the gold fins to pieces. The mount seems to hold together well. The green plane in the tutorial has one of the highest roll rates I have ever built.
Last edited by Lee; Jul 17, 2008 at 10:03 AM.
Jun 24, 2008, 02:07 AM
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Darth_Elevator's Avatar
Has anyone ever velcroed their wingtips on? If so, did it work? If no one's tried it, can anyone think of a reason why it wouldn't work?
Jun 24, 2008, 05:33 PM
Registered User

My name is Sam

I was wondering how I could get 4 wing cores and how much they will be? If you will please let me know who I need to talk to. Thanks.
Jun 24, 2008, 11:42 PM
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Darth_Elevator's Avatar
To get wings, you can talk to either Lee or Natetanr. Are you in Utah, Killerfly? Only reason I ask is because I think Lee only sells locally. Nate might still be shipping wings if he got is CNC cutter fixed and/or reassembled.
Jun 25, 2008, 05:10 PM
Registered User
Yes I live in Lehi. And I heard you guys combat some were close to me.
Jun 25, 2008, 05:16 PM
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Darth_Elevator's Avatar
Since you're in Utah County, Lee is the one to talk to. You can ask him if he will cut you some cores next time he orders foam. It would be ideal if you joined up with the group some Saturday or Wednesday and got to see them fly in person and talk to the guys. Watch this thread for details on when they meet up, and where: https://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=362264

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