|Wing area:||511 sq. in. (330 sq. cm)|
|Weight:||112.9 oz. (3.2kg)|
|Center of gravity:||2.9" - 3" back from the LE of the wing (75 - 78mm)|
|Servos:||Cirrus CS601BB standard for ailerons and flaps; Hitec HS-311 standard for elevator, rudder and throttle (31311S)|
|Transmitter:||Futaba 6EX "FASST" spread spectrum (FUTK6900, transmitter and receiver only)|
|Receiver:||Futaba R606FS (FUTL7635, discontinued)|
|Receiver battery:||HydriMax Ultra 6.0v 2000mAh NiMH flat pack (HCAM6351)|
|Engine requirements:||.58 - .61 two-stroke glow/.70 - .91 four-stroke glow|
|Engine as tested:||Magnum XLS .61A two-stroke glow (210770); Magnum XL Pitts-style muffler (279945)|
|Fuel as tested:||Byron's 15% nitro/18% oil|
|Propeller as tested:||APC 12x7, DU-BRO 3" spinner|
|Manufacturer:||Vinh Quang Model|
|Catalog numbers:||VQA034 (red), VQA035 (pink)|
|Available from:||Hobby People|
|List price/suggested selling price (USD):||$309.99/$199.99|
To my way of thinking, there are two modeling subjects which best represent the quintessential model airplane: One is WWII warbirds, and the other is high-performance, aerobatic air show planes like the Cap-10B.
After all, if you're going to roll, tumble, loop and/or spin, why not do it with a model whose prototype does those very things on a regular basis at air shows all over the world? Enter one of the latest models from Vinh Quang Model and Global Hobby, the VQ Model Cap-10B .60.
You may recall my assembly adventures with this same company's .40-sized P-51D. After that review was published here, Global Hobby's product developer Mike Greenshields worked as a liaison between the company and I to directly and immediately discuss my suggestions for improving the quality of both model and documentation. I'm honored to report that the good folks at VQ took all of my suggestions to heart and are implementing them as necessary in all future production runs of their models, many of which seem to have been implemented on this very model. That's real customer service from both VQ and Global and that's why I'm so proud to present this review.
The prototype, built by France's Avions Mudry & Cie., now Apex Aircraft, first flew in 1970. The current model, the Cap-10C, is still in production today. A total of more than 300 Caps have been built primarily as air show aircraft, but some Caps have found their way into the military fleets of several countries for use as trainer aircraft, including that of its home country. The name is an acronym for "Constructions Aéronautiques Parisiennes." Power for the Cap comes from the USA in the guise of a fuel-injected, 180-horsepower Lycoming AEIO-360.
VQ produces their Cap in two trim schemes. The "pink" scheme, with its French civil aviation ID of F-GAUH, is based on an actual aircraft owned and flown by a French aeronautics club. The "red" scheme which denotes the standard factory livery is the subject of this review and is similar to the pink scheme, but its registration of F-GDIN is that of a full-scale Cessna 152; those of you who feel guilty about adding incorrect decals to a scale subject need not worry in this case.
You'll find your new Cap-10B packaged in a fairly attractive box featuring photos of both trim schemes, and while the box itself is nice and thick, the lid isn't; mine tore as I removed the box from its shipping carton.
Another thing you'll notice is the box art's mangled English which seems to be a direct translation from the alternate French text resulting in some rather strange syntax, not to mention a few misspellings. I don't speak French, so I can't vouch for that text's accuracy. Some badly translated English (no French at all) continues throughout the manual. I've suggested that VQ take advantage of their fairly new partnership with Global Hobby and electronically forward future manuals and box art for proofreading. In marketing, perception is reality and this beauty deserves the best possible presentation.
Both versions of the VQ Model Cap-10B .60 include:
You will need:
Like the P-51D before it, the Cap-10B came carefully and securely packaged. The hardware may look like a jumbled mess at first glance, but I can assure you from experience that it is not; the hardware comes packaged and organized in individual Ziploc-style bags.
VQ Model is unique among ARF manufacturers in their use of preprinted graphics over heavy-duty, adhesive-backed vinyl covering film. This gives the benefits of a low decal count and no chance of the graphics lifting off the covering over time. However, the thick vinyl is susceptible to temperature changes when new and will relax when exposed to sunlight; you'll need to frequently expose the components to outside temperature in order to acclimate the covering.
That covering is ironed over subassemblies which really mean business. The control surfaces and horizontal stabilzer are solid wood, hinged not with "credit card" CA hinges but with three-piece nylon hinges. This is also the first ARF I've ever completed which had both ailerons and flaps securely installed from the factory.
We begin by attaching the dihedral joiners to the center section of the wing. The manual recommends a test fit before securing everything with thirty-minute epoxy. A pair of 7mm wooden dowels are used to locate the front of the completed wing and need to protrude 10mm. You'll have to drill out the holes, but not too much. These dowels should be a reasonably snug fit.
You may also have to drill holes for the servo leads. They're shown in the illustrations, but my center section didn't have any. Should you need to drill holes as I did (see the photo), do so carefully since that's some rather soft balsa skinning that certer section. Use an X-Acto to square the openings as illustrated in the manual. It'll make it a lot easier to pass the plugs through later.
The manual shows the use of preinstalled "fishing lines" for the servo leads, but my kit had none and it seems they aren't necessary. You'll have no trouble fishing the lines through later on.
This is where I took some time to admire the craftsmanship of this model. All of the ribs of both wings and center section were either laser-cut balsa, plywood or hardwood and all fit together beautifully.
The aileron servos are next and, like those used on the P-51D, are Cirrus CS601BB ball-bearing standard servos. These servos are not only among the smoothest and most powerful standard servos on the market, they're a tremendous bargain at less than US$10 each through Hobby People. Start by trimming the covering from around the servo mount with an X-Acto. Attach a 6" servo extension to the servo lead; I suggest securely wrapping the connection with electrical tape to prevent separation. Run the plug out through the center section and mount the aileron servo in its cradle per the manual. I opted to use some DU-BRO socket head servo screws in lieu of the hardware supplied with the servos; it's just easier and faster to use socket heads and their built-in washers evenly spread the load across the mounting ferrules and bushings. They also look great. Remove the flap servo mounting plate, run it the short distance necessary to the end of the wing and out the same hole as the aileron lead. Repeat for the other side. When the leads are through, mix up some more thirty-minute epoxy and join each wing to the center section. The result is a solid, well-aligned unit with greatly improved construction over that of the P-51D with its too-soft sheeting.
Installing the aileron pushrods and horns is a straightforward task; just remember to use short lengths of fuel line over the clevises as a safety precaution not mentioned in the manual. Chuck a 5/64" (2mm) drill bit in your pin vise, drill the necessary holes per the instructions and take a moment to use that drill to ream the holes in the horns. Use an X-Acto to open up the holes in the backing plates ever so slightly. Use the enclosed 2x20mm screws; they're a perfect fit unlike those in the P-51D which proved to be too short.
On the other hand, get a couple of 2-56 pushrods and clevises for the flaps and their hidden servos. Here's where I ran into my first minor glitches.
Start by removing the covering over the slots which the pushrods will pass through and remove the preinstalled servo mounting plates. When mounting the flap servos to the preinstalled wooden blocks on the wing's servo panels, don't mount the servo all the way against the underside of that panel; you won't be able to reinstall it later. Instead, mount the servos (which in this case are two more Cirrus CS601 servos) as close to the top of the blocks as possible, but beware: Use your pin vise to drill pilot holes for the mounting screws. Otherwise, you're guaranteed to crack the mounting block. I found that out the hard way, but a bit of work with the pin vise and some CA and I was back in business, that is, until I tried to bend the pushrods. No dimensions are given, so it became a matter of trial and error which came at the cost of all four short pushrods included with the model. When bent too far, they snapped like twigs. Some DU-BRO 2-56 pushrods from my grooveyard of mangled monoplanes were bent to fit and cut to length. Basically, I bent the rods nearly 90 degrees behind the threads and another near-90 degree bend about the width of the servo in the opposite direction. The manual cautions you that one of the servos is a "revert servo.” I assumed a servo reversing harness was necessary, and I happened to have one on hand, but it wasn't; both flaps moved in the proper direction when joined via a Y-harness, but quite a bit of bending and rebending was necessary to get everything to work right due to the aforementioned lack of dimensions and a non-scale drawing.
I opted to use the mix of Great Planes and DU-BRO pushrod clamps I had on hand. The manual says you'll need to purchase clamps, but there are some packaged with the model. Sadly, these are of the type which utilize a threaded, knurled nut and a drop of CA to retain the clamp to the servo arm. Perhaps it's just me, but I don't trust these types of clamps. For those of you more comfortable with z-bends, so much the better. I've never had a problem using clamps, but they do require some occasional inspection for wear and a quick snugging up with an allen wrench.
Installation of the fixed landing gear with their PVC and fiberglass fairings completes the wing. Trimming the PVC strut fairings isn't particularly difficult, but you're left with virtually no surface on which to CA the halves together. Once you do, slip the wheel pants and mounting plates over the axles and check the enclosed foam wheels for proper fit. Mine were too tight, but the #2 Phillips screwdriver I had on the bench was just the thing to ream out the holes. We'll have to see how the foam tires hold up after exposure to fuel. Some really good news: The enclosed wheel collars are a vast improvement over those which VQ provided with the P-51D with no tendency for the setscrew to strip out.
The plywood blocks which are meant to be used as the mounts for the wheel pants immediately began delaminating when I tried to screw down the first of the wheel pants...and this was after I drilled pilot holes with the pin vise. Nevertheless, there was enough bite to "keep the pants up" as it were. Some CA was used to reinforce the wood and all was well, at least for the time being.
Somehow, the other wheel fairing just didn't seem to fit the right way. No wonder: The top openings were different sizes...and even in slightly different locations. Even the overall dimensions between the left and right sides were off.
It could also be a lot stronger as I discovered later. The slightest bumps tore the screws and blocks right off. This is an easy fix; simply remove the blocks, drill through both the pants and mounts and run a 6-32 x 3/8 machine screw and nut through, securing the nuts with a dab of threadlocking compound. Be careful not to overtighten the bolts. As it is, you'll hear some protesting from the fiberglass, but the threadlocking compound will hold the nuts in place without the need to overtighten anything. Save yourself some frustration later on and do this at the onset. I've already discussed the issue with Global Hobby who in turn has promised to bring this to the attention of the factory.
Work on the fuselage begins with installing the engine, but before you do, take a moment once again to admire the workmanship. VQ Model has done an exemplary job with this unit. The fuselage is fully sheeted except for some stringers on the turtle deck. Take a look at the photos to see what I mean. Just be careful of the stringers. I managed to crack three slightly while fitting the wing, but some thin CA wicked in with a short length of extension tubing saved the day.
They've also greatly improved their documentation. Installing the engine on the P-51D was a study in frustration, resulting in an improperly mounted engine. Not so with this manual.
Like the P-51D, the bulkhead has the thrust angle built in, making the Cap-10B a natural for conversion to electric power. There's plenty of room behind it for a big li-po pack. Scribed draft lines on the front of the bulkhead make it easy to line up the strong, glass-filled nylon mounts. The manual is explicit in how every possible engine and muffler combination should be mounted.
Here's a tip: It isn't mentioned in the manual, and I found it down in the box too late to be able to take advantage of it, but included is a terrific little laser-scribed wooden template which will greatly simplify the installation.
You're even given the choice of mounting the throttle servo next to the engine or in the servo tray to help with the CG; I originally elected to mount a Hitec HS-311 standard servo next to the engine per the manual, figuring that a servo mounted this far forward would offset the one mounted in the tail for the rudder and that any CG issues could be accomplished by moving the battery and/or receiver Yes, there are four possible mounting locations, one on either side of the firewall and one on either side of the elevator servo depending on your choice of engine and configuration. How cool is that? Jumping ahead, I can tell you that I experienced some problems due to the rather short throw between servo and carburetor; even with a greatly shortened leftover Sullivan Gold-N-Cable cable instead of a pushrod, I had some problems with binding, not to mention serviceability. Adjusting the cable required removal of the fuel tank and just trying to get the servo and its arm in an out of the opening just wasn't worth the hassle. I wound up moving the servo back to its place on the servo tray. Much better. I now had far better control of the throttle. With the cable, it proved impossible to shut off the engine during its break-in without carefully placing my finger over the carb throat. It would prove to be a benefit later since the finished model balanced slightly nose-heavy anyway.
Getting back on track, the manual suggests holding the engine and mounts together, aligning the mounts to the bulkhead and to temporarily attach the mounts to the bulkhead in preparation for drilling the 11/64" mounting holes. Instead, I found that holding just the upper mount to the Magnum XLS .61A (itself reviewed here at RC Power) allowed me to center both the mount and the engine's centerline. I varied just a bit in my choice of mounting hardware, electing to use four DU-BRO 4x25 allen head bolts in conjunction with the factory washers and blind nuts.
Speaking of the manual, there's also a slight issue regarding the hole which must be drilled for the throttle pushrod. The place it shows is incorrect. It does show the proper placement of the hole for a four-stroke.
Once both mounts were in, I noticed that they weren't perfectly square with one another due to the the mounts themselves not being square where they contact the bulkhead. They weren't off by much, so all it really took was gently squeezing the mounts together when marking the holes for the engine mounting hardware.
Don't bother trying to use those enclosed bolts to bolt the engine to the mounts. They're too short.
Off to the hardware store for some stainless steel 6-32x1.25" Allen bolts, some #6 washers and lock washers and some 6-32 nuts. On went the engine with no further problems.
Installing the cowl, propeller and spinner is next, but if your engine is new (like mine), this is a good time to forego the cowl, jump ahead a few steps, install the fuel tank and break in your engine if you haven't done so on the bench. Get yourself a good 3" spinner while you're at it. An inexpensive 2" spinner which doesn't come close to complementing the quality of this model is included, one more suitable for a park flyer or a .40 nitro plane, nor does it fit; it's far too small an affair to use with the recommended 12x7 prop, and I can only guess that it was packed by mistake. I'm pleased to announce that the spinner found a new home in front of another plane of mine which had a damaged spinner. The DU-BRO 3" spinner I used needed some carving to clear the APC prop as it was. I've outlined the cowl installation a little later on.
If you do elect to break your engine in while mounted to the fuselage, mount the wing with the enclosed nylon bolts to keep oil out of the inside. Use a stand of suitable width; this is extremely important and I discovered the hard way that my Ernst Ultra-Stand was too narrow. The balsa skin along the front half of the belly is very thin and easily broken as I discovered. The torque of the big Magnum actually tried to push the top of the stand through the bottom of the plane. Fortunately, the damage was minimal and easily fixed by carefully pushing the wood back out with the handle of a screwdriver, applying thin CA with the help of an extension tube and ironing the covering back down.
Installing the tail starts with the horizontal stabilizer. As is the case with most ARFs, you'll need to remove the covering from the empennage with a sharp, new X-Acto. Unwrap the stabilzer, and remove the preinstalled elevator halves. They aren't glued in, so they'll slide right out. Here's where I noticed another nice detail on the part of VQ: The hinges are firmly glued to the elevator halves, meaning you won't have to worry about alignment problems with them when you do install the elevators.
The rest of the installation is typical. I installed the wing per the manual, measured 11 1/2" from the edges of the stab to the top of the tail and 33" from the topmost cowl mounting block back to the same edges.
We move on to the control horns which seem to be shown in the drawings as not squaring up with the elevator surfaces, which is how I elected to do it since the pushrods exit at an angle a bit too close to the elevators. Mounting the horns is as before with the ailerons and flaps.
The tailwheel and its PVC aerodynamic fairing are next. The screws used to mount the tailwheel bracket seemed a bit short, so I used a bit of CA to secure everything. This is where I found another neat little touch not shown in the manual: There's a tab below the bend in the wire which serves to spread the load more than just the wire itself could do. Again, another nice touch, but one which required a great bit of opening of the tail to accept. Likewise the slots on the tail for the prehinged rudder. Lots of carving was necessary before the hinges would fit.
Adding the rudder made for a real visual treat, by the way. It added both overall length and grace and I don't mind saying that this is becoming one of the most beautiful model planes I've ever had the opportunity to assemble.
The rudder servo, pushrod and horn go in next, completing the tail section. My parts bin yielded another DU-BRO pushrod since I'd destroyed all of the short factory rods trying to bend them for the flaps. There's a preinstalled fishing line for the servo lead, but don't forget to attach and secure a 12" extension first. Complete the tail with the installation of the elevator servo and its triple clamp which actuates the elevator pushrods. This is an excellent idea which I encountered in the P-51D. It eliminates a joining wire at the rear and allows for fine tuning the alignment of both elevator halves.
For safety, I slipped some short lengths of fuel tubing over each of the clevises as I'd done with the wing before calling it a day.
The next day, off I went to the club field to complete the engine break-in. It created quite a buzz, even with a couple of the regulars who fly giant scale. The time spent outside had the added benefit of acclimating the covering.
If you haven't yet installed the fuel tank, now's the time and do take a moment to install a piece of 1/4" foam rubber between the rear of the tank and the nearest bulkhead to help hold it in place. Otherwise, all that's holding it is the rubber stopper. I'd learn later on that this is a necessary step, but one not covered in the manual. I'd installed it less the foam in order to break in the engine and I once again have to give VQ Model credit for their thoughtful pre-bending of the vent tube. Another thoughtful touch is the fact that the pressure line from the muffler connects to a nipple on the tank itself, leaving a third, unused hole in the stopper for an extra tube, line and clunk to drain the tank via a second fuel dot should you wish to. Mine came out at this time in order to install a DU-BRO Kwik-Fill fueling valve (catalog number 334) on the cowl and to relocate the throttle servo. Make sure that you plug the filler line if you use the DU-BRO valve or something similar. I plugged it internally with a screw screwed into a short piece of fuel line before replacing it. This setup would later prove to work just fine.
I also installed the cowl itself, using the old trick of using strips of masking tape over the mounting blocks and fuselage, measuring back one inch from the center of the block and drawing a line between that spot and the fuselage. Measure the distance back from the glow plug and high-speed needle and do the same thing, marking the cowl at those spots once it's installed. The included 2x20mm mounting screws are called for for attaching the cowl. Deviating ever so slightly, those allen head servo screws I'd used throughout the model just so happened to be 2x20mm and they not only look terrific, they'll make future engine access a lot easier. I got the hole for the glow plug on the money, but I was off just a hair for the high-speed needle due to slight, unnoticed interference from the top of the needle itself. Illustrations suggest different openings which need to be made depending on the muffler setup. My use of a Magnum Pitts muffler meant all I had to do was to open up the bottom rear of the cowl to clear the silicone exhaust pipes. I installed the prop and spinner and the front of the plane was finished.
The cockpit floor and seats are next, the former attaching via four 2x10mm screws. The seats are next and attach with a bit of CA. Be careful: There are a definite top and bottom to the seats, but this may not be apparent at first. I installed mine with the longer side serving as the back, applying the CA to the surface with the injection marks. The underside of that floor makes a great place to mount a flat battery pack, and so I did with the help of some Velcro. No recommendation is made regarding the capacity of the battery, but with seven standard servos onboard, I went with a HydraMax 6.0v 2000mAh flat pack. I installed the receiver as well, wrapping it in foam and attaching it to the servo tray with some zip ties. There's no mention as to the location of a receiver power switch and there seems to be an opening on the servo tray where I mounted the receiver, but I didn't see the point of an internally mounted switch. A heavy-duty JR deluxe switch harness (JRPA001) was mounted to the left side of the plane next to the receiver. It's larger than the standard Futaba switch I'd planned on using, but the extra insurance of a top-quality switch such as this offsets the aesthetics, which really aren't bad.
Trimming the canopy can be done with ordinary scissors if you don't have Lexan scissors. Die-cut stickers are provided for the frame as well as clear instructions, but I discovered that some were too short. No problem; some extra sticker material cut to fit solved the problem nicely, but that's another detail that VQ Model really should address sooner instead of later. It all goes back to perception of quality. As far as alignment of the canopy is concerned, it aligns well and the manual shows it in the proper position in relationship to the full-scale Cap-10, unlike the box art which shows the canopy too far back. Check against online photos of the full-scale plane to see what I mean.
Installation of the cowling decals and any optional sponsor decals complete the assembly of the Cap. If you have the red version as I do, be careful to install the starburst decals in their proper orientation. All three should tilt forward with the longer of the two black starbursts on the top. The manual simply shows the starbursts already installed, but neither the picture nor the decal sheet really show which decal goes where. They're also way too shiny for my taste. The sponsor decals are not, but a couple are printed slightly out of register. You may opt to trim around the starbursts with a good, sharp X-Acto, removing the shiny clear part.
I based my decal choice on the most tasteful photo on the VQ website, opting for the prototypical "CAP 10" decal on the tail, the Lycoming and Champion decals near the cowl and the Michelin decals on the wheel pants. That Lycoming decal is one that's off-register, but it doesn't look all that bad once applied.
Finally, you're at step 32, the CG and control range setup. The range values are given in both US and metric, but the US values are almost silly. It's far easier to set up the flaps for 20mm of throw as opposed to 51/64", isn't it?
This is where a computer radio is necessary since the ailerons call for an up throw of 15mm and a down throw of 10mm. Problem: The flaps on my Futaba 6EX are on channel six. So too is the flaperon function which would have allowed me to assign each servo its own channel. Solution: 15mm of throw in both directions since both ailerons are on channel one. Flaps and elevators are set to 20mm of throw, the rudder at between 45 and 50mm and the CG from 75 to 78mm back from the leading edge of the wing. No matter what part of the world you live in, ignore the US measurements. Few rulers I know of measure 25/64", 19/32" and the like. There isn't a suggestion of exponential value, but I went with 30% as a starting point on the low rate setting to soften what I felt would be some very lively response. This proved to be a near-perfect setting during the test flights. On the high rate side, I increased the expo as well as the throws by five percent. A quick check of the CG which is at the forward edge of the black simulated pilot and passenger steps showed that the CG was pretty close to right on the money with a slight nose-heavy attitude.
This was also my first opportunity to see the completed model. All I can say is: Stunning. Simply stunning. This is one of the most beautiful model aircraft I've ever seen.
As has been the case with my previous reviews, I recruited Dan Metz, president of the Coachella Valley Radio Control Club, to give the Cap-10B the once-over and fly the maiden and was he ever impressed with the looks and the overall construction of this model. Impressed as well were some other flyers on hand.
Some engine starting problems immediately manifested themselves, but once the cowl and prop were removed and the engine test-run without the cowl or spinner in place, the culprit turned out to be the needle valve block-off plug on the side of the carb which was visibly loose while the engine was running. Once that was tightened back down, zoom! The fuel tank had popped loose from its hole in the firewall during this time, so we used some paper towels and a discarded sleeve from a Starbucks coffee cup to temporarily secure the tank in place until I could do a proper fix, which came about later in the aforementioned form of a sheet of 1/4" foam rubber between a bulkhead and the rear of the tank. A quick low-power range check of the radio and of the control throws and we were ready.
With Dan at the controls, the flaps down and the nose pointed into the wind, the Cap streaked down the runway and was airborne inside of thirty feet (10m) thanks to the flaps as well as a rather brisk headwind which almost made the flaps unnecessary.
To say he was impressed was an understatement.
All it needed for hands-off straight and level flight was a couple of clicks of right aileron. We're talking fast straight and level as well, which I estimated at around 85 mph (140 km/h) at full throttle with an engine on its first flight since break-in.
Overall flight characteristics looked to be on par with some of the finest ARFs on the market today. Dan has a lot of years of RC flight to his credit, so when someone like that makes a string of enthisiatic comments on a model's performance, you take those comments at face value and beyond. Even with standard servos, the Cap was locked down and absolutely predictable. Dan had also commented on the Cap's impressive axial stability. Simply put, banking the wings resulted in a clean turn or roll with no discernible drop in altitude or the need to overcompensate with elevator. Nor was much elevator required for inverted flight. Since the Cap balanced a bit nose heavy, he wasn't surprised at having to add a bit of elevator, especially since it wanted to climb under acceleration during normal flight. Unlike a Yak, Extra, Sukhoi and the like, the Cap-10B has some dihedral which may have played a part. There appears to be a lot less wing loading here than meets the eye; I honestly thought that the thing would have been a flying brick given the relatively short wingspan. Thank goodness for the flaps; they really do their job. Quite well, I might add. A slow, "dirty" fly-by with the flaps down was so slow that I was certain that it would tip stall and crash, but if anything, the Cap actually wanted to climb even at what was basically a slow jogging speed.
Dan gunned the throttle, raised the flaps and put the Cap through some basic aerobatic manuevers which I've outlined below, all of which were near-flawless. Loops required a bit more rudder than he would have liked, but the culprit turned out to be slightly misaligned elevator halves. Landings were equally impressive. The flaps give plenty of lift, resulting in an elliptical-winged aerobat which glides in like a trainer. Frankly, it lands like no model plane of this type has a right to. I was certain it would tip stall at some point prior to that first flight, but I needn't have been concerned. His landing was one of the smoothest I'd ever seen with only a slight bounce from the foam tires and if we had an audience, they'd have been yelling and clapping their approval. Even he was surprised at how well it landed.
After a quick double-check of the control surfaces and a quick wipedown of the underbelly and it was my turn.
Ground handling was great with my only concern being that the foam tires had clearly soaked up some fuel or oil based on the tracks they left, but nothing prepared me for just how great this bird would fly once it got in the air. Once more the Cap faced the wind, I brough up the throttle and it was off into a clear desert sky.
It turns out that Dan had every reason to be impressed. I was expecting a tail heavy, tip-stalling handful of an airplane; it was the first time I had preflight butterflies in a long time. Unlike the ridiculously nose-heavy P-51D which required nearly three ounces of extra weight at the tail, the Cap-10B was just nose-heavy enough to fly perfectly without the need for extra weight. I was very glad at this point that I relocated the throttle servo and used a plastic spinner instead of the aluminum one recommended online.
I'd overcompensated with a bit too much up elevator on takeoff which almost sent the Cap vertical, but I was able to keep things under control. Within mere seconds, I felt as if I'd been flying this plane for years. I'd expected it to be difficult to fly, but the overall performance was simply stellar; VQ's own website claims that the Cap-10B is suitable for beginning aerobatic pilots and I believe them. The recommended control throws made for enthusiastic response while the 30% expo kept that enthusiasm in check. I tried some basic victory rolls, some good old loop-the-loops and a couple of Immelmann turns and the Cap responded in kind with only the slightest course deviation in the loops due to the misaligned elevator. Just flying straight and level around the pattern was tremendous fun. At no time did I feel as if I were wrestling the controls just to keep it in the air.
Sadly, I had to cut that first flight of mine short before trying the high rates since we hadn't refueled it before I took off. I lowered the flaps, scrubbed off some of the Cap's considerable speed on final and in she came for a glass-smooth, three-point landing, perhaps among the best I'd ever done and possibly better than Dan's since I didn't bounce it on the mains. Even the act of lowering the flaps had very little effect on the Cap at speed, causing little more than a bit of upward thrust. The landing was a bit too fast since Dan had shut off the engine by using the trim instead of the throttle cutoff and though we thought we'd corrected it, the big Magnum .61 was still idling, well, just a bit too fast. Other than that, it was easily one of the most enjoyable flights I'd ever experienced. I taxied back to the flight line while resetting the throttle trim and gave the Cap the once-over. The only evidence it had flown other than some oil and a bit of desert dust was that of foam rubber dust from the visibly worn tires. Low-bounce rubber tires are definitely in this plane's future.
Subsequent and more relaxed flights a few days later were just as wonderful. I was more aggressive still with the Cap; about the only weakness I found was in the vertical performance, at least with a 12x7 prop. It was very good, but far from unlimited. I left it nose up until it stalled and the stall was graceful and controllable. Just beautiful. If you go with the same setup as I, you'll find that the vertical performance is nearly unlimited so long as you don't nose it up ninety degrees.
Rolls were astonishingly graceful given how well the axial control is.
My first landing sure must have been better than average since my subsequent landings, while very good, exhibited the same bounce from the mains that Dan experienced. In fact, just taxiing to the runway caused the tail to bounce on the slightest bump. Once in the air, this plane wants to fly and comes in hot even at a slow idle and with extended flaps. Result: The slightest contact with the runway bounced the plane back in the air a good ten inches, taking two or three bounces and most of the runway to bring it to a stop.
Given the fact that this is a model of a fully aerobatic air show plane, it should come as no surprise to learn that pretty much any non-3D aerobatic manuevers you care to try should be a few flicks of the sticks away.
What was so impressive was the fact the Cap did them so well and so effortlessly. The combination of a well-balanced airframe coupled with a high-revving, big-block two-stroke make for some of the most enjoyable sport flying you'll ever do. All that shattered the illusion of watching a full-scale Cap in action was the empty pilot's seat.
To recap, Dan was careful on that first flight, limiting his aerobatic manuevers to basic rolls and loops. One thing was immediately apparent: The Magnum XLS .61A is a perfect match for the Cap, effortlessly pulling it into huge, magnificent loops.
I was slightly more aggressive, putting the Cap through loops, victory rolls, Immelmann turns, stall turns and inverted flight once I got a feel for the controls. All were as easily performed as on a simulator. Although I hadn't tried anything beyond those basics on that first flight, I can tell you that a couple of half Cubans came off without a hitch on its next flights a few days later; I generally like to get about seven or eight flights on a model before I really cut loose, but this inspires so much confidence I may just have to bang sticks sooner than later. As a sport scale plane, it isn't set up nor does it seem to be intended for 3D flight, but rather scale-like aerobatics.
Control surface alignment is critical for accuracy, so be extra careful in aligning them properly.
If you're new to aerobatics, I can think of no better way to build confidence than by flying this model.
No, since it has none of the self-righting, slow-responding and comparatively slow-flying characteristics of a trainer. The Cap-10B is a very stable model, but everything happens really, really fast in comparison to a trainer and it'll go exactly where you tell it to. A pilot with little or no experience might put this model in an attitude that he or she might not be able to recover from. The manual also assumes that one has modeling experience. An intermediate pilot considering taking the step from simply boring holes in the sky to learning aerobatic maneuvers will have a fun time learning them with this model. I see no reason why this fine model couldn't be used to teach aerobatic skills to experienced pilots via a buddy box setup.
VQ Model has hit a proverbial grand slam with the Cap-10B. Virtually all of the building, setup and quality control issues I'd faced with the P-51D were almost entirely absent. In their place was a well-built, smooth flying, fast and highly maneuverable sport scale plane on par with the best the market has to offer. Proper and careful setup will result in one of the sweetest models of any scale and configuration you're likely to fly. With the exception of the delicate stringers and possibly the soft balsa underbelly, the Cap-10B has a solid heft to it; couple the overall construction and those hefty three-piece hinges with careful handling and you'll be wowing the crowds on the flight line for many a season to come.
All you'll have to do is to get past some poorly translated English and a few minor problems related to the hardware and the wheel pants and you're home free.
If an aerobatic .60 is on your short list of models, please allow me to offer some assistance in closing.
Take whatever list you have, throw it away, get to a Hobby People store or order online from them and get your own VQ Model Cap-10B .60 ARF. The chances are really good that this incredible model will be the favorite of your fleet. It has become far and away my favorite glow-powered plane after only five flights as of this writing.
Yes, this model really is that good.
I'll see you here at RCGroups and at the field!
Minuses are comparatively minor:
Nice review.... I've had my eye on their warbirds for a while... but that vinyl covering makes me nervous... especially living in Arizona.
A few suggestions:
Your attached pictures are too small. 800x600 is a good size for RCG. Yours are 320x213 and not much bigger than the thumbnails.
On your video... you need to turn off the auto focus and perhaps get a camera that has image stabilization ...
Other than that, very thorough.
At first, the pictures were actually too big. 2.1 megapixels was as low as the camera goes and this system rejected all of them or they were deleted by an admin soon after I uploaded them. I went through Image Shack to reduce them...and it seems I went the other way based on their suggestions.
As for the camera, it's a still camera with video capabilities and a viewfinder really prone to washout. Still learning to use it (blush).
I'm here in the desert as well and so far, so good with the covering. It's weird stuff; it immediately relaxes when you bring it outside but it eventually firms back up. I don't know if VQ sells the covering itself, but they should.
I would like to see some hard aerobatic results, spins flat spins, lomcevacs, knifedge, snaps etc. I had a 1/4 scale Yellow Aircraft Cap 10B and it was my favirite aerobatic plane because it did all these things well. If I knew this plane could come close to doing it I'd be sucked in and electrify it.
Sorry about the video (blush once more). Had the camera on an incorrect setting and with a viewfinder washed out by the sun. No earthquakes, but I was standing right on the San Andreas Fault at the time. Really!
Now that I have a bit more flying time on it, I plan to really run it through its paces and report back. It rolls just beautifully and I should be able to snap roll it with no problem. There sure is enough rudder area to do a proper knife edge and based solely on those criteria, a lomcevak shouldn't be a problem, or so I hope. A lom is a bit outside my skill level as is a flat spin, but I can get someone with the proper skill to give it a try and I'll report back later when they do.
I have some good news and bad news to report.
Good news: I tried doing some knife edges and I have to tell you, I have never, ever flown such accurate, on-the-nose and easily performed KE's such as this model is capable of.
And yes, it'll snap roll without breaking a sweat. Just too much darn fun.
Bad news: I'm thinking that the little nylon retainer which held the elevator pushrod clamp in place let go. It came out of a stall turn nose down and would not straighten up. The engine and ailerons were responding but the elevator, alas, could not.
Lawn dart all over the desert.
Should have used a metal clamp instead of the nylon one, but that's coulda-woulda-shoulda.
In any event, I maintain my original position: Buy this model. You will love it.
I am SO tempted. Facing a slight cash crunch, so it wouldn't be anytime soon. I'm glad you ordered one! I'm really interested in learning how well the electrical conversion will go. There's a lot of room up front for some big li-pos where the fuel tank would normally go and you'll have a nice, flat firewall to mount a motor. I don't know if you'll need to add weight, though. Mine balanced perfectly without needing any, but of course, I had an engine up front.
Man.... And I was gonna "convince you" to let me try some KE spins with it.... I would have volunteered to be your drunken biplane pilot and put her through her paces....... Since I haven't the time to fix "big bird" since the "big move"....... I am off to Scottsdale this weekend, so I will be a ghost AGAIN...
hopefully I will actually be able to devote some time to the hobby next week.
Take care bud! sorry to hear about the lawn dart....... KM
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