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By: Paul Oliver
This review is intended as a personal review by a modeller that may be of interest to fellow modellers, and therefore comments made are the opinions of the reviewer only.
I was first drawn to this aircraft having just totalled my Picojet as a result of a servo failure, and requiring a replacement fun model. I was going to the Hastings Model Airshow so had a weather eye open for a bargain - enter the Wattage F22 Raptor. I spied this model on a few trade stands and having found one at a price too good to refuse dipped into my wallet for a kit.
So what do you get for your money? Well you get a box containing several foam (Depron by the looks of it) pieces which are covered in a plastic skin of some form or other (pre-painted), an expanded polystyrene fuselage, a couple of polycarbonate moulded and painted pieces, u/c legs and wheels, motor, gearbox, and propellor. Basically everything is included except radio gear, electronic speed controller and battery pack.
What other items are required to complete the kit? Essentially a four channel radio control system (with electronic mixing) with two servos, an electronic speed controller (sub 20 Amp), a seven cell AR type Nicad or Nickel Metal Hydride battery pack.
To those people who are used to building their models, this one has hardly anything to do, so put the kettle on, make a cup of tea (coffee if you prefer it), open the kit box and read through the very detailed instructions that detail the assembly.
As I have said already, there is very little to do - just follow the instructions. Instead I shall just highlight a couple of points worthy of note.
The model looks fairly tough - except for the expanded polystyrene fuselage where there are a couple of areas that I feel need some strengthening/protection. Firstly the underside of the fuselage around the nose, access hatch and aft to the tail. I covered these areas in Sellotape Diamond tape to help prevent chunking and damage, which did prove itself first time I flew it. Another area requiring similar treatment - though I have to admit I did not do this until I learnt the lesson from my first flying session are the moulded foam to the rear to which the stabilators are fixed to. I would suggest that two layers of tape are placed round these if you are flying from anything but the flatest and smoothest of fields. These areas are weak and easily broken, but the tape does strengthen it.
The fuselage has a pre-painted polycarbonate moulded nose that I thought was a good idea considering that the fuselage material is really quite weak. There is also a similar moulding to cover the two stabilator servos, motor, and gearbox assembly at the rear of the fuselage. This item was the only piece I had a little trouble trimming to fit. It seemed ever so slightly undersize, or possibly distorted. Try as I might I could not get a perfect fit (or maybe I was expecting too much of what I consider to be a very cheap, yet good quality kit.
The kit comes complete with u/c legs and wheels, but I felt that the flying field was too rough for such items and would just add drag and weight so I opted to leave these off. Personally, I think that unless you are flying off of a Bowling Green it is best not to fit an undercarriage. Apart from which the model looks better in the air in clean form.
The model was now ready for finishing. This is a laugh as unless you want to add some additional camouflage paint to give a two tone grey scheme, you only need to add the stickers supplied in the kit using the box artwork as a guide for placement. Perhaps this was the only area where the instructions are a little poor and are my only criticism of them.
There was one area where I had to make a small modification, and that was in the cockpit area because I wanted to use a 7 cell AA size 1000mAh nicad pack. However, a little slicing with a scalpel soon had a suitable sized recess to hold the pack. Incidentally the battery pack is located in the cockpit with ready access via the canopy.
The finished model looked nice and I have to admit to being eager to fly it. The day dawned and it was cold and grey, with only a very slight breeze. Not bad conditions except for the temperature!
Having conducted all the necessary pre-flight checks, the nicad pack was charged and after a final check the model was hand launched. The first flight was short lived because of a need for some up trim, which led to the model losing height, and needing a belly landing. However, in that short distance it was clear that the model had plenty of power and was fairly responsive with the throw settings as per the instructions.
Okay, so a few changes were made to the trim and I was ready to try again. This time the performance was better, and the model climbed away at a reasonable lick. I throttled back and found that the model was quite happy on half throttle. I found the responsiveness of the model okay, though I felt that there was some play in the stabilators induced by flexing of the expanded polystyrene that was affecting the responsiveness and authority slightly.
I had a fly around getting the feel of the model. I found that loops required a slight dive to build up speed, but that the F22 looped nicely enough. In fact I went for three consecutive loops because I liked it, though with just stabilators it was a little more challenging - possibly for the same reasons as my earlier comments about the stabilators.
When it came to landing, the model came in at a reasonable speed on the glide, and touched down nicely. Recovering the model showed that fitting the tape to the fuselage was definitely worth while as there was some small indentations made on the un-taped hatch on the underside of the fuselage.
I changed pack for a third flight - unfortunately I found that the model was unstable after launch, and opted to land it in the rough. Recovering the model I found that one of the stabilator 'mounts' on the fuselage was cracked, while the other was weakened. My earlier concerns as to the strength of these had been proven, and I could see some minor repair work being necessary. I decided to glue and tape these polystyrene foam parts.
Having completed repairs I found that subsequent flights were better and would suggest that anyone building this model should consider strengthening these areas. In fact if you fly from anything but the smoothest of fields I would say it was mandatory.
Well this model is a bit of a departure from the normal, being suitable for park fly or a quick flight down at the field, but good fun for all that. I think it is a good model for putting in the car for when you finish work, and want a quick quiet clean flying session before going home to tea, or at lunch time for that matter.
I feel that this model could make a good possibly second, certainly third model. It makes for a good summer evening or Sunday afternoon model. It will provide hours of fun without getting oily. Great if you wear a suit to work and want to have a quick fly, without having to go home and change beforehand.
By: Paul Oliver