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Written by Tom Sullivan
A fun, quick little plane for combat and sport.
Online exclusive review including a build video and a flight video.



Specifications

Model Type: Ready to assemble wood kit (balsa, ply, & spruce)
Wingspan: 36 inches
Wing Area: 360 square inches
Airfoil:Symmetrical
Length: 31 inches
Weight Recommended: 35 ounces
Weight Our model (ready to fly): 30.25 ounces
Power System Recommended: .10-.15 2-cycle glow
Power System We used: O.S. .15 2-cycle; propeller
Radio Recommended: 3 channel radio system and 3 servos
Radio We used: Spektrum AR6210 receiver; 3 JR servos; 1 Spektrum 1500mAh rx battery; 1 switch harness
Street Price: $50.00 (kit only)

Pros:

• The low parts count allows it to be assembled quickly.
• Quality of the balsa and plywood was excellent.
• Wood parts are laser or machine cut - no “die-crunching”.
• Comes with tank, engine mount, hinges and pushrods.
• Rolled, full-sized plans are easy to follow.
• Illustrated construction manual (detailed drawings, not photos) is included.
• A fun, quick little plane that’s a lot of fun to fly in combat, or an everyday sport plane.


Cons:

• Some wood parts were not included (ailerons, some of the fuselage sheeting), but were easily made from left-over wood.
• Study the plans carefully as some of the parts don’t quite line up with the plans.
• Long sheeting & spars are 7/8” shorter than shown on the plans.


First Impressions

At some point, I think that every r/c pilot should build a built-up wood aircraft from a kit. It’s a lot of fun, challenging at times, and helps develop skills you won’t have with ARF’s. Many people choose a trainer as their “first time”, but what if you’re a more advanced pilot?
Well, this kit that I’m preparing to tell you about might be something for you to consider. This is the Wild Thing from Air Point R/C Aircraft - (36” version). It is originally designed as a small, r/c combat model, however it also works quite well as an every-day sport plane. There’s nothing I would call “revolutionary” in the design, as it uses simple, tried-and-true building methods.

Everything comes in a small, 36” long box. In the box you’ll find all the wood, rolled plans, an illustrated construction manual, and a bit of hardware. The wood is a combination of long pieces of sheeting, strips, etc.; and a lot of laser and machine cut pieces. The plans consist of a single sheet which is quite detailed and easy to follow, even for a new builder. The manual also helps the new builder in that the steps are illustrated (not photos). They show quite a lot of detail, making each step very clear. There’s quite a lot of hardware included for this being a $50 kit – a 4oz. fuel tank (Hayes), a molded .10-.15 sized engine mount, and all of the pushrod hardware (clevises, horns, pushrods, etc.).


Construction



Wing construction is first up, and it really couldn’t be simpler. The wing design is straight, with no sweeps or special tips. Because of that, you simply pin down the wing sheeting and cap strips for the bottom side on the plans. The bottom spar is glued into position, then the wing ribs are next. There are special wing ribs for the two center positions, but other than that, the rest of the ribs are identical. The top spar is then glued into position, followed by the top sheeting and cap strips.

Once everything is in place, the wing is removed from the board so the leading edge sheeting can be wrapped and glued into place – first the bottom, then the top.

The only problem of note was the length of the parts. If you look back to the beginning of this review, I noted size of the box. Why? Well, that’s because the parts inside the box must be a bit shorter to fit in the box. Because they are shorter, they don’t match the plans, being about 7/8” shorter than called for. To fix this, simply center the sheeting on the plans, moving in each tip rib 7/16” to make up the difference.

The fuselage design is a “slab-sided” affair, and both sides come laser-cut. Before you glue ANYTHING together here, study the plans and manual carefully. There are several parts which are close to the same size and shape, however they are all just a bit different. Some parts make up the formers, some are parts of hatch openings, etc., but none are marked. Take your time because it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Once the parts are sorted, the fuselage comes together quite quickly as there are only a few formers. One thing that caught my eye is that the firewall is not installed with down-thrust and right-thrust as per the plans. I took the liberty of putting in 2° of each. Two hatches are designed – one on top for the fuel tank access, and the other on the bottom, for access to the radio equipment. Sheeting covers the rest of the fuselage.

Sliding the wing into the fuselage took a bit of time. I had a bit of sanding to make sure the wing would slide smoothly, yet firmly into the fuselage. When finally fit into position, it was glued into position.

Both the vertical fin and stab are made from pre-cut pieces. Once both surfaces are finished, they are glued together, then glued to the fuselage.

Next up would be the moveable surfaces; ailerons and elevator. The elevator was easy, as it was quickly assembled, hinged and fitted into position. However, the ailerons were missing from my kit. So, looking at what I had in left-over balsa, I found that the discarded wood from the fuselage sizes each had a section that could work quite well. I cut those out and think they turned out well.

Before covering, obviously a bit of sanding is need to smooth and round all the surfaces a bit. Also, take a bit of time to mark and drill the holes needed for the engine mount, and the fuel tubing.

All this point, the major portion of the Wild Thing build was finished. Be sure to check out the video of the build on Model Aviation’s YouTube channel. Total build time to this point was about 3½ hours.




Now it’s time to decide on how to cover the Wild Thing. I decided to use up some scrap Monokote I had around the shop and came up with the blue, orange and white scheme you see on the finished model. One thing to keep in mind is that this is a small plane, designed to fly quick, and is highly maneuverable. Make sure that you cover it in way to it’s easy to tell top from bottom!

After the covering was finished, the ailerons and elevator were attached using C/A style hinges. The included pushrods and control horns go in next. I had to do a bit of guestimating to approximate the aileron pushrod exits from the fuselage, but that was as hard as it got. Everything else, including the throttle pushrod installed just as called for in the instructions.

One of the few problems I had was the fuel tank. Nothing was wrong with the tank itself, it was a problem getting it to fit into the space. If the cross pieces were not in place that the hatch mount to, then maybe it would have fit, but there was simply no way to get it in with everything in place. So, I took a trip to the local hobby shop and purchased a few different 4 ounce tanks, and a 2 ounce. No matter what I tried, none of the 4 ounce tanks would work, so in went a Sullivan 2 ounce slant tank with a bit of foam underneath it to take up the extra height.

Installing the radio system is straight-forward as there are only 3 servos, a receiver and a battery to install. With the exception of the battery, everything else was installed as the manual. However, the manual mentioned installing the battery into the empty portion of the wing, just forward of the C.G. If you do this, then you have to add tail weight to make the Wild Thing balance. So, I decided to move the battery towards the rear, ending up with it attached to the inside of the bottom hatch. The balance came out perfect, and the weight came in a good 5 ounces lighter than called for.

Oh, and one last note on the radio installation. If you are using a glow system for power, be sure to mount the radio switch on the opposite side of the muffler. It keeps the “goo” out of the switch!




Flying:




Not that the building isn’t fun, but flying certainly is even more fun. A quick fuel fill, a tiny bit of engine tuning, a double-check of the control surfaces, then a stiff hand-launch into the wind, and it’s flying!

After a couple of trim passes, and photo passes, I decided to see just how maneuverable the Wild Thing is. With the recommended throws, it turns on a dime. The roll rate, although quick, isn’t near as fast. With the elevator being so touchy, I decided to come in and dial in a bit of exponential to help smooth out the elevator.

After that adjustment, I felt at home with it. High-speed maneuvering is extremely tight and precise. Simply put, it’s a lot of fun tearing up the sky. The O.S. .15 gave plenty of power and a better than average climb rate.

Slowing the Wild Thing down showed it’s kindler, gentler side. It can be a relaxed flyer and has a good glide ratio. Controls are still very responsive all the way down to stall speed. Stalls were gentle and very easy to recover from.

With the 2 ounce tank, I could average 8-10 minute high-energy flights and still have enough fuel to set-up for landings. Speaking of landings, the Wild Thing gently lands and with a couple of them under your belt, you’ll find that you can land exactly where you want to. One note: when bolting the prop on, make sure it’s positioned to be horizontal when the engine quits. That way you can keep it from breaking on landing!


In Conclusion:

What a fun little plane the Wild Thing is. It’s a quick build with no real surprises. Radio and engine installation is simple. When finished, it is a highly maneuverable combat flyer, and doubles as a fun, everyday sport airplane.


Products used in this review:
O.S. .15 Engine
Monokote iron-on covering
Great Planes Model Distributors
www.osengines.com

JR & Spektrum Radio System
Horizon Hobby Distributors
www.horizonhobby.com

8x4 Propeller
Landing Products
www.apcprop.com

2 ounce fuel tank & tubing
Sullivan Products
www.sullivanproducts.com

Distributor:
Air Point R/C Aircraft
4845 SW Lake Grove Circle
Palm City, FL 34990
http://www.airpointradiocontrolaircraft.com

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