Single stage futuristic plane design, one of the more cool looking introductions by Quest.
The kit includes:
The body tube had some of the deepest, ugliest spirals I've seen and very poor white glassine top layer. After filling the spirals with Elmer's Fill 'n' Finish, I started to sand the tube down. This caused the edges of the tube started to peel up and the surface started to get a roughed up "orange peel" look. The decals on the other hand, were excellent quality and the white comes through very strongly, even on the gloss black surface.
The instructions were fairly well written along with plenty of good illustrations. Overall, the skill level on a 5 scale was in my opinion, accurately listed as a 2. I did find one very glaring error in the instructions though: the tube marking guide has the wrong lines for mounting the fins. There are 4 fin lines which are supposed to be set at 90-degree rotation points. The marking guide has 4 fin lines but spaced as though there were 5 (72-degree rotation points). This is easy to correct: just fold the guide into fourths and mark where the folds are, not where the printed fin lines are.
Motor mount construction is the basic tube/engine block/centering rings/hook found in most kits. Quest is one of those companies that is kind enough to include Kevlar® for the bottom of the shock cord. The Kevlar line is attached to the motor mount.
Fin prep and mounting for this kit is a bit tricky, which is why this rates as a skill level 2. The instructions offer a good tip for ensuring a better bond along with wings and tails getting slight bevels sanded on their roots. Of course, 10 degree and 28 degree bevels are only theoretical targets for most of us, as I certainly am not that precise in my sanding. Still this helps get more of the fin root actually touching the tube come time to bond.
There are a lot of fins to bond with this kit. You start with two strakes that run the length of the body tube. Next comes rudders for the top and bottom. Follow up by attaching wings flush to the strakes, which explains the beveled root. These are not perpendicular to the body tube at this point. Last comes the tails, which are mounted at roughly 45 degree angles to the wing. The alignment is aided by a laser cut balsa piece that rests against the body tube and holds the correct angle. For all of my fins, I tacked them on with CA, then followed up with wood glue fillets. Note: wait on the fillets until everything is tacked on. This is especially important with the strakes, as you don't want fillets to get in the way of the wing and tail bond joints.
The nose cone is then attached to the elastic shock cord and construction is done.
The finishing on this had good and bad news. The good news is that the paint scheme is pretty simple: the whole thing gets gloss black. The bad news is that there's a lot of work involved if you want to eliminate the spirals and balsa grain. I've already griped about the tube spirals. The balsa fins and wings were good quality but because there are so many of them, filling and prepping for paint was a lot of work.
Once I'd prepped the surfaces, including scrubbing the nose cone with dishwashing liquid to remove any oils, I applied two coats of gray primer and sanded between coats with 220 grit paper. I then applied a light coat of gloss black. Once that coat had dried, I lightly sanded with 600 grit wet/dry and then applied another coat of gloss black.
I allowed the paint to cure for a full 4 days, very worried that the decals would not show up or contrast very well against the dark surface. For the most part, the whites and even the yellows are very visible. I was pleased with the results. There were a couple of small red lettering decals that seemed to disappear against the black surface though. Overall, I think the decals make for exceptional detailing and styling for this kit.
Construction Rating: 4 out of 5
First flight was with a B6-4 on a windy day. I was worried that with such large wings/fins, this kit might have trouble going up against heavy winds.
The B6-4 was plenty of power for it, but it definitely lost ground to the wind. It held a straight path even though it was pushed back about 10-15 yards in flight. The 4 second delay was a bit late but that may be fine in less windy conditions.
I did not get a chance to move up to a C but will definitely try that on its next flight. It can clearly handle it since the B barely covered 300 feet, nowhere near the spec'd 450'.
The 12" chute worked fine and the elastic/Kevlar lines showed no signs of wear. There was no damage whatsoever to this despite drifting at least 20 yards in the grass after landing.
Flight Rating: 5 out of 5
I'm generally not too impressed with the big commercial mass market offerings, but this one is pretty sharp. I especially liked the decals, which are tremendously better than the peel 'n' stick stuff you'll find flanking this kit at the big chain hobby stores.
Overall Rating: 4 out of 5