This very attractive scale warbird offers a lot of bang for your buck!
ESM MODELS HAS BEEN PRODUCING planes for the RC enthusiast for years. They have a wide variety of beautifully finished scale warbirds. When I got the opportunity to review their P-47, I was very excited to take a look. The P-47 is one of my favorite warbirds and a favorite of many WW II pilots because of its durability in battle. So, let’s check it out!
The construction of this model is a mix of fiberglass and built-up components. The fuselage is molded fiberglass with preinstalled wood bulkheads and radio tray. The fuse also comes prepainted with the decals preapplied and clear coated for a long-lasting finish. The wings are built up in nature. They are also precovered and painted to match the fuselage with all markings also preapplied.
Inside the box you’ll find all the hardware needed to complete your new warbird. This includes all control horns, pushrods, clevises, wheel collars, wheels, and preformed landing gear. For this review I also used the optional landing gear offered by ESM that is machined aluminum and gives an extra touch of scale offered at an incredible price. There is also an instruction manual in the box. I will say that the directions aren’t the most descriptive, so be sure to do a dry run of every assembly before applying any glue or making any cuts.
- Name of plane: P-47
- Distributor: VQ WARBIRDS (as of Sept 2015) www.vqwarbirds.com
- Type: scale WW II fighter
- Length: 57.6 in.
- Wingspan: 73.2 in.
- Wing area: 856.8 sq. in.
- Weight: 14 lb. 3 oz.
- Wing loading: 38.5 oz. sq./ft.
- Motor req’d: 26cc-32cc gas / 1.08 2-cycle glow / 1.20 4-cycle glow
- Radio req’d: 6 channel with 9 standard servos
- Excellent flight performance
- Impressive looks that will turn heads at any field
- Very complete hardware package and beautiful optional retracts
- Scale appearance
I’d recommend the ESM Models P-47 for more advanced modelers. Building this plane takes a little experience and you’ll want to have a few planes under your belt before tackling this model.
In the Air
The wheels included with the P-47 are very large and should allow you to fly this plane off most any surface suitable for RC flying. The struts included with the optional retracts also act as shock absorbers which will also help with some of the rougher fields out there. A runway of 400 feet or more is recommended and this is mostly due to its glide performance on landing. On the ground, the P-47 handles very well. One issue that I experienced with the P-47 was on the first flight. There is little to no right thrust built into the firewall and if you install the engine as described in the directions, you’ll have a plane that tends to pull left on takeoff. When landing there was no tendency to nose over, which is a nice feature on any warbird.
GENERAL FLIGHT PERFORMANCE
Stability: The ESM P-47 is very stable, especially for a warbird. At speed, the P-47 stayed where you point it. When you slow the plane down, she will almost come to a standstill. There was no evidence of the plane wanting to do anything unpredictable during a stall situation.
Tracking: The P-47 goes exactly where you point it and presents very well in the sky with its scale outline, tracking nicely down the runway.
Aerobatics: The P-47 can perform all the basic aerobatic maneuvers that warbirds are known for. Barrel rolls, wing overs, split-S’s, and Immelmans are all easily performed.
Glide and stall performance: When it came time for my first landing I was very impressed with how the ESM P-47 performed. When I brought the plane in for landing it glided in very nicely. When the plane finally touched down, I applied up-elevator to keep the tail down and the plane lifted back off and continued to fly down the runway. It’s a floater.
The ESM P-47 is a great-flying plane that will attract attention at any field. The Saito 1.80 4-stroke that I chose to use had more than enough power and it sounded great in the air.
Most of the flight surfaces showed up presetted for a mix of flat pin hinges and cloth CA hinges. The one exception to this was the rudder. It is up to the modeler to drill the mating edges for the included pin hinges. With a model of this size, I would recommend pinning all hinges with a T-pin on each side. You can do this by pushing the pin in to the approximate depth of the hinge. You can then cut the T-pin off about 3/16 of an inch above the surface and then push it flat. This will be barely visible and give you peace of mind knowing that your hinges won’t come loose.
Installing the landing gear is a very simple process. If you do decide to go with the optional retractable gear, be sure to take a little time to ensure that they line up properly with the wheel wells. Included with the gear are a beautiful set of machined aluminum wheels and tires. These attach using included nylon locking nuts and a spacer on the strut side.
There are quite a few molded fiberglass and Lexan parts. These include the belly pan, drop tank, tailwheel access hatch, wheel wells and canopy. You’ll have to trim the wheel wells, canopy and belly pan to fit properly. The cowl is mounted using a cowl ring that is included in the kit. I centered and mounted the ring and the slid the cowl over it making sure that it was straight to the fuse and aligned with the engine before tack gluing the two pieces together. I then removed the completed assembly and put a bead of Hysol 9462 epoxy around the front and back of the ring to secure it permanently.
All hardware is metric and there is an Allen key included to use on the setscrews for the wheel collars. The wing is joined with a ply joiner spar and alignment pins that you drill holes for using the included template. Once everything is fitted and ready f
or final assembly, mix up an appropriate amount of 30-minute epoxy, tape the wing halves together, and set everything aside to cure.
Engine installation was very straightforward using the included adjustable nylon mount. You’ll have to drill the holes for the motor mount and install the include blind nuts in the firewall.
- Elevator: ±æ in., 30% expo (low); ±1 in., 40% expo (high)
- Aileron: ±Ω in., 25% expo (low); ±æ in., 30% expo (high)
- Rudder: ±æ in.,15% expo (low); ±1 in., 20% expo (high)
One thing worth mentioning is the recommended method for attaching the included drop tank. In the kit there are two 5mm carbon rods. These proved not to be strong enough to withstand flying. I would recommend using either piano wire or ?-inch wooden dowel for a more secure attachment.
BALANCING YOUR WARBIRD
On more than one occasion I’ve been asked to fly someone’s warbird only to find out that it is grossly out of balance. So, let’s talk about what to look for to tell if you plane falls into this category.
The first thing you’ll notice will probably be a very sensitive elevator and a plane that seems to “hunt” for straight and level flight. These characteristics are very undesirable of a warbird and make smooth flight and strafing runs very difficult. Sure, you could program more expo into your radio, but it still wouldn’t be right.
So, you noticed that your plane was pitch sensitive and didn’t want to hold a straight and level line. As a result, you added some nose weight. But was it enough or possibly too much? A good thing to look for is how the plane flies inverted. As a general rule of thumb, a properly balanced warbird will require between 25 and 50% of the available down-elevator to maintain straight level flight while inverted. Of course, this number will vary with different amount of total throw and from plane to plane.
Once you get your warbird properly balanced, you should notice that it will fly smoother, track better, and “groove” better in the turns. This will make for a plane that is more enjoyable to fly in all situations.
The ESM P-47 is a beautiful warbird that any scale enthusiast should be proud to own. Building time is probably 25 to 30 hours and the final product is a very scale replica of a very famous WW II fighter.
Original Article from Model Airplane News May 2010