After months of serious consideration, comparison and reading hundreds of comparison posts I finally pulled the trigger and picked up the 1500mm P47 from FMS. As usual, my local hobby shop got me a great deal and in a few short days I had a rather large box full of airplane in my shop.
- The foam is soft… dings and dents are already building up.
- Some sloppy glue… the wing tip lenses are both a bit “slimed” with glue.
- Inner gear door linkage maladjusted… both were drooping a bit, 2 turns on each clevis solved the issue
- Wobbly motor mount. Entire structure appears to be moving in the foam.
- Finish is not as smooth as other foamy aircraft
- Decals are thin, some lifted a bit, piece missing out of one
- Bomb attachment. Brackets pull out before release occurs
- Overall finish is very pleasing with the exceptions noted above. Lots of scale details, especially in the cockpit. Ordinance, lights, 4 blade prop, panel lines etc…
- Light weight and light wing loading along with flaps should make the airplane a kitten to land
- Build is nearly complete out of the box. Rare for a complex war bird like this.
- Wing connection plate makes wing assembly simple… no chance of missed connections.
- Wing connection plate… to loosen or not??
- Carry method… Wheels in the wings so what to do?
Let me expand a bit on the above in reverse order… First the questions.
There is a nifty connection plate and mating plug where the wing root meets the body. Since the wing inserts into pockets and has two aligning rods, the connectors meet up perfectly and seat together snugly… or at least it appears so and they work nicely right now. There are a few reports of issues with this connection. Folks have had a few intermittent connections and the like. Some people have avoided or resolved this issue by loosening the mounting screws on the plate mounting in the body. I think the idea is that if the mount is not rigid, vibration and the like won’t cause an issue. Should I pre-loosen these or wait for an issue (and hope I don’t crash when/if it happens)?
Carrying this plane is going to require some thought. I can’t leave it assembled… there simply isn’t enough room in the trailer… but like a number of other planes the main gear is in the wings so once you take those off that round body there will have to be some sort of carrier created to keep the plane from becoming a hangar casualty!
Now for the good stuff…
The color scheme chosen for the bird has enough color and lots of striping so that it should be very visible in the sky and orientation shouldn’t be to hard to track. The cockpit has some nice touches and the wingtip lights are nice and bright. While not every panel line is captured, a vast majority are there and while they may be a bit more pronounced than needed it adds to overall look of the airplane. From a few steps away, the plane shows nicely.
The weight of the aircraft is on the lighter end versus what i would expect from a warbird of this size so I’m expecting some good flying and landing characteristics, especially with flaps being available. I doubt she will float, but I don’t expect to have to make super shallow landings at high speed that require huge amounts of runway either. With the flaps deployed I would think a more ordinary approach will be possible, holding just a little extra throttle in to keep the wing flying.
The completeness of the build out of the box is impressive. Attach elevator linkages once it is in place and assemble and mount the prop and you are about done! Even the decals are applied in advance. There isn’t much of the “Almost” in the “Almost Ready to Fly” P47!
The electronics in the P47 are by necessity a bit complicated but as opposed to other similar aircraft I’ve dealt with, FMS has done a great job of eliminating that issue. Everything is pre-wired and connected and attaching the wings requires no messing with wires at all as the wings have a built in connector at the wing root that takes care of all that for you.
And then the bad…
This airplane is built out of some of the softest foam I’ve seen. I’ve already accumulated a number of dings and dents… some wrinkles and thumbprints in the stab just from trying to get enough force on it to assemble it. As well, the body has several dents just from resting it on my airplane stand which is made of harder foam. This may actually bode well for it’s survival but I’m half expecting it to get “ugly” quick. I’ve seen somewhere a suggestion that using a warm, wet rag may help relieve some of these but I’m worried about what that will do to the paint as well…
Speaking of the paint, it seems to have the same issue that I have seen on planes like the Carbon Z Cub. It doesn’t take much to peel or flake it off. Also there is some over-spray in some areas that occurred when the paint was applied. I could wish for a bit better application.
I have been adding some additional graphics and replacing some of the decals with vinyl and there is simply no way to get them off without peeling the paint underneath. That might be to much to ask but in some spots it amazed me just how easy it came off. I don’t want to do a full repaint so I’m only applying graphics that are the same or slightly larger than the original and doing everything I can to not lift the paint around any decal I remove… sometimes slicing it with a razor blade at the seams to maintain the surrounding paint. Luckily the vinyl is a bit thicker and covers the patchy mix of paint and bare foam that is left behind.
I have found only two areas where the assembly/build of the plane could reasonably have been improved. First is the wingtip light lenses. There is a lot of sloppy glue work inside both lenses. Unless I pull them off (which risks damaging the surrounding paint and foam) there isn’t much to do about the strings and globs of glue on the inside of the lenses. Second is the engine mount. It is obvious that the entire engine mount if flexing slightly as the motor runs up. I’m not sure if it’s just a function of the soft foam or if some extra glue would solidify this… I may eventually try injecting a small amount of expanding glue like Gorilla glue in a couple spots around the mount to see if it helps. I don’t think the motor is going anywhere and balancing the prop might help minimize this issue as well but it’s something worth looking into.
Another minor issue was on the bombs. The attachment method of the “brackets” into the top of the bombs was apparently a couple pins and spit (errr… I mean glue of course). The second time I tried to detach them from the pylons on the plane, the bombs parted ways with the brackets. A good application of Foam Tac and this problem seems to be resolved. I also recommend you always attach and detach the bombs by grasping the plastic brackets versus the foam of the bombs themselves.
I promise to follow up with some more info after a flight or two.