Wednesday 1 October 2008

Plane Model: Catalina RTF
Manufacturer: Guan Li
Supplier: Mikes Models Market (Ebay) £99.99

Wingspan: 1380mm (54.3")
Length: 880mm (34.6")
Flying Weight: 780g (27.5 oz)
Drive System: Twin 370 carbon brush motor with gearbox
Speed Controller: 25A speed controller
Servo: 4x10g
Battery: 8.4 V 1000mah Ni-MH
Control system: 4 CH Multifunctional Radio Transmitter and Micro Receiver


This is a review of the build-only of my Guan Li Catalina .

It arrived a few days ago and after around 7 hours of work Today (Wednesday 1st October 2008), I have managed to get it assembled .

Upon opening the box, the fuselage was much, much fatter than any of the other planes I'd, Also, there were a lot of loose pieces, almost all of which would have to find their place on the plane before I could call it a day.

Another thing that was pretty clear after looking at the contents was that, despite being labeled an RTF, (ready to fly) this plane was hardly going to be "Ready To Fly" any time soon.

With both the need for gluing at several stages of assembly AND the need to fill in gaps that the documentation didn't cover, this was going to take a while.
Here's a few pictures of some of the notable pieces that came with it; namely, the wings, the engines, the props, and the 7-cell 1000mah NiMH battery pack.

I started the assembly process. To be honest, this plane felt more like a kit than an RTF, or even ARtF. It was actually sort of like when you go to MFI and purchase one of those wooden Flat Pack furnature "packages", and what you get is actually a load of MDF, some hardware, and printed instructions. Except in this case, the instructions that came with the Catalina were missing steps or outright wrong.

For example, one step says that I am to insert the aileron servos into the wings and then fasten them with two screws. !!

Ok--except there's neither any way to access the screw holes in the servo when it's in the molded slot in the wing, nor would there be anything to screw into even if I could insert the screws.

Obviously, these were intended to be glued in, which is what I ended up doing. And then it doesn't even mention anything about gluing the aileron servo covers over the servos--Mind you I did not use them in the end - never even mentions them in the instructions, except to list them among the parts that should have been included in the box.

Those are just a couple of examples, and I could talk about quite a few more but I won't. . Probably the most egregious shortcoming was that there was absolutely nothing in the instructions and, yea, even in the design of the plane which accounted for the motor and servo wires needing to be pulled out of the foam engine compartment, along the bottom of the wing, and then into the fuselage. I actually ended up having to carve out some wiring channels into which I laid the motor and servo wires before covering them with Fiber tape to hold them in place.

This is a ridiculously poor oversight, as there was absolutely no way for the plane to go together without the assembler performing some kind of manual modification to the wing, as the wires would not allow the wing halves to fit snugly onto the wing mount with the wires running into the fuselage.

Another aggravation was the fact that the rudder came simply as a piece of foam (the rudder itself) and 4 tab hinges. There were no slots in either the rudder or the vertical stabilizer into which I was supposed to insert/glue the tab hinges, nor anything in the instructions detailing the process. Well I managed to get everything together with the exception of the wing pontoons (since I'm going to try flying it over a grass field first and thus have to belly land it, which I imagine could be pretty rough on the flimsy pontoons).

It's a big Bird--54" wingspan, 34" length--although it's really the bulk of the fuselage which makes this plane look so much bigger , Should I be able to get it airborne and keep it there for any amount of time, I'm confident it will look pretty impressive flying around.

Here's some pics of the finished product:

You may also be able to tell in the pictures that the dihedral of the main wing seems to be off. I need to toy around some more with the wire struts to make sure they're not keeping the wings pulled down like that, but I think it's more to do with the poor manner in which the wing halves connect to the wing mount on the fuselage. I'm definitely going to need to make some changes there prior to flight, for stability's sake.
Note that I reinforced the bottom of the fuselage with Fiber tape along with the usual treatment of the main wings (Cover the ducts I had to cut out for the wires ).
Well, I don't want to get too involved in passing judgement. but after all the grief of getting the thing assembled, speaking strictly on the build process, quality of the parts, and comprehendability of the instructions, I'd have to rank this one as NOT for beginners.
It's a whole lot of work for what, I suspect, will be a niche plane in my fleet. I very much doubt it's going to see nearly as much flight time as a lot of other aircraft due to it's fragile nature nad poor quality.
Unique plane design--big bird that will definitely get some looks when I take it to the field Really
Only RTF boat plane I've seen
Good price for a 4-channel RTF especially given the very large size for a scale plane
Modular setup; very easy to upgrade Rx and ESC.(which I did - I used my own and not what came in the kit
Fairly easy to upgrade motors, provided you can find some that are the right size with mounting screw holes correctly placed in the front.
Once the wires were in place and connected, all the electrics worked perfect the first time.
Nice, strong, responsive servos that give good, full action on all control surfaces. (Maybe even too much--a heavy thumb could well crash this thing pretty quick with over-control.) - so for this reason I have added 50% Dule Rates
Big props on gear reduced motors put out a LOT of thrust at full throttle.
AM Tx and Rx -- junk pile fodder
Crowded canopy; poor access to battery compartment; difficult to keep control and power wires out of the way of the rudder and elevator servo arms.
Quality control on the parts was very bad; had to machine down one of the motor mount slots with a Dremel just to get the wood support to slide in. Several places where the foam fuselage halves weren't fully glued together and were loose.
Very fragile stock--maybe even after tape reinforcement. Very thin foam walls in the fuselage. Also, it uses push rods for wing struts--very weak; carbon fiber, balsa, or even some stiff tubing around the rods would have been acceptable. Finally, the horizontal stabilizer wing is very,
VERY fragile, even after taping almost the whole surface area. In particular, the outer edges are barely connected, and I expect they'll be snapped off at some point.
The glue that came with it is very messy and weak/rubbery; (so I did not use it) I used two-stage epoxy or something simple like Foam Safe Cyno Glue.
No on/off switch on the plane? And to connect the battery, both hands have to be between the two propellers that barely clear the fuselage canopy? To remedy this, I'll be installing my own on/off switch in the very near future.
No landing gear + thin foam wall could mean EOL (end of line) the first time I try and belly land this thing. Fortunately, the Fiber tape seems to have increased the durability of the fuselage substantially without adding too much weight.
The wings are not easily removable once the wing joint cover is glued into place. Given that this is a big plane, that's a serious problem for transport.
The velcro mechanism for holding the cockpit canopy in place is HORRIBLE. Very hard to get the canopy all the way on, and once it's all the way on, it's near impossible to get the darned thing off again without bruising/denting the foam.

Monday 15 September 2008

'WE' Baby Hi-Capa 3.8 full-metal gbb pistol

I have the WE 1911 (new release version) and it is great - yes the paint can flake a little but so what it looks used.

I also have the WE HI Capa full size and it's not given me any problemsso when I saw these I had to have one of each - they are just great - the quaity is so good for a WE.

The first thing that suprised me was the weight of the Baby Hi Capa's they each weigh more than the we 1911 and the WE Hi-Capa but they are smaller.

If you like BLING get to silver one with the GOLD "WE" logo embeded into the pistol grip - the Pistol grip is plastic but nice - I also noticed that the Pistol grip is thicker than the WE full size High Capa which when combined with the extra weight gives the Baby WE a much more Chunky, stubby feeling (very NICE)

Only problem I had was with the silver one and it would not fire - the trigger was stuck - It took about 30-35 minutes to strip it and sort the problem out - which turned out to be a mistake made by the person who assembled it - a leaf spring was in the wrong place within the hammer mech - This could indicate a poor quality control process or just my luck that I had the silver on made on the Friday ???

The Black model is just as good and tacktile as the silver one - however the black pistol grip looks better (not so plastic looking as the silver grip) - but both are great little WE's

Another bonus is that my WE Hi-Capa mags - that are longer than the Baby WE mags fit into the Baby WE so I can have more rounds - but the Baby we mags will NOT fit into the Full size WE.

Good Value - I'd say YES - two pistols from RSOV (with shipping and Customs) for the price of ONE here in the UK - GO FOR IT

NOTE - all my WE's have come from RSOV.COM


Monday 16 June 2008

Help Support our Airsoft Friends DOWN UNDER !!


As you will all know I have been so very busy at work - I have had NO time to make any Airsoft Videos, go to a Skirmish or Update my Blog.

Well I have just got a few minutes and would like to ask that you pop along to the link below and add your support to see if we can help bring back Airsoft to Australia.

How legal is airsoft in Australia at the moment?

Severely restricted.Airsoft is currently restricted as per the “Firearms Act”, which defines replicas into various categories, which are mainly

Category A (which covers bolt action rifles),

Category D (covering shotguns)

Category H (covering hand guns and pistols).

All other airsoft replicas are covered under Category R.

Currently, you can only obtain bolt action rifles (cannot be semi automatic and cannot contain a magazine) under the Category A licence (and only been successfully tested in Queensland), and because there are no airsoft manufacturers in Australia, you must have the relevant paperwork from your jurisdictions Police service (Permit to Acquire, or similar), Customs paperwork (Firearm importation declaration) and a legitimate reason to hold that replica as defined under the “Firearms Act”.

In a nutshell, why was airsoft ‘banned’?It’s important to understand that airsoft is not “black-banned”. There are some instances where ownership is permitted Airsoft was restricted under legislation because of how realistic a replica is in appearance and weight, and because of their capability to fire pellets.

so pop along to this link and give them your support - we nearly had it banned here in the UK...and it could happen to any country at anytime.

Sunday 18 May 2008

Two weeks away in the NetherLands

I have just come back from spending two weeks in the Netherlands, the Weather was fantastic, very sunny and Hot.

I have just finished replying to all the messages that you have sent to me via the different methods available, (YouTube - Comments, Messages), Email .....

I'm Sorry but I have No time to do any Airsoft stuff - as I am in Spain all next week -
Hope to do something first week in June ??

Sunday 27 April 2008

Type 97 - with VN Mag

Here are two photos of the TYPE-97 - one with the Standard M4 Mag. - and one with the M16-VN Mag.

Saturday 26 April 2008

Urban Assault 25th April 2008 - SOME PICTURES

Embrionicboy - with his M4 something or other - Sorry forgot what it is M4-RAS thing :-)

Foxtrot Tango - with my new JG Thunder Maul

Stickymonk - with his Galaxy MP5K - heavy Mod

Monday 14 April 2008


Update from Urban Assault Saturday 12th April
MY thanks to Embryonicboy for writing and sending this report

and here is what he had to say:
'I feared the worst with rain forecast for the Saturday. Woke up to
find bright sunshine. Lots of wind though, but this wouldn't matter
would it, at a mostly indoor CQB environment like Urban Assault? Hmmm
well, more on that later.

After a rather chilly gear set-up and a much needed brew we paid our
dues which is gone up a fiver, we all stood around having the safety
briefing. Pretty much a full house again and lots of banter and good
fun was had. I had a chat to a mate of FT's who was telling me about
falling over last skirmish and damaging his SCAR. Sounds painful!!

Anyway, game on and as usual it was a semi auto in the Casino and West
Wing. Last time I played this game they made the teams start further
apart, which helped, but this time normal service was resumed and it
became a battle of the corridors. I have some battery issues in my UMP
but still managed to get some good fire down on the red team. No score
draw, moving on...

Next up both teams had to capture canisters. Blue team attacked this
game like they were possessed. Stickymonk and my original idea of
defending the west wing was soon made pointless after our team
hammered through the reds until we were camped outside there respawn
point. At this point we had control over the whole site apart from the
Police Station and we were giving it plenty! The reds tried to break
out but it was to little and too late. Game ended with the most
comprehensive win I have ever had!

By this point the weather was getting rather warm, no worries, we
would be inside defending a building surely after fighting down the
length of the site?....erm no. We had to attack a landrover defended
by the red team. So we set off and attacked. But it was too well
defended near the Garrison and by this point, I was knackered!

After lunch we had our go at defending the landrover, which we did
although Reds made a good effort. Next up we played a game, moving the
'executive' to different points around the site. These were usually as
far as you could get and all the fighting was once again outside. Bit
disapointed as we walked past these great buildings, not being used
for skirmished. Hmmm, not much 'urban' at urban assault.

We called it a day when our next briefing involved blues attacking the
police station for a third time! To hot and too tired we headed off
after a good day, but wishing there had been more CQB and indoor