I would like to share with you my experience building thisaeroplane which is by far the worse ARF I built, for the money. It is a shame Ididn’t see this thread before purchasing the aeroplane.
My thought when buying the P-51 was to have qualityaeroplane built as per instructions without need for modifications. I wasintending to use it as my fun “throw around” aeroplane and as entry to war-birds(currently building a 1/5 scale Bf-109 from Fliteskin) and to have a bit ofchange from the lightly wing-loaded aerobatic aeroplanes I am currently flying.This is what I found wrong with this kit:
Covering – The covering material is of poor quality. It is constantlywrinkles and extremely hard to maintain as it seems to be sensitive to anythingbut water. If you want to buy same colour covering to patch the aeroplane upyou are out of lack (as much as my search could find), as this special coveronly sold in full roll with the whole aeroplane print for.... $93... (HAN242029).This is almost third of the full kit cost. The covering has very limitedcapability to re-shrink and re-stick and you have to be very careful to be inthe correct temperature for the activity (lower temperature for re-stick andhigher for re-shrink).
Tail wheel assembly – a lot was written about the poordesign of the tail wheel, so no need to add much here... It would have been soeasy to rectify the issue at the construction stage in the factory for almostno additional cost. The access to work on the wheel assembly through the hatchand the cut at the bottom are a joke for anyone with larger then kid hands. Ihave not glued the dummy doors, but instead made a screw fit which was handywhen I re-did the mounting to provide acceptable rigidity.
Wing gap – Even on the cheapest of aeroplanes I have built,I have never seen such a gap between the wing and the body. What explanationcan a manufacturer provide in these modern days of computer aided design tothis massive gap?
Balance and weight – I have used the recommended SAITO FG-20and had to add something like 120gr in the access hatches in the back (for theelevator control) to balance the aeroplane... I somehow thought that using therecommended engine the aeroplane will balance without having to add too muchweight, especially when using the heavier engine choice. I must admit that I ama bit nervous with the aeroplane total weight (haven’t flown it yet)
Supplied control rods and clevises – While I do use thesupplied rods and clevises, I do think that they are marginal and for the pricebetter clevises should have been provided
Engine throttle arm – Using the recommended engine you donot expect the arm not being capable to throttle the engine when building perinstructions. The supplied wire is too stiff to be able to do the arc motion atthe engine throttle lever side and therefore requiring replacing with smallerdiameter music wire.
Spinner – Wrong length screw supplied... If you live inAustralia like I do, you will find that 10-32 screws are almost nowhere to befound... I am not impressed with the provided spinner and while I have used itfor running the engine without any problem, I will replace it with aluminium spinnerfrom Dave Brown.
Retracts – While looking to me as being of decent quality,the fact that the servo holes are set specifically for the JR88 servo make a simplebuild just a bit more difficult with the need to source this specific servofrom the U.S (as they are not old in Australia for example) or modify the mountto accept other servos which are more widely available.
Wheels – I got so scared to even try the provided wheelsafter reading this thread that I have ordered the Sullivan SkyLite Aluminiumhub wheels set.
While there were few positive to the kit such as the enginemount drill pattern, the share number of issues just made this builtfrustrating. I will not recommend this aeroplane to anyone and personally willstay away from Hangar-9 kits in the future, regardless of how well it will fly(yet to be seen). I have added some photos from the engine run-in.