I just got one a couple weeks ago that was on backorder. It looks improved over pics I've seen of older models. The LG mounts have been beefed up. Now the ply ribs supporting the gear rails run the full width of the chord. The center rib is 1/4" thick, and the shear webs are glued in securely. The balsa skin seems a little on the crumbly side, though, based on how it cut while modifying the gear bays.
Some of the pin hinges supplied with the kit looked sketchy at best - the pins didn't look all that secure, and compared toRobarts, they are pretty weak. SoIchanged them out with Robarts. Theinstructions still call for "Hinge Glue" which was only madeby Pacer (Zap), and has been discontinued. I've come up with agreat substitute: Mix Pacer or equivalent white canopy clue 50/50 with Titebond or equivalent aliphatic resin.
I'm modifying mine for semi scale gear and doors. The kit's main LG is positioned about 1" outboard of the scale location, which is apparent by retracted wheel location, but it doesn't detract from the overall appearance (the inner doors will be a little spread apart). I'm using Robart 7/16 offset struts, which are a perfect fit for the 3.5" wheels. I already had a set of Robart diamond treads from a "retired" model, so I'm using them. Looks like H9 didn't do anything to improve the disintegrating wheel problem - in my opinion, this is a combination of the plastic resin they use and the design of the hub. If you compare to a Robart, you will immediately see the difference. No ding on H9 though - they are still nice looking wheels, and the best I've seen in an ARF.
I like the H9 retract units - the integral servo mount makes for a stiffer, more reliable linkage. I modified the Robart struts to fit, by cutting them to length and adding a machined upper fitting to the strut. To get the gear to retract fully with the offset struts, you have to adjust the angle of the retract unit by carving the gear rails and/or adding spacers (I did both). It was only then I realized the retract units are 85 degrees! I was able to modify the retract unit for 90 degree operation, but it took some serious work - it requires moving the pivot point of the link arm by about 0.050". To do this, I milled out a pocket centered on the new location, and added a machined bushing.
It looks like H9 didn't do anything to upgrade the tailwheel assembly. The main problem is that it's basically half a mount - you need two - not one - bearing to keep the thing from wobbling around. Also, there's not much structure in there to support it. For me though, it really needs to be retractable! I plan to put the Robart .60 size retractable tail wheel in there, but I'm still thinking about how to go about it. I'm considering making a complete module (gear unit and doors, with formers) that will essentially plug into the bottom of the airplane. That way I can fabricate everything off-ship, then install it as a unit once everything is working.
I've already found out the hard way how delicate that flat clear coat is... Ironex will attack the covering, but can be used sparingly. You've been warned.
My stabs were dinged and there were some minor dings in the wings. H9 needs to do something about their packaging. On mine, the stab dings were on one side, and since the stab is symmetric, I just chose that as the bottom and ironed them out as best as I could.[img][/img]
For power I'll be going with the RCV-90SP (I know some of you have been anticipating this...), with a 4-blade Zinger 16x10 prop. Looks like the motor and muffler will fit completely inside the cowl (although that pre cut hole is still there).
I'll post more pics separately with descriptions