RCU Review: Hobby Lobby F-4 Phantom ARF Military Scale R/C Jet

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    Contributed by: Greg Covey | Published: March 2009 | Views: 34758 | email icon Email this Article | PDFpdf icon
    Hobby Lobby F-4 Phantom II

    Review by: Greg Covey
    Flying Photos : Papa Jeff Ring
    Video Pilot: Paul Weigand

    Hobby Lobby
    International, Inc

    5614 Franklin Pike Circle
    Brentwood, TN 37027 USA
    Toll Free: 1.866.933.5972
    Sales: 1-866-WE-FLY-RC
    Fax: 615-377-6948

    Complete Rx. Ready Package
    Great value and looks
    Superb Flying Performance
    Durable Finish
    4-cell LiPo Pack Included
    ElectriFly/E-flite compatible charge/balance connector

    Incorrect CG in Manual

    Skill Level:
    Low to Moderate

    Time Required to Build:
    2 to 4 Hours

    Frustration Level:
    No Problem

    Degree of Difficulty Explanation

    F-4 Phantom II Rx-Ready EDF

    The Hobby Lobby FMS003 F-4 Phantom ARF Military Scale R/C Jet comes with a 70mm ducted fan unit, powerful outrunner motor, 5-servos, and a 4-cell LiPo pack! This all-molded foam airplane comes completely painted in an attractive matte finish with waterslide decals already applied.

    The 70mm fan with brushless outrunner motor is pre-installed, as is the 45A brushless speed control. The EDF jet has 5 pre-installed servos to control ailerons, elevators, and nose wheel steering. Landing gear is fixed but can be easily removed for hand launching. Battery changes are made quick by simply removing the canopy that is held in place with magnets. The jet is large enough for good visibility in flight, yet is easily transported.

    The thrust from the 70mm fan with the included 4cell 2100mAh LiPo battery will quickly accelerate the F-4 into the air. The climb out is steep and the speed impressive. The full scale Phantom had the glide angle of a brick but this lighter model displays much more pilot- friendly manners. Due to its light weight the F-4 will slow down nicely and retain its good flying characteristics. Flight times are about five minutes on a charge.

    This model only requires a 4-channel radio system.


    • Wingspan: 28-3/8"
    • Length: 43-3/8"
    • Wing Area: 250 sq. in.
    • Flying Weight: 34 oz.
    • EDF: 70mm (included)
    • Motor: Outrunner (included)
    • ESC: 45A (included)
    • Servos: 5 (included)
    • Battery: 4-cell 2100mAh LiPo (included)
    In the Box:

    The parts are all wrapped in plastic and nicely protected in a custom box designed for the F-4 Phantom. My initial impression was that there were very few parts in the box so I knew the model was highly pre-assembled and almost ready to fly. When I removed the plastic from the fuselage and wing halves, it revealed the impressive amount of detail designed into the finish.

    Even the battery pack came with a Dean's Ultra connector already soldered in place! The 9-page manual had clear glossy photos and was written by Hobby Lobby.

    A closer look at the fuselage reveals the high level of detail and pre-assembly. All the servos are installed and the ESC connector is already soldered on. The steerable nose gear is ready to accept the pre-assembled wire and wheel. The aileron servos are pre-mounted and the elevator is completely ready to go!

    The top of the fuselage has a hidden hatch that is held in place by magnets. This provides easy access to the ESC and wire harness.


    There isn't much to assemble on this model so it will be quick and easy. The assembly starts by gluing the nose in place and then the two wing halves. I used the supplied foam-safe clear glue and then later added a thin coating of 20-minute epoxy around the wing joints. My plan was to also spray the jet with some clear water-based Polycrylic from Minwax when the assembly was finished.

    Landing Gear:

    The gear mains pressed into position and were held in place by plastic snaps. No tools needed!

    The nose wheel was secured by tightening the set screw onto the flat spot of the gear wire with the supplied hex wrench. I added a small amount of thread locker to the screw to keep it secure.

    Receiver & Vertical Stabilizer Installation:

    I used a Spektrum AR6100 receiver and tested the control surfaces out along with the power system. Everything worked fine so I aligned each surface and then set up my high/low rates with exponential. The AR6100 receiver fit perfectly against the side wall. Note that the 4-cell LiPo battery has a custom bay already built in place so it cannot move in flight.

    The vertical stabilizer just pressed into place after applying glue to both the fuselage and stab.


    My F-4 Phantom II was ready to fly at 34oz (2.13lbs). I measured 475 watts at 33 amps which provides a good to great 223w/lb EDF power level.

    The manual calls for the CG to be 165mm ( 6-3/8" ) back from the wing leading edge but I measured 150mm on mine. This may be another change for the new batch of models as it should provide better stability for most pilots.

    Lastly, I sprayed the entire model with clear water-based Polycrylic from Minwax. It will help protect the decals and prevent light scratches in the foam.

    Test Flying / Summary

    We test flew the F-4 Phantom II on a relatively warm day in March. It was sunny with a temperature around 40 degrees F and the wind was about 10mph. As expected, the F-4 flew great! After the first take-off and trimming, the second take-off did not even require any up elevator on the pavement.

    The F-4 is quite fast and the balance appeared to be perfect. The scale EDF jet can loop from level flight and roll with ease.

    F-4 Phantom II Test Flight Video (9.7 meg)

    Flights were a bit short at only 4 to 5 minutes but we also flew with plenty of full throttle. When landing, the F-4 really likes to glide so we used plenty of road on the first touch down. The steerable nose wheel was a great feature for take-offs, but without a rudder, you need to make certain you are lined up properly on approach. I don't think the F-4 will have any problems taking off from short grass or launching with a hand-toss.

    The F-4 colors make it difficult to see in the air and it gave our cameras plenty of problems during the video filming and photography. The white ailerons allow the pilot to keep track of the F-4 and provide sufficient orientation during flight.

    Overall, I rate this EDF model very highly. It has great scale looks and performance. The assembly is easy enough for a beginner but requires intermediate to advanced flying skills. Access to the electric components is made easy through magnetic hatches and the landing gear can be quickly removed, if desired for grass landings. This receiver-ready jet has a tough finish that is hard to scratch so it will keep looking great for many exciting flights!

    Hobby Lobby International, Inc
    5614 Franklin Pike Circle
    Brentwood, TN 37027 USA
    Toll Free: 1.866.933.5972
    Sales: 1-866-WE-FLY-RC (1-866-933-5972)
    Fax: 615-377-6948

    Comments on RCU Review: Hobby Lobby F-4 Phantom ARF Military Scale R/C Jet

    Posted by: djnsayne on 03/30/2009
    So...is RCU condoning the flying of an RC plane off of a street with cars on it and everything?...... I wonder if the AMA agrees with this practice?
    Posted by: Don M. on 03/31/2009
    I also was a bit distrubed by where you were flying. Please tell us that the situation was a lot more under control than it looked. I know there are a lot of "rogue" flyers out there but to post this on a site like this is hard to believe. Again please tell us that there is no cause for concern.
    Posted by: Greg Covey on 03/31/2009
    It was an office park parking lot that is closed for the weekends. The street is off to the right and the camera microphone makes the cars sound much closer. Since I live an hour away from the AMA President, I don't think Dave (who I know well) would be happy if he thought I was a "rogue" flyer. :)
    Posted by: dcpav8r on 04/01/2009
    Closed lot it may have been; but flying at the side of power lines with an "open" street at the end of the strip; all in all pretty irresponsible
    Posted by: pjw_75 on 04/13/2009
    Who cares where he flew, just enjoy the review!
    Posted by: Cowboysam on 06/02/2009
    If you disagree, the pilot puts his responsability into his own hands. So that is his problem, I thought the video was impressive myself.
    Posted by: evan.flatt on 07/06/2009
    have you had any problems with range using the ar6100, what kind of range do you get, what tx are you using?
    Page: 1
    The comments, observations and conclusions made in this review are solely with respect to the particular item the editor reviewed and may not apply generally to similar products by the manufacturer. We cannot be responsible for any manufacturer defects in workmanship or other deficiencies in products like the one featured in the review.

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