RCU Review: The Wings Maker Piper J-3 Clipped Wing Cub

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    Contributed by: Greg Covey | Published: May 2009 | Views: 62464 | email icon Email this Article | PDFpdf icon
    The Wings Maker Cub 48

    Review by: Greg Covey
    Flying Photos: Papa Jeff Ring
    Video Pilot: Lynn Bowerman

    The Wings Maker
    Distributed On-line at:


    1253 Sajak Ave,
    San Jose,
    CA 95131


    Complete Kit with hardware
    Great ARF value and looks
    Superb Covering &
    Flying Performance

    Instructions Unclear in Several Areas
    Clipped Wing Cub 48

    The new Clipped Wing Cub 48 from The Wings Maker is available in two color schemes. It is made from top quality balsa and plywood construction and comes with all hardware and accessories. The built-up rib wing and tail section comes with all the control surfaces pre-installed.

    I'll be converting this model to clean and quiet electric power. It is similar in appearance and covering scheme of my World Models 1/3 Scale Clipped Wing Cub, but essentially half the size or 1/6 scale.


    • Price: $109.99
    • Wing Span : 63 in / 1600 mm
    • Wing Area : 620 sq in / 40 sq dm
    • Flying Weight : 5.5 lbs / 2500 g
    • Fuselage Length : 47 in / 1200 mm
    • Engine Required : 2-stroke 0.40 - 0.46 or 4-stroke 0.52 - 0.56
    • Radio Required : 4-channel radio w/ 5 standard servos

    ARF Contents :

    The Cub came solidly packed in the box. Each piece was sealed in plastic and the fuselage was held secure by custom cardboard.

    An 11-page manual with detailed drawings and a decal sheet are also included.

    After opening the large bag of parts, it was nice to see the smaller bags with numbers on them that matched the instruction steps in the manual. This makes it easy to find the right set of parts for each step.

    A closer look at the fuselage revealed that the pre-painted fiberglass cowl and pre-cut window plastics were safely stored inside. A transparent dummy cowl is included to help design your original cuts on before transferring them to the painted fiberglass cowl.

    The fuselage was built solid yet light and the covering looked top-notch!

    Electric Conversion:

    Converting the Cub to electric power is easy. Simply multiply the desired watts per pound performance level times the flying weight to get the motor power class. Since the Cub has clipped wings, I'll want enough power to do some aerobatics so I simply multiply 100w/lb times the 5.5lb flying weight to get my motor class of 550w.

    On motor choice that fits this class is the AXI 4120/14 motor, from Hobby Lobby, using a 4-cell LiPo pack and a 13" to 14" prop. Assume a loaded LiPo voltage of 3.6v per cell or 14.4v for the 4s pack. Divide your desired 550w by 14.4v and you get a reasonable 38.2 amps maximum current draw.

    The power system components are a pre-enjoyed AXI 4120-14 motor and a new E-flite 60-Amp Pro Brushless ESC.

    I re-located the stock glow engine mount holes 1/4" toward the center and used #8-32 hardware with 1" spacers. The hardware is available through Hobby Lobby or a home improvement store like Home Depot. An additional larger hole was drilled for the motor/ESC wires to feed into the fuselage. The mount was simple and solid.

    On electric conversions of scale models, it is often difficult to access the battery. Sometimes you can make a hatch to access the battery, other times it is just not feasible. I often choose to keep the scale look intact and recharge my battery inside the plane. This can be done safely when using a quality balancing charger like the FMA Cellpro series. I install the pack before putting on the wing and fly all day or weekend without disassembling the wing between flights.

    What makes this in-plane charging work is by first disconnecting the battery connection to the ESC with an arming device like the MPI (6790) High current Arming Switch. Once the battery has been disconnected from the ESC, you can safely charge/balance the LiPo pack by having access to the small node connector. The MPI switch makes it easy to keep your plane safely disarmed in the pits when not in use. The On/Off switch on the ESC is always left on and you simply pull out the double Sermos plug.

    I'm using a 4-cell FlightPower EVO25 3700mAh pack that weighs 13oz. This is positioned up front just behind the firewall and held in place using Industrial Strength Velcro. The inside formers were cut to allow the pack to sit flat against the fuselage bottom. The ESC is then mounted to the side wall using Velcro. Both components are in the air flow system shown later in the review.

    Cub Assembly:

    Since the ailerons are already pre-installed, the first step of the assembly is to mount the servo and linkage in each wing half. I use a JR Sport MN48 Mini servo which provides 48oz/in torque. I also used a JR (JRPA098) 12" HD servo extension. Note that the Cub has a pre-placed string to help run the servo extension to the bottom side hole near the chord. This will drop into the fuselage when the wing is attached.

    All the linkage hardware and keepers are included and the aileron has pre-placed pin holes to drill slightly larger for the control horn screws. The recommended aileron swing is +- 10mm from center.

    The wing halves are jointed together by two aluminum tubes. The smaller one is pre-mounted in one side and the larger one slides into pre-made channels. A finished plywood stiffener is used on the top side to strengthen the trailing edge hold-down area when screwed into the fuselage. Two pre-installed wooden dowels line up the wing with the fuselage and keep it from lifting.

    The instructions call for gluing to two wing halves together including the aluminum tubes but I am not convinced this is necessary so I plan to keep them removable for now.

    The fiberglass cowl installed easily using the supplied screws and rubber hole protectors. I opened the front hole in the cowl using a Dremel tool to allow the base of the motor adapter to protrude without rubbing.

    The stabilizers mounted easy using 5-minute epoxy. Both pieces had the covering pre-trimmed and only the horizontal stab needed to be aligned properly. The vertical stab fit in place like a puzzle piece and I found no alignment issues.

    Landing Gear:

    The main gear assembly is installed into channels along the fuselage bottom. You simply need to cut away the covering to expose the channels. Four straps are screwed in place to secure the gear assembly. I discovered that the strut braces could be secured using the same hole as one meant for the strap if you slightly angle the brace. The location for the brace did not match the manual assembly diagram so I could not find it initially. A rubber grommet provides bounce absorption for the main gear assembly when landing.

    The wheels are secured with a collar on each side and the other one is hidden by the screw-on hub. The pant is secured by three brass braces, screws, washers, and nuts on each side. I used thread locker on the collar grub screws and pant screws. The overall look of the landing gear was very clean and scale.


    I installed the elevator and rudder linkages using the supplied parts and threaded rods. Rubber keepers were also supplied to secure the clevis. The servo tray is pre-assembled so you only need to glue it in place with epoxy. I used JR DS-821 Digital Sport Servos for both control surfaces. Note the empty spot where the throttle servo would normal go on the glow-powered setup.

    Air Flow System:

    The motor can be easily cooled by air flow if you first widen the opening in the cowl and then create an exit path underneath by cutting a vent. If you drill some holes in the bottom half of the firewall the air can enter the fuselage to cool the ESC and battery pack, as well as enhance the flow past the motor.

    An easy way for the air to exit the fuselage is to remove the covering around the last section near the tail. A little red paint on the bare balsa helps to hide the opening.

    Pilot Platform:

    Instead of screwing the pilot mount in place, I held it with Velcro so it can easily be removed when taking the battery out. The painted pilot and mounting platform pieces are all included.

    The pilot figure stays in place for any aerobatic maneuver made by the Cub and makes it look more scale in flight.


    The side windows were glued in place using Beacon (or Bond) 527 because it dries fast, flexible, and clear. I used the supplied screws and rubber eyelets to attach the windshield.


    The steerable tailwheel assembly was mounted to the fuselage bottom with two screws. The arm was secured to the rudder using the supplied bracket.


    The wing struts installed without issue and all the hardware was supplied. Each wing half contains 2 pre-installed t-nuts to receive the screws that hold the strut. The t-nut positions are marked by pinholes in the covering so they are easy to find.

    Mock Valve Covers:

    I spray painted the mock exhaust pipes and valve covers. The plastic pieces fit well against the cowl and I used Pacer Plasti-Zap to secure them quickly. This is a special CA formula for plastic kits and works well here simply by pressing the pieces against the cowl for 10 seconds.

    Hitch Pin Clips:

    One modification I usually do on wings struts after the initial test flying is to replace the stock screw and nut with a hitch pin clip. The clip allows for easier assembly and breakdown in the field without tools. I drilled a tiny hole in a 5/32 diameter rivet for the hitch pin clip to slide through. The slack from the top of the rivet to the hole was taken up by a washer or two. You can also drill the hole closer to the strut to eliminate the need for washers.


    My 1/6th scale clipped-wing Cub was ready to fly at 76oz without battery. The APC 14x7 e-prop was a good fit for ground clearance and the Higley (SPN108) 8mm x 1.0mm Safety Spinner Hub added a nice scale touch.

    The Cub was Ready-To-Fly (RTF) at 89oz (5.5lbs) using the 13oz FlightPower 4s 3700mAh pack. I measured 470 watts at 37amps using full throttle. This provides a performance level of 85w/lb which should be plenty for scale aerobatics.

    I had an opportunity to test fly the Cub off pavement and it performed very well. It has off the ground in about 15 feet of runway using only half throttle. The CG seemed perfect so we trimmed it out and had some fun. Although I did not get any video on this initial testing, we did take some photos.

    Clipped Wing Cub 48 Test Flights
    CLICK HERE (16.5meg)

    Our next series of test flights were from grass. These were captured on the video above when we flew the Cub 48 on a nice sunny day in early May. The winds were 10-15mph and about 45 degrees off the runway line. The Cub had plenty of power on take-offs and performed very well. We flew for about 10 minutes with mixed aerobatics and had 4 take-offs and landings on the same pack charge.

    Take-offs used about half throttle and we had no problems performing giant loops, hammer heads, and inverted flight. We saw no issue with the wing that I left unglued so it can easily be broken down into two halves.

    The Cub 48 is well designed, has excellent performance, and looks great in the air! The Wings Maker Cub 48 kit is very complete and includes all the hardware needed in individual bags that are marked to match the assembly step number. This 1/6-scale Cub is a great value because it is highly pre-assembled, beautifully covered, and the flying performance is simply superb!

    1/4 Scale J3 Cub ARF

    The Wings Maker
    Distributed On-line at:

    1253 Sajak Ave,
    San Jose,
    CA 95131

    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
    Web: www.hobby-lobby.com

    AXI 4120/14 Brushless Outrunner Motor

    ZAP Glues On-line at Frank Tiano Enterprises

    Pacer Z-42 Thread Locker
    5-minute Z-poxy
    Pacer POLY ZAP(tm)

    TOWER HOBBIES (Serving Hobbyists Since 1971)
    800-637-6050 or 217-398-3636

    FlightPower EVO25 3700mAh pack
    Higley (SPN108) 8mm x 1.0mm Safety Spinner Hub

    JR, and E-flite Products
    Distributed Exclusively in the U.S.A. by:
    Horizon Hobby, Inc
    4105 Fieldstone Road
    Champaign, IL 61822
    Ph: (800) 338-4639
    Toll Free: (800) 338-4639
    Fax: (217) 352-6799
    Website: www.horizonhobby.com
    E-flite 60-Amp Pro Brushless ESC

    FMA Direct
    5716A Industry Lane
    Frederick, MD 21704
    Website: www.fmadirect.com
    Sales: 800-343-2934 or 301-668-7614

    Maxx Products International, LLC.
    Tel: (847) 438-2233, Fax: (847) 438-2898
    Ordering Only Toll Free: (800) 416-MAXX (6299)

    MPI (6790) High current Arming Switch

    Comments on RCU Review: The Wings Maker Piper J-3 Clipped Wing Cub

    Posted by: Stalkmoe on 06/01/2009
    Greg- Another excellent review, thanks. Only one question- Is Wings Maker the same as Airborne Hobbies (in Livermore) here on the West Coast? I think I remeber any early review of yours converting their 1/4 scale cub (also Red) into a big electric ship. Are there any differences in flight characteristics between the larger 1/4 scale models and the smaller 1/5 or 1/6 scale? thanks again- Tim
    Posted by: Greg Covey on 06/01/2009
    Hi Tim, Thanks. It is unclear what the relationship is between TWM (The Wings Maker) and TWM (The World Models). The kits are almost exactly the same (wait until you see my Ultimate 40 review) with a new covering scheme and minor enhancements. I reviewed the 1/3 scale Cub with the same red-white starburst pattern. They all fly great but the larger ones handle the wind better. Regards.
    Posted by: spudandcat on 06/02/2009
    I have the same one , but as the WM. I used to run a Turnigy 3548 900kv on 4s with a 13 x 4 and it rocked! but I've recently put an ASP .61 4 stroke and well , she still rocks! I really want a bigger one of these now , 1/4 or 1/3 would be great, they are cheap and fly great (I ditched that bloody Pilot though , he gets around to much ! :) )
    Posted by: paulbyrum on 06/08/2009
    how many wrote in to say the cub is soloed from the back seat?
    Posted by: rgm762 on 06/10/2009
    great review, was wondering what size wheels they gave it? I fly off grass and would hate to loose the cub center caps
    Posted by: spudandcat on 06/12/2009
    Rgm the stock wheels fly off grass ok , but they are foam cheapys and i replaced mine with some big bouncy dubros , much better. spud
    Posted by: rgm762 on 06/13/2009
    thanks spudandcat
    Posted by: JOHN AND SHERRI @ COMCAST.NET on 06/26/2009
    do you incorporate the rudder with the ail and if so how much i have a 72 world models cub , i have flown it with no rudder imput other than on take off and i found its a bit touchy do you have any helpfull hints on my set up for the controls so it will fly smooth
    Posted by: pimaa on 07/01/2009
    this is an overpowered model a motor in the size of axi 2826 with 3-4s will be lighter, allow longer flight time and will sure provide enough power
    Posted by: Greg Covey on 07/01/2009
    rgm762, I have no problems flying off grass and still use the stock wheels. Added bounce on landing is probably not desired. John, I do not use any rudder mix with the ailerons. Rudder is used for take-offs, flat turns, and slipping. Use the exponential function of your transmitter to reduce the gain in the stick centers. 25% to 40% usually works very well. It is best to learn to use both sticks. pimaa, you won't get this model to balance properly with a lighter motor so be prepared to add nose weight. Power is power so you won't see any increase in flight time using the AXI 2826 at an equivalent wattage and a minor weight difference.
    Page: 1 2 >
    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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