RCU Review: Great Planes Electrifly Nieuport XI ARF

More On This Product

  • Show user ratings
  • Check for Retailers
    Contributed by: Mike Buzzeo | Published: April 2010 | Views: 38021 | email icon Email this Article | PDFpdf icon
    RCUniverse.com Review of the Electrifly Nieuport XI ARF
    Mike Buzzeo

    Email Me

    Distributed by:
    Great Planes Model Distributors
    P.O. Box 9021
    Champaign, IL 61826-9021

    • Control Surfaces Pre-Hinged for Fast Assembly
    • "Y" Cord for Ailerons Pre-Built Into the Wing
    • Genuine MonoKote? Covering
    • Many Excellent Scale Features
    • East to Transport
    • Excellent Flight Characteristics

    • Inboard Edges of Ailerons were Binding on Outboard Edges of Trailing Edge

    Skill Level:

    Time Required to Build:

    Frustration Level:

    What do these ratings mean?

    Originally designed by Gustave Delage as a racer, the Nieuport 11 was fast and extremely maneuverable, so when WWI broke out, it quickly entered service with the French Aéronautique Militaire, as well as the Royal Naval Air Service, and the Dutch, Belgian, Russian and Italian air services.

    The "Bébé" (baby) as it became known, quickly became popular amongst aces like René Fonck and Georges Guynemer, for it had an excellent rate of climb and was extremely maneuverable. Its biggest drawback was the lack of a synchronized machine gun. Instead, they were armed with a single Hotchkiss or Lewis machine gun mounted over the wing.

    Although its fighting career was short, it outclassed its rival, the Fokker Eindecker in almost every respect and its performance at the Battle of Verdun in February 1916, the Nieuport 11 inflicted such heavy losses on the enemy, that it forced a radical change in German tactics.

    Now Electrifly has modeled this beautiful sesquiplane in the color scheme which features the hunting horn and shield of Armand de Turrenne, which he used while flying with Escadrille N.48.

    Can't wait to dig in!

    Name:Electrifly Nieuport XI ARF

    Price: $109.98

    Wingspan: 35.5" (900mm)

    Wing Area: 314 sq in (20.3 sq dm)

    Weight: 21.9 - 23.1oz (620 - 650g)

    Wing Loading: 10 - 10.6 oz/sq ft (31 - 32g/sq dm)

    Length: 28" (710mm)

    Radio Used:Futaba 6EX - (4) S3114 Servos.

    ESC: SS-25 for Brushless motors

    Battery Used: ElectriFly BP 3S 11.1V 1600mAh 20C

    Channels Used: 4 total - Elevator, Aileron, Rudder, Throttle

    Items Needed To Complete

    • 4-channel radio with micro receiver
    • Four micro with at least 20 oz-in torque
    • Rimfire 400 (28-30-950) Brushless Outrunner
    • 25A brushless compatible
    • 11.1V LiPo, at least 1600mAh and Charger
    • 10x4.5 slow flyer type Propeller
    • Soldering Iron and Solder
    • Thin CA Glue
    • Medium CA Glue
    • Small Drill bits
    • Various Standard Shop Tools

    Great Planes did their usual excellent job of packaging. All components were securely taped in place and no damage was evident. All parts were present and accounted for, so it was on to the manual.


    The manual was on par with what you would expect from Great Planes, that is to say, outstanding step-by-step instructions. My only criticism would be that the picture of the combing on page 16 is so dark that none of the detail can be seen. However, the on-line PDF version of the manual shows this step clearly - I just wish I had checked it before I glued it on upside down. No biggie, it's just a decoration anyway.

    Download the manual (1mb PDF)

    Like any ARF we need to start by spending a few minutes getting out any wrinkles that may have developed in shipping. A little time with a covering iron and heat gun and all was well - although on models this small, you do need to take care not to warp any surfaces during this process. If this should happen, a little twisting and more heat easily returns any surface back to normal.

    The lower wing needs to be temporarily installed before gluing the stab. The forward dowels are glued in place and the wing gets bolted to the fuse.

    Now the stab can be aligned with the lower wing and glued in place. Next, the rudder is attached with a single CA Hinge. Note the fact that there is no vertical fin on the Nieuport, so this single hinge is the only attachment point for the rudder.

    The pushrods are attached to the control horns and the horns for the tail surfaces are glued into pre-cut slots. In a later step, the servos are installed.


    The Rimfire outrunner is bolted to the firewall with the supplied mount and standoffs. A Velcro strip is added for battery and ESC placement.

    Note: Before installing the ESC, you must replace the connectors with smaller ones. These can be soldered on to the ESC wires, or you can use a 3.5mm Male to2.5mm Female Bullet Connector Adapter (Part # GPMM3122).


    Remove the servo hatch and voila! There is a "Y" Cord for the servos built right into the wing! All you need to do is glue the servo to the hatch (Yes, I said glue the servo to the hatch, however, standard mounting blocks are provided if you choose to use them), install the control horns and pushrods, and the installation is complete.


    Hard points are now glued in place for the "V" Struts and the cabane brackets are screwed to the top wing. Note that after installation, any and all screws should be removed to have the threads hardened with thin CA glue.

    Now the top wing is temporarily bolted in place, the bottom wing is attached and the "V" struts are added. At this point is it critical that you check and tweak the alignment of the two wings as they are rather delicate and easily distorted.


    The landing gear was a snap. The tail skid glues into a slot in the rear and the manual gives excellent instruction as to the placement of the main gear brackets.


    At this point, all of the major work is done. All that's left is to glue the belly pan in place (I used canopy glue) and screw the dummy radial to the motor box. The cowl snaps in place with the aid of a few magnets for easy access to the battery.

    Finishing touches include cowl vents, access panels and combing (which I installed upside down). The scale machine gun and pilot are added and with the addition of a few decals, she's ready for the sunlight!

    I had the opportunity to work from our Florida office for a few weeks in January (Which you take advantage of if you live in Minnesota), so I shipped the Nieuport down there for the flight testing. My folks live in that area, so my dad and I would sneak out to the field each morning to get a few flights in before I went to work. Once I had the Nieuport re-assembled, we headed out to the field one morning when the weather was perfect, about 70 degrees and absolutely no wind at all.

    The first takeoff was interesting to say the least. Due to the lack of tail wheel steering, the Nieuport was rather squirrelly on the ground, but I quickly learned that slowly increasing the throttle was the wrong approach. I found that by zipping the throttle quickly to about half-speed resulted in a straight run and an easy liftoff.

    Once airborne, I did the prerequisite laps of the field and I was somewhat surprised to see that I needed no trim at all. Normally, this wouldn't be a surprise, but after tightening the wing covering, I had to remove a few warps that the covering had created and although everything looked straight afterward, I just assumed that something was off somewhere. However, the Nieuport flew a straight and level line beautifully.

    Full power resulted in a rapid gain in altitude (Not unusual for a WWI biplane), but at half-throttle, the Nieuport was delightful to fly! It has no bad habits and tracks very well. At full speed, you can trim out the extra lift and she really zips along! The Nieuport is also quite maneuverable. It accomplished any basic maneuver that I threw at it.

    Landings were equally as stable. I found that by leaving just a click or two of throttle (just enough to keep the prop spinning) was an ideal setting. She just floated down and settled in. Taxiing can be a bit tricky - you need to have enough propwash blowing over the tail to steer, but not so much throttle that it will take off, but again, this is to be expected with this type of aircraft.

    My dad and I hit the field again the following day and dad flew her around as I shot pictures and video.

    Check out the video to see her in action!

    Electrifly Nieuport XI ARF
    Or, Download the Video (24meg)

    This little Nieuport is great. Assembly is straight forward with no hassles, the instructions are excellent and it flies very well.

    The manual does a great job of ushering you through each procedure and assembly is complete in about eight hours (my only complaint being the one dark picture in the printed version of the manual). The color scheme not only looks nice, but also makes the Nieuport easy to see.

    While this plane assembles well and flies great, I would discourage a beginner from attempting it, but for those WWI fans that have good flying skills and a few prior assemblies under their belt, the Nieuport XI would be a great choice!

    All in all, this is a terrific little airplane at a great price!

    Distributed by
    Great Planes Model Distributors
    P.O. Box 9021
    Champaign, IL 61826-9021

    Comments on RCU Review: Great Planes Electrifly Nieuport XI ARF

    Posted by: cobrajocky on 08/29/2010
    Let me tell you that MY recent experience with the Great Planes ElectriFly Nieuport XI ARF was anything but good! I just received the plane from Tower Hobbies early last week (end of August), and was excited to open the box to see the beautiful plane this author raved about. Well it was anything but beautiful! I have not seen such a hideously covered ARF plane in the last 10 years! It had more wrinkles EVERYWHERE on the Fuse and Wings than a new born Chinese Shar-Pei! Appropriate, since this POS model is made in China! I have been building flying models since the late 50's (I'm 64) and I know a thing or two about doing covering and taking wrinkles out, it would be impossible to get THESE wrinkles out. The Wrinkles were particularly horrible in the Ailerons (both sides) and sides and bottoms of the Fuselage. The model was plane UGLY! I called Tower Hobbies and complained and sent it back. It remains to be seen what condition the replacement is in as far as the coverings go. I'm not holding my breath. BEWARE and Inspect, don't accept a crap covering job from the sweatshops of China!
    Posted by: MinnFlyer on 08/29/2010
    You were right not to accept it. Let us know how things turned out
    Posted by: cobrajocky on 11/04/2010
    An update - sorry I forgot to reply earlier. I had also contacted Great Planes directly to let them know of my dismay in the quality of manufacture of this model. Their Customer Service rep I spoke with was shocked he claimed, to hear about the terrible covering job and said it had to be a one of a kind problem! He was quite certain the replacement plane would be fine. Yea, well when the replacement Nieuport XI arrived a couple weeks later from Tower Hobbies (again, sent from the Reno NV warehouse) it was nearly as bad as the first!! Some "one of a kind problem", huh Great Planes!!?? . I really wanted this model, so I kept it and spent over 19 hours carefully heating and pealing off Monokote where it was so badly wrinkled it could NOT be heat shrunk, and recovered it. The Ailerons were so bad I had to throw away the original cover material and redo with new Silver EconoKote (the Silver was the exact same shade luckily) I pealed off the bottom half of the English wing markings and re-glued them with Top Flite Trim Solvent. I am very sad that this is the crap that Great Planes is letting come out of their Chinese manufacturers plants and allowing it to go out to us consumers. I have lots of pictures of the Before rebuild.
    Posted by: diverdno on 12/23/2010
    I just assembled one of these for my dad as a Christmas present. Same thing, the covering is horrible to the point I can't the wrinkles out, actually made more of a mess trying... Not very impressed with my first Great Planes model, but I won it at Warbird Fly in raffle, so pretty hard for me to badger something i got for $20.00 in raffle tickets..
    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.

    The World Models30% PT-17 Stearman ARF (U.S. ARMY) Some may call me lucky. I would agree! One of the reasons that the PT-17 is so close to my heart is that I have a personal co...10/03/2015
    Bomberfield USA 201527th Annual B-17 GatheringEvery year, the end of the summer brings the big birds back to Monaville, TX, for a festive fly-in weekend at the local RC si...10/03/2015
    HeliMaxVoltage 500 3DThis quad is absolutely not for the faint of heart, but if you·re an established heli pilot with some experience under your b...10/03/2015
    EstesProto ZSo it's the middle of winter, or the wind is blowing like crazy outside. YOU have an itch to fly something - what do you reac...09/28/2015
    DromidaVista FPVIs there anyone out there that didn't love the Dromida Ominus FPV? Released early on in 2015, the Ominus FPV quickly became a...09/25/2015
    HUBSANX4 Pro - Ready to Fly FPV QuadcoterA sleek, styled quad-copter available in an FPV or Deluxe setup. What you plan to use the X4 for will determine which version...09/20/2015
    ST ModelArcus MThe Arcus M by ST model is here to change the status-quo by introducing high-end options in a compact and affordable airframe...09/20/2015
    Seagull ModelsT-34 Mentor Seagull Models, distributed by SIG manufacturing in the US, has recently introduced their own version of this prop-driven mil...09/20/2015
    Seagull ModelsRadial Rocket ARFThis is the first in a series of Seagull aircraft that I will be reviewing for RCUniverse. Like the rest of the models that w...09/13/2015
    EHANGGhostThere's been a lot of talk about drones in the news lately, and most of it has been negative. When I talk to people about the...09/13/2015
    DromidaVista UAVIs there anyone out there that didn't love the Dromida Ominus? Released in late 2014, the Ominus quickly became a huge succes...09/13/2015
    RCGF120cc Twin Cylinder Gasoline EngineWhile RC gas engines have been around for quite a while, the demand for high quality twin cylinder variants is fairly recent....09/13/2015
    RevellNano Hexagon"Take multirotor flying down to a micro scale with the Nano Hexagon drone. This tiny six-rotor marvel is small in size but bi...09/07/2015
    Phoenix ModelsCessna 182 GP/EP ARFNew from Phoenix Models is their 182 Skylane. A 65.5" wingspan places it squarely in the .46-.55 size range, making it easy t...08/31/2015
    Flight ModelMini ExcellenceThe Flight Model Mini Excellence is a 1M sized precision aircraft that I can only assume is targeted towards pilots that are ...07/19/2015

      Return to Magazine Homepage

    RCUniverse is a service of Internet Brands, Inc. Copyright © 2001-2015.  Privacy Policy

    Search | Marketplace | Event Central | Local Clubs | Magazine | Product Ratings | New Products | Discussion Forums

    Photo Gallery | Instructor Search | Field|Track|Marina Search | RCU Youtube Channel | | RCU Twitter!

    Member Locator | Advertisers | Hobby Vendor Resources | Rate Manufacturers | Sign In/Sign Up

    Products Videos WattFlyer.com RC Classifieds

    RCU4 | | 0 | 1 | 04:25:53 AM EST | NC