RCU Review: Lanier RC Mariner 40

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    Contributed by: Mike Buzzeo | Published: September 2003 | Views: 36254 | email icon Email this Article | PDFpdf icon

    Review by: Mike Buzzeo ( MinnFlyer )

    Distributed by:

    Lanier RC
    P.O. Box 458,
    Oakwood, GA 30566 USA


    • Less Than 10 Hours Assembly Time!
    • Exceptional Construction.
    • Fiberglass Reinforced Hull And Wingtip Floats.
    • Quality (Sullivan) Hardware
    • Comprehensive Manual
    • Excellent Fit Of Parts
    • Attractive Ultracote Covering

    • Engine Cowl Installation (See Text)
    • Tank Hatch Cover (See Text)

    Ease of Assembly:
    Completeness of Kit:
    Finished Quality:
    Slow Flight:

    I really don't know what it is, but there's something about flying on the water that has a special allure. If you've done it, you know what I'm talking about - if you haven't, you can't imagine the beauty of flight meeting water.

    There are two types of Seaplanes: A Standard Airplane that has been modified with Floats, and a true "Flying Hull". Of the two, my preference is for the latter. I like the way they sit in the water, and they fly without the added drag of a set of Pontoons. In fact, they fly more like a plane with Retracts!

    The Lanier Mariner 40 is a true Flying Hull, but until now, there have been very few (actually, only one) whose performance I really liked, both in the air, and on the water. It seems that either they float well, but fly like a boat, or they fly nicely, but have a hard time in the water. It will be interesting to see what this "New Kid" can do.

    So, get out the rowboat, and waterproof those receivers…


    Product Name: Mariner 40 ARF


    Wingspan: 62 in.

    Wing Area: 687 cu. in.

    Fuselage length: 48 in.

    Engine: .40 - .46 two-stroke

    Estimated flying weight: 6-7 lbs.

    Actual flying weight: 7.5 lbs.

    Servos Required: 5 (2-Aileron, 1-Elevator, 1-Throttle, 1-Rudder)

    Available Colors: Red/White; Orange/White; Yellow/White

    Distributor: Lanier RC

    The Mariner 40 arrived in a typical brown cardboard shipping box, inside which was a plain white box measuring 50 1/2" x 16" x 9 1/4" with a picture of the Mariner, and a list of it's vital statistics.
    Upon opening the box, I can see that all of the parts are individually wrapped in clear plastic bags. Even through the clear plastic, it was evident that I was looking at some quality workmanship.
    Everything was removed from it's packaging, and given a good going-over. All seemed to be accounted for, and there was no noticeable damage. Time to get started!
    The Mariner 40 came with a 21 page manual which is avaiable on-line here. There is also a single sheet Addendum to the manual. The Manual is complete, and guides you step-by-step through the assembly process. I would also point out that it is 21 individual sheets stapled together, as opposed to a properly bound or stapled booklet, but then, if they are going to cut corners, I would rather see them save money on printing than on glue. And there are no signs of scrimping when it comes to the quality of the Mariner's construction.


    The first step in the assembly process, is to CA the Hinges in place. Lanier supplies CA type Hinges that are preinstalled (But not glued). I removed them, and prepared the hinges and slots in my usual manner

    Next came the Aileron Servo Hatches. They were removed from the wing, where they had been held in place with tape, and the covering was cut over the Servo Arm Slots. An interesting tip the Manual gave here was to fold the covering over with a soldering iron. This was both easy, and practical.

    Now it was time to epoxy the hardwood servo mounting blocks in place. The blocks were aligned with the slots using a servo as a guide, and secured with 30 minute epoxy. Later, once the epoxy had set, the hatches were set in place under the wing, and secured with screws. A piece of monofilament line is attached near the servo entrance and exit for threading the servo leads through the wing.

    Once the hatches were in place, the Control Horns were added to the Ailerons, and Sullivan "Gold-N-Clevises" were attached to the pre-sized pushrods.

    After cutting a relief for the mounting wire, the tip floats were attached using a conventional landing gear setup. I really liked this idea, as it works well, and it's a system that all but the newest beginner is familliar with.

    Once the floats were attached, the two wing halves are joined with a 3/8" plywood joiner, which was secured with 30 minute epoxy. The fit was excellent, and joining the wing went off without a hitch.

    So far, I'm quite impressed. Only a few hours work, and the wing is finished!


    The first step in the Fuselage construction is to remove the covering from the tail pieces where they will be joined. The bottom of the Stab is marked using the Fuse as a guide, and about 3/8" of covering is removed from the top of the Stab and each side of the Fin for the Fin Braces. Once the covering has been removed, the Stab and Fin are attached to the Fuse with 30-minute Epoxy, as well as the Ventral Fin under the Fuse.

    While the Epoxy was setting, I attached the Control horns to the Elevator and Rudder. Once the epoxy had set, the Control Surfaces were attached using the supplied CA Hinges.

    Now it was time to prepare for Servo installation. A supplied piece of 3/8" x 3/8" hardwood stock is cut into 4 lengths, and using a servo for placement, glued into the inside the Fuse.

    Next came the Push Rod installation. The Push Rods were Sullivan Splined Carbon Filled Nylon. While the quality was excellent, I didn't like the fact that there was no metal rod (other than the clevis attachment stud) on the outside of the Fuse. However, the Push Rods are stronger than the standard "yellow" type, so I'll use them as is and see what happens. Note: This turned out to be no problem.


    The Engine Nacelle is marked to find center, then the pivot for the nose wheel gear is removed from the Engine Mount. The Engine Mount is then aligned with the center of the firewall and holes are drilled for Blind Nuts.

    Once the mount is installed, you are instructed to tape a piece of cardboard to the side of the nacelle to mark the position of the cowl mounting screws. I thought it was a bit unusual that the cowl would be added before the engine, but I went ahead as instructed.

    Once the Cowl is in place, the Engine is aligned and marked.

    Next, a hole is cut in the bottom of the Nacelle to allow the Throttle Servo wire to escape. The Cowl is then removed for the next steps.

    The Engine Mount holes are now drilled, as well as holes for the Throttle Pushrod, and Fuel Lines. The Throttle Servo and Push Rod are installed right behind the Firewall. I really like this setup, as it is much easier than running a flexible Push Rod up from the Fuselage.

    Finally, the Tank is installed, and covered with a balsa plate which is secured with screws.

    Problem Areas: The Throttle servo hatch in the instruction book does not match the Hatch that I have. Their's shows a Hatch that is held down in the front by the Cowl, while the rear is held down with screws. On mine, the rear is held down with two plywood tabs that slip under the Nacelle's top sheeting, which means that the Hatch must go on before the Cowl.

    This creates a "Catch-22": The Cowl can't be slid over the Engine, so it must be installed BEFORE the Engine, but the hatch must be installed BEFORE the Cowl. This means that once everything is together, you can't get at the servo to adjust the throttle linkage. The only way to adjust the linkage is at the Engine Clevis which is almost impossible to get to once the Cowl is on!

    Simple Solution: I used my Dremel Tool to cut a slit in the top of the Cowl. Now the Cowl can be removed and replaced with the engine installed.

    The Next area of concern is the Tank Hatch Cover. It is bearly large enough to cover the access hole. All 6 screws that hold it on were just catching the edges of the balsa in the Nacelle. Normally, I would have done something to reinforce this, such as putting some plywood behind the opening, but for the sake of the review, I left it as per the instructions.

    Later, it turned out that my suspicions were correct; the Hatch Cover blew off on the first flight.

    Time to attach the Engine Nacelle to the Fuse. This was very easy to accomplish. The Mast fits into the Keel in the fuse bottom, and has a notch that fits a dowel near the top. The Mast and 5/16" plywood brace were installed with 30-Minute Epoxy, and left to cure

    Once cured, the bottom is prepared for installation of the Hull Lifters. These are simply two shaped pieces of tapered balsa that are designed to help break the suction of the water against the hull. After removing the covering from the area, it was easy to see the Fiberglass Reinforcement.

    Finally, the Windshield is cut out, and attached with CA and RC56 (or a silicon sealant). The battery pack (plus 4.5oz. of lead) was held in place in the forward compartment by a few pieces of foam rubber, and the hatch was sealed with clear cellophane tape. I then added some silicon sealant to the wing saddle, and with the addition of the decals, the Mariner was ready.

    And in less than 10 hours!

    The first night out with the Mariner was dead calm. The water would have been like glass had it not been for some boat traffic on the lake, but I wasn't going to let a few ripples stop me. She sat nicely in the water, and taxied very well. After a few passes of the dock, it was time to see how it flies.

    With the throttle up, the Mariner picked up speed. It took a little water spray to the prop at first, but in no time, it was up on step and cruising nicely. A little backpressure on the stick was all that was needed to get her airborne. I don't know if the hull lifters had anything to do with it, but it broke quite cleanly from the surface. Immediately after takeoff however, something flew off. I brought it in for an immediate landing, which reveled that the Tank Hatch Cover was missing. I was afraid that was going to happen, but better it happen to me than to you!

    The next evening we were out on the dock again. The Hatch Cover was replaced with a larger, homemade one and I added some plywood backing to the Nacelle to accept the screws. The weather was identical to the night before, and in no time, the Mariner was airborne.

    I found this little seaplane to be quite agile, with a very "light" feel to it. Its aerobatic performance was also excellent for a plane of this type. I put it through several Rolls, Loops, Split S's, and even a Cuban 8, and the Mariner preformed all of them well.

    Landings, to me, are one of the real tests of a seaplane, and with the Mariner, they were everything I would have hoped for. There was no "slapping" or "porpoising", just a nice soft slide back onto the water. Very nice. The video will back me up on this point. Have a look!

    Download Mariner Video
    Low Resolution - 293k
    Download Mariner Video
    Medium Resolution - 1.4m
    Download Mariner Video
    High Resolution - 6.6m
    Comments on RCU Review: Lanier RC Mariner 40

    Posted by: schwichow on 07/08/2008
    Posted by: osaka on 07/29/2008
    I have a brand new Mariner 40 that I bought from Towers. I havent had time to build it yet. Looks nice though. Can anyone tell me if Towers still carries the Lanier line? Are replacement parts available? I enjoyed the review. It was complete and informative. Thanks to all, Osaka xray@sprintmail.com
    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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