I've always been a sucker for unusual looking airplanes, and my latest review project definitely falls into this category - The Hansa-Brandenburg W.29. Due to its tail design, and having no conventional landing gear, the HB was limited to floats or skis. The upward sweep and deep cross-section of the tail on the W.29 was intentional, as it allowed the plane to fly without a vertical stabilizer. This, coupled with the under-slung rudder made for an uninterrupted shooting range (for the rear facing gunner) to the rear of the HB.
To be honest, I didn't know much about this plane before I received it as a new review project. It's not in the top 5 list of the best-known WWI aircraft, and the floats/skis limitation makes it really unique.
Here's one of the later additions to Maxford USA's lineup. Maxford USA has been a great company to offer a wide array of aircraft that are not often produced as ARF planes. As far as I know, prior to this offering, a HB W.29 ARF has not been available. So, if you wanted to fly one of these interesting planes, you had to BUILD it!
Combo Price: $339.99 with Motor and ESC (Accurate at time of review)
Wingspan: 53" (1346mm) Wing Area: 530 in² (34.1 dm²) Weight: 3.75 lb Flying Weight (1704 g) Length: 43" (1067mm) Center of Gravity (CG): 3" (76mm) from the Leading Edge of the Wing
Radio Used:Tactic TTX650 (Not Included) Motor Used: 3542 1450KV Brushless outrunner ESC Used: 55Amp ESC Battery Used: 3S 11.1 Volt 2200 mAh LiPo Channels Used: 4 total - Elevator, Aileron, Throttle and Rudder
Control Throws: Low Rates
Elevator, up/down: 5/8" (16mm) 10°
Rudder, right/left: 1" (25mm) 12°
Ailerons, up/down: 3/8" (10mm) 10°
Control Throws: High Rates
Elevator, up/down: 1" (25mm) 20°
Rudder, right/left: 1-3/8" (35mm) 20°
Ailerons, up/down: 5/8" (16mm) 20°
Items Needed To Complete
4 Channel (Minimum) Transmitter and Receiver
4 Micro Servos
2 - 12" Servo Extensions
1 - Y-Harness OR 6-Channel Transmitter and Receiver
Brushless Outrunner Motor
50-60 Amp ESC
3S-4S LiPo Battery and LiPo Charger
Additional Items Needed to Complete
Thread Locking Compound
Misc. Shop Tools
The Hansa-Brandenburg (HB) arrived double-boxed to avoid shipping damage - upon opening the first box, I found a rather un-assuming second box with no identification. Unpacking and laying out all the major pieces proved that the double-boxed shipping is keeping the contents safe.
There are several cool features to the HB. I really like the LARGE battery hatch, the unique upward sweep of the fuselage, and the nearly wrinkle free silver and yellow covering scheme.
More of the features I really like are the cowl, radiator, and detailed dummy inline engine, and the large ski set.
The manual includes a lot more written instructions than other manuals I have read. That being said, the assembly instructions are all there, and reading through the manual before starting assembly is highly recommended!
Assembly started like most ARFs on the market - installation of the aileron servos. The metal geared digital micro servos I used were attached to the mounting blocks, after the blocks had been located and epoxied in place. A 12" servo extension was added to the servo wire. Using T-pins, the CA hinges were inserted into the pre-cut slots in the wing and aileron and secured using thin CA.
Using medium CA, I secured the aileron control horn in place - there are two pre-drilled holes marking the location, so it was an easy task! With the horn in place, I fished the servo wire through the wing, installed the push rod, and attached the servo hatch with four wood screws.
Horizontal Stabilizer, Elevator, and Rudder Installation
Moving on to the tail section, I started by attaching the rudder with two CA hinges and some thin CA. The rudder control horn and push rod were then installed.
Like the rudder, horizontal stab/elevator preparation started with installing the CA hinges. With the hinging done, I aligned and marked the bottom of the stab, and removed the covering. Using a small batch of epoxy and three wood screws, the stab was then installed and set aside while the epoxy cured. After curing, I installed the elevator control horn and pushrod in the same manner as the rudder.
Motor, ESC, Servos, and Radiator Installation
With both push rods in place, I installed the elevator and rudder servos. The radiator assembly and the 3542 brushless motor were installed next, and the ESC was installed inside the fuselage on the battery tray.
Main Landing Gear and Wing Installation
Time to work on the skis! Assembly began by attaching the mounts to the bamboo skis, followed by the gear legs and spreader bars. I then added the four vertical and two diagonal braces - this made for one sturdy setup!My kit was missing some of the metric nuts and bolts, so I drilled out the existing holes and used 6-32 hardware.
The two wing rods were slid through the fuselage, and both wing halves were installed. Yes, it truly was that easy!
I attached the landing gear to the bottom of the fuselage using four machine screws - these threaded into blind nuts pre-installed in the fuselage. The four wing struts were then attached to the landing gear and to 'hard points' in the wing. The hard point is a section of light ply in the wings just outside of the aileron servo hatches. With that, the landing gear and wings were installed!
We're almost done! The detailed inline engine was installed next using four wood screws - that way, it can be removed later if the need ever arose. The plastic cowl was then cut to shape and mounted using three wood screws per side. I would have liked to see a slightly stronger cowl material used, but the painted lexan seems to work well. I did end up with a small crack at the top of the cowl, but it wasn't a big deal. The two pilots were installed using some scrap balsa and the optional Parabellum gun was secured in place. I also added a short section of extra wire to keep the gun securely in place, so I didn't have to glue the gun to the chest of the rear facing gunner.
The front mounted machine guns were assembled to their respective mounts and then secured to each side of the fuselage, followed by the wind screen. The plastic used for the screen was very stiff, so I heated the plastic slightly and wrapped the heated plastic around a 50mm diameter brushless outrunner motor to set the shape. When it cooled, it held the proper shape and became easy to install using some Pacer Formula 560 Canopy Glue. With the decals installed and my Tactic TTX650 programmed, the Hansa-Brandenburg was nearly ready for flight!
The only item that remained was to install the battery and test the Center of Gravity. Per the manual's addendum, I removed the cross-section in the front cockpit former to allow for battery placement. I also removed a small section at the bottom to allow room for larger battery packs. In the end, I found that a 2200mAh 3S pack was the perfect size to balance the HB W.29.
That's it, We're done! Let's head to the field for some flying!!!
Just One More Thing to Add...
OK, so this winter didn't pan out very well. Most of December, and almost all of January and February had daytime highs that were below zero or high winds? Or BOTH! Not exactly flying weather, no matter how tough I think I am! The first nice day we had to get out was 46 degrees, and the snow was too sticky for the skis.
Normally, I don't like to modify a plane when I reviewing, but in this case I didn't have any other option. So I decided to add wheels to the skis. I contacted my buddy Brian over at DuBro, and got some one inch tail wheels and steel landing gear straps. When the wheels and straps arrived, I started my modification. With the axle locations evenly spaced and marked, I used my rotary tool and a cut-off wheel to make an axle groove in the bottom of the ski. The axle itself is a small finishing nail with the head removed.
Since the wheels are one inch in diameter and one-half inch wide, I marked the ski accordingly and drilled/cut the hole.
A pair of steel landing gear straps and four small screws hold the axle/wheel in place. All I had to do was repeat the above steps three more times and reattach the skis to the landing gear. The Hansa-Brandenburg should be ready to tackle snow and hard packed surfaces!
With the landing gear modification completed, all I had to do was wait for a nice day to fly. Thankfully, the weather cooperated right before my buddy Jim Buzzeo and I had to leave for the Toledo Expo. So Jim and I headed out to our abandoned runway and did some last-minute flying!
The Hansa-Brandenburg (I'm going to call it the HB from here on) has no ground steering, so I simply pointed the plane into the wind and readied for take-off. I pushed the throttle forward, and the wheeled skis rolled across the pavement effortlessly - a touch of up elevator and the HB was airborne! The recommended 3542 1450kV motor and 11x5.5 propeller were proving to be a good combination!
With the plane at a safe altitude, I checked for any trim adjustments - none were needed for half-throttle cruising. A few right and left turns later, I was feeling pretty comfortable with the HB. I tried some basic aerobatics with the plane - loops and rolls can be done without trouble, but when I tried a stall turn the nose just fell over on itself. But, we are talking about a WWI airplane with skis or floats here, right? I'm not so sure they were doing much in the way of aerobatics.
Landing requires a bit of attention due to all the drag produced by the complex landing gear. I made sure to keep a bit of power on and flew the HB right down to the ground before cutting the throttle - I didn't want the plane stalling several feet above the ground and falling!
With the control surface deflection set per the manual, I found the HB a lot of fun to fly - it will take more power than your typical sport plane, but it sure is a neat looking plane in the air!
Maxford USA Hansa-Brandenburg W.29 ARF
It's time to wrap this one up. I really enjoyed assembling and flying the Hansa-Brandenburg W.29. It went together quickly and presented no real issues. I was very impressed by how well the plane flew - sometimes the more unique planes can be a little tricky, but the HB flew very well! Just remember to keep a little extra power on when you're landing, and all will be fine! The W.29 is a great plane for anyone looking for a unique, scale WWI warbird!
15939 Illinois Ave., #B-C
Paramount, CA 90723
Order only Toll Free 1-866-706-8288
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.