RCU Review: Lanier RC Razor 3D ARF

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    Contributed by: David Johnson | Published: January 2004 | Views: 26649 | email icon Email this Article | PDFpdf icon
    Razor 3D ARF

    Review by: David "Mordib" Johnson - email me

    Lanier RC
    P.O. Box 458
    Oakwood, GA 30533

    See the Razor 3D in action!

    Ease of Assembly
    Aerobatic ability

    Well built and covered
    Option for on-CG tank install
    Short, easy assembly
    Rockin' advanced performance

    Wheel pants assembly allows the pants to come loose and turn over
    There have been several new entries into the extreme 3D genre of planes. I've had the opportunity to fly several of them and have had a real blast flying them all. Lanier's entry is the new Razor 3D arf and is available in 4 different schemes. It promises to provide the full gamut of aerobatic and 3D maneuvers, and with a projected weight of 4.5 -5 lbs. it ought to be one cool ride. But we can't fly it till we get it built! Let's get started

    Kit Name: Razor 3D ARF
    Price: $199.99 street price
    Wingspan: 52"
    Length: 54"
    Flying Weight as tested: Total: 4 lbs. 14 oz. (dry)
    Engine Used: Saito .72
    Prop: APC 13x6 Sport
    Transmitter: Futaba 9CAP
    HiTec Supreme 8 Channel Receiver
    (4) HiTec HS-225MG Servos
    2-Ailerons, 1 each for rudder and elevator
    (1) HiTec HS-81 on the throttle
    Battery: 800 Mah Nimh 5 cell battery (6.0 volt)
    Channels/Mixing Used: Ailerons split in channels 1 & 6
    Manufacturer: Lanier RC
    Contents of the box
    Wing bolt openings
    Fitting the stab
    Opening the box of the Razor 3D revealed a very attractive ARF. The covering was applied well and only had a few wrinkles that a heat gun quickly removed. At first glance the plane looks smaller than many of the other .46 size "3D" planes out there... partly due to it's swept back leading edge prevalent in pattern planes. First impressions were that the Razor stemmed from pattern plane roots, but was obviously designed for 3D performance... HUGE surfaces in relation to the plane's size and a shorter fuse for more "snappy" reaction to inputs. The bellypan is pre-installed so we simply cut the covering around the bolt openings into little triangles and use a trim iron to iron them to the inside. Now we can bolt the wing on and then insert the stab into the fuse. I found the fit to be too tight so I used a makeshift "file" out of a hardwood stick with sandpaper glued to it.
    Aligning the stab
    Parallel to the wing?
    Measuring and marking
    We center the stab in the fuse, then check that it's parallel with the wing. Next we pin the rear of the stab in place and then adjust the stab's angle so that the trailing corners are equal in distance to the trailing corners of the wing. Once satisfied with the alignment, we mark around the stab on both sides of the fuse to prepare for removing the covering.
    Removing covering
    Removing excess covering
    Taping the elevators
    Using a soldering iron and metal straight edge insures no scoring of the stab sheeting which can greatly decrease it's strength. I noticed that the edges of the stab opening in many places was covered over. This would prevent a strong glue joint so carefully cut the covering from the edge so that we have a good balsa-to-balsa contact. We glue in the stab with 30 minute epoxy and go through the alignment steps above. If your stab still sits a little off parallel from the wing, you can place a small weight on either side to hold it level. While that's setting up, we can work on the elevators. Since they are full flying stabs, drilling the holes for the control horns can be a real bear. To get them nice and straight, I tape the two stabs together so that their taper and airfoils would offset each other and create a flat surface to drill into. I then used a drill press to drill the holes, making sure the area to be drilled was out past the end of the other elevator!
    Installing horns
    Hinging the elevators
    Assembling tailwheel
    Since we can install the horns before hinging them, we can simply use a square to align the holes of the horn perfectly over the hingeline. Now we can mark the holes, drill them and install the horns. Placing pins in the center of the CA hinges allows us to make sure the hinge inserts equally into each surface for the strongest holding power. The instructions have you assemble the tailwheel by sliding the wheel on the tailwire then holding it on with a wheel collar. I don't care for that setup as the wheel can bind against the wire. A simple fix is to use 2 wheel collars or like I did here, silver solder a #2 washer to the inboard side of the "axle". This keeps the wheel centered with the tailwire and prevents it from rubbing.
    Rudder hinging & wire tube
    Elevator bellcrank
    Bellcrank hatch
    The rudder is now hinged on, but before we do, we need to drill a hole for the tailwire to insert into the rudder. Most often ARF instructions have you epoxy the wire into the rudder at the time of hinging, but I've always wondered what would happen if I needed to remove the rudder for repair. I found a piece of plastic tubing that slid snugly over the tailwire and drilled a hole in the rudder big enough for it to be inserted. The tube is then epoxied in place and allows us to remove the rudder by simply cutting the hinges.

    One of the most unique aspects of the Razor over other similar 3D planes is it's handling of the elevators. It uses a bellcrank assembly with pull/pull operation common to many pattern planes. I assume it's to save tailweight and make balancing easier. There is a hatch in the bottom of the tail near the stab. This facilitates the installation of the system.
    Tie extensions
    Adapting the servo bays
    Aligning the rudder horn
    The only servo in the tail is the rudder servo. We need to tie or shrink tube the connection to an extension to prevent it from coming loose. I used a Dubro Heavy Duty arm to insure the greatest amount of throw. The servo cutouts are for standard size servos. Since I was using the HiTec HS-225MG's that are considerably shorter, I had to fill in the space and create a new rail on one side. Knowing this in advance, I cut the covering over the bay in a big "X" then glued in the "adapter" When set, I ironed the covering over the bay and into the opening. Clean and neat. The manual instructs you install the rudder horn at a specific location, but it seemed too high for optimum mechanical advantage for the servo. Instead, I laid a straight edge on top of the servo and marked the location on the rudder. I measured from that mark up one inch (to align with the 1" servo arm) and installed the horn there.
    Attach canopy
    Making room for bellcrank
    Rudder pushrod
    One of the ways I save time is to glue the canopy on when I'm ready to quit for the day. That way it's dry when I return the next day. Now we hookup the elevator linkage and finish up the bellcrank assembly. I found that the bellcrank arm would hit the top of the rear former, so I used a rotary tool with a Robart Right Angle Adapter to grind out just enough for the arm to clear. I installed the stock pushrod assembly for the elevators, but opted to replace the rudder pushrod. I used a 4/40 rod with a solder on clevis at the servo and a Dubro heavy duty clevis at the horn. I've often felt thinner rods bend under extreme maneuvers like blenders making the surfaces feel rubbery.
    Hinge ailerons
    Wing servos adapters
    Finished servo install
    To the wing! We hinge the ailerons much as we did the elevators and rudder. Again I needed to make adapters so that my HS-225MG's would fit... This time I didn't have enough room to work with the covering just cut out in an "X", so I cut it out. I used a small piece of liteply to space out for the servo, then filled in the gap with 1/4" balsa. A scrap of UltraCote closley matched the covering and again made for a clean looking install. By the way... whenever you install a servo, it's a good idea to remove the screws and servo and place a few drops of CA in the screw holes. This will harden the area and greatly enhance the holding power of the screws.
    Aligning the control horn
    DuBro clevis tool
    Gear and gear cover
    Using the same technique as we used on the rudder, we square off the servo and mark for the control horns. In making up the pushrods, I used the Dubro clvis tool to attach the clevis. It's one of those inexpensive tools you never seem to get around to buying. But let me tell you... it is REALLY nice. There is nothing like having the right tool for the job, and Dubro offers a full line of tools that once used, are simply indispensible. We bolt the swept back gear on and fasten the fiberglass gear cover in place. The gear and cover is a nice touch and really adds to the looks of the plane.
    Wheels and pants
    Engine mount
    Balllink for throttle linkage
    We mount the wheels and wheel pants next. It uses a single bolt to hold everything on, and at the time I thought I would add a screw to the wheel pant to keep it from spinning. However, I didn't make myself a note and later forgot to do it. Just as I had anticipated, the pants did rotate while flying and though didn't cause any real damage, it COULD have been a real disaster. MOD: After the wheels and pants are installed, drill a small hole about 1/4" above the axle through the gear and into the pant. Make sure not to drill thru the tire! Now simply install a wood screw to prevent the pant from rotating. You may even want to place a drop of thick CA on the screw before inserting to prevent vibration from backing it out. I opted to install a Saito .72 in my Razor and had to move the right side of the engine mount over about 3/16". I popped out the blindnuts from the right side and epoxy in dowels to fill in the holes. I then drilled new holes and re-installed the blindnuts. Now we can mount the engine. For the throttle linkage I chose to use a Dubro 2-56 threaded ball link. I really like them as they help prevent binding of the pushrod and allow for smoother throttle transition and idle.
    Tank assembly
    Throttle servo mounting
    Tankand receiver install
    The tank is now assembled and a zip tie used to hold the clunk on the line. A short piece of tubing is pushed on the vent line to get near the top of the tank. This is MUCH easier than trying to bend the tube enough to do so. A REALLY nice feature of the Razor 3D is it's option to mount the tank on CG. This is the first plane that I have assembled that was designed for this option. The reason is so that the CG does not change significantly as the fuel is used. I chose to use an HS-81 on the throttle and at first was scratching my head trying to figure out where to install it. I decided to make a cross piece that would not only hold the servo, but also act as a tank holder. We go ahead an hook up the pull/pull on the elevator servo and install the radio. It's wrapped in thin foam and zip tied to the fuse. Two 6" extensions are used for the ailerons, as I placed them in channels 1 and 6 and used Flaperon mixing in my Futaba 9C to mix them. This not only allows you to trim each aileron seperately, but also setup an elevator to flap mix for really tight loops and waterfalls.
    Cline regulator
    Dubro fuel filler
    Cowl cutout
    Because the tank is on CG, most engines will have a problem pulling the fuel to the carb. For the Saito .72 I chose the Cline Regulator which basically sets up a pressurized fuel system. It also virtually eliminates any leaning out during radical maneuvers too. It gets wrapped in foam and zipped tied to the carbeurator. On my Razor, I installed a DuBro Fuel Filler at the top of the fuse by making a plywood adapter and epoxying it to the firewall. Lastly the cowl is cutout. I used the clear plastic method that entails taping a strip of plastic to the fuse and marking the locations of cutouts. Install the cowl and transfer the marks to the cowl. I ended up removing most of the bottom of the cowl which was flexible enough to take off without removing the muffler or needle valve. That's pretty much it... now let's go see how the Razor lives up to it's advertised capability!

    November is always windy in Ohio. The winds on both flying opportunities was around 10-15 mph. I was a little hesitant, but the Razor 3D handled it VERY nicely. This video shows how the wind blew the plane 75 feet or so while in a hover, but it was still easy to control. Landing was pretty crabbed, but felt soft and easy. Takeoffs were straight and uneventful with liftoff after about 25-30 feet. The Saito .72 is MORE than enough power for it and I'm sure a good .46 or .52 two stroke would make it perform as well. Just a few clicks of various trim and were were ready for flight testing. The Razor performs VERY clean maneuvers as I expected from it's pattern-like design. In fact, I'd say it would make for a nice pattern trainer. Rolls were axial and loops were clean. The Razor will snap out of a tight loop with too much elevator, but is easily recovered. Knife edges were fairly easy with an acceptable amount of elevator and aileron correction required.

    But how about 3D? The Razor won't dissappoint here either. It is very snappy and recovers from maneuvers quickly and concisely. It hovers well and takes only a little work to hold it there. I had trouble trying to harrier t
    he Razor bue to the wind, but I'd bet it would perform halfway decent based on some of the high alpha flying I was able to accomplish. IWhen brought to a stall, it gently falls to one side or the other and allows for plenty of time to correct and fly out.

    It can flatspin and knife edge spin as well, but they must be entered into properly or it turns into a nose down spin. Without a doubt the Raor 3D has plenty of rudder and can knife edge circle with ease. It's a plane that had a lot of potential, but you have to familiarize yourself with it... and that takes more than this review can permit.

    Is it the ultimate 3D machine? Well... I wouldn't go that far, but it sure is a great flying plane... ask me again after 50 flights, and I'm liable to have put it in that top-of-the-line 3D class. More advanced pilots will like the Razor's willingness to fly how it's commanded. The Razor 3D is not an "auto performer" meaning you don't just throw the sticks in opposite corners and it does a perfect flatspin... With a little time learning it's abilites, it's a great choice to enhance your 3D flying skills. Can I recommend the Razor 3D? Absolutely... it's not a second plane by any stretch, but a great plane to really learn to fly 3D? You bet.

    See the Razor 3D in action!


    The Razor 3D is a well constructed model, with adequate hardware than can be assembled in very little time. You can choose from 4 different covering schemes, making yours different from others at the field. The Razor is a good performer with lots of potential for enhancing your skills. Though I wouldn't recommend it as a second plane, more advanced pilots will like the Razor 3D and enjoy learning it's abilities.

    Lanier RC
    P.O. box 458
    Oakwood GA 30566
    TEL 770-532-6401
    E-Mail: contact@lanierrc.com
    Website: www.lanierrc.com

    Dubro, Inc.
    480 Bonner Road, Wauconda, IL 60084
    Phone: 800-848-9411
    Website: www.dubro.com
    Products used: Fuel filler, clevis tool, threaded ball link, heavy duty quicklinks

    Futaba Corporation of America
    Distributed Exclusively in the U.S.A., Canada and Mexico by:
    Great Planes Model Distributors
    P.O. Box 9021; Champaign, IL 61826-9021
    Website: www.futaba-rc.com
    Products used: Futaba 9CAP transmitter

    HiTec RCD USA, Inc.
    12115 Paine St.
    Poway CA, 92064
    TEL 858-748-6948
    Website: www.hitecrcd.com
    Products used: HS-225MG & HS-81 servos, Supreme 8 receiver

    Great Planes
    P.O. Box 9021
    Champaign, IL 61826-9021 USA
    Phone: 217-398-3630
    Fax: 217-398-0008
    Website: www.greatplanes.com
    email: productsupport@greatplanes.com
    Products used: Dead Center Engine Mount Hole Locator

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    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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