RCU Review: Trick R/C Zagi TAZZ

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    Contributed by: Greg Covey | Published: February 2005 | Views: 86220 | email icon Email this Article | PDFpdf icon

    938 Victoria Avenue
    Venice, CA 90291
    (310) 301-1614

    Watch video of the
    Zagi Tazz

    High Bandwidth

    • Very solid design
    • Well-mated power system components
    • Excellent manual

    • Minor modifications needed for hatch cover and wingtips

    The Zagi Tazz is the latest model from Trick R/C that continues the tradition of the popular foam wing designs from our friends in Venice Beach. The new high performance Tazz is a hybrid design of EPP foam, carbon spars, lite-plywood bracing, and custom plastics. The package also comes with a brushless motor, ESC, and battery pack that boasts of level speeds up to 85mph!

    Designed for advanced flyers, the Tazz utilizes a 5x5 carbon prop that spins at 20,000 RPMs on the powerful brushless motor to achieve a diving speed of 130mph! The Zagi Tazz is sure to get your heart rate pumping!

    Kit Name: Zagi Tazz Brushless
    Trick R/C


    • All EPP Foam
    • Light plywood brace
    • 5 carbon spar matrix
    • Precision CNC wire cut
    • 1800 mAh NiMh battery
    • Transverse battery position
    • Carbon prop w/machined hub
    • Die cut servo and battery bays
    • Zagi Tazz 10 Turn Brushless motor
    • Zagi Tazz 25 Brushless speed control
    • Airfoil shaped, 1.5” constant width elevons


    • Airfoil: Zagi 101.4
    • Flying Weight: 26 oz
    • Wing span: 48"
    • Wing area: 2.8 sq ft
    • Wing loading: 8.75 oz sq ft
    • Servos: 2 Micro
    • Radio: w/mixer
    • Battery: 1800 mAh High Rate
    • Motor: 10 Turn Brushless
    • ESC: 25A Brushless

    After mastering an electric trainer many years ago, my second plane was the original Zagi 400 wing. Now considered an outdated "classic", the Zagi 400 had the aerobatic capability needed to train me for a 4-channel plane with ailerons. Although the flight duration was somewhat short, this problem was eliminated when its successor, the Zagi 400X, hit the market. These older models have since been replaced by newer, better designs.

    I can still remember coming home after my first Zagi 400 flight and telling my wife what a fantastic experience I just had. The original Zagi designs had a huge impact on the early days of electric flight! These inexpensive yet aerobatic wings introduced many glow pilots to their first successful electric plane and should be remembered as a significant part in the evolution of electric flight.

    Kit Parts:

    Here is how it comes
    in the box
    The Zagi Tazz kit comes complete with wing parts, power system, battery pack, prop, adapter, and custom plastics.

    The Zagi Tazz kit comes complete with wing parts, power system, battery pack, prop, and adapter. The 8-cell, 1800mAh NiMH pack boasts a high rate of discharge current to feed the powerful brushless motor. The 5x5 "spoon" prop is now made from stiffer carbon. The new thinned-out low-drag airfoil combined with an assortment of low profile custom plastics, carbon spars, and reinforcement parts reveal that this wing was designed for speed.

    The kit also comes with 4 rolls of tape; red, white, blue, and nylon-reinforced strapping tape.
    A well thought out manual and decal sheets are included.

    The kit also comes with 4 rolls of tape; red, white, blue, and nylon-reinforced strapping tape. Several sheets of decals are included and a manual that contains well thought out pictures and assembly step instructions. Trick R/C did a great job on their manual!

    Last, but not least, I found a piece of the coveted Zagi candy that I put on the shelf next to my other candies from past Zagi projects. I remember eating one years ago and they are good!


    The all EPP wing halves are glued together first before removing the pre-cut center section and servo bays. I went against the manual recommendation and used 5-minute epoxy for this step. Since little epoxy was used, I felt it did not add much weight and I could hold it perfectly in place until the glue set. Note that my pen points to some plastic wrap under the wing bottom cores and that they are pushed away from center about 1/4" on each side.

    After the epoxy dried, I removed the pre-cut sections and then glued the four flat carbon spars in place with 3M Super 77 spray adhesive per the manual. The spars run the full length of the wing on both top and bottom sides.

    The remaining fifth carbon spar is cut and CA'ed to the plywood brace. The brace is first fit into the wing slot and marked for the curvature of the airfoil. The excess wood is cut off with a sharp razor knife for a perfect fit. The brace is then glued into the wing with 3M Super 77.

    The custom motor fit requires only a single tywrap to properly hold it in place

    The motor mount tray is first trimmed to shape and then holes are cut for the tywrap and motor wires. The brushless motor fit perfectly into the custom molded tray. The custom motor fit requires only a single tywrap to properly hold it in place.

    The Tazz servo bays were designed for HS-81 servos. The servo is mounted flush on the top side of the wing. The bay cutout is cut thinner to be made flush with the bottom side of the wing and then glued in place. Other servos can be used by modifying the bay cutout.
    The Tazz wing is reinforced even further by adding some strapping tape in strategic areas. The wing is first sprayed with 3M Super 77 and left to dry for 20 minutes before applying the nylon-reinforced strapping tape. The manual shows you exactly where to position the tape strips for maximum support.
    After taping the electronics bay bottom to the wing, I decided that I simply had to deviate from the manufacturer's plan on covering the Tazz with colored shipping tape.

    The Zagi Tazz is for advanced pilots so I figured that I would exercise some freedom of choice here and replace the colored shipping tape with heat-shrink wrap. In the past, I have successfully covered many Zagi wings using Oracover (aka Ultracote). This covering shrinks with a low to medium temperature heat and simply looks great!

    If you use Oracover, it has good shrinkage with medium heat levels. I usually have my iron set to 1/2 or 12:00 high at a minimum. The EPP foam can take more heat than EPS foam. Make sure that you iron with the wing in either top or bottom beds to prevent warping. The shrink wrap provides a protective shell that can be re-shrunk after several flights, unlike the shipping tape that really starts to look bad. Econocote works good also. If you get a bubble, simply poke it with a new razor blade. The higher the iron setting, the quicker you need to work. Many folks have different techniques to apply shrink wrap on foam so it is an effective alternative to using the shipping tape. I have already covered 5 wings using Oracover.

    The finished covering on my Tazz looked great! All the hard stuff is done so I can finish the assembly by covering my elevons white after I first cut them to size.

    My component layout matches the manual suggestions. The battery can be moved forward or aft to change the CG to your personal preference. I added some rubber fuel line "keepers" to secure the clevis. I installed my linkage connectors in reverse of the manual too help the control horns line up better. I also used a full wide strip of Industrial Strength Velcro from Home Depot to hold the battery pack in place for wild roll rates.

    My Zagi Tazz is ready to test fly at 29oz with the stock 10oz, 8-cell, 1800mAh NiMH pack

    My Zagi Tazz is ready to test fly at 29oz with the stock 10oz, 8-cell, 1800mAh NiMH pack. Notice that I painted the outside of my wingtips white. Experience has shown me that this will provide better orientation in the air at distances and high speed. The wingtips are attached with Velcro. I also used a single piece of clear aileron tape through the rear slot in the wingtip for some additional holding power.

    UHU Por, Hart, or P.F.M. glues are all foam safe and work great to secure the tray

    Also shown are my two favorite "all surface" glues. The UHU Por or Hart glue is foam-safe but dries hard so the best choice to help secure the tray with some flexibility is to use the P.F.M. glue from Hobby Lobby. I sealed the tray leading edge to keep air from lifting it at high speed. The manual also recommends taping the hatch cover leading edge for fast flights.

    Test Flying:

    On my maiden voyage I found that this wing really moves out!

    My maiden voyage of the Zagi Tazz proved to be a great deal of fun and I found that this wing really moves out! The CG setting must be right on because the elevons were straight back when I landed after trimming it out. The pack sits about 1/4" back from the front which is just enough space to fit the power wire and Dean's connectors into.

    I landed about 1/3 into the flight to reduce my control gain on my computer radio. The second flight on the same pack was much more comfortable. The top-end speed of my Tazz when using the stock 8-cell NiMH pack was less than my smaller brushless-powered Kavan ProJeti wing but the Tazz was much easier to land and fly slow. In essence, the dynamic range of flight is greater with the Zagi Tazz. I also added some up elevator by holding the stick down a bit as I hand-launched the Tazz. This worked well and provided a great take-off! I would recommend using a radio that has dual rates or exponential functions to adapt the stick gain to high or low speed flying. The advantage of using negative exponential settings is that you don't need to flip any switches.

    The thin plastic wingtips work great at higher speeds but allow the plane to waggle at lower speeds when flying in wind. I didn't want to add the drag of switching to corroplast wingtips, so, after I returned home, I glued some flat carbon rods to each wingtip to stiffen them up. The modified wingtips were used during the video shoot.

    My wingtips were modified to improve visibility and slow speed stability

    My wingtip modifications included the following changes. I painted one side white for improved orientation visibility at high speeds and glued a flat carbon rod along the longest edge to firm up the thin plastic at low flying speeds to reduce wobble. This technique has much less drag than using a corroplast wingtip.

    After only a few flights, my hatch tape hinge started tearing so I replaced the clear elevon tape with black electrical tape.

    The flight times were about 10 minutes or a bit more. After several more flights, I was really reaming it out on some fast fly-bys to check for any flutter. I figured the rock-hard body wouldn't budge but neither did the elevons. I also had my hatch cover taped up front. I was now confident that the Tazz could handle even more power!

    315 Watt Power Upgrade:

    The stock Tazz battery was replaced with a similar weight ThunderPower Lithium pack

    The Zagi Tazz uses a brushless motor and ESC combo strapped on an all EPP reinforced Zagi-XS frame. This setup blazes in level flight at an awesome 85 mph. It was tested in-flight with a 9.6v High-Rate 1800mAh NIMH battery drawing an average 20 amps at an average of 22,000 rpm. The in-flight data was measured with the “Eagletree Flight Data Recorder” and radar-clocked at 85 mph in level flight by Trick RC. The highest dive speed measured with radar, so far, is 130 mph. This testing by the manufacturer gave me confidence that I could push the power system further with a ThunderPower Lithium pack hop-up.

    The 3s2p ThunderPower 4200mAh Lithium pack is the exact same weight as the 8-cell 1800mAh NiMH Zagi pack at 10.4oz. The 3s Lithium pack has the voltage of a 10-cell NiMH pack and twice the capacity! The pack can deliver 40amps continuous current delivery so it is a great fit in both form and function. I expected a maximum current draw of only 30amps on a static ground test.

    I also added more industrial strength Velcro on the tray bottom to secure the Lithium pack for even higher speeds.

    I measured the Tazz current draw on both packs:

    • 8-cell 1800mAh NiMH pack, 10.4oz, 26amps, 230w
    • 3s2p ThunderPower 4200mAh pack, 10.4oz, 33amps, 315w

    The results of my measurements with an Astro Flight Super Whattmeter showed a significant increase in both power and duration using the Lithium pack. Note that I am using the newer 10C ThunderPower (Gen 2) 2100mAh cells. The Zagi Tazz ESC is rated for 25amps continuous and 35amp peak draw. This means that the 3-cell Lithium pack is within the design limits of the Tazz power system. I would recommend using throttle management for limited full throttle use like on 5-10 second high speed passes or some similar length vertical runs.

    I made a video showing the dynamic range of flight that the Tazz is capable of performing which included both the stock NiMH battery and the Lithium pack upgrade. I've always been impressed with flying wings and the Tazz frame is the stiffest I've ever seen!

    Flight times were about 10 minutes or a bit longer when using the stock 8-cell, 1800mAh NiMH pack. I could really ream the Tazz out on some fast fly-bys and did not see any flutter on either the wing body or the elevons. The rock-hard reinforced body didn't budge even when we landed it hard.

    I subdued the wild roll rate with a negative exponential setting on my Futaba transmitter. At certain times, I thought the wing would surely tear apart in flight...but it didn't. I also had my hatch cover taped in the front to keep air from forcing it open. The Tazz construction is rock-solid. The Lithium-powered Tazz is so impressive that it had us laughing in disbelief! I recommend this model for intermediate to advanced pilots looking for a real thrill ride that can still be landed (or flown) quite slowly.

    For the video, I flew the Zagi Tazz first on the stock 8-cell 1800mAh NiMH pack and then on the 3s2p ThunderPower 4200mAh Lithium pack. The performance on either pack was simply awesome!

    The Zagi evolution continues with the Tazz!

    938 Victoria Avenue

    Venice, CA 90291
    (310) 301-1614
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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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