RCU Review: Multiplex Magister


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    Contributed by: Greg Covey | Published: July 2005 | Views: 85811 | email icon Email this Article | PDFpdf icon

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    Manufacturer Info


    Multiplex Modelsport USA
    12115 Paine St.
    Poway CA, 92064
    Phone: 858.748.6948
    Fax: 858.748.1767

    www.multiplexusa.com



    Special Features

    • Kit consisting of major parts molded in ultra-robust
    • ELAPOR particle foam
    • Steerable nosewheel
    • Damped main undercarriage (resists bouncing)
    • Wheels included in basic kit
    • Optional aero-tow coupling
    • Can be built as electric or glow-powered model (all parts* included in the kit)
    • Wings and tailplane removable for ease of transport.
    • Two-part wing
    • Comprehensive decal sheet
    • Illustrated building instructions




    Hits
    • Complete RTF package
    • Well integrated design
    • Easy to assemble and repair
    • Flies great even in some wind
    • Tricycle gear for easy take-offs and landings


    Misses
    • Short flights
    • ESC only rated to 8-cells


    Introduction


    Multiplex has recently introduced a revolutionary new R/C trainer molded from durable ELAPOR foam called the Magister. The Magister is an RTF (Ready to Fly) electric powered package with everything a beginner pilot needs to learn how fly. The airplane's electric engine can later be removed and a gas engine can be installed easily (assuming you become disgusted with your first electric flight experience). This makes the Magister one of the most advanced trainers available today.

    The Magister is big, simple to fly, and, great for beginner or intermediate pilots. The plane is stable and solid in the air and slows down to a crawl for nice controlled landings. The Magister can handle moderate winds because of its size and weight.

    Trainers have been around since the beginning of model flying. The so-called .40-sized trainer (with a 6.5cc glow motor) is offered in a multitude of variants all over the world. The beginner is expected to cope from the outset with an easily damaged all-wood model and a motor which is not properly set up and not even run-in. It’s no surprise that this type of “first model” is often the modeler's last. At Multiplex they have adopted a different philosophy: a “ready-made model” molded in robust, high-strength particle foam, fitted with a geared electric power system. The model is quickly made ready for flying, the motor starts when you just throw a switch, and the aircraft’s flying characteristics are simply outstanding. Success is all but guaranteed!




    Specifications


    Model: Multiplex Magister
    Wingspan: 64.2in
    Fuselage Length: 46in
    Flying Weight: Glow-Powered 67oz
    Flying Weight: Electric 84oz

    Includes:

    • Hitec Laser 4 Radio
    • Hitec HFS-04MG Receiver
    • Permax 680 Motor
    • APC 12x8 e-Propeller and 3:1 Gearbox
    • 3 Mini HD Servos
    • M32 Speed Control
    • 1900mAh Motor Battery
    • Multiplex 5008 DC NiCd/NiMH charger


    Assembly

     

    The Magister and its components come well packaged. Some parts are wrapped in bubble wrap and others in custom cardboard. The RTF package is complete with manuals for the plane assembly and radio setup. A CD is included for training first time pilots which includes a video showing how to assemble and fly the Magister, a kit version of the manual in PDF can be used for repairs, and a flight simulator with numerous Multiplex models. A Multiplex 5008 DC charger runs off of 12v and can charge 1 to 8 NiCd or NiMH cells at 100mA to 5amps. The charger comes ready to use with a mating battery connector.

    The Magister RTF package comes with a complete Hitec Laser 4 radio system which provides solid control, free of interference or distance limitations. All support parts like prop, adapter, spinner, and wheels are supplied in the kit.

    A look around the fuselage shows pre-installed servos with added linkage for nose steering. A big front hatch secured by a screw on each side but is easily removed by pulling up the rubber latch. The power system uses a preinstalled geared Speed 680 motor. The 8-cell 1900mAh NiCd pack and big 64" wingspan allow this trainer to be used in some wind.

    Once the hatch is removed, the pre-installed receiver, motor mount, and cable assembly show a high level of integration in the design of the Magister. One end of the speed controller cable is connected to the motor and the other end (not shown) connects to the battery so you can recharge the Magister by simply removing the hatch.

    The first step in assembly is to mount the wheels on the gear mains and steerable nose leg. A stabilizer wire is connected between the gear mains for extra shock absorption on those not so smooth landings and it also reduces the tendency for landing bounce. I used Locktite on all the wheel collar hex screws. The gear mains are inserted into a pre-drilled hardwood block in the pre-mounted undercarriage retainer strap and the cover is held in place with four screws. Note that the thick rubber band that is used to reduce bounce on landings should not be doubled back like shown in the photo above because it pulls the gear mains too far away. This makes the nose of the plane too low which makes take-offs more difficult.

    The nose leg assembly is held in place with several collars and the pre-installed linkage hooked up for steering. Note that the metal nose leg top should be flush with the half-circle part of the red frame and not at the top as shown in the photo.

    The tail assembles quickly since the only part glued in place is the vertical fin. The manual recommends using medium CA with some kicker. It says that white glue and epoxy are not effective on the ELAPOR particle foam. The medium CA and regular kicker worked great!

    The horizontal stabilizer simply screws in place and the linkage is hooked up with the supplied hex allen wrench. Note that the antenna wire is routed along the fuselage belly in between the rubber band and held by tape at the tail.

    During the assembly, I decided to charge the NiCd pack. The charger hooks up to a 12v supply and automatically senses either NiCd or NiMH cells which is displayed via LEDs. I set the current for a 1C charge (about 2amps) and the charger beeps when it has peaked the pack. For these 1900SCR NiCd cells, you can charge at a much higher rate than 2amps (1C) so using the charger's maximum current setting of 5amps is ok.

    The Magister RTF package comes with a complete Hitec Laser 4 radio system which provides solid control, free of interference or distance limitations. The 8 AA-sized batteries for the transmitter are not included. I found the servo reversing switches in the battery bay along with a mixing switch for V-tail or elevon control. The Laser 4 transmitter also comes with a trainer jack and momentary toggle switch on the top for using a buddy box. This is a nice feature for a trainer since an experienced pilot at the field can teach a newcomer to fly on the club's designated training day.

    When I tested the Magister control surfaces, all the servo switches were in the proper setting without the need for any changes.

    The wing assembly is very simple. The two wing halves are connected with a long carbon tube and then secured to the fuselage with custom locking plates that screw into metal inserts. Remember to connect the aileron servo wire to channel 1 on the receiver before securing the wing. Simply follow the same wire color orientation as the other servos already connected to the receiver. The aileron linkages are easily adjusted using a 3mm Allen wrench after first centering the servo electronically with the transmitter on and battery plugged into the ESC.

    The size of the Multiplex Magister really becomes apparent when the wing is attached. This is a .40-size trainer without the balsa or glow engine.

    The Magister comes with an APC 12x8 e-prop, adapter, and spinner. The prop hole and spinner backplate must be drilled bigger to allow the adapter to fit through. Once drilled, I mounted the adapter using Locktite on both hex screws.

    The last step before applying the decals is to secure the battery pack and check the CG. The CG was a bit nose heavy with the battery flush with the edge of the fuselage foam so I left it there since there was Velcro already mounted by the manufacturer. A simple EPP foam block is was used to secure the pack from moving during aerobatics.

    When I fired up the power system, it brought me back to the great smooth feeling of brushed motor speed controls. The only brushless system to ever match it was the sensored design by MaxCim Motors. Unfortunately, the industry took the sensorless path.

     


    Flight Time


    The day of the maiden flight was a bit dreary but the Magister took off like a beginner's dream come true! Since the front nose gear was a bit low and the plane a bit nose heavy, it took considerable elevator to lift up. I needed to raise the nose gear to make the wing incidence parallel with the ground.

    Talk about an in-your-face pass! The 5lb Magister flies with elegance and superb control.

    The Magister has performed very well in all its test flights. We determined that my original installation of the rubber band holding the support brace center up toward the fuselage should not be doubled as it pulls the rear wheels too far away from the fuselage. This makes the nose wheel low and the plane is difficult to get airborne from grass. After wrapping the rubber band around the metal wire and the connecting it to the plastic fuselage post, the Magister takes off from grass easily.

    The Magister can perform loops, rolls, and even inverted flight. The plane was a joy to fly as it required little correction to maintain a level altitude. Upon landing, you can easily dead stick the Magister onto the ground or reduce throttle and watch it slowly settle in on all three wheels. I saw no bad tendencies on the flight characteristics.

    Plane and Battery Weights:

    • Magister w/o battery = 64oz
    • 8-cell 1900mAh NiCd = 16.5oz
    • Magister with battery = 80.5oz

    Watch the video of the Multiplex Magister

    Pavement Takeoff
    Windows media

    Grass Takeoff
    Windows media


    Summary

    It was interesting to see how the Multiplex Magister compared to a .40-size glow powered trainer. With the supervision of a seasoned pilot, it has the potential to eliminate several of the learning pains that are associated with glow engine reliability, kitting (or re-kitting) a covered balsa kit, and component assembly complexity. The tricycle gear allow for smoother take-offs and the spring-loaded wire gear mains reduce landing bounce.

    The 1900mAh packs produce short flights when performing aerobatic maneuvers. I would typically get about a 5 minute flight depending upon the amount aerobatics performed. I wanted to try a Lithium upgrade like the 3-cell Kokam 3.2AH pack which would provide 150% flight time with 2-cells more power and an incredible weight loss of 6.5oz!

    Unfortunately, the Multiplex ESC is only rated for 6-8 cells so it requires an ESC swap as well. A 3-cell Lithium pack hop-up would lighten the Magister and provide longer more spirited performance. Something to consider once you have improved your flying skills from trainer to intermediate level.

    Another alternative is to buy an 8-cell 2400mAh NiCd pack for longer flights. The CP2400 NiCd pack weighs only about 1oz more than the 1900mAh pack and will provide 126% flight time. Further, you could buy a 3300mAh NiMH pack as well since the Multiplex charger that comes with the Magister works with NiMH packs.

    Aside from the short flights, I liked everything else about this design. It was well integrated into a complete Ready-To-Fly package that contained everything you needed except for eight AA-sized batteries for the transmitter. This is a package that can be used by supervised beginners or intermediate to advanced pilots looking for a model that is quickly made ready for flying and quiet enough to fly in your own private field just down the street.




    Manufacturer Information



    Multiplex Modelsport USA

    12115 Paine St.
    Poway CA, 92064
    Phone: 858.748.6948
    Fax: 858.748.1767
    www.multiplexusa.com

    FMA Direct
    5716A Industry Lane
    Frederick, MD 21704
    Ph: (800) 343-2934
    Tech/Service: (301) 668-4280
    www.fmadirect.com

    Comments on RCU Review: Multiplex Magister

    Posted by: cobrajocky on 10/05/2009
    Note to all reading this review, the Magister is now discontinued and replaced essentially with the Mentor (same wings and fuse) but which is now direct drive Brushless motor ready and has unfortunately reverted to being a tail dragger.
    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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