RCU Review: Cox Micro Warbird

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    Contributed by: Greg Covey | Published: December 2006 | Views: 68431 | email icon Email this Article | PDFpdf icon

    Review by: Greg Covey
    Flying Photos: Papa Jeff Ring
    Video Pilot: Lynn Bowerman



    Cox Hobby Distributors

    PO Box 274
    Penrose, CO 81240

    Ease of Assembly


    Easy to Assemble
    Motor Included
    Great ARF value
    Excellent Flight Response

    Short flight times using stock NiMH pack

    COX Wings Introduction

    Cox Models has a new line called "Wings" which, among other designs, has a series of Micro Warbird ARFs. These micro models sell for only $20! They come highly detailed, pre-painted and also include a Speed 130 motor. The warbird series has the following features and specifications.

    • One-piece snap-on wings
    • 130-size motor
    • 2 props
    • scale spinner
    • water transfer decals
    • On/Off charging swich plate
    • charge plug
    • control linkage


    • Wingspan: 20" (50.8cm)
    • Length: 17-3/4" (45.1cm)
    • Flying weight: approx. 5oz (143g

    All that is needed to complete the ARF are the following items:

    • 3-4 channel transmitter and micro receiver
    • 2 micro servos 7-10oz/in torque (Cox item #005500)
    • 7-10 amp ESC (for brushed motors)
    • 2/3AAA 6-cell, 7.2v, 220mAh, NiMH pack (Cox item #005501)
    • hobby supplies like glue, servo tape, razor knife

    A Little History

    The history of COX electric micro warbirds goes back many years and the first R/C conversion was done about 6 years ago by Mike Blott on a Cox Sky Cruiser Viper P-51 electric free-flight model. This was back when a micro flight design was considered anything less than 10oz and using an inexpensive electric free-flight model was a very innovative approach.

    My COX Viper conversion page documents the first use of an Astro Flight Firefly motor using a Zagi-like Gunther 5x4 "spoon" prop for this purpose. These ideas were conveyed to Bob Boucher of Astro Flight and the prop now comes with every FireFly motor purchase. It also comes recommended by COX as an alternate choice for a power system. The coreless Firefly motor draws much less current than the included stock Speed 130-size motor.

    Today, we have many new choices for small brushless motors which are much more efficient than the stock DC brushed Speed 130 motor. Further, the small NiCd and NiMh packs have been replaced with lighter Lithium Polymer packs having higher capacity for longer flight times or simply reducing weight.

    With this history and today's choices in mind, I will use the stock motor and NiMH pack for my review to see how it performs and then add a list at the end for possible modifications and hop-ups.

    ARF Kit Parts


    For the low cost of $20, the COX Micro Warbird comes exceptionally packaged. All the parts were protected by plastic wrapping and custom styrofoam compartments. The decal sheet and 12-page color manual are both well designed.

    My review kit came with the COX (005501) 6-cell, 220mAh NiMH pack and 3 COX (005500) micro servos. I will only use two of the servos; one for rudder and one for elevator. A third servo could be used in conjunction with a Dubro Micro Aileron System kit (#850). I'll also be adding an M5v2 micro receiver and Super-9 ESC from FMA Direct.



    The assembly starts with the elevator and rudder. The manual has very good color photos and step-by-step instructions so I will only briefly cover what I did.

    The elevator and rudder are attached with the supplied clear tape and the pre-bent metal joiner and controls horns are glued into place. I used Zap medium CA and kicker for the joiner bar and UHU POR for the control horns.

    Radio installation comes next where the motor, ESC, and battery are soldered to the charge plate. Again, complete photos and steps are well described in the manual.


    I replaced the long heavy wire antenna with an M-72-6 Micro antenna from E-Cubed R/C.

    The smaller micro antenna weighs less than coiling the long wire antenna around a bobbin.

    It didn't take very long before my P-51 was ready to glue together. I glued the two halves together with UHU POR.

    Note that I replaced my M5 v2 receiver with an Encore receiver for easier side connector access.

    The receiver and servos were held in place using double-sided servo tape. The Micro antenna was tacked glued into position with a small amount of CA and kicker.

    Tail and Linkages:

    I decided to simplify the tail linkage by only using the long wires with "Z" bends in one end for the servo arms. After gluing the stabilizers on with a small amount of epoxy, I cut the wires to length and put an "L" bend in the end for the control horn. A small piece of insulation from the charging cable works perfect to help secure the wire onto the control horn. Note that the servos are first centered electrically with the transmitter and receiver energized per the manual instructions.


    The pre-painted canopy was attached with UHU POR. Note that using POLY ZAP(tm) from FTE would also work here for a quick seal.

    Pre-Test Flying:

    A nice weather day arrived so I decided to test fly my P-51 before adding the decals. I temporarily taped the clear protective nose cuff in place and headed to the park. My buddy snapped a few photos using my camera.

    The P-51 actually flew quite well. I added about 30% expo into the elevator and none into the rudder. My linkage used the center of 3 holes on the control horns as described in the manual for the first flights. The CG was a bit nose heavy using the recommended locations so I left it there. This was likely due to not having any antenna wire hanging out the back. Although the flight was a short 3 minutes, the plane was very responsive and landed gently without motor power. I was happily surprised as I expected the nose to drop much faster.

    It was a perfect flight with no damage so I decided finish up adding the decals and get a video.


    I finished the assembly by adding decals only on the top side. This would keep things a bit lighter and provide better orientation in flight. It doesn't take long for these micro Warbirds to get small on you in the air. My COX Micro P-51 was Ready-To-Fly at 5.2oz using the 1.3oz, 6-cell, 220mAh NiMH pack and stock motor

    The plastic protective nose cuff was glued in place using POLY ZAP(tm) from FTE. PolyZap is designed to work on space-age plastics; Lexan(tm), delron, polycarbonate, nylon, and rubber. It is ideal for clear canopies and all ARF kit plastics. It did not hurt the foam on my Cox Warbird.


    Test Flying

    It was a grey day with winds between 5-8mph when we shot some video of the micro P-51 but the little warbird flew just fine. Although I missed it on the video, we did loop it without a problem. After a few flights, we increased the rudder throw a bit using the ATV setting on my transmitter. Alternatively, you could move the control wire to the next hole closer to the rudder surface.

    CLICK HERE (3.6meg)



    The only issue I had with this little warbird was the short 3 minute flights using the stock NiMH pack. By using the recommended parts and locations in the manual, the CG worked out fine and the plane performed very well in the air. Although a beginner may be tempted to fly this inexpensive micro warbird, it really requires intermediate flying skills for a successful experience.

    The easiest hop-up would be to replace the stock NiMH pack with a 2-cell Lithium pack like the ThunderPower 730mAh pack. This would provide a greater than 3:1 increase in flight time. I feel that COX did a great job on making their micro warbird ARFs easy to assembly and deliver good flying performance. The manual is also well written which makes the assembly easy to follow. It also provides some good alternatives for lighter weight components and longer flights.

    Modifications and Alternatives:

    1) Triple the flight time while dropping weight

    Replace the stock 6-cell, 220mAh NiMH pack = 1.3oz
    with a ThunderPower 2-cell, 730mAh LiPo pack = 1.1oz

    2) Use a third servo in conjunction with a Dubro Micro Aileron System kit (#850) for realistic rolls.

    3) Use an Astro Flight Firefly Coreless motor w/4:1 Planetary gearbox for lighter weight and lower current draw for longer flights.

    4) Increase stock motor longevity by adding more cooling air flow to decrease heat build-up.

    5) Try a Feigao (43 gram) brushless motor at BP Hobbies.

    6) Cut your own hatch to access the battery for swapping or balanced charging. Use tiny rare earth magnets to secure the hatch.

    COX Micro Warbird ARF

    Manufacturer Info

    Cox Hobby Distributors
    PO Box 274
    Penrose, CO 81240


    FMA Direct
    5716A Industry Lane
    Frederick, MD 21704
    Website: www.fmadirect.com
    Sales: 800-343-2934 or 301-668-7614

    ZAP Glues On-line at Frank Tiano Enterprises
    Pacer Z-42 Thread Locker
    5-minute Z-poxy
    Pacer POLY ZAP(tm)

    Dubro Micro Aileron System kit (#850) at Tower Hobbies

    E-Cubed R/C P.O. Box 144
    Medway, OH 45341

    Comments on RCU Review: Cox Micro Warbird

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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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