RCU Review: Great Planes Revolver

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    Contributed by: Steve Herlacher | Published: November 2007 | Views: 108336 | email icon Email this Article | PDFpdf icon

    Review by: Steve H.


    Manufacturer Info
    Great Planes Model Manufacturing
    PO Box 9021.
    Champaign, IL 61826

    Website: http://www.greatplanes.com
    Available from your
    local hobby store.


    See the Great Planes
    Revolver in action

    Ease of Build
    Great looks
    Completeness of kit

    Stock battery mounting method not secure


    Great Planes introduces a new great looking ARF called the Revolver designed for the average sport pilot.

    It can be powered electric or Glow and Includes everything needed down to the spinner and pilot figure!


    Kit Name: Revolver
    Price: $169.98 retail price
    Wingspan: 59"
    Wing Area:
    563 sq. in.
    Flying Weight as tested: 6 1/2 pounds
    Airfoil: Semi symmetrical
    Motor: ElectriFly Rimfire 42-60-800

    Battery used: 2 ElectriFly Power Series Lithium Polymer 3200mAh 11.1V in series for 6s
    Balancers: 2 Great Planes Equinox
    ESC used: Castle Creations Phoenix 85HV
    Electric mount used: Great Planes Brushless Motor Mount Medium Motors
    BEC used: Koolflight standard UBEC
    Radio equipment: Futaba 14MZ and standard size servos

    Items need to complete the project:

    • 2 6" servo extensions
    • 4 or 5 standard servos
    • If Glow .46-.55 size engine
    • 5-minute epoxy
    • Drill with bits
    • Glow or electric motor
    • If electric, ESC, batteries, charger, balancers
    • Misc tools
    • Thin CA
    • Hobby Knife
    • Ruler

    The Revolver arrived without a scratch and each part was packed in plastic. After removing them I noticed there were not any wrinkles you normally see in the covering, it was applied perfectly. I did go over it with a covering iron just to make sure, but even then it did not show any signs of not sticking to the airframe.

    Almost everything you needs is included to complete the Revolver, if doing it electric you will need to purchase the mount separately. They even include the polished Aluminum spinner and pilot figure!

    The first thing I did was glue the CA hinges in the ailerons with thin CA. Included was a sheet of Great Planes hinge material that was cut to the proper shape, then I used pins to hold them centered before gluing.

    Mounting the control horn was next, as you can see in the picture I could not get the holes of the control horn lined up over the center of the hingeline like suggested in the manual, there would be no wood to put the one control horn mounting screw into if it was extended that far over the center line, so I put them as close as I could.

    Could not quite get it out far enough
    This is where I put it
    Anti-rotation pin glued in
    Wood block glued in place
    Servo installed
    The Plastic anti-rotation pin in each wing was glued in with 5 minute Epoxy. The servo mounts include small blacks of hardwood that I glues to the hatch with 5 minute Epoxy, there are laser etched lines that show where to put them and they fit the Futaba standard size servos perfectly. After they were dry there is a hole to put a small screw through the top of the hatch for added security.
    Screws in top of hatch
    You can see where the wire hits
    Remove some of the wood with a Dremel

    When I tried to install the servo/hatch in the wing I noticed one of the square blocks that hatch screw goes into was preventing it from fitting, it hit the wire of the servo. I took a Dremel and removed some of the block so it would fit being careful not to remove too much so the hatch screw could still have something to screw into..

    The Linkage setup was pretty basic and worked well, be sure to install your servo arm and center it before mounting the servo to the hatch.

    The manual shows putting a small screw in the wingtube after sliding it in place to the fuse. This is supposed to hold it centered but I found I did not need it as my tube stayed in the center by itself, and this was just an extra step in the assembly process at the flying field.

    The wings were then complete.

    Servo and linkage finished
    Looks like a large Boomerang
    Tail Glued on with elevators hinged

    The tail was installed next by aligning it with the wing mounted to the fuse with the Aluminum tube. My model was in perfect level alignment with the wing. After measuring to the wingtips to ensure it was well centered I removed the covering with a hot soldering iron so the balsa would not be scored, then I glued it in place with 30 minute Epoxy. After it dried I installed the elevators and rudder with the CA hinges, just like the Ailerons, and installed the included control horns. The tailwheel is glued in the rudder before you hinge it.

    Rudder with tailwheel before hinging
    Wheel and axle mounted
    Gear and pants mounted to the fuse
    I installed the Landing gear next so it would be easier to work on the fuse with it on its legs. The Axles were bolted to the nicely shaped landing gear legs, then the wheels were installed with a couple wheel collars, be sure to grind flat spots on the axles and use Loctite. The wheelpants already has the holes drilled and blind nuts installed, so all I had to do was bolt them on then bolt both legs to the fuse. Only took about 10 minutes to complete the gear.
    Servos mounted in tray
    Tray mounted in fuse, notice Soldered Elevator linkage
    Slot is too large causing slop
    Hardwood tightened it up
    The Elevator and Rudder servos installation was next. They were mounted to the radio tray, which is slid into the fuse. The front of the tray slides in a slot and the rear of it is held down with screws. The receiver battery pack will mount to the bottom of the tray if you are using one, before you install it in the fuse. I did not use a receiver pack so I went ahead with mounting the tray in place. I noticed the front of the tray was real sloppy as the slot in mine was a little too large, I could have just glued the tray in but I didn't want to do that in case I changed setups sometime and need to remove it. I used a piece of hardwood to tighten up the slot and then it was secure.

    The pushrods for the rudder and Elevator are 4-40 rods that slide through the pre-installed tubes. The Elevator has 2 wires, one for each half, that have to be joined with a couple of wheel collars. You can see that I also silver soldered them after getting the alignment of each Elevator half correct so they could not come loose no matter what.

    Complete power system used
    Motor and mount
    How to wire the UBEC
    In the above picture is the complete power system used. Instead of a receiver pack I used a UBEC which powers the receiver from the main flight packs. The motor mounting was very easy, all of the holes in the firewall lined up perfectly and it was a matter of bolting everything together and getting the correct length from the firewall to the back of the prop adapter which is 4 5/8".

    The Phoenix 85HV Speed control was mounted under the motor box and the cowl was cut open for it so it is in the direct airflow to keep it cool. I programmed the ESC with the Castle Link and free software downloaded from their website, it is very simple to set it up this way. Mounting the cowl was as easy as putting 4 screws in after lining it up with the back of the spinner. They even included the adapter to mount the Aluminum spinner!
    Motor mounted
    Phoenix 85HV mounted
    Cowl cut out for ESC
    Adapter included!
    Covering removed from cooling holes in the rear of the fuse
    Battery tray
    The battery mounting was the last thing I did to the Revolver. The manual says to use the included plastic tie Wraps and mount the batteries to the wooden tray as shown above, they give extra trays for more than 1 set of packs. After they were strapped to that, they are supposed to be slid into the fuse where the fuel tank normally goes, and a piece of foam wedged between them and the canopy is all that holds them in place. I did not trust that to hold the packs securely so I just used some velcro on the fuse in the fuel tank tray and a velcro strap which holds the packs very securely.

    I made some thumb screws for the canopy so I could remove it without any tools, they are just a dowel rod with a hole drilled in it on the end so you can put the 4-40 bolt head in and glue it with thin CA.
    Afterwards I put them in a drill and sanded them down a little bit, then sealed the wood with thin CA. This makes battery changing a simple process. The included painted pilot figure was then glued under the canopy with 5 minute Epoxy mixed with Microballoons. The pilot figure really makes the look of the aircraft complete.
    Packs installed with Velcro straps
    Series harness to wire the packs in series
    Thumb screws for canopy
    Pilot figure
    Battery charging with the 2 balancers
    They come with 2s or 3s leads
    Battery charging was done with the Equinox balancers in line, they work in "interface" mode which is while you are charging they charge the lowest cells first till they are balanced or they can be used as a stand alone balancer which will discharge to the lowest cell in the pack. They include very good instructions and have adapters for 2s or 3s packs.

    Flight Report
    The revolver tipped the scales at 6 1/2 pounds with the batteries in it. That is right in the middle of the recommended specs. I used a Wattmeter to test the power system and with the 11x5.5 APC electric prop it pulled close to 60 amps and 1300 watts! I knew it would fly the Revolver well at almost 200 watts per pound!

    The CG was not set per the instruction manual, my manual is incorrect and it says the CG should be 4 15/16" back from the leading edge at the root. The CORRECT CG is 4 5/16" back from the leading edge at the root. My model balanced perfectly right on the correct CG with the packs in place. I have been told this was a typo and the current production kits should have the correct CG in the manual

    I followed the control throws in the manual for the first couple of flights, they seem small but they are enough to fly the model well and to decide how you want to setup your plane after you get a feel for it.

    The rates are as follows:

    *Elevator low rate 5/16" up and down

    *Elevator high rate 1/2" up and down

    *Rudder low rate 1 3/8" right and left

    *Rudder high rate 2 1/4" right and left

    *Ailerons low rate 1/4" up and down

    *Ailerons high rate 3/8" up and down

    I took the Revolver out for its test flight on a somewhat windy day, but it did not effect its performance at all. Takeoff required some rudder input and a little bit of runway to get airborne then it just accelerated in the climb.

    I flew a few circuits and tested the CG while inverted and it only took a touch of elevator to hold level flight, perfect for this type of aircraft.

    I then tried some aerobatics and the Revolver does a great knife edge with only very minor coupling, it doesn't require very much rudder to hold it either.

    Spins were very nice in either direction and it looked great in a stall turn. Point rolls are precise and the Revolver fly's similar to a pattern plane.

    The Rimfire motor makes a great whistling sound when you give it full throttle and the plane really moves, I had my Radar gun with me and it clocked the Revolver at 95mph on a low full speed pass! Of course it doesn't have to be flown that fast but if you get it too slow it can snap but nothing out of the ordinary for this type of plane, its not a 3d plane after all (which I am used to flying mostly)

    Landings were difficult at first since the plane wants to keep on flying, it took a few tries to get them right. I had the Phoenix 85HC set to Auto lipo cutoff and I got about 7-8 minutes of flying before I noticed the packs were low, those full throttle passes are too addicting.

    After landing the motor was barely warm, even when pushing it this hard. The ESC was also just warm to the touch along with the battery packs so this system works very well in the Revolver.

    After the maiden flight I found that I only added a tiny bit more throw to the Ailerons and the Elevator, everything else was setup perfectly.

    See the Great Planes Revolver in action

    Strike a pose

    Great planes has a winner with the Revolver. Whether you go Glow or Electric it is a fantastic looking and flying airframe on the ground or in the air, and the pilot figure really adds a scale touch to it. It is perfect for those calm or windy days, so its just a perfect plane for any day! The assembly is very straight forward and it can be assembled in a couple of evenings. The Revolver is an easy conversion to Electric so don't be scared if you have never done one as there is no real conversion, just bolting different parts to the airframe.

    Manufacturer Information

    Great Planes Distributors
    Great Planes Model Distributors
    P.O. Box 9021 ? Champaign, IL 61826-9021
    Telephone: 800-637-7660 or 217-398-3630
    Website: http://www.gpmd.com
    E-mail: gpinfo@gpmd.com

    Castle Creations
    402 E. Pendleton Ave.,
    Wellsville, KS 66092
    Phone: (785) 883-4519
    Web Site: www.castlecreations.com
    E-mail: info@castlecreations.com
    product used: Phoenix 85HV

    Kool Flight Systems UBEC
    355 Sunderland Circle
    Fayetteville, GA 30215

    Website: http://www.koolflightsystems.com/index.htm

    Comments on RCU Review: Great Planes Revolver

    Posted by: Pilot Sofer on 03/13/2008

    Posted by: el_xero on 04/17/2009
    it would be great to know the flight times on the 3200mAh packs
    Posted by: cloudniner on 08/09/2009

    Posted by: cloudniner on 08/09/2009
    I have one of these with a Saito 82 and a Scimitar 13 X 8 prop. HANG ON! Amazing performance.
    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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