Dancing Wings Hobby, or DW Hobby, is a kit manufacturer located in Xiaogan City, China. They have been laser cutting RC, free flight, and static balsa model airplanes since 2006, but recently released their first ARF. The ARF is available with or without electronics, but it’s not quite a ‘Plug n Play’ model, as the airplane must still be assembled. This new ARF is the Stick-14. Measuring in with a 1400 mm wingspan (55 inches), it’s the perfect size for grab n go flying, and set up properly, it should do some amazing aerobatics! I had pleasure of talking with one of the reps via Facebook Messenger, and he decided to send me the ARF (no electronics) to test and write this review.
Redwing RC, located in O’Fallon, Illinois, is a distributor for the DW Hobby brand. Jeff Mitchell is the new owner of Redwing, and is doing a great job diversifying his brand to include all modelers! When the shipping container had arrived from China, Jeff grabbed my ARF and mailed it to me via USPS. That’s where we’ll pick up this review in the first look section, right after I add a few specifications.
Price: $329.99 w/ FREE Shipping (ARF with Electronics)
Price: $169.99 (ARF Only – No Electronics)
Manufacturer: Dancing Wings Hobby
US Distributor: Redwing RC
ESC: 60A (Included)
Servo: 17g *6 (Included)(also See all RedwingRC Servos)
Charger:LiPo Battery Charger
Charger: LiPo Battery Charger
The Stick-14 was shipped in the white box with the contents label attached – at first I thought this was the only box, and was a little concerned about the contents. Upon opening the the outside layer, I found a second box. This one was just a plain cardboard box. Opening that box revealed a well packaged airplane protected by foam wrap, bubble wrap and air tube padding as well! It’s going to be hard for any shipping company to damage this one… The contents were also taped together to prevent shifting during shipping.
In the left photo above, you can see the nice foam wrap in which the parts were secured. Some parts, Like the ailerons and flaps, horizontal stabilizer and elevator halves, and the fin and rudder were packed together.
I really like the neon green, white, and black color scheme, and all the parts looked to be in good shape!
The Stick-14 fits the normal shape of a ‘Stick’ aircraft very well, and it’s built light and strong. The light ply and balsa appear to be of good quality, and the laser cutting looks great! After leaving the parts sitting on my bench for a few days to acclimate to my house temperature and humidity, I found no wrinkles in the covering either. I’m not sure what brand of covering they used, but it appears to be of good quality! There’s a nice battery hatch on the top of the fuselage, held in place with magnets. This will make battery changes quick and easy!
At the other end of the fuse, I found well-cut slots for the horizontal and vertical stabilizers – all of the exposed woodwork fit together nicely! It appears as though the horizontal stabilizer may be held on with four screws – I may have to add a little more security , if that’s the case.
A carbon fiber wing joiner tube should carry the wing halves well, and each wing includes both a flap and aileron. The servo mounting holes were pre-cut in the covering, even though the manual stated they would need to be cut open.
A pull string has been installed at the factory for pulling your servo wires through the wing, however, I found it was a bit short for my big fingers. I’ll explain in the assembly how I got around this step. All of the hinge slots have been pre-cut, but a few of them had to be lengthened a bit to allow the hinges to be glued in place easily. This was no big deal, and was easily accomplished with a #11 blade. The wing is held onto the fuselage at the leading edge by two carbon fiber dowels that are glued into the wing. A pair of nylon wing screws and an aluminum plate secure the trailing edge of the wing to the mount.
The fit and finish on the tail parts was excellent, and even the wire elevator half joiner fit well! The green, white, and black contrast well, and make for a great color scheme. Like the wing, flaps, and ailerons, the tail surfaces all had pre-cut hinge slots.
I found the included landing gear to be nicely done as well – the main gear is painted aluminum, and includes lightweight foam wheels and fiberglass wheel pants. The fiberglass work is nice, and the paintwork is smooth and well done. I would have like to see a little more reinforcement inside the wheel pant where it attaches to the landing gear, but we’ll see how well it assembles. A prefabricated tail wheel bracket and lightweight tail wheel are also included. The tail wheel wire felt a bit tight in its bracket, so I sanded the black paint off. This allowed the wire to move freely in the bracket.
There was a small pre-assembled servo mount included with the Stick-14. According to the parts list, it is a throttle servo mount for installing a gas/glow engine. No fuel tank/engine mount was included, so if you go for a glow engine, you’ll need to provide these items yourself. The CA hinges came on a strip that needed to be cut apart – no big deal if you have a scissors or knife. There was also a piece of adhesive-backed hook n loop tape included, which will be used to help secure the flight battery .
Lightweight balsa and ply construction
Pre-covered in iron-on covering
Attractive three color scheme for easy orientation while flying
Nicely sized for easy transport
It’s a Stick airplane – they’re a great flying airplane!
My ARF was missing some hardware – see details in the assembly
Items Used for Assembly
From the ground, I’ll be using my Graupner mz-32 transmitter. The more I use this transmitter, the more I really love it! It has so much more capability that what is needed for the Stick-14, but it is a great radio system! I was part of the team that did the beta testing on this transmitter before they were available for sale, and I also reviewed the transmitter for RCUniverse. Check out that review HERE. Since that review, my mz-32 has had some ‘bling’ added. The blue faceplates and knob trim rings are custome parts that can also be purchased from Graupner USA.
Onboard the airplane will be a Graupner Falcon 12 receiver. The Falcon 12 receiver is a great lightweight 6 channel receiver that takes up very little space, and the ‘hot rod’ red color is a nice change from the ordinary black found on most receivers.
The flight surfaces on the Stick-14 will be controlled by six Graupner DES 587 Ball Bearing Metal Gear Digital Servos. Technically not a 17 gram servo, they tip the scale at 19.2 grams. They did fit the servo holes in the Stick, so I opted to use them anyway. With 50-58 oz-in of torque, and a speed of .16-.20 seconds, they should be a perfect match for this plane!
Rounding out the electronics is a Graupner 70 Amp Telemetry enabled ESC. Check out the link I provided to see all the great things this ESC can do – there’s way too much to list!
Power will be coming from a MaxAmps 4S 14.8 Volt 3250 mAh True 150C LiPo Battery. MaxAmps has a lot of battery packs available, or they can custom make anything you want!
There was some question as to what size motor I should use in the Stick-14. The manual and Redwing RC website both state a 2817 900 kV motor, but I’m not really sure what their intent was behind calling it a 2817. In my experience, that would mean the motor had a diameter of 28mm and a length of 17mm. For the size of this plane, that seemed very much too small! I decided to reach out to the rep I had spoken with at DW Hobby to ask him what the actual dimensions of the included motor were. He stated that it was a 35mm diameter motor that was also 35 mm in length. Since I didn’t have one of these on hand, I started looking to purchase said motor. I didn’t have much luck, but I did find a 3548 1100 kV motor on Amazon.com for $23.00 delivered (I have a prime membership, so it might cost you a few bucks more if you don’t have the membership). The name on the motor was different, but I have used this size and kv rating motor before – It powered my SIG 4-star 54 ARF very nicely, and that plane is about the same size as the Stick-14. Attached to the motor is a Falcon 12*5 Beechwood Electric Propeller, which is available from justmodelprops.com. Rounding out the front end is a Gator RC 2.25″ (57mm) Flow Thru spinner. Being that the entire motor is out in the open on this plane, the flow thru spinner isn’t a necessity, but I thought it looked cool and added that extra bit of wow factor.
After separating the CA hinges, I installed three in each of the ailerons and flaps. There’s a central hole in each hinge that was pushed very close to the control surface. a T-Pin was inserted into that central hole, which kept the hinges centered as they were slid into the pre-cut slots in the wing halves. The T-pins were removed, and the control surfaced were pushed tight to the wing and then flexed once in each direction to their full throw distance. A few drops of ZAP Thin CA were applied to each side of all 12 of the hinges (six per wing half).
A 12″ servo wire extension was connected to each of the aileron servos – The extensions I use have a small clip that locks the connection together. As I mentioned earlier, the pull string was a bit too short for my large fingers. Instead, I used my trusty servo wire puller. I have had this for many years – it’s a 2-56 36″ pushrod with a small hook at one end. The hooked end is inserted through the root end of the wing, and out the servo hole. The servo wire is attached to the hook, and pulled through the wing. With the wiring through the wing, I installed the aileron servo in its respective hole. Because the servo has to be inserted at an angle, I had to slightly shave the balsa and light ply to allow the servo to be installed easily.
With the servo in place, I drilled the mounting screw holes, and tightened the servo screws in place. The screws and servo were then removed from the mount, and a drop of ZAP Thin CA was applied to each screw hole to harden the screw hole.
I installed the flap servos in the same manner and pulled the servo wires through the small hole on the bottom side of the wings.
One of the aileron pushrods was attached to the servo arm, and a quick connector was temporarily attached to a control horn. As I mentioned earlier, the control horns were missing from my ARF. I spoke with DW Hobby, and they assured me that they would make sure that the control horns were included in each box going forward. Thankfully, I keep a large variety of parts on hand for just these types of situations. I grabbed six control horns that looked to be approximately the same size as what was missing. The outer hole of the horn was drilled out to accept the quick connector. With the connector and horn slid onto the pushrod, it was easy to mark the control horn’s location. The control horn was then attached to the aileron, using the same method as attaching the servo screws to the wing.
A drop of ZAP Z-42 Blue thread locker was applied to the quick connectors threaded end, and the nut was tightened in place. With the servo and control surface centered, the set screw in the quick connector was tightened – that is, after a drop of ZAP Z-42 thread locker was applied. The flap pushrod and control horn were installed in the same manner as the aileron. After rounding the edges, and roughing up the surface, the carbon fiber wing attachment dowel was glued into the wing using ZAP Thick CA.
That completed the first wing half, so I out the second together exactly the same. One thing I’d like to mention is this – the flaps are built in such a way that you will either need two separate channels to control them, or a reversed servo for one of the flaps. There is not enough underlying wood structure to attach the control horn to the flap so the pushrod can be on the same side of the servo for each wing half.
Horizontal Stabilizer and Elevator
I gathered all the parts to assemble the horizontal stabilizer/elevator. Assembly began with test-fitting the joiner wire into each half of the elevator. Both sides were a perfect fit!
I roughened the joiner wire with some 220 grit sandpaper where the wire was inserted into the wood before gluing the wire in place with ZAP Thick CA. When the CA had cured, I installed the four CA hinges in the elevator. I pushed the hinges in until the holes were near the leading edge of the elevator, and slid a T-Pin through each hole. The hinges were then slid into the pre-cut hinge slots in the horizontal stabilizer.
With a bit of weight on top of the horizontal stabilizer to keep it steady while I flexed the elevator, I applied ZAP Thin CA to each side of the four hinges.
Attaching the Horizontal Stabilizer to the Fuselage
The horizontal stabilizer is supposed to be held on by the four included wood screws. I felt that this was not nearly strong enough, so I decided to make a change for the better. I temporarily attached the stab using two of the screws, then marked the sides of the fuselage onto the stabilizer. With the stabilizer removed you can see the indentations I made to mark the sides of the fuselage.
The covering was removed inside the marks I made, and a good amount of ZAP Thick CA was applied to the fuselage mount. The four screws were then added to keep everything in place while the CA cured.
I removed a small part of the covering from the top of the fuselage where the vertical stabilizer will be glued to the fuselage. A liberal dose of ZAP Thick CA was applied to where I removed the covering, and also in the vertical stabilizer pocket. with the CA in place, I slipped the vertical stabilizer in place and made sure it stayed perpendicular to the fuselage. You can also see that, in the last photo above, the rudder hinges have been slipped into place. They were a tight fit, and didn’t require the T-Pins to hold them in place.
The tail wheel wire was test-fit into the rudder. I was happy with the fit, so the wire was removed, roughed up with some 220 grit sandpaper, and then glued in place using more ZAP Thick CA. When the CA had cured, The rudder was slipped into place – ZAP Thin CA was used to secure the two CA hinges to the vertical stabilizer and rudder. The tail wheel bracket was then attached to the bottom of the fuselage/horizontal stabilizer with four screws.
Lastly, the tail wheel was slid on the wire gear, and secured with a wheel collar. I used a drop of ZAP Z-42 Blue thread locker on the wheel collar’s set screw to keep it in place.
Main Landing Gear
Moving on to the main landing gear, I started by attaching the axles to the aluminum gear. The axles consisted of a long machine screw and two locking nuts. The gear was then attached to the bottom of the fuselage with four more machine screws – a drop of ZAP Z-42 Blue thread locker was applied to each screw before tightening them in place. After installing the wheels, a third locking nut was used to keep the wheel on the axle. The axle was too long to slip inside the wheel pant, so I had to cut it to fit.
With the axle cut down, the wheel pant fit in place well, however the wheels didn’t spin smoothly. I had to open up the hole in the pant for the wheel. My Dremel Tool made quick work of that job. A pair of screws hold the wheel pant to the gear legs – I’d really have liked to see some wood inside the pant reinforcing where it will attach to the gear leg, but so far is seems OK.
DuBro Snow Skis
OK, so I live in Minnesota, and I’m writing this at the end of January. My plan is to get the Stick-14 flown yet this winter, so I decided to swap out the wheels for a set of DuBro’s .35-.60 Snow Skis. These skis are perfect for winter flying, and should make the Stick-14 perform well on a softer white surface… These skis are also really easy to install! Get your set here.
Back to the fuselage, I was ready to start installing the control system. This started with the elevator and rudder – the pushrods were slid through their respective guide tubes, and the control horn placement was located like I did on the ailerons and flaps. Unfortunately, the elevator pushrod would not easily install in the location according to the quick connector and pushrod, so I ended up flipping the pushrod end to end and installing the Z-Bend on the elevator control horn. When the horn placement was found, I attached the horns to the control surfaces with a pair of #2 screws and the horn backer plates.
The elevator and rudder servos were installed in the servo tray. I found the best way to do this was to use my dremel tool and a sanding drum to widen the tray in the center so it was easy to install the servos. As you can see, the rudder servo, at the top of the photo has the Z-bend at the servo arm, while the elevator servo has the quick connector. With the servos and control surfaces centered, I attached the servo arms to the servos, and tightened the quick connectors.
Motor, ESC, and Receiver
Before attaching the aluminum ‘X’ mount to the motor, I marked the screw pattern on the firewall. Per the manual, you are supposed to use four wood screws to attach the motor to the firewall. Again, I didn’t like this plan, so I went to my box of parts and found four machine screws and four blind nuts. I measured the blind nut diameter and drilled the firewall to accommodate them. The blind nuts were then set into the back side of the firewall.
The ‘X’ mount was attached to the back side of the motor – again, I applied a small drop of ZAP Z-42 Blue thread locker to each of the four screws before tightening them . The motor wires were pushed through the firewall, and the motor was attached to the firewall.
I applied a small piece of adhesive backed hook n loop tape (the blue stuff is not included with the ARF) to the right side of the fuselage, and secured the Graupner 70 Amp ESC in place. A long strip of black adhesive backed hook n loop tape is included in the box, and is meant to attach the battery in place. I added another Hook n loop strap for a little more battery security. The Graupner Falcon 12 receiver was installed using another small piece of the hook n loop tape. All connections from servos were made, and I set up the flaps on separate channels. The ailerons were on a shared channel with a Y-Harness, and all six channels were used in this installation!
To make removal of the magnetic battery hatch simple, I added a small piece of tape to the back end. I used aluminum foil ‘ducting’ tape, as it has a really sticky adhesive, and it’s pretty tough when folded over on itself. The tape was simply stuck to the bottom side of the hatch and pressed in place.
The motor shaft, Gator RC spinner back plate, Falcon 12*5 propeller, and prop washer were installed before tightening the propeller nut. The Gator RC spinner was installed and secured with two small Machine screws.
That’s it! She’s ready for the flying field – or, wherever we can find to fly it without getting a vehicle stuck… But, before I go, I figured you guys might like to see some photos of the assembled DW Hobby Stick-14. I just happen to have some!
So far, I really like the Stick-14. Assembly was straight forward, even with a few missing parts. As I said, the missing parts has been addressed with the manufacturer, I think this model is a great size – easy enough to see in the air, but not so big as to take forever to put together at the field. Speaking of seeing it, the colors are good as well, and should allow for easy orientation in flight. I put this airplane together over the course of a single weekend, totaling about 10-12 hours of assembly. That’s pretty good, if I do say so myself! I want to send out a big thanks to Graupner USA for supplying the electronics for this review, to MaxAmps for supplying the battery, DuBro RC products for the Snow Skis, and ZAP Adhesives for supplying the CA and thread locker. Stay tuned for part two, where we put the Stick-14 in the air and see what it can do!
Redwing RC – redwingrc.com
Graupner – graupnerusa.com
Falcon Propellers – justmodelprops.com
Bob’s Hobby Center at Steve’s Hangar – shopbobshobbycenter.com
MAXAMPS Batteries – maxamps.com
Zap Adhesives – franktiano.com/zap-adhesive
Du-Bro Products – dubro