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-   -   Top RC Zero from Gator R/C (https://www.rcuniverse.com/forum/rc-warbirds-warplanes-200/11624026-top-rc-zero-gator-r-c.html)

Helijet 11-26-2015 08:52 AM

Top RC Zero from Gator R/C
Hi Everyone

I am about to pull the trigger on the new Top RC big Zero. Looks like a very nice airframe. Anyone have a
kit yet? Comments??

My CDN $$$ needs to be spent before it is worth even less....lol

Dean W.

chris923 11-26-2015 10:04 AM

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Since it has been out only two weeks reviews might be hard to find.
I built the TOP RC Spitfire. Over all very good. Some of the fiberglass parts needed "tweaking".http://www.rcuniverse.com/forum/atta...mentid=2132632http://www.rcuniverse.com/forum/atta...mentid=2132633
It won't fly until spring.

Hot Rod Todd 11-30-2015 09:02 AM

I got one. Some things I noticed about it.

It's very light. Should be an excellent flier. Don't expect really heavy and sturdy glass though, the fuse is thin enough that you need to watch where you squeeze it.

It's packaged very well. Shouldn't be any issues with getting it shipped to you without any damage. Nice heavy box with very good foam inserts.

The scale hinge surfaces are well done. Should be able to replace the Chinese hinge points with Robarts (didn't measure them yet).

Landing gear looks good. The mains appear sturdy and come with aluminum wheels (at 4.5" they're a bit small for a 1:4.6 Zero). They're electric actuated, and come with a driver board. I didn't run them up yet to see how well they work. The tail wheel retract is light and should be Ok. A servo is needed to retract it. A cheap wheel is provided, but something better will be found.

It has a large hatch that is nice, but a bit of adjustment may be needed to make sure it fits perfectly. The hatch latch is a bit sticky as well.

The cockpit is included, but it will need some work to look scale. Better than most though. It's nice that the Canopy is framed instead of the usual vacuum formed canopy.

No scale radial engine is supplied, I'm thinking the one for the Top-Flite Zero would work fine ($17)

Nice two piece wing. I haven't fitted them yet, but it has sturdy wing tubes provided. It's common to see large one piece wings on ARF's anymore, nice to have something that will be easier to haul around.

The decals appear to be fairly accurate, and the paint color doesn't seem too far off to me. I'll be looking for a bit of adjustment to the scheme. The panel lines are nicely done and should weather up well and add to the scale appearance.

Everything considered I'm very happy with it and like the quality. Initial look at the glue joints appear solid, and everything is made well. It's a nice change from the film covered offerings. I'll try to get some photos posted as I get working on it. I have been busy with a Hawker Hunter Jet, but now that it's finished I'll start working on the Zero.

Hot Rod Todd 11-30-2015 10:57 AM

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I dug into the kit a bit further and took some photos.

Here's an overall photo showing the cowl and canopy. Notice the canopy frame and panel lines, both well done. I haven't stuck the glass into the canopy yet to see how it fits. A sliding canopy would be easy to do with the parts given, but I didn't see any rails or hardware. That's not a problem, since I've done many myself and know what works for me.


A better view of the hatch/canopy. You can see the channel that the center section of the canopy fits into. I will make it a sliding canopy. The "molded" control stick is much too fat. I'll have to replace it with something more appropriate. There are cutouts where the gun breaches would sit, but no guns provided.


Here you can see some wing detail. Retract mounts look solid. There's some sort of carbon fiber reinforcement from the root to the mount. Gear drops into provided slots nicely. Once again you can see some of the nice panel line work.


The hinges are nicely done and work very well. You catch a glimpse of the servo hatch here. The mounts provided are angled aluminum allowing the servo to mount to the wing, not the hatch (much like most jet kits).


Photo of Horiz. Stab and elevator showing the nice scale hinge design. Also panel lines in the elevator. Composite control arms are provided that will be glued in using Hysol (once again, just like a jet kit).


More to come soon.

Hot Rod Todd 11-30-2015 01:07 PM

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Here's some of the hardware provided. It looks decent, but most likely I'll replace the pushrods with 4-40 stuff. The tank is 800cc (about 27 oz.) and seems to be sturdy. The wheel pants are very solid and well made. Screws that hold the wings in place are 1/4-20. Clamshell doors are provided, but not installed. Scale exhaust stacks (A6M5) are aluminum, and will need to be shaped a bit to look correct.


Wings use two aluminum tubes each. Looks like they'll stay in the wings. I slid them into the fuse, and the fit of the tubes and the wings to the fuse were excellent. Very nice quality. The tubes are very sturdy and should work well.


The Horiz. Stab attaches with two carbon fiber wing tubes. No directions are provided yet, but it appears that there are clamp screws that hold them on. This allows them to be removed since the elevator servos are mounted inside and the surfaces would have to be removed to gain access. The fit was also excellent between the stabs and the fuse.


The cockpit comes out with the hatch, and allows access to the large fuse interior. One mount is provided for a rudder/tailwheel servo that will use pull/pull cables to control both.


Hot Rod Todd 11-30-2015 01:13 PM

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The firewall looks to be sturdy, and well glued. The cowl is mounted with a ring and screws to the fuse from inside as far as I can tell (much like the Top Flite FW-190). It measures about 9.5" across the inside. I plan on using an EME-70 twin that should fit in with just a bit of openings for the plug caps (Same engine was used by Gator RC on the first model they built).


The optional retractable gear appears solid and strong. As I mentioned, the wheels are a bit small but should look Ok behind the gear doors, Zero wheels are not very large anyway, so most won't notice that they are about 1/2" too small to be exact scale. Nice aluminum wheels are provided with brass bushings. Haven't run the electrics yet to see them work, but there's a video on the web showing them function. The tail wheel retract is light and fairly simple. Works much like a Robart model. Mount for the retracting servo is on the tray in the back.


There you have it. A rundown of the kit. As of yet the manual does not show up on TopRC's website. The Mustang manual is there, but not the Zero. I heard there's a video, but I haven't got time to look at it yet. If I get the urge I'll get together a build thread as I get to putting it together. Right now I'm getting all of my parts acquired before I get started. I've had a lot of ARF's, and this one seems as good as any right out of the box. The main concerns such as wing fitment and the like are very good. Any small issues are easily corrected. The jury's out on how it will fly, but judging by the weight of everything it should be a very light and forgiving warbird.

Helijet 12-01-2015 06:36 AM

Thanks so much for the info Hot Rod Todd! Looks like a winner!!!!!!!
Having gone the jet route and built the Top Flight FW I get your comments clearly.
Dean W.

jonyfever 12-03-2015 11:41 AM

looking forward to your build hot rod todd as i have also recieved mine with no instructions would like to share some ideas might do push rods for elevator instead of mounting the servos in the tail . am also looking at putting in one of the radials that are on the market but cowl is smaller than i suspected will also pick your brain on the sliding canopy as no hardware was provided but i will agree the quality is alot better than some of the china arfs i have done looks like they also used real wood and glue hope it flies as good as it looks my last one was the cmp version even though they used poor quality parts it was one of the best flying warbirds i have ever owned

Hot Rod Todd 12-03-2015 12:04 PM

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As long as I have faith in the removable anchoring system for the horizontal stabs I think I'll be fine with the servo's in the tail. This plane has a light tail and there is a lot of room to stick batteries and such up front, so I don't think the servo's in the back will be an issue. For the sliding canopy I'll likely do what I've done in the past and make some rails out of plastic channel and I beam from the local hobby shop. Here's a photo of one I did on my Ki-61, and it worked fine.

The Mustang is very similar, so it may be of use to look at the P-51 instructions on the TopRc website. At least that should give you an idea of how they do things. Mike at GatorRC says he's working on them to get some instructions posted. I'm not too worried since I've done enough of these that I really won't need the original "suggestions."

I did a test, and Robart 3/16" hinge points fit perfect. I'll be replacing all of the Chinese hinges with higher quality Robart pieces.

I'll be starting the build in a week or so, look for more info to come.

Helijet 12-03-2015 12:31 PM

Ordered the Zero from Mike today. I have had great dealings with him in the past on pattern stuff and this was no exception. We spent some time on the phone and I am comfortable knowing this will be a very successful project. My friend Chris Reiter ( Stratotanker ) and I will be doing the project together with the intention of competing in scale. We have access to a laser cutter, 3D printer, milling and lathes so some cool stuff should be forthcoming.

the following will be made available ...

- first off a custom laser cut transportation / work stand ( available this month )
- a complete laser cut sliding canopy mechanism
- some plastic scale accessories
- clam shell gear door mechanism with all related laser cut parts
- any other lil tidbits we think of.

Kit should be here in a week....will post our build here

Stay tuned!!!

Dean W.

jonyfever 12-03-2015 07:14 PM

looking forward to this dean ill stay tuned sal

Hot Rod Todd 12-05-2015 01:18 PM

I too would be interested in some of the parts mentioned. Anything to make it easier is fine by me.

FYI, the instructions for the Zero are now available for download on the TopRCmodel website.

jonyfever 12-06-2015 04:58 PM

in the morning well glued in the flaps and ailerons to the wing today. but was really suprised when sliding in the flap hinges i found them to be fairly loose in the slot provided no would at all behind the trailing edge of the wing just aslot cut into the fiberglass dont no how thick it is back there but i think they should have put wood blocks anyway loaded up the six ten glue and letting cure overnight will see the outcome in the morning hope there is enough to bond to

Helijet 12-06-2015 05:11 PM

Wow Sal...I hope the grammar police don't find you. Linda....help him out....lol
Will check the flap slots as well. If they are flat hinges I would not worry much. Pin
hinges would be another matter.


rcflying007 12-09-2015 10:31 PM

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The 93" Zero come with good shapehttp://www.rcuniverse.com/forum/atta...mentid=2135141

kdunlap 12-10-2015 06:13 PM

My advice is to wait. I have the P51 and there are enough issues with it where it has turned into a major project. I am so frustrated with this build that it is not funny. I am actually really sad. I don't even want to pick it up and continue building.

chris923 12-10-2015 06:30 PM

Originally Posted by kdunlap (Post 12139557)
My advice is to wait. I have the P51 and there are enough issues with it where it has turned into a major project. I am so frustrated with this build that it is not funny. I am actually really sad. I don't even want to pick it up and continue building.

Can you elaborate on the issues?

kdunlap 12-10-2015 07:04 PM

See this thread. I have posted some pictures as well.


Helijet 12-10-2015 11:12 PM

Ok so you had some cockpit pieces that needed to be replaced and a couple of hinge points that needed to be redrilled?? We'll I take exception to your comment because those are not deal breakers to me. You should have seen the work I needed to do on my $3000 Skymaster Avanti XXL. Plugging and redrilling some holes I- have had to do on many, many arfs. This one has perfect hinging, bulkheads are glued in well and everything fits very, very well. So....for the price the overall quality is excellent. You should go and buy a European kit.....then you'll really have something to complain about.

Anyway...I am one very happy customer!

Dean W.

kdunlap 12-11-2015 03:49 AM

I am glad your experience is different than mine. I am a bit puzzled that you feel you have to take exception to my comments. Let alone send a couple of arrows this way. But, if that makes you feel better.... Everything I noted about the P-51 is documented in the thread above with photos. Crystal clear, full color documented evidence of the problems that I have run into. Plain and simple. The facts are the facts and they are stubborn things. After about 10 hours of work, the flaps and the ailerons still do not move freely because of binding. The big problem that I am sure you can appreciate is that you can't just open up the wing, let alone redrill any hinge mounting points in the wing. You can't do that because it is physically impossible!! So, you are left, it seems to me reworking the ailerons and flaps. You have to correct these surface for the misalignment in the wing. If you care to look at my photos you'd see that the ailerons and flaps have multiple drill points in them FROM THE FACTORY. There's been a lot of wood drilled out and a lot of the substructure damaged. They couldn't even get it right. So, you don't have many options. Would appreciate assistance and any good ideas you have to fix things. So far all I've heard from you is blah blah blah. European kits are horrible blah blah blah lucky you didn't get a Skymaster blah blah blah

Hot Rod Todd 12-11-2015 05:48 AM

Sorry that you got a bad one Kdunlap. All I can comment on is my Zero, and all of the hinges seem to be well aligned and move freely. Gluing the hinges will be one of my first steps in the build, so I'll find out soon if they are aligned properly.

My friend has two Mustangs, and both seem to be hinged correctly as well. We were really impressed with the wing and wing tube fit. That's an area that's even harder to correct than hinges. Even when they put out good quality for the most part, much of the stuff from China can still struggle with having consistent quality on every unit sent out. At least in this case you get to deal with Mike at GatorRC, he's a good guy to deal with. Compare with years past when we ordered CMP kits from Nitroplanes, you were pretty much on your own.

Helijet 12-11-2015 07:54 AM

OK point taken kdunlap.

I am just really impressed with this model and its value compared to many other kits I have worked on. I will not argue with you that you experienced some issues with a P51 kit but this is the Zero and others who have received the Zero kit are happy. So lets compare apples to apples. It just irks me when I see negative posts made by people that don't even have the product.
Anyway, sorry to hear about your experience with the P51.


TimD. 12-11-2015 01:40 PM

OK., I went ahead and ordered one as well. Deans comments sold it. I have been working on the Meister Zero ,but figured at that price why not. I have an EVO 7-77 that I will put in it.

Should of asked first is it Poly or Epoxy with the glass?

SWORDSN 12-11-2015 01:48 PM

Originally Posted by TimD. (Post 12139877)
OK., I went ahead and ordered one as well. Deans comments sold it. I have been working on the Meister Zero ,but figured at that price why not. I have an EVO 7-77 that I will put in it.

Should of asked first is it Poly or Epoxy with the glass?

Do you plan to detail the assembly here?

Helijet 12-11-2015 04:58 PM

According to Mike at Gator R/C and from what I can see the airframe is a mix of epoxy / airex foam and plywood. The plywood in our kit looks to be of good quality. Chris and I will post pictures of our build here and I would encourage others to do the same. Lots of great ideas out there that others could benefit from. One of the items we are currently playing with is how to set up the inner clam doors by using just the wheel / torque bar to aid in opening and closure. That's how it actually works in the full size and would eliminate the need for servo actuation.


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