A faster and lighter 450-size heli.
When I first unboxed the kit, I figured I was going to be building yet another good 450 heli, same as usual. Well, this isnt the typical 450 kit and I did find some interesting differences, some of which include a full CNC aluminum-alloy metal head and arm, a carbon fiber-encased tail, belt drive and motor, an ESC and a BEC. Dont worry, there is a lot more coming.
Putting the kit together was fairly straight forward. I found a few things that were a different approach to the usual engineering that I enjoy. The first thing was there wasnt any flybar cage with this flybar rotor-head system. The system came with two, very long, ball-link arms, as though it was creating a virtual flybar cage. This makes it much simpler to change out the arms as opposed to taking the whole head apart after a crash. I also found that the main gear setup was upside down in comparison with competing products that typically have the main gear on the top and the auto rotation gear on the bottom. What I did find quite impressive about the two gears was they were a perfect fit and dead on. Ive seen competing products where the autorotation gear gets a little warped. That doesnt have any effect on the performance of helicopter but sometimes makes you think when you look at it.
I used Hitec HS-5065MG digital servos for the cyclic and found that they are a tad too large depth-wise to fit in their mounts. I was able to mount the servos, but had a slight gap between the servo mounting tabs and their mount areas. Despite this, I was able to setup the cyclic very nicely. I did find that the elevator servo just would not go into its mount. I believe this mount was not manufactured correctly and that a replacement would have fit the servo without any problem. No big deal, though; thats what a Dremel is forjust grind a little of the inside of the mount, get the servo nice and snug and its ready to go.
Ah! One more road block: when I mounted the elevator servo, I found that its arm was brushing up against the frame. As it was the servo shaft and arm that were near the frame, I couldnt do any arm trimming. Once again, the Dremel was used to trim off a small amount of the frame so the servo arm wouldnt scrape against the frame.
The first setup of the tail had me quite confused. The tail setup is a belt drive with a pulley on both sides. The pulley at the end of the tail where the tail shaft and slider are located seem to be moving back and forth, which led me to believe that the gyro was going to have issues; sure enough, the gyro was not holding very well. Again, I believe I had an incorrectly manufactured piece that I could have had replaced with more patience. I simply took a small washer and placed it on one end of the pulley as a shim. All the slack was gone and the tail was working perfectly.
I did find that the end of the tail casing was all carbon fiber, which is new to me; all the tails Ive seen are either plastic or aluminum. This is part of what reduces the overall weight of the helicopter.
ESC/BEC AND MOTOR COMBO
The kit included the Thunder Tiger OBL 29/37-10H brushless outrunner motor and the Ace RC 40A ESC/BEC. Programming the ESC was quite simplejust look at the chart and follow the beeps. I chose helicopter soft start, no brake, quick throttle response and no governor. I did find that the light, discharge battery protection that I set wasnt good enough. The battery discharged down to one percent, which is not good for a LiPo. I now would recommend the Standard, or even Heavy, discharge protection setting.
TIPS FOR SUCCESS
If this is your first helicopter, I suggest that you find an experienced builder to give you a hand. Although this is not an overly complex helicopter, there would be a lot of confusing setup for the beginner. This goes without saying with most collective-pitch helicopters that arent pre-built. Make sure that your servo mounts are not too tight; if you need to, carve them out a bit with a Dremel. A tight fitting servo can bind up the gear, which compromises the servos performance and could potentially cause a serious crash.
Play around with battery placement so that you can get the center of gravity spot on. This will prevent the helis nose from pitching up when its in fast forward flight.
My one personal preference would be to replace some of the hardware on this model. The industry has established hex head screws as the norm, as they are more durable than Philips head or other cross-point screws. For some reason, Thunder Tiger uses a fair amount of cross-point hardware, and I feel this machine deserves better.
Flying the Mini Titan V2 was just as nice as any truly high quality 450-size helicopter. After turning up the swashplate mix to about 70, the cyclic response was super fast. Flipping was quick, and the banking turns were crisp and had a great response.
I have to say this heli was very fast. For each pass I felt I needed to slow down, so if you are a speed demon, then this heli is for you. The tail hold with the Futaba GY-520 was impeccable. This is a beautiful new addition and replacement for the ever popular GY-401. The gyro setup was simple and the tail stayed perfectly centered; the piro rate was nice and easily adjustable with the travel adjusts.
Forward flight was fast. I did notice a tendency to porpoise, and I am sure that playing around with the center of gravity a little will sort that out. Backward flight was tight owing to the GY-520 gyro and the tail never blew out during backward flight.
Tic-Tocs were spot on I felt locked in, and the motor had more than enough power to keep the Tic-Tocs sustained. Loops, rolls and flips all happen without a hitch. The cyclic has more than enough throw to get you flipped back and over again with speed and grace.
Piro flips happened smoothly, although, I had to slow the tail down a little, for my own personal preference. Some of the hot shots spin that tail to a blur. The gyro did not give any trouble during piro flips and kept the tail at perfect center after the maneuver was over. This kit combination was a pleasure to test.
HELICOPTER: Mini Titan V2
MANUFACTURER: Thunder Tiger
DISTRIBUTOR: Great Planes
TYPE: 450-size electric
FOR: Intermediate to expert
FLYING WEIGHT: 28.8 oz.
LENGTH: 26 in.
BLADES: Thunder Tiger 325 carbon fiber
ROTOR SPAN: 29.25 in.
ROTOR DISK AREA: 672 sq. in.
ROTOR DISK LOADING: 6.17 oz./sq. ft.
RADIO: 6 channels required; flown with a Futaba 7C FASST transmitter, Futaba R617S receiver, 4 Hitec 5065MG servos, Futaba GY-520 gyro, MaxAmps 3S 2200mAh LiPo battery
POWER SYSTEM: OBL 29/37-10H motor, Ace RC 40A ESC
HOVER POWER: 11 amps, 122.1 watts, 4.24 W/oz., 67.8 W/lb.
MAIN ROTOR HOVER RPM: 2,550
DURATION: 4.5 to 5 minutes of hard 3D
MINIMAL FLYING AREA: ball field
STREET PRICE: $375
COMPONENTS NEEDED TO COMPLETE: 6-channel helicopter radio with receiver, 4 mini servos, gyro, flight battery
SUMMARY: Thunder Tiger has certainly put some thought into this helicopter and has made it very light. This one definitely benefits with more fight and more power when you lose some weight.
The Thunder Tiger Mini Titan V2 is a high quality helicopter in this size range, with uniquely engineered features and is lighter than some of its competition. Its flight characteristics are top notch, and with a seasoned pilot, there is nothing that it couldnt do. It is clearly designed for an accomplished pilot who prefers the affordability, performance and compact nature of the 450 size machines. While not suitable for the beginner going it alone, the Mini Titan V2 could be used as your first collective machine with a seasoned pilots guidance and a mild setup, and be ready when you are for a whole lot more. While the price might be a bit higher than the average 450 kit, as it doesnt come with servos or gyro, that doesnt bother me. I would much rather match my preferred equipment to a highperformance machine like this, and enjoy a higher level of performance at the field.
Futaba, dist. excl. by Great Planes Model Distributors, www.futaba-rc.com , (800) 682-8948
Hitec USA, www.hitecrcd.com , (858) 748-6948
MaxAmps, www.maxamps.com , (888) 654-4450
Thunder Tiger, dist. excl. by Great Planes, www.ttamerica.com , (800) 682-8948