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Parkzone F4F Wildcat Review Print E-mail
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Parkzone F4F Wildcat

History

The Grumman F4F Wildcat was an American carrier-based fighter aircraft that began service with both the United States Navy and the British Royal Navy (as the Martlet) in 1940. The Wildcat was the only United States Navy or Marine fighter in World War II 1941–42 in the Pacific Theater besides the brief appearance of the F2A Buffalo. With a top speed of 318 mph (512 km/h), the Wildcat was outperformed by the more nimble 331 mph (533 km/h) Mitsubishi Zero, but its ruggedness and tactics resulted in an air combat kill-to-loss ratio of 5.9:1 in 1942 and 6.9:1 for the entire war. The Wildcat was powered by a Pratt & Whitney R-1830-86 double-row radial engine, which was capable of producing 1,200 hp. It had a range of 770 miles and a service ceiling of 39,500 ft. The Wildcat continued to be built throughout the remainder of the war to serve on escort carriers, where larger and heavier fighters could not be used. In March 1945, Wildcats shot down four Bf 109s over Norway, the FAA's last victory with a Wildcat.



Intro

Over the summer the online buzz for Parkzone’s latest warbird was nearing a fevered pitch and although I tried to ignore the hype, it was too loud. I was intrigued when Parkzone finally announced that their latest warbird would be an F4F Wildcat. The plane looked fantastic, seemed quite agile in all the videos and had a great price point. One early Saturday morning I finally bit the bullet and pulled the trigger on ordering the Wildcat. I didn’t necessarily need another warbird, but I was curious how this one would fly.

Kit Contents

Within a few weeks the big brown box arrived on my doorstep and I was excited. I was surprised at how short the box was but to my relief everything was neatly packaged inside. I opted for the Bind-n-Fly version since I didn’t feel like stealing a receiver from another plane to fly this one. While un-packaging the plane I quickly realized that the plane was nearly 95% complete and contained only a few pieces. The kit contained the fuselage, wings, elevator, 2 carbon rods, a parts bag and the battery and charger.


Assembly

I knew from looking at the plane that I could probably put it together with my eyes closed but I went ahead and took a peak at the Instruction Manual. Everything was clearly marked and explained on how to put the wings and elevators on. The wings come with the servos pre-installed and pre-drilled for the carbon rod. The carbon rod slides easily into the fuselage and the wings and once the wings are in place they screw directly into the fuselage. I am thrilled with this new Parkzone design. The wings are very secure and strong. Just like the wings the elevator slides together with a carbon rod in the middle. I opted to not tape the elevators to the fuselage as they were already extremely tight fitting and I didn’t like the idea of the tape taking off the beautiful blue paint. After the wings and elevators were slapped on I connected the control horns for the rudder and elevator and assembly was complete! Super easy!



Features

The Wildcat has an excellent paint scheme that I instantly fell in love with, it just looks cool! The paint seems well applied, often time new planes ship from the factory and you can feel that the paint hasn’t fully dried. Not the case here. Since the Wildcat has no landing gear some would say it lacks features but the model is not meant to be a 100% scale replica. It does however have a large skid plate that feels thick and sturdy for all the belly landings. As stated in the paragraph above I am impressed with the wing assembly, this is an enormous improvement for stability and strength of the wings over the Parkzone Trojan or Corsair. I was never impressed with the one screw and two plastic tabs that held the wings together on other Parkzone planes. When accidents happen (and they do happen from time to time) the wings would rip right out.

First Flight

I wasn’t too nervous for the first flight which is rare when maidening a plane. I felt the Wildcat went together so precisely and easily that it would fly well. I have also had good luck when it comes to maidening Parkzone planes so I hoped this would be no different. I brought my lovely launching assistant with me to the field for video documentation and because she has incredible hand launching skills. I did my pre-flight check and everything looked perfect so I throttled up and took to the sky. The plane had good power but it wanted to climb. After several clicks of down elevator she settled in and looked beautiful against the open sky. There were no surprises no bad habits, just good solid flying coming from the Wildcat. Landing was uneventful since I had a large grassy field to set her down in. I throttled down, leveled her out and she coasted on top of the grass stopping in about 6 feet.

Flight Characteristics

The Parkzone Wildcat is a dream to fly. Plenty of power and stability packed into a smaller package. The plane performs nicely with whatever you can throw at her. I’ve found I like to fly her as low to the ground as possible for scale flybys. Never once have there been any hiccups or surprises in her flight ability. I generally fly around half throttle and love to go full power while doing victory rolls with this plane. The flat wings and healthy rudder size provide good roll rate and easy inverted flight. I have noticed that she feels a tad nose heavy in the air compared to the Trojan or Corsair. Other times when coming out of sharp turns the tail will wag a bit making me feel like it’s a little too light back by the tail feathers.

Takeoffs and Landings

Without any landing gear to worry about takeoffs and landings are fairly simple, as long as you know how to properly throw an RC Airplane. I believe even with a bad launch the Wildcat would be able to pull out of it and get airborne. It doesn’t take much to get this plane in the air. ¾ to full throttle with a gentle toss and you’re flying! Landings are no problem since the plane can be slowed down a fair amount. Even though the plane has a nice skid plate I wouldn’t recommend landing on asphalt, gravel or razor blades as this will eventually tear up the bottom of the plane. Loose dirt should be avoided unless you don’t mind your Wildcat dirtier than a junkyard dog. The only drawback to belly landing (besides the ability to do touch-n-gos) is the prop tends to get scuffed up on the edges, not a big deal but I like to keep my planes looking nice!

Aerobatics

The plane has the ability to do most maneuvers just short of 3D. Loops, rolls, inverted, stall turns are all executed with the greatest of ease. The factory settings on the control horns are fairly docile so if you’re experienced don’t be afraid to adjust your throws and crank the stunts out! The plane feels very similar to the Parkzone Trojan in terms of aerobatics and agility.

Is This Plane For a Beginner?

This is a tough question since I feel like the plane is so forgiving and easy to fly. In short I’ll have to say ‘no’ it’s not for a beginner, but it depends on how much of a beginner we are talking about. If someone has never flown a sim or any other plane, then no this plane isn’t for them. If a beginner has buddy boxed with a friend or demonstrated good skills on a sim then I would say this could possibly be a beginner plane. I would advise against hand launching the plane yourself if you’ve never flown before. One drawback of this plane in regards to a beginner is that it has no landing gear therefore you’re not going to be able to properly practice takeoffs and landings. Especially landings…they’re always mandatory :)

Conclusion

This plane is an awesome flying plane. Parkzone has done a great job with the construction and balance of the plane. I would highly recommend this to anyone that is looking for an agile plane or that loves warbirds. The lack of landing gear might drive away some, but it’s nice to look at the Wildcat in the air as she looks very scale when she flies by. Lots of fun to be had in this bird and by adjusting the controls you can squeeze even more performance out of her.

Rating: B+

Pros

  • Great looking plane
  • Good speed and control
  • Sturdy construction of the wings
  • Easy to fly for someone with Intermediate experience
  • Can accommodate batteries from 1300mah to 2200mah

Neutrals

  • Paint scheme is similar to sky color, may be hard for some to see
  • No landing gear

Cons

  • None


Victory rolls could be in your future but only if you click the link below!

Click this link to buy the Wildcat and other warbirds!

 
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