|Does The Mini Blade Cut The Mustard?|
Initially, I wanted another MicroFloh but my attention soon focused on the X-Models Mini Blade.
"Blade" series of composite gliders come in various spans, and
lay-up's (Glass or Carbon). My version is the 1.5m (60") span, 2-piece
(2 servo) winged, glass version. The two photos below, show what it looked
like, about ten minutes after it arrived!
what do you get?
fittings kit is excellent, apart from the cheap looking servo covers!
The Wings: Again, these never presented any major headaches. The only things that need mentioning, are that routing the servo leads can be hit and miss! There is supposed to be a channel built into the wings for the leads to pass through, into the fuselage but I couldn't see them, and didn't know about them, until reading about it on an American glider forum. That minor gripe aside, The HS-125MG's fitted into the servo wells with plenty of room and depth. The horns and pushrods made up easily too. I was slightly disappointed with the supplied White ABS plastic servo covers. I would have thought X-Models could have made some from glass fibre.
Next on the list was to make up the elevator pushrods. These comprise of two CF rods, with M2 threaded steel rods inserted in the ends (the CF rods need to be cut to length, once your servos are installed). Again, these never presented any real problems, although the tail plane ends do need to be bent slightly, to get them to clear the tail plane mounting tubes, in the rear fuz.
Because the model was to be my "flagship of the fleet", I decided upon buying a really good Rx. A Schulze 8.35w was duly ordered, and worked very well indeed. When it came to installing the nose weight, I found that there was very little room in the fuz, so the Schulze was replaced with a Jeti REX 5-channel Rx instead (See below). Note how the battery is well buried, but it is in there!
With everything setup and running, all that was now needed was some good weather.
My initial response was that she was slower than I thought she'd be. Even though I'd set the C/G to the supplied leaflet, it was still too far back for my liking. After adding more nose weight, she started to perform and penetrate better. I'd just about got her singing when the conditions died off, so we called it a day for the year!
My next chance to fly her didn't materialise until the 5th March this year (2006). A 20mph NW was blowing well on Burrough Hill, with very good and constant lift all day. The Mini Blade was readied for action and wow!
She got away with ease, and was soon started sniffing out the thermals. She is very smooth in flight, and aerobatics are easy and crisp. I'm not too confident with inverted flight, as all the moulded stuff I've owned before have struggled. Not so with the Mini Blade as she handles very well inverted, with a minimal amount of down elevator needed.
She is fast in dives, but will also cruise around the sky quite happily. Handling qualities near the stall are excellent, and at some stages of my last flight with her, she was more like a big thermal model very stable indeed! The ensuing dive from a great height (a trademark of mine) was brisk, with her still accelerating at the bottom...magic! The only thing that concerned me here, was that the wings did slightly flex at the joiner, as I pulled out of the dive sharply. So to anyone interested in buying this model, would be better off getting the single piece wing instead. Another thing worth noting is that the tail plane halves have a tendency to "pull out" slightly in flight, leaving a gap between the fuz and tail. Even though I put some tape across the bottom of the tail and fuz, they still moved. My advice would be to either bend the wires slightly, or to use a little dab of CA glue, to hold them in place.
My rating: 99%.
set-up (my preference)
Mini Blade is available in the UK, through
mention 'Flying Sites' when contacting