The Editor puts together Dynam’s fast assembly version of the British post war jet.
There is really only one word (or two!) to describe this stylish Electric Ducted Fan (EDF) kit from Dynam and that is eye-catching. A jet powered Hawker Hunter would be a standout model in any colour scheme but this one really really does hit the mark.
The Swiss Air Force operated Hunters from the late 50s until 1994 and several of their aircraft displayed special brightly coloured liveries. J-4053 was one such aircraft, when it was briefly covered in visually arresting ‘Tiger Stripes’. Ironically, it only made two flights in this bright paintwork – a fact that resonated with me, but not necessarily for the best of reasons, as we will find out later…
Dynam’s Hunter arrived in a colourful box. Despite being a bit crumpled at one end all was well inside. The model was well packed and makes good use of cardboard to safely hold and separate the various parts of the airframes, which helps keep down the amount of foam packaging. EPO foam is used for the model’s main components, which are also bagged separately to further protect that impressive colour scheme.
Of course, one’s eyes are immediately drawn to that long cylindrical fuselage. The fin and rudder are factory fitted, so assembly really only consists of inserting the carbon wing joiner tube, connecting up the wing wiring harness using the foolproof white connector provided and then securing the panels using four screws, two on each side. Flap and aileron servos are pre-fitted, as are the electric retracts. 9g servos are used throughout, including for the elevators, rudder and nosewheel steering, making eight in total
The tail is fitted in a similar manner, again using a carbon joiner. After connecting the servo leads, square lugs moulded into the tail roots are pushed into matching holes in the root mouldings on either side of the fin. A tube of EPO foam glue is provided to coat the root area, but I have to admit that I chickened out of using this (with CML’s blessing!) and opted to use 30-minute epoxy to secure these all-important parts instead. I have since used the glue provided for some other foam-based joints and can report that it works well so, perhaps, using epoxy was not necessary. But at least I slept well that night!
ncidentally, the rudder and elevator servo connectors are hidden within a compartment just below the tailplane. This is covered on either side by a plastic panel secured using four crosshead screws. Upon opening a lump of lead fell out, which leads one to think that the Hunter could be nose heavy if using the recommended 6S 3300 mAh LiPo pack? I retained the lead for use, if required, after the balance check.
The final stage of assembly is to fit the fuel tanks and missiles provided, two on each side. These simply slide into key-hole slots in the underside of each wing, but I decided to test fly the model without them.
As if the Hunter wasn’t well decorated enough Dynam also supply a sheet of crisp decals to add some finishing touches. The most important of these are the distinctive white and red Swiss crosses, plus registration letters and Oris Swiss watch logos, who must have sponsored the full-size aircraft.
Since the Tiger Stripes are sprayed in matt paint it makes sense that the decals are also matt too.
The only point of concern was that I couldn’t find a spot where the wing harness connector for one wing would sit without it rubbing against the wheel when retracted. So, I cut out a sliver of the foam to make sure of a small gap between the wheel and the connector.
I was also a bit dismayed to see that the matt backing surrounding each decal stood out quite clearly. But as time went on this appeared to fade, so I guess it must be a property of the adhesive used? After a while I hardly noticed it and it was certainly never mentioned by anyone who saw the model, all of whom were very complimentary about the Hunter’s appearance.
No manual is supplied and to be fair the assembly is so simple that one is not really needed. Instead, you get a large sheet of folded paper, written in English on one side and Chinese on the other. This shows pictures of the main assembly, spare parts, plus the radio hook up and where to place all those stickers. Control throws and Centre of Gravity are also shown.
My JR transmitter was quickly configured with the low and high rates shown.
Attention then turned to the CG, which is shown at around mid-chord in the centre section of the distinctive swept wing. With a 3300 size six-cell LiPo strapped in the cavernous radio/battery bay under the canopy the Hunter was found to be tail heavy, so it definitely didn’t need that lump of lead that I found inside the tail fin!
My 3300 packs are well used so I asked CML if they could supply a couple of their 30C Voltz LiPo’s instead. They were out of stock of that size, but they did have the larger 4200 mAh packs, so I ordered two of those instead, figuring out that their increased weight would be handy to rebalance the model anyway. Even with the heavier pack the model still needed a small amount of nose weight, a hole for which I carved out in the foam at the front of the nosewheel bay. After securing it with epoxy the model now balanced within the 140 – 145mm CG range indicated.
The only issue with these larger packs is that the battery bay was now very crammed, so I was a bit concerned that enough cooling air would reach the LiPo and receiver. With only a small slot at the front where some wiring passes through for the nosewheel retract and steering servo, and a small tunnel at the back where the main wiring comes through, I had visions of the Rx cooking slowly as the LiPo heated up in flight. To increase the airflow, I opened up the front wiring slot a bit and was pleased to find that after the first flight the Rx was cool to the touch.
Having just been released from lockdown and with the Spring weather set fair, I booked a date with my ex-pro photographer clubmate Ray and headed for the Bromyard club strip, which had been freshy cut, rolled and mown. In fact, it was looking pretty pristine, thanks to the efforts of Ray and other club stalwarts. As such it was ideal for taking off my lovely new jet, even though the prevailing wind would mean a slightly uphill take-off.
The sun shone as we chatted and took some static pictures of the Hunter, but then the clouds must have sensed what we were up to and despite the good forecast a heavy overcast set in. Ray was still optimistic about getting some good flying shots so the LiPo was loaded and the Hunter was switched on before placing her at the end of the strip. At this point I wish I had glanced right a bit, as I would have then noticed that the local sheep had been doing nearly as good a job as the club mower and there was very little difference in appearance between the short grass on the strip and the rest of the outfield – but it was a heck of a lot rougher…
Full power and the Hunter accelerated smartly. In short order there was air between the wheels, but I left the wheels down whilst I got a feel for the model. I am pleased to say that she felt very well trimmed and no tweaks on the transmitter were required, so I retracted the wheels and settled into grooving her around for a few wide figures of eights so that Ray could take his pictures. However, I could tell that he was struggling as by now the sky was quite gloomy, but with only a four-minute flight planned for the first outing it was not long before I had to line her up for a landing. Before I did so, I flew a high circuit to try the flaps and found that the down elevator compensation that I had programmed in was okay, but it was too vicious at full flap.
With the down timer sounding from the Tx, I started my downwind turn but inadvertently hit full flap, causing the nose to dip and the Hunter soon picked up speed as she dived. I managed to level her out, but she was coming in too fast. I should have gone around but without knowing the duration of the battery I felt committed to the landing and so carried on. Unfortunately, I also landed short by just a few feet and what I thought was a freshly mown and rolled model airstrip turned out to be a pretty rough piece of ground, churned up by sheep hooves. Unsurprisingly, the poor Hunter didn’t think much of that, especially finding herself arriving at a fair lick, and when the wheels hit a divot she flipped over onto her back, sliding over the threshold of the strip upside down. Apart from shedding the canopy (no damage) she appeared undamaged, apart from a slight crease in one wing, so I considered myself very lucky indeed.
We then maidened another review model, but Ray didn’t have any better luck getting in-flight pictures of that one either, so we called it a day and I headed home.
But to summarise the Hawker Hunter’s first flight, I have to say that I was very pleased. She was well trimmed and handled extremely well, grooving around in front of Ray’s camera and showing no signs of distress even in highly banked turns. I had high hopes for her, despite the shaky start to her flying career.
IN THE WORKSHOP
Back in my workshop I checked over the airframe and could see that the creased wing required a little repair work. But despite that she was otherwise unscathed. The nosewheel was bent backwards, but that was no surprise and was soon fixed.
I took the wing off and removed the undercarriage unit. This is mounted full depth in the wing so when you remove the mount it reveals a fairly large hole in the centre of the wing, so it was no great surprise to see that the wing had fractured across the leading edge. It had also cracked in a line that followed the wheel bay recess. I repaired both cracks using foam safe glue, backed up with splints made from cut down cuticle sticks raided from Mrs.C’s make up drawer!
The repaired cracks and any missing patches of paint were touched in with acrylic paint.
Soon she was looking as good as new – well, nearly! Not wanting to risk hitting the threshold again I opted to have the second flight at the Newent club, which has a longer runway. This time my friend and ex-magazine editor, Barry Atkinson was on hand to take some flying pictures, so the Hunter was prepared and was soon lined up ready for her second flight.
She accelerated as briskly as before and during the ensuing couple of circuits I could hear my clubmates make some very favourable noises. These guys are used to seeing review models but rarely have I heard such positive comments. And I could tell that the Hunter had their full attention as most of them had wandered down to the strip to have a good look!
Barry was clicking away but predictably he wanted her to come in closer, which required a tighter upwind turn to bring her back in line for a low whistle past the assembled crowd. However, no sooner had I started the turn than she rolled over and dived for the ground. There was no response to the elevator, and it happened so fast that I’m not sure I even had the chance to cut the throttle. All I do remember is the rising cloud of dust and foam shards, followed by stunned silence.
I can only applaud my clubmates who rallied around and gathered up all the pieces in what was a surprisingly small and light bin bag compared to the sleek model jet of only a few minutes before.
Afterwards I spent some time trying to figure out what had gone wrong. I convinced myself that either my wing repair had failed or, more likely, it was pilot error and maybe I had been too aggressive in the turn and the Hunter had stalled.
However, in my brief time piloting the model during both flights I had found the Dynam Hunter to be easy to fly and without any nasty handling traits. And during her first flight, hauling her around during our first aborted photo session, she had soaked up several far more aggressive turns than her last one, all without complaint. So, I am now convinced that something else had happened…
Since the crash I haven’t been able to face that bag of bits sitting in the corner of my shed, but just before starting to type this review, I decided to take a closer look at the repaired wing. The trouble is that it is obvious that it was this wing that bore the brunt of the crash as it is covered in crop stains and has many compression areas, whilst the other wing is relatively unscathed. However, I now think that my repairs must have failed during that final turn, causing the model to dive in, hence the further damage on that side.
Whatever way you look at it I think I must accept the blame for this crash. Dynam list a full range of spares for this model so it would have been easy – and a darned sight less costly – to have swapped out the creased wing for a fresh one. This goes for any foam model where you think the integrity of a component is in any doubt, especially a wing like this one which has quite generous cutouts for the electric retracts.
So, would I recommend this kit? Yes, in a heartbeat! She looks stunning and those Hunter good looks are matched by easy handling and excellent flight characteristics. The 70mm 12-bladed fan unit sounds superb and make a most realistic jet noise. Combined with a fresh 30C or above 6S LiPo it packs a powerful punch too.
Of course, I wish I had more time to find out about the landing characteristics and could give you a definitive answer about flight times. But here’s my final tip for this model, which also applies to other similar sized EDF jets – or larger… Do make sure that you fly them from wide open flying fields so that you can bring them in long and shallow at a sensible speed. I am sure that with a little more flight time on this good-looking jet I would have enjoyed landing her and experimenting with the flaps.
A FINAL THOUGHT
Incidentally, full size Hawker Hunter J-4053 had a rather longer flying career thank our review model after losing her Tiger Stripes, continuing in service until scrapped in April of 1994.
It’s ironic though that her jazzy colour scheme also lasted just two flights, although thankfully she survived to fly for many more sorties in other liveries.
Name: Hawker Hunter 70mm EDF
Model Type: Semi-scale jet
Manufactured by: Dynam
Distributed by: CML Distribution, www.cmldistribution.co.uk/product/DYN8976YB/
RRP: £259.99 (check website for latest price)
Wingspan: 850mm (33.5”)
Length: 1150mm (45.3”)
Wing loading: 75 g/dm2
Weight: 1610g (3.55lbs)
Motor: TC-2860-KV2200 inrunner
EDF: 12-blades, 70mm
Battery: 22.2V 3300mAh 30C (6S 4200 mAh Voltz pack used)
Servo: 9g x 8 pcs (metal)
Functions: Throttle, Ailerons, Elevator, Rudder, Flaps, Retracts