Multiplex Twister, three months on …..

Multiplex Twister, three months on …..

Custom moulded packaging mean transit dents should be a thing of the past

So what do you think then? A bit of Gnat, Alpha Jet, Jaguar, a Hawk perhaps? The Twister seems to have borrowed a design trait from just about every jet that’s flown in the last fifty years! Never mind though, it still looks very attractive. Moulded from Elapor foam it’s a hand-launch electric ducted fan (EDF) jet that, if you ask me, has every chance of bringing EDF into the mainstream model flying arena. Why? Well, the Twister is very much aimed at the first time EDF pilot and is supplied complete with a pre-assembled 69mm fan unit that has a pre-fitted Himax A2825-3600 brushless motor. The 5-blade impeller unit is balanced and the motor leads have gold banana connectors fitted so the unit is ready to drop straight into the model.

To fly, you’ll need to find three 9g micro servos, a receiver, a 45 amp electronic speed controller (ESC) and a 3s (11.1V) 2500 Li-Po pack. Whilst the model has been designed for these components, the option is there to fly with larger battery packs such as a 3s 3200mAh or even a 4s. For review purposes I wanted to use 3s 2200-2500mAh packs as these are now becoming a standard in battery size. If you’re already an electric flyer then you’re likely to have one of these and if the Twister is to be you first electric model then this pack can also be used to fly plenty of other models.

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JET TOGETHER

The parts are few in number and fit beautifully, whilst the level of thought and attention to detail is impressive, as indeed we’ve come to expect from Multiplex. All this translates to a model that goes together quickly and with a minimum of fuss.
The instructions are fine, using text steps and clear diagrams that guide the builder well enough in the time-honoured Multiplex fashion. Foam friendly cyano’ will hold the parts together and a little activator / kicker here and there helps adhesion and stops runny cyano’ getting into places where it’s not wanted.

Like most foamie models the builder is required to cyano’ servos to the airframe. I used three of the BRC hobbies Batan micro servos – at £3.99 each I didn’t mind committing them, they fitted perfectly in the shaped recesses and have performed very well thus far.

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The cavernous recess under the canopy is plenty big enough for a receiver and Li-Po battery. The electronic speed controller (ESC) is housed just in front of the fan unit (where it’ll benefit from air cooling) and cables to the battery and receiver are directed through to the nose via a belly channel. On this subject there are cable channels thoughtfully moulded on the wings for servo leads. All these channels need to be covered up and although Multiplex suggest the use of tape, it isn’t included! Masking tape is a good choice especially if paint is to be applied. I used silver duck tape on the unpainted underside of my model – it’s tough and blended better with the colour of the foam.

DECORATE

Whilst the model goes together quickly, it’s attractive enough to justify investing some time where decoration is concerned. Two large decal sheets are included with the model, these comprising some multinational markings and some generic black trim that can be used with any scheme. The model is moulded in a silver-grey colour that’s a little unexciting so I decided to paint some panels to emulate an early jet-type RAF training livery. The moulded panel lines help by acting to channel the brush or spray paint. Some unwanted pieces of Elapor are cut away during construction and these can be used as test pieces before paint is applied in anger. I spayed from an aerosol can of Plasticoat household yellow that I found in B&Q, masking where appropriate. There are plenty of good schemes that the airframe will lend itself to, so let your imagination run wild.

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The panel lines make good paint barriers for masking and spraying

SET UP

I measured the current draw from the motor which at 30 amps was well within the capacity of the ESC I’d selected, this being a Castle Creations 45 amp unit.
Do note that the English text features a miss-print in the control throw section. A glance at the foreign text provides the true rates, i.e. 15mm each way on aileron and 10mm on elevator. I’d advise employing some exponential, even for the first flight. I found that 40 – 50% on all surfaces made the model far more comfortable to fly.
Some under wing tabs act as balance point indicators and a simple battery shift makes the task easy.

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When it came to battery choice, I used one of the new 3s 2400mAh Kokam packs, along with the smaller 3s 2200mAh Tornado Professional pack, both supplied by Overlander.

JETTING OFF

Although the pilot can launch the model, it’s easier if a helper is on hand to assist. If you’re new to aircraft like this then you may feel a touch nervous before the first flight, although once airborne the nerves will quickly disappear as you realise that the Twister is a safe design that won’t surprise you with anything unexpected.
From launch the model needs just a few seconds to get onto the step and as long as the bung is a reasonable one, it won’t bite or drop a wing. All you need do is gently apply elevator to help it gain height.

Although the Twister couldn’t be described as the fastest EDF jet you’ll find, it’s still fast in the normal sense and can accumulate an impressive lick of speed.
I’ve found that the model is virtually impossible to stall assuming the balance point is correct. Pitch changes can kill forward speed very quickly, especially when the powerful elevator is applied, so flying is very much a case of thinking ahead and applying gentle inputs to carve big jet-style patterns in the sky. Sudden stick movements, then, will dump the speed and leave the Twister staggering around, looking most ungainly.

Of course, the jet sound is great and the model tracks very well – a bit like an arrow, I’d say! With exponential dialled in to help, you’ll find the roll rate very impressive, even at the suggested starting throws, and there’s plenty of elevator on hand to flare for landing. On finals the Twister just keeps on coming, so make sure you’ve allowed space during the downwind leg to bleed off sufficient speed. If she’s travelling fast then she’ll probably shoot right past you and end up in the outfield.

The Twister won’t punch holes in the sky, so don’t expect an unlimited vertical performance from the machine. Mind you, it has a respectable rate of climb and will pull a loop from level flight. The flight experience is one that needs some thought in order to use the energy gained from one manoeuvre to take the model into the next.
All models respond to balance point changes and whilst the Twister isn’t particularly sensitive here it’s important to make sure that the model is set up correctly before each flight. Flight batteries can vary in weight so a thoughtful battery shift will ensure a predictable flight performance. If the C of G should fall a tad too far back, the quality of the design will ensure that nothing terrible happens, although your flight enjoyment may suffer as a result.

Going forward I’m beginning to form the opinion that the model is slightly tail heavy. My Twister needed a fair few clicks of down elevator trim from the start and mindful of the fact that tail weight is added as part of the construction process (two steel balls) in retrospect, I really don’t think that I should have added any weight to until after I’d flown her. The trait hasn’t affected my enjoyment at any time and the model, like all EDF jets, is genuinely exciting to fly – a combination of the shape and sound is primarily what I attribute this to.

TWEAK TWEAK

From the start I wanted to see how the model performed using a standard receiver. There was plenty of room for my single conversion Futaba unit under the canopy but my concern related to glitching – an issue that has a habit of affecting high-powered electric models such as the Twister. Aerial placement can often help resolve these problems but this is one area where, uncharacteristically, the manual makes no suggestions. Many Multiplex models now have moulded channels for the aerial but the Twister couldn’t help here. That said, a hole on the top of the fuselage did suggest a direction for aerial routing. Many of the Twisters I’ve seen pictured on the web seem to have their aerial positioned along the underside of the belly and whilst I decided to follow suit, some occasional glitches did punctuate the first few flights. With this I chose to direct the aerial out through the top of the model and across to the fin in the traditional way. This has cured the problem although later on I may fit a PCM receiver or, more likely, upgrade the model to 2.4GHz – a more assured way of eradicating the symptom.

JET TO GO?

If you’ve always hankered after a jet but have felt intimidated by the technology or the skills required to build and fly one, then look no further as with the Twister, Multiplex have created the perfect introduction to electric ducted fan power. The pre-built motor unit is a sensible inclusion that addresses a potential problem area for builders. The now traditional Elapor material translates into a model that is strong, light and absorbs punishment, and the clever moulding means that handy recesses take all the thinking out of the radio installation process.

Whilst the Twister isn’t for absolute beginners, seasoned EDF flyers will probably find the model too sedate for their liking. However, if you’ve a few sport models under your belt and, as I say, have always wanted to fly a jet, you’ll find her just the ticket. The Twister is attractive, easy to build, easy to fly and provides a surprisingly healthy dose of adrenaline, along with a big smile.

THREE MONTHS ON……

My opinion of this model hasn’t changed a few months down the line. That this model is simply great fun there can be no doubt. Don’t be put off by some EDF ‘experts’ who describe the Twister as poor – sure it’s not the fastest EDF model on the street but it’s plenty fast enough to keep any pilot on their toes and put a smile on the face.

Multiplex have clearly aimed the model at the mass market and designed it to be a safe and successful first EDF hack. The design is strong and stable and we know that Elapor can take the knocks. She can be coaxed into some unusual manouevers (try a spin and see what happens – something different every time) but, in the main, fast pass, bank and yank is the name of the game. She holds inverted nicely too.

Did I mention spins ? They can be fun but get some height first. The model wont spin in the traditional sense but seems to come down like a leaf until the power is re-applied, even then it’ll take a moment to get underway. Tail slides are quite spectacular if you can pull one off although it doesn’t always work.

I’ve flown the model with a 3S 3700mAh pack but the extra weight seriously impaired performance so I’ve stuck with the 3S 2200-2400mAh packs which turn in flight times around the 5 minute mark.

The Twister can cope well with a breeze but she’s best in calm conditions. My motor unit has been 100% reliable so far and the Futaba 2.4GHz receiver hasn’t missed a beat.

Much like the other Multiplex models, this is a great fun hack for flying anytime.

If you have a Twister then why not leave your own review? Just click on the product tab above and go to ARTF electric models.

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