As will have been witnessed by those who saw him fly at Sandown, Christophe Paysant-Le Roux is an incredibly gifted display pilot (not to mention world-class competition flyer). The mere mention of his name will guarantee a packed grandstand of spectators eagerly awaiting yet another stunning display, often combining both precision aerobatics and freestyle 3D. Since Christophe’s talent is founded on an aeromodelling background he’s also renowned for designing and building his own world class aerobatic machines. You’ll not be surprised to hear, then, that his original Oxalys was first flown to competition success at the 2005 F3A World Championships where Christophe was victorious for the 4th time. This winning machine is a full-blown 1.9m span aerobatic ship, weighing in at 4.4kg (9.7 lb) with a glass / composite moulded fuselage, balsa skinned foam flying surfaces and a YS 160 up front; a package that can perform the complex FAI aerobatic schedule with ease (in the right hands, of course!).
The subject of this review is a somewhat smaller version, having been miniaturised by the master himself as an ARTF 3D park flyer and distributed in France by New Power Modélisme (a company fronted by Christophe's brother, Benoit), whose products are represented here in the UK by Helger Distribution. Whilst not an exact miniaturisation of Christophe's contest-winning design this profile fuselage, open-structure 900mm span model shares some of the classic outlines of the original; even the colour scheme and fuselage turbulator have been replicated.
The Oxalys arrived in a surprisingly large box for an electric model, and having removed the courier protection I was presented with colourful and attractive box art displaying various images of the completed model plus suggested radio and motor installations. Full marks for presentation, at least!
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Once inside I found all the separate parts of the model carefully wrapped in clear protective bags, whereupon the reason for the large box became clear… the wing is in one piece. Unpacking the individual parts revealed what can only be described as incredible quality of construction. The base covering is transparent heat-shrink film, over which coloured trim is applied to create an extremely attractive finish that in part replicates the colour scheme of its forebear.
The model is beautifully constructed almost exclusively from laser cut balsa, with the exception of two ply pieces. One of these is the engine mounting plate, the other reinforces the fuselage around the point of u/c attachment. As you'd expect with a model of this kind, the whole airframe is very light but at the same time very rigid.
Completing the kit is a clear plastic canopy, a hardware set (including horns), thin wire pushrods and a wire undercarriage plus wheels. The instruction manual has pages of numerous black and white pictures (and very few words) depicting a clear, step-by-step construction guide. I was optimistic that this was going to be a quick, fuss-free assembly. To see if I was right, take a look at Part Two of this review.