No prizes for guessing which model Max Thrust’s Riot is being pitted against! It jumps unashamedly into the category dominated by the classic Wot 4, and in particular the foamie variant that’s been cleaning up for the last couple of years. At 55” (1400mm) span Century’s latest is a bit bigger than the 47” (1194mm) span foam-e Wot, and has been engineered in EPO to take standard 3s 2200 – 2400mAh Li-Pos. It’s available in two forms, as airframe only or as the plug ‘n’ play package that’s reviewed here. This, then, comes pre-fitted with servos, a 3511-size outrunner, and a 40A ESC. Simply add your favourite battery and receiver, and you’re ready to go.
To be honest, this is a pretty decent package for £139.99, especially when you take a closer look and consider what else is going on here.
For example, certain ideas have been taken from E-flite’s Carbon-Z Yak 54 in that the Riot is of a modular design using a two-piece wing and bolt-on tail feathers. Fact is, glue isn’t necessary during assembly, unless you particularly feel the need. Meanwhile, all the servos can be removed and replaced if necessary, along with the motor and ESC which are similarly accessible. As you’ll doubtless be aware, most foam models utilise the material itself to produce a ‘live’ control surface hinge, however the Riot employs pinned hinges all round, allied to aileron leading edges that are neatly rounded and recessed to hide the hinge gap. Control surface horn security is good, too, thanks to bolt-through backplates. In addition, I particularly like the strong black plastic wrap-around canopy, a feature that enables you to pick the model up without any fear of squashing the foam.
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The main assemblies are nicely moulded and, since the decals are factory applied, assembly is a quick and simple bolt-together process, guided by very good instructions. It’s a sequence that’s so simple as to barely warrant comment – the fit of the parts is very good, everything sliding together without fuss.
Whilst reviewing a model I keep a notebook alongside, upon which to leave thoughts. In truth, however, the Riot page has few scribbles. Just three, in fact:
- The manual fails to mention the little tab of material that should be removed to allow the stabiliser to slide home.
- Two of the elevator’s hinges were loose and required some carefully- applied drops of cyano to re-secure them.
- One aileron clevis was broken, although spares are included.
Not only are two 12 x 6” props supplied, you get two foam spinners as well. Very useful as I overtightened the prop nut and sheared the prop adaptor shaft, ruining the first spinner. Be warned!Article continues below…
Measuring the power system revealed 300W peak at 27A, which isn’t far shy of 100W / lb. Mind you, the supplied prop isn’t as efficient as an APC equivalent, which yields 330W at 30A. Nevertheless, it’s very good to see the current draw adequately covered by the ESC rating.
The servo count comes to four: a micro for each aileron and sub-minis driving elevator and rudder. This latter pair live in a fuselage compartment that becomes accessible only when the wing is removed, and share space with the Rx. It’s not a large area, so care is required to ensure that servo movement isn’t impeded by wires when the wing’s fitted. The Li-Po lives in a bay low down in the deep fuselage, just behind the motor. This, no doubt, helps the C of G, although some factory-added nose weight is evident. A hinged hatch lid secured with clips and a swing-retainer provides access, although (like me) you may prefer to add some Velcro just to be on the safe side.
Working wing tip lights are powered via a small circuit board that sits within the fuselage, the current being supplied via the aileron servos, which also share the board and connect to the Rx using a Y-lead. Those who would rather hook their ailerons to separate Rx channels can remove the Y-lead and still use the lights, as connecting the circuit board’s output lead to any spare Rx channel will also provide power.
The model is tolerant of a wide C of G variation, 3 – 3.5” (75 – 90mm) back from the l.e. being recommended; my standard 3s packs place the point at the forward 3” (75mm) position without adjustment. Suggested control surface deflections are fine for starters but are pretty conservative, so don’t try any low-down aerobatics until you’ve gauged the model’s agility.
I’ve managed to squeeze a creditable 10 minutes from a 2200mAh 3s, although aiming for 8 – 9 minutes is probably more sensible. The battery bay will accommodate larger packs if you must, for example a compact 3s 3200 will fit nicely and extend flight duration. Moreover, a little more weight does the model no harm at all.
So, how does it fly? Very well indeed. In almost every respect, the Riot feels just like the model with which it seeks to share the limelight. Yes, dear reader, it flies just like a lightweight, i.c.-powered Wot 4, indeed, at times the similarities are quite uncanny.
The take-off roll won’t trouble the ground for very long, especially in a breeze where a positive climb-out will provide an encouraging demonstration of the power that’s available. I’d describe the powertrain as punchy rather than silly-powerful, indeed there’s sufficient grunt to endow the model with a pleasing performance that shouldn’t intimidate those moving up from a high-wing trainer. Personally, I reckon there’s also enough to satisfy intermediate and experienced flyers, but perhaps not the hooligan.
The Riot isn’t a 3D machine; it hasn’t been designed that way and the power system isn’t man enough to hold a hover with sufficient authority. Of course, like many electric models, what it’ll achieve using good Li-Pos is notably better than what you’ll get using average ones. It’s a very capable sport aerobat that can convincingly get away with a few pseudo 3D and freestyle moves, the harrier to name but one.
Slow-speed handling is excellent, to the point where if you hurt the model after a stall then you really only have one person to blame. It’s decidedly well-mannered, then, and, like the Wot 4, it’ll refuse to drop a wing in 99% of low speed situations. Indeed it can be hovered in a gentle breeze with just a little elevator, and will even drift backwards in stronger winds, something I never tire of doing.
In many respects what the model does is down to how it’s flown, allied to trims, rates and the C of G. Open the taps and the Riot flies straight and smooth, although dialling in a little aileron differential seems to improve the tracking and responsiveness as, even with the C of G at 3” (75mm), there’s still a slight tendency to drag the tail through turns. Meanwhile, inverted flight requires just a tiny squeeze of forward stick.
Experienced pilots will find that the model comes alive with increased control surface rates, softened, perhaps, with some exponential; I use 25% for ailerons and 20% for elevator. Configured accordingly, all the standard aerobatic manoeuvres are there for the taking; quick point-rolls are easy and require very little rudder, although extended knife-edge is messy without coupling – another Wot trait the Riot faithfully emulates.
RTF and ARTF Wots have sold in huge quantities over the last few years and it’s clear that this one wants a piece of the action. Truth is, it really can hold its own in such august company, for it’s an excellent, rigid and very practical sport aerobat that reflects some tangible attention to detail.
There are several key things that impress. First, it’s a decent size that’ll happily fly using a cheap 3s 2200mAh pack, whilst delivering good performance and respectable flight times. Second, it’s very robust (the undercarriage, too) and will cope well with rough flying fields. Finally, I think it’s good value. If you ask me, Century’s Riot is poised to make many friends.
UK distributor: Century UK – www.centuryuk.com
RRP: £139.99 (PnP model reviewed), £199.99 (complete package with Tx)
Wingspan: 55” (1400mm)
Fuselage length: 44.5” (1130mm)
Wing area: 3.9sq. ft. (0.36sq. m)
All-up weight: 3 lb 7oz (1.55kg)
Wing loading: 14oz / sq. ft. (4.3kg / sq. m)
Functions (servos): Aileron (2); elevator (1);
rudder (1); throttle (via ESC)
Power system: 3511, 850Kv outrunner; 40A ESC; 12 x 6” propeller
Rec’d Li-Po: 3s 2200mAh