Top 20 - Model Airplane News
Top 20
Warbirds
The best military picks for your RC fighter squadron
By the Model Airplane News crew Photos by John Reid & Peter Hall
There’s an old saying that suggests that there are only two types of airplanes: fighters and targets!
Well, if you are a warbird lover and have a soft spot for classic military aircraft, that statement rings true
and also seems to apply in the RC world, as well. From primary and advanced trainers to cargo planes and
fighters, warbirds come in all shapes and sizes and nationalities. These top 20 editor picks are chosen from
past flight reports and reviews. To make it into our list, the planes were considered for their scale looks,
flight performance, ease of assembly, quality, and overall value. Although not recommended for beginner
pilots, all the warbirds are fairly easy and uncomplicated to assemble. If you have a little bit of Walter Mitty
in your heart, this collection of aerial warriors is for you.
VQ Models P-39 Airacobra 46
Electric
Intermediate Pilot
With its rugged, jig-built wood structure, the VQ Models P-39 has a lightweight airframe, and it comes covered in a nicely
printed vinyl material. We’re impressed that the P-39 now features functional flaps and the printed-on “weathering.” Easy
to power by either a glow engine or an electric motor, it offers lots of options. Even though it comes with fixed gear, we
like that optional tricycle retracts are also available.
What We Like
Hangar 9 F4U Corsair
Gas
->Painted flat-finish
Intermediate Pilot
UltraCote covering
When it comes to warbirds, the Corsair is in a class by itself. We really like this 65-inch-span warbird
designed for the newer 20cc gas engines. The Hangar 9 Corsair has a nicely illustrated manual, and
we are impressed with how well all its subassemblies are built and covered. All the control surfaces
have slots for the included CA hinges, and the holes for the pin-type hinges for the flaps come
precut. For flight performance, we could not ask for more, and we love how effective the flaps are
on landings.
->Scale three-panel flaps
->Easy-access top
fuselage hatch
->Painted propeller hub
Specifications
Model: F4U-1A Corsair 20cc ARF
Manufacturer: Hangar 9
(hangar-9.com)
Distributor: Horizon Hobby
(horizonhobby.com)
Type: WW II warbird ARF
Wingspan: 65 in.
Wing area: 802.4 sq. in.
Weight: 11 lb. 15 oz.
Wing loading: 34.25 oz./sq. ft.
Power req’d: 20cc gas, 1.25 4-stroke,
or Power 60 470Kv electric motor
Radio req’d: 5+-channel
Price: $389.99
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Lands Lik
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What We Like
->Prehinged flaps and
control surfaces
->Optional retracts
->Ideal for G-46 power
system
->Excellent flight
performance
Specifications
Specifications
Model: P-39 Airacobra
Manufacturer: VQ Models (vqmodel.com)
Distributor: Hobby People (hobbypeople.net)
Type: ARF warbird
Wingspan: 62.2 in.
Wing area: 575 sq. in.
Weight: 105.8 oz.
Wing loading: 26.49 oz./sq. ft.
Power req’d: .40 2-stroke, .50–.65 4-stroke, or 46-size brushless motor
Radio req’d: 6-channel
Price: $159.99
2 ModelAirplaneNews.com
Phoenix Model Dauntless
Electric
Intermediate Pilot
We seldom see the classic Douglas SBD Dauntless dive-bomber in RC form,
and we took notice when Phoenix Model offered its version. We like that
it is designed to give the builder a choice of using either electric- or glowpowered systems. We are impressed with the included sturdy, sprung,
mechanical retracts that come preinstalled. This 6-channel warbird is
intended for the intermediate pilot but doesn’t require a great deal of
building skills.
Model: SBD Dauntless
Manufacturer: Phoenix Model (phoenixmodel.com)
Distributor: Tower Hobbies (towerhobbies.com)
Type: Scale dive-bomber
Wingspan: 56.7 in.
Wing area: 651 sq. in.
Weight: 7 lb. 2 oz.
Wing loading: 28.9 oz./sq. ft.
Power req’d: .46–.55 glow or electric
Radio req’d: 6-channel
Price: $209.97
What We Like
->Covering and paint are
expertly applied
->Rugged, sprung
landing gear can
take abuse
->Cool scale pilot and
cockpit detail
MAY 2016 3
E-flite/Horizon Hobby
FJ-2 Fury
What We Like
->Excellent scale detail
->Exceptional flight
Jet
performance
->Highly prefabricated
Intermediate Pilot
Jet
For an electric ducted fan jet, we think that this model is complete
right out of the box. We like that all the surfaces have molded
hinges, which means no gluing or assembly of the control surfaces.
Even the servos, control horns, and pushrods come preinstalled
and ready for flight. We are impressed with the nicely molded
ABS plastic accent pieces, which provide the final touches. These
include servo covers, intake ring, tank mounts, access hatches, and
other miscellaneous pieces. And when it comes to flying, we think
that the included AS3X system makes this small jet feel like one of
the big boys.
Specifications
Model: FJ-2 Fury 15 DF
BNF Basic
Manufacturer: E-flite
(e-fliterc.com)
Distributor: Horizon Hobby
(horizonhobby.com)
Type: Scale electric jet
Wingspan: 6.75 in.
What We Like
->Fast assembly time
->Top-notch quality
->Excellent flight
performance
st
Great Fir
Turbine!
Wing area: 304 sq. in.
Weight: 3 lb. 4 oz.
Wing loading: 24.5 oz./sq. ft.
Motor incl’d: Brushless
3700Kv motor and 70mm
ducted fan
Radio req’d: 4-channel
Price: $299.99
BVM 1/6-scale
F-16 Falcon Turbine
Jet
Advanced Pilot
Specifications
What We Like
->Excellent parts fit and
quality
->Outstanding MonoKote
and painted scale trim
->Pilot-friendly flight
characteristics
->Very easy and fast
assembly
Weight: 31 lb. (dry with turbine
and smoke system)
Wing loading: 54.42 oz./sq. ft.
Engine req’d: Turbine 140N
Class (31–32 lb. thrust)
Radio req’d: 5-channel (rudder,
throttle, elevator, aileron,
retracts); no flaps
Price: $7,749.99 (plus shipping)
Great Planes P-6E Hawk
Electric Intermediate Pilot
The period between the wars produced some of the most beautiful
aircraft, and the P-6E from Great Planes is a prime example. We love
its overall looks and style and the expertly applied MonoKote and
painted trim parts. Constructed of laser-cut balsa and ply parts,
the Hawk comes with all its main components ready to assemble.
You can power it with either electric or glow power, and when it
comes to the flying field, we are impressed with it performance. If
you like biplanes and warbirds, this is a two-for-one deal!
Specifications
Model: Curtiss P-6E Hawk
Manufacturer: Great Planes (greatplanes.com)
Type: Scale 1930s’ biplane
Wingspan: 43.5 in.
Wing area: 352 sq. in.
Weight: 3 lb. 8 oz.
Wing loading: 22.91 oz./sq. ft.
Power req’d: 42-50-800 outrunner brushless
Radio req’d: 4-channel
Price: $250.00
4 ModelAirplaneNews.com
Intermediate Pilot
Perhaps one of the most impressive electric jets that we’ve seen,
this A-6 Intruder is made of durable EPO foam and adorned with
scale VA 85 USS Forrestal waterslide decals. We took notice of
the many scale details the A-6E has. We think that the quality and
workmanship are outstanding, and everything from the landing
gear to the scale pilot busts are perfect for a jet of this size.
Recommended for intermediate pilots, the A-6 does not require a lot
of assembly experience; just add a battery and radio to complete.
Specifications
Model: A-6 Intruder
Manufacturer: Freewing
Distributor: Motion RC
(motionrc.com)
Type: Electric jet
Wingspan: 46 in.
Wing area: 484 sq. in.
Weight: 5 lb. 4 oz.
Wing loading: 24.9 oz./sq. ft.
Power incl’d: Brushless
outrunner w/ 80mm fan unit
Radio req’d: 6-channel
Price: $299.00
What We Like
->Ultra-scale detail
->Excellent flight
performance
->Made out of
durable foam
FMS/Diamond Hobby
Kawasaki Ki-61
Electric
Who hasn’t dreamed of flying a turbine-powered RC jet? We are amazed
that this new F-16 comes built to order and comes in a number of
standard-finish schemes as well as in custom schemes. The model
features all high-voltage, metal-geared brushless servos and highvoltage digital air valves, and all the components come installed and
prewired. The airframe comes with dual fuel tanks (located over the
center of gravity) as well as dual smoke tanks. You need to add your
own engine, fuel pump, filter, UAT/CAT, and manual shutoff valve.
Model: 1/6-scale F-16 Falcon
Manufacturer: Premier
Aircraft
Distributor: BVM Jets
(bvmjets.com)
Type: Scale jet
Wingspan: 65.5 in. (with
missile rails)
Wing area: 1,312.5 sq. in.
(projected)
Freewing/Motion RC
A-6 Intruder EDF Jet
Intermediate Pilot
We like airplanes that are out of the ordinary, and the new Kawasaki
Ki-61 “Tony” is just that. We think that the Ki-61 is an excellent
design, coming with all the servos and electronics installed. We
appreciate that the rudder and elevator control rods also come
installed in the fuselage already connected to the servos. Also
impressive is that the servo leads coming from the main wing
are cleaned up in a connection block that sits perfectly in its
provided slot. And when it comes to flight performance, we are not
disappointed.
Specifications
Model: Kawasaki Ki-61
Manufacturer: FMS
(fmsmodel.com)
Distributor: Diamond Hobby
(diamondhobby.com)
Type: Foam warbird
Wingspan: 39.2 in.
Wing area: 235 sq. in.
Weight: 41 oz.
Wing loading: 25.1 oz./sq. ft.
Motor incl’d: Brushless
3648Kv 770
Radio req’d: 6-channel
(ailerons, rudder, throttle,
elevator, flaps, retracts)
Price: $159.99
What We Like
->Compact speedy
warbird
->Minimal build time
->Comes with flaps and
retracts
Great Planes P-51 Sport
Glow
Intermediate Pilot
What’s not to like about an almost-ready-to-fly plane that comes
partially built with all the pieces and hardware to get it ready to fly?
We think that its balsa-and-ply construction with factory-applied
MonoKote covering and fiberglass cowl make this a very quick build.
After test flying, we think that it is ideal for intermediate fliers. It
performs as if it’s on rails.
Specifications
Model: P-51 Mustang Sport Fighter
Manufacturer: Great Planes (greatplanes.com)
Distributor: Hobbico (hobbico.com)
Type: WW II sport flier
Wingspan: 52 in.
Wing area: 550 sq. in.
Weight: 90 oz.
Wing loading: 23.56 oz./sq. ft.
Motor req’d: .46–.55 2-stroke, .70 4-stroke, or electric RimFire 32
Radio req’d: 4-channel
Price: $139.98
What We Like
->Smooth and precise
sport flier
->Ready for glow or
electric power
->Great fit and finish
with a nice scale look
MAY 2016 5
Hangar 9 P-51 Mustang
Sport 8cc
What We Like
->Great scale looks
->SAFE Technology and
Gas Intermediate Pilot
three flight modes
->Evolution 8cc gasoline
engine, factory
installed
Ideal for low-time pilots, this Mustang/trainer/sport flier is bindand-fly (BNF), and all of its equipment comes installed and ready to
bind to your DSM2/DSMX-compatible transmitter. We like how easily
and quickly this sport plane goes together. Made out of built-up
balsa and plywood and covered with UltraCote, we love how this gas
trainer performs.
Specifications
Model: P-51 Mustang Sport 8cc BNF Gas Trainer
Manufacturer: Hangar 9 (hangar-9.com)
Distributor: Horizon Hobby (horizonhobby.com)
Type: Gas trainer/sport warbird
Wingspan: 54.7 in.
Wing area: 574 sq. in.
Weight: 6 lb. 6 oz.
Wing loading: 25.6 oz./sq. ft.
Power incl’d: Evolution 8cc gasoline engine (installed)
Radio req’d: 6-channel w/ Spektrum DSM2/DSMX
Price: $399.00
Top Flite P-47 Razorback
Gas Advanced Pilot
t
Best Firs
!
T
Gian
Everyone pays attention when a giant-scale warbird fires up on the
flightline, and this giant-scale Jug is no exception. We are impressed
with the fit and finish of all the major parts and subassemblies, and
we are pleased with the quality of the factory-applied covering. All
the control surfaces come with hinge point–style hinges, and we are
equally impressed how the Robart retracts and the DLE 61cc gas
engine bring this classic warbird to life.
Specifications
What We Like
->Excellent fit and finish
->Quick assembly time
->Big fuselage hatch
->Robart electric
retracts available
What We Like
->Excellent looks
->Quick assembly
->Pre-installed flaps,
retracts, drop tanks,
lighting
->4- and 5-blade prop
setups provided
Model: P-47 Razorback
Manufacturer: Top Flite (top-flite.com)
Distributor: Hobbico (hobbico.com)
Type: ARF WW II warbird
Wingspan: 85 in.
Wing area: 1,329 sq. in.
Weight: 21 lb. 6 oz.
Wing loading: 37.06 oz./sq. ft.
Power req’d: 50–61cc gas or RimFire Power 65cc 160Kv
electric motor
Radio req’d: 6+-channel
Price: $749.99
Avios/HobbyKing
Hawker Sea Fury
Electric Intermediate Pilot
Molded from EPO foam, the Sea Fury has clean, defined panel lines
molded into the airframe, giving it a nice scale appearance. We like
the clear plastic canopy and pilot bust, which come installed on the
magnetically attached battery hatch. The servos and electronics
come installed, and the plane can be assembled quickly. We love
the flight performance of the Sea Fury and are impressed with its
included flaps, retracts, drop tanks, and lighting system.
Specifications
Model: Hawker Sea Fury
Manufacturer: Avios
Distributor: HobbyKing (hobbyking.com)
Type: ARF WW II warbird
Wingspan: 47.2 in.
Wing area: 424 sq. in.
Weight: 74 oz.
Wing loading: 25.13 oz./sq. ft.
Motor incl’d: 3648-600Kv brushless
Radio req’d: 7-channel
Price: $159.00
6 ModelAirplaneNews.com
HobbyKing C-47 Skytrain
What We Like
Electric
->Quick, easy assembly
->Lots of scale details
->Counter-rotating props
Intermediate Pilot
Who doesn’t like twin-engine warbirds? Constructed out of molded
EPO foam, the C-47 Skytrain from HobbyKing comes nicely painted
in a matte-finish olive drab and gray color scheme. We are pleased
that there are a choice of markings. Control surfaces are hinged,
and all eight servos are factory installed. The two motors are
installed inside the nicely deta iled cowls on the nacelles, just
in front of the installed, forward-retracting electric landing gear.
We are impressed with the included counter-rotating, 3-blade
propellers, which cancel out torque-induced turns.
and electric retracts
Specifications
Model: C-47 Skytrain Plug-and-Fly
Manufacturer: HobbyKing (hobbyking.com)
Type: Sport-scale twin
Wingspan: 63 in.
Wing area: 760 sq. in.
Weight: 77 oz.
Wing loading: 14.7 oz./sq. ft.
Motor incl’d: Two 960Kv brushless outrunners
Radio req’d: 6-channel (aileron, rudder, elevator, throttle,
retracts, flaps)
Price: $219.00
endly
Pilot-Fri
Twin!
Phoenix Model
Spitfire Mk2
Glow
Intermediate Pilot
When it comes to an easy build, we have to say that this Spitfire
from Phoenix Model does not have a single part that doesn’t
fit perfectly or darn near it. Coming with landing gear, wheels,
fuel tank, pushrods, hardware, and a decent instruction manual,
we think that the Spitfire is a sweet machine. It looks great, is
extremely maneuverable, and flies light, and we love how easy it is
to land. The electric retractable gear work flawlessly, and the flaps
are very effective.
Specifications
What We Like
->Quick build
->Excellent quality
->Greased landings
every time
Model: Spitfire Mk2
Manufacturer: Phoenix Model
(phoenixmodel.com)
Distributor: Tower Hobbies
(towerhobbies.com)
Type: ARF sport scale
WW II fighter
Wingspan: 55 in.
Wing area: 565 sq. in.
Weight: 7 lb.
Wing loading: 28.18 oz./sq. ft.
Power req’d: .46–.55 2-stroke,
.52 4-stroke, or 1000–1400W,
480Kv brushless outrunner
Radio req’d: 6-channel (rudder,
aileron, elevator, throttle,
retracts, flaps)
Price: $159.99
E-flite UMX
PT-17 Stearman
Electric
Intermediate Pilot
Sometimes you just want to go out and fly without having to spend
time assembling your model. This easy-to-fly 4-channel biplane
comes with the AS3X stabilization system, so when you do fly it, it
feels like a bigger airplane. We’re impressed with it weighing just
1.7 oz. and still offering excellent performance, agility, and stability.
With a couple of extra battery packs, we enjoy flying this mini
Stearman a lot.
Specifications
What We Like
->AS3X technology
->Beautiful scale looks
and awesome detail
->100 percent ready to
fly right out of the box
8 ModelAirplaneNews.com
Model: UMX PT-17 BNF
Manufacturer: E-flite (e-fliterc.com)
Distributor: Horizon Hobby (horizonhobby.com)
Type: Park flier
Wingspan: 15.3 in.
Wing area: 67.5 sq. in.
Weight: 1.7 oz.
Wing loading: 3.63 oz./sq. ft.
Motor incl’d: Ultra micro, brushed
Radio req’d: 4-channel DSMX/DSM2 compatible
Price: $99.99
Hobby People P-47 Thunderbolt EP RTF
Electric
Intermediate Pilot
If you are looking for a Jug to add to your warbird hangar, then we think the Hobby People RTF P-47
Thunderbolt EP with retracts is a sweet deal. Made out of EPO foam, it is simple and fast to assemble,
and it has a potent power system. All the servos are installed, and if you want some added performance
options, flaps are available separately. With good flight performance, we think that the Thunderbolt is
rugged enough for most low-time pilots. And if you do have a hard landing, the P-47 is easily repaired and
replacement parts are readily available.
Specifications
Model: P-47 Thunderbolt
Manufacturer: Hobby People (hobbypeople.net)
Distributor: Global Hobby (globalhobby.com)
Type: WW II foam warbird
Wingspan: 41 in.
Wing area: 288 sq. in.
Weight: 36 oz.
Wing loading: 18 oz./sq. ft.
Motor req’d: 3536-size outrunner
Radio req’d: 5+-channel
Price: $174.99 (RTF)
E-flite UMX P-47 Thunderbolt
Electric
Specifications
Model: UMX P-47 BL BNF Basic
Manufacturer: E-flite (e-fliterc.com)
Distributor: Horizon Hobby (horizonhobby.com)
Type: Ultra-micro warbird
Wingspan: 19.0 in.
Wing area: 69 sq. in.
Weight (ready-to-fly): 3.35 oz.
Wing loading: 6.99 oz./sq. ft.
Motor incl’d: 180BL brushless outrunner
Radio req’d: 4-channel
Price: $129.99
Intermediate Pilot
We always have fun with small molded foam fighters, but the new
UMX P-47 ultra-micro warbird from E-flite is one of our favorites. It
flies with the feel of a larger warbird but without the higher wing
loading. With its patented AS3X stabilization system, the P-47 offers
4-channel control with factory-installed Ultra micro linear servos.
We’re impressed with effectiveness of the control surfaces and how
graceful it performs the aerobatics typical of a WW II fighter.
What We Like
What We Like
->Gorgeous replica of
->Well detailed
->Power system gives
->Ready to fly out of
iconic fighter
the box
->Respectable flight
great performance
->Retracts are included
and installed
times from the
200mAh battery
d
ama a
10 ModelAirplaneNews.com
d
ama a
MAY 2016 11
What We Like
->Excellent scale fidelity
->Shock-absorbing,
rotating, retractable
metal landing gear
->Retractable tailwheel
->All components
factory installed
FMS/Diamond Hobby
P-40B Warhawk
Electric
Intermediate Pilot
While this is actually the second version of the P-40B that FMS has
released, it is a completely new model with many new features. We
like this model as it includes shock-absorbing, 90-degree-rotating
metal main landing gear; a retractable tailwheel; split flaps; and
quality ball-link clevises on all control surfaces. It is a good value,
with installed 17g metal-geared servos, a 70-amp speed control
(with 5A BEC), and an installed 4258-650Kv brushless motor and
navigation lights. It will bring the Flying Tiger out of any RC pilot!
Specifications
Model: P-40B Warhawk
Manufacturer: FMS (fmsmodel.com)
Distributor: Diamond Hobby (diamondhobby.com)
Type: Scale warbird
Wingspan: 55.1 in.
Wing area: 522.3 sq. in.
Weight: 5 lb. 5 oz.
Wing loading: 23.43 oz./sq. ft.
Radio req’d: 6-channel (minimum)
Price: $209.99
Durafly P-40N Warhawk
What We Like
Electric
->Exceptional scale
Intermediate Pilot
The most difficult part of the Curtiss P-40 was deciding which set
of aircraft markings to apply. You have a choice of U.S. Army Air
Forces, British Royal Air Force, Soviet Air Force, Netherlands East
Indies Air Force, and the Royal Australian Air Force markings. We
are impressed with the overall quality of this Warhawk and its
reinforced EPO hinged control surfaces. We get a real bang out of
the functional bomb drop!
looks and details
->Set up for 3- or 4-cell
LiPo battery
->Functional bomb drop
Specifications
get
Great Bud
Flier!
What We Like
->AS3X stabilization
->Dual servo flaps,
installed and
functional
->Retractable electric
landing gear, installed
Model: Curtiss P-40N Warhawk 1100mm (PNF)
Manufacturer: Durafly (durafly.com)
Distributor: HobbyKing (hobbyking.com)
Type: Scale warbird
Wingspan: 43.3 in.
Wing area: 325 sq. in.
Weight: 3 lb. 3 oz.
Wing loading: 14.13 oz./sq. in.
Radio req’d: 6-channel min. (7 w/ bomb drop)
Price: $159.03
E-flite T-28 Trojan
BNF Basic
Electric
Intermediate Pilot
One of our all-time favorite military trainer aircraft, the T-28 is hard
to beat. It goes together quickly, and everything comes installed,
only needing to be connected to the receiver once the wing is
attached. We are impressed that the DSMX receiver is also included.
We think that the AS3X stabilization system is a real plus, and with
its operational flaps and retracts, we really love the way that this
Trojan gets around the traffic pattern.
Specifications
Model: T-28B Trojan 1.2m BNF
Manufacturer: E-flite (e-fliterc.com)
Distributor: Horizon Hobby (horizonhobby.com)
Type: Sport scale park flier
Wingspan: 48.2 in.
Wing area: 386 sq. in.
Weight: 55 oz.
Wing loading: 20.89 oz./sq. ft.
Motor incl’d: BL15 brushless outrunner
Radio req’d: 6-channel
Price: $279.99

12 ModelAirplaneNews.com
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