Hobby Lobby Senior Telemaster ARF

Hobby Lobby Senior Telemaster ARF
 RCU Review: Hobby Lobby Senior Telemaster ARF
AXIFIED More On This Product
Discussions on this Product Show user ratings Check for Retailers Contributed by: Greg Covey | Published: May 2006 | Views: 120413 |
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Review by: Greg Covey
Flying Photos: Papa Jeff Ring
Video Pilot: Lynn Bowerman
Senior Telemaster Electrified
Electric Conversion
Test Flying
Manufacturer/Distributor Info
The new Senior Telemaster ARF from Hobby Lobby
is one big value! Senior Telemaster ARF
Distributed exclusively by: Hobby-Lobby
5614 Franklin Pike Cr.
Brentwood, TN 37027
It comes right out of the box pre-built and covered
for less than you could build it yourself. Quality
Ease of
Sturdy all-wood design
Great ARF value
Superb Flying Performance
Poor elevator linkage
Weak stock wheels
The ARF design is so complete that even all the control
surfaces are already attached. I'll have plenty of fun
converting this plane to clean and quiet electric power using
my own setup design.
Wingspan: 94"
Length: 64"
Wingarea: 1330 sq. in.
Flying Stab area 320 sq. in.
Flying weight: 10.5lbs
4 channels; Aileron (2 servos), Elevator, Rudder and
Throttle Electric Conversion
My plan is to use the AXI 4130/16 on a 6s BalancePro HD Lithium pack for a safe
conversion to clean and quiet electric power. Since weight is not an issue on the Senior
Telemaster ARF (other than needing some for proper balance) using NiMH cells is also
a good solution for a lower cost. AXI 4130/16 motor Jeti 70-amp Opto Advance PLUS ESC BalancePro HD 2p6s 6400mAh pack APC 15x8 e-prop The advantage of this 38oz pack (although expensive) is that each cell can be balanced
on every charge and monitored during discharge for a true safety cutoff that keeps the
pack lasting over 500 cycles. Although the pack can be charged at a 3C charge rate,
the BalancePro HD 6s Charger only goes to 10 amps so the actual charge rate is about
1.5C. This 6400mAh pack will provide for safe 30 minutes flight times.
The main hatch allows easy
access to plenty of space.
The stock motor mount is
meant for a glow engine.
All the decals are already
applied to the Telemaster
Motor Installation: My AXI 4130/16 motor mounting started by installing the Radial Mount Set. The basic
front design of the Sr. Telemaster allows for a dozen different ways to mount the
motor. I choose to create an extended firewall from two 1/4" thick pieces of 3" square
birch plywood.
The one piece had been "pre-enjoyed" and had some extra holes in it. It holds the
motor mount using #8-32 hardware and T-nuts. The other piece that does not hold the
motor, gets cut in half. I drilled some 1/4" holes on either side at 1-1/2" from the
firewall and cut slots to the holes using a craft saw. The motor is first screwed to the main 3" square block so that you can detect
alignment issues when gluing it in place. I attached one side using three servo screws
and epoxy into pre-drilled holes.
The two-sided assembly is then slid into place on the frame and glued in with epoxy
while watching the alignment. A slight downthrust is built into the frame and should be
The last step is to screw and glue the third side in place. The result is a rock solid
mount for the AXI 4130 motor.
ESC Mounting: The ESC power input was wired to the Dean's Ultra connector in parallel with a 6v
UBEC (Universal BEC). The 6v UBEC will provide a stronger and quicker response on
my FMA DS300BB digital servos. The UBEC also eliminates the need for a separate
receiver battery.
I drilled three 3/8" holes close together to create a slot in the firewall for feeding the
motor wires into the fuselage. According to other RCU member's findings, the battery
pack will reside close to the CG so the entire compartment behind the firewall is
available for other components.
Note that the manual is meant for a different version of the ARF than what is sold by
Hobby Lobby. Many steps are already finished on the Hobby Lobby ARF, like the control
surfaces all being attached. Others steps must be modified due to the high degree of
pre-assembly, like the horizontal stabilizer mounting. Gear Mains: The gear mains and wheels installed easily without any issues. You simply cut away
the film covering in the two channels and pre-drill the eight holes for the screws.
The first step is to cut the small section of tail away so that the bulky airfoil stabilizer
can be slid into position from the rear. Note that the fuselage is on its side because you
can see the airfoil opening. Flying Stabilizer:
The tail on the Senior Telemaster appears to be built for a version of the ARF that
didn't already have the control surfaces attached. This doesn't create too much of a
problem as long as you are willing to do some custom cutting and think ahead so that
things go together properly.
I also needed to cut some other tail areas to help the stabilizer position move forward.
I find it easiest to position the stabilizer where I want it and then trace the section of
covering to be cut away with a felt tip marker. You can see that the rudder will not fit without some slight modifications. I cut away
the tail channel at the very end for the rudder to fit and also decided to mount the
tailwheel assembly at this point. Rudder:
A 1" deep hole is needed in the rudder for the tailwheel bar. It was easiest to attach
the tailwheel assembly to the fuselage bottom first using two screws and then epoxy
the rudder in place by sliding onto the bar as it entered the fuselage channel.
Remember to sand off the black paint on the section of bar that goes into the rudder
for a better glue hold.
Since my tail end and horizontal flying stab did not perfectly mate in the rear, I cut a
narrow vertical channel for the tailwheel bar to run in on its way to the rudder.
After the epoxy dried, I ran a bead of thick white glue along the seams as they had
some gaps to be filled. This looks better and adds strength to the joint. My trusty
Hobbico Builder's Triangle kept the two stabs at a right angle. Not much room for dinner while building this plane on the kitchen table so I was
forced to clean up. Trim Piece:
I finished up the tail assembly by attaching the trim piece to the rudder and fuselage
using thick white glue. Since the trim piece has no structural significance, the white
glue dries clear and looks better than epoxy.
I also ran a bead of glue along every joint. I was a bit disappointed in
the cheap tailwheel supplied
with the kit for a plane of
this size. That being said,
you really get plenty of plane
for the cost of this ARF. I replaced the stock tailwheel
with a much firmer Dubro
I sealed the bare balsa on the
1-1/4" diameter tailwheel.
rudder bottom with thick
The Dubra tailwheel was
white glue.
slightly larger then the stock
tailwheel and it fit on the axle
without drilling.
Servos and Linkages: My servos are the FMA Direct Premiere Digital Adjustable Servos and my receiver is the
M5 v2 for glitch-free performance. Built on the time-proven M5 design, the new M5 v2
has improved resolution to support digital and other super-sensitive servos. It also has
an improved failsafe technique as well as improved digital filtering. The M5 v2 is
dual-conversion, narrow-band to provide full range and performance. The receiver can
be used in aircraft ranging from park flyers to IMAA-legal aircraft and helicopters.
The tiny 0.3oz M5 v2 is held in place with double-sided servo tape and a ty-wrap. The
antenna wire is routed inside a black plastic tube and then placed down inside the
fuselage all the way to the tail.
Note how far back the servo tray ended up and how short the metal rod sections are
as the dowel rod assemblies appeared to be built to the wrong length. Although the rudder linkage installed fairly well, the split elevator linkage was not
great. Aside from the wrong length "Y" rod assembly, the linkage could sway from side
to side and the long metal rods were rather soft.
I decided to bend the metal rods out and back towards the elevator since they were
excessively long and it alleviated most of the binding against the slots in the fuselage.
This may be a mistake since the metal in the rods is quite soft and allows you to
defect the elevators easily by hand. I may revisit this assembly if I have problems in
To help keep the wooden dowel from shifting inside the fuselage, I created a custom
balsa guide and glued in from an opening I cut into the fuselage bottom. The opening
will also act as an air exit for cooling the ESC and battery. The control surfaces seemed
to swing well and I used minimal throw settings to increase the resolution and strength
through the mechanical linkages. The aileron linkage installed without issue. Note that instead of using "Z" bends at the
servo arm, I used my own snap keepers. I also added rudder fuel hose "keepers" to all
the clevises. Again, near minimal throw was selected for the aileron mechanical
The manual recommends an aileron differential setup if you have a computer radio.
After some flight testing, I didn't really see any need for aileron differential.
Wing Assembly: My next step was to assemble the wing. Again, the manual instructions are poor. I
needed to cut a slot in the wing chord end to route the aileron servo wires to the
bottom. The wing halves are joined by two large spruce spares that provide great
strength. My assumption is that you want to keep the wings split when not in use due
to the large 95" span. The manual has no recommendations or final assembly
instructions in this area. Switch, Spinner, and Pack Position: I mounted the On/Off switch and spinner without issue. The switch was my favorite
S3K On/Off Switch Harness from Tower Hobbies. The spinner is supplied with the ARF
and fits without any drilling on the 4130 Radial Mount Set using an APC 15x8 e-prop.
I positioned my BalancePro HD 2p6s 6400mAh pack near the CG as shown an tested
the balance to be about 1/2" forward of the recommended 6" back from the LE.
The big 6s2p BalancePro HD 6400mAh pack easily fits in the main cabin of the Senior
Telemaster ARF. It firmly slides into position surrounded by foam and is then held in
place with a block of white EPP foam that wedges snuggly into place.
All the connections are made from the front hatch area so the wing can be kept on for
arming and recharging.
Strut Mounting: I could not get the spare covering in the kit to work properly. There seemed to be no
backing to peel off and no glue to hold it onto the wooden strut so I spray painted my
struts black with Tamiya acrlyic.
For the wing end, I used Dubro hinges with the metal pins so the strut would stay
permanently connected and be able to swing. I slotted the strut, then glued and pinned
the hinge in place. It is held to the wing with 6 screws.
For the fuselage end, I wanted a quick disconnect without any tools needed in the
field. I choose a 1/4" clevis pin and hitch pin clip from Home Depot.
I made a diagram of my metal bracket to be screwed into the bottom of the fuselage
where the thick hardwood block is for the gear mains. The cut off clevis pin will
connect the strut to the metal bracket using the pin clip. After securing the bracket to the fuselage bottom using 3 screws into the hardwood
block, I drilled 1/4" holes through the bracket and strut ends. The clevis pin was
shortened using a Dremel tool and I took up the length slack with a thick 1/4" washer.
The wings feel strong now and the struts connect or disconnect easily without any tools.
My Senior Telemaster was ready to fly at around 10lbs using the 6s2p BalancePro HD
6400mAh pack. The power system draws 50amps for about 1000 watts of power. The resulting
100w/lb provides strong take-offs with aerobatic capability. Test Flying
Senior Telemaster ARF
When I maidened my Senior Telemaster, it flew
as expected...like a dream. As with any
Telemaster, they just love to fly and can be a bit
lofty when landing. On the rolls, we used plenty of
down elevator when inverted. The AXI 4130
provides awesome power and the BalancePro HD
6s2p 6400mAh pack provides long 30 minute
flights. The winds were 10-15mph during the video and
the plane could easily have been another pound
or two heavier to help keep it stable.
CLICK HERE (9.5meg)
The Senior Telemaster ARF is a great value. It
would cost you more to build it from a kit.
Although the manual was unclear in several
areas, it was easy to make the changes needed
for a successful assembly. A large plane like the
Senior Telemaster is both fun to build and fly. The
big size and color make it easy to see in the air
and the split wing makes it easier to transport.
The plane design and size make it relatively
immune to additional weight so less expensive
NiMH packs can be used as an alternative power
source or you can add a payload for even more
fun. The AXI 4130 outrunner motor provided a
spirited 100w/lb power level for strong take-offs
and aerobatic maneuvers. Hobby Lobby
recommends using struts for performing loops or
rolls and their AXI 4120 motor recommendation
also works well.
The Senior Telemaster is easy to fly but requires
intermediate piloting skills to land as it becomes a
bit lofty. Modifications are easily done to suit your
own preference. I only changed the stock
tailwheel and modified the wing mount to
eliminate the need for using 16 rubber bands. I rate this model very highly for the great value it
offers and its ability to accept many different
power systems and flying weights. After all, it's a
Telemaster - and nothing flies like a Telemaster!
Distributor Information
Hobby Lobby
5614 Franklin Pike Cr.
Brentwood, TN 37027
FMA Direct
5716A Industry Lane
Frederick, MD 21704
Website: www.fmadirect.com
Sales: 800.343.2934 or 301.668.7614
Comments on RCU Review: Hobby Lobby Senior Telemaster ARF AXIFIED
Posted by: fritzdecat on 02/05/2010
excellent review
Profile Page: 1 The comments, observations and conclusions made in this review are solely with respect to the particular item the editor reviewed and may not apply
generally to similar products by the manufacturer. We cannot be responsible for any manufacturer defects in workmanship or other deficiencies in
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