The Raiden Tech Zero Fighter-25 or NitroModel Zero Fighter-25 is an intermediate to advanced ARF warbird buildable with either .25 cubic inch two-stroke nitro or 450-series brushless outrunner electric power. It is distributed online via both Raidentech.com and Nitroplanes.com by Raiden Technology, Incorporated of City of Industry, California, USA.
The model is a semi-scale representation of a 1939 - 1945 Mitsubishi A6M5 Reisen or "Zero Fighter" and is constructed of laser-cut balsa/ply with a molded, finished fiberglass engine cowl, optional fiberglass dummy drop tank and vacuformed Lexan canopy. It is produced in China by an unidentified manufacturer. A full hardware package and 260cc plastic fuel tank are included as is a preinstalled hardwood engine/motor mount. To use electric power, one only needs to attach a plywood adapter to the front of the engine mount.
Assembly of the model is relatively straightforward; users should exercise some caution due to a very poorly written and illustrated assembly manual and the fact that the model is not supported with spare parts. Center of gravity is 85mm behind the leading edge of the wing at the rear of the leading edge spar and should balance there without additional weight in either configuration.
Despite a 49"/125cm wingspan, the all-up weight is only three pounds/1.4kg making for a nimble, fast model. The recommended rudder throw of 25mm makes for good rudder authority but the recommended aileron and elevator throws are dangerously high and should be set at approximately 40 to 60 percent of those recommendations.
Ground handling is excellent as is acceleration from ROG. Rollout is very realistic, with the tail first becoming airborne. Once airborne, the Zero Fighter-25 handles and responds well. Aileron response, like the prototype, is very crisp. Reducing the aileron throw will tame the model in turns but may limit its roll rate if a radio without exponential settings or dual rates is used. Straight and level flight is stable, predictable and fast. Pilots should be forewarned that the olive drab and gray camoflage finish is very effective at a distance; concentration is the order of the day when the Zero Fighter is upwind. The glide ratio is excellent, with long, graceful and level final approaches. Well-timed flares mean a three-point landing, but a bounce may bend the thick but somewhat soft landing gear struts.
Likes and dislikesEdit
Some of the positive aspects of the model include:
- Excellent build and cover quality
- Careful packaging of all components; unit is shipped double-boxed
- Smooth, stable and fast flight characteristics with excellent glide ratio for final approach
- Highly responsive ailerons with excellent roll characteristics
- Capable of performing scale aerobatics
- Choice of either glow or electric power; the model performs well in either configuration
- Attractive, affordable purchase price; lots of model for comparatively little money
- Steerable tailwheel
- In most cases, the center of gravity is precisely where it should be without adding extra weight
Negative aspects include:
- NO spare parts presently available from the distributor even though the model is currently in production
- Poorly translated, sometimes illogical and even incomprehensible instruction manual
- Engine is mounted with the cylinder pointing downward which makes starting slightly more difficult
- No guidelines provided regarding necessary trimming of the cowl to clear muffler. Since different brands require different clearances, modeling skills are absolutely necessary in order to properly trim the cowl
- No guidance regarding decal placement; decals are semi-scale and not all are historically accurate. The optional registration number of 61-108 (shown upside down as 801-19 in the model's promotional photos) is similar to that of the the only original Zero in flying condition left in the world, number 61-120 at the Air Museum Planes of Fame in Chino, California USA which was originally flown by the 261st JNAC in Honshu
- No recommendations given regarding servo or propeller requirements. For the record, Hitec GS-81 servos or equivalent fit in the wing for aileron control while GWS Naro Pro servos or equivalent fit within the fuselage for rudder, elevator and throttle
- The piano wire used for the main landing gear struts is a bit soft and may bend on even a gentle landing
- Wingspan: 49.2"/1250mm
- Wing area: 372in²/24dm²
- Flying weight: 2.98lb/1.35kg
- Fuselage length: 38.2"/970mm
- Radio requirements: Four-channel aircraft radio with either 4 or 5 18g servos
- Engine requirement: .25 cubic inch, .85 horsepower R/C aircraft engine
- Motor requirement: 740-watt 450-series outrunner with 25 to 30-ampere ESC
- Battery requirement: 14.8v 4S 2200mAh lithium polymer; two 3S 2100 mAh lithium polymer packs may be fitted in parallel
- Suggested retail/online prices: US$199.95/US$79.99