Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Review of the Wright Flyer Kit by Daryl Hannant

Daryl Hannant took some time to provide detailed feed back on the Wright Flyer by Model Airways. We always appreciate honest & detailed feedback on our kits as we are constantly looking to increase their quality and level of detail / accuracy. As an aside, the Wright Flyer kit is, in my humble opinion, the "weakest" of our product line of airplane kits and we will be looking to update it in the near future - our manufacturing team is in the process of reviewing our casting / masters / molds. Also, we are nearing completion on our newest kit - the Dr1 Fokker.

Daryl's email: Some time back, I purchased Kit No. MA1020 – The Wright Flyer, to build in my spare time. I had intended to wait until I finished the model before providing you with a review of the model, but frustration has forced me to send you this email before I have finished the build.
The following table shows how I have rated the components of the model and the build and the details on each outlining why I gave that particular rating. The rating is scaled from 0 to 10, where 0 = Extremely Poor and 10 = Excellent.

I hope this review is of some use to you.

·        The instruction manual is very detailed. There is a lot of information and helpful diagrams.
·        I feel that the presumption is that this model is only going to be built by a very experienced person. I have been building models for a long time but this was my very first plane. I found the instructions very “busy” and in some places “confusing”.
·        One  issue I had was that in some places, the associated diagrams are not placed close to the text giving the installation instructions of the parts shown in the diagram. One example is for the “Wing warping cradle” on page 9. It refers to Plan 3 which is on page 11 in the “Stage 2: Engine and Instruments” section.
·        Some of the text paragraphs are very long and complex and cover several Figures and/or Plans. A suggestion may be to reduce the amount of text in those large paragraphs and increase the number of steps and diagrams thereby giving a more detailed “step by step” instruction format. Eg Step 1 – Then a small paragraph on what needs to be done and an appropriate detailed diagram. Then Step 2 etc etc.
·        I had reason to contact support to obtain parts. The only issue I had with support was the delay in responding to some questions regarding delivery. Other than that, they were very helpful and their assistance was greatly appreciated
Wooden parts
·        The overall quality of the wooden parts was great. The laser cutting was very accurate and they were easy to remove.
·        The only problem I had was when attaching the WF-B30 Propeller Support to the upper and lower main spars in the Wing Assembly Jig. Both wings sit on top of the two arms of 4 WF-L09  pieces. When I inserted the bottom pin of the two WF-B30s into the specially drilled holes on the lower wing main spar, I found that the top pin of the WF-B30 was below the upper wing main spar. As WF-L09 is a precut one piece item, that meant that either it was cut to large or that WF-B30 was molded too short. I ended up cutting a piece ½” long by 1/8” deep from the top arm of each WF-L09 so that the upper wing main spar would sit at the correct distance to allow the two WF-B30s to fit into their associated holes.
·        See following diagrams.

Photo etched parts
·        These parts are magnificent. Very well made, easy to remove and great to handle. I enjoyed working with these parts.
Cast Metal parts
·        The metal used in the manufacture of these parts is rubbish. Sorry, but I cannot think of a more appropriate word to use due to the following reasons.
o       Every part was poorly molded and had a considerable amount of flashing that needed to be removed. I know that the cleaning up of flashing is mentioned in the instructions, but there was just too much of it.
o       The metal was inconsistent in quality. E.g. When I went to drill the 1/16” hole in the top centre of each ignition head (WF-B17), it was very hard to get the hole started but all of a sudden the drill just pushed through as if there was nothing inside the head, resulting in the hole being too big and damaging the unit. I use a Proxxon drill so this was not a case of using too big a drill for a small job.
o       The metal was so soft, nearly every piece I received was bent and had to be straightened. When I was doing this with one of the WF-B30s. the arm actually broke and had to be glued back together.
o       The tops of each WF-B17 broke off. (Spare parts will confirm the list of items I requested due to breakage).
o       The tips of each WF-B30 each broke off and had to be reglued. To ensure a permanent connection, I have made a small lashing on each end of each WF-B30 to each Main Spar, so as to ensure they stay in place.
·        One day, when I feel up to it, I will re-order every part used to make the engine and chain drive assembly and rebuild them. Now that I know where all the problems are, I am sure I will be able to do a much better job. As it is, I am very disappointed with the end result of the build of the engine and its parts.
·        I have built engines for model cars, bikes and boats and never come across anything as bad as this.
Ease of build
·        This is a very complex model and should have been a pleasure to make. I am retired and have plenty of time on my hands to there was no rush for me in building this model.
·        I did enjoy building the jigs and wings ie. All the wood work.
·        I did not enjoy building the engine and have reservations about building the chain drive which is next in line. ie. All the cast metal parts
·        I did not enjoy all the jumping about reading between pages linking text to diagrams/plans.

Overall rating
·        This is the average of the ratings for each of the above items. Overall, it is not too bad.
·        I feel that the Cast Metal parts have not done this model any good. They are 3rd  grade parts added to 1st grade parts resulting in a 2nd grade model.
·        If I was asked to recommend building this model to anyone, I would certainly have reservations about doing so, and would advise them of all the problems I have found.

1 comment:

  1. I just started building my Wright Flyer and am having trouble with understanding the build up of everything minus the main wings and engine, the tail surfaces are barely explained and no plans for these areas such as how to go about building the framework of the flyer...any help would be appreciated such as drawings, pictures, or diagrams.