I have the AcroMaster and I really enjoy flying it, and it does take the abuse, but any damage is easy to fix with the EPP foam. This is what I bought to practice 3D flying.
When I first flew it I had the throws dialed right down below the specs to get the feel of the plane. Flew like a sport plane nice crisp rolls and inside outside loops everything you could ask of it. After I set it up for low and high rates that's when it got real fun.
This one always goes to the field with me. Running 4 hitec 82 mg servos and a Hacker 30-16 12x4 prop ,40 amp ESC, 3C 2200 mah battery plenty of pull with this setup.
Sorry I can't say on the parkmaster as I wanted this one because of the size and great reviews for a first time 3D plane to beat up on. Been a year and it is still going strong now I am itching for a 3D hobby plane 48" Edge 540 Blue.
He's a lucky club member to have a friend like you getting him a plane for XMAS.
Hope this helps a little.