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Old 05-30-2014, 02:10 PM   #1
Wrongway-Feldman
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Default A little test with hobbyking

Some years ago I purchased a number of arfs, plug n fly, and kit planes from hobbyking. Like almost everyone else I was thoroughly disappointed by the quality and exceptionally disappointed by the way items were shipped.
I haven't bought planes from HK since but do still get my batteries and electronics from them.
Recently though some friends have been telling me that things have greatly improved and that both quality and packing are much better.
So, seeing as I was looking for some lazy day flyers and had some extra cash, I decided to purchase three of their cheapest offerings to see just what is what with HK these days.
This will be a thread spread out over some time as i have so little time to devote to my beloved hobby, but in it over the next several weeks I will detail everything I can about the experience.

The three planes are:
The skymaster V2
http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/s...dProduct=24896

The HK slow stick
http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/s...dProduct=39819

And the HK micro J3 cub rtf.
http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/s...dProduct=18872

All items shipped to Canada from the international warehouse via fedex. ( I normally use EMS but a package with lipos will only be shipped by FedEx these days.)
Package arrives today. We'll see how things go and if things have really improved since 5 years ago.

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Dumas Ecroupe, MM EVA, E-flite L4 Grasshopper, Sig Kougar, Sig Kobra, Top Fight Contender, top flite mini contender, Carl Goldberg Skylark mark II, M&H Sportster 40.
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Old 05-30-2014, 03:13 PM   #2
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Good luck. I also use international. I've had a package in a 4 days from them, another took over a month...stupid Fiji post. As for quality, I've only ever bought two planes. Their durafly stuff is good quality, but is proprietary and if you break the prop shaft, you'll have to order new parts, or get a motor with a shaft and use an adapter.
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Old 05-30-2014, 03:45 PM   #3
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I had those problems in the past with all the proprietary motors and odd ball shafts that will never accept a normal prop.
By all accounts the sliw stick uses a pretty standard 400 size motor and shaft, not too sure about the skymaster but there is not much info on the web about that model.
I choose the skymaster primarily because its a balsa plug and fly arf and wanted to see how far the hk quality has gotten with the build and covering.

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Old 05-30-2014, 04:13 PM   #4
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The tuff trainer I had from them looked crappy, although I don't think it is easy to make EPP look good. It certainly wasn't the best quality: a prop saver...yet the whole mount is balsa and would crack on nose overs. It was cheap though so the plane was good enough to learn on.
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Old 05-30-2014, 04:57 PM   #5
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I'm always surprised by comments about HK as all the products I have had from them - Models etc. have been shipped in their original packaging and then HK box surrounding.

Models have all arrived in their factory boxes with factory packing support etc. They do often take the outer box and turn it inside out to hide the pictures / description .. I believe this is to stop certain authorities knowing content !!
But at end of day - packaging has been as per factory.

I've received models and gear from other vendors - incl. high street shops - packaging same.

I'm also surprised that boxes travel round the world with the handlers at various stages and actually arrive usually in good order !

Nigel

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Old 05-30-2014, 10:10 PM   #6
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My experience with receiving planes from them the last time I ordered such was terrible.
The models and parts were removed from the original boxes and shipped in a pieced together box made of taped up pieces of cardboard. Multiple models shipped in the same box willy nilly.
The wings fuse parts and accessories were separated by bunched up paper.
This inevitably led to damage in shipping and missing parts.

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Old 05-30-2014, 11:32 PM   #7
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I've had no problems with shipping or packaging,but the slow stick was a little disappointing.The motor mount is a crap piece of plastic,which broke on the first hard landing.My particular motor had a bad vibration,so i replaced it with one i had in the drawer. The mounting plates for the wing and esc/rx are also thin,low quality plastic mouldings,so i use tie-wraps instead.
Once that's sorted,it's a nice floaty little plane,perfect for stooging around on a quiet day.
I also have their AXN Clouds Fly,which is a great knockabout standby plane.
The Lanyu Canadair cl415 I bought a couple of years ago has still not been flown.Must take it out one day.
Because I fly from a grass strip,most of HK's planes aren't really suitable for me.Their retracts tend to be a bit sensitive,not liking grass landings.
I would love the Comet 88,but I really don't think it's a goer on my strip.
So I now buy mostly electronics and hardware from HK.As long as you remember that Chinese manufacturers overstate their product's capacities,and allow for that,you can't fault the price.
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Old 05-31-2014, 04:56 AM   #8
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OK. First impressions not too bad.
Everything arrived in a single, well labeled box.
Open the box to find a lot of air bags for cushioning and support.
After removing all the bags I find 3 individual white boxes.
Also inside are 4 boxes for the lipos I ordered and 2 little plastic bags with the receivers in them. Would have liked to see the receivers shipped in their own box but seems there is no damage.
Haven't opened the individual boxes yet but already found the first problem. A prop has partially slipped out of a box and has a blade bent at a 90 degree angle.
Don't have more time tonight but hopefully that's the worst I'll find.

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Old 05-31-2014, 05:10 AM   #9
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What receivers did you get? Frsky came in packaging.
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Old 05-31-2014, 05:30 AM   #10
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As I say ... all gear I received has been in original factory packaging ... and models are in their original boxes.

Lipo's are packed in smart white boxes with tubular sponge wrapping ....

The only items that I have had that are in a press-lock bag are small items such as screws or cheap crap props ... all Rx's are in their original moulded packaging etc.

I have read about models arriving in damaged state ... but when reading into the stories - the packaging of HK is usually not the fault - it's the factory packaging that is... as HK usually do not alter it.

One aspect that does cause worry though is the use of box to put other items into ... there are various reports of a factory box with a model or item - that other items have been placed in and those have moved causing damage. It's tempting to utilise spare space in a box ... but needs care.

If damage is limited to a bent prop ... and if it's bent to a 90 deg - then it sounds like one of the flexy budget jobs - then they are usually in a press-lock bag of 5 .. 10 pcs etc. Those can be bent back with application of hot water !!

Nigel

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Old 05-31-2014, 03:03 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by solentlife View Post
As I say ... all gear I received has been in original factory packaging ... and models are in their original boxes.

Lipo's are packed in smart white boxes with tubular sponge wrapping ....

The only items that I have had that are in a press-lock bag are small items such as screws or cheap crap props ... all Rx's are in their original moulded packaging etc.

I have read about models arriving in damaged state ... but when reading into the stories - the packaging of HK is usually not the fault - it's the factory packaging that is... as HK usually do not alter it.

One aspect that does cause worry though is the use of box to put other items into ... there are various reports of a factory box with a model or item - that other items have been placed in and those have moved causing damage. It's tempting to utilise spare space in a box ... but needs care.

If damage is limited to a bent prop ... and if it's bent to a 90 deg - then it sounds like one of the flexy budget jobs - then they are usually in a press-lock bag of 5 .. 10 pcs etc. Those can be bent back with application of hot water !!

Nigel
You're experiences have been far better than mine.
The last time I purchased multiple planes at one time was over 5 years ago.
The last order was of a wilga and a balsa mini stick. Neither was in their original boxes. All parts had been placed together in a combined state separated by packing paper. The wilga fuse was moving around during transport and the motor shaft punctured the shipping box several times bending the shaft.
The covering on the mini stick had punctures and the horizontal stabilizer was bent in half.
The shipping box itself had been cut down from a larger size and retaped to make it a smaller size.
Yesterday's delivery was a night and day difference in packing quality. Each plane was in a separate box that was custom designed for the respective kit.
The lipos where each in a separate box in which was a second box containing the lipo.
The two orange receivers however where each in a little plastic box and tossed in with the airbags. I almost missed them when I was unpacking.
The prop in question is for the skymaster and seems to have slipped partially out of its shipping box thought the space under the flap. It's a cheap slowfly prop that appears to be a gws knockoff. I've got a number of them floating around the shop so not a big tragedy.
My concerns about shipping aircraft has been a big reason I haven't purchased planes from HK for so long. There are some durafly models I've been eyeing that I may actually pick up now.

----------------------------------------------------------
Dumas Ecroupe, MM EVA, E-flite L4 Grasshopper, Sig Kougar, Sig Kobra, Top Fight Contender, top flite mini contender, Carl Goldberg Skylark mark II, M&H Sportster 40.
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Old 05-31-2014, 04:56 PM   #12
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Maybe the key to dealing with hk is to only order one plane at a time with no other items? Seems like they're just trying to minimize shipping costs, either to save money for the customer or themselves, and not doing a good job at repackaging. I've only ordered 2 planes from them, and with one I think I got a couple of batteries that were packed ok in the plane box.
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Old 05-31-2014, 09:34 PM   #13
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Well, took out the micro j3 this morning as it was miraculously calm for this region.
Some thoughts on this "rtf beginner" plane.
Appears to be made of the same foam as the champ. In fact everything on it is like the champ, from hinges to clevises to fake motor on the cowl.
Transmitter is ok. Very light but a pretty good size. Nicer to hold than the hobbyzone offering. Decals on the plane are poorly attached and crooked on the fuse.
Doesn't come with a charger but you can charge a lipo from the transmitter.
How does it fly? Like complete kaka out of the box. Servo jitter and occasional unresponsive servos. Could be due to the proximity of the transmitter as this stopped once I moved 4 or 5 feet back. Tail heavy to say the least. Combine that with next to zero rudder authority and you have a plane that bobs badly and won't turn till it stalls. After adding some weight to the nose and repositioning the control rod to the inner most hole it started to get flyable.
A true beginner would never be able to enjoy this thing out of the box. Too many issues that a newbie would not be able to figure out without more experienced help.
That being said, for a lazy day back yard flyer, a more experienced flyer could enjoy this model.

----------------------------------------------------------
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Old 06-01-2014, 04:57 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Wrongway-Feldman View Post
Well, took out the micro j3 this morning as it was miraculously calm for this region.
Some thoughts on this "rtf beginner" plane.
Appears to be made of the same foam as the champ. In fact everything on it is like the champ, from hinges to clevises to fake motor on the cowl.
Transmitter is ok. Very light but a pretty good size. Nicer to hold than the hobbyzone offering. Decals on the plane are poorly attached and crooked on the fuse.
Doesn't come with a charger but you can charge a lipo from the transmitter.
How does it fly? Like complete kaka out of the box. Servo jitter and occasional unresponsive servos. Could be due to the proximity of the transmitter as this stopped once I moved 4 or 5 feet back. Tail heavy to say the least. Combine that with next to zero rudder authority and you have a plane that bobs badly and won't turn till it stalls. After adding some weight to the nose and repositioning the control rod to the inner most hole it started to get flyable.
A true beginner would never be able to enjoy this thing out of the box. Too many issues that a newbie would not be able to figure out without more experienced help.
That being said, for a lazy day back yard flyer, a more experienced flyer could enjoy this model.
So ... the thread you started is 'Test of Hobby King' ..... you received all gear in reasonable condition except for one propeller that was wayward.

The quoted here about the J3 ... as I understand it .... the faults are design and factory faults - not HK's ?

Don't get me wrong ... I would be first in line to condemn HK if they do wrong ...

Nigel

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Old 06-01-2014, 06:12 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by xmech2k View Post
Maybe the key to dealing with hk is to only order one plane at a time with no other items? Seems like they're just trying to minimize shipping costs, either to save money for the customer or themselves, and not doing a good job at repackaging. I've only ordered 2 planes from them, and with one I think I got a couple of batteries that were packed ok in the plane box.
Not just cost, they won't ship too large of a package. If you order a plane and other stuff, expect all to have its own box, and then another box to hold the boxes...that's gonna be a big box
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Old 06-01-2014, 06:21 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by Wrongway-Feldman View Post
You're experiences have been far better than mine.
The last time I purchased multiple planes at one time was over 5 years ago.
The last order was of a wilga and a balsa mini stick. Neither was in their original boxes. All parts had been placed together in a combined state separated by packing paper. The wilga fuse was moving around during transport and the motor shaft punctured the shipping box several times bending the shaft.
The covering on the mini stick had punctures and the horizontal stabilizer was bent in half.
The shipping box itself had been cut down from a larger size and retaped to make it a smaller size.
Yesterday's delivery was a night and day difference in packing quality. Each plane was in a separate box that was custom designed for the respective kit.
The lipos where each in a separate box in which was a second box containing the lipo.
The two orange receivers however where each in a little plastic box and tossed in with the airbags. I almost missed them when I was unpacking.
The prop in question is for the skymaster and seems to have slipped partially out of its shipping box thought the space under the flap. It's a cheap slowfly prop that appears to be a gws knockoff. I've got a number of them floating around the shop so not a big tragedy.
My concerns about shipping aircraft has been a big reason I haven't purchased planes from HK for so long. There are some durafly models I've been eyeing that I may actually pick up now.
The spitfire I had was in the proper box with foam spaces for the parts, just the box lid put inside out. Let me tell you, the durafly planes are amazing quality and detail, detail that would put any major brand to shame, the warbirds especially. Now I had an issue with mine: the tail wheel popped off, lost steering, broke the prop. I bought a new one from LHS, but a 2 blade. The had no power, plane hit the ground at launch, though the guys said it would fly (I brought the dang thing with me so they could see it). This damaged the rudder servo and when I got a good two blade for it, it resulted in a crash. If I had it now I could have saved the plane from its doom, but really the whole thing started from the tail wheel. Such luck could happen to any plane, but the durafly stuff is solidly built.
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Old 06-01-2014, 06:45 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by solentlife View Post
So ... the thread you started is 'Test of Hobby King' ..... you received all gear in reasonable condition except for one propeller that was wayward.

The quoted here about the J3 ... as I understand it .... the faults are design and factory faults - not HK's ?

Don't get me wrong ... I would be first in line to condemn HK if they do wrong ...

Nigel
The real test was for the shipping. And I was very pleased with how HK boxed and shipped.
The reviews are just that. Reviews of what I actually ordered. Kind of a look see if the bargain stuff from HK is at all worth the purchase for the intended customer.
The J3 is touted on the HK website as a rtf solution for a first time flyer. It isn't.
I've spent more money at HK than my wife should know about. And for the most part it had always been a painless experience for me. Other than when I purchased any planes in the past, that is.
All my radio gear, all lipos, and most of my servos, esc's, and motors are from HK. I am very happy with all of em.

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Old 06-01-2014, 06:50 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by thepiper92 View Post
Not just cost, they won't ship too large of a package. If you order a plane and other stuff, expect all to have its own box, and then another box to hold the boxes...that's gonna be a big box
I think that may have been the case at one time, but the box I received this time was very large. 80cm x 30cm x 30cm is easily the largest box I've ever had shipped out of China. Nothing was combined in any other packaging. In fact, there we as enough room in the main box to hold several more smaller boxes.

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Dumas Ecroupe, MM EVA, E-flite L4 Grasshopper, Sig Kougar, Sig Kobra, Top Fight Contender, top flite mini contender, Carl Goldberg Skylark mark II, M&H Sportster 40.
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Old 06-01-2014, 07:10 PM   #19
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When I tried getting replacement parts for the spitfire, I could have one order, the box was too large, despite the fact that I was ordering only a wing, fuse and a few motor adapters. Because of that, it would have been the same cost to buy a new plane.
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Old 06-01-2014, 09:45 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by thepiper92 View Post
When I tried getting replacement parts for the spitfire, I could have one order, the box was too large, despite the fact that I was ordering only a wing, fuse and a few motor adapters. Because of that, it would have been the same cost to buy a new plane.
I'm starting to think that the shipping method limits the box size. They will give you multiple options for shipping but not all will handle the size of box needed.

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Old 06-01-2014, 09:59 PM   #21
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I've just completed assembly of the skymaster and I must say thing plane is a very pleasant surprise. The build of the balsa is very good indeed. The included motor and ESC are also very good. Although advertised to come with a 20 amp ESC it is outfitted with a 30 amp. The covering was also well done but the different colours on the leading edge of each wing half didn't quite match up.
The wheels that come with at are huge. Think multiplex funcub but bigger and very light weight.
Assembly is straight forward to anyone who has assembled balsa arfs before but the manual is terrible.
I can honestly say the build of this is as good as my mini contender ARF for a fraction of the price. Assembly was also much simpler than the mini contender.
All that was needed was to glue in the horizontal and vertical stabilizer, attach the rear tail wheel and then glue in the control surfaces. Glue the wing halves together, install one servo and the wing was done. Attach the landing gear, center the servos, and you're good to go. Great looking little plane.
Waiting for the weather to clear before I can fly it.

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Old 06-02-2014, 12:25 AM   #22
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Well someone is happy. Hope it flies well. As for the box sizes, I was left with one shipping option when I tried to order. I'll never get how the whole plane was shipped, but two parts of it couldn't be shipped. It's a shame, it was one beautiful spitfire, very accurate looking. Maybe I'll go durafly again at some point, but having to much enjoyment building...except for bending the dang balsa for the wing tips :/
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Old 06-02-2014, 12:59 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by thepiper92 View Post
Well someone is happy. Hope it flies well. As for the box sizes, I was left with one shipping option when I tried to order. I'll never get how the whole plane was shipped, but two parts of it couldn't be shipped. It's a shame, it was one beautiful spitfire, very accurate looking. Maybe I'll go durafly again at some point, but having to much enjoyment building...except for bending the dang balsa for the wing tips :/
That's the weird thing with HK. They list a full range of shipping options till you commit to buy then suddenly there are only one or two to choose from.

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Old 06-02-2014, 07:02 AM   #24
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Love it or hate it - it's everyone's choice where to shop. My experience with HK is very good - it's good value for the money. Just my opinion. I can't afford expensive stuff that I can't justify. But sometimes it's worth it to spend more.
As an example I bought few expensive el. motors before I retired and now I bought the same size SK3s - and I can't tell the difference, but the price is about 3x lower.
On the other hand I bought a cheap Chinese charger from eBay and also one expensive US made charger from a dealer and both were not good (terrible balancing). So I bought a FMA Cellpro 10S - and it has been worth every cent. All batteries are in top shape.
Someone else may have a different experience and opinion - it's OK and I respect it.

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Old 06-02-2014, 10:04 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by Wrongway-Feldman View Post
That's the weird thing with HK. They list a full range of shipping options till you commit to buy then suddenly there are only one or two to choose from.
I actually investigated why ... as Latvia was a country that HK has terrible trouble shipping to.

Turns out that it's not HK that is at fault - it's the country being shipped to. Factors such as maximum weight or size of package accepted by postal services, limitations on courier services, actual item being shipped.

Most models cannot be shipped to Latvia from International warehouse because the boxes are larger than the max size allowed in post. So I have to go to EU warehouse ... but then most of what I want is not available.

With HK - if you try to buy something that is outside limits - it should give you a table of limits when it refuses to conclude the purchase. That table when displayed for Latvian deals gives same info as the Latvia Post details ...

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