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Product Lab - June 2005

Find complete reviews of these hot products in the pages of Model Retailer's June issue!
Published: May 20, 2005
GWS Mini Dragonfly assaults the micro-helicopter market
Reviewed by Don Coe
Product: The Grand Wing Servo-Tech Mini Dragonfly is a complete flying package in a single box. The packaging makes it very clear that, except for the electricity needed to charge the batteries, there is nothing else to buy. Inside is a molded Styrofoam liner, which cradles the fully assembled helicopter, transmitter and airborne battery pack. The charger is stored in a separate corrugated cardboard sheath to further protect the airframe from shipping damage. The 24- x 10- x 7-inch package is both attractive and informative. Full-color annotated photos illustrate its contents. The rear panel is a photo collage of the entire GWS fleet of aircraft. The box even includes a convenient carrying handle.

VITAL STATS
Product: Mini Dragonfly
Maker: GWS
Stock Number: GW/HFD3FII
MSRP: $250.25

BOTTOM LINE
  • Colorful package/carrying case
  • Fully assembled and ready-to-fly
  • Excellent flight characteristics

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    ParkZone has stable, durable park flyer in Super Decathlon
    Reviewed by Jason McNally
    Product: Upon first examining the aircraft I noticed the scale looks of the Decathlon. The aircraft looked exactly like the real Decathlon, right down to the wheel pants and steel landing gear. The bright trim scheme makes it easy to spot in the sky, and the black and white lines under the wing help to discern up from down. Unlike the real Decathlon, this aircraft is only controlled by rudder and elevator control. It's operated by a three-channel radio, which includes proportional throttle control.

    The Decathlon is powered by a speed 370 electric motor with gear reduction. This motor was powerful enough to easily lift the aircraft off the ground and climb effortlessly to altitude. The motor allowed the aircraft to cruise in level flight at half throttle, which amazed me since most park flyers seemed underpowered.

    Everything needed to fly - engine, radio, servos batteries and the like - is in one box.

    VITAL STATS
    Product: Super Decathlon
    Maker: ParkZone
    Stock number: PKZ1400
    MSRP: $159.99
    Availability: Horizon Hobby

    BOTTOM LINE
  • Good looking and good flyer
  • Great parts availability
  • For beginners or veteran flyers

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    G3 Simulator delivers what it promises: realism
    Reviewed by Ron Eigenschink
    Product: I jumped at the chance to review the RealFlight R/C Flight Simulator - G3, because I had done a flight simulator review many years ago and wanted to see if there was any comparison. Boy, was I in for a surprise!

    RealFlight G3 comes in a colorful box with excellent graphics. Folding out the front cover shows actual screen shots displaying types of aircraft and a variety of flying sites contained within the program.
    The minimum and optimum system requirements are listed on the box bottom. Installation is easy and the program didn't conflict with any others on my computer. A G3 icon on the desktop is the only hint the program is there.

    The box cover says there are 41 aircraft to fly and 10 flying sites with more than 5,000 square miles to explore. Also included is an events-related menu that allows the flyer to compete in various "fun fly" events. And the program made good on the box's promises.

    VITAL STATS
    Product: RealFlight Generation 3 flight simulator
    Maker: Great Planes
    Stock number: GPMZ4400
    MSRP: $299.99, street price $199.99

    BOTTOM LINE
  • Great variety of planes, fields
  • Easy to install, good online support
  • Feels just like real R/C flying

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    Ride in style with Ricko's Escalade
    Reviewed by Jim Faber
    Product: The 2003 Cadillac Escalade ESV was the largest and most powerful luxury sport utility vehicle in the world when it was built. Not meant for good gas mileage or fitting into small places, the $55,000 V8-powered Escalade ESV combined size, power and luxury like no other SUV before.

    VITAL STATS
    Product: Cadillac Escalade ESV '03
    Maker: Ricko Ltd.
    Scale: 1:18
    Stock Number: 32129
    MSRP: $59.99

    BOTTOM LINE
  • Lots of neat stuff inside
  • Popular among stars
  • Impressive size

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    Ford's 427 SOHC V8 engine is a clean, detailed kit
    Reviewed by Steve Culpepper
    Product: A combination of die-cast and pre-painted injection-molded parts, the Ford 427 SOHC V8 engine shows that Revell-Monogram did its homework before releasing this kit - making it as enjoyable and trouble-free to build as it is detailed.

    One of Ford's most powerful engines, capable of more than 400 hp in dual-carburetor style, the Ford 427 drove the 427 Cobra, the Galaxie, the Fairlane, the Comet, the Mustang and the Cougar.

    VITAL STATS
    Product: Ford 427 SOHC engine
    Maker: Revell-Monogram
    Scale: 1:6
    Stock number: 85-1565
    MSRP: $49.80

    BOTTOM LINE
  • Excellent chrome plating
  • Clear instructions
  • Impressive when complete

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    Trumpeter's 1:350 Lexington kit a joy for the experienced builder
    Reviewed by Robert Faber, with Jim Faber
    Product: The USS Lexington (CV-2), an aircraft carrier built in 1921 on a battle cruiser hull, helped stem the tide of Japanese domination of the Pacific Ocean during World War II.

    Trumpeter Models, imported by Stevens International, has captured the carrier in a 1:350 rendition that's more than 30 inches long when completed. The kit allows for waterline or full-hull construction. Robert Faber chose the waterline option when building this 583-part kit.

    VITAL STATS
    Product: USS Lexington CV-2 plastic kit
    Maker: Trumpeter
    Scale: 1:350
    Stock Number: 05608
    MSRP: $129.95
    Availability: Stevens International

    BOTTOM LINE
  • Excellent detail and accuracy
  • Parts well molded and fitted
  • Elegant final product

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    Kyosho Lancia Stratos reproduces the look and mystique of the legendary and rare rally car
    Reviewed by Jim Faber
    Product: The Lancia Stratos was the groundbreaking rally car of the 1970s because it was the first car created specifically for racing at a time when the rest of the rally racecars were developed primarily for sale to the public. Approximately 500 cars were made, just enough to meet the production requirements to use in the sport. The HF '77 Safari #7 model captured in die-cast by Kyosho bears the "Campione Del Mundo" banner on the tail because Lancia won the World Championship in 1976 for the third straight year.

    VITAL STATS
    Product: Lancia Stratos HF Alitalia '77 Safari No. 7
    Maker: Kyosho
    Scale: 1:18
    Stock Number: 08135B
    MSRP: $62.00
    Availability: Minichamps North America

    BOTTOM LINE
  • Car design always catches eyes
  • An icon in rally racing
  • Strong detail inside and out

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    Testor's 1:4 Hemi engine is as bold as the real thing
    Reviewed by Mark Melchiori
    Product: The 426 Hemi is the ultimate muscle-car engine. The brute size and power of the engine has lifted it to legendary status. Testor has decided to take the bull (ram?) by the horn, and produce a quarter-scale, visible and motorized replica of this engine.

    VITAL STATS
    Product: Dodge 426 VisibleEngine Hemi V8 kit
    Maker: Testor Corp.
    Scale: 1:4
    Stock Number: 452
    MSRP: $79.99

    BOTTOM LINE
  • It's a Hemi. Sweeeet.
  • Excellent fit of the parts
  • Fun-factor of the finished product

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    Kato SD38-2: Nice model of a rare modern diesel
    Reviewed by Jeff Wilson
    Product: Kato has done a nice job of capturing the look of the real thing with its new smooth-running model of EMD's medium-horsepower, six-axle road switcher of the 1970s, the SD38-2. The SD38-2 was a non-turbocharged version of EMD's popular 3,000-hp SD40-2. Only 81 SD38-2s were built from 1972 through 1979, with the engine seeing use mainly on slow-speed drag freights or as a hump-yard locomotive.

    Kato is offering several of the variations found on the real locomotives, including the trucks (with two or three visible brake cylinders), presence or lack of dynamic brakes and fuel tank size (3,200- or 4,000-gallon). Details match the proper prototypes for each paint scheme offered.

    VITAL STATS
    Product: EMD SD38-2 diesel locomotive
    Maker: Kato U.S.A.
    Scale: HO
    Stock number: 37-6491 (U.S. Steel)
    MSRP: $140 ($145 for C&NW and UP)
    Also available: Chicago & North Western (traditional yellow standard and with Operation Lifesaver lettering); Duluth, Missabe & Iron Range; Elgin, Joliet & Eastern (orange); Union Pacific (standard and with mini-winged shield and lightning bolt); and undecorated

    BOTTOM LINE
  • Strong detail again by Kato
  • Rare engine type
  • Smooth running model

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    Nice model captures look of the last of the four-axle road switchers
    Reviewed by Jeff Wilson
    Product: Life-Like has done a solid job with its ready-to-run model of the modern EMD GP60, which looks good pulling hotshot trains on layouts set in the past 20 years. The GP60 was the last of EMD's high-speed, four-axle freight locomotives, with 380 of the 3,800-hp racehorses built from 1985 through 1994. Since that time railroads have opted for six-axle diesels for both fast-freight and drag service.

    The model, part of Life-Like's Proto N series, nicely captures the look of the real GP60. The model has a multi-part shell with separate walkway, hood/nose, cab and dynamic brake housing. Separate factory-applied details include the horn, handrails and brake wheel. All other details are molded in place, including grab irons, m.u. hoses and grills. Accumate automatic knuckle couplers are mounted to the shell at each end. The model's detail level is decent, and the thin cross section of the handrails and stanchions is very good. The lettering and paint on our St. Louis Southwestern (Cotton Belt) sample are nicely done, right down to the warning labels on the engine-room doors.

    VITAL STATS
    Product: EMD GP60
    Maker: Life-Like
    Scale: N
    Stock number: 7472 (Cotton Belt)
    MSRP: $95
    Also available: Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe (yellow bonnet); Burlington Northern Santa Fe (yellow bonnet); Denver & Rio Grande Western; EMD; Norfolk Southern; Southern Pacific; Union Pacific (standard and winged shield); undecorated

    BOTTOM LINE
  • Appealing to modern era modelers
  • Starts smoothly and runs well
  • Excellent model of a modern diesel

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    Start your own career in Politics
    Review by Fred Jandt
    Product: Chum Chum Games was a new entry into the game world at the 2005 American International Toy Fair in New York City with its Politics board game. The game contains a rectangular board (larger than most game boards), six playing pieces with matching markers, a four-sided die, "political" money (IOUs), Politics cards and Election Gold cards. Also included are flag-decorated pencils and score cards to keep track during the game.

    VITAL STATS
    Product: Politics
    Maker: Chum Chum Games
    Product No.: 0000001
    Price: $40

    BOTTOM LINE
  • Easy gameplay
  • Educational and fun
  • Clear instructions

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    It's car chaos with Testor's OverDrive Arena
    Reviewed by Jim Faber
    Product: OverDrive Arena by Testor comes with a lush 70-page rule/story book, 18 paints, dice, a measuring tape and two 1:43 cars - a Ford Focus hatchback and a Mazda RX-7 - that need to be put together and painted. The box is sturdy and features an artist's rendering of what car arena combat might look like.

    VITAL STATS
    Product: OverDrive Arena
    Maker: Testors
    Scale: 1:43
    Stock number: No. 4100
    MSRP: $59.99

    BOTTOM LINE
  • Car assembly is simple
  • Rule book is fun to read
  • Fast and easy play

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