I smashed up my
first Raptor pretty good a couple years ago. The
damage was severe enough that it would have been more economical to buy a
new helicopter rather than make the necessary repairs.
But then life happened and purchasing a replacement helicopter fell way down
on the priority list. I now have the V2 which apparently has many
improvements. I don't remember enough detail about the V1 to tell you
what most of those improvements are, but I do know a few of them.
The clutch has been redesigned and doesn't fail as much as the original.
I can testify to this because I bought the V2 clutch for my first Raptor and
it lasted longer than the 5 or 6 V1 clutches the heli went through and was still
until I crashed the model.
The fuel tank has been redesigned. I believe it has more capacity but
I'm not sure about that. The canopy is also redesigned. Frankly,
it looks pretty much the same to me but a lot of guys say, "Man! It's
less butt-ugly than before!" I never thought it was, but whatever...
There are clips molded into the both sides of the frame to hold wires from
the electronics. This is something I'm happy to see because it
took a bit of rigging to keep the gyro wire out of the gearing on my last
Raptor. There is also a stand-off for mounting a header tank.
I've never used a header tank, but I'm clear on what the advantages are.
I will probably add one, but I'm not paying $18.00 for a 2 oz. tank!
The tank itself is a couple bucks and the bent aluminum strap must be the
other $16.00. I'm pretty sure I can accomplish the same thing in a
short time for a fraction of the cost.
If you have never flown a heli and are considering various models as your
first then I recommend this model to you. It's very simple,
well engineered, the molding and overall parts fit is fantastic and you
should encounter no frustrations at all during the build.
Along those lines, I also recommend that you build this model. First,
it's a lot of fun to put together. Second, if somebody brought me an
ARF heli to put together for him, I would take it back apart just to make
sure everything had been tightened properly and that Loctite was applied in
appropriate places. Building it from the beginning would save me a lot
of time since I wouldn't have to take it apart first.
Lastly, I think it's important that you know what's inside and what it does.
Helicopters need a lot of maintenance and you'll be ahead of the game if you
already understand how it's put together.
This model took me only one day to completely build. That includes
installing everything while taking about 1,500 photos for this article (which
were culled to about 250). Balancing the rotor
blades, aligning the head and setting up the radio took another day.
article will not discuss setup. I am not qualified to help you with
this as I am only one-half step ahead of being a rank beginner heli pilot.
I recommend that you purchase Ray Hostetler's excellent book, Ray's Authoritative Helicopter Manual.
Mr. Hostetler discusses helicopter setup theory and application in detail.
I also strongly recommend that you find a qualified helicopter pilot who is
willing to help you in person. Getting your helicopter set up properly
is very important and the instructions aren't real helpful in this regard.
The Raptor instruction manual shows twenty steps to building the model. Although the manual does cover the entire build, it is overly
crowded with too many steps in some illustrations. In some cases it's
difficult to see what's going on. If you open the parts bag(s) needed for
an assembly and you find you have parts left when you think you've
completed the step then scan the instruction closely. Every part
I've broken down the assembly and photographed the entire process to help
you build yours. In fact, I'm not only going to show you how to do it,
I'm also going to tell you when to eat, sleep and bathe
— all in logical
sequence (you may take breaks when you like as long as you keep them
reasonably short and stay out of trouble —
remember — it's all fun and games until somebody
Here are the rules: When you bring your new kit home (or receive it in
the mail) you may open it, pull everything out of the box, look it over and
that's all. You may not open any bags except to remove the instruction
Put your radio on charge so it's ready when you need it. Clear off a
good size workspace, assemble your tools, some hand-tool-removable
couple clean rags, a bottle of sewing machine oil, and some alcohol.
Get a couple small plastic containers to put parts in after you've opened
the bags. Pick out a day's worth of good tunes to listen to.
Widespread Panic, Blue Oyster Cult, Neil Young and Mark Knoplfer (Dire Straits) are acceptable choices.