Dago Red

This scale model of the famous air racer Dago Red comes in a "foam version" from various Far East sources but the one I am going to review is imported by Century UK and has 63 inch wingspan. Most likely this is the StarMax 1600 PNP version or possibly the FMS.  Century do state that their version is updated to their specifications, possibly the ESC but else unknown.


gunfighterAt the time of writing this P51 Mustang also available as a "GunFighter" version is in short supply.  However, I was lucky enough to lever this Dago Red  from the staff at Century UK.  Note that there are also smaller versions of this model from Parkzone.  The model comes with servos installed and electronic retracts, even the tail wheel retracts!

There are a few videos on Youtube of this model but reviews are minimal and build threads tend to go off subject, hence my review of the assembly and flight of the P51 Mustang Dago Red. The photo on the right is the full size Dago Red with thanks to Mustangs-Mustangs.

Over the past few decades the real Dago Red has had  a number of owners and the latest news is that the present owner was returning it back to a "stock" aircraft.  In it's time it won the Reno Air Races 5 years running.  Powered by a 3,800 hp engine and exceeding 521 mph.

The model came in a large box with preformed foam packaging to protect the parts whilst in transit.  The box depicts the Gunfighter images but the ticked tags on the side indicate the Dago Red version.  Previous Epoflexy models from Century UK I have reviewed, ie; Riot and MX2 have also been well packaged.

Wingspan 1600mm (63")
Length 1400mm (55.1")
Weight 2500g (5.5lbs)
Servos 9g x 4, 17g x 2
Recommended Battery 3350mAh 14.8v Li-Po


The Fuselage

The fuselage requires the fitting of the tail fin and horizontal stabiliser.  First job is to fit the supplied servo horns in the rudder and stabiliser.  These are plastic with backing plates.  Secured by four small screws for the elevator and two screws from opposite directions for the rudder..  Fitting the stabiliser is simple, by placing on the fuselage and checking alignment.  The manual suggest applying a little foam glue (supplied) to hold in place.  Next fit tail fin by engaging lugs through the stabiliser and into fuslage.  It should be snug fit.  The whole assembly is then secured by long bolts from the underside.  You will need to power up the tail wheel retract to the down position so you can access the front bolt hole.

Supplied are three lengths of steel rod with clevises attached. One for elevator and two for rudder.  These are fed in from the rear.  To find out where the rods exit the fuselage, push the rods in from inside the fuslage, you will see the exit guides from the inside. Make a note of where the rods have holed the decals.  Now you can feed the rods through from the outside.  The rudder is a pull-pull system.  I am not keen on pull-pull especially with rods, so I did not use two rods but just one for rudder control.  If it had been wires for rudder yes I would have.  The rods are secured to the servos by rod clamps, prefitted to servo arms.  I would suggest pushing  the rods through the clamps but leave the screws loose until you have set up your receiver for neutral positions.  Snap the clevises closed on to the horns.





The prop hub comes with the blades fitted and secured.  As a matter of course I checked that the blades were balanced and only a little bit of adjustment was needed.  The prop hub fits to the motor engaging onto two flats on the driver which you need to fit to the motor using the four screws supplied.  The spinner is located by a long bolt engaging in the end of the prop adaptor.

Fitting your receiver is simple into the spacious access at the top side of the fuselage.  You may wish to plug in the elevator and rudder leads now and also a Y lead for the retracts.  Here there is something odd.  The retracts would require three into one lead, tail wheel and two from main retracts.  However, three Y leads are supplied, one for ailerons, one for flaps and one for retracts.  I had to use two of the Y leads chained together to get three outputs!  This leaves one for ailerons and nothing for flaps.  Later you will read how I was forced to get round this issue of flaps.  At this point I powered up the receiver (leave throttle disconnected for now) after binding to the transmitter using a 4 cell NiMh pack.  Set up the elevator and rudder neutral positions.  Retracted  the tail wheel.


The two halves are connected together with a plywood spar with the dihedral preset.  Sanding this spar down is a good practice so it slides in with minimal effort into the wings.  Once happy with the fit slide together the halves and check the wing roots come together with minimal gaps.  You may have to sand down any high spots to get a good face to face engagement.  I found that this was more difficult than I expected.  You will not get a perfect fit so don't expect one!  The manual recommends glueing the wings together but I declined in case of servo replacement, albiet the lead tunels look pretty small to me to pull the leads through successfully.   The servo leads from the retracts, flaps and ailerons don't have much clearance in the wing s as it is.  You may have to chamfer down to the two rear locating lugs to assist in fitting the wings to the fuslage.  The wing tucks under the oil cooler radiator and drops in at the front.  Two long bolts secure the wing to the fuselage.  I found that the wing is far to tight a fit especially for regular removal for transport.  Hence chamfering down the lugs from the rear greatly assists with sliding the wing into place.  Especailly if wing removal will be frequent for transport.   In the hardware bag are the all the screws and bolts required to fit horns, wing and tail sections.

The wings have two different coloured servos for the flaps. One Red and one Black. Now one would assume that is because one of them is reversed which is usual in most dual servo flap set-ups.  In my case they were not!  If they were then only one Y-lead would be required. This negates the use of a 6 channel receiver.  So, to get round this problem I had to use a 7 channel using the extra channel (7) mixed with channel 6 (flaps) to operate the flaps.  Of course the alternative would be some programmable sub micro servos, ie; Hitec 5055MGs but then you would need the Hitec HFP25 programmer to enable this - more expense.

Power Train

The outrunner motor is mounted on a metal bracket which in turn is secured to the white plastic firewall by four machine screws.  The firewall is located in slots formed in the fuselage halves at the time of gluing by the factory.  The motor is prefitted but requires you to fit the prop adapter (machine screws are found in hardware bag).  The adaptor has two flats which the spinner backplate engages on to.  The prop blades are already fitted to the prop hub and secured with screws.  The hub is held on the prop driver by a nut and flat washer.  The spinner itself is held in place by a long bolt that screws into the end of the prop adaptor.  The prop hub and blades feel rather heavy and I would suggest that the props would survive a nose over if throttle is cut in time.  Don't ask me how I know!

The Lipo battery pack sits on a plywood base which also serves as a servo mount area for rudder and elevator at the rear.  Moving the LiPo pack forward or backward to gain correct CG which is 110mm form forward most leading edge against the fuselage.

The ESC which most likely is a Hobbywing possibly is customised for this model.  It has the Lipo power in lead, throttle lead with ferric bobbin and two light weight leads which power the navigation lights, red and green in the wing tips.  Great idea as these Led's help with orientation especially on grey days or low light.



The Authors Mods

There has been reports of brown outs or loss of control momentarily when operating the retracts.  I have a feeling the BEC is not up to the current demand with powering all the servos, receiver, nav lightr and retracts of which there are three.  To reduce the chance of brown outs I have fitted an independent power supply to run the receiver and servos.  The ESC now has only to power the motor and navigation lights.  All that is required is to fit a short extension lead to the throttle lead and cut the red wire in the extension lead.

The retracts are plastic, not really up to the job of holding up a model of this size  and the mechanism will break out of the motor unit with the slightest bit of rollling resistance or hard landing.  On grass probably would not last one landing as I found out!  The best option and it will hit your pocket is to fit Eflite 25 - 46 electric retracts.

Read also this article     Dago Red Retract Conversion







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