Microaces

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Microaces Ltd. of Wallisdown, Poole, Dorset, United Kingdom is a manufacturer and online retailer of scale micro profiler aircraft kits. The kits represent actual individual aircraft and a history of each prototype is available on Microaces' website. A high quality art print of the prototype suitable for framing is enclosed as well.

The company was officially announced on RCGroups.com on September 2, 2012 by founders Jon Porter and Simon Barr. It was later the subject of write-ups in the November 2012, December 2012 and January 2013 issues of Model Aviation in the "Product Spotlight," "Small-Field Flying" and "Micro-Flying" segments respectively. The "Product Spotlight" section of the July 2013 issue announced the release of the company's first post-launch model of the Supermarine Spitfire Mk1a in May of that year.

Microaces produces 1/24-scale WWII warbird kits of 3mm Depron Aero sheet foam, carbon fiber reinforcement spars and custom-molded plastic parts which are covered with highly detailed, illustrated vinyl stickers which in turn add both mass and strength. According to Porter, the material used to create the stickers is micro-aerated with microscopic air holes. It is also the thinnest, lightest possible printable material, developed in conjunction with Microaces. The spinner is a custom tooling as well and can be painted to match the spinners found on the prototypes.

Models are available both as bare airframes or as deluxe kits with an AP05 5000Kv brushless outrunner motor, 1.7g micro aileron servo, an Oversky XP-7A ESC and a GWS 5x3 propeller. The Messerschmitt listed below utilizes a GWS 4.5x3 propeller. Microaces claims thrust of 3.1 ounces (90g) with the 5x3 propeller.

All versions require the use of a Spektrum AR6400 or AR6400L six-channel ultra-micro receiver with integrated servos and a Microaces 3.7V 300mAh lithium polymer battery with suitable charger. A clip installed on the model allows the receiver to be transfered to multiple Microaces aircraft.

Scale details include removable drop tanks and scale-sized control surfaces. Flight characteristics and performance are extremely brisk despite the size of the model and electrics. All are capable of basic aerobatics including a very rapid roll rate with full aileron deflection. The landing gear are removable as well.

Current subjects

Cripes A'Mighty P-51D Mustang
Old Crow P-51D Mustang
Black 8 Focke-Wulf 190 A-8/R8
Red 13 Focke-Wulf 190 A-7
Spitfire Mk1a (top) and Messerschmitt Bf-109 E4

The company's initial offerings are:

  • The American Cripes A'Mighty North American Aviation P-51D Mustang flown by Major George Preddy of the 352nd Fighter Group
  • The American Old Crow North American Aviation P-51D Mustang flown by Captain Bud Anderson of the 357th Fighter Group
  • The German Black 8 Focke-Wulf 190 A-8/R8 flown by Unteroffitzier Willi Maximowitz
  • The German Red 13 Focke-Wulf 190 A-7 flown by Major Oskar-Heinz Bär

Later introductions include:

  • The British Supermarine Spitfire Mk1a number N3162 flown by Flight Lieutenant Eric S. Lock
  • The German White 8 Messerschmitt Bf-109 E-4 flown by Hauptmann Hans-Karl Mayer
  • The Soviet Mikoyen-Gurevich MiG-3 flown by Junior Lieutenant Grigoriy German
  • The American Curtiss P-6E Hawk biplane flown by Captain Ross G. Hoyt of the 17th Pursuit Squadron, USAAC
  • The British North American Aviation P-51B Mustang flown by Captain Eugeniusz Horbaczewski of the Polish 315 Squadron

Microaces began a poll on RCGroups.com on November 5, 2012 based on feedback from that community as to what the next model should be. The poll is linked below and the winning entry was the aforementioned Curtiss P-6E Hawk biplane. The nominee received a copy of the kit. That model is slightly larger than the warbirds scalewise at 1/22 scale.

Each German subject has historically accurate swastikas on the tail, but are provided as separate stickers and may be omitted by the modeler.

A model which had been under concurrent development with the poll was announced on November 21, 2012 with a hand-cut prototype flown on November 30. It was announced as Microaces' latest model on May 16, 2013. That model, Microaces' first British subject, is a Supermarine Spitfire Mk1a, number N3162 flown by Flight Lieutenant Eric S. Lock of the Royal Air Force in 1940. Lock shot down five enemy fighters in N3162 during the Battle of Britain on September 5, 1940.

Announced in June 2013 was the Messerschmitt Bf-109 E-4 flown by Hauptmann Hans-Karl Mayer. This is a model of a plane also flown in the Battle of Britain.

In honor of the 95th anniversary of the founding of the RAF, a donation of £5 was made to the Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund for each Spitfire model pre-ordered through Microaces. A limited edition run of 500 museum art prints of the Spitfire with Lt. Lock's history footnoted beneath are available for £10 plus shipping and handling with all profits going to benefit the RAFBF. Ordering information may be found on the Microaces website linked below.

Flight characteristics (Focke-Wulf)

In calm conditions, the model tracks remarkably well, much like a far larger model. As mentioned, aileron response is extremely crisp on full throws, but can be dialed down considerably with exponential and end point adjustments. The result is controlled, more scalelike operation. Speed with the 5000Kv motor and GWS 5x3 propeller is brisk, too much so for indoor flight.

Flying off ground with the landing gear and drop tank in place results in a smooth climbout, but the nose tends to dip in turns on lower throttle settings, easily countered with up-elevator input and slightly higher throttle. Landing on all but the shortest possible grass may result in a noseover, so the modeler might wish to consider flying in full-house configuration off of paved surfaces only. Some power should be held on approach; the best results are obtained by slowly powering down and flaring before touchdown.

Hand launching is simple; it will literally fly out of one's hand when grasped by the canopy. The nose-heavy performance disappears when flying as a "belly flopper" and landings can almost be glided in.

All Microaces models are capable of basic aerobatics such as loops, rolls and stall turns.

Flite Test review and controversy

An online review of Microaces by YouTube-based Flite Test was posted to YouTube on January 1, 2013. Though the review as presented by the regular hosts was generally positive, an inexperienced pilot was shown unsuccessfully attempting to launch and to fly a Microaces plane in an indoor venue, leading to complaints about tip stalling and excess weight. This in turn led to a number of users on RCGroups.com coming to the defense of Microaces as well as some apologetic comments by the producer of the Flite Test reviews.

On January 6, Jon Porter posted a humorous rebuttal on YouTube in the hope that it would be placed on the Flite Test site. In it, Porter explains how Microaces kits are intentionally designed to be challenging to fly and how they replicate the flight characteristics of the prototypes as accurately as possible.

Since the negative reviewer was experienced with FPV and quadcopter flight, Porter showed a "prototype" of a Microaces "quadcopter" designed just for him. Dubbed the "Microaces WulfStang Windestaller Quad Copter," it consisted of four Microaces planes taped together on a hastily constructed "frame" with the propellers on each model pointing upward.

The rebuttal was cheerfully posted to Flite Test's Facebook page on January 7.

Specifications

  • Wingspan: 17.3"/440mm (P-51); 16"/406mm (Fw-190); 17.7"/450mm (Spitfire)
  • Length: 15.9"/405mm (P-51); 14.8"/375mm (Fw-190); 15.1"/384mm (Spitfire)
  • Flying weight: 2.7 oz/76g (P-51); 2.3 oz/65g (Fw-190); 2.4 oz/70g (Spitfire)
  • Propeller: GWS 5x3; GWS 4.5x3 used on the Messerschmitt
  • Motor: AP05 5000Kv brushless outrunner
  • ESC: Oversky XP-7A
  • Servos: Unbranded 1.7g analog aileron servo; elevator and rudder are powered via the built-in linear servos on the required Spektrum ultra-micro receiver
  • Battery: Microaces 3.7V 300mAh lithium polymer
  • Manufacturer: Microaces Ltd., The Enterprise Pavilion, Fern Barrow, Wallisdown, Poole, Dorset BH12 5NN United Kingdom

External links and references