I recently took delivery of some models and equipment from Viko Models of The Ukraine. They have a very nice website, which you can find here. They are geared to offering support and advice for the equipment they supply, which is very refreshing. I chose Viko as they are offering models with carbon trailing edges etc, at great prices. This seems to be the way to go, I've witnessed the potential survivability of these models, and it's really quite impressive, potentially reducing the cost for us, the fliers, and also the waste we produce. I was very impressed with their all round service, price, and the quality of the hardware, so here's a little info.
My order arrived in a very neat, purpose built box, which is sturdy enough to be used again, should the need arise.
Models are just about ready to go, just fix the tail in place and add the pushrod! Overall build quality is excellent, and compares favourably to others. This model type is standard design, but with carbon tube trailing edges and kevlar tow, binding the ribs, trailing and leading edges. This is one of 6 different configurations they offer, from standard "all wood", to the carbon copy (yay, pun!) of world champ Trivonovs design.
Here, you can see how the kevlar binds the ribs to the trailing and leading edges. From what I've seen on the combat field, this is very effective.
You can just about see that the kevlar tow is actually bonded to the ribs and trailing edge, thus maximising it's potential strength gain.
Engine safety strap is built in. I really like this, it keeps things tidy, and is one less thing to forget! Also notice the blue cap on the tank bay. It's thin plastic, and should hopefully stop the mylar covering detaching from the balsa entry hole, as well as stopping the entry itself becoming detached and or cracked. I've found this happens alot on models without this feature, and can lead to some serious oil ingress. The ends of the tank bay are plastic, instead of the usual balsa. Again, less fuel ingress will result.
The engine safety strap is sandwiched between the leading edge, and centre rib. It just needs a suitable connector to attach it to the engine. Also notice that the engine mount has aluminium threads, making engine mounting quick and painless, and in my opinion more secure. This is becoming more common amongst the different manufacturers, but not universal.
The quality of the fittings is excellent (Viko on the left, other supplier on the right). I really dislike the white nylon hinges and horns that most manufacturers supply. They seem to crack after little use, presumably from UV light and or fuel. These black plastic fittings are really sturdy and well designed. Notice the large heads on the screws securing the hinges. I haven't seen these before, but these must help prevent cracking, and are definitely less fiddly. The red anodised push rods are a nice little touch too!
I also ordered some handles. At last, I've found a handle I really like! It's no nonsense, light, small, and comfortable.
After a bit of personalisation, we went to Barton in Manchester to test the models with my trusty Fora engines. I liked how they handled, they felt light. They may benefit slightly with a tad more tip weight.
This article was first published: 19/03/2008
This article was last updated: 24/03/2008