The Multiplex Space Scooter is a quick fun model that grew from the older version called Sky Scooter. One of Multiplex Elapor foam models, it is durable and therefore a good choice for a newbie. My Space Scooter was my first 4 channel plane (I chose to add the rudder). It comes in both RTF (Ready to Fly) and kit form.
As with the other Elapor kits, there aren’t many parts and they go together easily. As noted in other reviews, regular CA is used to stick things together. The exception to this is I tend to use glue from a hot glue gun to secure servos and tack down servo leads and antennas. It’s relatively low adhesion allows me to replace things easier. Take a look at the Space Scooter Manual here.
Most Multiplex Elapor models use thin molding areas for the aileron hinges. One just cuts the ends free and flexes the aileron back and forth several times to loosen things up. With the Space Scooter, I found this didn’t work too well. After several flights with lethargic roll inputs, I ended up cutting the ailerons free and using some CA hinges. Roll control was much better after that. I haven’t had that trouble with my other Multiplex models but in this case, it was a necessary improvement.
After several flights, the O-ring on the nose broke. I discovered that my local Ace Hardware store had a whole collection of O-rings. After one false start, I finally found one that fit and grabbed a couple to keep as spares.
As you can see in the accompanying photos, I like to paint my planes. The inspiration for this paint job was the camouflage on the Russian Su27. There are lots of photos on the internet and finding several examples was easy. One interesting site is called Wings Palette.
Comments and reviews on the message boards suggested adding a brushless motor. I got it with that plan in mind. As an experiment, I first flew it with the stock Speed 400 motor. It flew, but not well. It was slow and needed a high power setting to anything more than a slow cruise around the field. In the stock configuration it required a strong heave and would start to settle as it picked up speed. Your really don’t want to launch the stock version downwind, either. It would loop and do aileron rolls. I found loops needed a little extra energy gained by exchanging altitude for airspeed. Having satisfied my curiosity in went the brushless motor.
The new motor was the Multiplex BL400 which was a drop-in replacement for the Speed 400. The conversion also required a gearbox conversion, too. I ordered the Multiplex set which came with new gears and prop hub. I used Loctite from my local Lowes to mount the gear on the motor shaft.
Wow! What a difference. With the throttles at about two-thirds, the model simply jumps from my hand at launch. With wind or not, it climbs briskly. Loops, rolls, and inverted flight are no problems. A low, high-speed pass with a brisk pull-up will put the model at our field’s 400 foot ceiling in no time. It looks great zooming down the flight-line and frequently garners positive comments from onlookers. Here are some of the Space Scooter's statistics with the brushless set up.
As with many of the Multiplex models, it lands on its belly. The folding prop gets the prop blade out of the way. I’ve never damaged the prop. Regardless of how you finish your model, strips of plastic packing tape on the bottom are a must. They absorb the abrasions from landing and can be easily replaced when worn. Much better than sanding down the fuselage when landing on hard surfaces.
One sometimes vexing problem is the pinion gear slipping on the motor shaft. This has happened a couple of times. Once was during flight which resulted in the equivalent of a dead-stick landing and a short walk to retrieve the plane from the flying area. On another occasion, the failure occurred just prior to launch with a roaring motor and no propeller rotation. In both cases, remounting with Loctite solved the problem. My last gear problem was a bit more serious. Upon opening up the gearbox, I discovered the casing filled with metal shavings and the pinion beveled. Not good. After finding the gear conversion kits online, I ordered a couple as it looks like they’re going out of production. The lesson here is to examine and grease the gearbox occasionally.
As it looks like this model, too, is going out of production, consider a closeout bargain a good investment. It is a lot of fun.