WL Toys V913 400-size 4CH Fixed-Pitch Heli Not-So-Mini Review
After my successful reviews of the WL Toys V911 & V929, the same fellow from TMart contacted me again. This time he wanted me to review the WLToys 913 Large-Scale 4CH FP Heli. Of course, I said yes! Again!
The package arrived in good condition via USPS Express Mail in 5 days; shipped from their N. Brunswick, New Jersey warehouse. My reviewed V911 from this warehouse also arrived in 5 days; definitely better than waiting on China Air Mail.
Thanks to Alizee at TMart for providing the review Heli; and for, as always, asking only for an honest review.
1) What's in the box
The box: Retail packaging just like my V911, not shipped in plain generic brown box like my orders from AliExpress. Package came double boxed, and the outside box had a number of dings on it, but the box inside arrived unscathed. No shipping stickers all over it; ready for gifting:
TMart ships in the full OEM Retail window-box packaging, unlike many other online vendors who disassemble the tail then either ship in plain brown box or cut down the window box to save on oversize package shipping costs. THIS BOX IS HUGE!!! It's the same size as the box from my Double Horse 9118; it is also standard retail packaging intended to be as shiny & attractive as possible for Shopping Mall Kiosk & Store shelf sales, rather than configured with a molded insert to be conveniently used as a carrying case like the V911. Well, you can't have everything. TMart is listing them currently for $124 and shipping from their USA Warehouse:
Included in the kit were:
V913 Helicopter with 1500MAh 7.4V LiPo Battery Installed
Transmitter (Uses 4 AA batteries; Not Included)
Pair of Spare Main Blades
Spare Tail Rotor
Charger for Battery in Helicopter
AC Power Pack for LiPo Charger
USA to EuroPlug AC Adapter for AC Power Pack
Manual written in Chinese and the now-familiar Chinglish dialect
As with my last review, the first thing I did was to put the battery on to charge while I began my technical teardown; it took slightly less than an hour to fully charge the LiPo battery. I thought that wasn't too bad, but clearly it shipped with a partial charge; subsequent charge cycles took the full 90 minutes stated in the manual, almost to the minute.
Red LED Indicates power; green LED Indicates battery pack attached & charging. When green LED goes out, pack is charged.
The V913 is the big brother to the V912 & V911; its mechanical design is based on the Double Horse/Shuang Ma 9117, only with modified servo orientation which matches the WL Toys firmware. It looks like my V911 & my DH9118 hooked up and had a REALLY big baby.
The V913 has much more in common with the Double Horse family of large-scale Toy helicopters than with any of the V911 microheli family; this makes sense, as its middle brother the V912 was based on the 250-sized DH 9116.
We all know who rules the roost here... Dam skippy! The little banty rooster on the left!
The V913 is larger still; approximately 400 sized, and the blades are exactly the same as those on my DH 9118 even down to the molding marks. Man, do they move some air! I fear the day they make a 700-size model; it will probably be brushless powered and sound like a turbocharged pterodactyl swooping down on its prey.
I don't know if this collaboration is the result of a business agreement or a business acquisition; but it does suggest that a lot more exciting products are on the horizon for both companies! WL Toys has been pushing the envelope, blurring the lines between Toy Grade and Hobby Grade helis since the first little Corter V911s, then the V9x9 Quads and V922 CP Flybarless MicroHeli; adding the larger scale manufacturing prowess of Shuang Ma could mean many more affordable and larger models for us to enjoy in the future!
I do all my own stunts!
This heli, aside from the obvious Shuang Ma influence, is another (and mostly successful) attempt to take the brilliant performance of the V911 and upscale it to the larger heli market. It's still a "Toy" helicopter, so performance is not going to be the same as "Hobby" grade helicopters; then again, neither is the price.
Motor is still mounted fore of the mainshaft to help keep rotational mass balanced; the head uses the same 45° offset flybar, only with the servos moved aft of the mainshaft instead of built into the mainboard.
Main blades now pivot like a real heli as opposed to the V911's single solid "propeller". This thing is big & heavy enough that it would be dangerous if they didn't!
Canopy is made of the same uber-rugged black "Tupperware" plastic as that of the original V911 and sports a similar red/black/yellow paint scheme; as do the blades.
MainBoard /RX appear identical to the existing V912 & DH 9116/9117 modules; power switch turns On/Off the ESC/BEC portion, main motor current is switched entirely electronically. This means that the included LiPo battery needs to be unplugged when not in use; of course we all know better than to store or charge a LiPo battery IN THE HELICOPTER, DON'T WE?
Main motor is a cored/brushed 380 can-style which have been powering small RC aircraft for generations; we're working it fairly hard, so they've added some formed aluminum brackets to help wick the heat away to the aluminum frame members. I added the heat sink compound to help it do its job. I also added the Velcro for the battery and the strap; I DO NOT like to charge LiPos IN the aircraft.
Tail motor is a 12-24 brushed can motor with gear reduction and a heat sink of its own; the oversized tail rotor needs it! Yes, I added heat sink compound here too.
Power is provided by a fairly generic 7.4V 2S/1500mAH LiPo battery with the small red JST plug; it provides approximately 7-8 minutes flight time. The manufacturer recommends allowing the heli to cool while it charges; as I mentioned before, this can take as long as 90 minutes. As this battery is a standard LiPo with standard power and balance plugs, it CAN be charged with a "Hobby Grade" LiPo charger. These will typically charge the battery in less than half the time of the one included with the heli; some as fast as 30 minutes. That's still plenty of cool-down time.
The V913 exhibits flight behavior from both its parents; it has hovering stability similar to that of the 9118 coaxial due to its large mass and deliberately oversized flybar. While it is NOT as quick it's little brother the V911, which can best be characterized as "zippy but well-mannered", neither does it "lumber" like the 9118.
It is quick & nimble for its size & weight; I was able to throw it around the gym quite nicely, and even able to do some light windsurfing outdoors in 5-7 MPH winds with the rates set to "High". I found the "low rates" pretty much useless, even indoors (a trait obviously inherited from the Shaung Ma side of the family) until I moved the servo links to the outermost holes in the servo arms; this is a configuration not recommended or endorsed by the manufacturer and MAY result in premature servo or swash failure.
That said; set up that way, I found it much more responsive in general than any of the Double Horse products I've flown before; low rates were fine for slow circuits indoors while high rates will get it moving quickly.
Liftoff, like with its smaller cousins, is best done quickly; ground effect is VERY unfriendly due to massive amounts of propwash from the rotor disc. Once altitude is above 4 feet or so it stops beating itself up with its own wind and enters a nice, smooth hover; rudder inputs are crisp, and drift is minimal.
Like the V911, the usual "right hand lean" is pronounced when in a stationary hover; also like the V911, one typically needs only adjust rudder trim when the battery gets around 10% remaining. I take this as an indication that it's time to make my last lap and bring it in.
Handling, however, is where it falls in the middle; it is quick & well-mannered, but not precise. While the handling of the V911 is crisp & tight, the V913 is all power and propwash; precision landings in a 1-foot square which are easily accomplished with the V911 require a LOT of patience and throttle management with the V913.
Banking turns it handles well up to about 30-35° from level, then the flybar REALLY starts fighting you; it has a tendency to drift laterally in the opposite direction as if "rebounding" from hard rudder input, and pirouettes require careful throttle management dependent upon the direction of rudder input. These behaviors SO FAR have prevented me from doing any "Half-pipe" maneuvers or tail-sliding; I think I can get a good 30x30° half-pipe going if I keep at it, maybe more. I'm not sure if the above behavior will ever allow me to tail-slide.
Here's video from my first pack through the heli after I got it; I flew for a minute or two then handed it over to my buddy Brook so I could shoot some video. He was really impressed by how user-friendly and stable it is right out of the box, as opposed to his prior experiences with a T-REX 450 Clone CCPM "Real Heli" which were "white knuckle flying all the time" for him and not at all fun due to the stress.
The remote control which ships with the V912 & V913 is a an attempt to distance these larger models from the "Toy Heli" Game-Controller style transmitters of the past; it is larger and sports a more "Real-Radio" look & feel. It has a similar LCD display to previous transmitters only larger, and a number of buttons on the front, only one of which is functional at present: to swap the rudder from the left stick to the right.
This, combined with an ingenious mechanism of springs and cams, allows a second slider (Between the Power switch and an actual metal NeckStrap eyelet) to switch Throttle control from left stick to right, allowing the user to select from Mode 1, 2, 3 & 4 stick configurations without ever opening the TX.
The other front panel buttons are presumed to provide other functions on as-yet unreleased models; though they ARE populated with active switches and circuitry.
Inside, they've replaced the "all on one PC Board" design with a more "Real Radio" design which features actual, separate gimbals and digital trims.
As I mentioned before the TX has High & Low rates; these are toggled with the LH shoulder button. The TX also has a RH shoulder button like earlier versions; on the V913, it operates as a momentary "Accelerate" or "Turbo" mode; adding approx 20% more maximum throw to both servos and "telescoping" the entire scale accordingly. There does not appear to be any D/R or Expo involved. On the V959 QuadCopter it toggles the lights ON & OFF, but does NOT enable "Flip" mode. On the V911 it causes the tail rotor to accelerate to FULL ON, causing a dramatic clockwise pirouette. As of this time, testing with my V959 has not revealed any additional functionality in the other front panel buttons.
As I've said before I am in no way what I would consider to be a pilot. I'm a hardcore stick-banger, and no longer fast enough to get myself out of trouble a lot of the time. In short, I crash A LOT. This heli does keep the family tradition of holding up very well; aside from a servo which got banjaxxed after a particularly rough crash it has survived impact with walls, concrete floors, side of the house and even got caught by the kite-eating tree a couple times and survived recovery, all with no more than some scuffs on the blades and canopy. I have not yet (knocks on wood) had to replace anything else after a week of daily abuse... err, flights. If not for having to stop & straighten the FlyBar from time to time:
I'd rate it right there between the V911 and the V929. As it is, I rate it at or slightly below the V911, which major weaknesses are the skids & main blades.
I'm planning to add a more complete technical teardown of this heli in the coming week or two; I need to get this review posted so I'll pull the plug for now and revisit later.
1) Nice & big; feels more like a REAL heli.
2) Almost as easy to fly as the V911; easier outdoors due to more weight & able to balance against the wind.
3) Costs 3x as much as the V911, but not near as much as a "Hobby Grade" heli of its size.
4) Upgrades! New, larger "Hobby-Grade" style LCD TX.
5) Tougher than rawhide. It has survived me flying it every day for almost 2 weeks.
6) Incredibly stable due to excellent flybar, Gyro & WLToys firmware; smooth flying even fighting moderate wind. VERY n00b friendly; yet still has good speed and maneuverability when you need it.
1) More expensive, because it's bigger. Some may argue it's too much for a "Toy-grade" heli.
2) 90-min charge time, single battery. GET EXTRA BATTERIES!!!
3) Parts only available online, not OTC. This is a fact of life with Chinese imports like this one.
4) I REALLY LIKE the "Carrying Case Box" of other WL Toys products. Can we PLEASE, PLEASE, PRETTY PLEASE have that happen with these?
5) The arguing on my shelf with its little brother is getting annoying. I may need to withold LiPos.
All told, if you're looking for a step up from Coaxial helis, or want a larger bird to fly outside, or are looking for a gift for someone with such interest, this is a great toy. Maybe not a great thing for someone already flying a Hobby-Grade heli, though interest at my flying club even by those who have very nice Hobby-Grade helis indicates otherwise. They may like it too, if for nothing else than to have something less stressful to fly when they're not trying to tame the wild ornithoids.
Thanks for reading;