option available when I was building the Tucan was a three-cell
version (Multiplex part number 332663).
The 3S power set included with the Tucan is also
recommended for the Multiplex Mentor. It features a 35mm
Himax brushless outrunner capable of 400-500 watts of power,
a Castle Creations Thunderbird 54 ESC, and an APC E 11 x
5. 5 propeller.
I made six flights on the Tucan with the supplied power set.
My Eagle Tree eLogger showed a maximum power output of
400-425 watts using this setup. With this power system, the
Thunderbird-style graphics on the bottom of the airframe look great and
assist with orientation.
Tucan is tame and does not present any control challenges.
Takeoffs are as easy as rolling into the power, letting the
speed slightly build as you use the rudder stick to keep the
nose straight on the centerline, and then slightly bumping the
elevator stick to initiate liftoff.
Climb authority at full throttle is good but not ballistic. With
the CG in the recommended location, the Tucan is stable and
Aerobatics performed on high rates are smooth. The roll rate
is 2-3 seconds per rotation, with a quick touch of back stick
required as one transitions through the inverted position to
keep the maneuver clean.
Landing the Tucan is not difficult. The thick airfoil creates
a model with a slow stall speed, and the Tucan is forgiving
throughout the landing pattern. The undercarriage is capable of
withstanding the impact of less-than-perfect landings and rough
I like the potentially long flights with the 3,200 mAh battery.
My typical flights, with varied throttle settings, were 5-6
minutes. Typical battery replenishment currents after my flights
were 1,600-1,900 mAh. Larger batteries can be used for longer
Multiplex has engineered the Tucan so that the battery is
located near the CG and there is ample room in the fuselage to
adjust the battery’s position forward and aft, to correct the CG
when using larger packs.
Because the Tucan is styled after a real-world, turboprop-powered advanced trainer, I found myself wanting more
performance out of mine. The data chart for the Himax 3528-
1000 motor shows that it can be flown on 3S with a 12 x 6
propeller. I swapped the 11 x 5. 5 out for the slightly taller and
Although the power increase was not extreme, there was
noticeable improvement in speed and performance. My
eLogger confirmed this by reporting a maximum power output
of approximately 500 watts using the APC E 12 x 6 propeller.
With an all-up weight of 4 pounds, the power-to-weight ratio
of the Tucan is approximately 125 watts per pound.
The fixed tricycle gear struts feature spring struts that are
made from heavy-gauge wire. They are securely anchored
to the plastic gear receiver blocks, which are mounted to
inset wooden gear-mounting blocks in the wings and the
M-Frame structure in the fuselage.
The main gear’s wide stance helps create a model with good
ground-handling manners. This power level, and the predictably
AT A GLANCE ...
Model type: Sport Scale
Skill level: Intermediate builder;
Wingspan: 51. 2 inches
Wing area: 496 square inches
Length: 43. 7 inches
Weight: 4 pounds
Power system: Himax HC3528 1,000 Kv
brushless outrunner; Castle
Creations Thunderbird 54
brushless speed controller;
APC E 11 x 5. 5 or 12 x 6
Radio: JR X9503 2. 4 GHz DSM2
Construction: Elapor foam
Covering/finish: Included Multiplex graphics
Street price: $179.99
Motor: Himax HC3528 1,000 Kv
Castle Creations Thunderbird
Battery: E-flite 3S 3,200 mAh
Propeller: APC E 11 x 5. 5 or 12 x 6
Radio system: JR X9503 DSM2 transmitter,
Spektrum AR7000 DSM2
receiver; four Hitec HS-65MG
servos; one Hitec HS- 85 servo
Ready-to-fly 4 pounds, 2 ounces with
weight: electric retracts
Flight duration: 8-10 minutes using
recommended 3S 3,200 mAh
• Multiplex’s version of the Embrauer Tucano is
a nice-size model.
• The positioning of the battery near the CG and
ample space inside the fuselage allows for
different sizes of battery packs.
• M-Frame light plywood framework creates
strong internal support structure.
• Included fixed gear is sturdy.
• The canopy tinting is slightly dark, obscuring
some cockpit details.
• No flap option provided.
• The retractable gear that the kit was designed
around is not yet readily available.
AUGUST 2013 www.ModelAviation.com