The panel lines, weathering, and two-section flaps on the Val add up to a great-looking sport scale
model with extra touches that make it really stand out.
The rounded wingtips and tail surfaces all but scream “classic warbird,” and the VQ Models
Aichi D3A1 Val . 46 EP/GP certainly looks the part. The matte finish and printed details make this
aircraft’s appearance better than any plastic-covered warbird in its class.
looks and was excited to get it out to the
flying field. Total assembly time was 10 to
Assembly at the field is easy. Connect
the aileron and flap servos to their
respective extensions, slip the wing into
place, and install two bolts. To avoid
an external fueling connection, the
fill line is routed into the hatch where
you can see when the tank is full. I
fueled up with Byron Fuel 30% Rotor
Rage Helicopter Fuel, which I have
found runs cool and takes care of the
bearings—even in Florida’s summer
heat. When the tank is full, install the
hatch with two nylon thumbscrews and
the aircraft is ready to go.
The Val handled well on the ground
and had no trouble taxiing on my club’s
paved or mowed grass areas. I advanced
the power smoothly and the tail came up
quickly. A healthy dose of right rudder
was required to keep the Val tracking
straight. The O.S. 55AX engine had more
than enough power for the Val, and the
aircraft climbed with authority.
After a few laps to get the Val trimmed
with some clicks of aileron and several
clicks of up-elevator, I put the aircraft
through its paces. It really looks the part
when airborne and flew like a heavy-metal warbird should. Its roll rate was
good without being unrealistic, and large
loops were graceful when the throttle
was properly managed.
Stall tests showed that although the Val
will stall, it’s not the snappy wing drop-off I expected and landings would be
similar to sport airplanes. The flap mixing
was right on, so I started my first landing
pattern. With the flaps down and the
drag from the large landing gear fairings
and wheel pants, you need to keep some
throttle rolled in until you are over the
numbers. If you’re used to managing your
descent rate with the throttle, you won’t
have any issues landing the Val.
When over the numbers, I cut the
power and the Val settled into a three-point landing. The gear is a little stiff, so if
you touch down too hard it will bounce.
I found it much like flying an AT- 6 in
regard to landing without bouncing. It
can be done, but it takes some practice
I cleaned up the mess from the glow
fuel with a mixture of dishwashing
detergent and water. Straight alcohol or
ammonia-based cleaners such as Windex
might be hard on the covering.
The VQ Models Aichi D3A1 Val . 46
EP/GP is a solid sport flier with classic
warbird looks! Based on my experience
with the Val, I would be excited to give
other VQ Models aircraft a try.
The finish and printed details on the
covering look great. If you wanted to add
a gunner and weathering, the VQ Models
Val would make a great starting point for
a truly striking model.
I like it when a model makes noise, but
with the included motor mount parts and
the large hatch, the Val would be a great
electric conversion. I used an O.S. 55AX
because I had one handy, but a .46-size
engine would be plenty of power for
Photos by the author and Adam Strong
54 Model Aviation AUGUS T 2017 www.ModelAviation.com