VQ do a range of 60″ ish span warbirds that retail for about £100 each. The fit, finish and overall quality is reasonable but not great, par for the coarse given the price I guess. Build was straightforward. Scale wise it is very much a stand-off plane, in fact, stand-way-off. It’s at its best in the air.

I fitted standard Futaba 3003 servos and set the throws indicated by the manual. This gives a nice slow roll and smooth manoeuvres. She’s had plenty of hard landings and luckily for me, the airframe has proven to be quite tough. I have flown this most of the good weekends over the 3½ years that I owned it and I can tell you that it is an excellent flier. I have also flown the ME 109 from the same VQ range, which is also a great flier. The FW 190 comes in at 3Kg. I seem to remember the ME109 was about 2.7Kg on similar wing area.

The pilot figure is a bit special, having been expertly painted by Firebirds own artist John H. Who really is an expert in this field having painted many battalions of war game figures. John gave a club talk on this subject a while ago and many useful tips were given. John painted this figure and donated it for the club’s Christmas raffle, which I was lucky enough to win.

I decided to fit a used OS 70-FS, purchased from the HMFA Great Southern Auction (I think it was £70). Before I fitted the motor, it was bench run (down at the club) and I had quite a problem with fuel feed and breather pipes. Lots of people helped me out (Dave, Roger & Russell among others) and we eventually blanked off the pipe that ran from the crank case to the exhaust. This cured all running problems so she was fitted to the FW190 and it has run nicely ever since. The 70 sized four stroke is an ideal match for this plane giving plenty of power.

During one flight at Beaulieu the fuel tank bung fell out, partially soaking the tank bay area with fuel. Upon inspection, the bung opening was so rough that the bung did not fit properly. This was simply fixed with an aftermarket tank.

When I bought the plane, I also bought the optional VQ retracts to go with it. Mechanically, given the price, these worked very well. The only problem being that the wheels were a little too far aft of the wing LE and the plane kept nosing over (on take-off and landing). A lot of landings required that the U/C wire be straightened slightly to avoid binding on the next flight.

After a few months, I bit the bullet and decided to swap the VQ mechanical retracts for some HobbyKing (£7) servoless retracts plus the Oleos from HK too. They don’t just drop in, I had to do a bit of butchery on the mounting to make them fit. I also took the opportunity to mount them with the leg angled forward to stop the annoying nose-overs on landing.

Having now had quite a few landings on these, I can vouch for them as being a good cheap U/C on a plane this size. I have so far collapsed two of them by turning too sharply (at speed) on landing. The sideways force on the leg being pushed inwards breaks something (plastic gears I guess) and then you need a new one. The Oleos are sprung with no damping, so some landings look like Zebadee is in control.

• An excellent flyer for not a lot of money that has weathered well after a lot of use and abuse.
• Solidly built but not overly heavy. The fully sheeted fuselage has withstood some very heavy landings including at least one belly landing.
• VQ seem to use an unusual covering material (vinyl I think) that pulls apart the seams in the hot sun. This slackens the covering and you then cannot shrink it tight again
• Some of the hardware was a bit suspect e.g. the fuel tank bung that fell out.
• No spares available – e.g. My broken spinner cannot be replaced.