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X-UAV Mini Talon Review

After we bought a skywalker 1900 for our first FPV plane ever, we have been longing for a plane that has a bit more speed and can penetrate the wind better. The mini talon seemed like the perfect option.

Initial Impressions:

We got our Mini Talon from Banggood as they were offering it for only £30 from the EU warehouse. The plane itself seemed to be reasonably well packaged, however there was no protection other than the cardboard box it shipped it. This means if the box takes a ding it could easily transfer and damage the foam wings/ fuselage. Thankfully ours escaped any damage. The plane has 2 wing halves, 2 fuselage halves and 2 of the v-tail elevators. As well as all the necessary control rods and numerous accessories. The EPO foal seemed well molded, there wasn’t any noticeable difference in quality between the mini talon and the skywalker 1900.

The Build:

First we will list our build, and then explain our choices later:

  • LDPower 2216 1400kV Motor
  • Turnigy Plush 40A ESC
  • APCe 9×6 Prop
  • Emax ES08MA II Metal Gear Servos
  • HS1177 Camera
  • 3G 800mW VTx
  • TrueRC Singularity Antenna
  • (Legit) Omnibus F4 Pro V3 running iNav
  • M8N GPS Module
  • EzUHF Diversity 8 channel receiver
  • Numerous 3D Printed accessories including Pan/Tilt system

On the ground was

  • Partom 1.3G Receiver
  • VAS Airblade 1.3G Antenna
  • 200mW 5.8G Repeater VTx
  • Taranis (what else would it be?)
  • EzUHF JR Module
  • Diamond SRH771 antenna
  • Fatshark Dom V3

As we had a number of the multistar 3S 5200mAh packs from our Skywalker, we decided to stick to 3S instead of going for the usual 4S. Thus we decided to pick up the slightly higher kV LDPower motor; the most common motor used for 4S operation is a Sunnysky 2216 1250kV. The Plush ESC we have never had issues with and we figured it was the safest bet. The servos were recommended to us by a number of mini talon fliers, who said the fact they were analogue would help reduce interference from the 1.3G VTx. The Singularity was selected as we happened to come across it by chance, and thought its innovative design was working trying. The hardest choice by far was the decision to buy either another Vector or run iNav. We were running a bit low on funds so we opted to give iNav a shot. This opened a whole new can of worms but this will be discussed later. Everything else was used either as we had it on hand.

We started our build by printing out a number of 3D printed accessories from itsqv.com, Mark has designed a number of great parts that significantly improve the performance of the mini talon. Such upgrades includes decks for gear like FC and receiver, landing skids (significantly better than the stock ones, which are frankly awful),  a number of different canopies all designed with aerodynamics in mind and a motor mount. We have to say we were extremely pleased with the every component. Every single one proved to be very useful.

We started the build by mounting 3d printed decks into the main body of the aircraft. The decks were what we used to mount up the ESC, receiver and FC. The FC Plate in particular had the familiar 30.5mm mounting holes for our FC, and the NACA duct was perfectly placed to cool the ESC.  After that we mounted all the electronics onto the decks, followed by mounting the motor using Mark’s 3D printed mounted. As he says, the stock one is perfectly sufficient. But we picked the 3d printed one for 2 reasons; firstly it offers better cooling to motor as the air can pass through the windings easier. Secondly, it had the correct size mounting holes for the motor, so we didn’t have to drill any holes in the wooden deck. Once we had everything in the correct place, we started cutting wires and soldering things in place. Due to the fact we were using a flight controller designed for a quad, the soldering was quite complicated. Nevertheless years of quad building experience meant our soldering was good enough to get the job done. Once we had all the core electronics in, the next step was to do simple jobs like install servos and pushrods, as well as the pan tilt system. It’s worth noting the linkages they provide are sloppy, the holes in the control horns are too big for the wire they supply. This results in about 1mm of slop in the control surfaces, not the end of the world, but it shows a lack of attention to detail.

Once everything on the plane had been installed, we turned to our next challenge, setting up iNav. iNav itself is a fork of the cleanflight project, but with a focus on GPS assisted modes like return to home. It also supports aircraft as well, and they have integrated features like a PIFF controller. The configurator as well is very similar to that of cleanflight and Betaflight, although as you would expect it is more complicated. Being quad guys, we found most of the setup relatively simple, the “configuration” tab was almost a carbon copy of the Betaflight one, but with a few more features. Thus it only took us a few minutes to configure things like min throttle and min command, as well as vBat and current sensor. What was a bit more complicated was the setting up the ports, and we spent a fair amount of time working out what port our GPS was plugged into, and setting the correct Bard rate. Again, setting flight modes was easy enough, as it is identical as Betaflight. The most difficult part was a few of the finicky settings like “small _angle” and setting a custom mix for the v-tail of the mini talon. iNav’s mixer is very difficult to understand, although painless360’s video made the process significantly easier. It is rumoured that there will be a v-tail mix built in to the next version of iNav, so the mixer won’t be necessary in the future.

Our mini talon came in at 1.738kg, quite heavy for a 3S setup. We think this is because of the additional nose weight we needed to add, as well as accessories such as pan and tilt.

Flying:

The launch of the mini talon is said to be difficult by some, yet easy by others. When we first maidened it we were concerned that the torque roll would be an issue. This led us to use only around 60% power, which was a grave mistake. This didn’t give the plane nearly enough power needed to take off, and it stalled and dropped a wing. After a few attempts with no success, we said f*ck it and gave her 100% throttle with a hard horizontal throw. This is when she finally took off well, and flew straight out of our hand with no torque roll. We believe this is due to the fact we are running 3S, therefore we advise if you are running 4S to only use 70-80% power. This should still give you sufficient thrust to take off, yet will avoid the torque roll. Once we had got her up in the air she flew very well indeed, she was certainly faster than the skywalker but a tad less efficient. We reckon the mini talon cruised at 35-40mph, compared to 25mph for the skywalker. We cruised at around 5-6A, and climbed at 12A or so. The skywalker pulled about 4A comparatively, but was not nearly as fun to fly. With the mini talon, chasing planes was possible as was close proximity to the ground. It could also do respectable long range due to its low cruising current. We have seen some people reach as far as 100km on the mini talon. We were very impressed by the stabilisation on iNav as well, we used the stock gains and didn’t bother to auto tune, yet we found the stabilisation as good as the vector on our skywalker. Being smaller than the skywalker, it was pushed around more by the wind.

This video is us flying the mini talon chasing an fx-61 phantom, it was a windy day and we were close to the ground. This is why it looks so unstable.

Conclusion

In conclusion we were very pleased with its performance; its smaller size allows it to be a more fun flying airframe than a larger beast like the skyhunter, skywalker or (full size) talon. Yet it still retains the efficient flight of the larger models. It really is the best all in one platform we have yet to see and if we had to pick 1 model to fly for the rest of our lives, the mini talon would certainly be it. The 3d printed accessories really make this model, without them we would rate it an 7 or 8 out of ten. However the 3d printed parts boost it up to a 9.

9/10

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