We were huge fans of the original EasyStar back in the day: it was tough, flew well and had loads of room for electronics. But it was slow to evolve (terrible brushed motor, no ailerons, rudder too small) and our favorite beginners platform shifted to the Bixler, which came almost ready to fly and was much cheaper than the EasyStar. Last year, however, Multiplex released an EasyStar II in Europe, but it's only just now arrived in the US. So I bought one and put it together and flew it for a review here. 

First, the good news: 

  • Built-in ailerons
  • Excellent power pod allows for easy access to the motor. Designed for brushless motors
  • Folding prop
  • Easy-to-remove elevator for easy transport
  • Better ventilation
  • Bigger rudder

Now the bad news:

  • Expensive. $95 without motor, servos, or ESC (compare that to the Bixler, which is $58 with motor and servos already installed)
  • Hard to assemble: It basically arrives as bags of plastic and foam. Expect at least two evening to assemble. The Bixler, by comparison, goes together in about an hour, in part because the motor and servos are already installed.
  • Although the cockpit is longer than the EasyStar I, it's also narrower (by about 3-5mm), which makes for a tight fit between batteries and electronics. 
  • Nose-heavy, perhaps because of the longer nose. You'll have to push your electronics as far back as possible, and if you use a battery bigger than 2200mah, you'll need to add weight in the tail. 

Bottom line:

I was not as impressed as I'd hoped. Overall, I still prefer the Bixler for new users. I think the EasyStar II is too expensive and too hard to assemble, and requires ordering motor/esc and servos separately, which will confuse beginners. (Multiplex usually sells an optional power pack, which is a very expensive motor/ESC combo, but has not yet released that in the US. The one for for the old EasyStar, which may work, costs $80!). The EasyStar II flies well, but not noticeably better than the original EasyStar or Bixler in my limited testing. 

Now that I've bought the EasyStar II and set it up, I'm happy with it and it will be my main plane for APM 2 testing. But on balance, it doesn't represent enough of an improvement over the Bixler to justify upgrading. And remember, there's a Bixler 2 coming, too.  If Multiplex were to ship the EasyStar II with motor, ESCs and servos for under $100, I think I could recommend it, but for now I don't think it represents enough value and simplicity for new users.

Views: 18043

Comment by Jasja Dekker on July 22, 2012 at 2:02pm

Ah, it IS available in Europe! I am kinda new to RC planes, could you recommend me a vendor? 

Comment by Rob_Lefebvre on July 22, 2012 at 5:26pm

@Thomas, as a sidebar, how is the Twin star?  I've been looking for a twin to use as a drone.  The idea of a single engine just seems not that great to me...  At $109 for the Multiplex, no shipping from China, it's not a bad idea.  Even without the $2 servos. ;)

Yes, I used to be a fan of Hitec servos, really good value for the money.  But I've had good luck so far with Turnigy servos, which are an even better value.

@Chris, I can understand that.  Having it ready to go as a basic entry level system is not bad.  I just prefer to have the option of choosing my own.  Even if they were included, but just not glued in, I'd be happy. (the only foamy I have ever bought came with glued in servos.

Comment by Robert M on July 26, 2012 at 1:00pm

I've been flying the EasyStar II in Italy for a couple of months now and I love it. The Peramax engine is super and the ESC handles 4 servos, the engine and the APM without issue. The width of the fuse is the main issue I have, as it limits what batteries you can fit. I got rid of the nose-heavy issue Chris mentioned by putting the APM in the front of the cockpit (also for easier access) and a 2500 mah battery in the fuse under the wings.  My longest continuous flight was seconds under one hour!  I keep my GPS inside the fuse, which works just fine (foam has little effect on reception) and I now have the 3DR telemetry kit installed (ducky sticking up from the canopy). Next step FPV!

Comment by binzi on July 27, 2012 at 12:14am

Comment by Vincent Mees on August 2, 2012 at 2:59am

@Binzi,

Could you give the link to the manufacturer?

Comment by Charles M Hough on August 20, 2012 at 8:16am

Well, this is a relly interesting turn on the EasyStare2.  I have wanted to write a bit on it also as I too ahve interest in using the EasyStar2 as a camera platform.I am currently using an EasyStare1and have recentl gottne an interest in the field of photogrophy.  I have a cheepy cnaera to put on the ES2.  soon I will post some pictures. so wish me luck and sucess.

Chuck 

Comment by Charles M Hough on September 13, 2012 at 1:01pm

I too have a camera to put in my EZ2.  Ihave a little Kreyfob cmaera and will be using it soon.  It is only that I have been busy and have not taken the time to use it..

Reguards,

Chuck

Comment by Stephen Kelly on September 13, 2012 at 2:21pm

As someone who is new to RC airplanes, I started with the Easy Star II - as I wanted a stable platform that we could use as a Drone, once we are able to safely fly the plane. I bought it from a local hobby shop, who helped me choose the servos, motor, ESC etc. We didn't have any major problems building the plane, but there was some confusion and frustration, the instructions were usually pretty clear, it took us about 2 afternoons (Which I am glad to see is about the same time as experience users took to build one).

 

I am glad that we bought the plane as a series of parts and had to construct the kit, as even though at times it was frustrating, it meant that we learnt what goes into the planes, gave us confidence to repair them when things go wrong, and the ability to chop and change the parts for other projects as we needed.

 

I bought the plane and all the gear from a local Hobby store, rather than online, I knew that it would cost more money, but being able to talk to someone in a shop, about what did I need was worth the extra money, as it saved so much time (and time is money ;). Now that we are familiar with what is needed, what parts work together - we will start ordering online.

 

With ZERO experience I found the Easy Star II too hard to fly, and then spent a lot of time in simulators, and then bought a small HZ Champ to get the basics of RC planes correct.

 

Yesterday was the first time I FLEW (rather than crashing) the Easy Star II, and had it up in the air for about 90 minutes all up (over about 15 flights), I do not have much experience with other planes to compare with, but I was happy with the performance with the Easy Star II. I was able to do a backwards roll (loop - not sure of correct phrase), in windy conditions - so was pretty happy with that.

 

I find that with my limited skill levels it’s still a little hard to fly in my local large park, as it is such a large plane, for that reason we are attempting to build a custom made Depron Nutball from the Flite test site, which if we had not built the Easy Star II - we would not have had the confidence to attempt. 

 

Early next week we will start to install APM and telemetry into the Easy Star II (we have been worried about the space inside and how to fit everything).

 

As we are using smaller batteries at the moment (1300 mah) we don’t seem to have the nose heavy problem (or more likely I don’t know how to recognise nose heavy planes).

 

As a beginner I also like that the Easy Star II has optional aerolons, so for now - we are flying it as a Rudder/ Elevator plane to make it easier and as skills improve we will add aerolons, so the plane can grow as our skills improve.

 

I am happy with my choice so far for the Easy Star II, but I have nothing to compare it too. It has survived several hard crashes.

 

TL;DR An acceptable beginner plane for someone with no experience. Glad that it came as a kit to give experience.

Comment by Stephen Kelly on September 17, 2012 at 6:51am

Robert M @ Chris Anderson is it possible for you to put the PID settings you used somewhere - thanks

 

Steve 

Comment by csp on November 30, 2012 at 12:49pm

Can you send me the config file for the easystart II....

Thanks

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