|Left: Shen Hua HM0961G|
Right: Fastlane R/C Hawk4
|As you can see, the build is quite good. There is lots of metal, apparently of the aluminum kind which is durable and lightweight. You'll see the IR receiver chilling below the chassis. The fascia is stamped steel which will survive dive bombs. The downside to that is that is adds weight.|
|The Hawk4 features a similar chassis design. You will notice the support beams are squared instead of cylindrical. The fascia of this set is a very lightweight plastic which should survive a few nose dives. Not as strong as stamped steel but much lighter.|
|Here is the HM0961G with its IR controller. It's best to use it indoors where the sun cannot interfere with its infrared operation. The controller has a classic controller look. The throttle lacks a spring feature which is either good or bad depending on you liking. It is completely plastic, features gyro trim and uses 6AA batteries. The bottom of the controller slides open to reveal the charging cord which plugs into the heli. The balance bars above the top rotors feature a plastic construction with metal end weights. 3 Channels are available so that up to 3 helis can fly together. There is also a manual mode and programming mode. It seems programming mode steers on its own while the user provides throttle.|
|Here is the Hawk4 with its video game style controller. It features spring loded throttle return and gyro trim. 3 Channels are available so that up to 3 helis can fly together.|
The Hawk4 is also a good mini gyro heli. It is easily available at your local Toys R Us. My first experience with Fastlane R/C helis was a bigger white model that was absolute crap. Gears were not attached right and the copter spun around uncontrollably in my living room. Fortunately that crappiness does not carry over into the Hawk4. While it was a bit noisier and didn't quite have the precision feel of the HM0961G, it definitely surprised me with it's instant climbing ability, while both shoot upwards with urgency, the Hawk4 sounds a bit more pissed and is willing to shoot back up quickly should you back off the throttle and peg it again. Seems "torquier". It's forward and backwards motion is not as precise and the hovering, while OK, is not rock solid.
Charge time is about 20-25 minutes for about 8 minutes run time for both. Which is not too bad for the amount of fun they provide.The retail price on the HM0961G was $50 while the retail on the Hawk4 is $34.99 ($29.99 at the moment). My favorite of the two is the HM0961G although I always keep the Hawk4 charged up for when my HM runs out of steam. My next purchase is going to be the Syma S107 which is what these mini copters are based off of. The Syma seems to be the most popular with spare parts available all day long on eBay.