Monday, November 14, 2011

Fastlane R/C Hawk4 and Shen Hua HM0961G mini Gyro RC helicopters

Oh my, where is this website headed? First robots, then Star Wars, Christmas poop figures and now radio controlled helicopters? Well, that's the cool part about this website, it's robots, robots and other stuff. This falls under the other stuff. I wanted to show you guys these helicopters because they are tons of fun. I bought the gunmetal one on the left below during my vacation to Colombia for about $25 which was at a 50% discount at the Falabella store. It is a Falabella exclusive supposedly but if you look hard enough, you will see that it is a Shen Hua HM0961G. The one on the right is much easier to find under the Toys R Us label Fastlane RC. It's called the Hawk4. They both feature a gyro stability feature which keeps it solidly pointed in one direction without swaying or spinning. The second you let go of the steering, they freeze in place. I bought it to compare the two since they are similarly built and I found the results to be interesting enough to warrant the ownership of both.
Left: Shen Hua HM0961G
Right: Fastlane R/C Hawk4

Hawk4 specs according to

"Take flight with the Fast Lane Gyro Hawk 4 IR Control Helicopter, a Toys'R'Us exclusive. This helicopter measures 7 inches from nose to tail, and it features counter-rotating rotors and a gyro for stability; it's so easy, anyone can fly it! Three channels mean you can fly forward and backward, and you can rotate with rudder control.

The Fast Lane Gyro IR Control Helicopter - Hawk 4 - Orange features:
  • Includes helicopter and transmitter
  • Double-joystick transmitter controls forward, backward, and rotary motion
  • Designed for indoor use
  • Counter-rotating rotors and gyro for superb stability
  • Transmitter range of up to 33 feet
  • Flight Time: 8 minutes; recharges from transmitter
  • Infrared (IR) transmitter requires line of sight
  • Rotor Span: 7 inches; Body Length: 7 inches
  • Helicopter Weight: 1.9 oz
  • Requires 6 AA batteries for the transmitter"

HM0961G specs according to
"Introducing the 3CH Electric RC Helicopter. Great for people of all skill levels, this bad boy features a coaxial rotor and a single rear rotor for precise control. The 4channel control will allow you to go forward, backward, up, down, left, right and hover. This RC helicopter has a metal body making it strong yet light weight so you don't have worry about breaking anything when you land it a bit too rough. This product is ready to fly out of the box, there is no assembly required. Just put in 6 AA batteries into the transmitter/charger and charge the helicopter and you're good to go. Be the coolest kid on the block by getting the 3CH Electric RC Helicopter!

Electric Powered
3Channel Control
Metal Body
Coaxial Rotor
Single Rear Rotor
Detailed Paint Job
IR Transmitter
Charges Off Transmitter
LED Lights
Easy To Fly
Ready To Fly


Mini Screwdriver
IR Transmitter/Charger
2 Spare Main Rotors
1 Spare Rear Rotor
Mini Screwdriver


PRODUCT SIZE: 19*4.5*10 CM
PACKING SIZE: 40.5*9*16.5 CM
MEAS.:  77*41*52 CM
G.W./N.W.:  14.5/11.5 KG

Battery Requirements:

Vehicle: 3.7V 150mAh Li-Poly Rechargeable Battery (Included)
Transmitter: 6 AA Alkaline Batteries (Not Included)"

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.
Here is my thoughts. The HM0961G seems to be the smoothest and quietest of the two. It also features LED "headlights" which alternate between red and blue and allows nighttime flying. Power delivery is smooth and exact. Hovering ability is excellent. I am able to keep it frozen in place. Forward and rear motion is smooth and precise.

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.

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