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Build log and Review HobbyKing Swamp Dawg Air Boat

#1
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The HobbyKing Swamp Dawg Air Boat comes just about ready to run, Only a few minutes of assembly time are required to have this fun RC model skimming the surface of your back yard pool or local pond.

The Swamp Dawg features a full plastic platform that is foam filled making the Swamp Dawg virtually unsinkable. A CF and Alu motor mount, 2300kv Brushless motor, 5.5in propeller and a 9 gram servo have been included.

You will require a 20amp ESC, 1000mAh 2S 7.4v Lipoly battery and your own Tansmitter and receiver (Tx/Rx) to complete this model.

Spec.
Length: 479.5mm
Width: 188.5mm
Height: 196mm
Propeller size: 5.5in (Included)
Total weight: 625g -635g
Motor: 2300kv Brushless Outrunner (Included)
Servo: 1 x 9g (Included)
ESC: 20A (Required)
Battery Compartment Size: 70mm x 40mm x 20mm

Required.
2 Channel Transmitter & Receiver (TX/RX)
20A ESC
1000mAh 2S 7.4v Lipoly

I just got this kit in the mail! So I will post pictures here of the build as I put together this kit.
So stay tuned!
 
#3
My follow-up on the HK Swamp Dawg.

Well since the OP isn't around it seems, I thought I would post my own follow up on this boat since I bought and assembled one and am ordering another one this Friday.

There are pros and cons to this boat and I would like to first highlight the cons. First, lets talk ab out instructions. Any time you buy something from Hobby King, there is a possibility you won't get any instructions at all. This stuff comes from China. The Swamp Dawg does have some attached documents if you can call them that on the purchase page on the website. Unfortunately, the file named instructions is a basic two page exploded view of all of the parts with no words at all. Fortunately it's fairly easy to figure out where things go on this boat, very few parts after all.

The second con is of course the motor this boat comes with. It's an outrunner, allegedly 2300kv and designed to work on a 1000mAh 2S 20C battery pack and a 20 amp speed controller. The mounting of the motor is weird and seems to be proprietary. I've never seen an outrunner mounted this way but that's neither here nor there, because if your motor does work when you get the kit, it won't work for long. Plan to replace it if you plan to try using it at all.

Along with the proprietary motor comes a proprietary shaft made from aluminum and molded plastic that mounts to the D-shaft of the motor with two set-screws on opposite sides. This propeller is useless once the motor dies and will also need to be replaced.

There is a small plastic clip that bolts into the deck of the boat that's supposed to straddle the pushrod between the servo and the rudders that I had to remove on our boat because it wasn't even close to being lined up correctly and it put a lot of tension on the pushrod. So that left a pair of small holes that needed to be filled in.

The pair of rudders that come with the kit connect to each other with a pair of ball-links and the balls are already screwed into both rudders with some very tiny screws making them difficult to remove before attaching the arms and you really want to be careful attaching the arms to these ball links if you plan to do so with them attached to the rudders because the rudders are made out of the same soft plastic as the propeller and the holes will start to deform if you're applying too much lateral pressure so be careful of that. I only attached one of the two ball-link connecting rods and our boat still turns on a dime.

Lastly, you can order replacement parts from HK for everything except the motor and propeller, so you'll have to engineer something to mount your replacement motor on.

Pros:

This is a relatively low cost kit and one of the very few electric airboats I have found online that didn't look tiny and were not grossly overpriced. You'll only have to chase down a battery, receiver, ESC and motor assuming you take my advice that the included motor is garbage.

The kit goes together quickly and relatively easily considering the lack of instructions and everything stays together well. If you have all of the parts you will need to get the boat running, you can go from the work bench to the water in about an hour assuming you don't plan to paint your boat.

This boat is balanced very well, the thrust angle is right on and it will come up on plane at half throttle or just under. Make sure and set your dual rate on the rudder to about 50% when you maiden this boat because steering is alarmingly sensitive at higher speeds, minimize input in high speed turns because this boat likes to drift but it will roll over if you give it too much power in the turns. This boat is very fun to whip around in on calm water and can usually hold it's own when the water gets a little more rough. We had some fishing boats heading out the other morning while driving this boat and found that as the waves came in we could push into them head on and the boat would go up and over them with no problem.

You will notice that crosswinds of 5-10 miles per hour will make the boat wand to weathervane a little bit, but it's nothing this boat can't handle. I'm excited to get another one of these boats put together so we can race and I can't wait to try them out on fresh snow this winter.

Note:

When the original motor in our swamp dawg died, we replaced it with an Emax MT1806 2300kv motor powered by a 12 amp ESC and an 800mAh 3S 20C battery pack. This is currently turning a Skitzo 5x4x3 tri-blade propeller, which I think is intended for a multi-rotor but I'm not sure. We see nearly identical performance from this setup as we did with the original electronics and propeller and the motor mount was easy enough to modify and build to hold a motor that had holes for screws on the back side. Simply remove the machined aluminum cross member that the original motor mounts in and cut a small piece of hobby ply that will bolt between the uprights and drill the additional holes for the mounting screws. You will need around a quarter inch of standoffs behind the motor to give your prop the needed clearance to not strike the uprights but at least you can find these more standard parts if they end up getting damaged.