6 Best RC Warbirds of 2019

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There’s something quite alluring about RC warbirds for radio control pilots. These classic fighter planes have flight characteristics and a personality to match their visual appeal. They certainly attract a lot of eyeballs when they fly. But what is a warbird exactly? In a broad sense, it’s any military plane that’s seen operational service (war). More specifically, it’s a vintage military aircraft or crew member.

Some of the more popular models are those from World War 2 (WWII), but there are others. We can only glimpse at the real planes at prestigious aerobatic air shows or in aviation museums.

Budget
best-budget-rc-warbird
OKEN Seagull Tidewater Mini
4.6/5.0
Type: Kit
Wingspan: 41.4 inches
Easy to pilot, stable flyer, streamline design, ABS glider, all-terrain capable.
Check Banggood
Best Value
best-value-rc-warbird
ParkZone F4F Wildcat
4.8/5.0
Type: BNF
Wingspan: 38.4 inches
Quick assembly, durable build, wide battery range, brushless motor.
Check Amazon
Top Pick
top-value-rc-warbird
E-flite P-47 Razorback
4.9/5.0
Type: BNF
Wingspan: 47.2 inches
Quick assembly, remarkable detail, easy to fly, powerful motor, 4-blade prop.
Check Amazon

RC Warbird Options Aplenty

What the RC world has done is immortalize these magnificent birds. Now fans can continue to enjoy them and keep history alive. And there are always the static kits for folks who prefer not to fly.

Electric warbirds come with the same seven options as most other RC aircraft:

  1. Ready to fly (RTF): Everything in the box to get airborne
  2. Almost Ready to Fly (ARF): needs additional accessories and components to complete
  3. Bind-N-Fly (BNF): Needs a transmitter (TX) to complete
  4. Plug-N-Play (PNP): Needs a TX, receiver (RX), battery, and charger to complete
  5. Electric models
  6. Gas (Nitro) models
  7. Variety of sizes from mini to giant scale

Note: Some brands produce fantasy warbirds, i.e., planes not based on real-world aircraft.

Some of the best-known warbirds of WWII include:

  • B-24 Liberator
  • FW 190
  • Hawker Hurricane
  • Junkers Ju
  • Messerschmitt Bf 109
  • P-47 Thunderbolt
  • P-51 Mustang
  • Spitfire

Warbirds Target Audience

Anyone can enjoy RC warbirds though they’re not ideal at the beginner level. There are several reasons for this. Many models fly fast and don’t have the stability of high-wing trainer planes. A novice may want to fly a warbird, but I say exercise a little patience. It’s better to develop one’s skills with a beginner aircraft first. Warbirds are typically the second or third airplane for most RC pilots.

There are more beginner-friendly models available today, though. My advice to newbies who can’t wait is to opt for a model with SAFE™ technology. SAFE stands for Sensor Assisted Flight Envelope. Those equipped with SAFE have pitch and bank angle limits plus auto self-leveling. Pilots can turn the flight restrictions off once they feel confident to fly more freely.

Warbird Buying Considerations

The buying considerations for an RC warbird are the same as any other RC aircraft. The best way to avoid buying blunders is to keep a checklist of wants and expectations by your side.

Here are 7 buying points. Feel free to add anything else that matters to you:

  1. Know your maximum budget
  2. Know the size. Buying too large or too small is a common newbie error
  3. Model type, i.e., RTF, BNF, ARF, and PNP (see above)
  4. What—if anything—is needed to complete
  5. Maximum flying time
  6. Charging time
  7. Cost and availability or spare parts and accessories

The above is a quick list of essentials to get you thinking. Jot down anything else that’s important to you. They may include things like flight range, wingspan, portability, etc. You get the idea.

About my ‘RC Warbirds’ Guide

The 6 planes below are carefully selected models already popular among warbird fans. I took user feedback and the opinions of industry experts into consideration as a part of the selection process. The first three reviews are Best Budget, Best Value, and the Top Pick in that order. The table below shows these aircraft along with their type and maximum flight time.

RC Warbirds Comparison Table

Make and ModelTypeWingspanPrice
OKEN Seagull Tidewater Mini Warbird RC Plane KitKit41.4 inchesCheck Price
ParkZone F4F Wildcat Warbird BNF BasicBNF38.4 inchesCheck Price
E-flite P-47 Razorback BNF Basic Iconic RC WarbirdBNF47.2 inchesCheck Price
HobbyZone T-28 Trojan S BNF Basic WarbirdBNF16.8 inchesCheck Price
E-flite P-51D Silver Mustang RC WarbirdBNF48.0 inchesCheck Price
P-40B Tomahawk PNP, Flying Tigers WarbirdPNP55.1 inchesCheck Price

1. Seagull EPO Mini Warbird RC Plane Kit | Best Budget

Seagull EPO Mini Warbird RC Plane KitView on Banggood

Editor’s Rating: 4.6/5

The OKEN Seagull Mini Warbird RC plane Kit makes the Best Budget pick. The aircraft uses lightweight EPO material for its build that’s durable and waterproof. It’s also an easy-to-fly model.

  • Best feature 1: Waterproof aircraft
  • Best feature 2: Wide bottom
  • Plus points: Easy to pilot, stable flyer, streamline design, ABS glider, all-terrain capable
  • Minus points: Average quality, underpowered, not based on real-world model

Reasons to Consider the OKEN Mini Warbird Kit

This military-style RC Tidewater seaplane has a sleek design and eye-catching decal. The airframe is a cinch to assemble even at the beginner level. That’s because the makers have done much of the preparation beforehand. That includes pre-installed pushrods and control horns. The wide bottom makes it an excellent all-terrain plane that can land on many types of surface.

The aircraft is easy to pilot and remains stable in the air which means it a great choice for newbies. The ABS glider or skid plate protects the craft from punctures and scratches. And the cabin area has lots of space to install the radio gear of your choice. It’s a brilliant starter kit plane for any novice.

Parts needed to complete this RC warbird kit include:

  • 4+ channel (CH) RC controller
  • 9g servos
  • 30–40A brushless ESC
  • Max 9″ propeller
  • 2212–2217KV 1100–1400 brushless motor
  • 11V 1300–2600mAh LiPo flight battery

The Not So Good

It’s a multi-terrain RC plane with a robust build to boot. The overall finish and the quality of some parts, though, is average. It’s not dire, but it could be better. The plane is also a tad underpowered with the suggested setup. Again, it’s not overly concerning, but it may bug more experienced RC pilots. Finally, this “warbird” is not based on a real-world aircraft like the others on this page.

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Tech Specs
Warbird Type: Tidewater Seaplane
Length: 36”
Wingspan: 41.5″
Material(s): EPO
Flying Weight: 32 oz.
Battery: 11V 1300–2600mAh LiPo (not included)
Max flying time: Depends on battery
The Pros
Waterproof aircraft
Wide bottom
Effortless takeoff & landing
Easy to pilot
Stable in the air
Streamline design
ABS skid plate
All-terrain capable
The Cons
Average overall quality
Slightly underpowered

2. ParkZone F4F Wildcat Warbird BNF | Best Value

ParkZone F4F Wildcat Warbird BNFView on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 4.8/5

The ParkZone F4F Wildcat is a replica warbird in every sense of the word. It was best known for its role in Pearl Harbor through the year 1942. This stunning replica is a joy to watch and fun fly.

  • Best feature 1: Fun and easy to fly
  • Best feature 2: SAFE® Select flight protection
  • Plus points: Quick assembly, durable build, wide battery range, brushless motor, hand launch
  • Minus points: Short flight time, Bind-N-Fly (also a pro)

Reasons to Consider the F4F Wildcat Warbird

Most RC’ers fall in love with the F4F Wildcat Warbird the moment they unbox it. The setup is quick and easy for advanced beginners and above. The scale appearance is simple yet striking, just like the real plane. The construction uses a durable yet lightweight EPO. This model has lots of oomph thanks to a powerful 480-size brushless outrunner motor. Pilots can choose from a wide battery range.

Beginners don’t have to fear this bird either. It comes equipped with SAFE® Select flight protection. SAFE stands for Sensor Assisted Flight Envelope. When pilots turn SAFE on it limits pitch and roll. That makes it easier to fly and more stable without taking away too much controllability. And hand launching is as easy as it gets with this fascinating plane.

Items needed to complete the BNF F4F Wildcat Warbird include:

  • 5+ Channel DSMX®/DSM2® transmitter
  • LiPo Flight Battery 1300–2200mAh 3S w/ EC3™ connector
  • Li-Po charger

The Not So Good

The flight time is going to be only 7 minutes max even with the best setup. That’s not long when you’re having so much fun, so most pilots opt for extra batteries. This warbird is a Bind-N-Fly (BNF) model and needs a transmitter to complete. It also requires a LiPo flight battery and a suitable charger. BNF can also be a pro for those who own more than one BNF RC aircraft.

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Tech Specs
Warbird Type: F4F Wildcat
Dimensions: 33 x 18.7 x 8”
Wingspan: 38.4”
Material(s): Durable EPO
Flying Weight: 25.4 oz.
Max Range: Depends on transmitter
Recommended Battery: 1300–2200mAh 3S LiPo (not included)
Max flying time: 7 minutes
Charging time: Depends on charger
The Pros
Bind-N-Fly (also a con)
Fun and easy to pilot
SAFE® Select flight protection
Quick assembly
Durable build
Brushless motor
Wide battery range
Easy hand launch
The Cons
Short flight time
Bind-N-Fly (also a pro)

3. P-47 Razorback BNF Iconic RC Warbird | Top Pick

P-47 Razorback BNF Iconic RC WarbirdView on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 4.9/5

The Top Pick goes to another striking park flyer warbird. Meet the P-47 Thunderbolt Razorback by E-flite. It’s a gorgeous, eye-catching, WW2 fighter plane aimed at RC pilots at all skill levels.

  • Best feature 1: Retractable landing gear and functional flaps
  • Best feature 2: AS3X® Receiver with Optional SAFE® Select Technology
  • Plus points: Quick assembly, remarkable detail, easy to fly, powerful motor, 4-blade prop
  • Minus points: Bind-N-Fly (also a pro), size

Reasons to Consider the P-47 Razorback

The P-47 Thunderbolt Razorback doesn’t just look pretty—it’s a formidable flier too. Assembly is quick and easy which is a bonus. This is one of those warbirds you can never tire of looking at, let alone pilot. The model details are remarkable even with the wheels and landing gear struts. The plane comes with functional flaps and pre-installed electric retracts. They’re practical and add to the craft’s realism.

Flying the P-47 Thunderbolt Razorback

New and novice RC pilots don’t have to worry about taking to the skies with the P-47. That’s because it comes with an AS3X receiver and optional SAFE Select technology. The AS3X® (Artificial Stabilization 3-aXis) keeps the plane stable behind the scenes. It does that by smoothing out any wind turbulence effects. The SAFE® Select feature limits pitch and bank angles and provide auto self-leveling.

A 15-size BL high-output motor engine provides plenty of power, climb performance, and speed. It needs a 40A ESC and 11.1V 2200mAh 3S LiPo battery to exploit the plane’s full potential. The 4-bladed propeller ads to the thrill of the flight and realism like few RC planes can.

Items needed to complete the BNF P-47 Thunderbolt Razorback include:

  • 6+ CH full-range DSMX®/DSM2® transmitter w/ adjustable dual rates
  • 11.1V 3S 2200–3000mah 30C LiPo battery
  • Suitable balancing charger

The Not So Good

This is a Bind-N-Fly (BNF) model. BNF is also a pro for anyone who has other models that can use the same transmitter. It’s a hassle for those who only want a ready-to-fly (RTF) plane. The aircraft is quite big and has a wingspan of 47.25” (1200mm), so it needs space to fly. I mention this because failure to check model dimensions is a common newbie blunder. Make sure you know the size of the RC plane.

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Tech Specs
Warbird Type: World War II fighter
Dimensions: 50.3 x 13.2 x 10.1”
Wingspan: 47.25”
Material(s): Z-Foam
Flying Weight: 55.5 oz.
Max Range: Depends on transmitter
Recommended Battery: 11.1V 2200-3000mah 3S 25C LiPo (not included)
Max flying time: Depends on battery
Charging time: Depends on charger
The Pros
Bind-N-Fly (also a con)
Quick assembly
Remarkable details
Easy to fly
Retractable landing gear
Functional flaps
AS3X receiver w/ SAFE Select
Powerful motor
4-blade propeller
The Cons
Bind-N-Fly (also a pro)
Large size

4. HobbyZone T-28 Trojan S BNF Basic Warbird

HobbyZone T-28 Trojan S BNF Basic WarbirdView on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 4.4/5

This small RC Warbird is the HobbyZone T-28 Trojan S. It was best known as a military trainer for around 30 years. The beautiful model here serves just as well as an RC trainer.

  • Best feature 1: Three training modes
  • Best feature 2: SAFE® (Sensor Assisted Flight Envelope)
  • Plus points: Ultra-micro size (fly anywhere), Panic Recovery, durable airframe, FPV ready
  • Minus points: Too small and light for winds, difficult to see (track) outdoors

Reasons to Consider T-28 Trojan Warbird

The T-28 Trojan Warbird is an excellent choice for a small-scale trainer plane. It has 3 pilot modes that allow users to progress at a pace comfortable for them. They are, Beginner, Intermediate, and Experienced. The SAFE® (Sensor Assisted Flight Envelope) adds to the warbird’s beginner-friendly appeal. SAFE prevents crashing and over-control but without restrictive overkill.

Now Everyone Can Fly

Pilots of all skill levels appreciate the Panic Recovery trigger. You can activate it in a second and watch the aircraft as it rights itself by self-leveling. This plane is tiny and weighs only 1.75 ounces. Its small size means it can fly indoors if you have space. Don’t let the scale put you off either as this is no toy-grade model. Its durable airframe protects the craft well in the unlikely event of a crash.

Another feature worth a mention is that the warbird comes first-person view (FPV) ready. A compatible camera, monitor, or headset (sold separately), can put you right in the virtual pilot’s seat.

Items needed to complete the BNF HobbyZone T-28 Trojan S include:

  • 4CH transmitter w/ Spektrum DSM2®/DSMX technology
  • 11.1V 1800–2200mAh 3S 25C LiPo battery
  • Suitable LiPo charger

The Not So Good

HobbyZone’s T-28 Trojan S has high-visibility paintwork. It can still be hard to see (track) outdoors despite its bright color. Try to fly outside in clear empty spaces with no busy backdrops. Choose to fly indoors on windy days if you have enough space. This little model is too small and light to handle anything above a light breeze.

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Tech Specs
Warbird Type: Military trainer plane
Dimensions: 16.8 x 13.5”
Wingspan: 16.8”
Material: Foam
Flying Weight: 1.75 oz.
Max Range: Depends on transmitter
Recommended Battery: 3.7V 150mAh 1S LiPo (not included)
Max flying time: Depends on battery
Charging time: Depends on charger
The Pros
3 training modes
SAFE® (Sensor Assisted Flight Envelope)
Ultra-micro size (fly anywhere)
Lightweight, durable airframe
Powerful electric motor
Panic Recovery
Steerable nose wheel
First Person View (FPV) ready
The Cons
Too small & light for winds
Difficult to see (track) outdoors

5. E-flite BNF P-51D Silver Mustang RC Warbird

E-flite BNF P-51D Silver Mustang RC WarbirdView on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 4.5/5

Here’s another magnificent warbird from E-flite®. This beauty is the North American P-51D Mustang. The original was a single-seat fighter-bomber that saw action in WWII and the Korean War.

  • Best feature 1: Wide flight envelope
  • Best feature 2: Short takeoffs, slow landings
  • Plus points: Quick assembly, easy to fly, electric retraction, brushless motor, durable design
  • Minus points: Bind-N-Fly (also a pro), landings can be tricky

Reasons to Consider the P-51D Mustang

Assembling the E-flite P-51D Silver Mustang RC aircraft is quick and easy. This warbird comes with functional flaps and retractable landing gear (electric retraction). It boasts a lot of attractive details, features, and flight capabilities. The plane has a wide flight envelope and is a joy to pilot after a little practice. The short takeoffs and slow landings add to its appeal.

Power and Performance

This warbird tracks well even in blustery conditions despite its lightweight, durable EPO material. The plane gets its oomph and agility from a powerful 15-size brushless outrunner motor. A robust ESC, 4-bladed propeller and a 2200–3000mAh 3S LiPo (not included) add to its thrust and performance. It’s fair to say this puppy flies better than the original with the right pilot at the controls.

Novice-Friendly Flight Features

New owners and novice pilots can enable the planes SAFE Select features. SAFE Select ensures the aircraft doesn’t roll or pitch upside down. It also prevents too much climb and dive angles when the bird takes off and lands. Automatic self-leveling is another beginner-friendly SAFE feature. And the integrated AS3X stabilization system gives pilots a real sense of control during flights.

Items needed to complete the BNF E-flite BNF P-51D Mustang include:

  • Full-Range 6CH+ transmitter w/ DSM2®/DSMX® technology
  • 2200–3000mAh 3–4S LiPo battery w/ EC3™ connector
  • Suitable LiPo flight battery charger

The Not So Good

It’s a Bind-N-Fly (BNF) warbird. You must buy the transmitter, flight battery, and charger separately in this case. The BNF arrangement is perfect for pilots who own several models that can use the one controller. It’s an unwelcome hassle for those who want a ready-to-fly (RTF) version but can’t get it. The other con is that landings are tricky at first and need some practice to perfect.

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Tech Specs
Warbird Type: P-51D Mustang fighter/bomber
Dimensions: 51.2 x 15 x 9.5”
Wingspan: 48”
Material(s): EPO foam
Flying Weight: 54 oz.
Max Range: Depends on transmitter
Battery: 2200-3000mAh 3-4S LiPo with EC3 connector (not included)
Max flying time: Depends on battery
Charging time: Depends on charger
The Pros
Bind-N-Fly model (also a con)
Wide flight envelope
Striking details
Short takeoffs, slow landings
Quick assembly
Easy to fly
AS3X Receiver
Optional SAFE Select Technology
Electric retraction
Powerful brushless motor
Durable EPO material
The Cons
Bind-N-Fly (also a pro)
Landings can be tricky

6. P-40B Tomahawk PNP, Flying Tigers Warbird

P-40B Tomahawk PNP, Flying Tigers WarbirdView on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 4.7/5

Last on the list of RC warbirds is the P-40B Tomahawk. The original Flying Tiger played a vital role and had an outstanding record during WWII in China. This model keeps the history alive.

  • Best feature 1: Incredible scale detail throughout
  • Best feature 2: Retractable tail wheel w/ metal trunnion
  • Plus points: Stable flyer, powerful motor, nylon hinges, metal shocks, slide-out battery tray
  • Minus points: Plug-N-Play (PNP), price

Reasons to Consider the P-40B Tomahawk

This warbird is awe-inspiring as an RC version of the P-40B Tomahawk. Owners appreciate the incredible scale detail. There’s even a figure seated in the cockpit. It’s so good that it makes an impressive static exhibit when not in flight. So, how well does the plane fly? In a word, brilliant. Its stable flight performance rivals that of any warbird in its class including windy weather.

A Plane Built Like a Tank

The P-40B Tomahawk Flying Tiger is well-built from the inside out. Its power comes from a 4258-KV650 motor and 70A electronic speed controller or ESC. This is a light yet robust plane thanks to the high-magnification EPO foaming. The landing gear uses metal shocks to protect it in the event of hard impact landings. It also has a retractable tail wheel with a metal trunnion.

There are ball links and nylon hinges instead of the weaker foam options on all control surfaces. Screw-in servo pockets replace the glued-in servos found on many RC planes. The slide-out battery tray is another welcome feature that simplifies battery swaps. Finally, the single wire connectors make detaching and attaching the wings a breeze.

Items needed to complete the P-40B Tomahawk PNP include:

  • 6+ Channel (CH) radio system
  • LiPo flight battery
  • Suitable LiPo Charger

The Not So Good

This aircraft is a Plug-N-Play version, so there are extras needed to finish the kit. Some prefer to choose their radio systems whereas others want everything in one box. The P-40B Tomahawk PNP needs 4 things to complete. They include a transmitter (TX), receiver (RX), flight battery, and a battery charger. The model is excellent value though quite expensive for some warbird enthusiasts.

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Tech Specs
Warbird Type: P-40B Tomahawk
Dimensions: 45.9 x 17.5 x 9.8”
Wingspan: 55.1”
Material(s): Durable EPO
Flying Weight: 88 oz. (55.1 lbs.)
Max Range: Depends on radio system
Battery: 14.8V 4S LiPo 3300mAh 35C (not included)
Max flying time: Depends on battery
Charging time: Depends on charger
The Pros
Incredible scale detail throughout
Retractable tail wheel
Stable flyer
Powerful 4258-KV650 motor
70A ESC
Nylon hinges
Metal shocks
Slide-out battery tray
Split flaps
Single wire wing connectors
The Cons
Plug-N-Play (also a pro)
Price tag
0/50 ratings