Onorato, Jim

LANIER RC Laser 200 ARF 1/3-scale showstopping aerobat

Originally built and flown by seven-time U.S. National Acrobatic champion Leo Loudenslager, the full-scale Laser 200 dazzled airshow fans for years with its amazing acrobatic capabilities. And in the years since the full-size version began to wow audiences, several radio-control manufacturers have produced models of this outstanding performer in various sizes. Lanier RC has produced kits of the Laser 200 in ¼ and 1/3 scales, and the addition of this 1/3-scale, almost-ready-to-fly (ARF) version to Lanier’s popular line is sure to delight Laser fans the world over.


This new, 94-inch-wingspan Laser 200 is an ARF version of the company’s earlier 1/3-scale kit. This built-up, all-wood kit features a painted fiberglass cowl and wheel pants, and the fuselage is constructed of lite-ply and balsa; there’s also a balsa-sheeted turtle deck and forward hatch/canopy. The tail feathers are light balsa frames, and the plug-in wing panels are built up with lite-ply and balsa sheeting. The model is expertly covered with Insignia Blue film with white stars and yellow “bars” (similar to the trim scheme used by Jim Roberts on his full-size Laser). All of the control surfaces are dual-beveled at the hinge line to allow maximum deflection for all those radical maneuvers.

I was particularly impressed by the quality and completeness of the hardware, most of which is from Sullivan Products and includes 4-40 pushrods and clevises, heavy-duty bolt-type control horns for the ailerons and heavy-duty nylon horns for the tail feathers. It even includes a Sullivan fuel tank, Sullivan Skylite wheels and all the parts required for the tail-wire braces. There are Robart hinge points for all of the control surfaces. The 16-page instruction manual gives step-by-step instructions, and there are plenty of photos to guide you through the assembly. This is a very complete kit. It looked great in the box and even better when assembled.


* Wings. Assembly begins with the wing panels. All you have to do here is attach the ailerons and install the aileron servos (one in each panel), the control horns and the linkages. The ailerons and wing panels are drilled to accept the Robart hinge points (five in each aileron) provided in the kit.

To ensure the proper alignment of the hinges, I first applied petroleum jelly to the pivot points and then put 30-minute epoxy into the holes drilled in the wing and the aileron, and I put a little on both tips of the hinge points. I then inserted the hinge points into the wing and aileron and flexed the aileron up and down while sliding it onto the wing. This caused the hinge points to rotate into perfect alignment. Once the epoxy had cured, I installed the control horns and two JR 8411 digital servos and hooked them up using the linkages provided.

I particularly like that a phenolic tube is permanently installed in the fuselage to accept the aluminum wing spar that’s used to hold the plug-in wing panels. This eliminates the possibility of the aluminum wing spar’s wearing away the holes in the fuselage sides and allowing the wing panels to loosen. Both wing panels contain two anti-rotation dowels. I made sure that they were securely glued into place, and then I trial-fit the panels on the aluminum spar. The holes for the pins, which set the proper wing incidence, are already drilled in the fuselage. If the pins do not let the wing seat properly, remove a little wood from the front or back edge of the hole in the fuselage. (Do this only if absolutely necessary, and do not remove wood from the top or bottom edge, as that would affect the wing incidence.) I fastened the panels to the spar with 6-32 capscrews threaded through hard points in the top of the wing.

* Tail and control surfaces. After removing the covering from the areas to be glued, I installed the stabilizer and fin, being careful to keep the stabilizer parallel to the wing. When the 30-minute epoxy I used had fully cured, I attached the elevators and rudder using the provided Robart hinge points, and I installed them using the same procedure as I used for the ailerons.

The elevators require two servos, and Lanier recommends that you also install two servos for the rudder; the two rudder pushrods act in a pull/pull setup for maximum force. All four servos should be installed at the rear of the fuselage. I used a standard Y-connector for the rudder and a reversing Y-connector for the elevators. Of course, if you have a computer radio, you could connect the elevator servos to two different channels and eliminate the reversing Y-connector. I used four JR 8101 servos for the elevators and rudder, and I connected them using the included hardware. When all the controls had been hooked up, I installed the tailwheel assembly and the tail-wire braces.

* Engine installation. I measured the lengths of the cowl and engine to determine where the firewall should go, and then I glued it into place with 30-minute epoxy. I pinned both sides in three places I with 1/16-inch dowels, and I reinforced the firewall joints with ½-inch triangle stock.

Lanier recommends a 3.2 to 4.2 2-cycle engine for the Laser. I chose a Fox 4.2 gas engine with a giant-scale Slimline muffler. I mounted the engine using four, 10-32 socket-head bolts and blind nuts, and to give the engine right thrust, I put two no. 8 washers on the mounting bolts between the firewall and the engine mount on the engine’s left side. I mounted the ignition module, with battery, on top of the engine box behind the firewall, and then I installed a servo-operated kill switch in the engine box behind the firewall and a manual kill switch in the cowl.

* Final assembly. Next came the assembly and installation of the landing gear, the wheels and the wheel pants-all of which are of excellent quality. The landing gear is of heavy-duty, 3/16-inch formed aluminum and has steel axles. The wheels are 4-inch Sullivan Skylites, and the wheel pants are painted fiberglass. I attached the landing gear to the fuselage with 4mm bolts and blind nuts.

The Laser comes with a 24-ounce Sullivan fuel tank that has a stopper and a pick-up line that’s suitable for gasoline. If you plan to use a glow engine, replace the stopper and line with ones made out of silicone. I assembled the tank and secured it in the fuselage with the included cable ties. I decided to add a third fuel line for filling, and I attached this to a Slimline fueler fitting, which I installed in the side of the fuselage just behind the firewall.

The cowl features a 7/16-inch-thick plywood split ring and is attached to the fuselage with four bolts. The two rear bolts are accessible from the canopy area, and the two front bolts are accessible through the cowl. The latter two require the use of a very long Phillips-head screwdriver to install. I used a Dremel tool to cut an opening in the bottom of the cowl for the engine head and the muffler and made it large enough to allow proper cooling.

The removable canopy frame extends to the cowl and allows easy access to the interior of the fuselage. Before I attached the clear canopy, I painted the inside of the cockpit with flat-black acrylic paint and installed a 1/3-scale Hangar 9 civilian pilot figure and instrument panel.

Last, I installed the throttle servo and the kill-switch servo in the fuselage behind the motor box. I used an 1800mAh receiver battery and placed it at the rear of the canopy area to achieve the proper balance. The addition of a 23×10 Mejzlik prop and a beautiful 4-inch Tru-Turn aluminum spinner completed the assembly.


If you have quite a bit of flying time under your belt and are looking for a big aerobat that doesn’t take forever to build, the Lanier RC Laser 200 ARF might be just the plane for you. It goes together easily, is very aerobatic and has good lowspeed stability. Best of all, it looks great both on the ground and in the air. I really enjoyed building and flying this airplane.

Dremel (800) 437-3635; Fox Manufacturing (479) 646-1656;

Hangar 9; distributed by Horizon Hobby Inc.

Horizon Hobby Inc. (800) 338-4639;

JR; distributed by Horizon Hobby Inc.

Lanier RC (770) 532-6401;

Mejzlik; distributed by Desert Aircraft (520) 722-0607;

Slimline Mfg. (480) 967-5053;

Tru-Turn; distributed by Romeo Mfg. (713) 943-1867;

Copyright Air Age Publishing Feb 2004

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