The Blade 450 3D RC helicopter replaces the original 400 as Blade continues to strive to become the number one entry level brand manufacturer to help get folks introduced to this hobby both in an economical, and more importantly, functional way. Flybarless 450X information after 450 specs 1/2 way down page.
For those of you who have spent time on my site or watched any of my RC heli flight school videos, you know I was (still am) a pretty big fan of the original Blade 400. The Blade 450 is now right up there on my "recommended list". Even in this day of flybarless; self learning on a flybared machine makes economical & practical sense for many people. Flybars work - period! No Muss, No Fuss...
I’m not going to go over all the great benefits both these helis have for the collective pitch newbie, if you want to know what makes the Blade 400 one of my top pics, you can read my review on it . What I want to go over here are the main differences (if any) between the Blade 450 3D and the original Blade 400 3D since I’m already getting many questions about it.
If you’re thinking the Blade 450 is essentially the same RC helicopter as the original Blade 400, you’re right. Many of the parts on the Blade 450 are the same ones used on the Blade 400. Blade basically took a few of the weaker points with the original 400 and improved on them while keeping all the good points and benefits the same.
First off, the Blade 450 3D comes as a ready to fly (RTF) version just like the Blade 400 pairing it with the Spektrum DX6i (the new DX6i's have been programed with Spectrum's new DSMX technology). The BNF version was also available, but has now been dropped (likely because of BNF 450X). This was a big empty hole that Blade had in their line-up, and I know so many people who learned on the smaller Blade micro helis such as the mSR, 120SR, or even the mCX and CX coaxial offerings and then eventually purchased a computerized radio such as the DX6i, DX7s, DX8, DX9, JR DSM2/X etc. to fly these simple little helis and do some basic programming while learning in a less intimidating way what all this neat RC heli setup stuff is about.
Then there were also the advanced fixed wing people out there that were being temped to the "dark side" looking to use their computerized Spektrum or JR radios and really wanted to get a Blade 400 to learn on but certainly didn't need another DX6i.
What most of these folks ended up doing was to go out and purchase an Align Trex 450, Compass Warp 360, Mikado Logo 400, Thunder Tiger E325, Miniature Aircraft Furion 450, CY 450 Rave, or other higher end brand... Those are all great 400 size RC helicopters of course, but they are higher end birds and cost considerably more.
Those higher end brands may simply not have been realistic options for those on a tighter budget and then of course they start getting lured in by the lower cost eye candy brands that are plain and simple junk. Get this, the RTF version of the Blade 450 is only $350.00 bucks! That makes it easily half to one third the price of many other name brand 400's once the price of the radio and LiPo flight battery is factored in.
The Trex 450 Plus DFC however is a different story. This is certainly a strong contender to the Blade 450. That link takes you to a review I did on the Trex 450 Plus DFC and it's definitely also one to consider if you are in the market for a ready to fly flybarless 450 size heli that comes with a decent radio. That said, the flybared RTF Blade 450, just like the Blade 400 offers tremendous value for your first steps into collective pitch if you have a set budget not to mention very low repair costs – one of the Blade 400’s and now 450’s greatest attributes.
Aluminum head, but it still uses plastic blade grips for weight reduction plus they offer some flex for tamer cyclic response. There is however a metal blade grip upgrade if you want to put them on later down the road. In fact, the new 450 has a good many aluminum upgrade parts if you want to upgrade.
Keep in mind however, if you do upgrade all the parts, chances are you will be getting pretty close to the price of the Trex 450 so the good value the stock Blade offers starts fading substantially. If your sole purpose is to purchase every aluminum upgrade Blade 450 part you can get your hands on, it makes much better economical sense to get one of the higher end brands that come with all that shiny CNC aluminum & carbon fiber off the bat.
Better quality head dampeners over simple o-rings with shims that wore out quickly (if not properly cared for). Full size dampeners like these last longer since the entire dampening area of the head block is utilized - you don’t need to use shims to over-compress the older style o-rings (one of the causes of per-mature dampener failure).
Higher Amp ESC - 35A over 25A. This was an issue with the original Blade 400 if you flew in very hot weather and really pushed it to it’s full 3D potential using high discharge rated packs (30C and over). If the conditions were just right, the stock E-flite ESC could go into over-temp protection mode. Many people who experienced this problem, eventually upgraded to a 30 or 35A ESC or did what I do - use a dedicated BEC.
Larger LiPo 3S Battery - 2200 mAh over 1800. Most people purchased additional 2200 mAh 3S LiPo packs anyways for their BL-400's so this makes perfect sense. The new pack is rated at 30C as well so there is no doubt it’s a better pack than the 1800mAh 20C that comes with the original 400. The BNF version doesn't come with a battery or charger so you will need to purchase packs but there are lots of good LiPo options out there for 400 size birds.
The Blade 450 is using the new Spektrum 6115e receiver giving 2048 resolution, flight log data capabilities, and Spektrum's new DSMX technology over the 400's older 6100e.
Slightly Faster DS76 servos over the DS75. Not much faster @ 0.09 sec/60 over the 0.10/60 DS75's. The DS76’s claim to have better centering hold, but who knows if the average flier would even pick up on that? There is also a tail specific servo used on the 450 (the DS76T).
The new DS76T is a big step up in performance over the slow DS75 servo that was also used on the tail in the original 400. It boasts a speed of 0.03 sec/60 @4.8 volts. That's the fastest tail servo eflite has ever produced up to this point; in fact, it's one of the fastest micro tail servos period! This is great news since the tail servo is one of the first servos that people replace on their 400's after they learn to fly it and start progressing into simple sport flight.
The DS75 at 0.10 sec/60 was just too slow for robotic tail hold once progressing past basic flying getting into aggressive pirouetting maneuvers. Gears will still strip out on the 76's just as they did on the 75's during a crash so it's not like they are going to be any stronger in my opinion (all micro servos with small nylon gears strip - but metal gears would have pushed the costs and weight up as you know). The simple reality is don't crash, and you won't strip nylon servo gears :-)
Open ended and simplified tail drive gear box allowing one to see if the tail gear is slipping on the tail shaft and eliminating the idler pulley for a simplified tail drive.
Three additional canopy options and all have the "Blade" name plastered all over the simulated window with a faded air brush effect.
This is a direct copy of what Align has been doing on many of their canopies lately.
The best overall improvement in my opinion (other than having a BNF version of course) is the new G210 gyro paired with a faster tail servo.
The G210 uses MEMS (micro electro-mechanical sensor) technology giving it better yaw rate detection and correction capabilities and most importantly, drift free operation over the older G110 used in the Blade 400. The other nice benefit it has over the older G110 is an adjustable travel rate (gyro end limit setting) pot so the gyro will never send a signal to the tail servo that could over-travel and stall it out (a common issue with the older G110).
It’s not a dual direction end limit that is used on higher end gyros, but as long as you have your tail servo arm very close to center and at 90 degrees to the pushrod and the pitch slider centered on the tail rotor shaft, the simple single end limit adjustment will work fine to prevent the tail pitch slider from bottoming out in both directions of travel causing the tail servo to stall (it's basically the same setup as on the Futaba GY401 if you're familiar setting the end limit on it).
IMPORTANT... Click Here for DX7, DX7se, & DX8 transmitter value setting corrections for both the RTF and BNF Blade 450's that Horizon Hobby had originally listed in their first manual. Please replace pages 39 and 40 of the original Blade 450 3D helicopter manual with the updated pages dated 06/2011 shown in the above link.
The Blade 450X is the flybarless version of the 450 and apart from having no flybar, is esentially the same heli sharing most of the same basic parts. There is a slightly more powerful motor, a simplified Bell rotor head, and there is no separate tail gyro required because the tail gyro is built into the flybarless electronic stabilization system.
On that note, the hidden gem in this flybarless version has to be the Spektrum AR7200BX DSMX receiver . This is a combination 7 channel receiver and 3 axis flybarless stabilization unit that's using the BeastX flybarless technology.
The Microbeast is one of the most talked about flybarless systems on the market right now that basically appeared out of nowhere to take on the big players in the flybarless stabilization game such as Align's 3GX, Mikado's VBar, Skookum's SK-540, Futaba's CGY750, MSH Brain, and my favorite FBL system to date, the Bavarian Demon 3X & 3SX. I'm not getting into a heated debate here as to what if any of these systems are better - in my opinion they are all very good and there are pros and cons to each one. The Beast however is very simple to setup and for the first time beginner new to flybarless, it's a good match.
The AR 7200BX is is a wonderful collaboration between Spektrum and BeastX that is sure to offer many Spektrum and JR fliers a very good plug, program, and play flybarless system for any flybarless collective pitch RC helicopter, not just the 450X.
All that said, I'm really not too sure of the intended market for the X version of the Blade 450? It's not as beginner friendly as the flybar version, and doesn't offer anywhere near the same value in my opinion. At $499.00 for the BNF version (no radio), it's not that much less than an Align Trex 450 3GX Pro DFC Super Combo which is undoubtedly a superior machine. Moreover, the Trex 450 Plus DFC BTF is being sold for even less and it's still a better bird in my opinion. Of course that bind to fly Plus is meant to be paired to a Futaba radio, not Spektrum; so if you want to fly Spektrum still, the 450 Plus DFC BTF is not going to be an option.
As Blade say on their site, this is the only BNF 450 size flybarless heli on the market that that comes with the Spektrum AR7200BX flybarless unit; so I guess there's the intended market. If you want a pre-built, flybarless, 450 size bind-n-fly heli that uses a BeastX flybarless system for just under $500, then the Blade 450X is a practical option for you.
All I know is if I was in the market for a 450 size flybarless bird in this price range, I would be looking at higher end options that don't cost all that much more, but that's just me. I'm also not a fan of blue and white canopies on smaller size helicopters as they are much harder to see in the sky through my 47 year old peepers, but that's a minor detail that is of course subjective and there are other canopy options out there.
The Blade 450X in action...
In short, the Blade 450 RC helicopter is an improved Blade 400 keeping what worked and changing out what could be improved while making it more visually appealing (to some). Flight/performance wise, it is very similar with an overall increase in performance potential thanks in part to better anti drift gyro technology, proper tail servo end travel adjustment, faster tail rotor servo, more precise cyclic control with the better head dampening, and slightly longer flight times with the extra 400mAh battery capacity.
Parts support is excellent, especially since many of the same Blade 400 parts are utilized on the new 450. There is after all a very real reason I recommend most Blade RC helis and Align Trex Helicopters - Easy to find parts at the local hobby shops or on line pretty much all over the world. Again, why I choose to purchase & fly both these brands myself. The Blade 450X BNF on the other hand appeals to a smaller niche. Do a little research first to know that flybarless systems (as I mention on my flybarless page) are usually not beginner friendly (both in setup and in performance and some will do funny things when a set of training gear is fitted).
On top of that, you are not that far from the price of a higher end Trex 450 Pro DFC as just one example and even more expensive than the Trex 450 Plus DFC; so weigh your options and consider the pros and cons. If you are only after a ready built, flybarless, Spektrum BNF, 450 size heli however and don't care that it uses a belt driven tail drive over a more efficient shaft drive, the Blade 450X fits the bill well and you likely won't be disappointed; especially with the MicroBeast at the helm - again that's where the value is in this heli.