The Blade mCP X along with the brushless version (mCP X BL) stands for micro collective pitch with the "x" referring to Blade's flybarless designation and the "BL" referring to the newer and better brushless version (as in brushless main & tail motors) are two micro sized collective pitch helicopters that I personally recommend serious consideration if you are in the market for this size/type of heli.
RC helicopters like the the Bld mCPx V2, and even more so the BL version have after all been long time pipe dreams for so many of us collective pitch fliers and to be honest, I never thought a true indoor micro collective pitch heli this small with this much performance would ever be a reality and for those of you who are just getting into this hobby, you don’t know how fortunate you are.
Just imagine practicing flying a collective pitch heli from learning the basics right up to more advanced maneuvers in your living room safely and economically with a heli only slightly larger than the now famous Blade mSR. Let’s push the obvious fun factor aside for a moment and think of what this really means for so many of us. The potential for quickly improving and gaining new collective pitch flying skills in the comfort of our homes from the very basics up to more advanced flying but actually learning them on something that flies instead of spending time on a RC heli simulator could be considered revolutionary by some. Have a look!
This is the number one reason why I purchased a BNF Blade mCP – to help take my sport flying skills on my larger birds to the next level in a fun and affordable way. Let’s be honest here, there is no question simulator time is so helpful when learning the orientation reversals and dynamics of aerobatic flight (or any new heli skill for that matter) as our brains wire new pathways so it all becomes automatic as we practice, practice, practice.
The problem is it gets boring, boring, boring; at least that’s how I feel about my time on the simulator and lately, I almost see it as a chore. There’s simply no substitution for real flight time. Having a little bit of fear and adrenaline rush every now and then coupled with the insane fun is after all why this hobby is so bloody addictive. Unfortunately, unless you are already fairly skilled at flying aerobatics, learning them on the Blade mCP X 2 is questionable - at least in stock configuration (more on this in just a bit under the "How It Flies" heading). That said, the newer BL version has totally eliminated these short comings and is honestly a much better purchase if one of your main goals is aerobatic flight.
The little Blade mCP X has a flying weight of only 1.6oz/45.5g with the BL version coming in slightly plumper at 2.12oz/60.1g due to the heavier motors and larger 2S LiPo pack. The light weight means these little rascals generally just bounce off hard objects and come back fighting just like Blades micro fixed pitch helis such as the mSR& mSRx. Now we can have a real collective pitch bird to practice on that will be fairly robust and "goof-proof". Hell, even if we do managed to pile drive the little bugger into something hard enough to fragmentize the main rotors or crack the canopy, what will the repair costs be, $10 to $20 bucks - maybe? Money aside, what about repair time? Perhaps 5 minutes to replace the entire head assembly and be back flying compared to many hours of rebuild time on a larger collective pitch bird.
These are two of the most advanced micro RC helicopters on the market right now so let's take a closer look "under the hood".
I already covered the low weight, so we know crash survivability should be on par with the mSR but in reality it is more in line with the larger 120 SR because this little mCP in both brushed and brushless configuration are running very high head speeds since it’s using symmetrical rotors instead of the high lift efficient delta rotors used on all the micro fixed pitch birds.
The canopy is thinner and weaker than on the mSR so it is damaged easier (definitely worth picking up a spare). I thought it might just feel weaker, but it is a few thou of an inch thinner than what is used on the mSR most likely for weight savings which I soon came to appreciate is such an important consideration on the Blade mCP.
Okay, this was the biggest surprise at how well this very inexpensive AS3X system works. Yes the Blade mCP x is utilizing a flybarless head with 3 gyro electronic stabilization - one gyro for tail yaw, and two more to detect and correct for pitch and roll.
If you have looked at my Flybarless Page , you know what flybarless is, how it works, and the benefits. The original mCP X was Blade’s first helicopter ever to employ an electronic flybarless stabilization system and as I mentioned, it works flawlessly. The first thing you will notice if you had the Blade mSR/X or 120SR, or even some of the larger collective pitch Blade helis is tail rotor drift is fairly non existent. The tail hold on the little mCP 2 is for the most part, absolutely drift free - unless it blows out, and yes it does (more on that later). The brushless version on the other hand is superb! In fact, I have to say it's the best fixed pitch tail rotor heli I have ever flown to date and I just could not get the tail to blow out no matter how hard I tried other than when powering down rapidly. It honestly behaved almost as good as the 130X (my favorite micro size Blade CP heli to date).
The cyclic portion of the flybarless system works equally well in all areas of flight from hovering right up to very fast flying and aerobatics. Yes, these little Blade mCP X's scream through the air if you want them to - it actually reminds me very much of flying a Trex 250 3GX (with much less power of course, but it has that same kind of feel, speed, and responsiveness). The brushless version however has an insane power to weight ratio and could do things I would never even think of trying on my 250. I would say it gives about much "power & pop" as you get on the 130X. Collective stick banging performing rainbows for example was very doable and even though I can't smack down a rainbow for the life of me, for those of you that can, the BL version will not get overly bogged downed.
With the AS3X in charge, you never have to worry about messing with trim because the flybarless electronic stabilization always keeps the bird in perfect trim. All the common problems associated with micro heli stability, cyclic response, fragile micro flybar linkages, 45 degree flybar pendulum effect, and TBE ( toilet bowl effect ) have been completely eliminated with Blade's AS3X flybarless technology.
Of course the other main benefit with a flybarless setup is less weight and less overall drag increasing power and flight times. Considering the low cost they have managed to achieve, I wouldn't be surprised to see every new micro Blade heli from this point forward using similar flybarless systems - it just works so well! In fact, that is exactly what Blade are now doing - making the "X" flybarless versions of most of their single rotor helicopters, the mQX quad rotor, and my guess is even their micro coaxials are not far away from getting the "X" treatment in the near future.
Coreless Direct Drive Tail Motor
Like the Blade mSR/X and the 120 SR, the Blade mCP X 2 is using a light weight, efficient, and fast accelerating/decelerating coreless tail motor. These are the only RC helicopters I have been pleased with when it comes to decent tail holding using a motor driven fixed pitch tail rotor and the Blade mCP X 2 is no different while performing gentle type flying. The problem however is when you start bouncing between positive and negative pitch while performing aerobatics. The issues associated with all motorized tails start showing up as the tail loses its battle against the main rotor torque - especially if running larger collective ranges and not managing your collective energy well. This is when the little mCPX 2 will draw too much power and leave nothing for the tail motor causing the tail to blow out. The rule of the day in other words, is to manage your collective energy by keeping the collective transitions on the mild side and not perform many back to back high rotor loading maneuvers that will bog down the rotor/motor energy.
Tail blow out (TBO) can be anywhere from mild to absolutely out of control. The lower the battery voltage is and the harder you mismanage your collective, the worse it becomes to the point where I won't even try entering inverted flight after about 1.5 minutes of run time. That said, there is a sure fire way to improve the tail to the point it's impossible to get it to blow out no matter how hard you try - I talk about this in the "how it flies" section below or the best option is to just anti up the dough, and get the BL version to begin with - it's so much less hassle, trouble, and cost over upgrading the mCPX 2 brushed version to brushless down the road.
Blade mCP 3 in 1 Board & Linear Servos
As with all of Blade's micro RC Helicopters, the heart and brains of the heli is the multi function control board which includes the DSM2 receiver circuitry, 3 axis AS3X gyro stabilization system, and the ESC/tail mixer circuitry.
What's different on these Blade micro helis is the (now three) linear servos that manipulate the swashplate are not placed on the main control board but instead are individually placed on the main frame around the main mast to allow for the common 120 degree eCCPM swash configuration. One would think that in the swash type setup menu, you would select 120 degree mixing; but the flybarless electronic stabilization system performs the electronic mixing so a normal single servo 90 degree swash type must be selected simplifying setup considerably.
The other improvement Blade has made with these new linear servos is to use upper and lower ball bearings on the drive shaft coupled with a longer throw to give improved resolution along with smooth and precise collective & cyclic control and it really is nice. These little Blade mCP X helis, along with the smaller and more indoor friendly Blade Nano, have the most aggressive and fastest responding cyclic of any micro RC helicopters I have ever owned or flown due in part to the low mass (both heli & rotor disc) and Bell rotor head.
LiPo Batteries & Charger
The Blade mCP X 2 comes out of the box with two 200 mAh 1S (single cell 3.7 volt) 30C LiPo batteries . It’s nice Blade decided to package the brushed version with two packs, but as most of us electric powered fliers know, that’s not going to be enough, especially considering how fun this heli is. The mCPX BL version however only comes with one single 2S 200 mAh 30C pack.
The NanoTech 200 mA packs for the brushed version of the mCPx, and I'm sure if&when they have a 2S pack for the brushless version perform very well.
I have had very good results with Hobby King's Turnigy Nano-Tech 300mAh Lipo that will fit the Blade mCP X 2 (brushed version) with no mods required. So far, these are by far the best performing LiPo's I have used on the mCP giving at least a minute longer flight time and more power. Hopefully they will bring out a 2S NanoTech shortly what will fit the BL version.
This is the one area on the Blade mCP X's I'm not overly happy with - flight times are very short. 3 minutes or less of aggressive flying and 4 minutes normal flying are about all you can expect in both brushed and brushless versions. Push it longer than that, and you're pushing the packs too far past a safe 80% discharged state.
Since I'm such a big fan of
Parallel Charging , I had to build my own parallel charging harness; however, there are several aftermarket brands that can be easily found by searching online for "mCPx Parallel Charging Harness" These things are a very worthwhile and inexpensive purchase if you're ordering the 1S NanoTech batts as well (assuming you want to para-charge several packs at a time).
The LiPo charger included with the Blade mCP X 2 is the single cell Celectra that for those of you with Blade 120 SR, or mCX Tandem Rescue will be very familiar with. It comes with a small adapter lead to go from the Pico Plug on the charger, to the slightly lager micro plug on the mCP's 200mAh LiPo's. Blade’s instructions indicate the charger should be set at 0.7 amps while charging the 200 mAh pack. That setting will give a just over 3C charge rate so a depleted pack should be charged in about 25 minutes or so. The BL version comes with the 2S 7.4V version of this charger meaning they are not compatible.
The picture to the left shows in order from bottom to top, the Blade mSR, mCP, 120SR, and just to include my smallest collective pitch bird (before I got the very tiny mCP) an Align Trex 250.
I figured the Trex 250 may as well be included in the photo since I reference it often in this review comparing the mCP to it numerous times but since getting the 130X - it's a better apples to apples comparison (at least with the BL version).
The short answer - very well... It really was a treat to fly something this tiny that flew just like the larger collective pitch stuff and it felt so stable in both fast flight and while hovering.
As I mentioned, it really reminded me of flying my Trex 250 or even more so, my friends 250 3G but with much less power. There are some issues however.
For learning how to fly a collective pitch RC helicopter up to general type flying, it's superb and I know lot of first time collective pitch pilots who have successfully learned the basics very well on the mCP X2. It's still my opinion that a larger 400/450 makes a better trainer when setup as such, but if your budget doesn't allow that or you really want to learn inside your home, the mCP x is a solid choice. What I am most impressed with is how well it hovers in ground effect and that is the key to learning to fly collective pitch on the Blade mCP x.
For those of you with other small micros such as the mSR or 120SR, you know how the rotor wash pushes them all over the place when close to the ground rendering control all but impossible - you have to be a good foot or two in the air with those birds before they settle down... right?
Not so with the Blade mCP x. It is able to perform ground movement and low hovering exercises with a set of micro training gear about as well as a 250 size heli (again why I keep coming back to that Trex 250 comparison).
It also does surprisingly well in light wind. Yes it gets tossed around a bit, but not nearly as much as I thought it would. Out of all the micro/ultra micro helis in Blade's hanger, the Blade mCP X takes top marks in the wind handling department thanks to the much higher collective pitch head speeds.
No, it's not as stable as a 450 size or larger bird when in ground effect or a wind, but it's certainly controllable making learning on it from the ground up very possible. Essentially, there is not one lesson in my flight school section that you can't practice with on the mCP X. For that collective pitch learning curve, the Blade mCP X heli is the revolution we were all hoping it would be.
As I mentioned, cyclic response is very crisp and insanely fast (yep, there's no doubt it's flybarless) way too fast for most beginners. However, with the right aileron and elevator dual rate settings and a little EXPO, you can really tame that aggressive cyclic down to the point it feels "beginner comfortable" which I do cover in the micro setup section of my Setup & Tips ebook .
Docile pitch curves are also very workable on the mCP X's and I used the same "guesstimated" beginner pitch values on the Blade mCP X 2/BL as I use on all my collective pitch birds with very good "tamed down" results. I say guesstimated since there is no way to check the actual collective pitch readings because there are no pitch gauges small enough but I show how to build a very simple wedge gauge in the setup & tips ebook that will get you very close.
One surprise was the pirouette rate on the mCPX 2, it's actually very tame and quite slow even with no rudder dual rates turned on. Perhaps this is to keep the tail under control and maybe the gyro can't process faster angular deviation rates? This next to the power increase and superb tail lock were the biggest differences in how the brushless version performs so much better than the brushed version - yes, it has a faster pirouette rate.
This again is where the limitations of the brushed version of the Blade mCP X start becoming evident - performance sport/aerobatic flying. The main reason I purchased the mCP X was to practice sport flight on something inexpensive and hopefully indoors when poor weather kept me inside. After flying the mCP X inside and out, I soon realized that isn't going to be possible.
With next to no bird mass or rotor mass, aerobatics are difficult on the mCP. With little mass, you have no momentum or inertia to carry your heli though the maneuver and absorb little mistakes and less than ideal pilot input meaning every control input you give the mCP has to be more or less perfect.
Tail blow out is a constant worry which is a hassle outdoors, but a real danger inside. My worst crash yet with the mCP happened while indoors attempting a forward flip. The tail blew out as I was coming back out of inversion while going full positive on collective, I lost control in a split second, and the heli flew into the wall at 100% power putting two large rotor blade cuts deep into the dry wall.
Unfortunately, I had called my wife to watch this momentous event so the wall damage was inspected first hand by "the boss" (not even one tear shed for the poor little dead bird on the floor I might add) resulting in the now very familiar "you're not flying that damn thing in the livingroom ever again" statement. Yep, this thing can shred lamp shades, upholstery, and expensive paintings so BE CAREFUL - my dog house isn't large enough for two! The Brushed version is even more powerful and can do more damage, but at least the tail doesn't blow out so crashing into the wall from a sudden loss of tail control is not as likely. In short, as neat as these two little birds are, if you want an indoor heli to just learn CP flying skills, the Blade Nano in my opinion is a much better (and safer) choice over either mCPX. If you want something to practice harder/higher power 3D type acro, then the mCPX BL version gets the nod...
Should you crash into some immovable object, the Blade mCP X's have very good power protection circuitry instantly killing the power the second they detect a high current spike or maybe they're even smart enough to detect a sudden impact force using the gyro's? All I know is it works very well at reducing component damage should you hit something with the rotors at power. That said, it's ALWAYS best to power down or hit throttle hold with any micro if a crash into something is imminent. It will reduce the energy of the impact substantially and give you more usable life out of your little bird.
As I eluded to, there is a way to totally eliminate tail blow out not to mention improve the power of the mCP X 2 and that is by performing a brushless conversion to the main motor and replace the underpowered tail motor with a more powerful one (the 120SR's tail motor in fact) along with an aggressive pitch tail rotor blade. These conversions aren't cheap, but once you have mastered basic flying on your mCPx and want to get into aerobatics, this is a fun but costly upgrade in my opinion.
The BL version of the mCPX comes as BNF (bind and fly) only since they know the majority of people getting this heli are going to be pairing it to a 6 or higher channel computerized Spektrum radio (in fact, you MUST use a 6 channel or higher radio). The BNF BL version is about $100 bucks more than the BNF brushed version so as you can see it's about the same price as a conversion. Thing is, it's way better than a conversion for several reasons. First is obvious, you don't have to spend considerable time messing or modifing your heli and void the warranty. Second is the BL version also comes with a brushless tail motor on top of the main motor. You don't get that with the 100$ BL conversion kits; the conversion kits just come with a larger coreless brushed tail motor (the one used in the Blade 120SR to be exact).
As I said, if I was in the market for another mCPX or even my first one, I wouldn't even consider getting the brushed version, but that's just because I want to use it for practicing aerobatics. If you are just learning to fly CP, and have no desire to be looping, flipping, & flopping, the brushed version will serve you well. If you feel there is a remote possibility however of getting into aerobatics, do yourself a favor and get the brushless version out of the gate - it honesty is so much better.
Here's a video of the newer BL version to give you an idea of the performance improvements!
I have found the weighted blades that come with the mCPx's also seem to be the best all round performers for most types of flying (brushed or brushless). This is pretty common with most flybarless systems - the overall cyclic performance/stabitly improves with some added blade mass, but that is subjective to how you like your cyclic feel - I need all the stability I can get!
Blade mCP X 2 Specifications
Blade mCP X BL Specifications
I have really enjoyed my Blade mCP X over the past three years now and as I said, if I was in the market for another or my first mCPx, the brushless version is by far the only one I would consider. I actually don't plan on purchasing the BL version for the simple reason I already have done a brushless conversion on mine (even though it's not as good) and I just don't need another mCPx, but I was sure glad I got the opportunity to borrow & fly a buddies BL version to see what it was all about and experience how much better it was (thanks Wayne).
Having the Blade Nano, mCPx, and 130X now, I see the mCPX's as the all round/all purpose CP micro. I quite honestly find I enjoy the Blade Nano indoors better and the Blade 130X outdoors WAY better and really don't fly my mCPX much anymore (another reason I don't plan on purchasing the BL). That said, if I only could pick one out of the three to practice CP flying skills both indoors and out, the mCP X's are hard to beat in that respect - especially the BL version.
The obvious Blade mCP X downsides are the short flight times with both versions and the poor tail hold when performing aggressive type flying/not managing collective energy well on the brushed version. For anyone who is learning to fly collective pitch and become a lot more comfortable & confident with collective pitch flying indoors or out and don't want to spend too much coin - the brushed version is still a very good value. After that, there is always the BL version to unleash the full aerobatic potential this thing is capable of delivering!