How I wish THIS had been my first gas boat!
I started playing with radio controlled boats about 20 years ago. For me it all started with scratch built nitro powered airboats and tunnel hulls. Sometime around 2000-2001, I decided to try a gas boat. I had heard about boats being powered by line trimmer engines and it sounded interesting. What impressed me the most was the size of these gas boats. I decided I would give it a try, so I did like many new guys out there do and I started shopping around for a used boat and motor. I bought a poor quality used hull in an online auction. When I received it I discovered that the hull was warped and poorly assembled. The motor I had purchased was alright but simply not comparable to the performance of the nitro boats I had owned. I must be very honest here, my first experience with a gas boat nearly caused me to drop out before actually being in...which brings me back to the Magnum 57.
As I was saying, how I wish this had been my first gas boat! Things would have been so much easier and more pleasant.
Warehouse Hobbies (WHH), maker of the Magnum 57 and all other Enforcer boats, have been in the gas boats business for a long time and actually helped make this segment of the hobby what it is today ( you can read more in this Manufacturer Spotlight of Warehouse Hobbies ). Their knowledge and experience is quite apparent in the Enforcer products.
The boat featured in this review was recieved from Warehouse Hobbies in a RTR (Ready To Run) package, minus the radio. In other words, the only thing left for the customer to add to this package to make it complete is their own radio gear including servos, receiver, transmitter and batteries. For approximately $130.00 extra the boat can be purchased with the radio gear included. A nice feature also offered by Warehouse Hobbies is the additon of color anodized hardware and engine. The one we received features all purple anodizing and looks great!
There are many other options that can be added to your boat at the time of ordering, including engine modifications, quad exhaust, starter handle, drivers, etc... see the Warehouse Hobbies website for a complete list of available options.
This is a big boat! Measuring in at 57" without hardware, is it pretty impressive. WHH do a great job of protecting the boat for shipping. As can be seen in the pictures, the boat is protected with a heavy guage plastic wrap and the shipping box is lined with styrofoam ribs that snuggly cradle the boat inside. The styrofoam ribs are actually glued into place inside the box to ensure they stay where they were meant to. Some of the transom hardware is removed for shipping and is packaged safely inside the box. The same goes for the propeller and drive cable. The boat and accessories were all received in excellent condition due to the good packaging techniques.
- Length: 57 inches
- Beam: 15 inches
- Deadrise: 24 degrees
- Freeboard: 6.5 inches
- Hand laid fiberglass construction
- Color gel coat finish (available in red, yellow and white)
- Complete weight: approximately 19-20 lbs
- Engine: Zenoah Enforcer EZ-25 (25cc water cooled 3.25 hp @14000 RPM)
- Tuned pipe: Pro wet tuned pipe, internally mounted
- Cooling: vacuum actuated water pump for continuous cooling, even at idle
- Clutch : centrifugal type
- Drive system: SPDIII adjustable surface planing drive
- Rudder system: twin offset left and right rudders, fully adjustable, aluminum construction
- Trim tabs: stainless steel adjustable (2)
- Propeller: bronze 75mm diameter, balanced.
- Fuel capacity: 24 oz.
- Run time: 35-45 minutes on a full tank
- Floatation: 2-part injected light weight foam
Getting this boat ready for the lake is amazingly easy. The supplied instructions detail every step of the assembly (very little to do) and the tuning. I had mine ready in about an hour and a half. Even beginers can have theirs ready for the lake in a couple hours if they simply follow the instructions.
The first thing to do is to mount the dual rudders to the transom bracket. This is easy because the bracket is already mounted to the transom so installing the rudders is simply a matter of positionning it and securing it with the two supplied stainless steel screws and nuts.
The next step is installing the drive cartridge (which includes the drive cable and propeller) to the drive unit. Again, very simple...remove the locking screw on the drive, apply some grease to the cable and push the cable assembly into the drive. Secure with the locking screw.
Next it's time install your radio gear if you did not purchase the boat with the radio option. This is also exceptionally easy with the included servo tray in the radio box. Simply drop your servos in the appropriate cutouts and secure them with screws. Install your battery pack and receiver (cutouts to allow for different placement of batteries and receiver) and attach the control linkages to the servos. You must use a 1/4 scale servo for steering. This is a big boat with dual rudders! The radio box is a unique design, constructed of light blue see-through injection molded plastic. It offers plenty of space for your radio gear and offers a clear view of all your components. To run the antenna out of the radio box you will have to drill a small hole and seal it with something. I used silicone sealant for this. WHH have just recently come up with a better solution to this. It's called the "Pull-N-Seal" and it's a mechanical means of sealing the antenna wire exit from the radio box. You can see it on their website.
The final step is double checking everything for tightness, greasing the clutch and making pre-run adjustments of the drive, rudders and trim tabs. This is all detailed in the user's manual and only takes a few minutes.
If you didn't purchase the Enforcer stand with your boat (I would recommend it), you will have to make one. A boat stand is a must to hold and protect your boat during transport and at the lake when it's not in the water.
That's it...gas it up, charge your batteries and you are ready to hit the lake!
You might want to dress up your boat a little bit with graphics. I did a simple black OCC theme in vinyl which I thought turned out looking pretty good.
Don't forget...You must pre-mix the gasoline for your Magnum 47. WHH recommend Amzoil "Saber 100:1" 2-cycle oil mixed at 6oz. per gallon. (25:1) The gasoline should be no more than 93 octane premium blend.
Some notes on clutch and cable maintenance: For greasing the clutch and cable there is a grease port in the nose mount. You will need a small grease gun for this (available at most auto parts stores). It is recommended to insert 5-7 pumps of grease before the initial use. The nose mount contains the clutch drum bearing that will be lubricated by this grease. The flex cable will also receive lubrication by the grease when the engine gets to operating temperature. WHH recommend that you remove the drive cable at the end of the day and insert 4-5 pumps of grease in the grease port. The cable should be wiped clean and installed only prior to the next day's use. The cable should be thoroughly inspected for wear or damage and be greased by hand prior to re-installing it in the boat. The shaft tube features a Teflon liner that can be replaced if worn, but under normal operation, if proper lubrication is maintained, the liner should provide many hours of trouble-free use. The same goes for the drive cable, clutch and the boat as a whole. Proper maintenance and care is key to getting many hours of fun from your boat!
At the lake...
For the Magnum's maiden run I invited a friend of mine to do the honours. The reason I asked him to come was that he had never driven an R/C boat in his life. The Magnum, as with many of the Enforcer boats, is designed mainly for sport boaters and in many cases these boats will be a person's first gas boat experience. I wanted to see first hand how a real first-timer would manage with the Magnum.
When we got to the lake we gassed it up and had the Magnum running with only a few pulls of the cord. I handed my friend Bob the transmitter and dropped the boat in the water. The clutch and water pump really make this boat user friendly. We let the boat stand there for a few seconds to confirm that the cooling was working (you can see the water exit from the tip of the tuned pipe) and within a few minutes Bob was doing laps with the Magnum and just having a great time! I was really happy with the way the boat performed for it's first time out. It was just fun and easy to keep on running this boat longer and longer! The boat's size allows it to easily handle some pretty rough water, and the fact that you can stop and go at will is really nice.
The next time out I took the boat out on the lake and drove it from onboard a real boat. We ran the Magnum side by side with the real boat and did some wave jumping too. Needless to say it was a real blast! I even managed to blow it over once and it landed right side up and kept on going! You can watch a short video of this run below. It may be difficult to see, but towards the end of the video when the Magnum is running along side of the boat, we are actually sdmoving at 35mph and the Magnum accelerates out of view! With the included Zenoah engine this boat is easily capable of speeds over 40mph!
Here is the video
See Larger version in the Pics/Videos section
My thoughts on the Magnum 57 by Enforcer:
A couple things I noticed with my Magnum:
- There was no drain hole or auto bailer installed on the boat, so I drilled a 1/4" hole in the upper port side of the transom to allow for easilly draining water from the hull.
- The gas tank cover leaks gas from the vent if you turn the boat over, so you want to try and avoid that. I noticed when I had the boat "nose up" to drain some water from the hull.
- one of the cowl air vent covers fell out of the cowl. I secured them all with a little bit of silicone sealant.
This is a great boat, perfect as an entry / intermediate level gas boat. It can also provide many hours of fun for even the more advanced boaters who just want to enjoy a day at the lake or cottage and not be beached because of rough water conditions.
The build quality is excellent. The fiberglass work is among the best I have seen as is the assembly of the boat as a whole. The Magnum is roughly in the same price range as other lesser quality RTR boats. It is manufactured and assembled in the United States. Boat as tested: $1270.00.
I have been into R/C boating for a long time now. I have run a lot of different boats and although some may be faster than the Magnum 57 I can honestly say that this one is up there with the best on the fun and reliability scale. If you are looking to get into gas boats or as mentionned before, want a boat for the lake or cottage, look no further...the Magnum has got what you need!