Silverlit Z-Bruce

Silverlit Z-Bruce 4-channel helicopter

Okay, it’s time for yet another helicopter post! This time, the Silverlit Z-Bruce. This is my first Silverlit model, and was actually bought to help me gain a little more experience and confidence with which to fly the E-flite Blade CX3 MD 520N, which my parents bought for me a couple of Christmases ago.

How would that work? Well, being a 4-channel helicopter, the Z-Bruce is capable of flying sideways – just the like the CX3 – and has the same style of control set-up.

You see, all of the other helicopters I have are simple 3-channel models, with throttle control on the left stick, and forward/backward/rotate left/rotate right on the right stick. With that control system having become engrained, the Blade CX3 presents a bit of a challenge because the controls are a little different; the left stick controls the throttle, but also rotates the helicopter left/right, while the right stick moves the helicopter forward/backward/left/right.

That’s fine, but as a beginner, should you get flustered, there’s a tendency to confuse the two systems and you can end up crashing. With the size of the CX3, I don’t really have enough room to learn to fly it indoors, and we’ve had precious few days calm enough to use it outdoors. So my thinking was, as the control system is the same as the CX3, buy the smaller Z-Bruce, learn to fly it indoors, and that should help prepare me for when I do get the chance to fly the CX3 outdoors. Much better to crash a £30 heli than a £200+ model, right?

So, what about the model? Well, it’s a fraction under eight inches long with a rotor span of around six-and-a-half inches, and as you can see in the images, it certainly sports a more detailed livery than the Syma, thumbsUP! and Lucky Boy models; and unlike the Blade CX3 the detail is actually screen printed, rather than using stickers. The plastic used feels a little cheaper and more flimsy than that of the Syma and thumbsUP! models, with the skids seeming particularly delicate, but it has survived a few impacts and crashes already.

The most noticeable difference, though, is that the Z-Bruce is a single-rotor model, with a functioning tail rotor – the first in my collection. It isn’t quite as stable as the coaxial models, and doesn’t seem as well balanced. As you can see in the images, there are two small weights clipped on to the left skid, but it still has a tendency to drift a little forwards and to the right in flight. It’s nothing drastic, but it does make it virtually impossible to get anything like a stable hover.

Still, it flies well enough, and only having the one rotor means it looks that much more realistic in flight – especially with the excellent livery. It also seems a little more powerful than the Syma and thumbsUP! models, so you need to be a little more gentle with the controls. On a full charge, it ascends at quite a rate. It also seems to fly a few minutes longer, presumably because there is one less motor draining the battery.

Altogether, a very good model, and it seems like it will be a very beneficial intermediate step to bridge between my 3-channel coaxial models and the 5-channel Blade CX3.