The Beechcraft T-34 is a two-place trainer, designed to replace the aging North American T-6. While looking like the Beechcraft Bonanza, the T-34 has a narrower fuselage that is much stronger. A large bubble canopy replaced the aluminum roof and windows, creating a wide-open field of view.
Powered by a flat, six-cylinder engine, the T-34 was able to perform on as little as one-third the horsepower as the T-6. This, alone, made the T-34 a more economical aircraft.
Seagull Models, distributed by SIG manufacturing in the US, has recently introduced their own version of this prop-driven military trainer. Standing out in yellow and green UltraCote covering, the ‘Miss Kitty’ T-34 will be sure to catch eyes at any field – and I know because mine has gotten plenty of attention! Whether it’s sitting on the ground or flying high, ‘Miss Kitty’ gets lots of looks!
So, grab your favorite beverage of choice, sit back in your comfy chair, and check out my review of this great looking military trainer.
- All Wood Construction
- Covered in Yellow and Green UltraCote (OraCover)
- Pre-hinged Control Surfaces
- Fiberglass Cowl
- Large Hatch for Easy Access to Battery
- Electric Conversion Parts Included
- Pre-applied Decals
- Operational Flaps
- Sport Scale Model of a Real Aircraft
- Nose Gear Set Too Close to Main Gear
- No Airflow Exit in the Fuselage for Electric Setup
Time Required to Build:
My ‘Miss Kitty’ arrived as a pre-production sample, so there were no graphics on the box. Rest assured that by the time you’re reading this, the plane will be in stock at SIG Mfg. – complete with a full-color box label! The yellow and green UltraCote stand out well, and the covering was as smooth as glass out of the box! A very LARGE top hatch will allow plenty of access for electronics installation and battery changes.
I really like that Seagull produced a clean looking model with all the decals pre-applied. The T-34 comes with fixed gear in the box, but can be upgraded to the new Seagull electric retracts – these will be available through SIG Mfg. and SIGPlanes.com soon! E-flite’s 60-120 electric retracts are also a good ‘drop-in’ fit as well.
Also included are parts for gas/glow engines and electric conversion. My T-34 will be set up electric. I really like Seagull’s fiberglass control horns. They don’t flex at all, and are easy to install!
Items Used for Completion
From the ground, I will be using my trusty Hitec Flash 7 transmitter. This 7-channel transmitter is very quickly becoming one of my favorite! It feels good in-hand, and the sticks and switches are where they should be. A very nice LCD display makes programming a breeze, and shows me the telemetry readouts as well!
A Hitec Optima 9 will be installed in the Radial Rocket – I really like these receivers, as they give me lots of options for channels and servo configuration. I have come to like splitting my elevator and flap servos into separate channels, as it gives me the opportunity to ‘fine tune’ my control surfaces.
Speaking of control surfaces, I will be using Hitec HS-485HB deluxe standard servos. These are great servos, and available at very reasonable prices. With a ball bearing on the output shaft and 83 oz-in of torque (@ 6.0 V) these servos are great for aircraft up to 12 pounds!
A Hitec Energy Sport 80 Amp ESC will be mounted inside the cowl to control the motor and provide power to the receiver and servos – These new ESCs from Hitec are great, and affordable as well! With a retail price of under $60.00, the Energy Sport ESC gives me peace of mind, knowing my plane is backed by a great company!
Brute force pulling power will be provided by an Electrifly RimFire 1.20 Brushless Outrunner Motor. With a fairly high kV rating (450), the RimFire 1.20 gets more speed from smaller cell battery packs. I’ll be running a 6S 5000 mAh LiPo in my T-34.
Finishing out the front end is a Falcon 16×8 Beechwood electric propeller. These props not only perform very well, but they look great as well!
Since I was assembling one of the pre-production samples, I didn’t have the manual. But, I did have a chance to talk with Seagull and help edit the manual you will see in the box. As a result, I’m going to have to say that this is one of the better manuals not completely written in the US – there are lots of illustrations, and the instructions can be well-understood! Any intermediate modeler will have no trouble reading through this manual.
Assembly began with hinging the flaps and ailerons. A T-pin was stuck through the middle of each CA hinge. This ensured that the hinge was seated properly when the control surfaces were attached. Thin CA was used to secure the hinges to the wing and control surfaces.
With the ailerons and flaps installed, I attached their respective fiberglass control horns using 15-minute epoxy. While the epoxy cured, I got the aileron and flap servos installed on their hatches. Hitec HS-485HB Deluxe servos were used throughout the assembly of the T-34, and should provide plenty of authority on all control surfaces. Using the factory installed string, I pulled the servo wire extensions through the wing.
The servo hatch was set in place, and secured using the wood screws included with the ARF. I then assembled and installed the aileron and flap pushrods.
Because I received a pre-production sample, there were no fixed landing gear included. However, I have been told that the included fixed gear are very robust and install easily. I received a set of the new Seagull electric retracts with my T-34, and they installed easily. Because of the coil in the gear wire, I had to remove a small portion of the wood to make room for the coil – this was an easy task using my rotary tool and a cutting bit. The wheels and axles were installed, and the retracts were tested – a perfect fit!
On to the tail! Assembly began here by making a center line on the horizontal stabilizer mount and the stab itself. With both parts marked, I did a ‘dry fit’ – just to make sure that the stab and wing were parallel.
The vertical stabilizer was set in place next. It fit well, so I traced the edges onto the stab for covering removal. With a sharp blade, I carefully cut and removed the covering from the stabilizer.
Because I knew that the stab and fin fit perfectly, I mixed up a single batch of 15-minute epoxy. I was able to get both parts installed with plenty of time to spare! The elevator halves were installed using CA hinges, and were done like the aileron hinges. A second, smaller batch of 15-minute epoxy was mixed up to install the elevator and rudder control horns.
When the control horn epoxy had cured, I attached the rudder using three CA hinges and thin CA. The elevator and rudder pushrods were then assembled and installed.
The elevator and rudder servos were then installed and attached to the pushrods. I really liked that there are two elevator servos – it splits the load more evenly, allowing the use of standard servos, instead of a more expensive high-torque servo.
Motor, ESC, Cowl, and Prop Installation
The RimFire 1.20 brushless outrunner motor was easily attached to the adjustable mount included with the T-34. In addition to using epoxy on the adjustable mount, I added a few DuBro servo screws. Theses screws are the perfect length for this job, and add a secondary level of security to the mount.
Balsa Tri-stock was attached to the inner and outer sides of the adjustable mount to further secure it – between these and the servo screws I added previously, it’s not going anywhere!
I attached the Hitec Energy Sport 80 Amp ESC inside the fuselage using adhesive-backed Velcro. There’s plenty of room inside this cavernous fuselage!
The cowl was mounted next – I used the tape and cardstock method. This method makes attaching the cowl quick and easy!
With the cowl in place, I added the Falcon 16×8 propeller and spinner to complete the ‘business end’ of the T-34.
Nose Gear Installation
Moving on to the nose gear retract unit, I started with removing the mini servo mount – this is the steering servo for the nose wheel. With the servo attached to the back side of plywood mount, the mount was reattached to the inside edge of the retract opening. A short pushrod was then assembled and attached to the steering arm of the retract unit.
The Seagull steerable nose gear retract was then installed using four wood screws included with the ARF, and the nose wheel and axle were secured to the gear leg. A quick test showed that everything was working perfectly!
We’re almost done! After sliding the aluminum wing joiner through the fuselage, the wings were installed and attached with nylon bolts – I really liked these bolts, because they have a head you can get your fingers on. No more tools, just tighten them by hand!
The wiring was kept neat with the help of zip ties and a Velcro strap. There’s plenty of wiring, so it’s best to keep it neat and organized!
I attached the pilots to the cockpit floor with epoxy, and secured the bubble canopy with six wood screws and Formula 560 canopy glue from ZAP Adhesives. The large hatch is held in place by two locating pins in the front and a pair of nylon bolts at the rear sides – all that remained was to balance ‘Miss Kitty’ and she’d be ready for flight!
Speaking of balancing, the T-34 came out a bit tail heavy. Even with a 6S 5000 mAh LiPo installed, it still needed weight. Now, I suppose I could have installed a heavier motor and ESC to offset the weight, but I just used a ‘spare’ 6S 2200 mAh Battery pack. In the future, I may pick up a 6S 8000 mAh or a 6S 10000 mAh pack so the needed weight will be completely usable.
I really like the new ‘Miss Kitty’ T-34 from Seagull Models and SIG Mfg. It looks nice, has great presence in the air, and went together easily – even without a manual! (I don’t recommend that you do this though?) I also like the size of this plane. A 20cc warbird (trainer) is a good size! I’ll give this one two thumbs up – Good job, Seagull!
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