I have been flying RC aircraft for over twenty years now, but there are manufacturers, still in business, that make my twenty years look like a short span. SIG Mfg. is one of those companies. From their humble beginning in 1951, Sig has grown into a large, US-based company, covering a huge portion of our hobby!
Most of their products are made here, with a few of them out-sourced. Though the newest ARF planes are manufactured overseas, they are held to the very high SIG standards.
While attending the Toledo Expo this year, I got my first look at the latest offerings from SIG, and I was really impressed! I saw the planes and a couple of representatives (Mike and Mike) at WATTS over Owatonna, in July, and we got to talking about the new lineup. At this point, the Mikes decided to have me review a couple of their new planes, and I jumped at the opportunity to do so!
One of the two planes I'm reviewing is the all-new T-Clips EP. The T-Clips is a 'not-quite-scale' rendition of Erik Edgren's 1939 clipped-wing Taylorcraft. Though there are a lot of T-Crafts still flying, Erik's is the only one currently flying in airshows with the original engine size! Like Erik's plane, the T-Clips EP is designed for lots of fun, and no-frills flying.
Channels Used: 4 total - Elevator, Aileron, Throttle and Rudder
Control Throws: LOW (Per Manual)
Elevator, up/down: 3/4" - 40-50% Expo
Ailerons, up/down: 3/8" - 40-50% Expo
Rudder, right/left: 1-1/4" - 25-40% Expo
Control Throws: HIGH (Per Manual)
Elevator, up/down: 1-1/4" - 55-70% Expo
Ailerons, up/down: 5/8" - 55-70% Expo
Rudder, right/left: 2" - 50% Expo
Items Needed To Complete:
4 Channel Radio (minimum) and Receiver
4 Standard Servos
3S-4S 3000-5000 mAh LiPo Battery and LiPo Charger
500-800 Watt Brushless Outrunner Motor (800-1000 kV)
50-75 Amp ESC
Thread Locking Compound, CA, and Epoxy
Various Shop Tools
The T-Clips arrived in a beautiful, full-color box with loads of great pictures and information on it. Removing the cover revealed two layers of taped and bagged parts - this kept all the parts in place during the shipping process, which we all know can be less-than-gentle at times. There are very few major parts, so I'm hoping that the T-Clips will assemble quickly!
One of the first things that grabbed my eye was the stunning trim scheme on this plane - the red stands out very well from the black, and the silver 'windows' add to its sport-scale appeal. Two other great features were the self-latching battery tray and the large front hatch.
I really liked the adjustable motor mount, which made motor installation easy! The T-Clips came with a painted fiberglass cowl, and a pair of fiberglass wheel pants too. The paint on the cowl, main landing gear and wheel pants matched the Ultracote (Oracover) covering perfectly!
The aileron servos were installed without hatches, which made setup a breeze, and all of the decals are pre-applied at the factory. SIG has taken a lot of the 'building' out of this plane, leaving only some minor assembly!
SIG has always had great manuals, and the T-Clips manual is no different. The illustrations are clear and concise, and the written instructions are VERY informative, leaving nothing to question!
Assembly began with installing the aileron servos in each of the two wing halves. A 12" extension was added to the servo wire, dropped through the open ribs, and then through a small, round hole on the bottom of the wing.
As with all of my models, I like to run all four of the servo screws into the holes, remove them, and add a drop of thin CA to each hole - this hardens the wood, allowing the servo screw to get a better 'bite' on the wood and keep them tight.
With the servo installed, I moved on to hinging the aileron. Two T-pins were pushed through each of the five hinges and then inserted into the aileron and trailing edge of the wing. All of the pre-cut slots lined up perfectly, which made installation easy! Adding a few drops of thin CA to each hinge completed the task.
The control horn was installed next, followed by assembly of the pushrod. Once the pushrod had been marked for length, I bent it, secured the nylon snap keeper, and removed the excess rod. With the pushrod in place, it was time to slide the two wing panels together on the sturdy aluminum wing tube. With that, the wing was complete!
Main Landing Gear
Moving on, I secured the axles to the aluminum gear, taking care to set the axle nuts parallel to the front of the main gear legs - if care is not taken on this step, the wheel pants will not fit properly.
Editor's note: Be sure to use a thread locking compound on all metal-to-metal joints (such as a bolt and nut) to prevent vibration from loosening parts and causing problems!
The wheel pants were installed next, and secured by two machine screws per pant. The last step was to secure the assembled gear to the fuselage - again using thread locking compound.
Tail assembly started with installing (and gluing) the elevator hinges - I used the same procedure as on the aileron hinges - followed by installing the elevator control horn.
After checking the fit of the horizontal and vertical stabilizers, I grabbed my epoxy and a mixing stick.
Using 30-minute epoxy allowed me plenty of time to make sure that the stab and fin were in correct alignment before taping everything in place, while the epoxy cured.
When the epoxy had cured, I installed the rudder control horn and hinged the rudder like the elevator and ailerons.
Tail Wheel Installation
Since the tail wheel assembly is put together at the factory, all that remained was securing it to the fuselage and installing the steering clasp. I did remove some excess wire from beyond the clasp - it was just extra weight!
Receiver, Elevator and Rudder Servos, and Pushrod Installation
The elevator and rudder servos were installed next, and I used the same techniques used for the aileron servos. The two long pushrods were then assembled and installed in the same manner as the ailerons - only using longer steel rods!
My Tactic receiver was secured in front of the internal servos using a zip-tie.
Motor and ESC, and Battery Tray Installation
After marking and drilling the mount for my motor, I installed the blind nuts. Using the instruction manual, I measured and marked the motor mount position and glued it and the tri-stock in place.
Since I was installing the motor box only, I mixed up a small batch of 5-minute epoxy and attached the motor box to the fuselage. When the epoxy had cured, I re-installed the motor (adding a drop of thread locking compound to each of the four bolts). The ESC was then held in place, in front of the battery tray holder, with a zip-tie and the motor wires were connected.
Following the instructions, I rounded the lower portion of the battery tray and added the hook-n-loop material to the tray and battery. With that done, I slid the tray into position - it snapped in place nicely, and felt secure!
Time to mount the cowl! After checking the position of the motor and prop adapter, I marked and drilled the four cowl mounting holes - this was an easy task, due to the pre-drilled holes in the cowl! I ran the four screws into each of their respective holes, removed them and added a drop of thin CA to the holes - just as I did for the servo mounting screw.
I then cut the additional cooling hole, and mounted the cowl.
The propeller and adapter were added next, and completed assembly of the T-Clips. With the True RC 14.8V 4000mAh battery in place, the Center of Gravity (CG) came out perfectly!
Time to head to the field and see if the T-Clips is as good in the air as Erik Edgren's - Let's go have some fun!
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Since the light has been fading quickly in the evenings, I rushed home from worked, grabbed the T-Clips and equipment and headed to the field. There, I met my trusty photo/video pilot and friend Jim Buzzeo, and we got the plane ready to go. After double checking the control rates and direction, it was time to hit the sky! With the help of my son, Jonathan, on the Nikon digital camera, and Jim, the three of us were able to fly and shoot both the video and still pictures at the same time!
Taxiing out on the runway proved to be very easy due to the steerable tail wheel - I did find the T-Clips easier to control using low rates while the plane was on the ground. With the plane lined up on the runway centerline, I advanced the throttle. Within just a few feet, the T-clips broke free from the ground and headed skyward! The 3548 outrunner, 70Amp ESC and 4S 4000mAh battery proved to be a great combination in the T-Clips.
Flying at a safe altitude, I adjusted the trims for straight and level flight at a 2/3 throttle setting - this took just a few clicks of down elevator and a couple clicks of left aileron trim. At full throttle, the T-Clips really moves across the field! Slow flight is easy, too, by feeding a little up elevator in on the stick.
OK, the plane was trimmed, and I knew how fast/slow it flies - time to see how it'll move. I tried most everything I could think of - loops, rolls, split S's and Cuban Eights. All were simple, and I felt the T-Clips was merely laughing at me and asking for more! After a stall turn, I gained some altitude and tried a spin - she spun nicely! This plane LOVES aerobatics! To this end, I'll say that the T-Clips does, in fact, live up to Erik's full scale plane!
It took me a couple of attempts to land the T-Clips - the plane is very sleek, and doesn't bleed off speed easily. On the second attempt, I stayed low, and dropped the T-Clips on to the runway. Unfortunately, the landing seen in the video, was MY landing - if the runway had been smoother, it would not have taken a second hop into the air. With that said, an evening of touch-n-goes will definitely make me proficient at landing the T-Clips - and I plan to get out MANY more times with it yet this year!
MFG T-Clips EP ARF
The new T-Clips from SIG - a great looking plane, from a great, USA-based company! The T-Clips went together quickly and easily, and is a lot of fun in the air. One of the best things about this plane is that it has been designed for electric power from the wheels up - I love the battery tray because it makes changing batteries easy and quick! My hat goes off to the designers at SIG for the T-Clips! Way to go guys, it's one helluva plane!
P.O. Box 520
401-7 South Front Street
Montezuma, IA 50171-0520
The comments, observations and conclusions made in this review are solely with respect to the particular item the editor reviewed and may not apply generally to similar products by the manufacturer. We cannot be responsible for any manufacturer defects in workmanship or other deficiencies in products like the one featured in the review.