RCU Review: Seagull Models T-34 Mentor


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    Contributed by: Geoff Barber | Published: September 2015 | Views: 14607 | email icon Email this Article | PDFpdf icon
    RCUniverse.com Review of the Seagull Models T-34 Mentor "Miss Kitty" ARF
    Geoff Barber
    (G.Barber)

    Email Me





    Distributed By:
    SIG Manufacturing
    P.O. Box 520
    401-7 South Front Street
    Montezuma, IA 50171-0520
    Phone: 1 (641)623-5154

    www.sigmfg.com


    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


    Skill Level:

    Time Required to Build:

    Frustration Level:

    What do these ratings mean?



    Name:Seagull Models T-34 Mentor "Miss Kitty" 20cc ARF

    Price: $330.99 (Price at Review Publishing Date)
    Stock Number: SEA240Y
    Wingspan: 74.8" (1900mm)
    Wing Area: 848.5 in² (54.7 dm²)
    Weight: 11-12 lbs. (5-5.5 kg)
    Length: 56.3" (1430mm)
    Center of Gravity (CG): 3.46" (88mm) from the leading edge where wing meets the fuselage

    Radio Used:Hitec Flash 7
    Receiver Used:Hitec Optima 9
    Servos Used:Hitec HS-485HB Deluxe HD Ball Bearing Standard Servo
    Motor Used:Electrifly Rimfire 1.20 (50-65-450) Brushless Outrunner Motor
    ESC Used:Hitec Energy Sport 80 Amp ESC
    Propeller Used:Falcon 16x8 Electric Propeller
    Battery Used:E-flite 6S 22.2V 5000mAh 30C LiPo
    Channels Used: 7 total - Elevator, Aileron, Throttle, Rudder, Flaps (x2), and Retractible Landing Gear

    Control Throws: LOW (Per Manual)

    • Elevator, up/down: 12mm
    • Ailerons, up/down: 12mm
    • Rudder, right/left: 20mm

    Control Throws: HIGH (Per Manual)

    • Elevator, up/down: 15mm
    • Ailerons, up/down: 15mm
    • Rudder, right/left: 25mm

    Items Needed To Complete:

    • Electric Setup:


    • 6 Channel Radio (minimum) and Receiver
    • 7 Standard Servos
    • 6S 5000 mAh LiPo Battery and LiPo Charger
    • 1700-2000 Watt Brushless Outrunner Motor (250-5000 kV)
    • 60-80 Amp ESC
    • 2 - 18" Servo Wire Extensions
    • 2 - 12" Servo Wire Extensions
    • 1 - Y-Harness
    • Thread Locking Compound, CA, and Epoxy
    • Various Shop Tools
    • Electric Tricycle Retracts (Optional)



    • Gas/Glow Engine Setup:


    • 6 Channel Radio (minimum), Receiver, and Receiver Battery
    • 8 Standard Servos
    • 1.20 2-Stroke Glow Engine OR
    • 20cc Gasoline Engine OR
    • 1.20-1.50 4-Stroke Glow Engine
    • 2 - 18" Servo Wire Extensions
    • 2 - 12" Servo Wire Extensions
    • 1 - Y-Harness
    • Glow/Gas Engine Field Accessories
    • Thread Locking Compound, CA, and Epoxy
    • Various Shop Tools
    • Electric Tricycle Retracts (Optional)








    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 16x8 Beechwood electric propeller. These props not only perform very well, but they look great as well!



    Manual


    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.






    Wing Assembly





    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!




    Tail Assembly


    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 16x8 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!



    Final Touches





    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 finished assembling the T-34 just a couple of days prior to leaving for WATTS over Owatonna. If you've never been to this event, I highly recommend it! WATTS is an all-electric event that has become the Midwest's largest electric fly-in. WATTS 2015 saw approximately 150 registered pilots over the three days, with many more spectators! There are on-site vendors and a great concession area, and even camping and room for RVs!

    Friday brought with it some early morning storms and high winds, so the T-34 maiden flight was delayed until Saturday morning. Joe Vermillion, Mike Gretz, and I arrived at the SMMAC (Southern Minnesota Model Aircraft Club) field at the break of dawn to start getting 'Miss Kitty' ready to fly.

    The T-34 was taxied out onto the runway, and it was immediately apparent that the nose wheel had plenty of authority for turning the plane. One final check of the control surfaces, and the throttle stick was pushed forward!

    The RimFire 1.20 motor and Hitec 80 Amp ESC proved to be a great combination for the T-34. There was PLENTY of power on tap to get 'Miss Kitty' off the ground in a hurry! With a flip of the switch, the Seagull electric retracts responded accordingly, pulling the gear up. I was already in awe of how nice this plane looked in the air! A couple of circuits around the field had the trims adjusted - four clicks of right aileron and eight clicks of down elevator had the T-34 flying 'hands off' at half throttle.

    It was now time to see what this aircraft can do. We pushed the throttle to full for some high speed passes, and we were not disappointed! The T-34 moves very nicely across the sky at scale speeds! A few 'show passes' were done for the camera at this point, and she sure looked good in the lens.

    Slowing the plane down required a little more finesse on the sticks. When we slowed 'Miss Kitty' down, she got a 'little tippy' - in other words, she wanted to tip stall. Dropping the flaps definitely helped cure this issue, and looked really cool too! The gear was then dropped as well to make a few 'dirty' passes for the camera. Again, she looked really nice in the lens!

    With the throttle pushed forward again and the flaps and gear up, we tried out some basic aerobatics. Once again, the T-34 didn't disappoint us! Loops could be made as large as we wanted, but the rolls felt a little sluggish. We added more control throw for the next flight, and she reacted much better.

    I set the timer on my Hitec Flash 7 conservatively for the first flight. At six minutes, the timer alarmed, telling us to land. The flaps and gear were dropped, and the T-34 brought out over the grass to land. We found that the nylon mat runway was a little too bumpy for landing, so she was brought down in the grass. Now, with the flaps and gear down, the plane slowed in a hurry - she dropped in quickly, but softly. Landing in the grass proved to be the right move, as she touched down with a short roll out!

    Seven minutes (six on the timer plus landing and taxiing back to the pits) proved to be right on the money. I tested the battery after removing the hatch and it was down to 30% left - just the way I like my LiPos after a flight!

    All in all, we were very pleased with the flight performance of the T-34. It flew very well, as long as we respected the minimum speed without flaps. She flew very well for a maiden, and went back up later in the day! Everyone at WATTS seemed to stop and watch when the T-34 went up!





    Seagull Models T-34 Mentor "Miss Kitty" 20cc ARF



























    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!






    Distributed by: SIG Manufacturing
    P.O. Box 520
    401-7 South Front Street
    Montezuma, IA 50171-0520

    www.sigmfg.com




    11215 Paine Street
    Poway, CA 92064
    Phone: 1-858-748-6948
    www.hitecrcd.com




    Distributed By:
    Hobbico 2904 Research Road
    Champaign, IL 61822
    Phone: 1-217-398-0007

    www.futabarc.com






    Distributed through
    Bob's Hobby Center
    540 N Goldenrod Rd
    Orlando, FL 32807
    Phone: (407) 277-1248
    Email: info@bissonmufflers.com www.bobshobbycenter.com
    www.justmodelprops.com


    Distributed by:
    Frank Tiano Enterprises
    3607 Ventura Drive E.
    Lakeland, Florida 33811
    Phone: (863) 607-6611

    www.franktiano.com





    P.O. Box 815
    Wauconda, IL 60084
    Phone: (800) 848-9411
    Du-Bro Hobby Products

    Comments on RCU Review: Seagull Models T-34 Mentor

    Posted by: tailskid on 09/23/2015
    A very well done review Mr. Barber!!!
    Posted by: cloudancer03 on 09/29/2015

    Posted by: cloudancer03 on 09/29/2015
    Looks great.I had a seagull laser 200 and loved it.also a seagull 180.but I am hoping they come out with a T 38 trainer or another laser.for the money the arfs are really well done.look foward to new releases .
    Posted by: lumacurve on 08/18/2016
    You wrote that yours balanced at 88mm from leading edge but plans say 120mm from leading edge, even at 120mm I had to add almost 2 lbs of lead to the nose.
    Page: 1
    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.

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