|Miss Stik Senior and her new little sister, Miss Stik Junior|
|Wing Area:||212 sq. in.|
|Servos:||2 x HS55|
|Transmitter:||Hitec Neon 3 SS|
|Receiver:||Hitec Micron 05|
|Battery:||several options; see text|
|Motor/ESC:||Graupner Speed 300 7.2v with integral ESC|
|Available From:||Hobby Lobby|
About a year ago, I reviewed Hobby Lobby’s Miss Stik Senior, a very pretty old timer-looking e-powered floater. The good news is that just as her name implies, Miss Stik Senior now has a little sister, Miss Stik Junior. With a 40” wing span as compared to big sister’s 55” span, “Junior” is a compact “Confined Space Flyer” built almost entirely of – you guessed it! – balsa sticks.
OK, I admit it. I can remember when I could buy a stick ‘n tissue rubber powered scale model on allowance day for 10 cents or save up and buy a big deluxe one for 25 cents, and I still like gluing those sticks together. It is nowhere near so hard as you might imagine and, particularly with these Tom Hunt designs, it is fascinating to see a shapely fuselage and attractive curved flying surfaces develop from all those straight pieces of wood. You want something for gentle flying on balmy summer evenings, or, for that matter, something to scoot around the local gym in the winter, and something that will accomplish all that for minimum expense? Here’s your airplane.
What? You say you aren’t an old timer, you were born in the age of foam and ARFs, and the idea of sticking sticks together is scary? Yeah, I can understand that, but take the plunge. Both of the Miss Stiks are well thought out designs with ingeniously simplified construction. They are ideal for a first time venture into this traditional form. Come on and be a builder!
Designed around a Speed 280 or 300 motor, the contents of Hobby Lobby’s very reasonably priced kit are astoundingly simple. You will find a bundle of 1/8 x 1/8” balsa sticks, a few other sized bits of balsa, one laser cut sheet of plywood formers, wire for pushrods and landing gear, a few pieces of hardware, a molded plastic cowl, and that’s about it. On Miss Stik Junior’s web page, Hobby Lobby itemizes all the needed parts and supplies and sells them as a package at a slightly reduced price. For this review, they generously supplied the whole package, all of which is of excellent quality.
The Miss Stik’s plans are wonderful. For “Junior” they are a single big 35 x 60” sheet, clearly drawn, with top and side views, full sized drawings of the few formers involved, details of the “cracked rib” wing construction, and a series of isometric drawings of the various steps of fuselage assembly. What is not on the plan will be found in an accompanying 5 page instruction leaflet.
Ready to start building? Got the plans pinned to your building board and covered with a sheet of waxed paper (or transparent backing from your last iron-on covering job)? Box of pins at hand? Fine. Let’s get to it.
You won’t need many tools. Some sharp single edge razor blades or a hobby knife with sharp blades, along with two or three grades of sandpaper attached to wood blocks is almost all you need to build the entire airframe. Follow along with the pictures, and you’ll see how it all goes together.
This is a great way to build a true fuselage. First you build two identical crutches. The fuselage top is built on top of one, the fuselage bottom is built on top of the other, the two are glued together, and finishing touches are added.
The method of mounting the motor is novel.
The motor is screwed directly to the front of the cowl. The cowl is then taped to the front of the fuselage. Want to add or subtract down- or side-thrust? Just undo the tape and nudge the cowl a tad. There is no firewall as such and the taped on cowl method is plenty strong.
Time to cover. The lighter the covering material the better. Hobby Lobby suggested Superkote, a light weight film made in England. I like it for its strength, weight, and attractively bright colors. You have to watch it, though. Superkote claims, correctly, that their product “shrinks and keeps shrinking” and that there are “very few wrinkles so bad that Superkote’s tremendous shrinkability can’t eliminate them.” True enough, but on the light 1/8 x 1/8 framework of Miss Stik Junior, things can get out of hand and you can end up with warps in your structure. Keep the temperature low and go slow.
The Miss Stik Junior’s plans show the CG at 50% of the wing’s chord. I thought that looked a little odd, so I set mine up with the CG at 33%. It flew OK. Meanwhile, I emailed the designer, Tom Hunt, who replied that while a forward CG would be OK, the 50% point flies just fine. I tried it and it does!
Hobby Lobby recommends a 7 cell 720ma. NiMh battery. The plans suggest NiMh packs of 6-7 cells, 270-600 ma. or NiCd packs of 6-7 cells, 150-350 ma. or KiPo packs of 2 cells, 340-830 ma.
Recheck everything and head for the flying field.
YOUR ATTENTION PLEASE!
The instructions for Miss Stik Junior contain this IMPORTANT CAUTION:
“The model was not designed for violent maneuvers, especially pull-outs from steep dives. Keep this in mind when flying the Miss Stik. Keep the model in close and slow, that’s what it does best.”
This is a nice plane for just tooling around, admiring the sun shining through the covering, flying touch and goes, and catching a thermal now and then. It is for relaxed enjoyment, a vacation from 3D, combat, and pattern competition. It will also be great for training beginners. Set it up with minimum control throws, get it in the air, and hand them the sticks. They can’t go too far wrong.
The Miss Stik Junior will take off from an asphalt or concrete surface. For any other flying conditions, a gently tossed hand launch will do. It will climb as high as you want, not vertically, but like a full sized light plane. Stalls are nonevents. The plane is essentially a freeflight, so when it is time to come home, cut the throttle and just steer. Miss Stik will take care of the landing for you. And when winter comes, Mr. Hunt suggests you will do well to fly indoors in a room about 25’ high and 100’ in diameter. Have you got one? If so, invite me to come over.
You can toss Miss Stik Junior into the smallest of cars and fly her in the smallest of spaces. She is inexpensive, easy to build, and a restful alternative to the stress of 3D and complicated aerobatics. A beginner can certainly fly her, and a patient beginner can build her. With long pleasant evenings arriving for after supper flying, everyone should have one.
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