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Old Oct 29, 2013, 02:42 PM
More Motors, More Fun... :-)
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Phoenix, AZ
Joined Jan 2008
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Build Log
VQ Models T-34 Mentor 61.4" Electric

Name: T-34-Mentor_VQModels-0400.jpg
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Description: Stock photo of VQ T-34
From the Manufacturer:
Wingspan: 61.4" (1560mm)
Length: 46" (1170mm)
Wing Area: 663 sq in (42.77 sq dm)
Weight: 7.05 lb (3.2 Kg) will vary with equipment
Wing Loading: 24.5 oz/sq in (74.82g /sq dm) will vary with equipment
Motor: HP-G-91 or G46 (unclear)
Propeller: 14x6 or 13x6 (unclear)
Servos: 4 standard for EP, 2 mini (?)
Flaps: Yes
Retracts: Optional

Global AFR by Vinh Quang R/C Models VQA095 info link
Retailers: Hobby People Item 160007, VQ Warbirds

My experience with the E-Flite T-34 Mentor has been so good that when I saw this slightly larger T-34 by VQ Models, I wanted to give it a try. This larger model can accommodate retracts so that helped convince me to purchase it. I'm not really crazy about the "printed" covering, so I thought that when I purchased it, if I didn't like it, I could recover the plane in a scheme that I did like.

When I opened the box, I was very surprised to see how well the covering was adhered to the plane. Not a wrinkle in sight. Normally, you have to go over the covering with a iron for good measure even if it looks tight, but in this case, it was already tight and very well attached. The covering is a PVC film with an adhesive base. It will shrink with low heat. When heat is first applied the film will sag as it expands. Then it will reach a certain temperature and then begin to tighten up. At this point, stop applying heat and let it cool. As it cools it will tighten more. Use only very low heat.

Since printed coverings can be very difficult to repair, perhaps I'll fly the plane now, and later on, down the road (or runway), I will do a recovering. Something to think about for now. I did discover that acetone will remove the "print", so be careful cleaning up any CA spills.

My overall impression of the ARF is very good. The construction seems good and the part fit so far is very good. As with most ARF's the hardware is only fair. I will be replacing almost all of it with Dubro components, especially the nose gear and block. I really love the huge access compartment. The canopy is very well built and should hold up well. The control rod guides running aft are too long and will have to be trimmed (easy to do) as the elevator and rudder servo's mount in the large "square" aft of the battery holder cutouts. The wings have plastic tips, not so crazy about that, but OK. The plastic wing tips are understandable, as this covering probably would not conform well to the compound curves of the wingtip.

Best yet, ALL the control surfaces are hinged for you, The ailerons and flaps are also glued, you just have to glue in the elevators and rudder.

I did have some parts missing; like the "2nd" pilot as shown in the box photo. No landing light. No Anti-rotation dowels for the wings. Missing set screws for the wheel collars, and 4 plastic hold down straps. No biggy. The only thing that I really wanted was the 2nd pilot.

I was able to determine that standard Hitec servos like the Hitec HS-485HB will fit the plane. Some minor trimming may be needed on the ailerons servos in the wing. The flap servo mounts look like they will fit a HS-85 size micro servo with minor trimming.

Here are some measurements to aid in ordering replacements or for information:
2-1/2" Nose wheel (this is the size of the stock wheel, I would suggest a more scale 2" or 2-1/4" nose wheel).
3" Main wheels (this is the size of the stock wheel, I would suggest a 2-3/4" wheel).
2" Spinner and
4mm landing gear wire (not an issue if you are using retracts, this size plane should really have 5mm wire)

VQ Electric Retracts are available as an option. Hobby People currently are out of stock but sell them for $149. I am not convinced that they are worth the price. If all the legs have good looking struts, then they might be OK for the price, but a photo on the VQ Warbirds website just shows the nose wheel with a strut. I think there may be better options out there. If anyone has more info or experience with the VQ retracts, please let me know.

The manual does not mention the nose gear doors. The way they are made, I don't think that they were meant to be operational. I think that VQ meant for them to be open all the time. This would certainly save time on the build, not having to install and fit doors.

My Build:


Brushless Outrunner electric motor: Rimfire .55 42-60-480
ESC: Castle Creations Phoenix ICE 75A
Motor Battery: Haiyin 6S 5000mAh 25C Lipo
Receiver Battery: LiFe 2S 6.6v 2100mAh (A123)
Propeller: APC 15x8 Thin Electric Propeller
Servos: Hitec HS-485HB Deluxe HD BB Karbonite (Aileron, Elevator, Rudder). HS-85 BB or MG for flaps. HS-82 for steering.

Futaba R617FS 7-Channel 2.4GHz FASST Receiver
Futaba 7C 2.4GHz Radio System

Weight without batteries: 6.94 lbs = 111 oz = 3.15 kg
Weight with 6S 5000 Lipo and 2S 2100 mAh LiFe batteries: 9 lbs = 144 oz = 4 kg

Wing Loading: 144 oz / 4.6 sqft = 31.3 oz/sqft = 95.4 g/dm2
Wing Cube Loading (WCL) = 14.6

Modifications and Notes:

Electric Retracts: 60 - 120 Tricycle Electric Retracts by E-flite (EFLG430). This tricycle gear set fits well with small amounts of trimming for the "spring" of the mains. I did reinforce the mount by adding hardwood to the "bottom" of the mount before trimming.

Robart Trike Gear Strut Cover's (106) were modified for the mains and nose. I had to drill out the mains to 5mm to accommodate the thickness of the strut wire. I painted them an off-white, with silver oleo's. If I really like the plane I may invest in the more scale Robart Left Hand Offset RoboStrut (651L) for the nose.

Later on, I intend to add working nose gear doors. A programmable servo and sequencer will be used for that. The stock wheel covers for the mains and nose are the wrong size and shape, and will be replaced.

I used a Turnigy 3 Channel Servo Speed/Direction Regulator to delay the flap motion to look more scale.

A landing light was added to the cowl. I used a 3W Cree module with a custom made heatsink. Power is from the 2100mAh LiFe battery that also supplies power to the retracts (just an update note: I have been using a 1100 mAh LiFe battery instead of the 2100, it is lighter and lasts all day long).

As usual, and electronic interface board for the LiFe battery was constructed, this time to permit easy injection of LiFe power to the retract/light circuit.

For steering (I like to have steering separate from the rudder so I can use separate trim) I used an HS-82 I had lying around connected to a separate channel. I had to make a mount and place it in the wheel well.

I found to balance the model, I had to build a "cover" to allow mounting of the batteries aft. The electronics sit underneath this cover.

Maiden Flight:

December 18, 2013: Good ground tracking and nice take-off. The plane has plenty of power with this power system. I needed a few clicks right aileron trim and some elevator trim. Once the gear was retracted I flew a few circuits to get a feel for the plane, It fly's a bit "heavier" (as expected) than the Eflite T-34, but I liked how well it tracked in the air. The CG in the manual is about "right on", a little towards the nose-heavy side as it should be for first flights. The control throws in the manual I found should be stated as "low rates", even at those rates, the rudder and elevator have good authority. Landing was very easy and it just slid in both times I flew it. A bit of power just before touch down and it will settle perfectly.

I did a stall test, and it did give notice, and dropped a wing. The rudder is effective. The second time I stall tested it, it mushed straight ahead a bit longer, then dropped a wing, so while not super stable like the Eflite T-34, it does have good stability, so you would have to be really "creative" to have a problem.

Power Figures (Stock System):

Wide Open Throttle (WOT): with 6S Turnigy 5000 mAh 30C Lipo:
With APC 15x8EP: 23.64 V, 56.39 A, 1339.2W (battery 25.10 V initially)

Wide Open Throttle (WOT): with 6S Turnigy 5000 mAh 30C Lipo:
With Xoar 15x8PNJ: 23.80 V, 49.54 A, 1186.4W (battery 24.89 V initially)
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Old Oct 29, 2013, 02:54 PM
More Motors, More Fun... :-)
nioa's Avatar
Phoenix, AZ
Joined Jan 2008
687 Posts
Building

The model is going together well. (click on the images to enlarge them).

Servo Mount Reinforcement
I have installed the aileron, elevator, flap, and rudder servos. In each case, I added some reinforcement to the servo mounts. The stock mounts are thin and the attachment screws can easily "strip out". Some additional 1/8" balsa stock added to the inner side, hardened with thin CA, seems to have done the trick.

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Description: Elevator and rudder servo mounting

The elevator servo uses a tray to position the arm so that it is in-line with the movement of the elevator control linkage. If the servo was mounted the usual way, the side-to-side movement of the arm would affect each half of the separate elevators. They would "wiggle up-and-down" as they were operated. This mounting method eliminates that entirely.

Horizontal Stabilizer
Rather than glue the stabilizer in by putting epoxy on the fuselage contact points and then having glue spread out all over the stabilizer half as the stabilizer is inserted into the fuselage, I realized that I could put the stabilizer in place and then apply epoxy.

I made a cooling exit in the tail that allows access to the stab. This is the access point for the epoxy.

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Description: Tail exhaust port for cooling.

An epoxy brush through the access hole lets you apply a good amount of epoxy without making a mess. Later on, I placed a piece of clear tape in the back of the access hole to seal off the aft tail section to keep air from compressing in the back of the tail, reducing drag.

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Description: Gluing detail: opening allows access to epoxy in stabilizer.

Vertical Stabilizer
Before the vertical stabilizer is glued in, I would suggest trimming the trim piece that completes the tail end. A piece of balsa glued to the trim acts as a way of firmly securing the trim piece to the fuselage. Make sure you remove the covering directly below it so that the glue has something to hold on to.

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Description: The rudder needed to be trimmed about a 1/16" of an inch for perfect fit. Note the tail trim piece: balsa is glued in to give the block some grip.

The rudder needed some slight trimming to shorten it. It was about a 1/16" of an inch too long to sit flush in the slot.

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Description: Stabilizer installed, ready for epoxy on the rudder.

Once the epoxy has set on the bottom of the horizontal stabilizer, epoxy can be applied to the top of the horizontal stab and the vertical stab at the same time.

This shows the completed assembly:

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Description: Trim piece installed.

One thing I was not too enthused about was the rudder control linkage path.

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Description: Rudder control linkage.

The curve in the wire creates a bit of resistance that really doesn't need to be there. I did use the stock control horns; the elevators lined up perfectly with the holes at the furthest attachment holes, not so with the rudder. The rudder linkage alignment would have been fine if you needed the hole nearest the base of the horn, but if used, the control throw would have been ridiculous.

Fit wise, the attachment of the stabilizers was absolutely "perfect". No complaints whatsoever. Big thumbs up on that!

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Description: Here is the electronics bay.

The electronics bay housing the receiver. The receiver has a guide tube for the antenna that runs aft, this tube keeps the antenna wire straight. You can see the interface board to connect the LiFe battery. The board provides strain relief for the wire and an injection point for retract/light power.

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Description: A cover was made over the electronics bay to allow the batteries to be mounted.

This is the bay with the battery mounting cover in place.

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Description: Larger view

A bigger view.

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Description: Skewer: one bolt-in rather than two

The canopy "skewer". Instead of using the two little nylon bolts provided, I like to use a single threaded "skewer" so that I just have one fastener. The rod is 2-56 that is soldered to a brass "knob". A guide tube glued to a piece of foam (EPP in my case) is used to allow effortless alignment. A 2-56 blind nut receives the skewer and is glued into the opposite side of the canopy mounting finger. The thread on the end of the brass knob has no mating receiver, I just didn't file it off. Once in place, it only has to be snugged up and not too tight, as it will not move in flight.

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Description: Nose retract and steering servo.

The nose gear electric retract installed. A separate steering servo, Hitec HS-82MG was used only because I had it on hand, as almost any metal gear servo of like-size could be used. I had an extra receiver channel and I like to be able to trim the nose wheel separate from the rudder.

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Description: Main retract.

Electric retract main. The 60-120 size tricycle set fits well. Just some trimming for the "spring" in the landing gear wire.

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Description: Close-up of the Robart nose wheel strut cover. I plan on replacing the non-scale cover with an actual offset type strut if I like the plane. I think also a 2" wheel would be best too.

The nose gear up close. Robart 106 trike plastic struts that fit "over" the landing gear wire. Not scale, but better than just plain ol' wire.

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Description: The main strut cover and "weathered" tire hub. Not show too clearly is the cutaway in the plastic strut that allows the chrome of the 5mm gear wire to show through.

Main wire gear strut cover. I think Dubro has started to "shine up" those tires. I never gave em a coat of wax.

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Description: T-34 wiring diagram. LiFe battery to power retract and lighting circuit.

Here is the wiring diagram for the retract and lighting circuits on a separate LiFe battery. A PDF that you can print is in the "Files" section below.
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Old Oct 29, 2013, 02:55 PM
More Motors, More Fun... :-)
nioa's Avatar
Phoenix, AZ
Joined Jan 2008
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Readying for flight

The day was gusty and cold, but I wanted some shots of the plane for the camera. The gear doors are, in fact, just taped on for the photo shoot. I plan on adding actual operating gear doors later on.

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Description: 3 watt Cree LED landing light, with custom made heat sink. This operates off of the LiFe retract battery.

The landing light is on when the retracts are down. A mix on the radio turns off the steering when the retracts are in the up position.
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Old Dec 01, 2013, 04:00 PM
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Joined Feb 2011
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It's been a while. How is the build coming along?
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Old Dec 02, 2013, 02:36 PM
More Motors, More Fun... :-)
nioa's Avatar
Phoenix, AZ
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Good. I have completed the plane to the point where I can test fly it.

My first posts have been updated to reflect that.

Nick
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Old Dec 19, 2013, 02:08 PM
More Motors, More Fun... :-)
nioa's Avatar
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Maiden Flight. Check.

This T-34 is a sweetheart in the air. My preliminary maiden flight report is in post 1.

Nick
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Old Dec 19, 2013, 05:28 PM
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Congrats!

This thing will probably go fast on 6s!
It looks great.
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Old Dec 21, 2013, 10:26 AM
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Joined Dec 2013
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Hi, looks great your T-34 and congratulation to successful maiden flite.
I building the same kit and would like know if you use the suggested wooden motor mount for electric motor ? It works good ?
Im not sure to take a metal motor mount to get more stabilisation.

Greetings from Germany ! Birk
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Old Dec 22, 2013, 12:57 AM
More Motors, More Fun... :-)
nioa's Avatar
Phoenix, AZ
Joined Jan 2008
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Thanks! It is fast,and has great climb. I'm looking forward to more flights.

The motor is from my Reactor. It is a Rimfire .55 with the matching medium metal motor mount. I used this motor and mount because I had it available, and I thought that a .46 sized motor might be too small.

The wooden mount that came with the kit is fine, but the stability and strength would come from the standoffs (the standoffs are not included in the kit). If you go that route, you can purchase another motor mount to put "in between" the standoffs to get better stability. I think I set my mount up at about 64mm's. If you have a metal motor mount, I would use it. I would also beef up the firewall a bit too.

Nick
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Old Dec 22, 2013, 01:08 PM
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Thank you for answering Nick. I also think the best will be to use the metal motor mount to avoid any problems with the stability.
Did you made a flight video ? Lets see !

Birk
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Old Dec 23, 2013, 01:35 PM
More Motors, More Fun... :-)
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No video Birk, no one was there at the field with a camera. It would be great if I could find someone to help me out in that regard, It was a good maiden.
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Old Dec 24, 2013, 05:58 AM
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Hi Nick,

Im quite sure that the maiden was great. I still waiting of motor and controller to go ahead. So my maiden will not happen before March I guess.

Wish you a merry Christmas!

Birk
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Old Dec 24, 2013, 06:53 PM
More Motors, More Fun... :-)
nioa's Avatar
Phoenix, AZ
Joined Jan 2008
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March....that is a long time. Hoping you are able to get a power system before then.

What are you planning to use?

Wishing you a Merry Christmas!
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Old Jan 10, 2014, 12:45 PM
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United States, NH, Stark
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Thinking of buying this model.

Anyone know where I can download a PDF manual for it?
Thanks.

Ted
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Old Jan 10, 2014, 01:20 PM
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nioa's Avatar
Phoenix, AZ
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My searches never found a PDF of the manual. I suppose if VQ wanted a PDF manual available they would have provided one on their website. The manual itself is very basic. If you have specific questions, I would be happy to answer them.

Nick
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