Phoenix Model Strega 30cc GP/EP ARF - RCGroups Review - RC Groups
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Phoenix Model Strega 30cc GP/EP ARF - RCGroups Review

This bigger Strega gives lots of power options and looks great on the ground and in the air.

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The new Phoenix Models 30cc Strega may be your next warbird/racer!

Product:Phoenix Model Strega GP/EP ARF
Wingspan:68.9 in
Length:62.5 in
Weight:11.9-13.2 lbs
Wing Area:7.2 ft2
Wing Loading:26.2 oz/ft2
Required Power:30cc Gas / 450Kv Outrunner
Price:$359.99
Available from:Tower Hobbies
PDF Manual:(not yet available online)

If you've ever been lucky enough to check out the pylon races at Reno, you've surely seen and/or heard of the highly modified P-51, the Strega. Piloted by Robert “Hoot” Gibson, the Strega hit nearly 500mph thanks to its V12 engine putting out over 3,000 horsepower and won the race this time last year.

Phoenix Models has recently released a new, larger 30cc size replica of the famous pylon racer. This larger size is detailed more accurately, and is a great size for presenting well in the air. Additionally, the new size opens up several power options to suit any pilot. I recently got a chance to take this racer for a spin, so let's take a closer look!

Features

  • NACA airfoils
  • 95mm plastic spinner
  • Gas & Electric compatible
  • Removable top hatch for easy radio setup
  • Strong, light construction
  • High-quality hardware package
  • Retractable landing gear with CNC suspension metal struts
  • Spring tail gear
  • Oracover covering

Required

  • Radio: 6 channel minimum
  • Servos: 7 hi-torque, 2 retract
  • Gas engine: 20-30cc
  • Electric engine: 1600-2200 W brushless outrunner, 450Kv

In the Box

Phoenix Model Strega - RCGroups Unboxing (13 min 5 sec)

As you can see, the Strega is built & covered nicely and comes with a good array of parts, including CNC suspension retracts. The fuselage is fully sheeted, which makes all of those curves, fillets and fairings look excellent. The hatch in front of the canopy is plenty big for any size fuel tank or battery pack. The cowl was nice and thick and painted perfectly. Lets get this bird together...

Assembly

While there were a fair number of steps getting the Strega together, it all went smoothly thanks to a well illustrated instruction manual. Each step had detailed blow-out diagrams and keys detailing which screws & bolts would be used in that step. A few spots could have benefited from some text description, but take your time and you'll be fine.

Once all of the hinges were centered with a pin and glued, the control horns were mounted to each surface after cutting out the covering over the holes. I found it interesting that Phoenix used a keyed control horn to ensure proper alignment.

I temporarily bolted the wing on to check alignment of the horizontal stab before gluing it in. This is also a good opportunity to check that the bolts thread correctly. The angle of the holes in the wing on mine were angled a bit, preventing the bolts from getting into the blind nut. A quick re-drill of the holes with a 1/4" bit fixed the problem. Checking the stab alignment, I noticed mine was off a few degrees, so used a small Dremel sanding drum to remove some material from the left side of the fuse. After I was satisfied with the alignment, it was secured with epoxy and left to dry.

I carefully used my hobby knife to cut out the plastic parts. For the wheel wells, you may want to keep a little lip for extra gluing surface...or you can choose to cut it flush with the wing. Note that you don't need to cut as much at the smaller root end as the diagram shows. I chose to glue mine in with Beacon Quick-Grip which worked quite well. I used my covering iron to help bend the lip of the plastic more flush with the wing.

Three servos were installed in each side of the wing. You'll need a 10", 14", and 20" extension for each wing half. I'm using the metal-geared S3071HV for the ailerons and elevators, and the S3072HV for the flaps and rudder since they aren't flight critical and won't be seeing the full-throttle stresses. The S3170G gear servos went in perfectly. Note that these are mini-sized servos...standard-sized retract servos won't fit without cutting out some of the mounting area. Also make note the orientation of the flap servos. The diagram on page 6 shows one facing the wing tip, and the other facing the wing root. Easy to miss and if your flaps go opposite ways, now you know why! Finally, you'll notice I used Z-bends on the servo arm instead of the L-bend with clip for extra security and peace-of-mind.

The wing was then glued together with a very thin coat of epoxy. I suspect the wing could be left in two pieces of absolutely required, if you could find a way to secure the 2 plastic & wood details in a way that would allow easy removal. Velcro or magnets perhaps? Now with the wing bolted, you can glue the 2 fuselage details to the wing bottom. The larger back piece didn't have a lot of gluing surface, so I put a couple scraps of balsa around the inner rim. I again used Beacon Quick Grip which should hold good, and still be easily removed if needed. I also glued the wing bolt washers to the wing so I wouldn't have to worry about losing them.

Finally, you can secure Y-connectors to your flaps and retracts (and ailerons depending on your receiver setup). I plugged everything into my receiver and fine-tuned the control arms to be perfectly centered, as well as the endpoints for the retracts and flaps. You'll need 4 4-6" extensions to keep plugged into the Rx for easier assembly at the field. I stole some of my wifes nail polish and colored each one, and the mating connector on the wing for easy matching. I intend on getting some Ashlok connectors to make connecting the wing quick & easy. Once happy with everything on the wing, I screwed down all of the servo hatches. I ended up replacing the stock phillips wood screws with socket head screws from my RTL Fasteners collection, as the stock screws are quite soft and strip easily.

With the wing completed, the elevator and rudder servos could be installed and connected to their control surface. Nothing out of the ordinary here. I again used z-bends on the servo ends for the elevators. I did notice that the bolts to secure the pull-pull didn't have enough threads to grab the nut on the other side. I changed them out for 15mm bolts and nylon lock nuts, which worked perfectly.

Now let's get some power on this baby! The Rimfire 120 bolted to the firewall exactly as diagrammed. You will use every stand-off, bolt and washer that comes in the power bag of parts to mount the motor. I then mounted the Castle Talon 120 HV ESC to the bottom of the motor box using some long zip-ties after soldering a Deans connector on. All that was left now, is to confirm the motor spin direction, mount the cowl and lay some velcro on the battery tray.

She's done! And looking slick! A CG check left my battery about 2-3" from the firewall for a slightly nose-heavy attitude with the retracts up. My watt-meter recorded 81 Amps and 1800 Watts with the APCe 18x6 prop. The scale brought it in at 12lb AUW, more than a pound under the expected weight on Phoenixs' stats. I'm betting their weight range was for gas power solutions. With a final run-through of the radio setup, dual rates, etc...we're ready to get some air-time!

Flying

Takeoff & Landing

Ground handling with the Strega is excellent using just up elevator to hold the tail on the ground. The retracts have held up well so far to both paved runway and grass use. Some rudder correction was needed, but not much, as we advanced the throttle during roll-out, but that's common for tail-draggers. The Strega climbed in the air with no issues at all. I needed considerable down trim for hands-off flight, but that was about it. Landing also went quite well. Despite this technically being a warbird, it had a nice glide slope and slowed down just fine, even without using flaps. Stall tests showed a nice drop of the nose at an impressively slow stall speed. No wing drops or snaps were detected.

Basic flight

The Strega is a great sport plane for flying the circuit, low passes and general fun flights! The Rimfire 1.2 pulled the 12lb plane really nicely and didn't feel underpowered at all. It wasn't quite as fast as I was expecting, but a smaller prop with more pitch (flown with APCe 18x6) or changing to 8s or 10s should fix that. Half throttle was perfectly good for strolling around the flight box. As said above, the Strega slows down nice and some full-flap slow passes were almost fun to execute on the deck as the high-speed strafing runs. With my electric setup, the 5000mAh pack lasted not much more than 5 minutes with mixed speed runs & half-throttle flight.

Aerobatics

First of all, this is a warbird / pylon racer...it's sole (scale) purpose is speed runs; and those are no disappointment with this Strega! With that said, you should be able to execute most basic sport aerobatics such as loops, rolls, immelmans, cuban eights, etc. Rolls were mostly axial, but a bit slow even on high rate (set at 100% throw). The elevator had plenty of authority, and I might actually tone it down a bit. Rudder was OK, not quite enough to hold knife edge for long...but plenty good for a show pass wing dip!

Flight Photos

Flight Video

Phoenix Strega - RCGroups Review (4 min 27 sec)

Summary

The 30cc Strega from Phoenix Models is a great looking & flying plane that will fill the need for both a fast plane, and a 'warbird'. You may have a lot of P-51s at your local field, but I bet very few are as attractive as this Strega. With some really nice scale details, several power options and good flight characteristics, it's difficult to find many reasons not to add this to your hangar!

Pluses

  • Well-built kit, including wing fairings & fully sheeted fuselage
  • Great scale details
  • Excellent line-drawing diagrams in manual
  • Good quality retracts included
  • Plenty of room for components
  • Flies great, despite being a 'warbird'
  • Great ground handling

Minuses

  • Control rods & small screws are soft metal, consider replacing
  • Rudder pull-pull bolts for control horn were too short
  • Pre-cut holes & slots for control rods, tailwheel, etc would have been appreciated
  • Spinner was fairly out of balance & rear plate a little warped
  • Manual could've benefited from descriptive directions in certain spots

*Thanks to Tower for supplying the Strega for review, and to Paul & Rodney for their flying & photography help at the field!

Last edited by Matt Gunn; Feb 21, 2018 at 07:30 AM..
Thread Tools
Nov 10, 2016, 11:48 AM
Registered User
Lynxman's Avatar
The main wheel doors are installed backwards.
Nov 10, 2016, 12:13 PM
If it's R/C, I LIKE IT!
Nikolei Zinsli's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lynxman
The main wheel doors are installed backwards.
Hah! I recall trying to decide that when attaching them by looking at the drawings in the manual. Must have thought I was looking at the other wing half. Thanks for the note, I'll fix them tomorrow!
Latest blog entry: 93" AJ Laser 230z
Nov 10, 2016, 01:24 PM
Registered User
Awesome review. Now I just need to wait for them to come in-stock...
Nov 10, 2016, 03:41 PM
Registered User

Very nice reveiw.........


Watching this really gets me excited on getting mine.
I looked this morning on Towers site and they changed delievery from end of December to early December........ A couple hours latter they changed it to mid December.
Hopefully soon
Nice job on the Review
Hoss
Nov 12, 2016, 05:08 PM
Registered User
Wanna put a 1.60 rimfire with 120 esc on mine what do you think with a 17x8 looking for real speed
Nov 12, 2016, 07:19 PM
Live to Fly, Fly to Live
Tweek's Avatar
Saw this in person, a beautiful bird! Had to leave before Nik flew it, can't wait to be at the field and see this baby go!
Nov 14, 2016, 04:00 AM
Doberman fan
apriliamille's Avatar
this looks sweet
Nov 14, 2016, 08:51 AM
100% electric since 1990
twest's Avatar
With electrics, you get high speed with high pitch- usually with a "square prop" i.e. 17x17 or 16x16. Props with pitch less than half the diameter (17x6 for example) are fairly useless except perhaps some 3d planes where static thrust is most important. Pitch speed can be very roughly estimated by multiplying pitch by the rpm, then divide by 1,000. So a 10 inch pitch at 10,000 rpm give (very roughly) 100mph pitch speed.

I flew my my seagull mew gull with a 17x12 and a 17x13 props, 8s, about 2000 watts and a bit over 110 mph pitch speed.
Last edited by twest; Nov 14, 2016 at 02:20 PM.
Nov 14, 2016, 12:35 PM
Living in the south of France
paulinfrance's Avatar
Shame that there are no pictures or video's with a petrol engine, also the great Futaba servos running on Spectrum,,
Nov 14, 2016, 02:36 PM
If it's R/C, I LIKE IT!
Nikolei Zinsli's Avatar
Servos don't care what brand Rx is running them.

A word or warning: I took the Strega flying Friday and had some retract issues on landing that resulted in a chipped prop. One of the retracts decided to rotate toe-in a bit on landing and abruptly stopped the plane. Appears the grub screw at the base of the gear worked itself just a little loose. I'd suggest removing this and adding a dot of loctite before wrenching it down. I'm going to remove my screw and hopefully pull out the whole shaft to see if I can add a flat-spot as an additional measure to prevent it twisting.
Latest blog entry: 93" AJ Laser 230z
Nov 14, 2016, 03:25 PM
Registered User
Lynxman's Avatar
This plane is about the same scale as my ESM P-51D. They would look cool next to each other. Maybe I'll get one in the spring.
Nov 14, 2016, 08:20 PM
hey whats burning?
metalbender4by's Avatar
Very nice. Looks like I might be getting another plane...
Nov 15, 2016, 08:02 AM
Vertical Unlimited
Straight Up's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by twest
With electrics, you get high speed with high pitch- usually with a "square prop" i.e. 17x17 or 16x16. Props with pitch less than half the diameter (17x6 for example) are fairly useless except perhaps some 3d planes where static thrust is most important. Pitch speed can be very roughly estimated by multiplying pitch by the rpm, then divide by 1,000. So a 10 inch pitch at 10,000 rpm give (very roughly) 100mph pitch speed.

I flew my my seagull mew gull with a 17x12 and a 17x13 props, 8s, about 2000 watts and a bit over 110 mph pitch speed.
I was going to make a similar comment. The selected prop is entirely unsuitable for this plane.
Nov 16, 2016, 02:04 PM
Registered User
Very good this review, thanks..


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